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Old 09-17-2013, 11:34 AM   #964 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by cbaber View Post
The problem with man made global warming is that even if it is true, nothing we do can reverse course in time. We are completely reliant on fossil fuels and will be for at least 25 years. Even if the US drastically reduced emissions, countries like China will pick up the CO2 emissions as they expand industrially. As more and more of the world gains access to electricity, cars, and other modern sources of CO2 emissions, the global output will continue on.
While you are correct that the warming will continue for the foreseeable future, you've missed a couple things. The first is that while China's emissions ARE increasing, China is also investing far more than any other country in renewable energy, and in next-generation nuclear power, which means that they are not likely to ever reach the per-person emissions of America.

That said, the longer we DELAY a conversion based on the notion that we "can't do it in time", the more that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the meantime, we're left with the question of what to do about the warming that is happening regardless.

In that area, it turns out, the answer is much the same. Conventional power plants are vulnerable to droughts, floods, heat waves, and storms in a way that most forms of renewable energy generation are not, to at the very least, we need a larger proportion of renewable energy sources to avoid blackouts during heat waves or floods, when people need the energy the most.

There's also the fact that combustion-based power plants currently increase air pollution, which becomes more dangerous in higher temperatures.

There's more to be done than just changing power sources, but that WILL make it easier to cope with the challenges of a warming world.

If you prefer to focus on other ways to adapt, for whatever reason, there are things like the Federal Flood Insurance program that encourages people to build on the beachfront (Sandy showed us how THAT will end up), or the fact that we're currently subsidizing agriculture in regions that are going to need more irrigation as droughts get worse, and as available drinking water becomes more precious. There's a lot of work to be done, no matter what you think is CAUSING the warming.