[Klimalinks 4.6.2019] Schottischer Whisky No More, Midnight Oil investiert in Solar-Farmen und die Technosphäre als Motor des Anthropozän,

4. Juni 2019 10:27 | #Klimawandel #Politik #Umwelt

Ein paar Links der guten Laune und gleich zum Einstieg etwas besonderes für die Whisky-Freunde in der CDU, die sicher gerne abends mal ‘nen schottischen on the Rocks zwitschern: Scotch on the rocks: distilleries fear climate crisis will endanger whisky production.

• „In our ‘Visions of Climate Change’ panel at #DenverPopCultureCon, we collaboratively built this chart with the audience mapping out the plausibility and earnestness of films/TV shows that feature climate change.“

• Midnight Oil invests in Solar Farms: Australian musicians band together to invest in solar farms

• Bericht des European Academies’ Science Advisory Council: The imperative of climate action to protect human health in Europe, Guardian: A report by experts from 27 national science academies has set out the widespread damage global heating is already causing to people’s health and the increasingly serious impacts expected in future.

• Meanwhile in Berlin: Union diskutiert über CO₂-Preis: Mehrere Abgeordnete der CDU fordern laut einem Medienbericht eine CO2-Abgabe und stellen sich damit gegen die Parteispitze.

• James Dyke (Senior Lecturer für Globale Systeme, Uni Exeter) über die Technosphäre als Motor des Anthropozän und als selbsterhaltendes System und warum es sich mit Maßnahmen innerhalb dieses Systems kaum stoppen lässt: ‘We’ve created a civilisation hell bent on destroying itself – I’m terrified’, writes Earth scientist.

If growth is the problem, then we just have to work at that, right? […] My fear, however, is that we will not be able to slow down the growth of the technosphere even if we tried – because we are not actually in control. […]

Think about it: at the global scale, we have witnessed a phenomenal rate of deployment of solar, wind, and other sources of renewable energy generation. But global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. This is because renewables promote growth – they simply represent another method of extracting energy, rather than replacing an existing one. […] the technosphere can be viewed like an engine: one that works to make cars, roads, clothes, and stuff – even people – using available energy.

The technosphere still has access to abundant supplies of high energy density fossil fuels. And so the absolute decoupling of global carbon emissions from economic growth will not happen until they either run out or the technosphere eventually transitions to alternative energy generation. That may be well beyond the danger zone for humans.

We have just come to appreciate that our impacts on the Earth system are so large that we have possibly ushered in a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. The Earth’s rocks will bear witness to humans’ impacts long after we disappear. The technosphere can be seen as the engine of the Anthropocene. But that does not mean we are driving it. We may have created this system, but it is not built for our communal benefit. This runs completely counter to how we view our relationship with the Earth system. […]

As defined so far, there appears nothing to stop the technosphere liquidating most of the Earth’s biosphere to satisfy its growth. Just as long as goods and services are consumed, the technosphere can continue to grow.

And so those who fear the collapse of civilisation or those who have enduring faith in human innovation being able to solve all sustainability challenges may both be wrong.

After all, a much smaller and much richer population of the order of hundreds of millions could consume more than the current population of 7.6 billion or the projected population of nine billion by the middle of this century. While there would be widespread disruption, the technosphere may be able to weather climate change beyond 3°C. It does not care, cannot care, that billions of people would have died.

And at some point in the future, the technosphere could even function without humans. We worry about robots taking over human’s jobs. Perhaps we should be more concerned with them taking over our role as apex consumers.

• Die Rare Earth-Schattenseiten erneuerbarer Energie: Between the Devil and the Green New Deal: To meet the demands of the Green New Deal, which proposes to convert the US economy to zero emissions, renewable power by 2030, there will be a lot more of these mines gouged into the crust of the earth. That’s because nearly every renewable energy source depends upon non-renewable and frequently hard-to-access minerals: solar panels use indium, turbines use neodymium, batteries use lithium, and all require kilotons of steel, tin, silver, and copper. The renewable-energy supply chain is a complicated hopscotch around the periodic table and around the world. To make a high-capacity solar panel, one might need copper (atomic number 29) from Chile, indium (49) from Australia, gallium (31) from China, and selenium (34) from Germany. Many of the most efficient, direct-drive wind turbines require a couple pounds of the rare-earth metal neodymium, and there’s 140 pounds of lithium in each Tesla.

• Die australische Atomwirtschaft plädiert für CO₂-Steuer: „Nuclear could provide cheap energy but would only be competitive with gas and coal if carbon pollution is priced, nuclear association says“.

• Der mittlere Westen der USA säuft ab: ‘So much land under so much water’: extreme flooding is drowning parts of the midwest:

Weeks of flooding is drowning large parts of the midwest, wrecking communities and turning farms into inland seas. On top of that, a near record number of tornadoes has whipped through the region, smashing homes and claiming nearly 40 lives so far. All of this comes after the wettest 12 months in the US since records began.

Storms and near record rainfall have caused the region’s three major rivers to flood, inundating communities from Nebraska to Michigan and Illinois to Oklahoma, driving tens of thousands in to shelters, shutting businesses and closing interstate highways.

Waters that used to surge and recede have stayed around, swamping millions of acres of farmland and devastating the planting season. The amount of land farmers are being prevented from sowing by the water is estimated to be as much as double the previous record of 3m acres of corn, set in 2013. The worst-hit states include Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Indiana.

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