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Tom Jenks PostManager
Hello! I am a graduate marine biologist heading into a specialisation of marine mammals! Here at Conduct Science I am lead of Team Kilo, we produce articles and The Conduct Science Podcast hosted by myself and Mitch. Come listen to us talk about a whole variety of topics, new episodes every Thursday! I also host an interview series called Under the Microscope where I talk to scientists from around the world in many different fields about their experience, work and methodologies. And as if that wasn’t enough content every Friday I release a short form podcast called The Method Section, this is aimed at scientists old and new looking at the community, methodologies and many other topical and interesting science news!
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Tom Jenks PostManager
Hello! I am a graduate marine biologist heading into a specialisation of marine mammals! Here at Conduct Science I am lead of Team Kilo, we produce articles and The Conduct Science Podcast hosted by myself and Mitch. Come listen to us talk about a whole variety of topics, new episodes every Thursday! I also host an interview series called Under the Microscope where I talk to scientists from around the world in many different fields about their experience, work and methodologies. And as if that wasn’t enough content every Friday I release a short form podcast called The Method Section, this is aimed at scientists old and new looking at the community, methodologies and many other topical and interesting science news!
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Climate Change – Timestamps

00:00 – Intro

01:00 – Factoids

04:40 – Climate change denial

07:13 – What is climate change?

11:55 – Global water crisis

22:16 – Climate change and politics

27:50 – Individualistic views on climate change

32:05 – Geoengineering morality and methods

43:26 – Big companies going green

45:00 – Carbon geoengineering

52:30 – Nuclear Energy

1:03:49 – Off the wall – would humans survive a climate change event and what would you do if you were one of the last alive?

1:10:08 – Ending and Outro

 

You can listen to The Conduct Science Podcast by using the player above, searching for “The Conduct Science Podcast” on any place you listen to your podcasts, using any of the links below or you can download it HERE

Episode Description

In this episode Tom and Mitch explore the wide and controversial world of climate change. With many tangents taken along the way they explore what climate change is, the lesser known but looming threat of the global water crisis, individualistic views, the many proposed solutions and even geoengineering and nuclear energy. Music by: Joakim Karud – https://soundcloud.com/joakimkarud.

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CSP – Climate Change – Transcript

 

Tom:                      Hello Ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the conduct science podcast where today we let the primates speak about the climate. You can check out all the latest goings on at conductscience.com. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter by searching a@conductscience. And as usual, please use the #askconductscience. We would love to answer your questions on this show. I am your host Tom Jenks and as always joining me and providing a breath of fresh air is Mitchell gatting.

Mitch:                   Good evening.

Tom:                      And today’s topic is climate change. So Mitch, how are you doing?

Mitch:                   Doing all right, doing all right.

Tom:                      Good, good. Yeah, so we’ve taken a step back from the reality altering topics, so I did find the research a bit less disturbing this week. Frightning, but less disturning

Mitch:                   Less mind-bendy I find.

Tom:                      Yeah, as usual, I preferred some factoids for you and the listeners. So let, I’m just going to kick it off with the first one, which I think everyone kind of knows, but it’s still scary. Um, is the CO2 emissions are at an all time high in 800,000 years or the level of CO2 in the atmosphere rather than the emissions. Um, so that’s kind of like terrifying. And one of the main, I think talking points of climate change and global warming especially.

Mitch:                   Yeah. It’s going to be a reoccurring factor when we talk about this is like a carbon in the atmosphere specifically carbon dioxide, but also other things like, uh, I know there’s some synthetic properties that are now in the air that weren’t before.

Tom:                      Yeah. CFCs and HFCs all play their part. So the next factor is kind of frightening and you know, you hope it’s something that had never come to pass. But if we don’t change our ways, approximately 250,000 people are estimated to lose their lives due to change in their immediate climate, thanks to climate change in the next 30 years. So as you think of, I guess the global death toll, maybe quarter of a million isn’t that much over 30 years, but the fact is going to be directly linked to a change in their immediate climate is the scary part there. And the last factoid I have prepared, so 16 of the 17 warmest years on human record have occurred since. What year do you reckon?

Mitch:                   How many?

Tom:                      16 of the 17 warmest years on record.

Mitch:                   Um, can I be like, uh, QI and be like, [imitating buzzing noise] and be like the last 16 years?

Tom:                      Uh, no. Uh, you would get the buzzer there. That would be a [imitating buzzing noise] moment. Um, it was 2001 since 2001 16 of the 17 warmest years on human record have occurred. And if that’s not a sign that climate change is real or actually a thing, I’m not sure what else is.

