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jon

Climate change, the latest findings, and how we use the outdoors?

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As part of the Paris Climate Accord the United Nations panel for climate change released it's findings that are summarized pretty well in the below NYT article.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/07/climate/ipcc-climate-report-2040.html

A couple interesting quotes in the comments of that article...

Quote

"Everything that has been predicted is happening."

Quote

______ , all of the like-minded politicians over the world, and their major supporters in business and industry are sacrificing the wellbeing of future generations and perhaps the habitability of the earth itself.

There is no question we will have to make some majorly drastic changes in how we operate in this world. As climbers and general outdoors people how do we justify things like long drives into the mountains, long airplane rides to far off places, the occasional helicopter ride? Where do we draw the line, and how do we justify and minimize our impacts? A typical trip for me around Mt Baker will result in me using 6+ gallons of gas, where 1 gallon of combusted gas will product 20 pounds of C02. I'm putting over half my weight in gas into the atmosphere just traveling for one trip! 

I'm curious at to others thoughts on this and what things can be done to help minimize our impacts even more. We seem to tread lightly once we are there but not so much getting there. 

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I've been skeptical for a while of the people that make an overt habit of driving 500+ miles every single weekend, flying all over the world many times per year, etc., so they can participate in their favorite activities in the best conditions in the best locations all the time. I appreciate trying to get the most out of life, but at some point it's nearly gluttonous and it doesn't seem like this practice will hold up to scrutiny a whole lot longer.

For me, I try to stick near home and appreciate the things in my back yard more often. Turns out they're usually beyond satisfactory, provided I stay off of Instagram and don't compare my experience to whatever the coolest thing happening in the world is at the moment.

On the topic of vehicles, I've been mulling about how to drive a more efficient one without compromising access too much. It occurred to me that a large number of outdoor recreationists could get rid of their trucks and SUVs altogether if only some number of popular forest roads were better maintained. This is currently a sticking point for me.

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no real point to my comment other than to put it in slight perspective. 

 

The ship that I work on will go out to sea for a normal military deployment and burn about 5 million gallons of diesel fuel, plus maybe a half million gallons of jet fuel … I guess we should also stop military operations ...

 

if you average 15k miles per year and 25 mpg in your car … that's over 7500 years worth of fuel ...

 

flame away folks …

 

PS:  the skiing and trail running this past weekend was awesome; but I burned more than 6 gallons, sry.  

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I'm not sure a lot has changed since this national address got Jimmy Carter laughed out of the White House:

I don't think either party is very interested in trying to put the pinch on people's lifestyles, 40 years later.  Maybe I'll be proven wrong, but I suspect that we'll keeping pumping and burning until it isn't profitable to do so (and I don't suspect that global carbon taxes will make it not profitable any time soon).

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1 hour ago, jakedouglas said:

outdoor recreationists could get rid of their trucks and SUVs altogether if only some number of popular forest roads were better maintained.

You can get to pretty much a lifetime of trips in a 1991 Civic and a few minutes of walking.  I'm going on 21 years with that option.

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It's eye opening to learn about the numbers around energy production, usage, and the climate. That may help inform whether you stop driving to the crag or flying to ski resorts, or if you want to buy a sweater and turn your heat down a degree or two in the winter. Check out David MacKay's book/page if you want to see the numbers: book

One small thing: consider an electric car (still not great for long range trips yet due to lack of charging stations, but driving closer to home can work). In much of the PNW we have about 95% of our electricity from hydro, which is a clean and renewable energy source (sorry salmon). I still drive the family minivan.

 

 

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Having spent a good chunk of the past few summers on and around retreating glaciers, this is something I think about a lot.  I do more driving than the average person, my car is not especially fuel-efficient, and I probably won't buy an electric anytime soon.  On the other hand, I don't fly much, don't own a house, and eat very little beef.  I haven't done the math, but my carbon footprint is probably well below average, though probably still larger than it should be.

FWIW, this article I read awhile back is helpful in comparing various activities' impacts: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/10/emissions-eschmissions-how-to-simply-reduce-your-carbon-footprint-in-2017/

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On 10/8/2018 at 6:10 PM, jakedouglas said:

I've been skeptical for a while of the people that make an overt habit of driving 500+ miles every single weekend, flying all over the world many times per year, etc., so they can participate in their favorite activities in the best conditions in the best locations all the time. I appreciate trying to get the most out of life, but at some point it's nearly gluttonous and it doesn't seem like this practice will hold up to scrutiny a whole lot longer.

 

Yes, I argued multiple times with people I know about this. Other big issue is the size of dwellings people live in. Also I know several people, who own 2 or more properties, which in many cases are not occupied year round. Bottom line is, that the economy- like power generation, fuel production, technology (better electric cars) is not changing, because people are not willing to change their individual habits. If current status quo sells, why bother- right? If we want to see change, this has to be bottom up. 

Edited by glassgowkiss

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It's odd that we even think that we can avert this, it's not like this report is news.  Our habits aren't going to change, and if we do, well, the rest of the world won't.  There was that report a few months back about how scientists were amazed to still find CFC's being emitted and depleting the ozone.. and they traced it back to China... a small example but indicative of the larger problem.

