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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: -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.

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Thursday May 12 2022, @07:48PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday May 12 2022, @07:48PM (#1244527)

    A: []

    B: Why do the rich have oceanfront estates? Pretty simple really: they can afford to lose them, rebuild them after storms, etc. Oceanfront mansions are RARELY the only home owned by their owners.

    🌻🌻 []