Mitch:                   Yeah, I’ve got a factoid for you.

Tom:                      Oh yeah.

Mitch:                   So a couple of mass extinction events that have happened in, in the past, in, in sort of the history of the earth. Um, but there was one that occurred around 252 million years ago that marked the end of the Permian geological period that killed up to 96% of all marine species. Uh, it was called the great dying.

Tom:                      Wow. That’s ominous.

Mitch:                   Yeah. Do you know what’s more ominous? Is that there’s direct parallels with what’s happening with our environment to what happened back then.

Tom:                      Ah, that’s scary.

Mitch:                   Yeah. So it, yeah, it was one of those things I was reading like okay, things are getting bad like

Tom:                      Welcome to the conduct science podcast and the great dying 2

Mitch:                   Yeah, well we saying the podcast is that bad? [Laughter]. Yeah. So yeah, it was one of those things where I was reading it, I was like, oh. Oh dear. And then, yeah, so it was so severe that it wiped out most of the plants, the trees, the insects, the lizards, like even microbes, were completely eradicated in this like mass extinction event. It wasn’t just like sea life and living animals. It was like things down to microbes because there was so much carbon that like even like the cells couldn’t do what they, they have to do to survive.

Tom:                      Okay. It was really like that bad?

Mitch:                   Oh yeah. Like full on bad.

Tom:                      I think that was one of the points as well as people always look back to the records of earth’s climate and go, oh the carbon always goes up and down. It always fluctuates. And that was a reason for kind of denying climate change.

Mitch:                   Yeah. So I’ve, I’ve seen that graph of it going up and down and they’re not wrong before, I would say 1950 there is a natural progression of it going up and down and that’s, that’s how our world works. There are natural cycles that do keep going. Like it builds up, something happens, it goes down and then it continues. But from 1950 onwards, there is pretty much a vertical line of carbon emissions. And yeah, it just, it just goes up like, and to deny that or to be like, Oh yeah, uh, we currently are at nearly double the amount, than the highest point in the past. It was just like, okay, people that denied it just, I just don’t get,

Tom:                      yeah, I think, um, there’s been a real step away from climate change denial in recent years. I was listening to the infinite monkey cage. Brian Cox’s a podcast and they had someone on, and she was saying, she went to a convention in Chile where they were talking about climate change and you used to get all the climate change deniers show up and now all the radical people, are, they don’t deny it’s happening. They kind of deny the ways in which we should combat it. And they’re really radical in their thinking in that way. So it does seem like a lot of people have actually kind of come on board and accepted it now. I think there’s too much evidence to kind of say it’s not happening now.

Mitch:                   Yeah. It’s just, yeah, just, yeah, denying it…. I just, I’ve tried, I’ve tried in the past to try and get my head around people that like deny things like, like flatter Earthers for instance, and been like, are they just trying to do it to be contrarian and being like, oh, it’s different, or do they actually think that? And I just can’t even get close to the mindset of being like, okay, the world is flat.

Tom:                      No, that’s a bit preposterous, isn’t it?

Mitch:                   Yeah. I just like, you can see it’s not because it was flat, you would just be able to continue to see it.

Tom:                      Yeah. And also if it were flat, why would we be the only planet that was flat with all the others? This spherical.

Mitch:                   Yeah. But let’s just fake news that I’ve found it. It’s because when you just look at them through a telescope, the flat, aren’t they?

Tom:                      Well, you’ve got me there. It’s actually just a giant monster like spinning plates, you know what I mean? Spin plates.

Mitch:                   Yeah, for sure.

Tom:                      But that can lead us on to, I guess our first topic is what exactly is climate change? Cause obviously you hear it in tandem with global warming and whilst yes they are the same, they are also not the same.

Mitch:                   Yeah. So, so one is the effect of the other essentially, isn’t it?

Tom:                      Yeah.

