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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, @03:06PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, @03:06PM (#1244416)

    In the current situation, there are certainly NO business as usual solutions.
    The elites through politricks, will continue to kick the can down the road while greenwashing the public into accepting the capitalist narrative for economic growth.

    When the news starts to show for example soda companies shutting down, consumerism turning negative by shuttering advertising companies, capitalism prioritizing environment over profit, countries prioritizing basic humanitarian needs, military exchanging guns for shovels, then and only then will we be taking things seriously enough to have conversations about effective solutions.

    Until then, get the fuck off my lawn!

    P.S. Thanks to the World war with Russia, we are actually doing some of these things and quickening the pace to get off our addiction to oil, a major piece of the solution. However, as we see in the news, we are gong to be building MORE oil infrastructure not less. Good luck with that!