What if the tree huggers are wrong? What is the harm?

Estimated peak oil production,
and when the oil runs out:



First, this is not meant to be a thread to hash out whether or not you believe we are wetting our own bed on a global scale and whether or not wetting the bed has an adverse effect on it's health. Most of us believe it does. Some believe it doesn't. Been there, posted that, getting redundant. Due to the lack of a storeroom full of scale-model test planets on which we can directly infuse with CO2 and see what happens, the believers will never be able to prove it to the satisfaction of the deniers. Nor will the deniers convince the believers that the big ass brown cloud of smog over every major city is just a coincidence and isn't hurting anything. 

My question is this: What if we, on a global scale, reduce our trash output and CO2 to a minimum, switching as much as reasonable to recyclables, renewables, and clean energy, and it turns out to have been totally unnecessary? 100 years from now someone invents a giant climate-O-meter and says, "Oops. Turns out all that smog and hypoxic zones and the continent-sized flotsam fields in the oceans weren't hurting a thing." 

How have we hurt ourselves/what have we lost by going green?

Because whether one believes in Anthropogenic Global Warming or not:

- We have a finite supply of what is the bulk of our energy. Not finite as in thousands of years, but in terms of decades. A century or two at best. 

- There is little argument about the human health hazards of living in a major city engulfed in smog, or having a coal plant in your backyard.

- We are putting out trash faster and in greater volumes than it takes the planet to decompose it. I'm not exaggerating about those trash fields being the size of a continent.

Yes, the initial cost to changeover from coal to wind, oil to solar or geothermal, that initial cost is high. It takes time for new tech to start paying for itself. But in the long run it pays for itself. Shell out the money to buy in bulk today ... save over the long term. Simple math. 

Yes, recycling has hardly been streamlined here in the U.S. at least. In some cases it costs more to recycle a widget than it does to chuck it and make a new one. But that too is growing in efficiency. 

So as best as I can tell, if us tree huggers are wrong, the worst that's happened is that the oil mogul's great-grandchildren's trust funds won't be as big. In the short term we spent some extra bucks changing to green energy, but we would have had to do that eventually anyway.

Oh, and Al Gore got rich off some books. That seems to be the number one what-we-have-to-lose that I hear from the anti-AGW crowd. Because it is just such a global disaster for Al Gore to sell books. 

Can anyone else tell me how I am bringing about the demise of our civilization by recycling my plastics and going solar?

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I never read or even knew of its existence the original post. You are pretty well spot on what you say.

Bicycle friendly cities are one way to help scrub exhaust emissions from the air. Not arguing, just saying...
Bicycle friendly cities are one way to help scrub exhaust emissions from the air. Not arguing, just saying...

Used to have a bicycle for a car in both Downtown St. Louis and Downtown Denver. Must say, Denver ... WAY more bicycle friendly.

And kept me in WAY better shape. ;-)
Philadelphia has become the most bicycle friendly big city in the country - ironically due in measurable part to two public transportation strikes.
Ugh. And this is why I will NEVER live in a large city. Or a medium-sized city for that matter. I'll keep my bayou front property, thank you. hehe
Gotta say, this city girl has been rather enjoying the sticks for a while. Just need to get back into bicycling.
BTW - my brother has lived there for over fifteen years now - and, despite the 'natural' annual brush fires - he has witnessed it get visibly better year after year. Must be clearing up on its own. Couldn't have anything to do with the countries most stringent automobile emission standards. Nah - that couldn't have anything to do with it.
exactly; point is the pollution itself.
instead of calling it 'global x whatever' just call the scene(s) global pollution and corrpution? Deregulation = the problem. Machines can be made efficient enough to stop choking us ferfxsake.
Just as an addendum - who could have guessed that Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh would turn out to be soooo full of shit?

http://www.mnn.com/technology/research-innovations/blogs/climategat...
Just as an addendum - who could have guessed that Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh would turn out to be soooo full of shit?

Ummm, anyone with a sliver of independent thought?
The chart I got off SpaceCollaborative.com/au. The estimate it gives that we've hit peak oil and are starting to run seems to be the general consensus of most science sources I look up. Go to images.google.com and google "Peak Oil." I get a number of bob's-blog type sites but also credible sites the above. The credible sources seem to agree; we are roughly at peak oil production right now.

The comments along the graph are obviously a little tongue-in-cheek. Although accurately tongue-in-cheek imho. As we continue to dump truckloads of money into the dead end fuel sources instead of the sustainable solutions, it will indeed become very unpretty, very quickly.

And my OP is in response to the great resistance I see to the general solutions; "Drill baby drill" rather than investing in renewables. The GOP resistance to anything that would order the big polluters to clean up even the tiniest bit. Right down to the eyerolling and namecalling I get when I tell a coworker, "Hang on, don't throw away that cardboard box, I'll take it home and recycle it."

All this resistance seems rooted in anti-AGW. So my question is why? How am I hurting anyone by recycling that cardboard box? How is investing in clean and green doing anything but helping?

You already touched on the this in part on the other thread: If we're considering only our own lifetimes, then the harm is in the initial expense of changeover and its immediate effect on the immediate economy - long term benefits irrelevant. If it won't hurt anything until after I die, if I can't directly see the trash field out my kitchen window, then screw it. My grandkids can deal with it when the time comes.

... Which is a valid point. One I don't agree with morally, but valid.
John,
rom your post here and on other discussions it is fairly obvious you don't accept the current science consensus regarding GW. I will readily admit that scientist, like all humans, are failable, some from honest mistakes, some out of protection of their reputation and some because they are science prostitutes whose findings coincide with their patron's desires.
Perhaps the science on GW is totally wrong (although I don't believe it to be so), and we pursue the path of green energy and recycling then what will we lose? On the other hand if GW is, in fact, a real issue and we ignore it what will we gain?
In the final analysis, if GW is bullshit and we follow it we will lose nothing. However, if GW is correct and we ignore it then the perfect shitstorm will be upon us – seems to me it's a no brain wager.
And more over, I really wanted this thread to NOT be about re-hashing whether or not AGW is real. (For the very reason that it's been re-hashed so many times elsewhere and it's wearing poor John D out).

But rather, this continued, largely political, stubborn resistance to recycling, reusing, renewable energy, sustainable energy, pollution cleanup.

The argument I so often hear is "Climate Change isn't real, therefore we shouldn't make that poor little power plant clean up its emissions."

Why not?

Let's take Anthropogenic Climate Change out of the equation for a moment. Aren't there still other reasons to clean up that power plant? Are we hurting anything by doing so? By erring on the side of green?

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