How Would I Address the Climate Change Problem
The climate change debate has been going on for over 30 years. It is high time for a new direction. As a climate skeptic, I think the UN and the IPCC has been totally politicized. They lack credibility as being an unbiased source. My proposal is simple and yet profound. Here is my idea if I was in charge at the UN.
- June 2019
What Makes Me Qualified?
I am not a climate scientists. I am a retired engineer by training. I have been interested in climate change for over 25 years. I am an observer and have been following this debate for those periods. I have read papers and attended talks on this topic. I have written articles on HubPages and debated other hubbers on climate change.
The fact that after all these years, despite all the conferences and accords, we have not found a solution by the “experts” tells me something new needs to be tried. The “experts“ have not done a good job in terms of projecting future events, or educating the masses or demonstrate their credibility or lack thereof.
The politicization of this problem by both sides has made this a toxic environment. It is hard to say who started it but the fact is we are where we are today and both sides had a hand in getting us here.
The solution has to come from outside the community. As a skeptic of the theory of AGW, I am uniquely qualified. I have no hidden agenda. I am not paid by big oil or environmental groups. I am an average citizen trying to make sense of what is happening and I want a solution that is reasonable and efficient and gets results.
That is the engineer in me speaking.
To begin, I make the following assumptions.
- global warming is happening right now and has been for decades.
- Human activities has increased steadily since the industrial revolution of the 19th century.
- Human population is also growing at a steady rate, putting pressure on resources like food and water and energy...
- technology and innovation is growing at exponential rate and no sign of slowing down.
- climate change as oppose to weather is a long term phenomenon by definition.
- Climate change is very complex and encompasses many natural cycles in addition to human induced effects.
- The greenhouse effect is well understood but it is insufficient to explain all that is happening right now.
- Environment protection such as the EPA is not part of the climate debate. It is a separate branch of our human endeavors. We all want clean water and clean air and the animals and plants protected from extinction.
- Climate change is apolitical and based on science only. We should not use it for political ideology.
- The long term survival of the human race on earth should be our collective goal.
Climate change solutions should be global and across all countries. Therefore, the United Nations is the only international organization capable of tackling this problem.
However, the IPCC and past global initiatives have failed to keep politics out and failed to consider all options when it comes to mitigation of climate change effects.
It also lacks the enforcement necessary to make any solution proposal mandatory. That has been the failure of the Paris Accord and other such agreements.
The fair treatment to combat climate change should be based on GDP. A percentage of the national GDP should be paid by all members of the UN. This way, every person on earth has a stake in the final outcome. What that amount should be is determined by a serious of studies conducted by professionals to examine all aspects of this debate.
The timeframe of this study is based on the scope as defined by the international body. We have some past precedence to draw upon. For example, the mission to land a man on the moon took 10 years. The ozone hole problem took approximately 20 years to resolve.
If we put the best and brightest minds to this problem, I am confident that a solution can be reached in 30 years. I would propose a 5 year study period followed by a 25 years period to implement the solution.
This problem is huge and requires extraordinary project management skills. This problem is a science project and therefore require scientists of all related disciplines to participate. This means we don’t need celebrities, politicians or activists as members or participants. The only people necessary are scientists and engineers who understand this problem and what it takes to solve it.
It is envisioned at the end of the 5 years of study that a serious of proposals would be presented with costs and results.
No solutions is off the table. Also, there may be no solutions. That is a distinct possibility. That is after studying all the contributing factors, it may be determined that the solution is too illusive or too costly that in effect, we don’t have a good solution.
It may also be possible that any effects are within the errors of natural probabilities. Again, this may mean we just have to deal with it by adapting to the changes rather than try to mitigate.
Finally, if a solution is proposed, for example, reducing CO2 emissions by some amount, then it behoves us to calculate the ROI. What is the cost/benefit analysis of such a proposal.
Once, all options are on the table, then it makes sense for the international community to put it to a vote. The majority gets to decide which is the best solution and compliance is mandatory based on GDP. This is only fair and equitable.
The optimum team size should not exceed 9 members. This is according to Scrum methodology. It is fine to have more people working on the project. Just the key decision makers should not be more than 9 members.
This is a key concept. You cannot have a hundred scientists in a room and expect to reach any conclusions. The size matters and in this case, a small number is essential. The “right” member is much more important than how many members.
Who decides? Who gets to decide which scientists are to be part of this team?
