2010-11-07 04:25:45Basic 139: It's too hard
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
71.137.148.215

Here is the basic version of the first climate change solutions rebuttal - "it's too hard".  I also drafted up Intermediate and Advanced versions if anybody would like to comment on those.

________________________________________________________

What the science says...

Scientific studies have determined that current technology is sufficient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to avoid dangerous climate change.

In order to avoid dangerous global warming, we need to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by about 50% by the year 2050.  Skeptics often make the argument that we simply don't have the technology necessary to reduce emissions this much, this quickly.

Pacala and Socolow (2004) investigated this claim by examining the various technologies available to reduce GHG emissions.  Every technology they examined "has passed beyond the laboratory bench and demonstration project; many are already implemented somewhere at full industrial scale."  The study used the concept of a "stabilization wedge", in which "a wedge represents an activity that reduces emissions to the atmosphere by a certain amount. The study identifies 15 current options which could be scaled up to produce at least one wedge:

  1. Improved fuel economy

  2. Reduced reliance on cars

  3. More efficient buildings

  4. Improved power plant efficiency

  5. Substituting natural gas for coal

  6. Storage of carbon captured in power plants

  7. Storage of carbon captured in hydrogen plants

  8. Storage of carbon captured in synthetic fuels plants

  9. Nuclear power

  10. Wind power

  11. Solar photovoltaic power

  12. Renewable hydrogen

  13. Biofuels

  14. Forest management

  15. Agricultural soils management

This is not an exhaustive list, and there are other possible wedges, such as other renewable energy technologies they did not consider.   The study notes that "Every one of these options is already implemented at an industrial scale and could be scaled up further over 50 years to provide at least one wedge."  Implementing somewhere between 7 and 14 wedges would be necessary to avoid dangerous climate change.

The bottom line is that while achieving the necessary GHG emissions reductions and stabilization wedges will be difficult, it is possible.  And there are a number of ways to skin this cat.

2010-11-07 05:26:42I like it, but would like a stronger ending
jimalakirti

jimalakirti@gmail...
76.113.66.180
I like this, but the ending seems a little weak. Could we use some kind of "call to arms" ending that gives some information of what specifically we could do short term to help get this information out or other encourage specific action? Or is that beyond the scope of Skeptical Science's mission?
2010-11-07 05:53:35beyond
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
71.137.148.215
I think that's beyond the SkS scope.  We want to stick to talking about the science.  We're already treading a fine line starting to talk about solutions and want to keep politics out of it as much as possible. 
2010-11-07 07:16:07What about cat-lovers out there?
BaerbelW

baerbel-for-350@email...
93.231.143.144

I like this basic rebuttal with the exception of the metaphor used in the last sentence. Is there something better than "...to skin this cat"? Being an animal lover I have some qualms of seeing/using these types of metaphors - much like the similar one "to kill two birds with one stone". Some readers of this rebuttal might have similar sensibilities (or, I might just be over-sensitive!)

Cheers
Baerbel

2010-11-07 07:16:54
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.80.69
Hey Dana, you just voted for yourself. Ain't that cheating!. I like it, but not so sure about "skinning cats".
2010-11-07 07:18:12
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.80.69
BaerbelW - snap!.
2010-11-07 07:27:32Okay, I'm apparently not over-sensitive
BaerbelW

baerbel-for-350@email...
93.231.143.144

Hi Rob,

thanks for alleviating my fear of perhaps being over-sensitive just while I was voicing it!

Cheers
Baerbel

P.S.: Baerbel is fine (I just usually create my user-name with the trailing W which is the first letter of my last name as "Baerbel" often was already taken)

2010-11-07 09:50:57
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.121.120
I would go beyond the phrase "scientific studies have shown" to something like "feasibility studies have shown". You're claiming that the technology is ready today, so we don't ask scientists about today's technology: we ask technologists.
2010-11-07 09:56:34cats
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
71.137.148.215
I suppose I could replace the 'skin a cat' idiom and instead say "there are many solutions and combinations of wedges to choose from", or something like that.
2010-11-19 07:40:05Concluding sentence
jimalakirti

jimalakirti@gmail...
76.113.66.180

E.g.: "Sufficient technologies to seriously reduce the emission of dangerous cO2 exist today, and simply need to be implemented. As governments get more serious about the problem, there is no doubt that science will be encouraged to do research that will almost certainly lead to many techniques to ameliorate the situation that haven't even been imagined yet."

 

or something.

 

good article and a thumb from me. 

2010-11-19 14:50:18
steve.oconnor

steve.oconnor@hotmail...
203.166.51.62

hi dana - nice job, but i was wondering if it may be appropriate to say something along the lines of the fact that we haven't really asked our leaders to be very ambitious so far.

the recently released "Zero Carbon Australia by 2020" plan (put together by a team of over 100 scientists and enery consultants on a pro-bono basis) shows - to me at least - how the bar can be lifted.

http://beyondzeroemissions.org/zero-carbon-australia-2020

it's quite an expensive proposal, but i've heard that it could be done much cheaper if the timeframe was lengthened slightly.

Could this be an example that you can use to illustrate that 'it's actually not too hard, we just haven't had the will so far' ?