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posted by janrinok on Thursday May 12 2022, @11:15AM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-let-the-changes-get-you-down dept.

Why our continued use of fossil fuels is creating a financial time bomb:

We know roughly how much more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere before we exceed our climate goals—limiting warming to 1.5° to 2° C above pre-industrial temperatures. From that, we can figure out how much more fossil fuel we can burn before we emit that much carbon dioxide. But when you compare those numbers with our known fossil fuel reserves, things get jaw-dropping.

To reach our climate goals, we'll need to leave a third of the oil, half of the natural gas, and nearly all the coal we're aware of sitting in the ground, unused.

Yet we have—and are still building—infrastructure that is predicated on burning far more than that: mines, oil and gas wells, refineries, and the distribution networks that get all those products to market; power plants, cars, trains, boats, and airplanes that use the fuels. If we're to reach our climate goals, some of those things will have to be intentionally shut down and left to sit idle before they can deliver a return on the money they cost to produce.

But it's not just physical capital that will cause problems if we decide to get serious about addressing climate change. We have workers who are trained to use all of the idled hardware, companies that treat the fuel reserves and hardware as an asset on their balance sheets, and various contracts that dictate that the reserves can be exploited.

Collectively, you can think of all of these things as assets—assets that, if we were to get serious about climate change, would see their value drop to zero. At that point, they'd be termed "stranded assets," and their stranding has the potential to unleash economic chaos on the world.

Do you agree with this arguably pessimistic assessment of the situation, and have we already run out of time to take the action necessary to avoid exceeding climate goals? Criticism is easy, but what solutions do you have to the problem?


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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Spamalope on Thursday May 12 2022, @11:40AM (31 children)

    by Spamalope (5233) on Thursday May 12 2022, @11:40AM (#1244356) Homepage

    I like to look at what the most powerful and 'in the know' actually do. Are they living like the oceans are rising, we're in a crisis and everyone needs to cut back?

    Our most powerful leaders have huge expensive oceanfront estates (Martha's Vinyard etc) and fly on private jets to their SUV/Limos. Either they don't think it's a problem, or they think it's a 'little people' problem. I do seem some getting rich off of carbon credit systems (Al Gore as an example, Earth in the lurch to fuel the carbon credit business). Warren Buffet is investing in Oxy Petroleum.
    So what's being done is greatly at odds with what's being said. At the least it's a rules for thee but not me situation. Not so serious *they* need to curtail their own impact.
    What can you conclude from those incongruent actions? Are they idiots? Are they so arrogant they'd drill holes in the bottom of a sinking boat? Do they think it'll be fine so they don't have to worry? Some other thing?

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12 2022, @12:08PM (7 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12 2022, @12:08PM (#1244358)

    What?

    Self-made billionaire Elon Musk is prepping for a post-apocalyptic Earth by relocating to another planet.

    Self-made billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes is attempting a hostile takeover over Australia's worst emitter AGL.

    Former world's richest man, the devil himself, Bill Gates is planning a post-coal future with next generation nuclear power.

    Just *some* rich people...

    • (Score: 2) by Spamalope on Thursday May 12 2022, @02:01PM (4 children)

      by Spamalope (5233) on Thursday May 12 2022, @02:01PM (#1244390) Homepage

      The men you mention are exceptions. And are being demonized by our leaders for it, too. (Esp Elon lately)
      I agree that your examples are good ones, but point out that they're a tiny minority. (that said, they're getting outsized results which I applaud and support!)

