Who pays for levees and flood barriers in low-lying coastal cities?
The scale and cost compared to building some barriers is vastly different.
It's currently technologically infeasible at scale, but where's the massive R&D investment that might help figure out how to make it feasible, and perhaps even profitable?
Yes, where is it? It's 2016. Hottest year on record... again. We are without doubt, too late to prevent +2C (an already dangerous limit). Even with the paris agreements met we'd hit +3C or more. +3.5C is considered an extinction level event, or at the very least, it will collapse the world economy.
We are quickly running out of time. Feedback loops will make reaching our goals even more difficult as the soil starts producing more CO2, as the permafrost melt releases methane, etc... Even when we start reducing CO2 atmospheric levels we are looking at decades, probably centuries before temps even start to drop again. The climate has a response lag measured in decades. And that's a huge goal. We first need to make our carbon emissions neutral, which we are many decades from doing (we've only just begun to plateau).
It's all very grim. I think time is up on the front of CC, and you'd be hard pressed to argue otherwise in my opinion. Unless something magical comes along.
It is all very grim. I agree with you about difficult all this will be, so many incentives in our existing economic and political systems are against it. No doubt that there's a dangerous level of global warming already baked in, and we are facing at minimum a very messy next few decades. But our existing economic and political systems are already beginning to fall apart, and in this time of crisis, I think it's possible for certain kinds of shocks (organized popular uprisings, plus destructive climatic events that are globally visible) to facilitate a transition to a new order that makes previously implausible things possible in a matter of years. Not likely or inevitable, but possible — and as long as there is that possibility, I think it's necessary to find ways to work toward it.
I do think there are some "magical" possibilities that could at least mitigate the most devastating impacts of 2C warming in the next few decades — SRM geoengineering, some kind of yet-unproven scalable atmospheric CO2 removal method. Technological miracles have been produced by governments under a time crunch before — the Manhattan Project and atomic bomb, the Apollo program and space race — and those were mostly to win dick-measuring contests with other countries. If/when the revolution comes, climate mitigation will be an imminent matter of global survival, so it will have to be a top societal priority.
If/when the revolution comes, trust me, I'll be there fighting the good cause! I enjoy your optimism even if I may not share it. I hope we can survive this, but every year we inch closer to greater consequences :(
Thanks. I wouldn't quite call myself optimistic — I'm aware of how much the odds currently seem on the side of failure. But I believe that these odds can change through action, and that it's not over until its over, so we have nothing to lose by making the kind of effort that The Climate Mobilization is talking about.
I'm glad that this discussion is happening because it's based in a realistic sense of the crises we're facing, and can hopefully help people develop a common understanding of how screwed we are so we can clarify where any possibility of hope for the future can actually arise from.
I guess you appear optimistic next to my severely pessimistic view point :) It is a good discussion. I hope both parties have something to take away from it.
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