Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.
Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US. Most recent sense check, Entry #365.
Some of the entries are part of a series. Several series are available as easy-to-read booklets for download:
- Working with Lee Iacocca after he left Chrysler, 2019Q3 Iacocca Personal Observations.
- GM EV1 — behind-the-scenes events affecting development and introduction of the GM EV1, the first modern electric vehicle. 2020Q1 GM EV-1 Story Behind the Story Booklet
- Coming technology tsunami and the implications for the US, Tech Tsunami Booklet with Supplement
- Trump Supporters Brainwashed? A series discussing why Republics have abandoned basic principals, Are Trump Republicans Brainwashed 2020Q1
- Who took out the Donald? Who/what groups are most likely to “take out” Trump? Who Took Out the Donald Entries with Update
- Revenge Revolution — description of what form the revolution might take, 20 01 07 Start of Revolution
ENTRY #369 BEGINS. Recently, a longtime colleague sent an article from a local paper about a series of speeches he’s been giving focused on electric transportation and climate change. The article noted his position about the increase in the earth’s average temperature was due to natural causes, and not due to actions by humans, such as burning fossil fuels or deforestation.
In the speeches, he argued because the change in temperature was due to natural causes, society should continue to burn coal, gasoline, natural gas, etc. He stated the CO2 generated from the burning would not be harmful to the environment and, in fact, could be could be helpful – e.g., more CO2 could increase agricultural production.
While I agree that the average temperature of the earth and CO2 ppm have varied over time due to natural causes, the changes have occurred very, very slowly, often taking hundreds if not thousands or even tens of thousands of years. In addition, in periods with very high concentration of CO2, all evidence suggests that humans didn’t exist.
I’m a big supporter of science-based decisions. However, the science doesn’t matter about the cause of climate change. What matters is how to mitigate the potential damage associated with the rapid increase in the earth’s temperature.
You don’t need to have a degree in climate science to know that if the earth’s average temperature continues to rise more polar ice will melt. Actually, a 3rd grader can understand the problem. What happens when all the ice melts? Oceans will rise. (Much of the ice is on land.)
Let’s say the ocean level increases 12-18” inches over the next 50-100 years, which is not an unreasonable estimate. Well, that amount of increase in ocean levels would be goodbye to much of Florida as well as goodbye to many coastal cities in the US and around the world.
In addition to the rising seas and the millions of people displaced, we are likely to see oceans as a less productive food source. There would also be a major disruption to agricultural production since many crops would not grow in the current location. The transition in agriculture could result in major shortages of food for years, possibly decades.
Regardless of the cause of climate change, the risk of doing nothing could be catastrophic. So let’s not get our panties in a wad about who’s right or wrong. Instead, let’s figure out what it takes to mitigate the effects of higher temperatures and capitalize on any opportunities.
An obvious action that can start now is to accelerate the elimination of fossil fuels. And why not? Why not add solar panels to roofs? Add solar panels even in areas where the sun shines say only 50% of the days per year. While the electricity generated in the 50% areas won’t match electricity generated in Arizona, the cumulative effect of all houses in the 50%-sunny area would be an enormous amount of electricity over time.
Why not reduce the number of animals raised for meat? Cows are great for hamburger but they’re also a methane machine. Increased use of plant-based “meats” would have a positive impact.
My colleague was trained as a nuclear engineer. Despite his belief the increase in earth’s temperature is the result of natural causes, he is an advocate of migrating from using fossil fuels to nuclear power to generate electricity.
I’ll not argue the burn-fossil-fuel-and-switch-to-nuclear logic and agree with using more nuclear fuel as long as the industry chooses the least damaging and easiest to manage nuclear fuel. Based on very limited research I think that thorium would be a better choice than uranium, although I’m not a hundred percent sure.
Many other changes can be made to reduce CO2 emissions. As many of us are experiencing in the auto industry’s migration to electric-powered vehicles, the change can be challenging but also exciting fun. The changes are very likely to spawn a plethora of new technologies and create many new jobs.
The first step in this journey, however, is to have both sides quit pointing fingers about who’s right and who’s wrong. Folks, it does not matter. The consequences of continuing to do nothing are bad and worse. Consequences are the issue. Forget about who’s correct about the cause.
And, oh, what if the average temperature starts to fall in the future because of natural causes? Mmm, what has been lost by all the efforts to reduce CO2 ppm?? Absolutely nothing, nada, zero. In fact, the earth will be have cleaner air, more productive citizens and some new jobs. Not a bad thing to have happen.
So, to all the so-called “climate-change deniers” and to all the so-called “climate-change extremists”, let’s shake hands, go grab a coffee and start working on solutions, together. Something productive might get accomplished.