Monday, December 23, 2019

The Earth is fine, we are not

It's been a long time since I posting something to this blog. Most of my rants now go to Facebook, therefore there wasn't much of a need to post them to my blog. Today, however, I read an article that make me think it was time to post a new entry.
https://www.cnet.com/features/climate-emergency-the-world-is-on-fire-this-is-not-fine/

The Earth is fine. It's been around for billions of years and will be around for billions more. The Earth has seen climate changes from planet wide tropics to ice ages. The Earth has also seen magnetic pole reversals, solar flares, and asteroids. Life on Earth however is not fine. Each of the changes that the planet has gone through have changed the makeup of life on earth. Fossil records show we had a time period were life was made up of only simple organisms and at other periods of time we hard extremely large animals (dinosaurs) roaming the planet at a time where temperatures and oxygen levels were significantly higher than today.

Some people ask, "why are we making such a big deal over a temperature change of just a few degrees, temperatures have fluctuated before, why are we saying this has to have been human caused?" My answer to this is you must understand what global temperature is, as it is not the daily and seasonal temperature changes, but the average temperature across the globe for a year. This global temperature does not change much and takes an extremely log time to change. The global temperature changing by more than a degree within a few decades is a big deal. Currently the temperature is increasing, and the rate of that increase is increasing. When humans are pouring tons of CO2 and other green house gasses into the environment I find it arrogant to say that it's impossible for humans to be responsible for the climate change.

If your car starts making a funny noise, do you wait until it completely dies or do you have it checked out before? Right now the planet is making noise. There are signs that things are changing and the end result can be catastrophic, not to the planet, but to us. Should we wait until it's too late, or should we start paying attention and try to do something before we reach a catastrophic failure?

I've already started making changes in my life to both reduce the amount that I contribute to green house gases and to prepare for a future where the climate is significantly different. I have eliminated all incandescent bulbs form my house and completely switched over to CFL and LED which has reduced the electricity usage of my house. As CFL bulbs contain hazardous mercury I plan to phase these out as well by replacing them with LED as the burn out. Whenever any of the appliances in my house need to be replaced I always try to replace them with the most energy efficient model that makes sense. I've also replaced the furnace with a more efficient model and use a smart thermostat to try and minimize energy usage while still keeping the house comfortable.

While I traded in my car for a more fuel efficient model, I have not yet switched over to an electric vehicle, but am anxious to do so once it makes sense. The currently available electric vehicles I believe are too expensive and use too much energy and do too much damage to the environment in their manufacture to make sense. https://www.wired.co.uk/article/lithium-batteries-environment-impact  What I want is an electric vehicle that uses a new form of battery that uses something safer than lithium and can get power from a better source such as solar.  I am also anxious to install solar panels on the roof of my house to reduce or eliminate the need for electricity from a power plant, but current cost and life expectancy of solar installations don't make economic sense for me at this time. My house doesn't receive enough solar radiation and the break-even cost is too far in the future.

To really solve the climate crisis it will take more than just individuals making small changes in their life, but it will also take the power of governments to encourage more people to make changes while helping foster new technologies to reduce and eventually reverse carbon pollution. I see a future where carbon is pulled out of the air and used to build new things, batteries are cheap and safe, and sunlight can be used to power everything.

What are you doing to help reduce climate change?