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Climate breakdown and housing strategy


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10 hours ago, skinnylattej said:

I'm a bit behind with my project, with major upgrade of insulation being designed at the moment.  Once the insulation is completed, I'll log temperature and energy consumption for two years before deciding the next steps.

Retrofitting insulation and avoiding thermal bridges in an existing structure is a PITA.  I live in a place that is also vulnerable to storm damage, which adds to the complexity.  But I believe that in the medium term it will be very beneficial as climate instability increases as the Artic warms and the jetstream becomes  unstable. 

From my experience it is important to have a full plan including everything you do or might want before you start. If we had done that with our renovation/extension we would have got a better end result and saved a bit of money. In fact we would probably have decided to knock the house down and rebuild.  

In particular, insulation needs to be properly thought through from the outset. If you want to make a real difference, external insulation is the way to go. Trying to do it with internal insulation is much less effective (don't know about the storm issue), more disruptive, loses a lot of interior space and can give you all sorts of issues with damp and condensation. 

In terms of a payoff you should save at least half on your energy bills, even after adding aircon, and have a far more comfortable house.  

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21 minutes ago, PeanutButter said:

Electric planes will replace avgas. 

It’ll be quite weird I imagine, much quieter?

What route planes might eventually go is interesting to speculate on. Long-distance electric is currently only feasible for highly specialised lightweight technology demonstrators, and doesn't look likely to switch to being viable for lugging large numbers of passengers or cargo any time soon. Hydrogen powered might be, although whether that's better for a plane to make it electric via a fuel cell or burning directly in a suitable jet engine I don't know.

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12 hours ago, Confusion of VIs said:

From my experience it is important to have a full plan including everything you do or might want before you start. If we had done that with our renovation/extension we would have got a better end result and saved a bit of money. In fact we would probably have decided to knock the house down and rebuild.  

In particular, insulation needs to be properly thought through from the outset. If you want to make a real difference, external insulation is the way to go. Trying to do it with internal insulation is much less effective (don't know about the storm issue), more disruptive, loses a lot of interior space and can give you all sorts of issues with damp and condensation. 

In terms of a payoff you should save at least half on your energy bills, even after adding aircon, and have a far more comfortable house.  

Thank you for your comments.  Knocking down and rebuilding isn't an option, but I agree with the need to plan the insulation work completely before starting.  The work will be carried out in stages over the next few years. 

I don't expect to halve my already low energy bills, but I am hoping that I will be able to use all the house all the time.  This afternoon, the South-facing rooms were unbearably hot, so there needs to be provision for shading. Additionally there is the regulatory risk as climate change becomes more pronounced.

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A 3°C world has no safe place

The extremes of floods and fires are not going away, but adaptation can lessen their impact

 

In 1745, as the river Liffey, having broken its banks, clawed at the foundations of the house in which he sat, the young Edmund Burke experienced a strange, perverse thrill. The man who would go on to found modern conservatism drew inspiration from this experience in a later essay on the sublime, writing of the unmatched delight that terrible destruction could stir—provided that it is watched from a certain distance.

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The most terrible thing about the spectacular scenes of destruction that have played out around the world over the past weeks is that there is no safe place from which to observe them. The ground under the German town of Erftstadt is torn apart like tissue paper by flood waters; Lytton in British Columbia is burned from the map just a day after setting a freakishly high temperature record; cars float like dead fish through the streets-turned-canals in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou. All the world feels at risk, and most of it is.

Greenhouse-gas emissions have produced a planet more than 1°C (1.8°F) warmer than it was in Burke’s pre-industrial days. Its atmosphere, stoked up and out of joint, is producing heavy weather in ways both predicted and surprising. And, with emissions continuing, it will get worse.

Unfortunately, 2021 will probably be one of the 21st century’s coolest years. If temperatures rise by 3°C above pre-industrial levels in the coming decades—as they might even if everyone manages to honour today’s firm pledges—large parts of the tropics risk becoming too hot for outdoor work. Coral reefs and the livelihoods that depend on them will vanish and the Amazon rainforest will become a ghost of itself. Severe harvest failures will be commonplace. Ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland will shrink past the point of no return, promising sea rises measured not in millimetres, as today’s are, but in metres.

Six years ago, in Paris, the countries of the world committed themselves to avoiding the worst of that nightmare by eliminating net greenhouse-gas emissions quickly enough to hold the temperature rise below 2°C. Their progress towards that end remains woefully inadequate. Yet even if their efforts increased dramatically enough to meet the 2°C goal, it would not stop forests from burning today; prairies would still dry out tomorrow, rivers break their banks and mountain glaciers disappear.

