Photograph via snooOG

This is a place for the rational discussion of the science of climate change. If you want to post about politics or climate policy, try /r/ClimateNews or /r/climatepolicy.

This is a place for the rational discussion of the science of climate change. If you want to post about politics or climate policy, try /r/ClimateNews or /r/climatepolicy.

Subreddit rules:

  1. No politics. Your post will be silently deleted if it is about politics.

  2. Don't disparage the sub as a whole.

  3. No video posts.

  4. No meta. Take it to modmail.

  5. Don’t discourage people from convincing others that climate change matters.

A big climate change reading list by /u/discoastermusicus



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Climate Collapse

I recently joined r/collapse just for fun, it's a really pessimistic group over there. The main theme is that there is no turning back the climate shift and that we are basically doomed. Any thoughts?

19:25 UTC


Are there any experts here who can chime in on what will happen to the South Caucasus? [Armenia Azerbaijan Georgia]

George and Armenia are mountainous and dry. Georgia has access to the black sea while Armenia is landlocked.

Azerbaijan's entire east coast touches the Caspian Sea and they drill oil there (does that matter for worse environmental outcomes?).

I'm mostly asking about Azerbaijan, is Caspian Sea level decreasing, or will it flood Baku and other parts of Azerbaijan? What about heat? Will climate change increase the temperature to unbearable levels?

14:39 UTC


I'm from South America and the situation is horrifying

So... As is known, most of the southern hemisphere has been suffering with the effects of a heat dome lately. In my city by the end of this winter we were already reaching temps as high as 25-30ºC. Yes, in WINTER. Our winters are never very cold but here we'd usually have like 10-15 ºC at this time of the year and temperatures above 30ºC are rare even in summer. Then spring started and this week we are reaching 34-38ºC. This is just the beginning of spring!

I feel like I'm going crazy because most people don't seem to be taking this as seriously as I am. Lots of news broadcasters seem to pin this on El Niño alone, like it's just a random wheather anomaly that could have happened at any point. On the streets people just complain about he heat as if it was just a hot summer (it's not even summer folks!!!), and on the internet I barely see people talk about what is (to me) a very early preview of the more devastating effects of climate change.

My mind doesn't work very well in the heat so uh, right now it feels like I might never see a cold weather again and it's horrifying. Probably overreacting because of heat stress, but still. Perhaps I was not keeping up with the news about climate change, but I thought it would take a few more years before we would see something like this.

I am in the midst of finishing and moving to a house in a rural area where I plan to grow my own food forest, but I'm scared that this heat and possible droughts or excessive rain will make it already very difficult. I expected at least a few years of peaceful gardening and good crops. If the upcoming summer is hotter than it is right now though, I don't see how everything isn't going to just fry in the sun.

TL/DR is... I'm terrified about this heat wave and have no idea what to do to better prepare for the coming years (including mentally). I would appreciate any input or suggestions from people who have been thinking and researching more about climate change than I am. I'm not sure if I want to be one of the many climate migrants (though if I am, I suppose it would be better to be an early one) but damn if this isn't scary.

PS- I'm not looking for snark from climate deniers, especially ones living in US and EU who might never see the kind of hell we will see (are already seeing lol) in South America, so save your time.

13:29 UTC


Arctic sea ice minimum 2023

Does anyone found information about the minimum we reached this year? 21st of Sept is usually when we reach the minimum, I cannot find where to look. Cheers!

11:43 UTC


What does the UN Plastics Treaty zero draft tell us?

The zero draft serves as the foundation for deliberations at INC-3, which will be held in Kenya in November 2023, followed by INC-4 in Canada around May 2024. The meetings will probably concentrate on assessing the standards for deciding which chemicals and products to incorporate in the annexes of the treaty.



10:01 UTC


What responses do people have to Stephen Koonin's book Unsettled?

05:19 UTC


Are we fixing climate change?

Are we going to change in time. will we reach 4c world or like the energy mix says 7-10c world. Or are we already changing.

02:57 UTC


What is Earth’s Carrying Capacity?

I’ve hear estimates range from a billion to a trillion. What’s the consensus and why the huge range in estimates?

01:35 UTC


Random Source from a Random argument. (Help Please).

Need a touch of help debunking it. This site is sending me 8 different types of red flags. And I lack the resources to vet each source personally, digging into the background rn. But I could use a more experienced brain.


23:21 UTC


Did something happen from year 1590 until about 1605 to cause a sharp decrease in atmospheric carbon?


