A Thorny Problem

There are many potential technological fixes that may be able to help the situation. One obvious example would be more efficient technologies for generating power or fueling vehicles. Other small fixes may include more efficient vehicles, or better technology for neutralizing the emissions themselves. While a technology may be invented, or a system may exist that could resolve these issues in time, it would be an unprecedented rate of change in our society. In regards to a carbon tax (a type of socio-technological fix), it would be “politically impossible” in the United States (Davenport p. 2). There could be dozens of potentially methods that would remedy these issues, but adopting them and ensuring their success is another factor. Political factors sprouting from economic factors complicate the problem, and make it much harder to resolve. To overcome these issues the world will have to change ever so slightly to accept that the status quo is unsustainable. However, I believe that this is already underway, and that by 2040 things may be in a better state. Personally, I believe that the world can and will change to deal with these issues, but how long that will take is anyone’s guess.

No, this argument is simply false. Climate science essentially started in the 1800s, with Reidy’s discovery of the greenhouse effect. If that is a science in its infancy, then you could claim many other things are as well, such as electricity or nuclear science. Furthermore, even if climate science were as young as claimed, that would not make it unreliable alone. With the abundance of research from all around the world and the thousands of papers published every year, there is no doubt that it is legitimate and accurate.

One thought on “A Thorny Problem”

  1. Hi Chance!

    I wish I could share in your optimism on our ability to fix climate change, but I have a few points I would like to go over that are giving me pause. Firstly, you speak about having “more efficient technologies” for generating things like power. Many emerging technologies like solar can definitely help us towards the goal of being carbon-neutral, however those green energy sources come with their own issues, from hydro-power dams that can damage aquatic ecosystems to solar panels which contain toxic metals that need to be recycled safely when they age out of service [1]. We currently get a lot of our energy from fossil fuels, to transition more heavily to renewables in the goal of net-zero carbon emissions would thus proportionally put strain based off of the drawbacks of renewable energy sources. And these renewables put another kind of strain in the environment, namely in the raw materials needed for them often come from mining, which as we have seen is very hard to do without lasting environmental damage. So I would posit that even if we go to net-zero, the “fixes” needed to get to that point would likely have relocated the damages to some other sphere of life. I wonder, is there even a real sustainable solution to this that allows us to keep our previous electricity? Or is the only answer to give up that which has powered the world for over a hundred years?

    [1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/05/23/if-solar-panels-are-so-clean-why-do-they-produce-so-much-toxic-waste/#6ce80074121c

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