Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Upper Limit On Emissions Likely To Be Exceeded Within Decades

Soulskill posted 1 year,25 days | from the if-taco-bell-keeps-growing dept.

Earth 324

An anonymous reader writes "A panel of expert climate scientists appointed by the United Nations has come to a consensus on an upper limit for greenhouse gases. The panel says we will blow past this limit in just a few decades if emissions continue at their current pace. 'To stand the best chance of keeping the planetary warming below an internationally agreed target of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels and thus avoiding the most dangerous effects of climate change, the panel found, only about 1 trillion tons of carbon can be burned and the resulting gas spewed into the atmosphere. Just over half that amount has already been emitted since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and at current rates of energy consumption, the trillionth ton will be released around 2040, according to calculations by Myles R. Allen, a scientist at the University of Oxford and one of the authors of the new report. More than 3 trillion tons of carbon are still left in the ground as fossil fuels.' You can read a summary of the report's findings online (PDF). It says plainly, 'It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming (PDF) since the mid-20th century.'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Meh (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970053)

I will be dead by then. Good luck to the rest of you.

Re:Meh (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970241)

And even if you're not, the impending doomsday will still be a 'few decades' away...

Re:Meh (5, Insightful)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970469)

"We'll be able to stop before the looming disaster actually happens, we're smart enough to see the key indicators and get out in time!"

Where have I heard this before? It was quite recently from another bunch of people who really should have known better and led us off a cliff into disaster because they just couldn't stop...

This isn't about science and hasn't been for a long time. It's about human nature. We don't like change, so when we've got an established way of doing things and no reason obvious enough in our daily lives to switch to a different way of doing things, we won't do it. In many cases, when we finally get it through our stupid thick heads that we need to change, it's far too late.

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970773)

You started off thinking in the right direction. It's not that we don't want to change and avoid this catastrophe. The problem is that we literally can't. What is the potential downside to climate change? Death, misery, and destruction. If we stop doing the things that cause climate change, you'll get the same results. The only difference is that the Earth will be ready to nourish us again once our populations have decreased. It is very hard for a politician in a largely democratic world to decide "i'm going to make my people suffer so the people of tomorrow won't have to"...and then have the means to follow through with it.

Honestly, a zombie apocalypse would be great for the human race.

Re:Meh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970511)

Given that we are a reactive society that only do things when a crisis arrives, I don't expect any changes at all until that last few months.
Good luck to you youngsters out there. Enjoy your wasteful technologies and disposable life style while you can e.g. wireless charging etc

See Y2K bug, IPv4 running out... We knew these would happen, but they all do nothing until it is do or die time.

Re:Meh (1)

gmuslera (3436) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970747)

Hope that you never have anyone to care about. Children, grandchildrens, you would be dead by then, but they won't. And if there are no future, why worry about the present? No single water drop feels responsible for the flood.

so who is doing the polluting? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970067)

last i read the western countries were mostly reigning in their emissions and its the developing nations that are polluting the most now. except for a few exceptions like canada and norway who have large fossil fuel industries

Re:so who is doing the polluting? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970095)

And everyone sells it to America who burns more per capita than anywhere else.

It's America's demand which is driving most of this.

Re:so who is doing the polluting? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970173)

so don't sell to america, or have the host country tax everything to reduce emissions
and a lot of the emissions are methane from factory farms. as a nation becomes richer people eat more meat. so we need to tell all the developing nations to go back to carbs

oh wait, everyone wants to advance to first world status

Re: so who is doing the polluting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970325)

Good luck with trying to stop dumb middle Americans from driving huge gas guzzling vehicles.

They won't stop until the world is bled dry.

Re: so who is doing the polluting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970481)

with $4 gas i don't see too many huge truck based SUV's anymore

the chineese need to pass some air quality standards. all the pictures show insane smog levels in their cities due to all the traffic and the fact that cars there don't have any pollution control devices

Re: so who is doing the polluting? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970719)

Don't worry, the price of gas will be adjusted to maximize consumption/profits.

Re:so who is doing the polluting? (3, Informative)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970421)

Dude, for the last time, you can't cite the crazy street hobo as a legitimate source.

Depending on which data set you use and which source, the US comes in around 12 per capita for carbon emissions. What's more, is that it has slowly decreased over the past 20+ years whereas many other companies have exploded upwards in the same time frame. Now, most of those countries with higher per capita emissions are much smaller countries than the US and we're still near or at the top of total emissions, but that doesn't change your crazy street hobo wrongness about per capita.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions_per_capita [wikipedia.org]

Re:so who is doing the polluting? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970431)

Ok, that should be 12th per capita and countries, not companies... I hate mornings.

Re:so who is doing the polluting? (5, Informative)

Eunuchswear (210685) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970637)

12th per capita, pre-ceeded by the economic power-houses of:

Quatar
Trinidad and Tobago
Dutch Antilles
Kuwait
Brunei
United Arab Emirates
Aruba
Bahrain
Luxembourg
Falkland Islands
Austtralia.

