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his_dark_magician t1_j6x3wvf wrote

We live on a finite world and unless something about space mining lets humanity undo the last 50 years of carbon emissions and pollution, there’s no solution that will avoid global climate catastrophe. I’ve been protesting for 20 years now and IMHO some catastrophic events are probably unavoidable at this point. The world is at least looking at massive famines. If the oceans acidify, forget Ukraine, that will be WW3.

We subsidize oil and gas tremendously, which is one reason why people continue to use it to power everything. Another is that an outspoken subsection of the population sees environmentalism as a fig leaf that is used to justify raising taxes that won’t change anything. Central Massachusetts has arrays of solar panels that generate electricity for municipalities who refuse to buy it. It’s more expensive to move the electricity to Boston than it is to burn fossil fuels, so that’s what the city does.

If a sizable minority of Americans sees it as their mission to subvert climate change policy (which is what Republicans have been doing for 40-50 years now), things can and will only get worse.


Bewaretheicespiders t1_j6xkh5b wrote

USA's GHG emissions have peaked in 2006 and are continuing to trend down rapidely, and thats despite an -unsustainable- population increase.


strvgglecity t1_j6y7fym wrote

That's only technically true. Much of the western world's emissions have simply been transferred because we moved our factories to Asia and south America. The claim that china is responsible is used by climate deniers and talking heads that don't want a real conversation, only a scapegoat that isn't their own company.


mhornberger t1_j6yy8z9 wrote

> That's only technically true. Much of the western world's emissions have simply been transferred because we moved our factories to Asia

"Technically true" meaning "true, but with some caveats that bear noting." Most of China's emissions are from their own consumption. The emissions, both in the aggregate and per capita, of both Europe and the US have declined, even when accounting for trade, and are still declining. "Technically" or otherwise.


Bewaretheicespiders t1_j6y9dan wrote

USA has been investing heavily in renewables and getting results. China is building dozens of coal plants a year. No reasons to shit on progress.

Im neither american nor chinese BTW.


strvgglecity t1_j6ya4wq wrote

Allow me to introduce you to facts.

They are building coal plants. Which European countries also did.

BUT in terms of future planning: The share of electricity generation provided by renewables is higher in China than in the U.S., while the sheer number of solar panels and wind turbines being installed across China leaves their American rivals in the dust.


Bewaretheicespiders t1_j6yavi5 wrote

>While China leads the world in building new coal plants and accounts for around half of all the coal burned globally each year

Its about the trend. China is increasing its GHG, USA is lowering them. And yes, we should heavily tax imports from China because of this.


strvgglecity t1_j6ybugc wrote

You're completely ignoring my original comment. This is a result of the west offshoring it's factories. That's why they are building coal plants - so they can produce cheap goods for the profits of American owned manufacturers. If we kept production here, all those emissions and power plants would simply be here. There is no longer separation between nations when it comes to use of resources because so much commerce is international. As long as Americans buy things made in China, those emissions are ours too.


mhornberger t1_j6yz86w wrote

> This is a result of the west offshoring it's factories.

This is partly the result of offshoring. Most of China's emissions are for domestic consumption.

And they are installing renewables hand-over fist. Their emissions are still increasing (though they may be very close to plateauing) because their overall demand is increasing still faster than they can install renewables.


Bewaretheicespiders t1_j6ycj4h wrote

Texas being at 30% renewables and growing has nothing to do with offshoring factories. Yes, everyone should stop buying stuff from China, because its a horrible dictatorship destroying the planet. That doesnt erase the domestic progress.


strvgglecity t1_j6yecvh wrote

Can you acknowledge the fact I have repeatedly stated?

This isn't my opinion.

We see that the consumption-based emissions of the US are higher than production: In 2016 the two values were 5.7 billion versus 5.3 billion tonnes – a difference of 8%. This tells us that more CO2 is emitted in the production of the goods that Americans import than in those products Americans export.


mhornberger t1_j6yysp0 wrote

Renewables specifically, yes. But the US is doing better on low-carbon energy, due to its preexisting nuclear plants.


strvgglecity t1_j72q1tq wrote

Only today. We are still the largest historical emitter, and we set the standard. We spent a century telling the whole world we are better, our way of life is the ideal, you should copy our capitalism and consumption, and now our right wing government blames china for following us. It's all so broken.


mhornberger t1_j72t3mw wrote

I don't think we had to persuade anyone else to want to be rich. People seem to like wealth, comfort, status goods, travel, etc.

No one blames China for dragging their people out of poverty. Conservatives are just using China as an excuse for the US to not invest more in clean energy. They aren't speaking in good faith, and never were. No one advocates for China to have remained poor, just as no one wants India to stay poor.

China's emissions will drop. Right now their emissions are increasing because their electricity demand is increasing faster than they can install renewables. But that won't continue forever, because energy demand doesn't keep going up forever. They're still in the process of pulling their people out of poverty.


strvgglecity t1_j7335w0 wrote

Yep. All true. Have to disagree with the implied optimism though. American culture is excess, not even just comfort anymore. Our economy operates on excess consumption. Capitalism requires excess, which causes obvious major environmental harm. It's not just energy, it's what we do with it. Never has a new utility been provided that people didn't use up and then require larger systems to provide. I'm confident that even if we solarized 100%of our energy needs, the very next day we would need more be a use we always use maximum capacity (which includes enormous amounts of waste at all levels).

I believe reducing individual consumption and desireto consume must be a goal. Otherwise we're just living on a finite planet pretending we have infinite resources.


mhornberger t1_j734m38 wrote

What is "excess"? Are you just devaluing people's wants as not being authentic, just because you don't think they should want them? People in Dubai, Tokyo, Beijing etc who are buying status or luxury goods are not "acting American." People just like that stuff.

Sumptuary laws have a long history, long predating capitalism. People have always passed judgment on desires of the rabble for luxury, status goods, and the like. So much that they sometimes passed laws trying to regulate it.

Regarding 'optimism,' I wasn't speculating about the future. I was pointing out something that has already happened in many rich countries. There's no reason that China would be exempt from this longstanding trend.

I think it's astounding that the US is using almost 20% less energy per person than when I was born. With BEVs and ongoing greening of the grid, that will improve yet further.

>Otherwise we're just living on a finite planet pretending we have infinite resources.

Resource use was never going to scale to infinity. Energy use plateaus. No one buys infinite blue jeans or eats infinite steaks. People like wealth, yes, but consumption does not keep spiraling upward forever. No one was under the impression that we were going to have infinite people using infinite energy per person, no more than we were going to be eating infinite gyros or infinite M&Ms.

Humans won't even last for infinite years. The sun and all the stars in the galaxy will not last for infinite years. "We can't scale x to infinity" is a given, but also not a rebuttal of anything anyone actually believes. Plus it's generally just a proxy for degrowth now, which is a different argument altogether. You don't forego building a house now just because of the truism that we can't build infinite houses.


mhornberger t1_j6yxo7t wrote

> thats despite an -unsustainable- population increase.

Why that is unsustainable is itself interesting. Not because we can't feed or house people, but because the fertility rate is ~1.65, well below the replacement rate. The only source of population growth is from immigration. Our main sources of immigration are from Latin America, China, and India, all of which now have fertility rates below the replacement rate. So immigration will continue for a while, but taper eventually.