      100+ million dollar net worth political decision makers are buying waterfront property; sponsoring climate conferences they fly private jets to; building huge wasteful homes
      Their actual actions amount a combination of 'not in my backyard' exporting of pollution, power grabs and grifting.
      Either this is a crisis, and we need to visit those leaders with pitchforks or the alarmists are lying.
      It seems more likely the causes of warming are less well known, and the proposed solutions have more to do with political clout and personal profit (somehow it's legal for politicians to short a stock, then demonize the company/industry - just like they sold stock after private pandemic briefings - where it'd be illegal for normal folks).
      I'd rather invest pollution solutions not smoke and mirrors designed to enrich politicians and their donors. (save the climate - replace your lightbulbs with these new mercury (CFL) bulbs that'll wind up in your landfill and eventually your water - an idea so great they forced it with legislation! So we got poor quality bulbs with short lives for max mercury...)
      I'm all for moving investing in alternatives to fossil fuel. Burning hydrocarbons is the most wasteful thing you can do with them. We should have invested in quality, safe nuke power 50 years ago. Instead research funding was only supplied for weapons tech, and power plants are based on that research. (vs something like real a real thorium project) It would have been faster to get to fusion by first getting cheap, workable fission. With cheap power, the motive for burning carbon is gone and carbon capture is viable. It looks like in practice we'll be forced back to nuke power, but it'll be refined weapons tech based. (improved, safer, but power plant level - no risk of pocket power plants allowing little people to produce cheap power so more politically viable...)
      It'll be interesting to see if effort gets directed towards real improvements. (Look at the funds thrown towards Ukraine; now look at clean power where there is progress but by the numbers it's for show so far) Elon - once Starship gets past the ULA/Boeing lobbied obstruction (looks like that anyway), if the ideals of that project work out cost to orbit drops 10-50x. Space power sat viability will be an accounting ROI question instead of sci-fi. I'd like to see investment in disruptive, game changing solutions. (cheap thorium reactors; power sats - those are order of magnitude improvements that should be supported along with gen 5 fission nuke power - a diversity of solutions - but we're not seeing 'this is critical' investment)

      • (Score: 2) by ChrisMaple on Friday May 13 2022, @02:04AM (3 children)

        by ChrisMaple (6964) on Friday May 13 2022, @02:04AM (#1244642)

        Perhaps you'd like to explain how the battery technology of 1955 could have allowed electric cars charged from nuclear power.

        Only now has battery technology improved almost enough to allow exclusive use of electric motors for transportation, and it's going to take at least another 20 years to build out the infrastructure.

        • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Friday May 13 2022, @03:41AM (1 child)

          by deimtee (3272) on Friday May 13 2022, @03:41AM (#1244663) Journal

          Commuter only electric vehicles could replace a huge amount of petrol usage. Small, cheap, range of about 100 km (60 miles), easily doable with 50's tech. Save the petrol for the long trips. The problems are not the tech.

          I don't have an electric car, and the main reason is that it is not economical for legislative reasons. If I bought a small cheap car* to commute to work, I have to pay registration and TAC charges twice, even though I wouldn't actually do any more travel. They have also just introduced a per km charge to replace the petrol tax they lose with electrics. Those fees easily cover the cost difference of petrol vs electric for me, and saving whatever the electric car would have actually cost is just a big bonus.

          If you really want to cut fossil fuel usage here's a two step plan:
          1/ Build a small cheap electric car with about 100km range. (under $10,000 new)
          2/ Allow it to be a free piggyback vehicle on a petrol car registration. Same plates, no extra charges.

          People would use the electric for short trips and the petrol when they needed it. Instead, people look at the costs and go "Well I occasionally need the capabilities of the petrol car and it's cheaper to drive it everywhere than to pay all the fees twice".

          --
          No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
          • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Friday May 13 2022, @03:50AM

            by deimtee (3272) on Friday May 13 2022, @03:50AM (#1244665) Journal

            * mass of under 600 kg, 2 seats + small cargo (or 4 seats no cargo). Smaller battery means you can make everything lighter.

            It probably also becomes worthwhile to cover the roof in solar cells. Won't do much for single trip range, but if you are parked at work all day it would add a few km to your daily range.

            --
            No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 15 2022, @04:15PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 15 2022, @04:15PM (#1245134)

          There is a museum down in Los Angeles that had an electric car from the turn of the last century that could get 20-25 miles to a charge in an electric horseless carriage design. There were other battery powered vehicles back then that were perfect for use as commuters, and in fact many sold. What killed them was a simple lack of demand as gasoline vehicles developed more rapidly and the 'freedom of the open road' overshadowed the (at the time) unreliable nature of electrical charging at the home. By the time common folk would have been readily buying electrics en-masse, the petrol/automotive industry had converged and effectively relegated competitors such as electric cars to being also-rans.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mcgrew on Thursday May 12 2022, @08:25PM (1 child)

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday May 12 2022, @08:25PM (#1244545) Homepage Journal

      There are no "self-made billionaires", they all started out with rich parents; e.g., Bill Gates' parents were high dollar lawyers for IBM. Were it not for that, you would never have heard of Bill Gates. You can grow up poor and still become a millionaire, but not a thousand times as rich as a millionaire; a billion is a thousand million (but you knew that).

