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Burning All Fossil Fuels Would Scorch Earth, Says Study ( 418

mspohr quotes a report from Phys.Org: A new study published in the Journal Nature Climate Change shows our precarious climate condition: "Using up all known fossil fuel reserves would render Earth even more unlivable than scientists had previously projected, researchers said on Monday. Average temperatures would climb by up to 9.5 degrees Celsius (17 degrees Fahrenheit) -- five times the cap on global warming set at climate talks in Paris in December, they reported. In the Arctic region -- already heating at more than double the global average -- the thermometer would rise an unimaginable 15 C to 20 C." This would make most of Earth uninhabitable to humans (although the dinosaurs seemed to do fine with it 65 million years ago). The report also stated that if fossil fuel trends go unchanged, ten times the 540 billion tons of carbon emitted since the start of industrialization would be reached near the end of the 22nd century. For comparison, "older models had projected that depleting fossil fuel reserves entirely would heat the planet by 4.3 C to 8.4 C. The new study revises this to between 6.4 C and 9.5 C," writes Phys.Org.
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Burning All Fossil Fuels Would Scorch Earth, Says Study

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  • Gets popcorn... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2016 @06:57AM (#52170067)
    Cue the drama and fight.

    A serious question about the squabble. Even if GW is not AGW, even if GW is not real, why should we not as a species work to reduce our impacts everywhere?

    • Re:Gets popcorn... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Dog-Cow ( 21281 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2016 @07:37AM (#52170185)

      Why should we? Is there something about future living things that make it imperative that they survive? Is there a particular reason I should care if humanity goes extinct after I die? An uncaring position is selfish, but it's also completely rational. There is no reason for anyone to suffer privation solely to allow future lives to exist.

      • Yes, it is completely rational. I will assume that you either dont plan to have children or don't give a flying fuck about them. This line of thought will ensure that you go extinct like a dinosaur and take your rationale with you.
    • Exactly right. I see a lot of potential profit in planting more food and in converting fossil fuels to building materials, both of which reduce our impact as a species while making a boatload of cash for somebody more visionary than the carbon credit trading idiots who will spend more carbon flying to their next conference than I use in a year.

    • by tom229 ( 1640685 )
      Human beings rely entirely on the natural order of the Earth to survive. Our technology is nowhere near a state where we can live without nature. Plus it could be argued that we have a moral obligation as the Earth's most advanced species to act as its steward and protector. However that doesn't mean we have to lie to populations to achieve this. It doesn't mean we have to feel guilty for driving cars, throwing out recyclables, and enjoying the benefits of industrialization. Industrialization gave us techno
    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      A serious question about the squabble. Even if GW is not AGW, even if GW is not real, why should we not as a species work to reduce our impacts everywhere?

      Money. Now that was easy.
      As long as people can take the profits and not pay the costs, why WOULD they do it?

      We, as a species, are killing each other for almost anything. We do not care about the species. We kill each other for way less (or let others do the killing for you).

    • Re:Gets popcorn... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Tuesday May 24, 2016 @09:03AM (#52170525) Homepage Journal

      It's short-term vs. long-term thinking.

      We all know that we need excess economic activity to spark each technological revolution. So the long-term thing to do is to spur as much economic activity as possible (which means fossil fuels right now) and that will spark the real nuclear revolution, with fusion and safe fission devices. Those will then obviate most of the need for fossil fuels over a decade. Nobody likes having to go to a gas station - inductive parking spaces and solid-state batteries will make our descendants sad for us!

      But, we have oligarchs in charge of tax levers, and they're really concerned about their seaside homes and more than a few Europeans are concerned about the thermohaline cycle near Greenland changing the Gulf Stream and making Northern Europe into a climate as suggested by its latitude. So they will tax the shit of out everything today to try to forestall anything that will hamper their enjoyment in their lifetimes.

      Those taxes (on top of the stifling regulations) then depress the economic output we need to get past fossil fuels. But if they die happy while third-world people are still burning dung in their huts, well that's really just fine by them.

