Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth Science

Can Problems From Climate Change Be Addressed With Science? (scientificamerican.com) 295

Slashdot reader bricko shares an article from Scientific American about two "ecomodernists" who argue that the problems of climate change can be addressed through science and technology. In his Breakthrough essay, Steven Pinker spells out a key assumption of ecomodernism. Industrialization "has been good for humanity. It has fed billions, doubled lifespans, slashed extreme poverty, and, by replacing muscle with machinery, made it easier to end slavery, emancipate women, and educate children. It has allowed people to read at night, live where they want, stay warm in winter, see the world, and multiply human contact. Any costs in pollution and habitat loss have to be weighed against these gifts...."

We can solve problems related to climate change, Pinker argues, "if we sustain the benevolent forces of modernity that have allowed us to solve problems so far, including societal prosperity, wisely regulated markets, international governance, and investments in science and technology... Since 1970, when the Environmental Protection Agency was established, the United States has slashed its emissions of five air pollutants by almost two-thirds. Over the same period, the population grew by more than 40 percent, and those people drove twice as many miles and became two and a half times richer. Energy use has leveled off, and even carbon dioxide emissions have turned a corner."

The essay also cites ecomodernist Will Boisvert, who believes climate change will be cataclysmic but not apocalyptic, bringing large upheaval but a small impact on human well-being. "Global warming won't wipe us out or even stall our progress, it will just marginally slow ordinary economic development that will still outpace the negative effects of warming and make life steadily better in the future, under every climate scenario.... Our logistic and technical capacities are burgeoning, and they give us ample means of addressing these problems."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Can Problems From Climate Change Be Addressed With Science?

Comments Filter:
  • A you kidding me? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wellingj ( 1030460 ) on Saturday March 17, 2018 @11:39PM (#56278063)
    Is it super natural? No? Then yes science can eventually get there.
    • Re:A you kidding me? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by plopez ( 54068 ) on Sunday March 18, 2018 @12:31AM (#56278245) Journal

      So assuming science can. How long will it take and how much it cost? As Keynes said, "In the long run we are all dead".

      • Yep, "eventually" could be a very long time, perhaps .... too long?

        Never mind the plethora of unintended consequences our efforts to "fix the problems with science" will bring and likely kill us all off in some other way.

        Can it be solved with science, absolutely.

        Will it? Unlikely.

      • The joke is on us. (Score:5, Informative)

        by turkeyfish ( 950384 ) on Sunday March 18, 2018 @07:32AM (#56278997)

        You ask a fundamental question, that is How much time do we have as a species to prevent fossil=fuel combustion from making planet Earth unihabitablefor humans?

        Unfortunately, there are several considerations that make things more dire than many might expect:.

        1) in many parts of the world we are rapidly approaching wet-bulb temperatures that are lethal to humans. During the most recent El Nino, temperatues in the region of he Persian Gulf rose to above 140 F for hours at a time. The next El Nino, coupled with additonal warming due to carbon dioxide pollution, will greatly expand this region of temperature lethality and temperatures in excess of 145- 150 Fshould be expected within the next 10 years. Since we are in the early phase of a warming that is exponential in nature given its cause (greenhouse gas accumulation), temperatures will rise far more dramatically than they have up till now in human history

        2) the geology and chronology of earlier extreme warming periods indicate that massive sea level rises will occur over the next few centuries, perhpas as much as 5-6 m over the course of 200-400 years time. Given that about 80% of world populations live in or near coastlines, the disruption to human activities will be far larger than most imagine.

        3) at the current rate of ocean acidification, most organims that deposit calcium in their exoskeletons will go extinct in the next 200-400 years. This is a big deal, since many of these species such as pteropods, whose popoulations are dramatically declining worldwide are the foudations of marine food chains. Humans rely on between 30-50% of all their protein from the oceans (including meals for growing cattle, pigs, and poultry, growing crops, etc.)., with most fisheries in rapid decline worldwide.

        4) with the unexpectedly rapid warming of the Arctic a huge reservoir of carbon currently locked in permafrost is about to be rapidly released. Even though only a fraction of this store may enter the asmosphere or the oceans, the reserve does have the potential to double the current rate of warming within a few hundreds of years time, independent of what humans do in the future to curb their own greenhouse gas production..

