Huge risk if global warming passes 1.5C, warns landmark UN report

Previous reports emphasized the 2C limit, so the situation is even worse than many of us thought. And with Trump and the Republicans cutting back even the limited things Obama did the situation looks quite bad.

The report:

It’s not in its final publication-ready format, but all the information and figures are there. It’ll be much easier to read when all the print-ready cosmetic layout has been done.

I have it on the good authority of the leader of the free world (no less) that global warming is a hoax!

Come on, wake up sheeple.
Seriously though, scary stuff.

So how much is success depending on the United States government buying in? Obviously, it’s much more likely if it happens, but does the fate of billions of people, maybe human civilization itsel, rest solely on the American electorate?

I ask seriously.

Currently the U.S. is producing 15% or so of emissions, but what is more important is the U.S. as an influence on the rest of the world: if the U.S. doesn’t do anything about global warming the rest of the world will also have limited inclination to do so.

Ask the American public whether they’d be more displeased with a 1° temperature rise or a 1% drop in their retirement account; suppose they answer honestly. I’m afraid I know what the answer would be.

“Rest solely?Solely? :confused: If we can find another scape-goat no sense behaving ourselves?

[off-topic] Google Chrome lets me type ALT 0151 to get a dash — but if I type ALT 0176 to get the degree symbol it goes haywire before I even get to the 6. Why is that?

Yeah, we’re not doing anything about this. I’ve never dealt more confident in my decision not to have children.

*felt, not dealt. Stupid autocorrect. But yeah, the entire planet is fucked. I’m going to run out the clock laughing as hurricanes slam into red state America.

I predict we’re going to see one or more of the uncertain, but potentially huge, feed back cycles kick in and speed things up to where it starts really hurting rich nations, before we even have time to start ignoring devastating effects in developing nations.

I’m talking about the melting of the permafrost and appearance of lakes literally bubbling with methane:

Antarctice and/or Greenland continental ice sheets being more sensitive to warming oceans than predicted.

Ice free Arctic summers being a more serious deal than thought.

Arctic clathrates being more sensitive to warming than thought.

And even if none of that happens humans seem to be too myopic to enact the massive changes in society and individual behavior required to prevent the slower, but also devastating, predicted effects.

My fear is somewhat different. There are relatively simple ways to stop warming: Recall that temperatures didn’t escalate until after The Clean Air Acts of 1963, 1970 etc. banned sulfur in fuel. The sulfate pollutants, though bad for other reasons, serve as an earth coolant.

I think that when the fact of, and dangers of, global warming become too obvious to deny, governments will work to add coolants to the atmosphere, e.g. by simply repealing Clean Air Acts.

Many or most scientists think this remedy will be worse than the disease; for example it does nothing to address the very worrisome problem of rising ocean acidity due to CO[SUB]2[/SUB].

Geoengineering is such a massive, unpredictable, and long lag time effort, the effects of which cannot be predicted by current experience and models, that I don’t think and of the proposed “solutions” shoudl be dumping more aerosols into the atmosphere or seeding the ocea with iron particles or other wholly untested notions. The effort we should be making is an immediate push to offset the worst CO[SUB]2[/SUB] emitters (e.g. coal and fuel oil) for energy deploying renewables like solar , developing synfuels for transportation and converting commuter systems to hybrid or battery electric, improving efficiency and robustness of the electricity grid, and putting massive resources into developing and maturing next generation nuclear fission to make better use of fissile fuels through near complete burnup as opposed to the inefficient, costly, and waste prodicing once-through cycle of current Generation III reactors, while also taking steps to help relocate coastal populations and deal with the forecomimg food scarcity issues related to climate change. All of thos makes more sense, and is more practicable in the foreseeable future, and trying to geoengineer the climate.


Thing is, these aren’t independent variables. The cost of managing climate change is only going to increase over time, that’s the message that needs to reach people.

Actually energy efficiency is one of the highest priorities. For example houses use a tremendous amount of natural gas and other fuels for home heating. Houses can be built or modified (insulation, closing air gaps…) to need little home heating energy.

