Is anyone else reading about climate change?

(80 Posts)
TwigletsMakeMeViolent Wed 28-Sep-16 17:41:20

It's getting more and more worrying. Even if we stopped drilling today we're still in line for catastrophic climate change.

Monbiot today.

This follows a report last week from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography showing that carbon will never again drop below 400ppm.

Recycling and composting and taking fewer flights isn't going to help, really. Only our politicians can do this by drastic action. And that doesn't look likely.

Thoughts? And please, it would be great if this didn't descend into a climate change denial thread.

pennycarbonara Wed 28-Sep-16 17:55:09

Yes.

If the stuff that was being done now in terms of climate and energy policy had been done 25 years ago, there would be more cause for optimism.

it would be great if this didn't descend into a climate change denial thread.
Agreed. Though a quick search on "climate change" on MN doesn't bode well for this very reasonable request.

I think it's simply a case of planning for a more difficult future, learning to be okay with less new stuff and lower electricity and water use, learning things that will be useful without letting it take over your present lives (unless you really want it to I guess!) And if you are reasonably fortunate yourself, doing what you can to help out others as life gets harder.
I don't even think of this as pessimism any more, I see it more like accepting the fact that old age is something that happens, and is best planned for and accepted as a fact of life.

specialsubject Wed 28-Sep-16 17:58:00

I don't think anyone is going to argue, especially not those in South Australia today!

we can all do something. Use less, buy less. Turn it off. Don't buy it if it is power-hungry. Think about every switch you flick and every time you drive. Don't believe greenwash - we need nuclear not wind, solar not biomass.

the politicians do need to do something - but we can help too.

TwigletsMakeMeViolent Wed 28-Sep-16 17:59:09

Agreed. I remember reading a while back that scientists had mostly accepted defeat and were shifting to ways of helping humans adapt.

It will affect everyone in the end, but first it will affect the poor. It already is.

TwigletsMakeMeViolent Wed 28-Sep-16 17:59:31

And yy to previous MN discussions ... one particular poster especially.

pennycarbonara Wed 28-Sep-16 18:22:48

I don't particularly like nuclear, but the vast majority of people will see baseload power generation as a necessary backup for renewables. (Even if you can deal with only running the washing machine when it's sunny or windy, it's useful to keep the fridge on all the time.)
It was Monbiot who made me think some nuclear might be okay, if the cleanest types of nuclear plant can be used; there is a bit about them here: www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/21/farce-hinckley-nuclear-reactor-haunt-britain

pennycarbonara Wed 28-Sep-16 18:23:31

I don't particularly like nuclear, but the vast majority of people will see baseload power generation as a necessary backup for renewables. (Even if you can deal with only running the washing machine when it's sunny or windy, it's useful to keep the fridge on all the time.)
It was Monbiot who made me think some nuclear might be okay, if the cleanest types of nuclear plant can be used; there is a bit about them here: www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/21/farce-hinckley-nuclear-reactor-haunt-britain

pennycarbonara Wed 28-Sep-16 18:24:10

Sorry for double post.

shovetheholly Wed 28-Sep-16 18:27:05

Thanks for telling me about this thread penny.

I do think that we need drastic, systemic action. I absolutely agree with that. However, I think that action at an individual, personal level can be really important in building that capacity to demand large-scale change, i.e. I'm saying that you hear a lot of people framing this as if it's a question of 'either big corporations taking action or a lot of individuals doing their best' - I think it is absolutely and necessarily both. The political will to make the big changes isn't going to come until people are at least a bit willing to make and accept alterations to their own lives too, many of which are going to result in people being less comfortably off.

As I was saying to penny in another thread, I just don't feel this can be solved within the framework of corporate and global capitalism - because that entire system is set up to encourage the exploitation both of natural resources and of human labour (energy in two forms, if you like). I do feel that economic reorganisation is absolutely necessary as part and parcel of a shift towards a less damaging way of life, and that means at very least an end to corporatism. I'm still trying to figure out what this might look like and how it might work - I'm not the woman with all the answers by a long way - but I reckon we need to start to counter the economistic reduction of everything to monetary value with an insistence on other forms of value that lie outside of the purely economic.

HellsBellsnBucketsofBlood Wed 28-Sep-16 18:32:39

Absent buy in from the global population, there's zero we can do to stop it now. And frankly, the majority of people won't accept what the effects will be until the sea is at their door, the intense storms have blown the roof of their house and we've killed the Gulf Stream. That's the problem with the intangible - especially in our 'post-truth' society where experts are derided and data ignored as a 'conspiracy'. confused

We have to train our children to live I the new world. Or save up to go to Mars with Elon musk and try again there...