        Now if you carefully look over all the slashdot comments, made by the presumably techically literate among us, and their likely impact on or relevance to any of he 4 considerations just mentkoned, you can see humanity has a major challenge ahead, if it has any chance of survival beyond the relatively near future.

      • Cost is not Science, it is Economics. As a more sardonic fact, certain older multi billionares have funded religious groups that are against DNA Research. So the results of repairing cells with broken DNA or RNA will be the reason one passes away from old age. It reduces the medical science conversation to a simple statement, "Tiic Toc."
    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Sunday March 18, 2018 @03:03AM (#56278559)

      Well it is possible, as this is a Man Made problem. We have technology that can scrub carbon and other green house gasses from the atmosphere. There is alternative energy sources which we can use for a lot of cases.
      The problem right now isn't that we don't know how to do it. It is the fact we lack the leadership to do it. Not enough politicians are willing to anger people who will just flat out not believe the problem exists or place it as part of some conspiracy of the other side. And such actions will come at a cost, that we currently don't want to stand up and pay it.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        We do know how to do it, just make it the economically best choice and let capitalism fix the problem. Doesn't matter if some voters don't believe in climate change, as long as wind energy is cheapest that's what the power company will invest in.

        What we have not completely figured out is how to make it happen quickly enough. Subsidies do help, certainly, and can be sold to voters as jobs programmes. But we also really need to push new tech.

        The US government deserves some big credit for investing in Tesla. W

        • by gtall ( 79522 )

          Let capitalism fix the problem? Oh, you mean when the problem gets worse enough to kill off parts of the food chain, poor people living withing sea reach are floating, and desertification becomes beyond merely evident? Oh, yes, let's let capitalism fix the problem after it's consigned humanity and the world's critters to a fresh eruption from hell.

    • by pots ( 5047349 ) on Sunday March 18, 2018 @03:19AM (#56278593)
      Isn't science already there? Science has already identified the problem and provided a solution: stop doing it. It's just not an easy answers, no-sacrifices, we-don't-have-to-do-anything-differently-because-we-are-perfect-just-the-way-we-are, solution.

      What the title is hoping for is a, "Can't someone else do it?" solution, and it's invoking science like a magic wand in order to get there.
    • Can science help us alter things outside of our light cone?
      No, not without breaking causality, in which nothing matters because consequences have no actions and actions have no consequences.

    • Science is the art of figuring out what is real, in detail. Science can tell you how and why climate is changing, from that you can extrapolate what you need to do in order to make it change differently, but that already falls under geoengineering, not science per se.
    • Like most of these "climate change is nothing to worry about " types, they know virtually nothing about biology and natural systems and just how sensitive they are to even the smallest perturbations. To get an appreciation of this fact, consider the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum. Aside from the modern era, it is the period of most rapid warming in planet Earth's history.

      Although it was much less than 1/10 as rapid as the warming being forced by human-induced carbon dioxide pollution caused by the burni

  • If it can (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 17, 2018 @11:46PM (#56278077)
    If climate change can be avoided, it won't be without technological advances. It certainty isn't going to come from some politician living it up and telling the rest of us to accept a lower quality of life. This means we can't keep cutting science & education, and we can't oppose new technology when it gets here, as is the case with nuclear power and genetically engineered crops.
  • Too Simplistic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Giant Electronic Bra ( 1229876 ) on Saturday March 17, 2018 @11:49PM (#56278089)

    This is an overly simplistic analysis. We wouldn't have the severe ecological problems we have today if it were not for advanced technology. While earlier civilizations had, sometimes locally catastrophic, impacts on the environment they were never anywhere close to drastically altering the overall carbon budget or nitrogen budget of the biosphere as we are today. Nor did they pose anything like the challenges represented by biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons.

    While its not crazy to suggest that technical progress can solve many of the issues we have today, FUNDAMENTALLY the problems aren't technical or scientific and so these kinds of solutions can have but a limited impact. Its MORE reasonable to imagine that the march of technology will present ever greater challenges and that the pace of these challenges will increase, whilst our ability to advance socially and morally has not really changed at all (I think there is such progress, but it is fundamentally unaffected by technology).