Energy efficient should be a focus but there are a limited amount of gains to be made from efficiency alone, notwithstanding that people often use greater efficiency as an excuse to increase energy usage (e.g. they put their new EnergyStar frig in the kitchen but put the old inefficient one out in the garage for beer and soda, negating any gains and probably expending even more energy). If the real total cost of energy were passed to the consumer instead of the subsidized prices that mask infrastructure cost and the tragedy of the commons of future costs due to carbon emissions then people might be more inclined to curtail their energy usage, but that is not the case.

And while in theory refurbishing or replacing appliances and structures with those that have higher energy efficiencies is desirable, the energy and carbon footprint of doing that on a mass scale is likely a wash, at least in the short term, so it is better to replace inefficient appliances with more efficient ones as they age out, or at least as it makes sense to do so from an operating cost standpoint instead of out of the principle that unit efficiency is the driving metric. It is the same problem as nuclear fission advocates who campaign to tear down all of the coal and gas fired plants and replace them with nuclear fission plants in short order; aside from the logistical problems of being able to build hundreds of new plants and staff them with qualified engineers and technicians in the timeframe of a few years, there is a substantial energy cost and carbon footprint associated with building new plants, as well as expanding the extraction, processing, and enrichment of uranium to produce fuel for a once-through nuclear fission cycle (which the US currently shockingly has no working commercial ability to do). Hence the need for a diversified energy portfolio that starts with replacing the most polluting energy production (coal and fuel oil) with natural gas and solar energy while advancing the state of the art of nuclear fission to use fuel that requires less processing and little or no enrichment (hopefully able to use thorium or mixed oxides in a full burnup process that extracts 90% of the possible energy instead of 2%-3% that we do now).

I’m all for energy efficiency standards, starting with raising the CAFE threshold to encourage automobile manufacturers to focus on efficiency across all lines of vehicles, and to change building standards to favor instead of limit the use of energy efficiency in building construction, but we aren’t going to solve or even significantly reduce energy usage with efficiency alone.


A steep rise in gasoline taxes (and taxes of other carbon fuels) is the simple, market-based, and clearly obvious way to go. Plus it helps reduce federal deficit. Win - Win!

Would a gasoline tax be regressive? Sure. That’s why you put some of the gas tax revenue into the SocSec Trust Fund and eliminate the first $1200 of each taxpayer’s payroll tax. This would, in effect, increase minimum wage by 60¢/hr but without impacting employers. Win - Win - Win!

Contributions to the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund would do nothing to offset the impact on the poor and lower middle class who are immediately impacted by higher transportation energy costs, and while “eliminating the first $1200 of each taxpayer’s payroll tax” would be a significant progressive benefit for those groups it does not help small businesses with transportation expenses related to higher fuel costs. The reality is that we need to develop a set of sustainable replacements for petrochemical fuels in transportation that do not have a major cost impact, and this is something “the market” has utterly failed to do despite several different potential alternatives (albeit, none as easy and cheap as pumping oil out of the ground), in large measure because transportation energy requires widespread adoption and an infrastructure to support it.

Battery electric vehicles and flex fuel hybrid powertrains are potentially a way to replace a significant amount of petrocarbon transportation fuel usage without needing a new infrastructure (although the electrical grid needs to be made more robust to support mass transportation usage), particularly for commuting and long haul heavy transport where a vehicle can carry essentially an arbitrary size battery without substantially impacting cargo capacity, but we will still need liquid hydrocarbon fuels for specialty applications like offroad, cold weather, and long range aviation for the foreseeable future.


Imposing taxes to assess external costs is good economically. Forcing businesses, whether small or large, to revise their business models to reflect society’s needs and desires is good.

The massive tax changes I recommend should be phased in over a period of years. And I am not opposed to subsidies for small businesses, though I’m not sure what form such subsidies should take.

I always thought that the stereotype was that every other first world government fully believed in climate change and seriously wanted to do something about it, and had to drag the United States kicking and screaming. Is it not so?

Is your glee at all dampened by the fact that very few, if any, of those victims will realize, acknowledge, or believe any sort of connection between their actions and what they’re facing?

Pressing and holding the ALT key modifies every key you press after that. Alt-Home (or the 7 key on your keypad) is the keyboard shortcut to take you to your home page. Chrome is working as expected. How you’re supposed to do an alt-0176, I have no idea.