GrumpyOldBag Wed 28-Sep-16 18:33:53

We need a mixture of big government and individual action.

Telling people to stop doing something is near going to be popular, but we can all aim to do less of the bad stuff - e.g. eat less meat & Dairy (really important); buy less disposable stuff; fly less; drive less, etc.

Energy is a huge issue, but wind, solar etc aren't greenwash - a 'smart-grid' can accommodate their variability and we are on the brink of having economic storage solutions too. But we'll probably need some nuclear too.

TheABC Wed 28-Sep-16 18:42:15

Politicians remind me of rabbits on the headlight on this issue - they know something needs to be done, but don't know which way to jump. TBH, technology and machine automation is gearing up for the next big shift in our society which will kill the capitalist model dead. I also believe it's going to take something major such as a water war or grain harvest failure to really wake up the population. If you think we have a refugee crisis now, just wait another 10 years. The national geographic do some good in depth writing on climate change, from the dropping aquifers in the Midwest to pollution spread across the Pacific.

shovetheholly Wed 28-Sep-16 18:45:52

the ABC My fear is that that attitude will be 'Let them starve'. And then we will have a holocaust. You must all have seen how 50% of the people on Mumsnet can't cope with the smallest sacrifice for the sake of anyone else's happiness. Many people are so breathtakingly selfish on here - I kind of think we are doomed if this is the attitude! (I don't actually know anyone like that in real life, but then I don't mix in the kind of circles that a lot of people on this site do. If this is the middle class majority, we are fucked).

pennycarbonara Wed 28-Sep-16 19:16:34

There's a big problem with the way it's been presented to the public, the amount of space given to deniers, and it's become strongly associated with the left so that many conservatives reject with a kneejerk reaction. (It didn't always used to be so partisan - Thatcher was very concerned about climate change, for instance.)
A lot of people admire those who lived through rationing. Many of the rightward-leaning people I've met view austerity policies as a necessary belt-tightening, or look at the economy like a household budget that has to pay back debt after overspending. I reckon if the Mail and Express started saying all the time that climate change was a pressing issue, these types of voters would get behind it soon enough.

People did complain about and discriminate against refugees during WWII though, so I'm not saying that kind of approach would be a panacea.

TwigletsMakeMeViolent Wed 28-Sep-16 21:01:35

Agreed that people hate the idea of making a sacrifice. Look for threads where people suggest eating less meat - the vitriol from people who feel entitled to their daily meat and two veg is incredible.

I agree that individual action is necessary. But when you consider that China and the US are responsible for half (or whatever it is) of global emissions it just seems pointless. They're not changing fast enough.

I too am living in hope of a huge systemic change, but I'm not sure capitalism is going anywhere any time soon. The world's huge corporations are so powerful.

BungoWomble Wed 28-Sep-16 23:05:40

I actually think there's more hope for climate change than ever before. Yes it should all have come 40, 30, 20 or even just 10 years ago. But: oil and gas companies are being hit, their stocks are being let go in a number of places; Germany has shown that it is possible to provide significant amounts of power by renewable means, often meeting 100% of it's needs that way on days last summer; China is pushing ahead with a huge program of renewable energy; and most importantly of all, these technologies are becoming economically viable in the free market system.

It should have all happened a long time ago and we are now right up against the time limit. But at least, at last, there is real movement happening, a real awareness that will if nothing else help to mitigate future human activities.

Britain should have been at the forefront of it. Britain is still the country that has historically put out the largest total of CO2 emissions: Britain is the country that started the Industrial Revolution. It annoys me when people say everyone else should be doing this, that and the other, not us. But thankfully even as Britain turns away the rest of the world is not waiting for us.

TwigletsMakeMeViolent Thu 29-Sep-16 03:02:52

Bungo I'm heartened to hear you say that. On my good days, I agree with you. The divestment of fossil fuels, the plummeting cost of solar power, the number of electric cars being produced rising and yes, even China making improvements. Now if we could do something about the $22 billion in annual subsidies for oil that would be great.

I am also encouraged by the grass roots initiatives in the most unexpected places. I think that's where the change will really happen. I mean, look at Shell's plan to drill in the Arctic. Foiled by people power.

shovetheholly Thu 29-Sep-16 07:53:21

Right now, it is totally possible to make an enormous dent in the problem of CO2 emissions with regulation. In sheer numbers terms, it's totally doable.

However, it won't happen because of the lack of political will - i.e. the attitude of people like the 50% of Mumsnet who think they are entitled to a lifestyle that is harming people on the other side of the world, and who will resist tooth and nail any attempt to tax their gas-guzzling cars, or red meat, or underoccupied homes. And they certainly don't give a damn about the impact of the companies they work for or hold shares in.

