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Ian Williams - Fetcheveryone


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25 Apr
5:35pm, 25 Apr 2019
8831 posts
So a good answer to the threat of extinction is to spread out and leave the planet, yes?
(Taking our preferred climate with us, and looking for others we quite fancy too!)

For which we need energy.... hmm. Might be interesting. Time to get the nuclear fusion generator going.

Almost back on topic - If we weren't pumping greenhouse gases into the environment, would it still warm up from amount of energy we burn as a civilisation anyway? Would it radiate enough to make a difference?
25 Apr
5:40pm, 25 Apr 2019
4341 posts
Chrisull, no it was nowhere near 30C daily min. And the vast majority of people whose deaths were attributed to it were old and weak and going to die in the next few months anyway, it just brought that forward by a modest amount. Certainly some parts of the planet will be more stressful for living in, some of them are already unpleasant IMO. But large swathes will be just fine.
25 Apr
6:05pm, 25 Apr 2019
8582 posts
Mark - If I am understanding your Q correctly, no.

Greenhouse gasses are a problem because they cause the atmosphere trap heat from the sun after it's reflected from the earth's surface. Like a greenhouse.

The more CO2 (or Methane or other GHGs - there are a few) in the atmosphere, the more heat that is trapped and so temps (on average go up). Eventually it comes back out of the atmosphere (as part of the carbon cycle), but CO2 is long-lived in the atmosphere, hence it is a particular problem. Methane is more potent (i.e. it has a bigger effect), but lasts in the atmosphere longer.

Heat radiated from energy sources on a local scale (e.g. a power station) dissipates very quickly and although there may some (small) effect from heat sources, it's likely to be be negligible compared to the Sun. (someone correct me if I'm wrong).

Fusion would be good, but it's been 25 years away in perpituity. Even if someone came up with a working fusion reactor tomorrow (e.g. at ITER - one of the facilities we are leaving because of Brexit), my guess is that it would take 20 years before we had several working fusion facilities (probably longer) - Fission nuclear plants have a very long lead time. Flammanville in France (the same design as Hinckley Point C) started construction in 2007 and still isn't ready. Olkiluoto 3 in Finland (also the same design) started in 2005 and is scheduled to start generating in 2020. Hinckley point C is scheduled to start generating in 2025 (more like 2030).

We need to start rapidly reducing our emissions to zero. Nuclear isn't going to solve the problem as it takes too long build.

JDA - as I said above extinction is more likely due to collapse of the biosphere we depend on and other species collapsing due to inability to adapt (e.g. pollinators)
25 Apr
6:28pm, 25 Apr 2019
7981 posts
Extinction is very unlikely whilst plant life and insects exist surely? The biosphere would have to completely fail to make us extinct, even a rudimentary one would allow us to linger.

My main issue though is that there is absolutely no need for doomsday predictions when the IPCC already has a considered view and the clear cut economics alone make it in everyone's interest to act.

Hyperbole just pushes reasonable people away.
25 Apr
10:59pm, 25 Apr 2019
14620 posts
JDA - I was in France at the time it was being reported. It doesn't seem that outrageous when Auxerre managed to record temperatures of 40C (max - not min) for 8 days in a row in 2003:

25 Apr
11:02pm, 25 Apr 2019
14621 posts
It isn't hyperbole, we are in the 6th mass extinction event. I even object to crap like we've got to act within 12 years otherwise climate change is unstoppable. One of the scientists who wrote the report is was based on said they have extrapolated incorrectly. I don't think we're doomed in the next 10 or 100 years. But yes in the long term, we are. I don't expect much of a human race to be about in 50000 - 100000 years time. I don't think that's an unreasonable prediction to make.

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