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 16 2022, @06:38PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 16 2022, @06:38PM (#1245388)

        Ah yes, "You didn't build that!" for the new generation. Got it.

        The funny thing is, it's not just a roll of the dice. People lose fortunes all the time. Sure, some have a better head start than others - but only a few turn whatever head start they had to a fortune, and rags-to-riches is still entirely possible. It's just rare.

        Anything-to-riches is rare.

        Here's the funny thing about building a society; we do it not only to uplift the poor shivering lumpenproletariat wondering whether the cholera, the consumption or the hunger will get them first. We also do it to enable the gifted, the fortunate and the wise to uplift themselves, and by implication the whole of society (if by no other means, by means of paying taxes).

        But keep banging that envious drum, I'm sure the sound will feed a multitude.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Immerman on Thursday May 12 2022, @02:05PM (2 children)

    by Immerman (3985) on Thursday May 12 2022, @02:05PM (#1244392)

    The problem with that thinking is that global warming isn't going to bring the world to an end - it's "just" going to displace billions of people currently living in marginally habitable areas, while making weather far more volatile, agriculture far less reliable (and thus food far more expensive), and driving vast numbers of species to extinction that can't adapt fast enough.

    None of that is going to be more than a mild personal inconvenience to a billionaire - they're already paying hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars a day for their gourmet meals, and can just move to someplace that still has pleasant weather and no poor starving people rioting at their gates.

    Global warming will only suck for the 99% of people who care about how much things cost. Or the environmental consequences.

    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Thursday May 12 2022, @08:30PM (1 child)

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday May 12 2022, @08:30PM (#1244546) Homepage Journal

      NO, it won't bring the world to an end, but it will cause and is causing a mass extinction and if left unchecked will indeed destroy civilization.

      It won't be the first time a single species has caused a mass extinction, but that's no excuse to keep incinerating fossils.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Immerman on Thursday May 12 2022, @08:55PM

        by Immerman (3985) on Thursday May 12 2022, @08:55PM (#1244574)

        Absolutely.

        But none of that impacts the ability of billionaires to enjoy the fruits of their carbon-fueled wealth in their private fiefdoms.

        My point was only that there's a fundamental flaw in trying to judge whether there's a problem by whether billionaires admit there's a problem. History is full of examples of the "nobility" fueling their excesses with environmental devastation and the bodies of countless peasants. There's absolutely no reason to believe that's changed - and in fact you don't have to look far to find examples even today.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12 2022, @04:06PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12 2022, @04:06PM (#1244443)

    What can you conclude from those incongruent actions? Are they idiots?

    No, or at least not relatively. One can legitimately argue (on the basis of research findings, too) that humans have a built-in cognitive bias against planning for the long-term. We want quick satisfaction today. Worry about tomorrow tomorrow. And if it's beyond the 5-year projection, who the hell cares?

    Are they so arrogant they'd drill holes in the bottom of a sinking boat? Do they think it'll be fine so they don't have to worry?

    I think they honestly don't care. They assume that infinite growth will continue forever in the economy and that money can solve any problems that pop up. They work with the general assumptions that the market works with, since most of the rich people you're discussing are heavily invested in that model -- which has some aspects of a religion, honestly. Obviously infinite growth forever is impossible, but how else do you explain how so many people seem to buy into that assumption with the stock market, etc.?

    We just saw Netflix have it's "Oh SHIT!" moment because apparently some people finally realized that infinite growth in subscribers can't continue forever. DUH! But... apparently, it was so utterly shocking to see Netflix numbers go down that everyone suddenly flees the sinking ship. Look at what happened with the housing market in the early 2000s. Look at BitCoin right now. People buy into stuff all the time thinking it will only ever go up. The real world doesn't work like that. Look at responses to just about any disaster -- in quite a few cases, good planning in advance could help a lot, but how many rich people or governments or large businesses do plan for disaster?

    Rich people aren't magically smarter than everyone else. They're usually luckier, more ruthless, and more dedicated in certain ways. And even if they are a bit smarter than everyone else, we all suffer to various extents to the cognitive bias about satisfaction now. If their friends all have oceanfront estates and that's what it takes to be a "rich guy," then aren't they going to have one to be "part of the club"? Same thing with the private jets.