Ok, Australia is almost a real place, but the rest of them are jokes.

The EU average is less than half of US emissions per capita.

Re:so who is doing the polluting? (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970741)

And it shows the stupidity of ranking it this way.

China has ~1/3 the output per capita of the US. But 4x the capita. So it's actually putting out more. Even though it's not ranked in the top 50, per capita.

Re:so who is doing the polluting? (1)

Merk42 (1906718) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970811)

Makes sense to not see Scotland there, after all, No True Scotsman would be worse than the US.

Re:so who is doing the polluting? (1)

rossdee (243626) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970789)

USA is getting more and more of its fossil fuel from withing the American continent (and just offshore) rather than from the middle east.
The increase in demand for middle eastern oil is from Asia mostly
There was a big article in NatGeo magazine a couple months ago.

Re:so who is doing the polluting? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970185)

Norway may have a large fossil fuel industry, but that doesn't mean they burn it. They just dig it up and ship it out.
Most of Norway's generated energy is from hydro.

Re:so who is doing the polluting? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970235)

More Global Scamming BS. Go stupid people!

Like I've said before, when all of you idiots who fall for the scam truly want to convince the smart people this is real STOP using electricity! Plain and simple, simpletons.

I can't believe someone years ago told me this was a great site, so far is just stupid people who can't think.

Re:so who is doing the polluting? (1)

alen (225700) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970311)

it is ironic that the people who believe in this nonsense are the ones buying the expensive graphics cards that suck up lots of electricity and running their computers 24x7 on bittorrent or home servers or whatever that happens to dump lots of CO2 into the atmosphere

Re: so who is doing the polluting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970539)

Care to back up this nonsense with real data?

No, I thought not.

Re:so who is doing the polluting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970717)

I just love listening to Americans spouting global warming denial, whilst watching their own country be ravaged by flooding, hurricanes and earthquakes, that happen more and more frequently and severely now than at any time in the past. And they still can't wake up and see that simple correlation.

Now THAT really is irony.

Re: so who is doing the polluting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970407)

You must be an American.

Off-shored it (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970249)

All that manufacturing that went to the third world had a lot to do with that.

IN the first world, emissions are regulated.

Manufacturing then wen tover seas to take advantage of the surplus and very cheap labor but also the non-existent emissions regulations - subsequently lowering their costs.

Then, as capitalism works, those costs saving went directly in the CEOs pay. Because things sure as hell is NOT getting cheaper for me!

Oh to head off the "Americans like cheap stuff." - tell that to Apple ($600+ PHONE?!?), Harley Davidson, and every luxury car maker that's showing increasing sales.

And as our pay decreases if we STILL have a job - a lot of that is BECAUSE of all this off-shoring (also automation, too) - even these "cheap" things are becoming too expensive.

So anyway, the cause is all of our consumption - especially the Third World that wants to catch up to us in terms of consumption of stuff.

Re:Off-shored it (1)

phlinn (819946) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970807)

Yes, they are getting cheaper for you, at least when compared to the utility to the consumer. Consider the price per GB of hard drives 15 years ago to today... or the price of a low end laptop.

Re:so who is doing the polluting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970351)

Yep, try convincing the green movement to any third world country that can barely afford a bag of rice, and 90% of its population are poor and if they are fortunate enough to own a car, it's probably dated by a long shot. They're going to ask you if by green, it involves veggies because they desperately want some. You don't have to try and convince Ethiopia, but most countries tend to be this way. It's funny that the US mentality that "we're this way, therefore everyone else must be this way too". Good luck with that, nobody will comply even if you point rockets at them. They'd rather fight for their food than die of starvation because they had to install a solar grid on their roof or get a smog check.

Re:so who is doing the polluting? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970709)

last i read the western countries were mostly reigning in their emissions and its the developing nations that are polluting the most now. except for a few exceptions like canada and norway who have large fossil fuel industries

The USA is reigning in Emissions? LOL!

Um what TF? (2, Insightful)

gr8_phk (621180) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970083)

only about 1 trillion tons of carbon can be burned and the resulting gas spewed into the atmosphere. Just over half that amount has already been emitted since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and at current rates of energy consumption, the trillionth ton will be released around 2040

Do they honestly believe there is some total quantity of emissions that can be tolerated? I mean as opposed to a rate of emissions - like annually. We know that the system recycles carbon taking it out of the atmosphere, and we know that the rate it's removed increases as the concentration increases. So if we assume there is a limit, it should be on the rate of carbon emissions and not the total emitted over time.

These guys are looking dumber all the time.

Re:Um what TF? (4, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970147)

The rate of natural sequestration is so slow that for the purposes of planning within the next century, we can use a fixed amount. Technically you're correct but natural sequestration is hardly fast enough to be relevant to our civilization.

Re:Um what TF? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970397)

So clearly, the only truly viable long term solution is to regulate emission standards so that the total emissions are below the natural sequestration rate.