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While I do believe that individuals should do what they can to reduce their carbon footprint, it's worth remembering that 100 corporations are responsible for over 70% of global emissions: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/10/100-fossil-fuel-companies-investors-responsible-71-global-emissions-cdp-study-climate-change

Of course those corporations mostly exist because individuals buy products from them so it's not as simple as that pithy statement sounds, but the idea that climate change, etc. is a moral failing on the part of individuals is pretty laughable.

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25 minutes ago, NikiY said:

but the idea that climate change, etc. is a moral failing on the part of individuals is pretty laughable.

Huh?  Who is buying all that fuel?  I know you and I are, with everyday decisions, including where we set the thermostat, how far we live from work, etc.

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31 minutes ago, NikiY said:

While I do believe that individuals should do what they can to reduce their carbon footprint, it's worth remembering that 100 corporations are responsible for over 70% of global emissions: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/10/100-fossil-fuel-companies-investors-responsible-71-global-emissions-cdp-study-climate-change

Of course those corporations mostly exist because individuals buy products from them so it's not as simple as that pithy statement sounds, but the idea that climate change, etc. is a moral failing on the part of individuals is pretty laughable.

So by your logic, we should forget about other 30%?

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1 hour ago, NikiY said:

While I do believe that individuals should do what they can to reduce their carbon footprint, it's worth remembering that 100 corporations are responsible for over 70% of global emissions: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/10/100-fossil-fuel-companies-investors-responsible-71-global-emissions-cdp-study-climate-change

Of course those corporations mostly exist because individuals buy products from them so it's not as simple as that pithy statement sounds, but the idea that climate change, etc. is a moral failing on the part of individuals is pretty laughable.

Stop trying to pass the buck. Most of those companies are creating products you/we buy and use. Gas companies? Put them out of business by switching to renewables. Companies selling stuff we don't need? Just say no. And for the others demand that they abide by environmental laws and regulations and support enforcement of these. Vote for pols that support protection of the environment and planet.  As consumers and voters we can and should use whatever means we can to address this challenge. Our kids will be looking back wondering WTF we were doing/not doing when the signs were so clear.

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Hey, I'm not passing the buck. Like I said it's not as simple as my pithy statement makes it out to be.

It's more that I think individuals need to focus more on organizing to influence these corporations than they do about not using disposable straws.

Edited by NikiY

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37 minutes ago, NikiY said:

Hey, I'm not passing the buck. Like I said it's not as simple as my pithy statement makes it out to be.

It's more that I think individuals need to focus more on organizing to influence these corporations than they do about not using disposable straws.

I agree, though we can both work at the larger level (oppose rollback of fuel efficiency standards) and the individual level (buy an EV, bike, carpool, take the bus).

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1 hour ago, NikiY said:

It's more that I think individuals need to focus more on organizing to influence these corporations

The only real organizing people need to do is pay attention to how they vote (both with their dollars and ballot).  It all flows from that.  Every election is an opportunity towards revolution.  Just look at 2016.

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Did we read the same article?  It was pretty clear that lowering the thermostat 2 degrees ain't gonna cut it.  I think we need to accept this is going to happen, do our best to mitigate it, then prepare as best we can.  Plan to evacuate coastal areas, where are we going to get food & water, how are we going to keep swarms of desperate refugees out, etc etc.

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21 hours ago, gertlush said:

I think we need to accept this is going to happen, do our best to mitigate it, then prepare as best we can.

Totally agree, but if people don't think their actions matter, that is also wrong.  The issue is whether of the majority of people in the world care enough about carbon emissions to change their behavior and the way the global economy is structured.  And on that point it is pretty obvious that they haven't, and likely won't, until it makes economic sense.

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We're simply caught in the tide of history, there's no spinning this, it's spun. "Everything that's been predicted has happened"  then the tipping points should be on deck and that's the big points round.  Anyone who thinks renewable enegry will keep our lifestyles a float is delusional and hasn't looked at the numbers.  Here they are in the below link from a MIT Engineer. 

http://www.azimuthproject.org/azimuth/show/Saul+Griffith

Or perhaps the celebrated American author Kurt Vonnegut said it best. 

http://inthesetimes.com/article/cold_turkey

 

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On 10/18/2018 at 10:47 AM, Eric T said:

Anyone who thinks renewable enegry will keep our lifestyles a float is delusional and hasn't looked at the numbers.

Well, that is the crux, isn't it? People buy worthless shit, so they can brag about it and compete with equally stupid and following trends like sheep neighbors. The economy in the US is fueled by consumer spending. Do people really need 3 or 4 or 5 TV sets in their homes? Corporations sell shit, because people buy shit. So yes, individual decisions matter more then we think. 

Edited by glassgowkiss

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It's not the 330 million in the US that matter, it the 7.5 billion and growing that cause the strain. 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/phys.org/news/2012-07-china-co2-person-europe.amp

Chinese people now make as much carbon as Europeans.  There's 1.4 bllion Chinese people, it's 4 plus USA's.  There's almost a billion people I Europe now, 3 USA's.  Let's not forget the 1.4 billion people in India that are using more and more.  Nothing we do matters. Just live your life and take the lumps as they come. 

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well, if we are to die, i reckon it couldn't happen to a nicer lot of nattering nabobs :)

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