    I know a guy personally who is basically self-made and recently became a billionaire. (Though with recent market shifts, maybe he isn't anymore... point is, he has hundreds of millions.) He's not a close friend or anything, but he is the direct boss of a couple members of my extended family. I spent a week with him at one of his houses a few years back... and yeah, it's oceanfront property. But it's in the "cool location" for rich people. For a while he owned two jets, for all sorts of weird reasons... but one thing I definitely heard him express several times in our conversations is how everything is about "keeping up appearances" for rich people. He didn't grow up poor, but he made his own money, and he found the pretentiousness of the "rich people lifestyle" to be insufferable. He's the kind of guy who'd show up wearing jeans at the "no denim" resort (where it's okay to wear a skimpy bikini, but god-forbid the blue jeans...) just to dare someone to call him on it. Even as a 70-year-old guy, he'd drive the scooter around the grounds rather than the golf carts almost everyone else used... just because.

    And yet, even for him, to socialize in the right circles, to be part of the culture of the money-making elite, he needed the trappings of the elite to be taken seriously. So he has most of that.

    All your examples tell me is that rich people like to do things that rich people do. It's a tautology. And no one's looking past the 5-year projection, or questioning assumptions about growth continuing forever.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 16 2022, @06:40PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 16 2022, @06:40PM (#1245390)

      Judging by the latest news in Variety about their culture statement, Netflix's OH SHIT moment was also about realising that the people waving the woke banner were only a subset of their potential subscribers, and that if they didn't appeal to a bigger audience, they'd get a smaller slice of whichever pies were available.

      I mean, go figure. Deplorables watch shitty made-for-TV movies too. Their money spends like anybody else's.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by EvilSS on Thursday May 12 2022, @04:57PM (2 children)

    by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 12 2022, @04:57PM (#1244463)

    What can you conclude from those incongruent actions?

    That most know they are old enough that they will be dead before it gets so bad that their fortunes and resources can no long buffer them from it. "Fuck you, I got mine now I'm going to die and leave you with the mess".

    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12 2022, @07:32PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12 2022, @07:32PM (#1244514)

      If they had any morals, they wouldn't be billionaires.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12 2022, @08:31PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12 2022, @08:31PM (#1244547)

        Maybe they do have morals, but their moral code doesn't preclude what it would take to be a billionaire.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Thursday May 12 2022, @06:22PM (9 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday May 12 2022, @06:22PM (#1244481)

    I like to look at what the most powerful and 'in the know' actually do

    The most powerful and 'in the know' people I know (and have known throughout my life) have one thing in common: they are old. Generally the more powerful and 'in the know' they are, the older they are.

    There's also a well established link between highly successful leaders of large groups (company CEOs, army generals, portfolio managers, etc.) and psychopathy. They achieve their goals with an unusual degree of tunnel-vision, not caring about collateral damage that would concern "most people."

    What can you conclude from those incongruent actions? Are they idiots? Are they so arrogant they'd drill holes in the bottom of a sinking boat?

    The same thing we can conclude from studying the titans of industry who stalled the removal of asbestos from common use, lead from gasoline and paint, targeting of children with tobacco advertising...

    They're not idiots, they know what they're doing: they're achieving a goal - usually maximizing profits.

    Are they arrogant? You bet your ass they're arrogant, it's practically a pre-requisite for admission to the 1%ers club. There are always exceptions, but I'd swag that 99% of the 1%ers would be rated as arrogant by the majority of the 99%.

    Do they think it'll be fine so they don't have to worry? Some other thing?

    Try this on for size: they don't fucking care about you. Even my 1950 born DINK aunt and uncle who live in the Florida Keys where they're just about certain to be underwater in the coming decades had this to say in 2000: "Yeah, sea level is probably going to rise, but however fast that happens we'll almost certainly be dead before it hurts us." Aged 72, it looks like they're just about right, only a small portion of neighborhoods in the Keys are suffering from rising sea levels today, it will probably be at least 2050 before their driveway is underwater at high tide.

    --
    Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday May 14 2022, @12:01AM (8 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 14 2022, @12:01AM (#1244840) Journal

      it will probably be at least 2050 before their driveway is underwater at high tide.

      At present rate of sea level rise that's a mere 10 cm. They'll probably get wiped out by a hurricane before normal high tides are an issue. Is their driveway really that close to the ocean?