Cutting emissions is thus not enough. The world also urgently needs to invest in adapting to the changing climate. The good news is that adaptation makes political sense. People can clearly see the need for it. When a country invests in flood defences it benefits its own citizens above all others—there is no free-rider problem, as there could be for emissions reduction. Nor does all the money come from the public purse; companies and private individuals can see the need for adaptation and act on it. When they do not do so, insurance companies can open their eyes to the risks they are running.

Some adaptation is fairly easily set in place. Systems for warning Germans of coming floods will surely now improve. But other problems require much larger public investment, like that which has been put into water-management in the Netherlands. Rich countries can afford such things. Poor countries and poor people need help, which is why the Paris climate agreement calls for annual transfers of $100bn from rich to poor.

The rich countries have not yet lived up to their side of this. On July 20th John Kerry, President Joe Biden’s special envoy on climate change, reiterated America’s pledge to triple its support to $1.5bn for adaptation in poorer countries by 2024, part of a broader move to increase investment in adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. More such efforts are vital.

But they also have limits. Making do with less water may be possible; getting by on none is not. Some levels of temperature and humidity make outdoors activity impossible. There comes one flood too many, after which you abandon the land. When the reef is gone, it is gone.

If the Paris goal of keeping the rise below 2°C is met, the full extent of those limits will not be tested. But emission-cutting zeal may not accelerate as required. And the climate system could prove more sensitive than it has shown itself to be to date, as some scientists believe possible, producing more warming per tonne of carbon in the atmosphere.

Hence it is also prudent to study the most spectacular, and scary, form of adaptation: solar geoengineering. This seeks to make clouds or particle layers in the atmosphere a bit more mirror-like, reflecting away some sunlight. It cannot provide a straightforward equal and opposite response to greenhouse-gas warming; it will tend, for example, to reduce precipitation somewhat more than temperature, potentially changing rainfall patterns. But research over the past 15 years has suggested that solar geoengineering might significantly reduce some of the harms from greenhouse warming.

What nobody yet knows is how such schemes could be developed so as to reflect not just the interests of their instigators, but also those of all the countries they will affect. Different countries might seek different amounts of cooling; some ways of putting solar geoengineering into effect would help some regions while harming others. Nor is there yet a compelling rejoinder to the risk that the very idea of such things tomorrow reduces the incentive to be ambitious in cutting emissions today.

When good men do nothing

To think about solar geoengineering requires facing those problems—and the risk that powers with little interest in them may try out such schemes regardless. It also means facing squarely what kind of being humankind has become. Watching the rising waters of the Liffey, Burke “considered how little man is, yet in his mind how great…Master of all things, yet scarce can command anything.” Manipulating the climate that humanity has destabilised—unwittingly, at first—spurs similar thoughts of simultaneous power and impotence. It is not nature that humans cannot command, but themselves, in all their insignificance and world-altering might. 

 

 

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship
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>It is not nature that humans cannot command, but themselves, in all their insignificance and world-altering might.

Precisely the point I was making in the Why Socialism Can never work thread, to which the response was an accusation that such a statement is an apology for the worst excesses of capitalism.

 

 

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Disastrous floods in western Germany - The Eifel disaster | DW Documentary

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c_gHVimTjY

I wonder if its possible to find out how many Houses are built in U shaped valley originally formed by catastrophic floods like these german ones ?  

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship
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The most extraordinary of the recent heatwaves occurred in the Pacific northwest in June where the normally mild region was bathed in heat that broke temperature records by more than 10F (5.5C). The heat, which caused hundreds of people to die in cities including Seattle and Portland, where it reached 116F (46C), has caused several scientists to question their previous estimates of how the climate crisis will reshape heatwave severity.

“You expect hotter heatwaves with climate change but the estimates may have been overly conservative,” Wehner said. “With the Pacific northwest heatwave you’d conclude the event would be almost impossible without climate change but in a straightforward statistical analysis from before this summer you’d also include it would be impossible with climate change, too. That is problematic, because the event happened.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jul/24/america-heatwave-climate-crisis-heat-dome

 

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Haven’t read any Jensen before but saw a video of him continuing to talk while being screeched at and heckled by no-platforming university students, and admired his restraint.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/194862639X/ref=dbs_a_w_dp_194862639x

"Bright Green Lies exposes the hypocrisy and bankruptcy of leading environmental groups and their most prominent cheerleaders. The best-known environmentalists are not in the business of speaking truth, or even holding up rational solutions to blunt the impending ecocide, but instead indulge in a mendacious and self-serving delusion that provides comfort at the expense of reality. They fail to state the obvious: We cannot continue to wallow in hedonistic consumption and industrial expansion and survive as a species. 

