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posted by janrinok on Thursday May 12, @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: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, @03:16PM (11 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, @03:16PM (#1244424)

    Is the last sentence like when journalists told oil workers to learn to code, or when everyone else told journalists to learn to code when they subsequently got laid off.l?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, @03:34PM (10 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, @03:34PM (#1244435)

    Yes, exactly. Society does not owe you a job as a coal miner. If you work in an industry that is about to disappear, you are going to get hurt. Maybe you should get out before that actually happens. These things don't happen overnight. But for some reason, everyone wants the glory of going down with the ship.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, @03:53PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, @03:53PM (#1244438)

      Right, which is why we have all these unemployed COBOL experts sniffling to their governments about how everybody should be forced to use mainframes.

      ... oh, wait.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday May 14, @12:53AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 14, @12:53AM (#1244853) Journal
        But it remains that society doesn't owe you a lifestyle. If you aren't willing to do rudimentary things to adapt to reality, then I'm not willing to care about the resulting consequences of those poor choices.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, @03:55PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, @03:55PM (#1244439)

      Yes, which is why there should be at least an much push to create alternatives that don't destroy the world as a means of employment.

    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, @03:58PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, @03:58PM (#1244441)

      Oil is going nowhere. Oil workers need only wait for Biden's regime to end and it will be back to keeping everyone warm, on the road, in the sky, and in fertilizer.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by DeathMonkey on Thursday May 12, @04:58PM (1 child)

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday May 12, @04:58PM (#1244465) Journal

        So this week is Biden the Radical Socialist Week? See, I thought this was Biden the Do-Nothing Centrist week but I guess my calendar was wrong!

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 16, @06:48PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 16, @06:48PM (#1245395)

          Biden: a hand puppet with a beating heart and an appetite for ice cream

          Biden's regime: the hand up the puppet's rear portal.

          See the difference?

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Sourcery42 on Thursday May 12, @05:41PM (1 child)

        by Sourcery42 (6400) on Thursday May 12, @05:41PM (#1244471)

        BWAAAHAAAHAAA!

        Thanks. I needed a good laugh. Yes, Biden's disastrous policies are absolutely gutting the energy industry right now. They're literally hemorrhaging money /s https://www.energystockchannel.com/quotes/?a=chart&ticker=$CRACK321&period=5y&title=5+Years [energystockchannel.com]

        The world is hungry for energy. Add a dash of no one invested in maintaining production or growing alternative energy sources much during the Covid downturn, splash in permanently shuttering some uncompetitive refineries, then sprinkle in a bit of WWIII and you get record profits for the energy industry, but yes, the current market and geopolitical situation is clearly all part of Biden's grand scheme. You're the dumbass who sticks the "I did that!" stickers on gas pumps lately, aren't you AC.

        I get the point you're trying to make. The way you made it is downright laughable, though.

        • (Score: 0, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, @07:06PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, @07:06PM (#1244502)

          No, nothing is the Biden administration's fault. He is impotent, a reed blowing in the wind, at the mercy of events he can't control. Does that make Biden sound BETTER to you?

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday May 12, @07:15PM (1 child)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 12, @07:15PM (#1244507) Homepage Journal

      If you work in an industry that is about to disappear, you are going to get hurt.

      That's the best excuse I've heard yet. I'm just going to quit working!

      --
      Our first six presidents were educated men. Then, along came a Democrat.
      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, @08:51PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, @08:51PM (#1244572)

        That's the best excuse I've heard yet. I'm just going to quit working!

        As if anyone would notice. More time to shitpost on the internets? But what will you do without your employer's WiFi connention?