Owing to the fact that we can't regulate what happens in other countries, however, the best we can therefore theoretically do would be to regulate emission standards regionally to zero emissions, which would at least, prolong the period we have left to the maximum length possible - to the extent that we can control it.

Because even the economic upheaval and probable collapse that would happen in the aftermath of such regulation is preferable to the alternative.

Re:Um what TF? (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970587)

So clearly, the only truly viable long term solution is to regulate emission standards so that the total emissions are below the natural sequestration rate.

You're right about this but not the next two points. Cheap and efficient solar panels (which would become the cheapest source of energy, once introduced) could provide near-zero-emissions energy which could help bring total emissions below the natural sequestration rate, or close enough that the difference could be covered by artificial sequestration.

Sufficiently cheap and efficient solar panels could solve global warming by accident.

Re:Um what TF? (1)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970901)

No, they could not... Not unless we reduced our energy requirements. Substantially.

Taking the amount of solar energy that actually reaches the surface of the earth, you'll get maybe 1kw/square meter on a completely cloudless day even at 100% efficiency. On average, taking into consideration typical cloud cover and the fact that the sun is only up for roughly half of the time, the actual amount of power you'd be able to get from solar is somewhere in the vicinity of about 160 watts per square meter, which is not going to be anywhere nearly enough energy to meet current energy demands.

Re:Um what TF? (4, Interesting)

taiwanjohn (103839) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970525)

Expect to see more and more "un-natural" sequestration soon, as knowledge of manage intensive rotational grazing [wikipedia.org] spreads among the peoples who inhabit damaged range lands. Allan Savory describes the process (along with some pretty amazing before & after photos) in this TED Talk: How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change. [youtube.com]

Definitely an "idea worth spreading."

Re:Um what TF? (1)

cb88 (1410145) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970209)

Oil burned ... is releasing additional carbon into the atmosphere that was sequestered in rock. So while the ecosystem probably can resequester some of it you would essentially have to plant and maintain a larger number of trees to sequester all of it.

I Thought It Was Clear (3, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970255)

only about 1 trillion tons of carbon can be burned and the resulting gas spewed into the atmosphere. Just over half that amount has already been emitted since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and at current rates of energy consumption, the trillionth ton will be released around 2040

Do they honestly believe there is some total quantity of emissions that can be tolerated? I mean as opposed to a rate of emissions - like annually. We know that the system recycles carbon taking it out of the atmosphere, and we know that the rate it's removed increases as the concentration increases. So if we assume there is a limit, it should be on the rate of carbon emissions and not the total emitted over time.

If you read the "Summary for Policymakers" PDF document linked in the summary, there is no talk of "total quantity of emissions tolerated" or any of this trillionth ton idea. Instead it appears to be talking about . In fact, it appears to reside solely in that New York Times article that very clearly says:

To stand the best chance of keeping the planetary warming below an internationally agreed target of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels and thus avoiding the most dangerous effects of climate change, the panel found, only about 1 trillion tons of carbon can be burned and the resulting gas spewed into the atmosphere.

Just over half that amount has already been emitted since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and at current rates of energy consumption, the trillionth ton will be released around 2040, according to calculations by Myles R. Allen, a scientist at the University of Oxford and one of the authors of the new report.

(emphasis mine) So to answer your question: The trillion tons is an estimate of what we would need to burn in order to hit an internationally agreed limit that would likely produce the worst effects of climate change. The number of tons we burn is even an estimate. It's all estimates because we don't have parallel Earths where we can keep controls and change one variable to see what happens. If you don't accept the ability of making estimates with levels of certainty, there is no way to make any statements about the effects of putting carbon into our atmosphere on a global scale.

These guys are looking dumber all the time.

I suppose it would appear that way if you only get your information from The New York Times and throw away everything they're actually saying.

Re:Um what TF? (3, Informative)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970357)

No, the rate at which it's removed doesn't increase with increasing CO2, at least not enough to make a difference. Some additional carbon is stored in the oceans, possibly some increased biomass (but probably outweighed by deforestation?), but its pretty small in comparison to the amount of carbon stored in fossil fuels. And the amount is limited - the oceans are already turning slightly acidic.

Re:Um what TF? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970669)

Please man. Go google a graph of temperature and CO2 concentration over the last 1 million years.
You will see that CO2 decreased (and increased) FOLLOWING the temperature by 200 to 800 years.
If carbon sequestration cannot possibly be removed enough to "make a difference" than just WTF did it ALL THE OTHER TIMES!!!!!!
The pH of the oceans are freaking MILES from being acidic, you really meant on the pH scale they have dropped near 0.1?
The IPCC cannot even explain the temperatures 1900-1950 vs. CO2 concentration, what is their chance of prediction? ZERO.

Re:Um what TF? (1)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970833)

There is no doubt that *eventually* natural carbon sequestration will remove the excess carbon we are pumping into the atmosphere. The problem though is that the natural rate of fossil fuel formation is roughly 10 barrel of oil per day. The amount of oil we are burning is about 10 million barrels of oil per day. So yes, in a few million years it will all change back into oil, and the amount of CO2 will be back to where it is today. I'm glad that is a comfort to you, I'm sure your children will take comfort in it too.

