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New Web Tool: The Solutions Are Waiting

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Worldchanging ally Michael Schmitz from Berlin sent this terrific video our way earlier this week. He and several friends produced the animation, which reviews (in a weirdly soothing way) the process of climate change, and offers a glimpse of a grim future in which we've done nothing about it. But the main point of the video is hope and education: the animators describe a variety of solutions that will be needed to transform the way our national and social systems operate.

The video underscores some important points: the need for smart policy to support and hasten the development of clean forms of energy, and for regulations that will limit the amount of carbon dioxide that corporations and individuals can create. As the video explains it, implementing the right policies around the best alternative energy options will allow us to drop the worst options – like nuclear power and carbon capture and storage – from our energy portfolio.

At the end of the animation is an interactive tool that allows you to explore solutions for curbing our carbon emissions. You can click around to learn about the efficiency measures, alternative energy options, and various regulation tools that could be used take us from the disastrous 14 gigaton CO2 future we are now facing to the 3 gigaton CO2 future we need.

This brilliant example of citizen media is just one example of a handful of new tools helping to create a base of knowledge necessary for understanding climate change. Though it's designed specifically to address solutions for the Geneva-based NGO Noe21, this video has enough worthwhile info to help many people understand and seek their own answers.

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The section of the video on the fairness principal in this video is particularly enlightening. Awesome visualization with an interesting set of interactive tools at the end of the video. Good stuff.

Posted by: Steffan Antonas on 21 Nov 08

Without question, one of the most amazing, and compelling, visual representations of what the future may look like and the options we have to alter that future.

A multitude of problems exist, and a variety of solutions are within our grasp. The key is in pursuing a combination of actions which achieves the goal of reducing emissions to an acceptable level.

The difficulty lies in the fact that monetary forces will be applied to ensure the solutions picked benefit a particular group of individuals. This will be a tough battle.

Posted by: Global Patriot on 21 Nov 08

Great webtool, vid etc, and on my quick, very quick looky through the website, I found two mistakes which it would be good to correct. But no email address to send them to, so posting them here. Firstly, when comparing the CO2 emissions from Coal powered and Gas powered energy plants, the middle option is called 'fuel powered' and I think this should be 'oil powered'. Secondly, its Kingsnorth power station with an 's' which may, or may not employ carbon capture and storage.
I will look through the rest of the info and proof read it, and if a web developer wants to email me and give me a reply address, that would be good! So no washing dirty laundry in public, so to speak (and I should know, hahahaha!)
Yours helpfully and hopefully, John Cossham

Posted by: john cossham on 21 Nov 08

I was shocked and amazed to learn that you have selected such a naieve and simplistic video as an illustration of your points of view. After all, I really believe in what you're doing and still hope that you're at least scientific enough to have a more realistic outlook on the problem of global warming than shown in this video. Yes, I agree that global warming is a problem. But, it is a relative small problem, compared with the huge problems that climatic chance will pose for mankind in the futur.

First of all, no word was said about nuclear fusion. Even though we (USA, EU, Japan) have cracked that problem and are now building a scale-model of a nuclear fusion reactor in France. The time it still takes before we have fully operational nuclear fusion reactors is estimated on 50 years. But, I've heard the CEO of that project say that, if it gets properly funded, we can expect the first nuclear fusion reactor within 25 year.

Secondly, there are some other problems that threaten the survival of mankind on the long run. (The long run is stricktly seen from a human perspective; when you look at them from the perspective of the 'deep' geological time, they will occur tomorow) And, all of these problems are unavoidable because the reasons for them are hidden in nature and we can't do anything about their causes.

For instance: the problem of Yellowstone. As you know, there lays a super-volcano hidden beneath the Yellowstone-park. To give you an example of its strength: until now the worst volcanic eruptions that mankind had to deal with, are the eruptions of Tambora and Krakatau. (The eruption of Tambora happened in 1816, the year that we had snow falling during the summertime, what resulted in the last famine in Europe.) The eruptions of Tambora and Krakatau released approximately 100 square kilometres of lava. Now, when the super-volcanos erupt, they release about 1000 square kilometres of lava. This means that even the worst eruptions, where we have a written record of, have about 10% of the strength, compared with an eruption of a super-volcano. Now, volcanologists have calculated that Yellowstone erupts once every 600.000 year. So, mankind has never witnessed the awesome power of a supers-volcano eruption in his entire existence. Today, however, it's about 650.000 year ago since Yellowstone erupted. I hope that yellowstone doesn't erupt in my lifetime, but I have no guarantees. Because, there is no volcanologist who still doubts that this super-volcano WILL erupt sooner or later. When Yellowstone erupts, its plume will reach the stratosphere, where its ashes will spread out over the entire world. And this will lead to a nuclear winter of several years, killing most (if not all) of the people by starvation. By the way, Yellowstone isn't the largest volcano that threatens our survival. On the other side of the world (Indonesia, more exactly) lays Toba, a super-volcano that is even larger than Yellowstone.

Another example: as you know, we live in the quaternary. This geological period is characterized by two components: ice caps on the poles and a RECURRENT ICE-AGE, every 100.000 year. The geologists have found proof of the last 20 ice-ages. Now, according to my information (a book by a Dutch geologist) the last ice age occured more than 77.000 year ago. What means that, within 25.000 year, we're in another ice age. This means that in the USA, Europe and the north of Russia, life will become impossible. I sure hope, that by that time, we will have Mars colonized so there will be a place where we can ship all the people to, who live in these regions. Because, if not, it will come down on a struggle to survive and that brings always the worst in people to the surface. Never the good. So, if we want to 'save our environement' on the long run, WE'LL NEED TO BURN ALL THE OIL IN THE WORLD, in the hope that we can create a greenhouse effect that is sufficient to cope with the next ice-age. (Again, on the long run is strictly meant from a human perspective. If you take the perspective of the 'deep' geological time, 23.000 year is just a day away.) I've heard in a documentary of discovery that the cause of these ice ages is a slight deviation of the earth rotation around the sun. So, no matter what we do, mankind will have to face this problem. Fortunately, not in my lifetime. But, there isn't a geologist to be found, who still doubts that it WILL happen.

Another example: when an ice age stops and all the ice starts to melt, the sea-level rises by 25 centimetre a year. What is a far worse problem than the 6 metres in a century, as is predicted now. And, nobody knows at what level the sea will stop to rise by all the melting water.

I will stop now. Not by a lack of examples, but due to a lack of time to write them all down. So, will mankind be saved if we can reduce our carbon-emissions to 3 ton a year, as the video promisses? NO! NO WAY! Because, nature has other, far worse, disasters in store for mankind. If mankind doesn't survive the fluctuations in temperature that we see today, mankind has NO CHANCE AT ALL to survive the climatic changes which nature has in store for us.

I'm sorry for the many faults against the English language. But, you know, English isn't my mother-tongue.

I wish you only the best in your efforts to 'change the world' by technology.

Have a very good day,


Posted by: dirk gonthier on 25 Nov 08

no request is too extreme

Posted by: maurice2k7 on 14 Dec 08

do you know of any good end of the world, death by super-volcano movies?

Posted by: Mr. G's science class on 15 Apr 10

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