      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Saturday May 14 2022, @12:27PM (7 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday May 14 2022, @12:27PM (#1244957)

        Their house is on stilts, facing open water to the northwest. When the hurricanes have blown from the south or east it empties the bay. When the hurricanes have blown from the north or west they have had water several feet deep with waves up near the ceiling of their ground floor "storage" area.

        The low point of the road from their house to the highway isn't much more than 10cm above what is called a king tide.

        Sea levels are also not rising equally around the globe. Variations of several cm have been noted along the east coast of the US.

        --
        Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday May 14 2022, @11:17PM (6 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 14 2022, @11:17PM (#1245025) Journal

          Sea levels are also not rising equally around the globe. Variations of several cm have been noted along the east coast of the US.

          Variations would happen even in the absence of global warming.

          But having said that, I can see why your relatives don't care. Their house isn't going to be around all that long anyway. There's no point to a candle that can last centuries when it'll burn in a day.

          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Sunday May 15 2022, @01:47PM (5 children)

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday May 15 2022, @01:47PM (#1245109)

            My relatives don't care because their house is going to be around until they are dead, probably.

            --
            Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday May 15 2022, @10:49PM (4 children)

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 15 2022, @10:49PM (#1245198) Journal
              Well, even if they were going to live 50 years longer than expected, we still have the problem that the house wouldn't last all that long anyway. There remains no reason for them to get worked up over minor climate change.
              • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday May 16 2022, @12:40AM (3 children)

                by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday May 16 2022, @12:40AM (#1245212)

                >There remains no reason for them to get worked up over minor climate change

                Lacking children as they are, you are correct.

                If they should live another 50 years in good health, they will likely be forced to move, unless the county lets them live on a street that is regularly under salt water.

                --
                Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday May 16 2022, @01:33AM (2 children)

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 16 2022, @01:33AM (#1245219) Journal

                  If they should live another 50 years in good health, they will likely be forced to move

                  So what? Even if there were no climate change or hurricanes, the house will wear down over the years and they'll be forced to move and/or rebuild anyway. Living that close to the sea is hard on houses even without the storms. Nor is that much different from your scenario.

                  And this was all brought up because you have relatives that just don't have the right attitude concerning climate change. Well, if the threat is that they'd have to move, if they lived 50 years longer rather than 20 years longer. That's for a house so close to the ocean that it'd be floating, if it were any closer.

                  Well, here's my question. How many billions of peoples' suffering is it worth to save a few people who live in boats on stilts? 50 years from now, no less? This has always been the problem with the climate change narrative. Once you get past the ludicrous narratives, there isn't much to it. And the price tag for the token efforts we've done so far are way more than the benefits.

                  Going back to the thread, the point about the alleged hypocrisy of the powerful is that they get, just like your DINK aunt and uncle do, that sea level rise just doesn't matter over a human lifetime.

                  For me, hypocrisy just isn't that interesting. Humans do it naturally, so of course, our leaders would do it just as naturally.

                  What I think we really should be thinking about here are the important problems such as the huge poverty/overpopulation synergy. We've made vast progress dealing with that - at mild short term cost to the environment.

                  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday May 16 2022, @11:57AM (1 child)

                    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday May 16 2022, @11:57AM (#1245283)

                    >Even if there were no climate change or hurricanes, the house will wear down over the years and they'll be forced to move and/or rebuild anyway.

                    What in the hell are you smoking?

                    My first house, in Hurricane country, was built in 1935 and is as strong today as when I bought it 30 years ago. Their house is built similarly but better. And even if they need a refresh, we don't burn our houses, take the insurance and move around here, the bulk of the value is in location, not the structure.

                    Of course a great deal of the location value has been diminished over the past 10 years with the dying of the reef, but my uncle mostly fishes the back country....

                    >How many billions of peoples' suffering is it worth

                    You are referring now to the billions who live in coastal cities? The billions there who lack the economic means to relocate except as refugees?

                    >poverty/overpopulation synergy. We've made vast progress dealing with that - at mild short term cost to the environment.

                    Vast progress, like the population explosion in Africa? Like India approaching China's official population number at 1.4B? Like the Indians and Chinese that still mostly live in rural poverty, but are migrating to modern cities more polluted than anything the US ever "achieved" before we started outsourcing our heavy industry?