And yes, the ocean pH has decreased by about 0.1 since pre-industrial times. That is becoming *more acidic*.

Admit it. This con is over. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970103)

Go ahead scammers, fight to the bitter end. There are still enough rubes out there to grab a few more bucks from. Never give up! Never surrender!

Re:Admit it. This con is over. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970567)

They'll never admit it - hell, they're doubling-down now. I'm a bit dismayed that most here on slashdot have consumed the koolaid.

High Certainty. (4, Insightful)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970117)

Funny. The IPCC puts its certainty at 95%, which is somewhat confusing as it's unable to show any accounting for that figure. According to Professor Judith Curry [judithcurry.com] , the figure is arrived at by getting a load of climate scientists into a room and asking them what their certainty is!

What did my physics professor always say? If you don't know how accurate your measurement is, you haven't made a measurement.

It gets worse. The discrepancy between models and actual reality continues to grow [climateaudit.org] . Surely this makes the science more uncertain, not less. Yet somehow the IPCC find themselves increasingly confident that they're right, even as everybody else becomes increasingly confident that the models they use are wrong. The whole thing is an absolute farce.

Re:High Certainty. (4, Insightful)

xtal (49134) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970375)

This is something, but it isn't science.

Science has data and experiments. There's data to demonstrate there may be changes occurring, but there's no model backed by experimental results to explain why that may be. The earth's climate system is very complex, and it may be impossible to model in any sort of long term fashion.

The inability to model drives the risk. We don't know. The prudent thing is to reduce impact; sure. How do we best do that? More policy.

It is reasonable to hypothesize that human activity is causing the changes. Based on those assumptions it may be even be reasonable to implement policy to mitigate risks.

Don't front it as science, though. It's not.

Re:High Certainty. (4, Insightful)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970581)

The prudent thing is to reduce impact

I think the law of unintended consequences might trip you over there. For example, "we need energy security" became "we need ethanol" which became "we've reduced global grain supply by 5% and forced up food prices". What an absolutely terrible policy. The best thing for government to do is almost always absolutely nothing.

Re:High Certainty. (1)

xtal (49134) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970621)

Perhaps, but policy impacts are things politicians can debate until they're blue in the face.

My problem is all this is being presented as science. It's not science. Worse, it is impacting what laypeople think science is!

Re:High Certainty. (1)

DogDude (805747) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970691)

So between the possibilities of "Most human life on the planet might die" or "Food prices might go up a bit", you choose to err on the side of "Most human life on the planet might die"?? I fail to see your logic.

Re:High Certainty. (2)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970875)

Most human life on the planet might die

A false dichotomy straight from the alarmist playbook.

Re:High Certainty. (5, Informative)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970459)

That's a load of nonsense - the problem is that 10-15 years is too short a time-scale to make a reliable judgment. Since 1975, global average surface air temperature has increased at a rate of 0.17 deg.C/decade. But it isn't a steady increase. If you look at the 15-year period up to 2006, the warming trend was almost twice as high as normal (namely 0.3 C per decade) but nobody cared much (except climate scientists and environmentalists). The 15-year period from 1998 to now has been slower than the trend, and that's got hugely more attention. The reason is that interest groups strongly push the latter, and want to ignore anything that doesn't fit their agenda. See here for details [thinkprogress.org]

Re:High Certainty. (1)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970737)

10-15 years is too short a time-scale to make a reliable judgment

I think if you study the analysis at Lucia's [rankexploits.com] and also Steve McIntrye's [climateaudit.org] , you'll understand why it must be so.

Re:High Certainty. (2, Insightful)

geek (5680) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970547)

Funny. The IPCC puts its certainty at 95%, which is somewhat confusing as it's unable to show any accounting for that figure. According to Professor Judith Curry [judithcurry.com] , the figure is arrived at by getting a load of climate scientists into a room and asking them what their certainty is!

What did my physics professor always say? If you don't know how accurate your measurement is, you haven't made a measurement.

It gets worse. The discrepancy between models and actual reality continues to grow [climateaudit.org] . Surely this makes the science more uncertain, not less. Yet somehow the IPCC find themselves increasingly confident that they're right, even as everybody else becomes increasingly confident that the models they use are wrong. The whole thing is an absolute farce.

I stopped reading or listening to the bastards years ago. It's a religion to people at this point. I've never seen a Christian or Muslim fundamentalist get as foaming at the mouth rabid as some of the climate fundamentalists do. It's shocking to see how the discussion as devolved into what it is now.

I literally have friends that think the world is going to end within the next 5-10 years thanks to Al Gore and Prince Charles running around the world screaming that the sky is falling.

Climate science right now is nothing more than the worlds newest fucking death cult. These fuckers are praying for the end of the world to happen to justify their "models" (or prophecies if you will). Makes me sick.

