Climate anxiety is hitting me all at once. How do I go about my normal life?

With a caveat–the Permo-Triassic extinction may have featured faster warming, but that’s hardly an encouraging parallel (and further, some of it was through burning coal–specifically, flood basalts igniting tens of cubic kilometers of lignite in Siberia).

A peculiar feature of the climate change is that while most regions get warmer, some may get colder.

The Arctic polar vortex has kept the coldest winter air within the Arctic. Warming climate tends to disrupt the system, so cold air flows either to North America or North Europe. Seems to be that when North America is cold, North Europe is warm and vice versa. This winter the cold air has flowed to North Europe and the coldest days here have been below -40 degrees C.

It is sometimes difficult to explain how -40 C is a sign of warming climate. Luckily, the national TV & newspapers have explained well how the system works and I guess the majority of people here have some kind of understanding that warming climate can do such tricks. Yet, the aged people understand that -40 C is not as cold as the former record temperatures. I remember the coldest winters decades ago when temperatures dropped even below -50 C. It is very unlikely that temperatures would drop below -50 C in the current climate as the climate warming increases even the lowest winter temperatures with about +4 C.

A more radical drop in temperatures would happen if the water currents in the Atlantic (AMOC) would slow down because of climate change. One model claimed that temperatures could drop up to 30 degrees in Europe, if AMOC would wane. The other side of the coin would be that the temperatures at more southern latitudes would zoom up. All kinds of scenarios that may provoke climate anxiety.

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I just ask people if they’ve ever watched a pot of water boil. When they say yes I say picture that with some ice cubes added: the boiling water will move the ice cubes all over so parts of the pot that would never have gotten ice cubes now get them.

This is one of the sudden disaster scenarios: sediments and other ‘records’ show that if enough of Greenland’s ice pack melted all at once, flooding the north Atlantic with fresh water on the surface, it could shut down the Gulf Stream completely; when this has happened before, North America got covered with snow right into the northern U.S. states and stayed that way within three years – something that in glaciology class got called “sudden-onset ice age”. Apparently this could cause the equivalent of an ice age in North America while Europe got warmer!

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A nice scenario: while your scenario suggests that North America freezes and Europe gets warmer, the model I told would predict the opposite: Europe freezes and Florida might boil.

It is sometimes ‘fun’ to create different disaster scenarios. These give news titles that sell well. What is usually not told in the sensational news articles is that the probability of the disaster scenarios is very low.

It is told that 2000 years ago people in the current France and elsewhere in Europe were afraid that the heavens would drop and crush everything. Today a similar fear could be that a large space rock hits Earth. Some wild disaster scenarios about climate change have a likelihood that is probably lower than the scenario where a large space rock hits Earth.

The issue with Greenland is that the probability of disaster is effectively unknown. There are spots where it’s known that the ice sheet is melting from underneath as surface melt flows down through fissures, and not enough is known about the bottom of the ice sheet to say what the probabilities are.

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Interesting. Do you know if there is a scientific explanation for that? It seems to be true this year – here in southern Ontario, Canada, the winter has been exceptionally mild (not over yet :slight_smile: ), with a couple of weeks around -15C, but many weeks of fog and rain and 0C. Meteorologists talk about El Niño–Southern Oscillation - Wikipedia. Winters have certainly changed since I was a child.

Edit:

Hope you get through that cold :cold_face:.

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I’d forgotten about that! In geology we looked at that and at another example in the region: in Washington not far off I-5 there’s a set of hot springs with a unique heat source: there was a coal mine that somehow started burning. The springs were more warm than hot when I visited them, and the temperature is lukewarm now; the underground fire finally burned itself out in the late 1990s and the only heat for the springs is residual in the rock.

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There is, although the evidence is not strong. It seems the system is sensitive to details, in models climate change sometimes destabilizes the system, sometimes it may even have an opposite effect. There are different schools of opinion, some say climate change is disrupting the system, others say that it is just natural background variation.
I am not an expert of the topic.

Arctic polar vortex

polar air keeps breaking out

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Here is my summary and understanding of climate change believers narrative:

Our world climate is rapidly changing in a way that poses an existential threat to humanity. And this climate change is due to human behavior, more specifically due to our use of fossil fuels that produce greenhouse gases that are raising temperatures worldwide. We must act quickly and globally to reduce our carbon footprint. The future of the existence of humanity is at risk.