                    Take another toke and enjoy the view from your rose colored glasses.

                    --
                    Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
                    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday May 18 2022, @02:20AM

                      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 18 2022, @02:20AM (#1245849) Journal

                      > Even if there were no climate change or hurricanes, the house will wear down over the years and they'll be forced to move and/or rebuild anyway.

                      What in the hell are you smoking?

                      My first house, in Hurricane country, was built in 1935 and is as strong today as when I bought it 30 years ago. Their house is built similarly but better. And even if they need a refresh, we don't burn our houses, take the insurance and move around here, the bulk of the value is in location, not the structure.

                      If you're close enough to salt water that a mere 10 cm rise could shut you down, then you're getting sea spray - lots of salt on everything. I assure you that 85 years of that will wreck most houses, including yours.

                      >How many billions of peoples' suffering is it worth

                      You are referring now to the billions who live in coastal cities? The billions there who lack the economic means to relocate except as refugees?

                      I know a fix for that. But it requires treating bigger problems than climate change as bigger problems.

                      >poverty/overpopulation synergy. We've made vast progress dealing with that - at mild short term cost to the environment.

                      Vast progress, like the population explosion in Africa? Like India approaching China's official population number at 1.4B? Like the Indians and Chinese that still mostly live in rural poverty, but are migrating to modern cities more polluted than anything the US ever "achieved" before we started outsourcing our heavy industry?

                      Yes, actually. Here's a glaring example. in 1971, population growth rate was ~2.1% per year for a population of roughly 3.8 billion people. If we had continued at that growth rate to present day, we'd be looking at almost 11 billion people not almost 8 billion. That slowing in population growth rate that you continue to fail to acknowledge has already resulted in about a quarter less people than we could have had (assuming Population Bomb-style die-off predictions could be avoided). Even India and Africa have contributed to that slowing.

                      As to the pollution, they'd be polluted anyway. At least now, the developed world is an exit strategy that doesn't require die offs and/or ecological collapses.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12 2022, @07:09PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12 2022, @07:09PM (#1244503)

    Assuming that the upper classes are "in the know" is a dangerous game, historic precedent has proven that they are no more capable of accurately predicting drastic change than anyone else. The World Wars, the Great Chinese Famine, the COIVD pandemic, the French and Russian civil wars to name a few - all of those were avertable by the people in power, had they made better calls. These were far more disasterous events for them than losing your mansion when you can afford hundreds of them without sustaining any reduction in lifestyle quality.

    Our most powerful leaders have huge expensive oceanfront estates

    Cut it with this nonsense. Both the GW alarmists and the AGW nutjobs need to shut up about oceans rising because none of you have any idea what the science says about it. No, the waters will never rise to a level to bury coastal cities. The predicted ocean rising by scientists by 2050 is 1-2 inches on average, so any oceanside estate built today will be safe from the rising water. Scientific predictions on sea levels have so far been very accurate and we have no reasons to assume they won't be in the foreseeable future.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12 2022, @10:21PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12 2022, @10:21PM (#1244602)

    The White Star line called. Your tickets for the Titanic are ready for pickup.
    They say that the most powerful and 'in the know' people will be on board for this maiden voyage.
    Good luck.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by bzipitidoo on Friday May 13 2022, @03:04AM

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Friday May 13 2022, @03:04AM (#1244657) Journal

    Let's unpack this.

    First, STOP WORSHIPPING THE RICH! Why, you might as well be a believer in the Prosperity Gospel. Seems over half of America thinks that way, and if that attitude doesn't change, it's going to get a lot of people dead. Do you have any idea what screwballs many of the rich are? They've let their wealth go to their heads. The worst are massively entitled, spoiled, sadistic brats whose main skill is appearances. Many of them didn't earn wealth and power, they inherited it. Like the Bobby Pellit character in Horrible Bosses.

    If you're thinking that's just a movie, I've got a representative anecdote for you. I attended the "management club" dinner at my employer, a manufacturer of heating and cooling systems, just once, and wow, was it educational. The CEO's speech went something like this. He said that if he'd sold the company and invested the proceeds in the stock market, he would be a lot richer. But then, we'd all be out of our jobs, he said, and he didn't want that to happen. When he finished patting himself on the back for that, he said that we should've done better. Should've worked harder, so he'd be richer and wouldn't regret so much that he didn't sell out and invest. He was disappointed in us. We'd let him down.