Mitch:                   So you’ve got uh, global warming my, which is a, well, this is a trend observed since the mid 20th century, since the human expansion of the greenhouse effect and the greenhouse effect is a sort of a buzz word that gets used and as a correct buzzword because it’s kind of the same thing that happens in a greenhouse is that you have the energy that comes from the sun and it hitsEarth and then some of it gets absorbed, some of it gets used, but a lot of it gets bounced back into space. And that is the perfect, if there’s, if there’s enough going on of that, that is like in a perfect sort of equation, then we’re good. And that’s how the world survives currently due to the greenhouse effect and global warming is we’re releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in that energy that needs to be released into space isn’t being released into space and is staying in our atmosphere. And then that directly then links to global warming because of that. And then climate change. Is the climate changing due to it being too hot? There’s, there’s many things that make the climate change due to the heat. Like um, Glacial caps melting going into water rising, leading to more acidity in sea’s, which means that corals are dying, which means that there’s like this, there’s a, there’s a, a big chain that leads to the global warming situation,

Tom:                      but that’s kind of massive cascade of effects, isn’t it?

Mitch:                   Yeah. Like I said, it’s a very big waterfall if you will, a effect of what happens, what starts, what kicks it off.

Tom:                      Yeah. So global warming is kind of like the general term for the globe, but we know some parts are actually going to get colder. Um, but climate change kind of, it’s a bit more localized. And is any diversion from the norm of any there any particular climate? Yes. Um, so as kind of, we’ve touched on a little bit is there’s global warming. The causes of it are, there’s not one single thing, but it eventually boils down to an imbalanced carbon cycle. Um, and us and putting too many emissions, whether it’s carbon dioxide, other forms of carbon or even sulfur, uh, CFCs, which I carbo Fluoro, I can’t remember, CFCs and HFCs, um, which are, you know, the stuff we use in aerosols, which are banned in the 70s, but we’re only just kind of seeing the effects of now. HFCs is what’s used in air conditioning to make the air really cold, but it’s really, really bad for the environment. So as you say, like, so the carbon cycle is normally obviously where plants take in carbon dioxide and sequester it, put it into the ground, but into organic matter. Um, and then it’s kind of released slowly over time, either through decaying plants, animals, eating it, releasing it. But we’ve kind of really imbalanced that cycle by putting excess carbon into the environment.

Mitch:                   Yeah. So it’s the excess, excess, access, excess of carbon that we are putting into the environment as well as taking away the mechanisms that our earth uses to uphold that cycle. So we’re producing more and then the cutting down more trees that are used to convert that convert the right word. Yeah. Chemically convert the, break the bonds down of the carbon dioxide to use the carbon to then release oxygen. We’re cutting a lot of the trees down, there’s, there’s, there’s so much deforestation going on and that’s one of the, like not the life raft, but I would say like the left armband keeping us afloat, um, above having this extinction event.

Tom:                      And the worst thing about deforestation is most of the time it’s, the trees are cut down to make room for cattle. And it’s a double edge. It’s not even a double, it’s like two swords hitting the same person. You’re getting rid of the trees, which take out the carbon and other like gases and emissions and you’re putting in lots of cattle, which famously produce tons of methane. And there’s another really essential greenhouse gas and another one that’s caused for, or is been said to be the worst causing.

Mitch:                   Yeah. And there’s this, it’s a good segway. Um, so cattle producing methane is one of the reasons that it is bad. The, another reason that it is a perfect segway is the global water crisis. So this lnks perfectly on into, um, how much water we use as a, uh, what you call humanity as a species,

Tom:                      Society?

Mitch:                   As a society, as a species is horrendous. Like we just use too much water and it’s something we take. There’s a, I can’t, I don’t actually have the exact amount of water it takes to write, to raise one cow.

Tom:                      I looked at this, if you, sorry, if you were going to buy one American quarterpounder, A Burger is something stupid, like 250,000 liters of water (I meant 2,500 lol).

Mitch:                   So, yep yep, I’ve just found my notes here in front of me. So it takes more than 2,400 gallons, not liters, gallons of water per to produce just one pound of meat. And yet some of that, a lot of that water is recycled, but a lot of it won’t be put back into the place that it’s taken from. So what’s called water displacement, like eventually it’ll go round but not quick enough. That’s the energy that’s consumed along with that. So yeah.

Tom:                      And I think climate change is not something people associate. They, they hear climate change and they don’t think our water crisis, it’s, is not something you closely linked, but I think it is very,Related. Um, so I’ve got, oh,

Mitch:                   I was gonna say, if we’re going to go into the water, you have global water crisis thing. It’s either called the global global water crisis, or it’s called water scarcity. Um, and it’s, a lot of people don’t realize how bad it is. Like, like people, people just underestimate what’s wrong with water currently because a lot of day to day people that have showers have like drink water out of the tap. They can’t kind of comprehend what’s going on. So if you didn’t know 844 million people in the world lack access to clean water. So it’s nearly a billion people in the world. Access to clean water and I think it’s something like, uh, in the seventies or eighties don’t have access to a running toilet, so they have to go to the loo outside.