This graph shows a sharp decrease in atmospheric CO2 levels from 1590 which continues until about 1605 until it starts to go back up. This is about a 10ppm decrease over 15 years, which is the steepest change in atmospheric carbon from year 0 until about 1950, and it was a decrease, not an increase, so I'm curious about it.


Does anyone have any idea what caused this?

19:16 UTC


How does water vapor and CO2 interact in our warming climate? Often the two are confused, with an argument made that water vapor is the culprit.

Below are useful references that shed more light on this topic.

Columbia University

https://news.climate.columbia.edu/2019/07/30/co2-drives-global-warming/#:~:text=CO2%20makes%20up%20only%20about,to%20escape%20without%20being%20absorbed. "CO2 makes up only about 0.04% of the atmosphere, and water vapor can vary from 0 to 4%. But while water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas in our atmosphere, it has “windows” that allow some of the infrared energy to escape without being absorbed. In addition, water vapor is concentrated lower in the atmosphere, whereas CO2 mixes well all the way to about 50 kilometers up. The higher the greenhouse gas, the more effective it is at trapping heat from the Earth’s surface.

Both water vapor and CO2 are responsible for global warming, and once we increase the CO2 in the atmosphere, the oceans warm up, which inevitably triggers an increase in water vapor. But while we have no way to control water vapor, we can control CO2. And because we are increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by continuing to burn fossil fuels, even in relatively small amounts compared to the entire mass of the atmosphere, we are disturbing the entire heat balance of the planet."

World Meteorological Org -https://public.wmo.int/en/resources/bulletin/observing-water-vapour

"Some atmospheric gases, such as water vapour and CO2, absorb and re-emit infrared energy from the atmosphere down to the Earth’s surface. This process, the greenhouse effect, leads to a mean surface temperature that is 33 °C greater than it would be in its absence. If it were not for the greenhouse gas effect, Earth’s average temperature would be a chilly -18 °C. However, it is the non-condensable or long-lived greenhouse gases – mainly CO2, but also methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and halocarbons (CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs) – that act as the drivers of the greenhouse effect. Water vapour and clouds act as fast feedbacks – that is to say that water vapour responds rapidly to changes in temperature, through evaporation, condensation and precipitation.

This strong water vapour feedback means that for a scenario considering a doubling of the CO2 concentration from pre-industrial conditions, water vapour and clouds globally lead to an increase in thermal energy that is about three times that of the long-lived greenhouse gases. Therefore, measured in the ability to trap the heat emanating from the Earth’s surface, water vapour and clouds are the largest contributors to warming. The amount of water vapour in the atmosphere is a direct response to the amount of CO2 and the other long-lived greenhouse gases, increasing as they do.

It is impossible for us to control directly the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere since water is found everywhere on our planet – it covers 71% of Earth’s surface. To limit the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere and control Earth’s temperature, we must limit the greenhouse gases that we can, in practice, do something about: CO2 and the other long-lived greenhouse gases."

More at:

From Yale Climate Connections see https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2008/02/common-climate-misconceptions-the-water-vapor-feedback-2/

Water vapor amplifying climate change due to feedbacks https://spj.science.org/doi/10.34133/olar.0015

13:46 UTC


Do you think that the denial of climate change could be due to a lack of understanding about the size of the global population?

The current world population is approximately 8.1 billion. If you were to count each person at a rate of one per second, it would take approximately 257 years to count the world's population at a rate of one per second. This is a rough estimate and does not account for the continuous growth of the world's population.

Trying to include the population growth would be impossible and you'd never finish.

That's a lot of people who all want cars, flat screen TV, phones, etc etc.

07:12 UTC


Artificial Superintelligence and the Climate Crisis

Hello, I wanted to get some people's opinions on this issue. As most/all of you know, artificial intelligence as a field has been developing rapidly. Alongside that, climate change is likely to cause extremely dire problems for human civilization if we don't make major changes in energy, behaviors, and resource usage.

Climate change used to worry me more than anything in the world aside from nuclear apocalypse. Now, it's barely on my mind.

Why? Because of AI. AI has advanced at a rapid pace, and 90% of AI experts believe that we will achieve human level AI by 2075: https://research.aimultiple.com/artificial-general-intelligence-singularity-timing/

This is a relatively conservative estimate, and the timelines seem to be moving closer and closer.

In fact, OpenAI, the organization behind ChatGPT and one of the world's leading organizations in AI, believes that Artificial Superintelligence (ASI), which is AI which exceeds human level intelligence, might arrive this decade: https://openai.com/blog/introducing-superalignment#fn-A

There's no telling how high the ceiling is on intelligence, though we know for at least some domains it's possible to be superior to human minds in both speed and abilities (think how the best chess player in the world is a computer, or the fastest calculator in the world is a computer). It may be the case that one day, the smartest being on Earth will be millions of times smarter than the human race combined - a God in a box so to speak.