    That CEO had another whopper to say at that dinner, that just so happens to be pertinent to your question. He said that he didn't believe in all this Global Warming nonsense. But, if it was true, then GOOD! Because, the company would get to sell more air conditioners!

    If you really are unsure who to ask, try scientists. They're the ones most "in the know", as you put it.

    But in the name of humanity, don't sit on your tush waiting for the powerful and rich to reveal The Plan for the Future of Humanity. We already know what their plan is: Let the rest of us die while they ride out the calamity in their super secret and secure bunkers. Some are actually spending significant money on that. Once the world population has been reduced to the 1%, then go forth and multiply. And maybe write memoirs explaining how very stupid the rest of us were for getting ourselves into such a terrible fix, with ample mention that it really was all our fault and we deserved to die. If you think that's an exaggeration, I assure you it isn't. A frightfully large number of them really do think that way.

    Now, if there is no further idolizing of the rich with which to dispense, what are we going to do about this problem? I don't know. I fear that we're moving too slowly. I see personal conservation efforts, such as turning off the lights when you leave the room, as hopelessly insignificant. Buy an electric car? No good if only a handful of people do that. Put solar on your roof? Double or triple pane windows? The problem with a lot of those ideas is that while they are pitched as environmentally responsible things to do, their actual benefits are smaller than the costs of retrofitting. I've had many a door-to-door sales pitch about the windows, and they all wanted way more than it was worth. $10,000, to replace 10 windows and 2 patio doors? I ran the numbers and came up with an estimated annual savings of just $175. If they could do the job for $2000, I might chance it. But not for $10k, no way.

    The most significant moves so far are the switch from incandescent to LED lighting, the 80plus drive to make computer power supplies at least 80% efficient that concluded about a decade ago, the move from tube TVs and monitors to flat screens, pushing up automobile fuel economy, and the huge increase in A/C efficiencies. Nice, but it won't be enough. We need more. The pandemic had a huge silver lining, stopping a lot of wasteful commuting in favor of remote work and telecommuting. Meantime, there's been a huge growth in wind power. Windmills are all over the parts of the land where it's windy enough. I haven't seen as much solar, but it too is growing by leaps and bounds.

    Here's some ideas: Do laundry less often. It is okay to wear a shirt for 2, 3, or even more days between washes. There are even shirts designed for less frequent laundering. Shower less. Most especially if you have a typical tank water heater. Mow less. Bicycle more. Walk more. All these things are win-win. Not only does it save on energy and resources, it's healthier. Showering every day is bad for your skin. On the political front, let's discourage suburban sprawl. People in America especially think little to nothing of driving, don't appreciate how costly in both time and money it is to commute long distances, make house calls, and that sort of thing. More awareness and less willingness to sit in traffic jams in rush hour would be a big help.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Thexalon on Friday May 13 2022, @11:30AM

    by Thexalon (636) on Friday May 13 2022, @11:30AM (#1244706)

    Our most powerful leaders have huge expensive oceanfront estates (Martha's Vinyard etc)

    First off, I wouldn't call those people "leaders". "Rulers", maybe, but true leaders act for the benefit of the people they're leading, whereas these folks pretty much all act solely in their own interests. Yes, even the allegedly-philanthropic ones who establish foundations that act as a very convenient tax dodge and allow them to take control over charitable efforts and steer those charitable efforts towards buying things from their own companies.

    Admittedly, I'm of the viewpoint that once you've reached around 7-8 figures of wealth, if you're spending most of your time trying to get even more money you aren't a leader, you aren't brilliant, you're a selfish jerk who simply refuses to be satisfied. At that level of cash, you and your family have everything you need to live comfortably without working for money anymore, so stop trying to come up with more cash and start doing something useful.

    Oh, and as for those beachfront properties: I think you may have a misunderstanding of scale here, because if you're like me having your home completely destroyed would be a major financial blow. But for a billionaire, losing a $10 million home, total loss, no insurance, is no more than 1% of their wealth and will take them at most around 2 months to completely recover, and odds are they have at least one other $10 million home to move to if they happened to actually be in the $10 million home they lost. It's the same scale of loss as somebody making $100K a year having to replace their smartphone - annoying, not completely unnoticed, but completely solvable.

    --
    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.