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Carl Sagan Speaking on Climate Change in 1985

Posted: Sat Nov 20, 2021 3:10 pm
by Aaron747
A colleague was passing this around and, wow, hard to believe this was being said to Congress when I was a small kid, and here we are today. An amazing 15 minutes of clear and impactful science communication.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wp-WiNXH6hI

''If we don't do the right thing now, our children and grandchildren will have to face serious global problems,'' Dr. Sagan warned. He suggested a number of steps that could be taken now, including more efficient use of fossil fuels and more dependence on solar energy and other alternatives to oil and coal. In theory, he said, ''safe'' nuclear fission and nuclear fusion could also be energy sources that did not contribute to the problem.

He said international cooperation and ''amity'' would be necessary to cope with so huge a problem as a changing global climate.


It's almost unrecognizable to see how reasonable GOP committee members sounded on this issue at the time:

Senator Dave Durenberger, the Minnesota Republican who heads the subcommittee, said: ''One of the frustrations of dealing with this issue is that it is virtually beyond the grasp of human imagination. Despite what the best scientific minds in the world tell us, our instinct is to reject them out of hand.''

https://www.nytimes.com/1985/12/11/us/a ... shift.html

Ultimately his warning that we cannot solve the problem without genuine international amity has definitely proven out from our perch here in 2021, and he also correctly cautioned that calls to stop all fossil fuels immediately or for only 1-2 countries to take action would be too damaging to be taken seriously. Maybe our basic problem is not enough members of our species in general have the FL350 perspective that Dr. Sagan embodied.

Re: Carl Sagan Speaking on Climate Change in 1985

Posted: Sat Nov 20, 2021 3:29 pm
by Newark727
I'm so glad people like Sagan were warning about this before I was even born, and we ignored him for a few more good quarters for ExxonMobil.

Re: Carl Sagan Speaking on Climate Change in 1985

Posted: Sat Nov 20, 2021 4:03 pm
by frmrCapCadet
Senator Dave Durenberger, the Minnesota Republican who heads the subcommittee, said: ''One of the frustrations of dealing with this issue is that it is virtually beyond the grasp of human imagination. Despite what the best scientific minds in the world tell us, our instinct is to reject them out of hand.''


This is the essential evolutionary dilema, and it has been picked up by the ultra conservatives who have turned one political party into a fundamentalist religious cult - see this snowball - climate change is not happening, evolution is wrong, racism is OK, getting a vaccine violates the tribal loyalties, carrying an A-15 is how to make the world safer. Proponents of this are as likely as not to win. My kids and I have tacitly agreed to not talk about it - as one of them said, if you can't tell us what to do to make it better just stop talking. It literally pains me to see what kind of world we are leaving for a grandkids. I work at not thinking about it too much.

ps - note the above quote was from a Republican Senator - in earlier days progressives, pro-business, and most of the inteligencia were Republican. I was an Eisenhower R back then.

Re: Carl Sagan Speaking on Climate Change in 1985

Posted: Sat Nov 20, 2021 5:46 pm
by frmrCapCadet
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... nd=premium

This. It begins to make sense not to bring kids into a dysfunctional world. In every part of the world people are increasingly coming to this conclusion, for a variety of reasons. This Bloomberg poll later in the article showed climate and political as the reason. But note: only 25% for sure want to have kids.

Re: Carl Sagan Speaking on Climate Change in 1985

Posted: Mon Nov 22, 2021 4:50 pm
by MohawkWeekend
Here is what I don't understand - quote from CNBC story
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/22/climate ... fuels.html
“We see solar and wind being the cheapest source of new energy for more than two-thirds of the world’s population now and rapidly accelerating. They are increasingly cheaper than new-build coal and gas plants, but they are also cheaper than fossil fuels in existing infrastructure."
Carroll Muffett, chief executive at the non-profit Center for International Environmental Law

Yet many coal plants are still being built outside of North America and Europe. The folks building these can't be that economically ignorant to build a coal plant if Muffett's statement is true. Or could they?

Re: Carl Sagan Speaking on Climate Change in 1985

Posted: Mon Nov 22, 2021 8:48 pm
by Aaron747
MohawkWeekend wrote:
Here is what I don't understand - quote from CNBC story
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/22/climate ... fuels.html
“We see solar and wind being the cheapest source of new energy for more than two-thirds of the world’s population now and rapidly accelerating. They are increasingly cheaper than new-build coal and gas plants, but they are also cheaper than fossil fuels in existing infrastructure."
Carroll Muffett, chief executive at the non-profit Center for International Environmental Law

Yet many coal plants are still being built outside of North America and Europe. The folks building these can't be that economically ignorant to build a coal plant if Muffett's statement is true. Or could they?