Re:High Certainty. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970569)

Funny. The IPCC puts its certainty at 95%, which is somewhat confusing as it's unable to show any accounting for that figure.
It gets worse. The discrepancy between models and actual reality continues to grow [climateaudit.org] . Surely this makes the science more uncertain, not less. Yet somehow the IPCC find themselves increasingly confident that they're right, even as everybody else becomes increasingly confident that the models they use are wrong. The whole thing is an absolute farce.

Your post is misleading: the 95% is the certainty that climate change is man-made. That has exactly fuck-all to do with how accurately can previously created models predict the rate of said climate change.

Those models, by the way, are being updated constantly, as we learn more about climate's behavior. Science isn't un-changing - quite the opposite! Science changes according to what is learned and what experiments show. Unlike religion, for instance.

Re:High Certainty. (3, Informative)

Daishiman (698845) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970573)

This is retarded, there are no other places where those temperature graphs appear, and you want to turn a 5-year local trend into a failing for the large predictive models, which are successfull. You know, the very same Guardian newspaper which she links to admits that she exaggerates (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/sep/27/global-warming-ipcc-report-humans) (http://www.skepticalscience.com/certainty-monster-vs-uncertainty-ewok.html) the level of uncertainty. In essence, what you say is totally irrelevant to the larger trend.

Re:High Certainty. (1)

Merk42 (1906718) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970893)

Other than creating a parallel universe where we say to one Earth "pollute all you want" and the other Earth "don't pollute" and then check on them in 50 years, what sort of model would be satisfactory? I'm not saying I do(not) believe in Climate Change, just wondering what everyone would agree on for a method.

Honestly (4, Interesting)

MBGMorden (803437) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970125)

I'm no global warming denier, but at this point I think there's a simple harsh reality to accept: it doesn't matter how efficient we make things that run on fossil fuels, we're going to burn them all. At best with all of our "green initiatives" we might spread out burning those fuels over an extra few decades - a century at best, but over geologic timescales any delay we induce is pretty meaningless. Every bit of it is going to be burnt and released into the atmosphere.

Once they're all gone, THEN we'll be forced to adopt new more clean sources of energy. We just have to pray that by the time all the fossil fuels are burnt the planet isn't screwed up beyond any hope of recovery (ie, still habitable).

Re:Honestly (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970187)

Yep we are absolutely going to burn them all, hopefully not before humans start colonizing space...but it will all be used. Renewable-powered artificial carbon sequestration may have to be used to compensate.

Re:Honestly (2)

Kardos (1348077) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970195)

Quite right, Jevon's paradox is a harsh mistress.

However, slowing it down is a Good Thing. If we slow down the rate of generating carbon dioxide, there may be hope that we can match or exceed that rate of removing it - through some combination of natural elimination (plants? oceans? or some sort of clever geoengineering. Something along the lines of a solar powered CO2 remover would be most excellent.

Re:Honestly (2)

Simon Brooke (45012) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970291)

Why have a solar powered CO2 remover when we could use solar (or wind, or tidal, or geothermal) energy and never release the CO2 in the first place? Continuing to burn fossil fuels is unbelievably stupid.

Re:Honestly (3, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970517)

Because there's still many situations in which fossil fuels are a much better power source than solar/wind/hydro/etc. So it may be more practical to use fossil fuels in northern and cloudy climes and run solar powered CO2 scrubbers in sunnier climes to counterbalance it.

Re:Honestly (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970795)

Because mankind is incurably stupid, and the more intelligent people consider themselves, the worse. Just look at this site. We're doomed.

Re:Honestly (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970329)

I don't give a shit what happens. I'm not changing my lifestyle while they spin up more and more coal burning factories because they're too scared to build a modern nuclear facility that is properly managed and maintained. Which I know is impossible because people are greedy fuckers and instead of spending $40 million on upkeep, will give $40 million in bonuses to execs. So I'll be greedy the only way I can and drive my Hummer and leave my windows open in winter with the heat full blast.

Re:Honestly (3, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970415)

Only if you keep your current governments that are causing this (apparently on purpose to gather power).

We have guys like Branson who say, "I'm going to fund the development of a planet full of integral fast reactors that will safely clean up all of your existing nuclear waste while providing all the carbon-free power we need as a planet for the next century," and the nuclear regulatory agencies (and politicians) won't even talk to him.

And he's only picking up up the ball that Clinton/Kerry/Gore/O'Leary intentionally fumbled ... we should be well on our way out of this hole by now, not still slipping into it. Cui bono?

We have a technological fix in hand, but technology can't fix a problem while politics is stopping it. I guess it's like Vietnam - you've got to destroy the planet in order to save it. As long as the psychopaths are in charge, there's little to be hopeful about. As long as we have a psychopath's wet dream of a mechanism in place to regulate society, we have little hope of getting rid of those psychopaths.

Re:Honestly (2)

Ken_g6 (775014) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970541)

But clean technologies are taking off quickly. [greentechmedia.com]

Like they say, the stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones. We just have to get to a point where fossil fuel recovery is more expensive than solar and wind (and solar and wind power stored in batteries.)