What is the economic cost of addressing climate change? Estimates range from $300 billion to $50 trillion, likely more in the higher range than lower. But the costs of not addressing climate change will be far higher than the cost of effectively addressing it.

Climate change is truly one of the most talked about issues of our day. So how can individuals effectively assess these claims, particularly if we do not clearly understand all of the science? Is it even possible? Do we have no choice but “to trust the experts” and “follow the science?”

No, we don’t clearly understand all of the science. That is likely not possible. But as believers, we do have choices.

James 1: 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

Here is how, as followers of Jesus, we can sort this through this issue, even in a highly politicized and divisive environment. We can ask God for his wisdom.

Rather than look at the message, which is far too complex for us to adequately assess, look at the character of the messengers and the results of their message. What kind of people are they? Do they have a consistent record of truth telling? Have they demonstrated that they consider others’ interests more highly than their own, not only in words but in personal action?

Are they leading the way by their own actions? In other words, are these leaders already embracing the sacrifices that they expect everyone else to bear, or do they exempt themselves from sacrifice because of their status as leaders? Are they humble? Do they realize their human limitations, and because of this seek God for wisdom on the issue of climate change? When they speak about climate change and how to address it, does this bring us together and bring peace to our hearts and minds?

If the leading climate change proponents are living honest lives and consistently speak the truth on other issues, we may accept them and their message on this issue with confidence as well. But if their lives, speech, behavior and actions are contrary to honest speaking, godly conduct, and moral living, then we can reject their narrative with confidence. They have shown they are in rebellion against the living and true God. They are of their father the devil, who when he lies, is speaking his native language. And when they speak, they will also be speaking lies—most likely falsehood mingled with truth to make it more deceptive.

And the results of our leader’s speech and actions will become apparent, whether their wisdom is from God or not. Which “harvest” do we see, do you see? By their fruits you will know them.

James 3:16-18 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Please direct me to where I can find a plan that will get us to net zero without millions and billions of people dying, where the sources of power now being shut down will be replaced by this so called renewable energy.

Electrical generating capacity is currently being reduced more quickly than it is being replaced. Dams are being torn out, coal fired plants are being shut down, even the cleanest and newest. There is environmental opposition to wind generators. Construction of natural gas pipes has been shut down. And with the rush to use electric for appliances, vehicles, etc., the demand for electricity increasing. Even our government says our electric grid capacity is decreasing, and the risk of brown outs and blackouts is increasing.

Okay, all of this sacrifice and chaos will lead to reduced carbon emissions, but at serious human cost. Not just sacrifice. It’s rather like the chicken saying to the pig, “Let’s treat our neighbors to a ham and egg omelet.” Generosity from the chicken for sure, but at the cost of a life for the pig.

It seems the same in this case. The elite will surely continue to be fed and live in luxury. But as these elites rush the world toward “net-zero,” the cost of farming and food is increasing and will likely skyrocket. The elites will sacrifice some “eggs,” while the less privileged may sacrifice their lives. Of course, the earth will be saved for humanity, those that are left, and many and probably more people dying was inevitable anyway. So are you okay with that? Some of our leading net zero proponents are actually good with that.

To get to net zero, it seems it will take a lot more than switching energy sources. It will take real sacrifice. True believers should lead the way. When will the Davos elite and their followers begin to refuse steaks and start enjoying their grasshoppers and caterpillars, and park their coal burning electric vehicles and start riding their bikes?

Electrical generating capacity is being reduced more quickly than it is being replaced. Dams are being torn out, coal fired plants are being shut down, even the cleanest and newest. Construction of natural gas pipes has been shut down. And with the rush to go electric for appliances, vehicles, etc., the demand for electricity goes up. Even our government says our electric grid capacity is decreasing.

Okay, all of this will lead to reduced carbon emissions, but at serious human cost. Not just sacrifice. It’s rather like the chicken saying to the pig, “Let’s treat our neighbors to a ham and egg omelet.” Generosity from the chicken for sure, but at the cost of a life for the pig.

Here’s one article to read: As Americans Struggle Financially, Climate Agenda Set to Spark New Food Price Hikes, Analysts Say | The Epoch Times

This reminds me of the model I was peripherally involved with where I attended university because it was definitely sensitive to details. The professors had done their best with the atmosphere divided into lower and upper in cells something like 1,000km on a side. Then they got access to more computing power, so they could add in the ocean and reduce the cells to closer to 800km on a side – and everything changed. By the time I graduated they had shrunk the cells to around 750km on a side and were using a three-layer atmosphere. Last I heard they had the cell size down to 250km on a side, had four layers to the atmosphere, and had gotten ocean currents into the model, along with having all ten types of clouds and their behavior included. At every stage, the results were even more sensitive to details.