It’s not necessarily ignorance but the simple fact lobbyists are successfully influential in many countries:

https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN2511G4

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 1520303578

https://thefifthestate.com.au/energy-le ... democracy/

Re: Carl Sagan Speaking on Climate Change in 1985

Posted: Mon Nov 22, 2021 9:27 pm
by LCDFlight
MohawkWeekend wrote:
Here is what I don't understand - quote from CNBC story
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/22/climate ... fuels.html
“We see solar and wind being the cheapest source of new energy for more than two-thirds of the world’s population now and rapidly accelerating. They are increasingly cheaper than new-build coal and gas plants, but they are also cheaper than fossil fuels in existing infrastructure."
Carroll Muffett, chief executive at the non-profit Center for International Environmental Law

Yet many coal plants are still being built outside of North America and Europe. The folks building these can't be that economically ignorant to build a coal plant if Muffett's statement is true. Or could they?


The people making these “solar is cheaper” arguments are seldom professionals or engineers. More likely activists. To your point, why are people building and maintaining coal plants? Because they work well and are NOT more expensive in the short term.

Wind and solar are only cheaper within a German / Norwegian regulatory regime, with carbon taxes being collected from coal plants, accelerated amortization of coal equipment and so on. Otherwise, coal remains plentiful and reliable. You are absolutely correct that it is absurd to argue that solar and wind are cheaper, and yet, we must intervene with regulations to get rid of coal combustion. We would not have to intervene, if solar and wind were actually cheaper!!

Re: Carl Sagan Speaking on Climate Change in 1985

Posted: Mon Nov 22, 2021 9:48 pm
by Aaron747
LCDFlight wrote:
MohawkWeekend wrote:
Here is what I don't understand - quote from CNBC story
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/22/climate ... fuels.html
“We see solar and wind being the cheapest source of new energy for more than two-thirds of the world’s population now and rapidly accelerating. They are increasingly cheaper than new-build coal and gas plants, but they are also cheaper than fossil fuels in existing infrastructure."
Carroll Muffett, chief executive at the non-profit Center for International Environmental Law

Yet many coal plants are still being built outside of North America and Europe. The folks building these can't be that economically ignorant to build a coal plant if Muffett's statement is true. Or could they?


The people making these “solar is cheaper” arguments are seldom professionals or engineers. More likely activists. To your point, why are people building and maintaining coal plants? Because they work well and are NOT more expensive in the short term.

Wind and solar are only cheaper within a German / Norwegian regulatory regime, with carbon taxes being collected from coal plants, accelerated amortization of coal equipment and so on. Otherwise, coal remains plentiful and reliable. You are absolutely correct that it is absurd to argue that solar and wind are cheaper, and yet, we must intervene with regulations to get rid of coal combustion. We would not have to intervene, if solar and wind were actually cheaper!!


It would seem the lobbyists have been successful in wherever your information is coming from.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... uel-plants

A better explanation here:

https://www.popsci.com/story/environmen ... fuels/?amp

Re: Carl Sagan Speaking on Climate Change in 1985

Posted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 2:13 am
by MohawkWeekend
Aaron747 - the articles you listed don't explain why the Chinese and other countries are building new coal plants. Nobody in Western Europe or North America is. We are still closing them.
From Reuters https://www.reuters.com/business/energy ... 021-09-22/
Excerpt -
"Despite widespread optimism about Xi's announcement, his carefully worded statement revealed few details and left room for existing projects to continue.

There are more than 20 Chinese financed coal-fired power units under construction in South Africa, Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Serbia and United Arab Emirates, according to data from the Boston University Global Development Policy Centre. Another 17 are in the planning stage.

Re: Carl Sagan Speaking on Climate Change in 1985

Posted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 2:23 am
by Aaron747
MohawkWeekend wrote:
Aaron747 - the articles you listed don't explain why the Chinese and other countries are building new coal plants. Nobody in Western Europe or North America is. We are still closing them.
From Reuters https://www.reuters.com/business/energy ... 021-09-22/
Excerpt -
"Despite widespread optimism about Xi's announcement, his carefully worded statement revealed few details and left room for existing projects to continue.

There are more than 20 Chinese financed coal-fired power units under construction in South Africa, Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Serbia and United Arab Emirates, according to data from the Boston University Global Development Policy Centre. Another 17 are in the planning stage.


If you think the Chinese coal industry is not influential in the CCP, I have a bridge to sell you :)