I want to dispel a widely held myth:
Money will not stop climate change. You heard it here first (afaik).
Anthropogenic climate change (human caused) is the physical result of economic activity (growth). Every nation on Earth continues to pursue economic growth.
I recently read some ridiculous comments about spending money to ‘combat climate change’. This won’t work. Spending money (economic activity) anywhere will only contribute to climate change.
Virtually all economic activity generates CO₂ and consumes energy.
Not many people seem to realize yet that we are not going to somehow reduce CO₂ in the atmosphere or oceans, affecting climate change. CO₂ is only going to continue to go up. This will result in even more devastating effects of climate change.
CO₂ is a very long lived gas. From Skeptical Science:
Individual carbon dioxide molecules have a short life time of around 5 years in the atmosphere. However, when they leave the atmosphere, they’re simply swapping places with carbon dioxide in the ocean. The final amount of extra CO2 that remains in the atmosphere stays there on a time scale of centuries.
CO₂ can last 500 – 1000 years in the atmosphere (read the link), creating a very long time span of warming potential. So what we’ve created in the past 100 – 200 years is still there. And what we creating today will still be there for centuries. And this will continue to exacerbate temperature increase, causing permanent ice melt, ocean acidification and carbon saturation, amplifying the hydrological cycle. The impact upon humanity and the biosphere will be absolutely enormous.
Human civilization, and indeed, the very fabric of our society is built upon economic activity, which in turn generates massive amounts of CO₂ at every single point of human activity (existence). It will make no difference whatsoever if that activity becomes building solar panels or wind turbines (which are still derived from fossil fuels at every point in their life cycle), or even whether we were all to revert back to an agrarian existence (farming, a huge contributor to climate change and CO₂) or plant trees for a ‘living’.
This is perhaps one of the biggest lies of all being foisted upon the world (next to religion I suppose). We are not going to ‘spend our way to our salvation’ and reverse climate change as claimed. Instead, we are going to go on contributing to climate change in everything that we do (even planting trees – as long as we are here). It is our economic activity (by whatever action or industry or ‘business’ this may be) that caused anthropogenic climate change. Nothing will change that.
Climate change is therefore irreversible and will only worsen every year. The media and industry, government and businesses and a whole lot of pundits are simply lying to the world about ‘stopping climate change’. It’s unstoppable and there is nothing we are going to be be able to do about it.
I can only think of one ‘solution’ that will not contribute to climate change (given enough time) – and it’s far more horrible then anyone imagines: Massive (near total) depopulation, and the total economic collapse and destruction of all industrial, business and human economic activity. Even this won’t ‘stop’ climate change from accelerating for a long, long time (thousands of years), but it would stop our current emissions. The Earth would still have to absorb the results from our industry and activity, which will continue to spew out toxic chemicals, nuclear wastes and yes, greenhouse gas emissions from millions of sources (fracking wells for example, tailings, garbage dumps, cement and many, many other sources) for a thousands of years to come.
The true horror of climate change and what it means to human survival and our future on this planet is still very poorly understood. Realizing that simply being alive, buying food, driving a car, turning on the lights or getting out of bed in the morning is part of the ‘problem’ and why it is in reality, unsolvable. Humans are not going to go back to living in caves or teepee’s, the drive to grow and push forward will always be what we do, and this in turn, is what will continue to contribute to climate change now that there are billions of us. We have no choice but to accept it – and what it ultimately means.