Tom:                      Oh like communal one?

Mitch:                   Well not, not a communal one, just the just no running water. So they just have to go outside.

Tom:                      Oh, I see. Right. Yeah.

Mitch:                   Yeah. Which Eli. Okay. That, that’s somewhat parts of the world. That’s understandable because every, everything, everybody’s in a house and got it pretty kushty. But still there’s a lot of people that don’t have clean water. And then you’ve got the flip side of it that is 90% of all natural disasters are water related, either drought or too much.

Tom:                      And these are usually in those regions that do not have access to water on a regular basis.

Mitch:                   So these people that are already suffering because they don’t have access to it. Either they have an natural disaster because they can’t get any of it, or if it all comes at once, they can’t capture it to obviously to drink or it causes like flash floods and just devastates them. And then the final point that I did when I was reading it, I was like, I haven’t even thought of this as my brain couldn’t even comprehend it the first time I read it, which was so simple. Yet I was just like, okay, is the price of water is wrong!

Tom:                      Yeah. That was something I’d come across. And the value of value on water is horrendously misplaced. So I think especially in developed worlds, or developed cities and countries, you know, you turn on the tap and water comes out, so you get this impression that it’s endless and that you forget that the acquisition of fresh water was the, the quest of human civilizations past. That was the whole thing that made the Romans so successful. That was the whole cause of the Mayans losing that civilization because they lost the access to water and the Romans gained access to water with the aqueducts and everything. So people easily forget that they think it’s so accessible, they don’t have the right price on it.

Mitch:                   Yeah. And that, I’m not sure if that comes down to big organizations. Putting the price on it. But I think the thing that I read is that the, the what makes it so cheap for us is that there we have it cheap, but a disproportionately high price is put on to poorer communities that are trying to also get lcean water. I think. Um, so yeah.

Tom:                      Yeah. And you’ve also got the opposite of that where agricultural water is incredibly cheap, but they use far more of it. And a lot of the time, what agricultural organizations will do is obviously not 100% of the time, but they will buy land. There’s a very cheap, which happens to be in desert or arid areas that don’t get much water naturally. And then they pay a very cheap price for transporting water there and growing plants that outside of their natural habitat is very expensive. And if they priced the water equally or at least more sensibly, then it would completely change the logistics of that because they wouldn’t be able to afford to grow plants in such an unnatural environment. They would be forced to move it to somewhere. That makes sense.

Mitch:                   Yeah. And then there’s the morn ferris side of that sort of situation, which is what Nestle does and they’re kind of trying to get that come uppance at the moment. Is they buy, especially in America, they buy indigenous land from um, well the, the people there, um, at a price that is not correct and it, they are pretty much robbing them blind and then they bring in these, um, pumping stations and they just pump all the water out of the local area because they, technically it’s their land, but it’s like completely destroying some of family’s livelihoods because it like the ecological impact is incredible. Bottling free water then selling it a ridiculous price. It’s just like, okay, that’s something need to be done about that.

Tom:                      Yeah, exactly is absolutely crazy. And there are a few solutions that I’ve uh, come across and it is too, so the UN in 2010 decided or decreed that water was a human right, which I think is fair enough. It’s surprised it took till 2010, uh, they said that 60 liters of water per day per person, and there have been some ideas that above this you would have to pay a reasonable amount if you are using excess 60 liters a day per person. So I think that could work. But it’s also, I think as you say, just valuing it, making the general price higher because it is, I know it sounds like an indefinite resource because you’ve got the water cycle and it’ll come back down, but it’s really not because of where we get a lot of our water, like Nestle getting it out of the ground. So they’re getting out of aquifers, which are like ground underwater, underground reservoirs of water. There’s 36 big aquifers around the globe and 20 of them are on their way to becoming completely empty or already there. And that’s a huge issue because for example, Mexico City is built on a lake bed and they pipe in a lot of their water from around Mexico, but they take 50% of their water from their underground reservoir, which is directly underneath the city. The problem with that is in 30 to 40 years, that reservoir is going to be empty. So they suddenly won’t have 50% of their water. And is causing the city to sink because it’s taken the actual infrastructure of the soil down and nine inches a year, different parts, they’re sinking a different rate as, so Mexico City is really wobbly. Yeah. Nine inches a year. In some places it’s thinking it’s scary and there’s pictures. If you look at some of the roads and they’re really like, they looked like hills. They were built flat originally and now the houses aren’t in line with each other it’s mental. Um, and then you’ve obviously got the whole thing with Cape Town that happened, uh, last year. The drought there. So they had 4 million people and nearly without water, they had to put them on water rations. Well that was the plan and they termed it Day Zero. This is where we’re going to run out of water because they had a massive drought. And then eventually they started to kind of get the community on board. And within one month of the news and the media calling it Day Zero, they managed to delay it a month and then another month. And eventually they delayed it a year. And then eventually it never happened. But they were lucky because it finally rained. And one of the scary things I think people don’t think about is that London, Melbourne, Beijing, Istanbul, Tokyo, Barcelona, all really big cities that you’re like, oh, they’re established there. They’re well built up. They’ve got the infrastructure in the next 20 to 30 years. If nothing changes, they are also going to be facing their own Day Zero’s. And I think people don’t realize how close is.