Turn back the tide, Canute! (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970127)

Well that's ok then. A panel has decided on an arbitrary "upper limit", and of course the planet will obey the panel. At one point, when everything you do to stop global warming fails, you'll come to realize that perhaps there are forces far greater than man at work. Failure to recognize this is sheer arrogance.

Re:Turn back the tide, Canute! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970339)

Well, perhaps we should just raise the 'upper limit' so we don't exceed it. Except the Republicans would probably threaten to filibuster it unless we pass their whole party platform along with the limit increase.

Re:Turn back the tide, Canute! (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970489)

Indeed. I'm not one who denies climate change. It would happen to at least some extent without man, and I definitely am a skeptic concerning how much man influences the process. However, even if we are willing to assume man is at fault, it's certainly true that the ability to start a process is not a guarantee of the ability to stop the same process. Take, for example, the coal mine fire that has caused Centralia, PA to be abandoned...

Re:Turn back the tide, Canute! (5, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970589)

The panel only determined an upper limit for avoiding the worst of global warming... they never said anything about it being some kind of physical limit. How about a bad car analogy? If you're driving down the highway in an area with a lot of speed traps, 60mph might be the upper limit to avoiding speeding tickets. There's nothing preventing you from doing 80mph, but 60mph is roughly what you can expect to get away without any major consequences (IE: getting pulled over and ticketed). Now you can argue that we're more in control of a car than we are of global warming, but the truth is that we still have a fair bit of control over how much carbon is tossed into the atmosphere.

Re:Turn back the tide, Canute! (2)

xtal (49134) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970935)

At one point, when everything you do to stop global warming fails, you'll come to realize that perhaps there are forces far greater than man at work.

That's loser talk. Your brain is the most complicated, organized structure in the known universe.

Properly realized there is potentially no greater force in the entire universe than sentient, self-learning brains. We have several billion of them on this planet and I have zero doubt that properly motivated, planet scale engineering and far beyond are well within our capabilities.

Failure to accept man's potential and the responsibility that comes with it is the only arrogance here.

HOAX (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970133)

Scare tactics by the Greens. The worst kind of people.

Nuclear is the only viable solution (4, Insightful)

xtal (49134) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970159)

Mass adoption of nuclear energy is the only option.

The green crowd have fantasies of state taxation and control; the problem is enterprises see through this immediately and apply their financial resources to make sure it doesn't happen.

Brass tacks; modern civilization and economic growth needs high quality energy sources and has an accelerating demand for energy. The only fuel that provides thermodynamic high-quality energy for base load that we have available is carbon and nuclear. The energy requirements of our society are epic. They will become more epic in the future!

The green movement needs to realize that the driver for economic activity trumps everything. Period. The energy is required to sustain the society we live in. If there isn't a rapid move to nuclear, we are going to burn every drop of oil, every ton of coal, and every liter of natural gas. That's the path we're on now.

I have hopes that we'll be able to fix the mess later - with technology being driven by clean energy sources. We need a push to get fusion reactors figured out. We know how fusion works; it powers those bombs everyone forgets don't exist. If people are so in arms about nuclear energy, why are they not freaking out about the pre-packaged critical nuclear reactions sitting on top of fueled missiles, only under control of a computer to avert disaster?

The lack of understanding of thermodynamics and energy is really epic; people advocating for restricting co2 production just don't understand how much energy is required.

Eventually the planet is going to suffer a catastrophe. A caldera volcano will explode; an asteroid will strike. The climate will change in a catastrophic means, just as it has done over and over again in the geologic record.

The sooner we have unlimited amounts of clean energy on tap to fix things, the better. The answer is staring at us in the widespread adoption of nuclear energy.

Until then.. go away, get off my lawn, and I'll continue to vote for people with energy polices grounded in reality.

Re:Nuclear is the only viable solution (1)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970183)

It's not ready yet. Thorium perhaps in time.

Re:Nuclear is the only viable solution (2)

xtal (49134) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970219)

Sure looks ready to me.

Work on modern fission designs should be happening now, and in sane countries, like China - it is, as fast as is possible.

That should be used to buy time to advance thorium and hopefully, fusion designs.

Shutting off Japan's nuclear industry so they can run the country off natural gas and diesel and coal - brilliant stuff. I will have to calculate what the total tonnage of co2 (and natural source radiation from coal burning) released is from those decisions.

I'll take a small risk of a localized disaster over a global one.

Re:Nuclear is the only viable solution (1)

tmosley (996283) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970307)

China is not sane. That is not to say that Thorium isn't the future, and needs to be brought into the present as quickly as possible, but China as a nation is as certifiable as Japan was 30 years ago.

Re:Nuclear is the only viable solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970367)

It's ready but there are no real penalties for people who mismanaged them to the severe detriment of the world. Greedy execs stealing all the money that should go into repairs and upkeep are criminal. So instead of the inevitable meltdowns and finger pointing it's better to burn coal and poison the world slowly that way.

