How to Make Climate Change Matter
November 30, 2018
MONEY controls the world, including all of us. Including Climate Change.
(If you don’t want to be more depressed about Climate Change, don’t read this.)
Would you give up millions of dollars to save someone else heartaches? What about billions. What about 400 quadrillion dollars?
Oh, come on! 400 quadrillion dollars? You think I exaggerate. Read on.
You are saying “I would give that up to save billions of people. I would do the right thing.”
Okay, hypothetical, you just got a million dollars a year from the oil industry for them fracking on your farm. How much will you give up to save someone in Jakarta or Mumbai, or even a rich Bostonian living on the beachfront from having to move away from their homes in new flood zones due to Climate Change? Or would you use your money to help out your children or grandkids buying a house or a car they need.
What is the right thing? This is the key problem to solving Climate Change.
Bill McKibben’s excellent article in the New Yorker Nov 26, 2018, “Life on a Shrinking Planet,” points out many amazingly depressing facts about Climate Change. But, the bottom line in the middle of one paragraph hit me:
“. . . the damage caused by rising sea levels will cost the world as much as $14 trillion a year by 2100, if the U.N. targets aren’t met.”
$14 trillion a year sounds like a lot.
But let’s look at the profits from oil-related industries. I.E. Why climate change doesn’t matter to oil-related industries.
Total profits per year from oil-related industry NOW $3.49 trillion.
(Except, this is a low estimate. I didn’t get all the industries in my quick calculations below. Per Year profits for the global industries I could find on Google in half an hour.
Big Oil $200 billion (just posted record profits of $51.5 billion per quarter)
Big Auto $1.5 trillion (that’s only the top 10 manufacturers)
Global Plastics $654 billion in 2020
Global Fertilizer $1.88 billion by 2020 (not included farm/ranch profits.)
Cosmetics Sales $445 billion (80% of cosmetics come from oil products)
Global Healthcare $545 billion (most products, pharmaceuticals, oil-related)
Global asphalt (Bitumen) $48 billion (120 metric tons per year x $400 per ton avg) )
Investors invest. Another reason oil-related industry ignores climate change. Money made on investments from profits $3.49 trillion/year:
By 2100, 80 years, it will be $19.784 quadrillion, about $20 quadrillion, or$20,000 trillion
(Because, the average investor will get about 10% return, if you invested $ 3.49 trill per year with 10% return compounded yearly, investing an additional 1.4% ($50 bil) per year)
And, that’s in today’s dollars. By 2100 $20 quadrillion would translate with inflation to $400 quadrillion. (Think a million dollars in 1940 is now worth about 20 million dollars)
So, you’re asking world investors (including all of us, since we all rely on their investments and money) to give up $400 quadrillion dollars to help save billions of people hardship of moving away from flood zones for the next 80 years.
Heck, I’d be ecstatic with even $100,000 extra a year.
Yeah. You get it. I told you it was depressing.
How can we make this more important to all of us making money off oil (yes, you, too)?
Think nuclear. Yes, really. According to Stephen Pinker and the New York Times, nuclear power is the cleanest, easiest and fastest way to decarbonize our energy in the world, and end climate change before 2040, especially for developing countries. We in the US have a HUGE, HUGE hate of nuclear power related to distant past spills. The big nuclear spills that caused problems were in first and second generation reactors. We are into generation 4 reactors now, and they are SOOO much safer and cheaper, even China and India are buying them–a really good sign for climate change. France and Sweden did it and got to zero emissions in 15-20 years. If we rely on wind, water and solar it will take 100 years. For more info read this article
Okay, think positive. Get governments to use nuclear, wind and solar power. Get everyone to buy electric cars. Stop using plastic bags at grocery stores, change to vegetarian to decrease fertilizer and methane for cattle feed and manure, stop using all those cosmetics—go natural, stop paving roads with asphalt—we need Jetson’s electric cars, develop cures for cancer, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, so we would stop using all those drugs.
Yes, that all sounds like what we are trying to do, but it will take decades, fierce opponents of oil-based products, and by then we will already be almost dead from global warming.
We need breakthroughs.
First, we must start supporting nuclear power and let the companies start developing and using the fourth generation reactors. Doing just that may save us.
Then come a host of other things: a lightweight, cheap, super battery for storage of energy. Cars that run on garbage, or plastic, and don’t need highways. Solar panels that are 80% efficient. Small wind turbines to fit in our backyard. High protein potatoes that taste like filet mignon. A genetic cure for diseases. A genetic beautifying injection.
So this might sound drastic, but there is the sink or swim method (Fiction? perhaps).
Jump into the water and start swimming or you drown. There will be consequences, but global warming will stop.
Get rid of world oil in two weeks. Is that possible?
That’s why I wrote Dan’s War.
Yes, it is possible with oil-eating bacteria and nanotechnology advances in the next few years. There might be a few problems, a few little hitches…Yeah. Consequences.
Have fun delving into this fictional possibility in Dan’s War. A CIA computer programmer with Asperger’s Syndrome and an OPEC insider make the world green in two weeks.