Mitch:                   Yes. I’ve like, is it, yeah. So this brings it back to kind of the, um, how the PR of climate change and how, what was happening with it. I think a lot of news sources kind of call it climate change a lot and people kind of come numb to it. They’ve, they’ve, uh, climatized to it, you could say. Um, and quite recently there’s been a little bit of rebranding to do with climate change, um, to like, so it’s not climate change anymore. It’s a climate emergency.

Tom:                      Yeah. So the UK declared it on May the first as a climate emergency, didn’t they? Uh, the only problem I noticed with the announcement of that and their legislation in quote marks is that it did not oblige them to act. They age, they just acknowledged all the protesters that were in London and said, okay, yeah, you’re right. It’s an official environment and climate emergency. But nothing’s happened since. And they’ve got no law in place to enforce what they should do in a sensible amount of time.

Mitch:                   Yeah. But I don’t think it’s, uh, going to be safe going into British politics at the moment. Cause there’s reasons for why nothing changed. There’s a, there’s other things going on with brexit that that takes the take. None of that takes a lot. Like they do a lot, but there’s, yeah, it’s not high up in the agenda UK politics at the moment. Sadly. Even though, some would argue that it should be and that people are just playing politics when the world is at stake. Um,

Tom:                      This does bring us along nicely too. Cause a lot of people will hear about the political aims of climate change and we shouldn’t go above a two degree change. Uh, but I mean I didn’t know where this came from until I started researching it. So I think a lot of people have heard of the Kyoto 2020 agreement, which was made in 1997 and that was all about limiting carbon emissions. Then you had the climate agreement a few years ago and this is where those numbers come from. They, one of the goals was to keep the global average temperature below two degrees, uh, increase from pre, pre-industrial levels. But they have a goal to keep it less than 1.5 degrees. However, most scientists now agree that 1.5 is inevitable because we are, we are past that tipping point. They also want to increase the ability to change our methods of production. So like agriculture, but they don’t want to hinder it. So that’s kind of a controversial, doesn’t help itself. That rule but is needed.

Mitch:                   There’s a lot of, all of the things that people are like, you’re going to have to propose that are controversial and people aren’t going to want to do, but that’s the only way that we’re going to get out of this mess. And like people are comfortable in their lives, but you’re going to have to take some hits, like if you want to continue living and like if you want, say you’ve got children who are nine or 10 now, if you want them to be living till they’re 90 you’re going to have to change something in your lifetime that is either gonna help them or is going to slow it down to a point where people can think of better technologies. To help them.

Tom:                      Yeah. And one thing I found quite interesting and I think would be good, but I don’t ever see it happening, is countries, nations could take a planned period of stunted growth. They could stunt their own production and growth in the interest in lowering their carbon emissions. However, that would never happen because for example, if the UK did it or we’re planning to do it, they’re going to look around and not see anyone else doing it. So they’re not going to do it.

Mitch:                   Yeah. It comes down to the nuclear disarmament situation, doesn’t it?

Tom:                      Yeah, exactly.

Mitch:                   Why would, why would they take that? But the argument can, could then be instead of, um, growth as in building more, they sort of building more, they then build better with what they have. So instead of investing the money into growth, if they reinvest it into becoming better, because he’s the one that, the solutions that I found was we drastically need an infrastructure upgrade.

Tom:                      Yeah. 100%. And because climate change is all kind of being taboo to even talk about. And if you notice like politicians who kind of really strive after climate change as their main driver, they don’t get very far or they never seem to make it into, you know the the top seat.