Re:Nuclear is the only viable solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970449)

Sure, small risk but if you're on the edge of the ocean and you have a TEPCO company governed by greed and corruption, you're going to have a bad time. I'm all for nuclear fission but we've just about ran out of uranium from what I heard (not sure how easy it can be made?) but I'm betting the odds on fusion since it seems like it works. I think some European country has the first working fusion reactor. Now if only it can be made the size of a car, it would be a great asset to my home until it breaks and I have to study nuclear fusion engineering to fix it :( No wait, it'll have freon in it so I won't be allowed to fix it by law. :P

Re:Nuclear is the only viable solution (5, Insightful)

Eunuchswear (210685) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970319)

Fuck that,

It was ready in the '80s when France did it.

Why isn't it ready now?

Re:Nuclear is the only viable solution (4, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970393)

Thorium lacks weapon applications. The emperor is not interested.

Re:Nuclear is the only viable solution (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970227)

pre-packaged critical nuclear reactions sitting on top of fueled missiles

Note, for the ignorant, that "critical nuclear reaction" means "neutrons are being produced as fast as they are being consumed".

Which is more or less equivalent to "turned on" for a nuclear power plant.

Alas, it is nearly completely meaningless when talking nuclear weapons, since the design goal is to produce a "super-critical" situation (more neutrons are being produced than being consumed).

Re:Nuclear is the only viable solution (1)

xtal (49134) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970293)

I guess it's OK, so long as we only put thousands of potential super-critical reactions on top of missiles, then. My bad. :-)

1 unit carbon burned = ? units co2? (1)

Maow (620678) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970189)

If one unit of carbon is burned, how many units of co2 is created?

I recall reading somewhere that it would be > 1 unit of co2 due to the binding with a pair of oxygen atoms / molecules, but I'm not up on chemistry.

I guess if there are 3,000,000,000,000 tonnes of carbon left in the ground and we were to burn a total post-industrial-revolution quantity of 1,000,000,000,000 tonnes, that should be more than a trillion tonnes of co2 release?

Re:1 unit carbon burned = ? units co2? (2)

tmosley (996283) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970345)

If your units are moles, then it is 1:1. If you are using weight, then yes, the CO2 weighs much more than the carbon burned, as O2 is quite heavy, and you get two of them added on. The ratio would be 1:3.7 in that case.

Re:1 unit carbon burned = ? units co2? (3, Informative)

Eunuchswear (210685) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970385)

The formula tells you.

CO2 = 1 atom of carbon, two atoms of oxygen.

Carbon has atomic mass 12 (well, most of it). Oxygen has atomic mass 16.

If you burn 12 tonnes of carbon you'll take 32 tonnes of oxygen and produce 44 tonnes of CO2.

Re:1 unit carbon burned = ? units co2? (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970537)

If one unit of carbon is burned, how many units of co2 is created?

One, but you're thinking of tons, not units.

If you take a pure carbon from the ground, that carbon is going to be 12 grams per mole. If you combine it with two oxygens, that's 12+16+16 = 44 grams per mole. So, one ton of C will produce (44/12) = 3.66 tons of CO2.

Not everything that's burned is pure carbon, but if you can figure out the relative atomic weight of the molecules you can get pretty close. And there are very complex functions (still being determined) as to how much of that CO2 remains in the atmosphere vs. being absorbed by increased photosynthesis, so that's not a direct map either.

And anybody please correct my rusty high school chemistry math.

Global Warming articles (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970279)

Why don't we ever get articles like this one [bloomberg.com] on slashdot?

Re:Global Warming articles (3, Funny)

Eunuchswear (210685) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970497)

Why don't we ever get articles like this one [bloomberg.com] on slashdot?

I would say "because it's bollocks", but that isn't a credible reason, many articles posted on slashdot are bollocks.

There's a bright side to everything (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970315)

We will consume less heating oil.

'A few decades' (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970333)

I wonder if there's an upper limit on how many years can pass before a predicted future catastrophe actually starts becoming closer to the present...

We will run out of fossil fuel by then (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970371)

More than 3 trillion tons of carbon are still left in the ground as fossil fuels.

But the majority of that isn't extractable. We will likely have to worry more about a fuel crisis than global warming.

Make more Greenhouse Gas (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970405)

All the people will die - The planet will get better and keep on going. Problem over.

Re:Make more Greenhouse Gas (1)

geek (5680) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970585)

All the people will die - The planet will get better and keep on going. Problem over.

Why wait when you can take the first step and off yourself. We'll all follow your lead, I promise. Go ahead, we're right behind you.

Re:Make more Greenhouse Gas (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970729)

:) promise?

Re:Make more Greenhouse Gas (4, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970725)

Under no plausible scenario will greenhouse gas emissions cause humans to die out. At worst, rising temperatures will cause some short-term disruptions, migration, inconveniences, and costs.

Long term, even a complete melting of all ice caps (which would take a couple of thousand years), and global warming of several degrees Celsius, would result in a climate that's significant'y different from ours but is still quite nice (if not arguably nicer) for humans and mammals.