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If you have a good size garden a nice asset to have for recreation and additional resilience is a natural swimming pond. Divided ~50:50 between a deeper swimming zone (maybe 2m deep in the middle) and a shallow 1.5m to 0.3m deep regeneration area. The latter is filled with various water plants that keep the water clean. An underwater wall separates the two areas to keep silt etc out of the swimming area but allow water to flow between the two over the top of the wall. 

Then a simple aquarium compressor or two can be run off a solar panel to create a bubble pump (or airlift pump)  that circulates the water and oxygenating the plants.

You get a nearly maintenance free, chemical free swimming pool and a large reservoir of drinking water for emergencies.

 

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Assuming the risk / water levels keep rising, when will this start affecting house prices in those areas ? 

Flooding: London areas at risk of being underwater by 2030

https://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/19468827.flooding-london-areas-risk-underwater-2030/

Have we entered a new phase of climate change? FT readable

- https://www.ft.com/content/3125bee9-73ae-4abf-ac58-615fe8e43396

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship
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1 hour ago, Saving For a Space Ship said:

Assuming the risk / water levels keep rising, when will this start affecting house prices in those areas ? 

Flooding: London areas at risk of being underwater by 2030

https://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/19468827.flooding-london-areas-risk-underwater-2030/

Have we entered a new phase of climate change? FT readable

- https://www.ft.com/content/3125bee9-73ae-4abf-ac58-615fe8e43396

In London? Councils will still be approving new build developments while their desks float away. :D 

Fun map

https://coast.noaa.gov/slr/#/layer/slr/3/38295.94713067755/6717105.563782377/7/satellite/none/0.8/2050/interHigh/midAccretion

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Extreme weather will be the norm and UK is not prepared, report warns

Last year was first to be in top 10 for heat, rain and sunshine, as scientists say UK’s mild climate is at an end

Richard Allan, professor of climate science at Reading University, explained: “Very wet periods and associated flooding are becoming more severe as higher greenhouse gas levels warm the air, increasing the moisture that fuels storms. A more thirsty atmosphere also dries the ground more effectively, intensifying the already hotter spells and making our weather more extreme.”

Those extremes are likely to cause severe problems, as most infrastructure in the UK has not been built to tolerate the sort of rainfall, heatwave temperatures and storms that are likely to hit more frequently. Flooding has struck the UK again in recent days, after a heatwave earlier this month, raising questions over the UK’s ability to cope with extreme weather.

 

 

 

 

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Correction of global heating/climate change will slow down growth, the world using less crude oil and gas will in itself help reduce carbon being released into the atmosphere....how many years of obtainable oil is left in the earth that can be easily extracted? Coal will that ever come back here?.......maybe only then can the natural world can start to recover......a large number of people will not be able to afford new cars and new boilers until the price comes down....new cars and boilers use enormous amounts of energy and rare earth minerals, the national grid could not cope with running all transport and heating and cooling, a huge investment in energy infrastructure is required......then people can only use it if they can afford to buy it.;)

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Posted (edited)

Dude it’s good to be positive but the climate chaos we’re experiencing now is the result of emissions from the 70s. There’s a huge latency in the feedback systems. 

So it’s cool to talk about peak oil cutting down emissions - but that will only help 40 years after the fact.

Number one thing humans can do at the moment is have one less child. Second thing is educate and uplift women and girls in the developing world. Third is bloody well hope one of the rocket ship billionaires comes up with an effective, cheap carbon capture technology. Because so far all we have is planting trees. 

Edited by PeanutButter
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We make up only a tiny part of the world, an impact all be it a small one......like cleaning up after an earthquake with a dustpan and brush........people in poor large third world countries use very little energy per capita, they need children to work and keep the family with enough to live on and to look after the older members of the family......nobody should be told how many children they can have.;)

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1 hour ago, winkie said:

We make up only a tiny part of the world, an impact all be it a small one......like cleaning up after an earthquake with a dustpan and brush........people in poor large third world countries use very little energy per capita, they need children to work and keep the family with enough to live on and to look after the older members of the family......nobody should be told how many children they can have.;)

No-one should be told how many they can have, but should is a different matter. Continued population growth causes problems for everyone wherever it happens.  People need to accept that it's a very damaging thing rather than burying their heads in the sand about it because there doesn't seem to be an acceptable solution to it (actually there is one - education).

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1 hour ago, PeanutButter said:

Third is bloody well hope one of the rocket ship billionaires comes up with an effective, cheap carbon capture technology. Because so far all we have is planting trees. 

All for more trees (seems to be going the reverse near me - ash dieback seems to be hitting a lot :( ) Problem with carbon capture - where do you put it once you've captured it? Can't refill the old coal mines, they'll all be collapsed and inaccessible and opening them up would be far more work and more dangerous than digging them was in the first place (open case excepted). Not sure about pumping oil back in to wells.

