Why isn't it enough that fossil fuels are a finite resource? That alone provides good reason to reduce our dependence on them. The way I see it we have two options: 1. Do nothing until we can no longer extract the fuel we need to run our society. This will certainly lead to catastrophe. 2. Use the fuel we are extracting now to build infrastructure that will reduce our long term dependence on fossil fuels. This will ensure sustainability for future generations.
It's a no brainer and requires zero reference to climate change. So why isn't that enough?
You would think so. However, we have a lot of influential people in positions of power that use money to pull the levers of government in such a way as to maintain the status quo. More often than not, they would prefer to just keep things as they are for as long as possible. The future be damned.
One side bar: part of the issue is the left has done what I think is a piss poor job of conveying things to the general public. Climate Change is an issue, but because they take such an alarmist stance, many on the left start sounding like the crazy person on the street corner with the 'End is Near' sign.
Ultimately, to deal with climate change is to have a comprehensive solution for the problem. There are several things that could be sold to the public that would help mitigate the issues with rising temperatures.
1. Modernize the grid - The old grid is less efficient and wastes power via obsolete transmission mediums. Get it up to something more modern and we would be using less energy.
2. Use renewables intelligently - Solar panels are great in California, Florida, or Arizona. Solar panels in North Dakota? Dumb. So be smart about how you utilize renewables. Don't just implement them for the sake of implementing them.
3. Encourage conservation - People at a core level don't have a problem with doing the right thing. So be persuasive, but don't be dictatorial. Tell them to teach their kids to shut the lights off when they leave a room. Provide incentives to use LED bulbs. Make recycling about helping reduce landfill waste.
4. Learn to accept Nuclear Power - This is a BIG issue on the left. Many are so against any concept of nuclear power that their heads almost literally explode when the topic is brought up. Yet their aversion to nuclear power stems from a lack of basic understanding and being alarmist about the nuclear accidents that have happened. Like a plane crash, nuclear issues get a huge amount of media attention. But when you look at the usage of nuke power and how many deaths resulted from it versus what coal, oil and fracking have done, it is a pittance. Not to mention that nuclear power has the highest energy density of any energy medium we currently can use with existing technology.
Technology is ever advancing and with luck, we will eventually crack nuclear fusion. Once that occurs, our energy problems will be drastically reduced. But until then, we have to make due with what we have. Stop politicizing the issues and start thinking about the long term welfare of the planet.
2 is incorrect. Solar panels work great in northern areas.
I think 'great' may be a bit of an overstatement. The issue with solar panels in northern climates are not just related to the amount of available sunlight. They also have to do with the maintenance costs due to snow, ice, drops in battery efficiency, etc. I am not saying they can't work, I am saying they are not as practical a solution as they are in more moderate climates with more ambient sunlight.
4 is not as black and white as you make it. Industry and government has not given us reason to accept it. With the drive towards eliminating oversight and regulations nuclear is a tragedy waiting to happen. The cost of nuclear is prohibitive.
No offense, but you are citing an article that is from a website that leans towards wanting to only focus on renewables and demonizes nuclear power at the same time.
But rather than a long winded back and forth, this is the crux of the problem that exists now. We have several solutions at our disposal as a society and not everything is perfect. Renewables are not a panacea and nuclear is not without risks. But the point is, we need BOTH if we want to reduce the current demands on fossil fuels. Solar/wind/hydro are good, but lack the energy density necessary to meet current demands. Nuclear could shore up the difference and allow us to eliminate the coal and natural gas burning that exists now. To me, that is a far better stop gap than continuing to push only for a solution that we know cannot meet our energy demands.
Might I point out that ultra liberal France gets about 75% of its power from nukes. And unlike Germany, they didn't perform a knee jerk reaction to Fukishima and shut down all their nuke plants. The end result of that decision required them to import huge amounts of natural gas from Russia, giving a despot dictator like Putin more influence. Not a great thing.
The only 'doubters' are the people in the Koch brother's pockets.
I live in Florida and having chatted with several people who have been here all their lives, even they say they notice it. In Central Florida where I live, people mention that the winters here were much milder in the past and that needing jackets was common. Nowadays, it is pretty much perpetual summer. We might get one or two weeks where there is a marginal cold snap. Cold by our standards would be high 50s, low 60s in the winter.
When I lived in California, the climate change is very evident there. There used to be a fire season in California. Now, the state is perpetually on fire. Additionally, when living there in the Bay Area, I noted that very few apartment complexes built in the 60s had air conditioning. It just wasn't needed due to the temperate climate. Now, its a necessity.
Finally, in the area of Canada I grew up in, the situation is similar to what you experience in New Hampshire. The summers are much hotter and more humid and fall starts later. Not necessarily the worst thing if you live there I guess. Winters are interesting is that they have actually been a little harsher lately. So its somewhat of a double edged sword.