Mitch:                   Yeah. It was like the Green party is doing well and they’ve always done well ish but they’re never going to be like the ruling party.

Tom:                      Yeah. And Al Gore in America was, he did very well. He placed such an emphasis on climate change, which he was kind of ahead of his time maybe. Uh, but maybe it sort of cost him getting into the White House. But on the subject of Brexit and politics, something that I came across was it’s climate change. The problem is a bit like Brexit cause everyone at the moment is looking at the UK and saying what a bunch of idiots, what are you doing? But that’s exactly what everyone in the future will be saying. Looking back at us now they’re going to be looking at us going, what were you doing? Or what were you not doing? Despite everything there, and like I guess it is a political problem that isn’t the unfortunate truth about it is sorting this all out does come down to politics.

Mitch:                   Yeah. At the end of the day, um, us as people, uh, can’t do anything. And I’ve had this talk with a bunch of friends. We’re four and it’s about them like harking on me cause maybe once or twice I’ve like put the wrong recycling in the wrong box. Like put a bowl accidentally in the green bin and by green bin and I mean the Green Recycle Bin and I’ve messed up. I’m like okay, I’ve messed up, I’ll do better in the future. But when it comes down to it, what we do as individuals aren’t going to do $%*#.

Tom:                      That is where I would disagree with you. Only because for example, take Cape Town again. They will all individuals who were told not to use that water. No one could make them do that. And then eventually all the individual acts came together and delayed what seemed like the inevitable forever. And at the same process. I do agree that, okay me putting this bottle in isn’t gonna do much. Yeah.

Mitch:                   But their, their, their acts were directly related to the reaction. So then saving water and turning off a tap is directly going to save their city because they need water. My argument is that me getting the recycling wrong and people getting the recycling wrong isn’t going to do as much as say, putting a cap on cruise ferries and cruise liners. Because if you stop one cruise liner, you’re saving the emmissions for like half the country for a week because that’s the disparity in it.

Tom:                      No, I do agree with that 100% because I think I read somewhere that the top five cruise liners, uh, equal more than all the emissions of all the cars in the world. So I 100% agree with you that yes, the disparity is there. However, I don’t think that should stop us from trying to do our bit because if 3 billion people all decide to do their little bit, 3 billion times anything is a lot. So yes, I agree that it’s a bit like, oh, but what is my difference going do at the same time it is all about changing behavior and that’s one of the common themes I’ve run into with, the solutions of climate change is changing people’s ideas that that is not going to affect them because like as you said in Cape Town it’s like, oh yeah, this is really directly affecting us right now. We are all going to run out of water. The Globe needs to realize that that’s going to happen with the earth.

Mitch:                   There’s such a, like a cognitive dissonance between what’s going on now and how like people’s actions, they just, people just don’t put two and two together and they think it’s just like, oh no it’s not us. Not me. Like that’s not going to affect me. I’m like Nah, guys is like is directly going do it. Like it’s already having such ridiculous really warm weather at the moment that is completely out of whack for what we are supposed to have in this time of year. And people are like, oh, but it’s nice sun though. It’s like, yes, nice sun. But we’re not supposed to be having it. Why are we having this nice hot weather now currently and I’m just like Yeah. People just think it’s one thing and their brains just in a complete different,

Tom:                      I think what you say about the cognitive dissonance there is very important thing to just focus on for a second. Because I think humans as definitely, as a species, we weren’t evolved to have a social circle outside of I think 100 people. So as we were evolving, you know, we didn’t live in groups much bigger than 20 and then we’d have neighboring groups and we’d know that social circle and that was great. And then our civilization has expanded so rapidly compared to the rate of evolution that our brains cannot handle picturing the globe. Like we can picture it and okay, in my mind I see the globe and I see like it all moving around. However, what does that actually mean is impossible to comprehend what that actually means. It’s like saying a big number, like imagine a billion. You can try, but it’s not gonna happen.

Mitch:                   Well. Yeah. It’s like when you imagine a building, you imagine the word, not the actual value. If that is the right comparison to make.

Tom:                      Yeah. We have a cognitive dissonance from the actual value of our actions as a species. Uh, yeah. It’s, I don’t know how you combat that, but it is this whole thing of trying to change people’s individual behavior because 8 billion people changing their behavior and how they use things is going to make a difference. Definitely. So some, another solution that’s kind of taboo to talk about or has been in recent years is geoengineering.