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8 hours ago, Riedquat said:

No-one should be told how many they can have, but should is a different matter. Continued population growth causes problems for everyone wherever it happens.  People need to accept that it's a very damaging thing rather than burying their heads in the sand about it because there doesn't seem to be an acceptable solution to it (actually there is one - education).

To be honest there is enough for everyone to have enough on this planet, it is only because some want more than what is enough others go without, not educating people or educating them to a poor standard is another way of preventing improving life chances  .....I wouldn't worry about population growth both nature and man have a way of keeping the population in check, wars, disease and natural disasters......who has the right to say who lives who dies and who should not be born?;)

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10 hours ago, winkie said:

nobody should be told how many children they can have.;)

Does that include the girls forced into marriage and a lifetime of pregnancies? 

12 million girls are married before the age of 18 each year

That is 23 girls
every minute

Nearly 1 every
3 seconds 

Source: https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/about-child-marriage/

If we’re talking human rights regarding procreation they are intrinsically linked to girls’ oppression. 

But I’m sure you have a trite and empty phrase to respond to that one as well. 🤣 

As for “...I wouldn't worry about population growth both nature and man have a way of keeping the population in check, wars, disease and natural disasters......”

Sounds like something someone who has never starved in a war zone might say. 

Hmm which is worse? Educating people about family planning, or watching babies die from dysentery? Tough one! 

9 hours ago, Riedquat said:

All for more trees (seems to be going the reverse near me - ash dieback seems to be hitting a lot :( ) Problem with carbon capture - where do you put it once you've captured it? Can't refill the old coal mines, they'll all be collapsed and inaccessible and opening them up would be far more work and more dangerous than digging them was in the first place (open case excepted). Not sure about pumping oil back in to wells.

I’ve no idea. I’m happy with more rewilding but as you say, effective carbon capture is a long way off. And what’s the point when emissions are increasing anyway? 

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/20/climate-crisis-and-carbon-capture-why-some-are-worried-about-its-role.html

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10 hours ago, Riedquat said:

All for more trees (seems to be going the reverse near me - ash dieback seems to be hitting a lot :( ) Problem with carbon capture - where do you put it once you've captured it? Can't refill the old coal mines, they'll all be collapsed and inaccessible and opening them up would be far more work and more dangerous than digging them was in the first place (open case excepted). Not sure about pumping oil back in to wells.

Carbon capture and storage, CCS, the holy grail or the political con?

1.  Consider the scale of operation, to be effective it needs to work on a scale equivalent to the oil/petrochems industry, looking at multi-million tonnes operations.  I'm now going be lazy and group all the CCS technologies as one.  So far, there have been a few microscale plants, not even big enough to be classed as pilot plants.  They worked but scale-up always presents problems, especially when you are going from a few 10 kgs per hour to a full scale plant running at tens of thousands of kgs per hour.  Theoretically you can pump the recovered CO2 into disused oil wells and cap the well.  But this has not been done on any scale, and we have no real world information on gas escape over long periods of time.  Since natural gas (methane) stayed underground for millions of years, then there is some indication that CO2 storage may work.

2. Economics, no-one has a close to scale plant running CCS coupled to an electricity generator, so the figures published are little more than guesses, but it is likely that the additional cost of generating electricity from a gas turbine station will be 25 to 40% higher than current prices.  Using CCS on a biomass power generator like Drax is likely to be similar or slightly higher.

3.  Time is critical, already the CO2 levels in the atmosphere are close to the limit that is compatible with 1.5C warming.  So we need CCS and every other available technology now, not in 15 years time.  The next IPPC report is out on Monday 9th August, and will provide more detail and times-scales.

4.  Plant trees, watched a lecture at the Tyndall Institute, one of the questions at the end of the lecture was about planting trees to absorb the UK CO2 emissions, the response that it can be done, but we would need to plant an area the quarter of India.

5.  The UK has made good progress with decarbonising the electricity supply.  But little progress with reducing emissions from surface transport and heating of houses, and almost zero progress with decarbonising UK agriculture.  CO2 in the atmosphere is a classic "stocks and flows" problem, and we are getting close the the maximum CO2 concentrations compatible with an average 1.5C temperature increase.  The UK's 'net zero by 2050' is too late, although it won't worry me as I'll be dead before 2050, but the generations following me will have to face the problems.

I am a (polymer) scientist, and I believe the work carried out by a long line of scientists starting with Fourier in 1827, Tyndall, Arrhenius etc.  IMV the human race is at the critical point where the choice is; take inadequate action now and face severe problems in 30, 40 50 years time, or take very painful and unpleasant actions now and benefit in the future.  The political cycle does not synchronise with the longer term requirements of the planet, so I guess we choose the first option.

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