      Unfortunately, we're in a situation where the solution to AGW is to get rid of the oligarchs. Try telling that to an oligarch.

    • Seriously.

      Let's quit wasting time saying the world is going to go to shit because we're burning up too many fossil fuels. We know. 200 years, 237 years...let's just start working, now, to fix it.

      Hell, in under 10 years we went from stuck within a few thousand feet of our planet to walking on another celestial body. We can kick this fossil fuels habit. All we have to do is quit bickering about how hard it is and put our axes to the grindstone.

      Who's got the oil Chantrix?

    • Cue the drama and fight.

      A serious question about the squabble. Even if GW is not AGW, even if GW is not real, why should we not as a species work to reduce our impacts everywhere?

      While I tend to find myself discussing more things in relation to "mankind" or "humans" as a whole, you'll find that the other 99.999% of society doesn't give a shit about doing that. We have FAR too many narcissistic attitudes about labels and titles in society today to reduce ourselves to the level of a species to tackle this issue properly, even when the problem at hand does affect every living thing on this planet.

  • I get the vibe that Mdsolar really wants us to invest in Nuclear power.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2016 @07:03AM (#52170087)

    . . . they are very difficult to get rid of. Give 'em a scorched Earth . . . they'll figure some way to survive in it.

    Will a lot of folks suffer and die in the process? Hell, yeah. But there will still be some humans around who have figured out how to thrive in that environment.

    People like to joke about cockroaches being the only living critter that will survive the nuclear apocalypse.

    When I think of the post-nuclear apocalypse world, I see a creepy looking humanoid, munching on cockroaches.

    McCockroaches, indeed.

    "Would you like some fries with your roaches?"

    • > . . . they are very difficult to get rid of. Give 'em a scorched Earth . . . they'll figure some way to survive in it.

      Partly by changing the schorched Earth itself. Many species have gone extinct in the last few hundred years due to human intervention, despite hardy natures and adaptability to changing environments. Humanity has tended to revise its own environment, especially since we gained access to bulldozers, cement, and mechanical power.

  • Seriously, I don't want to troll or anything but few years ago I asked similar question to a libertanian. What is going to happen when it all comes to an end [the fossil fuels]?

    The answer was: the last barrel will cost infinite amount of money; the market will fix everything.....

    How retarded you have to be to posit only one criteria for success or failure of any endeavor - the profit - is beyond me! It seems these people believe that as long as the market is fine, insignificant things like the laws of natur

    • by AC-x ( 735297 )

      So in other words

      Step 1. Run out of oil
      Step 2. Charge $infinity for last barrel of oil
      Step 3. ????
      Step 4. Profit!

    • I don't think that's a libertarian issue as much as it is an idiot issue.

      Any and all libertarians I've had the pleasure of associating with don't think of the market as anything but a hindrance.

      So what will happen when fossil fuels come to an end? Let's just say I hope you've invested in some alternative energy sources like solar and wind. We've got the sun for at least a billion more years before it becomes too hot for us on this planet.

  • If we started using plastic as the primary product instead of fuel, and as a building material, we'd render the fossil fuels safe for the atmosphere by locking the carbon up into a stable structure that lasts for 50,000 years.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2016 @08:41AM (#52170429) Homepage

    Burning all the fossil fuels on the planet at once in a large thruster will SAVE the planet. All we need to do is move the planet further out in orbit from the sun and it will counteract all effects of global warming.

    These scientists today are only looking for problems and not solutions.

  • Should read "Burning all fossil fuels will improve UK temperatures immensely!" -How soon can we start?
  • Could Germany be having second thoughts about setting fire to that 85 square kilometers of lignite? []

  • It's a problem today, but in 20-50 years, solar-powered nanomachines will suck carbon from the air, creating cheap diamond bricks that could be used for building material [].
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2016 @09:04AM (#52170535)
    >> This would make most of Earth uninhabitable to humans

    Are you sure you're counting the large landmasses in Canada and Siberia?

A method of solution is perfect if we can forsee from the start, and even prove, that following that method we shall attain our aim. -- Leibnitz