    Thus it would be far more rational to argue that we are increasingly losing control of our impact on the world and that these conditions are likely to spiral out of control, or else be replaced with even MORE intractable problems we may not even be fully capable of imagining today. People 200 years ago couldn't even really imagine air pollution or global warming for example.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      "The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking... The solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker."
      --Albert Einstein

    • Re:Too Simplistic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday March 18, 2018 @12:12AM (#56278159)

      FUNDAMENTALLY the problems aren't technical or scientific

      Nonsense. Technology is the solution, and it is the ONLY solution. People are not going to accept lower living standards, nor are billions of people in the 3rd World even going to accept staying at their current level. So we need to find ways for people to live better lives with less energy, and that energy can't be carbon based.

      Better solar panels, better batteries, better wind turbines, better lighting, better cars, better telecommuting and telepresence infrastructure, better transport systems, better delivery services, better structural materials. We need all of these things, and we are making progress. This is happening because of science and engineering.

      Nerds will save the world, not politicians.

      • Nerds will save the world

        Only if Nerds manage to reverse population growth.

        • That can be achieved without Nerds. All you need is a big enough war...

          • Re:Too Simplistic (Score:5, Interesting)

            by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday March 18, 2018 @03:07AM (#56278573)

            That can be achieved without Nerds. All you need is a big enough war...

            Wars tend to increase population growth. The highest birthrate in the world is in Niger, followed by Somalia and Mali. The highest birthrate outside of Africa is Afghanistan.

            What do all these countries have in common? Answer: Civil war.

            When people feel insecure about their children surviving, then tend to hedge their bets by having more and investing fewer resources in each child.

            Reduced population growth results in less global warming. So one of the best remedies for AGW is peacekeeping operations, vaccinations, nutritional supplements, and wells for clean water, which all reduce infant and child mortality, and encourage people to have fewer kids.

            • by swell ( 195815 )

              "When people feel insecure about their children surviving, then tend to hedge their bets by having more and investing fewer resources in each child."

              Gotta say this is bullshit. It happens in nature but these places and populations are far from natural.

              The reality is that we, Republican America, pay them to have more children. We send aid to these countries contingent upon their NOT using birth control, NOT allowing abortions, NOT educating citizens about family planning. If they distribute condoms, they los

        • Nerds, for some values of "nerd" actually do change population growth trends. There is a direct correlation between smaller families and economic growth. There are plenty of examples, but a quick search led me to this: https://www.livescience.com/43... [livescience.com]

          According to most census estimates, an American woman had on average seven to eight children in 1800. By 1900 the number dropped to about 3.5. That has fallen to slightly more than two today.

          It is also worth considering that technology allows people to live in higher density. If the entire population of the world were to live in one area at the same density as people do in New York, then the entire world population could live in a space the size

        • Nerds will save the world

          Only if Nerds manage to reverse population growth.

          What population growth? What we keep fearing would be exponential growth whenever people feel the need to replace a population lost to war always turns into an S-curve, flattening out with industrial prosperity. The US is at zero native growth. So is Europe, and so are the wealthy parts of Asia, most recently China.

          High population growth persists in places where people are too poor to feed themselves, which is a self-limiting problem. When Western liberal activists convinced Zambia to reject food aid becaus

      • by plopez ( 54068 )

        No, the problems are social and political. Case in point, immunizations. We have the technology, yet there is a social issue as we have anti-vexers. That is nerds always lose.

        • Case in point, immunizations. We have the technology, yet there is a social issue as we have anti-vexers.

          The anti-vaxers are a fringe group that are having near zero effect on worldwide vaccination rates.

          Same with climate change deniers. They make noise, but have little effect on progress. Red states are way ahead of blue on alternative energy (excluding hydro).

      • And you have stated the other hand. Now, in the gripping hand, its inevitable that we will do something bad to ourselves, so where exactly is the out? One one hand technological progress is vital, and on the other it dooms us utterly.

