Towards COP21

For threads primarily discussing Climate Change (particularly in relation to Peak Oil)

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fuzzy
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Post by fuzzy »

UndercoverElephant wrote:IMO

COP21 agreement is almost meaningless. It's not binding and nobody is going to stick to it. It's a total failure dressed up as a great success.

Please try to convince me otherwise...
I bet the catering was good though.
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clv101
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Post by clv101 »

UndercoverElephant wrote:COP21 agreement is almost meaningless. It's not binding and nobody is going to stick to it. It's a total failure dressed up as a great success.

Please try to convince me otherwise...
I think you're right... this is what I wrote a few days ago:
clv101 wrote:My fear/expectation is that COP21 will be hailed as a 'success'. But, all that will mean is a convenient set of words on paper. The 'failure' will be in the physical world which won't conform to what will have been committed to.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

johnhemming2 wrote:I agree that it undermines science to exaggerate things.
And it undermine politicians when they want a politically acceptable "safe" 2 deg C warming target and scientists tell them it's not safe and they're fools if they think so.
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Post by Being Frank »

The Missus is interested in CC. so I told her there was a good piece in the paper about Paris. (Guardian 17/12/15-This is my first post anywhere, I might learn to do links)

It was in fact a long article on corruption, from top to bottom, in the State of India. She couldn't get the connection :lol:

I had to spell it out to her; from my long life of backpacking/cycling all over the world (I retired in 1980) I know that this tiny corner of Western Europe is an oasis of law and order. I should say I am not on some moral high-horse here -it is just how life is, a cultural thing.

It seems obvious to me, and has been for over 30 years, that the majority of the 195 leaders at Paris have barely any control over what happens within their own borders and can only just maintain the status quo, a status quo that is heavily dependent on a stable climate and ever increasing cheap oil and, as you all know, both of those prerequisites are fast becoming things of the past.

So my question is in 5 years, when we have shot past 420 pmm CO2, are we all meant to be surprised?
I mean no harm or put fault
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Post by emordnilap »

Welcome to PS, Being Frank.

I assume your question is rhetorical.

Paris, like all previous talks about CC, are just that. There will be no action.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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Post by UndercoverElephant »

Being Frank wrote: So my question is in 5 years, when we have shot past 420 pmm CO2, are we all meant to be surprised?
Nobody who posts regularly on this forum will be surprised.

The only thing that will prevent human beings from extracting and using fossil fuels is the economic viability of extracting them; we will stop when it is no longer economically viable, and not one moment before. All agreements to reduce fossil fuel consumption, to the extent they have any effect at all, will simply string the process out. It will reduce the rate of consumption, but have no effect whatsoever on the eventual amount consumed. Although the balance of what is used as fuel and what is used as a raw material for making stuff is up for grabs.

In short: the very last thing the human race is going to do is leave anything that can be sold for more than it costs to get hold of, in the ground. Money makes the world go round.

(And I strongly suspect that when we start running out of conventional/fracked gas, we'll start on coastal methane hydrates.)
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Post by Little John »

I'm hoping for a plague or nuclear war to wipe half of us out. Seriously, it's ours and the rest of life on Earth's only hope.

In fact, if the rest of life could voice an opinion, I dare say it would find the short terms costs of a nuclear exchange in the human world a small price to pay for the benefits it would confer. Take a look at the resurgence of wildlife around Chernobyl for details.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

Being Frank wrote:I had to spell it out to her; from my long life of backpacking/cycling all over the world (I retired in 1980) I know that this tiny corner of Western Europe is an oasis of law and order.
Sorry to disappoint you Frank but you should read The Prostitute State by Donnachadh MacCarthy. He'll put you right on the extent to which our political parties, the civil service, the media and academe have been bought by the multinational corporations and tax haven billionaires. We are governed for the benefit of a few mega rich people, the 0.1%, not us the 99.9%. Even the rest of the 1%, the 0.9% who think that they are at the top and do the dirty work for the 0.1% will be screwed in the end.

You can get the book from www.theprostitutestate.co.uk for only £12. It is essential reading.