The UN has not been an effective body. It has failed us in many past conflicts by failing to act decisively. It is the nature of this international organization comprising over 100 countries where many are controlled by dictators and tyrants. The 5 member security council where a unanimous vote is required also is a road block to many actions.
I am not a fan of the UN and have written article in the past on why the UN should be disbanded. However, in this case, Climate-Change is uniquely the one problem that everyone in the world can agree on. Coming up with a solution can be debated but the problem exists and most if not all countries agree on that point. There are individuals who may be deniers of climate change. They are a small minority.
Why This is The Only Path Forward
After having tried all else, and with little to show for it and spending billions of dollars, it is time for a new direction.
What is this new direction?
Back to the fundamentals. We need to question everything including the assumptions I outlined in the start of this article.
The Three basic questions we need to answer.
1. What percent of global warming is due to human activity and what percent is due to natural causes?
2. How fast is the process moving? The rate of change per unit of time. In this case, the unit may be measured in decades, not years.
3. What, if anything we can do to change this course? at what cost in terms of dollars.
Black Box Approach
This problem is ideal by treating the earth as a black box. This is how we deal with many complex systems. We don’t need to understand the details of how something works in order to see the effects globally.
Take the automobile for example as an illustration. Most of us learn how to drive as a teenager. We don’t know what is under the hood. We don’t have to. We just need to know how to fill it up with gas, start the engine and push the peddles and shift gears. It will drive us where we need to go.
By the same token, scientists has been focusing on the details and miss the forest from the trees. Studying the various mechanisms that drive our planet is important but not necessarily lead to the solution of the overall problem. In some talks I attended on various topics, the speaker goes into excruciating details of his research and the data findings and analysis...but failed to address the basic question, “so what?” What does this research have to do with the overall problem and solution to climate change? Perhaps he or she thinks the answer is obvious. Not to me. Just because we don’t understand something does not mean we should automatically spend time and resources to study it. There are priorities. We should only spend the resources that leads some where or solve a bigger puzzle.
Back to the black box approach. We know the greenhouse effect and how CO2 plays a big role in warming the planet. The next follow up question should be, what else is affecting global warming or cooling? Because, if we simply say the greenhouse effect is the key contributing factor, and ignore all else, the results does not match the theory.
Here is the reality. CO2 concentration on earth has been rising steadily for the last 100 years. It has surpassed 400 ppm. However, during that same time period, the earth’s temperature has not risen steadily as it should if it was acting like a black box. In fact, during the 1970s, the earth was actually cooling for a period. How come? There must be some other factors of sufficient significance to cause this anomaly.
By searching for answers, perhaps we can find the better model to represent the earth as a black box. One that will include other factors such as sun spot cycles, and volcanic activities, and other planet cycles and even the precession of the earth rotation around the sun.
I have outlined a new direction. Not everything is spelled out but the basic structure is in place. It is up the UN to implement if they wish. This is not rocket science. We have put men on the moon before in less time. This climate-change is no different. If we put our collective mind to solving it, we can accomplish what we set out to do within the 30 years time frame.
Postscript - June 15, 2019
Reading some of the comments here, it is clear this is a contentious topic. Human induced global warming leading to climate change and the destruction of life on earth as we know it...
I also read the word “extreme” repeated here with charges on both sides. What is extreme? Let me try to explain it.
Extreme is by definition outside the normal spectrum. We often speak of extreme weather or temperature or rainfall as some unusual effect. A black swan effect. Something that is rare. I have been accused by Climate-Change believers as “extreme” in my position. But is that a fair accusation?
What is “extreme“ about taking a measured approach on something that is important and complex and wide ranging as AGW?
What is “extreme” about taking a few years to further study a phenomenon which has been going on for only 30 years...? Considering the effects will not be apparent for another 30 years assuming every prediction comes true?
On the other hand, what is “extreme“ is to ask us, the general public, to take the word of climate scientists who among themselves disagree on various aspects of this theory?
What is ”extreme” is to ask the people to give up their standards of living and spend tax dollars in trying to reverse a trend that is partly natural and partly man-made?
What is “extreme” is to ask a subset of the world population to turn over their hard earned assets to a corrupt international organization who has an agenda to redistribute wealth.
What is “extreme” is to ask the tax payers to subsidize wealthy people with tax incentives for renewable energy use such as electric cars and solar roofs...
What is ”extreme” is to ask the 3rd world citizens to give up cheap energy sources like coal and forests so that the rest of the world can feel good about saving the environment.
Extreme is in the eye of the beholder.
Who is more extreme?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Jack Lee