        Again, the solution MUST BE social and 'spiritual' in nature. Mankind, as constituted, cannot simply continue to 'progress'. We either grow up, or we die. There ARE no other choices.

        • the solution MUST BE social and 'spiritual' in nature.

          When has "spiritualism" ever solved a problem?

          99% of progress comes from nerds. Even the social changes are driven by technology. We abolished slavery and child labor because steam engines and automation replaced their labor and gave us enough prosperity without them.

          • During the time of the steam engines child labour was extremely common, in Europe.

          • I do not mean 'hand wavy new age mumbo-jumbo'. I mean moral maturity and what are truly defined by the words 'virtue' and 'wisdom' in their most fundamental forms. Not the laughable pap sold to the masses by cheap preachermen, but a real deep and abiding thoughtfulness.

            You may call this impossible, and who will really refute that judgment, but to do so is to declare the issue of humanity's future closed, and not in a good way.

      • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

        Technology is important, very important, but it is not the *only* solution. Resources other than solar PV, wind, hydro and some other geo-based sources are finite in our timeframe, even if we find better and more efficient ways to exploit them (as we should).

        Better education, ESPECIALLY for girls and women, will make a big difference.

        "You don't need to have 8 children, or even birth 8 babies, to have a decent life."

        Of course, using technology to deliver that education is important, too.

        Getting 3rd-world pop

        • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

          Sorry, "3rd-world" isn't quite what I meant to say - it's a bit stupid to refer to some developing nations as "3rd-world". I hope you know what I mean.

    • Re:Too Simplistic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MangoCats ( 2757129 ) on Sunday March 18, 2018 @12:16AM (#56278181)

      Since 1970, when the Environmental Protection Agency was established, the United States has slashed its emissions of five air pollutants by almost two-thirds. Over the same period, the population grew by more than 40 percent, and those people drove twice as many miles and became two and a half times richer. Energy use has leveled off, and even carbon dioxide emissions have turned a corner."

      How much pollution and CO2 emissions have been exported during this same period via globalization?

      • How much pollution and CO2 emissions have been exported during this same period via globalization?

        Not much. Most CO2 emissions come from cars and electricity generation for residential use. Industrial emissions peaked at about 10%.

    • While earlier civilizations had, sometimes locally catastrophic, impacts on the environment they were never anywhere close to drastically altering the overall carbon budget or nitrogen budget of the biosphere as we are today. Nor did they pose anything like the challenges represented by biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons.

      The only thing earlier civilisations had going for them was their small numbers. It was not technology that deforested Easter Island; it was people armed with nothing more than primitive hand axes. The only reason people didn't do so much damage in earlier times was because there just weren't enough of them to do any signicant damage.

      • But it was primitive agricultural tech, supported only be primitive manufacturing, materials, etc. which fundamentally created those population limits (along with a lack of sanitation and the technology to achieve that). It is telling that the greatest ecological catastrophes were the result of high population densities. Iraq was once a fertile land, but is now mostly desert. Once populations reach a certain level, bad things happen. Technology, particularly in its modern form, is quite good at generating t

    • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

      " People 200 years ago couldn't even really imagine air pollution"

      Oh, yes they could.
      https://www.londonair.org.uk/L... [londonair.org.uk]

      Human activities' effects on ecology isn't new at all. Swathes of forests were clear-felled from medieval times onward - for farmland mostly, but also ship-building. We've been on this path for a long time. I'll grant ignorance to my forbears, up until the industrial revolution. Surely someone saw all that smoke, the industrial air and water pollution and thought "Maybe that's not a good thi

      • They never believed it could be a general problem which would threaten all people. They never imagined that ALL THE FORESTS OF THE EARTH could be stripped away; yet in 100 years that will be the case, no forest will remain. No, they could not imagine such a future. Nor is it likely we can really imagine the future which awaits us either, that arises from the path we are on. Good or bad, it is largely beyond our experience or appreciation.

        We can fall back on basic wisdom though, "waste not, want not" and kee

  • by Tailhook ( 98486 ) on Saturday March 17, 2018 @11:51PM (#56278095)

    Do people really believe that everyone else is going to adopt some great downsizing to yurts and kale? It's not going to happen folks. Grow up. If climate change get addressed it will be through the creation of cheaper, cleaner alternatives. Nothing else is feasible. It never was.

    • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

      Well, perhaps you could look at financial incentives to encourage people to stop building houses that vastly exceed their needs.

      Yurts and Kale, no - but stop building McMansions. There's an environmental cost to all of that construction, let alone the ongoing costs to provide heating and cooling.

  • He knows jack shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by plopez ( 54068 ) on Sunday March 18, 2018 @12:18AM (#56278203) Journal

    He has no clue about the complexities of the environment. We already have unleashed diseases by accident when we modified the environment, AIDS and ebola are examples.

    Only cataclysmic? Gee that makes me feel better. Obviously he is assuming he and/ children and/or grandchildren will survive. I always get a kick out of zombie flick fans. They always ID with the survivors, no one ever goes "See puss filled zombie #3? That's me! I really want to be a puss filled zombie."

    Now FTFA:
    "Simply moving water where it’s needed will continue as the mainstay of water management. Here California is the leader. The California Aqueduct, running 400 miles up and down mountain ranges to take water from the wetter north to the drier south, is just part of a colossal irrigation system that has made the state’s arid landscape an agricultural powerhouse. "

    I hope he realizes that climate change will destroy both this source and the Colorado River as a source of water as snow pack shrinks over the years. CA won't be the only place. The man is clueless.

    He also cites huge infrastructure which costs billions to maintain. Not economically efficient.

    FTFA:
    "Meanwhile, countervailing developments that increase yields will outrun the effects of climate change and dramatically raise farm output. "
    not without water.

    FTFA:
    "less mechanized farms could set up battery-powered tents with AC and cold water to cool over-heated laborers."

    1) you need water which is disappearing. 2) most farms are too large to cover entire crops. You are talking about building green houses. As any green house operator how much effort it takes to keep blights and infestations out of green houses.

    FTFA:
    "But as apocalyptic as it seems, sea-rise poses little risk to human well-being. " Ask New Orleans how that's working out for them.

    FTFA:
    "Anti-fracking movements would make gas-fired electricity, indispensable for balancing wind and solar, scarcer and more expensive than it needs to be. The green jihad against nuclear power, a safe and generally cheap source of reliable low-carbon energy, is especially counterproductive. "

    I think I know where he gets his money.

    • by Jack9 ( 11421 )

      > "But as apocalyptic as it seems, sea-rise poses little risk to human well-being. " Ask New Orleans how that's working out for them.

      This one sticks out as intentionally misleading. You actually highlighted that it's a local problem and not a problem for humanity, reinforcing the premise.

      • If sea levels rise everywhere, then it's hardly local any more, is it? Even if it happens gradually, the people from the lowlands are going to migrate to higher ground. The slight problem with that is that there are already people there and they might not like it.

    • by johannesg ( 664142 ) on Sunday March 18, 2018 @05:53AM (#56278853)

      He has no clue about the complexities of the environment. We already have unleashed diseases by accident when we modified the environment, AIDS and ebola are examples.

      AIDS probably jumped from monkeys to humans when people were eating bushmeat. Ebola was probably transmitted from bats. Neither event has anything to do with modifying the environment.

      The green jihad against nuclear power, a safe and generally cheap source of reliable low-carbon energy, is especially counterproductive.

      This is true, you know. We could solve our energy problems effectively, cheaply, and without huge cost to our landscape. If we were to replace all of our existing coal powered reactors by modern, reliable nuclear reactors, the world would be far better off. Moreover, abundant energy would make it possible to desalinate water on a very large scale as well.

      Is there a risk? Yes, there is a risk. Is the risk beyond our ability to contain? No, it isn't. Safe, modern reactor designs exist. By and large we don't need the ability to create plutonium for nuclear weapons; most countries would be well-served by thorium reactors that produce far less radioactivity, and simply fizzle out in case of accident. And the only reason we aren't doing that is because of constant, utterly unnecessary scaremongering from so-called 'green groups'. Funny name, that: by opposing further development of safe nuclear energy they have probably done more to harm the environment than any other group on the planet...