It's the banality of evil, it really is. Future generations, who will be the ones dealing with the knock-on effect, are going to look back on us like the generation who turned a blind eye to concentration camps.

I also think this is worse in women than in men. I never thought I would say that, but the level of basic political literacy amongst female graduates on places like Mumsnet is shocking. If you look at threads, people are just confused about basic policy and economics - they literally have no clue what they are talking about. I am sure this is cultural - I think men perhaps still have more experience in reading about and responding to political events, and live with the expectation that they should take a position on these things.

pennycarbonara Thu 29-Sep-16 08:37:34

Interesting and controversial point!

In my own experience, more older people (older lefties, that is) prioritise environmental issues, to me it seems like more of an age thing than a gender thing. It could be said that a lot of younger people are more concerned with just getting by and quality of life issues - though what I also see is a difference in how much they care about nice stuff and brands, which the older people don't so much. (TBH it is seductive and I have to fight it in myself, I do get excited at the sight of nice stuff, have to try and avoid ads and remember to think about shiny new things as a waste of money and resources and potential clutter.)

A recent research paper indicates that green products are seen as more "feminine" and that this might put some men off buying them.
jcr.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/08/02/jcr.ucw044
Anecdotally in terms of personal experience though, I see this as related to the association of women with consumerism - men I've known IRL are more likely to be spartan in their habits, buying very little stuff in the first place and not using the heating much. They're more likely to simply not buy a thing than hunt for the eco-friendly "alternative" version. Online I'm aware of men who are collectors or gadget freaks, but I don't meet so many of these.

I get the impression, again anectodal, that men - men who accept climate change as a serious issue in the first place - are more likely to face up to how bad things might get, whilst younger and middle aged women, perhaps because they are more focused on their kids or future kids and have a lot to do already, assume it will probably be alright with minor changes like a bit of recycling and eventually an electric car.
The world collectively has its head in the sand. That report about the carbon emissions from oil and gas in production should have been headline news around the world, but that's not how things are.
If it was a normal thing to bring your kids up for a less comfortable world, teach them how to grow veg in the garden and whatnot, a lot more people would, but it's not at the front of a lot of people's minds, they are just busy, and assume things will go on quite similarly to today.

pennycarbonara Thu 29-Sep-16 08:40:26

i.e. I blame the media more than the public.

roarfeckingroar Thu 29-Sep-16 08:52:52

Surely shale is an answer as the cleanest fossil fuel?

Although I wouldn't use Monbiot as a rational source...

shovetheholly Thu 29-Sep-16 09:06:17

Isn't it a bit of an energy corporation myth that shale is clean?

www.resilience.org/stories/2013-01-11/shale-gas-how-clean-is-it

www.carbonbrief.org/lords-clean-and-green-shale-gas-comes-with-caveats

We need to put money into proper renewables - wind, solar. And into reducing usage.

shovetheholly Thu 29-Sep-16 09:07:37

penny - I agree, the media is a huge problem. But people also have a responsibility to find this stuff out and take action. It's not like the information isn't out there, and if you want to bring kids into the world, that responsibility for the future is heightened, not lessened.

pennycarbonara Thu 29-Sep-16 10:11:40

I agree. But because "the environment" feels to a lot of people like a minor side issue that only a handful of obsessives go on about, they don't look in to it, on top of all the other info about parenting styles, what they should and should not eat, baby equipment, internet safety for kids.... It's just not part of what they think about on the work, childcare, eat, sleep treadmill. Though some things are changing, like cloth nappies being more of a normal option again.

But they could. The recession was valid to bring into almost any topic around 2009-10 because it could affect everything. People can understand major background events as pervasive. The internet has an impact on most areas of work and life now. Climate change should be seen that way.

Numerous news stories about feminism or things that affect kids are discussed on here. Developments relating to the environment, not so much, yet they are just as relevant to the world these same kids will grown up into.

pennycarbonara Thu 29-Sep-16 10:39:41

roar, did you look at info on the study behind the column? It wasn't an assertion based on guesswork, more info here: www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/23/existing-coal-oil-and-gas-fields-will-blow-carbon-budget-study

Fracking uses a lot of energy in itself, aside from the associated pollution and methane releases. But the point in the original post is not about the fracking process, but that the amount of carbon that would be released from the fuel in oil and gas fields already active or in development is enough to exceed the Paris agreement targets. It puts actual numbers to the "keep it in the ground" idea, and is solid reasoning on which to oppose new fossil fuel exploration, something that we didn't previously have.

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