Meh (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970451)

Just drop a giant ice cube in the ocean and the problem will be solved, once and for all!

Weyland Ytani Terraformer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970479)

Everyone remembers the part of Aliens where the guy tells Ripley that colonists are terraforming the planet and Weyland Ytani maanufacturer that giant atmospheric cleaner-converter? I'm surprised that tech hasn't actually been built yet? I mean ot would take a lot of them and the waste accumulated would be toxic but maybe it could help? It's a stupid thought. Sorry. :( A.B.

How do they spread their propaganda? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970509)

I'm really curious about HOW the oil industry spreads their propaganda, because man it must be really effective.

Not the only important trend (2, Insightful)

VernonNemitz (581327) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970545)

Overpopulation might lead to a Malthusian Catastrophe well before 2040. In the animal kingdom such an event ("MC") is usually associated with a 99% population drop. Among humans, mostly smarter than the average dumb animal (except when it comes to breeding, apparently), it might be different; the last known MC experienced by humans who used their resources up faster than they could be replaced, happened on Easter Island, and the before-and-after population figures are not well known. Estimates range the population drop from 80% to, yes, 99%. For us today, we are at or past "peak oil", which means we can't use more oil to make more synthetic fertilizer for a growing global population. Fresh water is becoming a problem, two, as many important aquifers continue to be drained faster than they get replenished. The writing is basically on the wall --we can't keep growing the global population, and we can't even sustain the current population for much longer. So, an MC seems more inevitable than not. After which the rate we burn carbon is going to go down a whole lot....

Re:Not the only important trend (2)

xtal (49134) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970685)

Nuclear technologies can keep the party going indefinitely.

The more human genetic capital we have, the better, particularly if we can get education and literacy rates up. We need engineers and scientists to figure out fusion and other advanced energy sources.

We've already thrown the dice; the easy energy is gone; might as well see it through. Just need to start... now.

And yet ... (3, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970553)

... the wealthy countries are expected to all the work to mitigate the problem. Sorry, I don't buy it. If it was really that bad, we'd be asking China and India to do their parts to clean up as well. Its not like every country has an inalienable right to drive Buicks with tail fins as they industrialize just because we did that once.

Until it gets bad enough so everyone has to participate in the solutions, its just a poorly hidden wealth transfer scheme.

Another cry of wolf (1, Flamebait)

BMOC (2478408) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970627)

The whole website 350.org was created what now... 6 years ago? Because Bill McKibben said that 350 ppm CO2 was a "safe upper limit" for CO2 in the atmosphere in 2007.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/350.org [wikipedia.org]
http://350.org/ [350.org]

Since we are now well past 350ppm CO2 in the atmosphere: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ [noaa.gov]

The IP-Cry-Wolf organization has to create a "new" upper limit. It's just more bullshit. They have no idea what any "safe upper limit" for CO2 is, they guess and publicize scary numbers every 5 years in order to secure future funding.

pointless, deal with it (2, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | 1 year,25 days | (#44970663)

Yes, it's getting warmer. But there isn't a snowball's chance in hell that we are going to do anything about it through emissions limits.

What we should do is to avoid interfering with rapid economic development because developed nations can actually easily deal with climate change and rising sea levels (just look at the Dutch, a large part of their country is below sea level).

We should also stop subsidizing (implicitly and explicitly) fossil fuel extraction. Right now, many nations are adopting policies that, on the one hand use tax dollars to subsidize fossil fuels, then on the other hand use more tax dollars to support alternative energies; the entire scheme is a gigantic give-away to industry.

In addition, we should give up our silly opposition to nuclear. The best way of reducing carbon emissions is to make it easy to deploy efficient, modern nuclear plants, the kind that actually burns almost all the fuel.

Myth of Global Warming (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44970673)

Global Oil production has peaked and is going to come off the plateau in a few years with permanent production declines. With less oil and more expensive oil growth will come to end and the industrial revolution will run backwards, with in 50 years if humanity doesn't nuke itself carbon emissions will fall below 20th Century levels (ie back to the 19th Century). Problem solved, Not like there was ever a chance in hell it was going to happen in the first place!

I know someone will think of a rebuttal: What about coal? Well without a source of cheap oil it going to very difficult and expensive to dig out the amount we currently consume today. With out cheap oil for transportation and petro-chemicals, the global economy will collapse and demand for coal and other dirty fuels will drop off a cliff.

Rebuttal to fracking: Another myth. NatGas Fracking has already peaked since the real cost of getting NatGas from fracking is between $12 and $24 per mmbtu. Oil Fracking is going to peak in 2014 and 2015. The issue is that Frack wells become depleted after about 18 months. At some point they can't drill fast enough to both offset declines and expand production. Many of the regions that have claims of 100's of billions of barrels are over hyped and some other promising areas lack water needed for fracking. Fracking needs lots and lots of water! Fracking is just a temporary delay of the pending global energy crunch. Better stock up on sweaters!

http://peakoilbarrel.com/

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?