      • by lenski ( 96498 ) on Sunday March 18, 2018 @08:55AM (#56279149)

        The green jihad against nuclear power, a safe and generally cheap source of reliable low-carbon energy, is especially counterproductive.

        This is true, you know. We could solve our energy problems effectively, cheaply, and without huge cost to our landscape. If we were to replace all of our existing coal powered reactors by modern, reliable nuclear reactors, the world would be far better off. Moreover, abundant energy would make it possible to desalinate water on a very large scale as well.

        Is there a risk? Yes, there is a risk. Is the risk beyond our ability to contain? No, it isn't. Safe, modern reactor designs exist. By and large we don't need the ability to create plutonium for nuclear weapons; most countries would be well-served by thorium reactors that produce far less radioactivity, and simply fizzle out in case of accident. And the only reason we aren't doing that is because of constant, utterly unnecessary scaremongering from so-called 'green groups'. Funny name, that: by opposing further development of safe nuclear energy they have probably done more to harm the environment than any other group on the planet...

        I beg to agree but only technically. I am confident that with proper engineering, design and manageme... Oh fuck. That's the problem right there. It is ALWAYS management, isn't it? Answering my own rhetorical question: It is indeed. The problem with any technology is not the technology, it's the rabid greed-soaked fuckheads that "manage" it. And they have an essentially perfect record of going on the cheap now and fuck the future or anyone that is not empowered to hold their balls to the fire.

        So I'll disagree: The greenies, the hippies, all those SJWs have had it with shitheads fucking over the lives of anyone not in their god damned club. And the result is the sort of irresposibility that sets rivers on fire. And kills children. I am old enough to remember the Cuyahoga river, my father took a clean shirt to change into over lunch (Pittsburgh) and was given dogtags in second grade (Pittsburgh being a first or second strike target), largely because people with power are sick fucks who could not give one good goddamn about the people in their countries.

        Nuclear could be safe. But not in their hands. And they are very grabby.

    • Caifornia will have no choice but to end run around its drought by desalinating city water. Without the massive offtake of 14 million Angelenos, there is plenty of water in the Colorado for inland users. Arizona will gladly supply the nuclear energy that so much desalination will require.

    • uh... the water isn't "disappearing." Do you think it's going to achieve escape velocity and join the asteroid belt? The distribution is changing, and it's happening gradually. So perhaps in a 100 years, Nevada will be the place where farming is easiest, and the land there will be fertile, whereas coastal Califorinia will be submerged, or walled. Agriculture and irrigation have always been synonyms. People have always migrated, and bigger migrations are under way now.

      The Katrina example is great: Arou

  • Since the first step is knowing you have a problem, science has at least made the first step. It has also identified at least some of the causes of the problem.
  • Follow the link and post comments. Go right to the source.

  • Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Sunday March 18, 2018 @12:40AM (#56278279)

    The problem is actually applying Science and Engineering to the situation. So far, the human race has managed to do basically nothing since the problem is known, which it has been for a few decades. Instead, most effort was channeled into denial and quite a few people still do that as their problem solving strategy. With that track record, I am not hopeful. When the effects become impossible to ignore, the problem may be too large so that the human race is completely incapable of dealing with it.

    • Perhaps, but tampering with a sufficiently advanced system with an insufficient amount of information normally does not lead to good things.

  • by pubwvj ( 1045960 ) on Sunday March 18, 2018 @12:51AM (#56278319)

    The answer is yes and math will get you there.
    Math is the foundation of the other sciences so they to come into play.

    I built a house for about $7,000 in materials that does not require artificial heating nor cooling. We live in a cold climate so the heating end of the season is the more challenging one here in the central mountains of northern Vermont.

    The same technology can be applied to keep houses cool in hot climates. It is based on thermodynamics, large thermal mass built into the structure of the house, good but not fantastic insulation, no fancy 'smart-home' electronic gadgets. I just works. It floats down into the 40's or 50's F in the winter so put on a sweater or alternatively light a very small fire. 0.75 cord of wood keeps the house toasty warm all through long winter when it my be below -25ÂF for extended periods and some periods to -45ÂF with high winds.