What most people don’t understand about climate models is that they are tested against historical data; that is they take a starting point in the past and enter all the data about it, then run the model to see if the results match the actual weather from history. Of course it never does perfectly, so climate scientists try to figure out where the model is deficient, tweak it, and run it again. My botany professors who were involved with the model agreed that for a truly dependable model they needed to get the cells down to no more than a single kilometer per side, plus better refinements for the interactions between the air, the sea, and the land (their primary contribution was to the algorithms describing interaction between the air and land covered by plants; someone else handled deserts).

Another thing most people don’t understand is that models don’t just result in one prediction for a given area; they can give several possibilities with probabilities assigned. Last I knew of the model my professors were involved with and its predictions for where I live, what we’re experiencing here is tracking well with the most probable prediction of more mellow winters punctuated by an occasional arctic blast and cooler, drier summers punctuated by an occasional – though increasing in number – heatwave.

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There are differences between countries. Where leaders have leaned heavily on fossil fuels, there are serious difficulties with the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Some countries have been more proactive or at least reacted faster than others and they have a better situation. There are also differences in how the power grid has been built, managed and updated.

Wind energy is currently the cheapest form to produce electricity, at least here. In sunny areas, solar energy will probably become even cheaper. Yet, one solution is not enough because the situation and possibilities vary between countries. Whatever the solutions are, there are possibilities to shift away from fossil fuels. It just takes decades to build up sufficient amounts of fossil-free energy production. Countries that have been stuck to the fossil fuels are just starting this process while the early birds have already advanced to the point where they produce much renevable energy.

During windy periods here, the price of electricity may drop to below zero. During those periods, you can even earn money by consuming electricity! The reason is that there was a political decision to invest in renewable energy more than two decades ago. To get the process started, the government guaranteed a given minimum price for wind energy for the first wind energy plants. After the start, there has been no need for more government money because wind energy is now the cheapest way to produce energy. Today in this country (edit: Finland), <25% of all electricity production is based on fossil fuels and this percentage is decreasing. The storage of wind energy is still a problem but there are serious attempts to solve that problem, for example by using excess energy to production of green hydrogen and renevable fuels. There are also an increasing number of large battery storages (each up to 40 MW). As long as the price of wind energy occasionally drops to zero or even lower, it is profitable to store energy when prices are low and sell the energy when prices are high.

There is a need to get our living standards to a globally sustainable level. For the wealthy, this means sacrificing something. Whatever the sacrifices are, lack of fossil-free electricity is not necessarily a problem, at least not here. It seems we can increase the consumption of electricity in the future.

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Latest research suggests there is a need to add geomagnetic and solar activity to the equation. These seem to affect the stability of the Arctic polar vortex. An additional level of complexity to the models…

Juntunen, V., Asikainen, T. Electricity consumption in Finland influenced by climate effects of energetic particle precipitation. Sci Rep 13, 20546 (2023).
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-47605-8

Vokhmyanin, M., Asikainen T., Salminen A., Mursula K, Long-term prediction of Sudden Stratospheric Warmings with Geomagnetic and Solar Activity, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 128, e2022JD037337, 2022, https://doi.org/10.1029/2022JD037337

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Does that include the costs of recycling the massive blades as they get retired? That’s the biggest complaint against wind power that I’ve seen lately and it seems a tough one.

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I remember there was talk about getting the 11-year solar cycle included, but nothing about geomagnetic activity.

59.5% fossil fuels
18.5% nuclear
22% renewable (up from 12% in 1990)
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If I remember correctly from previous threads, the <25% would be a reference to Finland.

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Wow, @knor! That’s awesome. We can learn a lot from Finland!

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The U.S. should be at one-third nuclear by now, or even two-fifths.

Because a bunch of panicky eco-freaks back in the 1970s lied about nuclear power to make it scary, the U.S. is burning about twice as much in fossil fuels as we could be.

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I have read that recycling of the massive blades is not a big problem here. The companies have already recycled the blades of the oldest wind mills. The blades are crushed to small pieces and then used in cement factories, partly for the production of clinker, partly as fuel. This reduces the CO2 emissions of the cement factories. Nothing ends up to dumps.

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