Mitch:                   Uh, yeah. Uh, I, I, this was actually really interesting to me.

Tom:                      It was, wasn’t it? What an Absolute rabbit hole.

Mitch:                   Yeah. So this is something that I like completely missed off my radar for anything that I’ve seen, even though it’s been like put through the House of Commons.

Tom:                      Oh yeah?

Mitch:                   Yeah yeah. In, um, in 2009. So lets lets…wait. lets this role is back. What is Geo engineering, Tom?

Tom:                      Okay. So geoengineering is essentially engineering our environment to have desired a effects and outcomes. And so one example I know of is like when volcanoes go off really massive eruptions, so in 1992 with Mount Pinatubo erupted and the year after the earth cooled by one degree globally, so they were thinking about doing this artificially. That’s essentially what geoengineering is. I just want to touch on why it’s taboo to talk about. Just for one second. It creates a moral hazard. So if people know there is a immediate quick solution like launching sulfur into the air, which is very effective, very quick, very cheap. They said they can cause an ice age for 0.001% of the US GDP and it will be instant. It happened within a week. However, if you know there’s these solutions, there’s a moral hazard because then you’re less inclined to try and cut your emissions. You are less inclined to the, the global warming doesn’t seem so scary if you have these immediate counters. So it’s kind of been taboo to talk about the something we were talking about in the pre show just before was okay. Yes. Whilst it, it could be taboo to talk about because it creates this moral hazard. If we don’t talk about it now when it comes to actually making that decision, we won’t know what to do and we might do something wrong. How so we need to start talking about it now and realize that it’s not a solution. We should be focusing on reducing emissions, but at least we know we’ve had the conversation. You can, we’re in the know we’re not in the dark. So maybe if it becomes a combination of geoengineering and reducing emissions that is better than just relying on the Geo engineering method. So yeah, go into what you were talking about.

Mitch:                   So the definition, that I grabbed for geoengineering is the deliberate large scale intervention in the earth’s natural system to counter out climate change. That was the official. The Oxford’s university’s official definition. And one of why I mentioned at Oxford University is, um, in 2009, Oxford University in association with University of College of London and University of Cardiff. And um, they created five principles of geoengineering. So a man called Steve Reiner and Tim Kruger and, uh, Julian Savulescu, uh, of the Oxford created the Oxford geoengineering program. And in this program they sat down and was like, okay, morally and ethically, how, how can we do geoengineering and what principels need to be in place to ensure that it’s done? So the five principles are geoengineering, uh, to be regulated as a public good. So any generic engineering has to be, can be done for corporate and can’t be done for private good. It has to be done to further the public’s like good health and to father us. The second one was public participation in geoengineering decision making. So before we start causing ice ages for 0.01 of the GDP of America, there needs to be a public decision for that to be okay. Third one is disclosure of do engineering research at an open publication of the results. So any research done for geoengineering has to be open to the public to able to go and see it. And has to be publicized in a place that everybody can see it. So nothing’s hidden. So it’s very transparent. The fourth principle is that there has to be independent assessments of the impacts. So the people that are proposing the geoengineering can’t be the ones to say it’s going to be work or not. They have to get a third party to come in and do a unbiased assessment of what could happen. And the fifth one is there has to be governance before deploying. So there has to be systems in place. Things have to be prepared, you have to have like top to bottom, what are the top to bottoms called? Like tactical and operational like remember the top one is, but it’s tactical and operational things in place to when you do, when it does happen and does get through with those top four when it gets to deployment or before you have deployment, things are written out.

Tom:                      So it’s like you have the infrastructure ready.

Mitch:                   Yeah. So it that it’s not just people are doing it if people are going to do it. And while this is only in the UK, because like I said before, and December of 2009, so if you didn’t know this was 10 years ago, these principles were submitted to the UK House of Commons. The Science Technology Committee, uh, endorsed the principles and recommended that they are developed further. So yeah, but the endorsement is only like an official national level policy statement on geoengineering. Um, like how the UK are gonna do in the world. Um, but it does represent an important step forward to ensuring that the research is carried out in a, like a super responsible manner and nothing terrible can be. It can pretty much stopping it from being used irresponsibly.