    Yet all of this technology is solid state, easy for the average Jane or Joe to build without even a complete high school education. Doing the design does take a lot more skill with math but here are people like myself who do it for fun and freely share their results.

    I built my house, called my tiny cottage where I've been living for over a decade with a family of two adults and three kids. It worked. We loved it. As a nice bonus the town assesses the value of the house very low so our real estate taxes are low.

    Low cost of construction.
    Low maintenance costs.
    Low operating costs (electric, other fuels).
    Long life (figure 400 to 1,000 year life span for building)
    Beautiful interior and exterior designs.

    We use masonry, stone, concrete generally from local sources These are materials that are beautiful, durable and last hundreds to thousands of years.

    After the cottage came our on-farm USDA/State inspected butcher shop or meat processing facility as they call them in the lingo.

    People told me we crazy to try build our own on-farm butcher shop. But it's doable. It's been done. And now we've one it once more with a super lower energy efficient design and operation. Our butcher shop is about 40' x 35' x roughly two stores or 25' high.

    Currently we have on-farm progressing which is paying our bill and generating additional need to fund the research and construction of the next step. It is very much a boot strap projected. We keep building bigger boots.

    It's repeatable. Every family could be building a low cost, low resource, low maintenance, long lived home. This would save trillions of dollars and the associated energy and reduction in pollution.

    This week I just got informed that our on-farm Vermont state inspected meat processing facility has passed the USDA head of regional operations Walk Through. Normally they find problems that you must then fix and get rescheduled with them to come back to review the fixes. To our surprise and delight we obtained a score of 100% right! We aced the test. Now we'll be upgrading from doing Vermont State inspection to USDA inspection in about two weeks to a month. Pretty wild!!!

    We got there with perseverance and math.

    • Thank you for sharing your story. I wanna be like you when I grow up... if I grow up, I mean.
    • by dyfet ( 154716 )

      There are large 3d printers actually being used experimentally to churn out single family homes for ~4k right now, so in some ways this idea is not that impractical at all. A good base design around the specific climate/location needs could do much as well, and could be built right into the structure itself as its being printed, whether explicit air gaps to insulate, well placed vents based on modelled airflow, etc.

  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Sunday March 18, 2018 @12:56AM (#56278331)

    The question isn't can science address the mechanisms of climate, of course it can.

    The question is will people who have their incomes and careers bound up in advocating for particular results actually do science

    • by q_e_t ( 5104099 ) on Sunday March 18, 2018 @05:36AM (#56278801)

      The question isn't can science address the mechanisms of climate, of course it can.

      The question is will people who have their incomes and careers bound up in advocating for particular results actually do science

      The climate scientists I know would much rather climate change wasn't happening.

      One of the issues that many climate change research groups face is financial institutions offering those skilled with large models and how to run them on large computers much higher salaries than a climate research organisation can offer. Many stay in climate science despite this, though.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Sunday March 18, 2018 @12:57AM (#56278337) Journal

    We can solve problems related to climate change, Pinker argues, "if we sustain the benevolent forces of modernity that have allowed us to solve problems so far, including societal prosperity, wisely regulated markets, international governance, and investments in science and technology..

    Just for the record here, Steven Pinker is a psychologist. He's making pronouncements on science.

    That's rich.

  • by evanh ( 627108 ) on Sunday March 18, 2018 @01:02AM (#56278353)

    It has always been a political solution since then. We just have to decide to act.

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Sunday March 18, 2018 @01:20AM (#56278401) Journal

    It seems to me we are producing an enormous volume of environmental damage in plenty of other ways as well. Consider the sheer scope of industrial activity on our planet, just the list is huge.

    If you then you consider the impact of each industrial activity, like the amount of plastics that end up in the seas, or the environmental impact of CRTs becoming obsolete, or even planned obsolescence as an example and the whole discussion about Climate Change and the amount of carbon in the atmosphere is just a part of the larger argument about the sheer amount of waste that this consumer economy creates. Carbon is one externality, not all externalities.