And please don't call the Kleptocracy that runs us an elite. It is a great disservice to our top athletes and sportsmen, the SAS and a few other people who do something exceedingly well to lump them in with a bunch of dishonest, conniving, thieving bastards who like to think of themselves as the top politicians, *ankers, businessmen and administrators of the country to try to cover up the fact that they are only a Kleptocracy which is robbing us blind.
Action is the antidote to despair - Joan Baez
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

I'm feeling a little cross today as I've just found out that our friend George is proposing to make small businesses and the self employed fill in four tax returns a year in order to cut down on tax evasion and get £600 million a year extra in taxation. He could get that just by making DODGY TAX AVOIDERS pay a fair rate of taxation on their profits. Then there would also be Starbucks, Google, Yahoo and probably a dozen other US firms which don't think it their duty to pay a fair share into the running of this country so that they can continue to profit from us. :x :x :x :x

Then there's Lord Green and all his and George's UK friends who manage to pay less tax than you or I.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

The only way that we are going to stop Global Warming in its tracks is for there to be a complete world wide economic collapse leading to a complete social and population collapse. After that man will be reduced to somewhere approaching the stone age again for a few hundred thousand years.

Our technology is now so complex that even a small breakdown in supply will mean complete collapse of the whole system. We are completely dependent on fossil fuels to win the raw materials to win the fossil fuels in the first place then the minerals to manufacture the equipment, then the sophisticated control equipment, then the just in time supply systems and then the worldwide distribution and manufacturing systems.

And that's just manufactured goods. Our food supply is similarly complex and equally energy intensive! A small breakdown in the supply system would have most of the population starving within a week because almost everyone is so reliant on and confident in the system that they
don't have even a week's backup supply let alone several month's or even a full growing season!

The human population won't recover from that level of collapse to anything approaching our current numbers until we develop similar cold manufacture techniques, room temperature and water based, that nature uses as we have used virtually all the fossil fuels, and certainly all the easily obtainable ones, which have fuelled the current industrial revolution.

Certainly extensive wood supplies will have a chance to grow back in places if the Climate Change that we are currently locked into allows for it locally so that could supply the energy for low level craft based industrial production but again we would have to redevelop the metal working skills, especially in the UK and other countries which have outsources most of those skills to the Far East. We wouldn't have the follow on fuels such as coal and then oil upon which we based our sudden rise in affluence and population over the last couple of hundred years.

It will be millions of years before the earth replenishes its reserves of fossil fuels to anything like what we have used in the past 200 years. It will be either cold technologies or solar based ones in the future.
Action is the antidote to despair - Joan Baez
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Post by UndercoverElephant »

kenneal - lagger wrote: It will be millions of years before the earth replenishes its reserves of fossil fuels to anything like what we have used in the past 200 years.
No. What we have used in the past 200 years will never be replaced.

During the industrial revolution of the 19th century, and for most of the 20th, the primary fossil fuel we burned was coal, not oil or gas. But the processes that led to the formation of the coal deposits of the Carboniferous cannot be repeated. Coal was only laid down in such vast quantities during a 60 million year period between two events in evolutionary history.

The start of the carboniferous was the point when trees evolved, or more specifically, when lignin evolved - the first substance strong enough to support trees that could grow taller than the tallest living animals (and MUCH taller). But lignin is very tough to break down - even today very few organisms can decompose it, and they have to expend energy to do so (it is worth their while only because they can then access what is locked inside). The end of the carboniferous was the point where the first lignin-decomoposing fungi evolved. So, during the carboniferous, trees did not decompose. They just piled up on top of each other in an enormous heap that became the vast coal deposits we've been burning for the last 200 years.

So, even if humanity disappeared tomorrow and nature was allowed to reclaim the entire surface of the earth, there would not be a repeat of the coal-formation of the Carboniferous. It was a one-off - a one-off removal of carbon from the active biosphere and our burning of it was its one-off return.
Last edited by UndercoverElephant on Fri Dec 18, 2015 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by biffvernon »

kenneal - lagger wrote:I'm feeling a little cross today as I've just found out that our friend George is proposing to make small businesses and the self employed fill in four tax returns a year
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/115895
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

I was under the impression that coal could form from trees laid down in anaerobic conditions under water such as is found in swamp areas. The hotter, wetter conditions which Global Warming might cause together with higher wind speeds to blow the trees over and much, much less people to disturb the environment could replicate these conditions.
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Post by biffvernon »

No there won't be a repeat of the Carboniferous coal formation. That was before the fungi that rot soil organic matter evolved. Coal can't happen again.
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Post by UndercoverElephant »

kenneal - lagger wrote:I was under the impression that coal could form from trees laid down in anaerobic conditions under water such as is found in swamp areas. The hotter, wetter conditions which Global Warming might cause together with higher wind speeds to blow the trees over and much, much less people to disturb the environment could replicate these conditions.
Yes, coal can form from trees that don't rot for the reasons you've given, and also from peat, but during the Carboniferous it was forming from all trees. Coal is still forming, but at a fraction of the Carboniferous rate of formation.
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