If we are able to build minds that exceed our own before the century is over, then surely they will have the ability to solve the climate crisis.

As we know, it's physically possible to solve climate change, after all, we caused it in the first place with our physical and chemical actions.

This has pretty much completely replaced my fear of climate change with a new fear of AI.

If we build superhuman AI before the climate change crisis hits its peak, which seems likely at this point, then one of two things will happen:

  1. If the AI is aligned with human interests, it will solve this issue, along with many/all others, for us with new technologies
  2. If the AI is not aligned with human interests, we have a way bigger problem on our hands and it can just kill us all anyway

What do you all think of this? I think it's very reasonable and placed in pretty grounded trends and science, however, it's completely possible that, for some reason, it takes us way longer than expected to build ASI, and thus the climate apocalypse gets to us first. That seems very unlikely, but it seems like the only option in which we get screwed by climate change. The probability of superhuman intelligence NOT being able to solve climate change seems so low that it's almost not even worth considering.

Does anyone have any arguments against this? I haven't heard/thought of any that I haven't accounted for here (mainly being what if we're too late in building ASI)

19:37 UTC


Advice on becoming a committed engineer.

I'm posting here because I'm currently in a state of uncertainty regarding my career and my ecological convictions. I would greatly appreciate hearing your thoughts and opinions.

I'm a French student majoring in industrial engineering, and I've been wanting to steer my career towards ecology for quite some time now. The problem is that in my field, hardly anyone shares my perspective; they want to work for companies like Total or Nestlé, in the luxury sector, and so on. In short, careers that don't appeal to me at all.

I've done a lot of research, but I can't seem to pinpoint a sector that would have a truly meaningful impact. Should I work in renewable energy? Public transportation? Hydrogen? Energy efficiency? "Eco-friendly" products? What do you think?

What advice would you give to a future industrial engineer who wants to make a difference on their own scale?

Thank you very much!

15:23 UTC


What is the Max CO2 recycling capacity of Earth?

I understand that climate change started when Earth reached a point where it can’t efficiently recycle the additional CO2 produced by people and our lifestyle.

Ok, so if we want to fix it, how much additional CO2 can a human emit every year so earth can be happy?

Climate change officially started in the beginning of the 1800, ok, that is good, so before that there was no noticeable climate change, which means that year was the turning point.

How many people lived back in 1800? 1 billion people, good, what was the average co2 footprint for each? Not many details are available, but the estimate is .05 tons per year.

Ok, so back in year 1800 the entire population co2 footprint was 50 million tons. so, everything after 50 million tons is hey, you are on your own.

Ok, but Earth triggered tons of temporary processes that have evolved over billions of years to help with the issue, including the ocean absorption of CO2, which is all helping us a lot, but these temporary processes will have some limits eventually.

What is disturbing me, 50 million tons of CO2 is nothing, if all of the humans of earth disappear tomorrow, and we are left with the city of Toronto, it will still produce more than 50 million tons of CO2.

15:10 UTC


To people who think climate change will cause human extinction in the near future - why?

I’ve often come across people on this forum who seem convinced that climate change will cause human extinction in the next hundred or so years, but when I engage with them I can’t get a good reason for it. I think people are misreading the science and are in danger of creating accusations of alarmism (or are actually alarmist). If I’ve missed some important models that predict this existential crisis then please inform me - are there any credible scenarios that predict human extinction in the next hundred years? I’ve never seen one.

Edit: since this has got quite a few responses, it seems that extinction is used by many people to mean the same as “human society collapsing”, or just really really bad for humans, and that I might be using the word too literally. For those people arguing that CC has potential to be really really bad for us - I agree with you 100%. Also, my apologies if I was a bit curt in some responses, like “that’s not extinction”, or something like that. Wasn’t trying to be rude. For me, I’ve only ever used that word literally, and that may account for some of the misunderstandings I’ve had on this sub.

There are also some people who do mean it in the literal sense. It seems that these are opinions/conclusions that they’ve come to themselves rather than getting it from a study (which is fine, not attacking that at all). I just happen to disagree. I also don’t have a list of studies conclusively showing that we will not go extinct. I think there are some debates on here where I’ve thought we were arguing over what is clearly established, and others may have taken it that we were arguing over a difference of opinion.

Thank you for the collective time and effort put into answering and discussing this post.

13:32 UTC

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