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  1. Liberals love to bash conservatives as climate change deniers, but it feels like liberals are only slightly ahead of the curve on this one. Years ago, I read how society had to make dramatic cuts to our carbon emissions to avoid the "point of no return" that would create a planet that would be uninhabitable by humans. So we are talking about a risk of total human extinction here if we wait too long and do too little to reduce carbon emissions. What is too long? What is too little? There's a lot of debate, of course. Some scientists (and some people I know with genius-level I.Q.s) are convinced we have already gone too far and tripped too many environmental feedback loops, which will make human existence impossible within 50 - 150 years. The notion we've gone too far, that our extinction is now mathematically certain, is still a fringe view. In between the climate change deniers, and those who feel we've already gone too far so that any efforts we make now are pointless, we have the rest of us -- people who agree that if we do not do enough to change, and do it quickly enough, we WILL have gone so far that our extinction will be inevitable. For those of us holding this "middle" view, it's hard because there's no clear answer to how much we have to change, or how quickly, to avert our extinction. I found a 2012 news article discussing a study that said 2017 was the point of no return if we did not drastically reduce carbon emissions (note, we have not reduced carbon emissions drastically, if at all, since 2012). Unfortunately, the uncertainties about this issue seem to pave the way for the majority -- including most liberals -- to just shrug and accept minor changes that are not even concrete. President Obama's big climate change plan involves a target of 30% reduction by 2030. Note, these "targets" can easily be missed. What do you do if you tell companies to reduce carbon emissions and they instead increase them? Impose a fine? Great, but it does not really make up for the resulting human extinction, does it? Do we really want to trust our very existence to large businesses toeing the line to strictly adhere to governmental environmental mandates? Their track record on this is woefully bad. Perhaps even more importantly, even if we reach this target, no scientist I know of has actually said that a 30% reduction in 15 years will avert certain doom for humanity. Everything I've read (excluding material from conservative lap dogs) suggests this is too little, too late. I feel like there is an astounding disconnect going on here. If a cage full of spiders at the zoo breaks open and one of them stings you, and the zoo people tell you that the spiders are deadly poisonous, but he's not sure how long you have till it'll be too late, what do you do? Do you make a "target" of going to the hospital the day after tomorrow to get checked out and see about an antidote? Do you finish your tour of the zoo before heading off to the hospital? Of course not! You rush straight to the hospital as quickly as you can, not because you know you'll die if you don't, but precisely because you do NOT know how long you actually have. See, when you're life is on the line, and you are faced with an uncertain time-table, the only sane and logical decision is to act with all possible haste. So, if that's how we act when our life is on the line, how should we act when our human survival is on the line? Set target deadlines decades away for modest carbon reductions? Even though there are plenty of scientists saying that'll be too little, too late? That's insanity, that's suicidal. In the face of uncertainty as to the extent of change, and the time table for change, that is needed to avert our extinction, we need to act like we are dying and rushing to the emergency room in an ambulance, running red lights, exceeding the speed limit, etc. It's kind of funny when you think about the comparative harms of making a mistake being too fast or too slow on this issue: What's the risk of we erroneously move to fast to cut carbon emissions, doing it with decades to spare? The normal growing pains when people have to rapidly change their way of life. That's it. On the other hand, what's the risk if we erroneously move to slow to cut carbon emissions? Human extinction. Hmm... Comparing these, should we really be talking about targets to cut carbon emissions fractionally in 15 years? Shouldn't we actually be talking about declaring martial law? Shouldn't we be having a serious discussion about having the government take over all factories that emit greenhouse gases with armed soldiers and shutting them down, only letting them open after they've been re-engineered to renewable energy? Shouldn't we be talking about making it a mandatory law that employers must require telecommuting for every employee who can possibly telecommute? Shouldn't we outlaw all fuel burning cars effective, say, Jan. 1, 2016? Heck, I'd even be willing to bail out the auto companies again for any financial loss they incur from having to move "overnight" to electric cars. Shouldn't we be talking about massive solar and wind energy projects, not by some vague laws that give some kind of incentives to private companies, but by just building the damn things as a government project so it just gets done? Shouldn't pass a law right now that guarantees free college tuition to every person who majors in environmental sciences, so we have as many minds as possible working on a cure? Is this overkill? Maybe... Just like it's overkill to speed to the hospital for a spider bite when you MIGHT have days or even weeks before the poison kills you. But, since you just don't know, overkill is the only sane approach. I'm a reasonably intelligent person, maybe not brilliant. I try to stay on top of important issues, when I can. I've tried honestly to read up on climate change to figure out what we need to do, by when, so I don't have to worry we are the generation responsible for committing global suicide. And I honestly cannot find any clear answer to how much we have to change, or how soon. And I think most people are in a similar state of uncertainty. However, I look around and it feels like the masses who share this sense of uncertainty are not driven by this uncertainty to a desire for urgent action. Instead, it feels like they think, "Gee, since I don't KNOW that we are taking action too slowly to avert our doom, I won't make waves, I'll just vaguely encourage my politicians to make the environment a priority... And that seems so crazy to me. You don't need certainty to act in response to a grave threat. If you give me a gun with 1,000 chambers and only one bullet, I won't point it at my head and pull the trigger. One in a thousand risk of death is too great. Every day we sit back and let the current inept and corrupt politicians quibble about minor climate change measures, I feel like we are pulling that trigger. And eventually there will be a bullet in that chamber, maybe as soon as tomorrow. Given the gravity of the situation, the question should not be "how much do we need to change, and by when?" Because that makes it sound like we are going to try to just squeak by with the minimum we have to do to survive. The question should be, "Are we doing everything conceivable and possible to reduce our carbon footprint and restore the atmosphere as fast as possible?" The answer to the latter question -- the better question -- is definitely "no." Which reflects a disconnect not just with government, but among the people who sit by and shrug it off. Can anyone give me definitive proof that we are doing enough to avert disaster? Because if not, then that proves we should be doing more. Ken
  2. I would like to talk about climate change once again. In particular with our conservative opponents. I understand there is really a lot being said and written on the topic recently and some of you got tired of it already. But it concerns the future of the entire planet and deserves a small portion of your time and attention. The following report was prepared by the most respected and trusted scientists in the field of climate, not some kind of brain-washed eco-activists.: http://www.climatecentral.org/news/ipcc-synthesis-report-climate-change-18272?gclid=CjwKEAjw876oBRCYr86w6KGfpkgSJAACIidwJ5laKSn9kyIA7QSzuGXGj7gz0Qc90OM9fg9veScGuhoCIUPw_wcB It says that we, humanity and the planet itself, are in deep trouble. We can limit climate change but it requires action. Why are we not doing anything on the governmental level to literally save the humanity? Because people see no need to do something about the future. Creating jobs somewhere in Kansas is portrayed as a national heroism while shutting down a heavily polluting factory equals treason.