    It's difficult to escape the very nature of media is used to create this false reality of ourselves and sell it back to us. The consequence of believing this false reality is it triggers behaviors in us that cause us to consume. How much carbon does our consumer economy drive into the atmosphere just powering unnecessary consumption, let alone the waste stream it created.

    I think advertisements try to mold me into an "individual" with desires to buy buy buy. I just look to the waste and crap in my own life that I can't avoid making just interacting with our civilization and I wonder if it is right to suggest that maybe this is the consequence of the human mind being manipulated by advertising in the western world for 50 years or more?

    Seems to me we're trapped in this never ending quest for the production of more items by having out unconscious desires manipulated and that's what's destroying the planet.

    Maybe the science isn't just about the planet, maybe it's also about us?

    • The planet is fine. No matter what we do, the planet is likely to be here for millions, probably billions of years. (Approximately 7.5 billion [wikipedia.org] to be inexact.) I know that's not what you meant, but maybe be a little more exact with your language.

      Actually I agree with the ideas you're presenting, but I have trouble imagining all the ways we can get from where we are a species to where we survive as a species in a thousand years. Changing people is hard. Changing technology, well that seems to happen daily. Th

  • Probably not (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Sunday March 18, 2018 @01:44AM (#56278461)
    Seems like the Law of unintended consequences is going to kick in sooner or later if we start expensive engineering projects to counteract climate change. At some point we're going to get a massive volcanic eruption that will cause a nuclear-winter like cooling event anyway. The supervolcano off the coast of Japan has been growing rapidly lately.
  • How can we even talk about doing it on mars? Might as well get earth back firmly in the perfect zone to lock down the tech for playing with other planets. Good ol foundational tech.

  • Science : "more CO2 in atmosphere mean higher glasshouse effect, more energy into atmosphere, higher average temperature. Science solution : lower dumping CO2 (switch to other production of energy and transportation mean)". THAT solution was refused by at least one of the biggest producer per capita of CO2.
  • Can you make actually combating the climate change profitable?
    The best i think would be a huge monopolistic megacorporation that lives off having a franchise of repair shops that can repair pretty much everything, thus lowering the demand for new devices and products.

  • "We can overcome any new problem with dinosaurology, because it has always helped us overcome problems in the past. Oh wait ... whats is that flaming thing I see on the sky ..."

  • work magic, I hear.

  • It's the acting arm of science.

  • What these guys are talking about essentially sounds like the mainstream proposed solutions to climate change. Congrats on reinventing what the scientific community has been saying since forever! Their ideas seem to be a response to the right-wing false dichotomy of technology/scientific progress vs. climate change mitigation (AKA "we'll all have to live in mud huts to stop climate change!") rather than any real problem.

  • The reason for much "denialism" on climate is not because all the skeptics are oil investors. After all, investors trade, switching at any given time to whatever technologies are doing well. It's because climate activists insist that their favored brand of apocalyptic nonsense is the only response to the problem.

    Just like all the other environmental problems we have ever faced: plague, urban smoke, deforestation, overpopulation, resource depletion, unsustainable farm practices - the science that is detectin

  • Pollution is a consequence of human activity. It's that simple. The more people you have the more pollution you get. It does not take a rocket scientist to get that digested as a fact. There is a common fantasy that science can sort of leap frog along thus saving humanity in the nick of time. That is a really bad bet. Obviously we have had decent science around for at least 100 years and the world still has hunger, disease, homelessness and numerous wars that have to do with poverty. Science is wonderf
  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Monday March 19, 2018 @01:24PM (#56284315)

    with a technical solution.

    The cause of the problem is people, not CO2 or whatever.And we are all pointing who should do something about it, as long if it isn't 'me'. It starts with the small things. We have electric tootbrushes, because we are lazy. We have bottled water, because we like to believe the marketing instead of ghhetting drinkable water everywhere. And when it is there, we still rather pay for a plastic bottle.

    We use clean water to clean out toilets, because it is easy. If we are, as humans, not able to do these small things/ If we lack the willpower to do anything about what WE do, we will be unable to do anything about the bigger things, like using clean energy or preserving the planet.
    Darn, I can not even keep my desk clean.

Some people carve careers, others chisel them.

Working...