Optimistic Disaster

June 25, 2014

EmissionsHeavy ground fog this early Wednesday on California’s north coast, and beyond the mist, we’re forecast for some rainfall today, maybe.
Weather on any shoreline is pretty-much unpredictable in a local, predictable way.

A couple of weeks ago, President Obama delivered the commencement address at the University of California and jumped on climate change as the motivation for America, like JFK and going to the moon: “Progress on climate change is a big thing” he said. Like America’s space program, “it requires a spirit of adventure. A willingness to take risks. It requires optimism.”

A strong emotion in the face of pure horror — “optimism.”

(Illustration found here).

Climate change is the earth’s greatest threat, ever. Mainly, because it means the end to us all, but the cost (beyond dying) will be incredible. From Reuters:

Annual property losses from hurricanes and other coastal storms of $35 billion; a decline in crop yields of 14 percent, costing corn and wheat farmers tens of billions of dollars; heat wave-driven demand for electricity costing utility customers up to $12 billion per year.
These are among the economic costs that climate change is expected to exact in the United States over the next 25 years, according to a bipartisan report released on Tuesday.
And that’s just for starters: The price tag could soar to hundreds of billions by 2100.

By mid-century, $66 billion to $106 billion worth of coastal property will likely be below sea level.
There is a 5 percent chance that by 2100 the losses will reach $700 billion, with average annual losses from rising oceans of $42 billion to $108 billion along the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf of Mexico.
Extreme heat, especially in the Southwest, Southeast and upper Midwest, will slash labor productivity as people are unable to work outdoors at construction and other jobs for sustained periods.
The analysis goes further than previous work, said Princeton’s Oppenheimer, by identifying places that will be “unsuited for outdoor activity.”

Meanwhile, a new report from the World Bank indicates ‘a few key policies aimed at cutting carbon pollution would boost the global economy.’
More from Climate Progress:

The Bank finds that if all six embrace three sets of policies for clean transportation plus energy efficiency in industry in buildings, “the annual benefits of just these policies in 2030 include an estimated GDP growth of between $1.8 trillion and $2.6 trillion.”
Furthermore, the report found that “these policies alone would account for 30 percent of the total reduction needed in 2030 to limit global warming to 2°C [3.6°F].”
The overall benefits are staggering, as these policies avoid 94,000 premature pollution-related deaths and 8.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions.
They save nearly 16 billion kilowatt-hours of energy — roughly equivalent to taking 2 billion cars off the road.

Pipe dreams, or whatever.
From 24/7 Wall St:

However, coal consumption rose 21 percent and coal burning generated 44 percent of the country’s electricity during the past winter.
Average daily coal consumption rose from 2.3 million tons to 2.8 million tons during the winter, and through April 2014 it is up 25 percent in 2014 to a total of 334 million tons.

And what about all that oil still under the earth — Exxon understands: “All of ExxonMobil’s current hydrocarbon reserves will be needed, along with substantial future industry investments, to address global energy needs.”

Or better yet, a way to completely backtrack climate change is to ignore it, or pretend, either way:

Coastal residents joined forces with climate skeptics to attack the science of global warming and persuade North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature to deep-six the 39-inch projection, which had been advanced under the outgoing Democratic governor.
Now, the state is working on a new forecast that will look only 30 years out and therefore show the seas rising by no more than eight inches.
Environmentalists are appalled, and North Carolina has been lampooned as a hotbed of greedy developers trying to “outlaw” the rising tide.
Some climate-change experts are sympathetic, however, calling the rebellion an understandable reaction to sea-level forecasts that are rapidly becoming both widely available and alarmingly precise.

Optimism is in the eye of the beholder, or whatever.

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