Tom:                      Yeah. And that’s good cause geoengineering, um, I think what’s actually the plot who, one of the James Bond supervillains plans, like he was going to, I can’t remember which film it was, but, uh, he was gonna, you know, like he was threatening the government because he was going to do this if they didn’t give them money or something that, and so it does sound like this super villainy thing, doesn’t it, that people could create an ice age within a week. So you do have to have these things in place. Oneare the arguments for geoengineering though was again that point I made earlier. Say China wakes up tomorrow and goes, no, we don’t like this climate change stuff where just going to launch ton of sulfur into the air to cool the planet. There’s no one to stop them or say that even the UK or even if we did it, there’s no one to stop them.

Mitch:                   It will reactively. There’s no one that can stop doing that but. Uh, preemptively. I think if they were to do that without it could, you would risk wars, I think because on one side of the coin, you could say that you’re causing a natural disaster, um, which would potentially disrupt and, um, endanger the lives of their civilians. So could define that as an act of war.

Tom:                      Okay. I know what this sulfur thing in particular, they’ve done quite a lot of study with it and they know exactly how much they would need to put in to cause a very specific temperature change. So it is kind of accurate, but one of the side effects is it messes with the ozone layer and they haven’t exactly nailed down the science of fixing that. Although they do have solutions that work and you know, they’ve done models and they’ve done everything. It’s like you could keep the same amount of carbon in the air but cool. The planet with the Sulfur for example. Yeah. And it would return the planet to the preindustrial climate. It would just have more carbon in the air.

Mitch:                   Yeah. But then it would speed up quicker, wouldn’t it? Cause I suppose because it’s the climate, the carbon didn’t change like, yeah. So I, I, when I was looking at it, I found two like groups of geoengineering, schools, schools of Geo Engineering. So I’m calling them anybody listening in the future, they called schools of geoengineering, um, uh, solar and carbon. So solar geoengineering, which I liked a lot because it’s very like a Sac-fi and like futuristic. There’s something called like space reflectors.

Tom:                      Oh yeah. Like a Dyson sphere, but around the earth instead.

Mitch:                   Yeah. So we put loads of like mirrors, uh, in front or like in a geo-stationary, orbit, no, no, it won’t be geostationary. It would have to be, oh, geostationary with the sun. Um, so it would reflect some of the energy away into space and away from Earth. Um, that’s a pretty big one because it’s very hard to model what would happen if we cut off half of the sunlight to earth.

Tom:                      But think that I was just like, trying to imagine that it wouldn’t be half. So if, you know, if you had a big satellite, even if there were lots of them, uh, really high above the atmosphere. Solar stationary, I guess. Solar geostationary. The light coming would come, like if you had like a, depending on the array, if that was just one in the center, it would have to be absolutely huge to block out the light so I’m thinking the light would just come around it and you wouldn’t really notice it is the way light diffuses it wouldn’t cast a shadow or something.

Mitch:                   Yeah. In my head, the way that I saw it was, um, like someone just got like a, a bathroom mirror the size of the world and just covered off half. And then that was it. Well, I see. What if you did like a dotted spatter dotted pattern. Um, so it wasn’t just one big one. I could work

Tom:                      Then it would like diffuse through and you wouldn’t even notice. Okay. Maybe it would be a bit less, like the luminosity would be a bit less, but if you looked up at the sun, you wouldn’t see like a massive circular object or lots of little ones.

Mitch:                   Yeah. That could work. Isn’t there a film about that? I swear that the Earth’s dying, so they put a really big mirror in space that reflect sunlight down to earth.

Tom:                      I don’t know. I’ve not seen it.

Mitch:                   Yeah. So I’ve got the stratospheric aerosols is the one that you’re talking about.

Tom:                      Okay.

Mitch:                   Um, well no this, the version of this one is uh, releasing aerosols into upper atmosphere to reflect some of the light before it reaches Earth.

Tom:                      Yeah, that was a, that was the sulfur idea.

Mitch:                   Yeah. So that, and there’s another one, but it’s not, it’s just making clouds and the land shiny. Like el Debo (think he means Albido here but we’ll leave him be 😉 )enhancement. So you just, instead of putting the mirrors in space, you put them at cloud level or at surface level. Which just means everybody really tanned and would need sunglasses 100% of the time.

Tom:                      There is something to kind of do with that though. A quick tangent, a Walmart decided they were going to go really green because the CEO was like very into green energy and stuff. And they painted all the roofs of their building white. And they save under, they let like put lots of windows in instead of using like lighting and all of that and their carbon footprint went down so much, obviously not because of reflecting light, but you know, I mean they’re doing their bit to keep the building cooler because it cut down on refrigeration costs.

Mitch:                   Yeah. So going, throwing back to the infrastructure upgrade that we told you about the solutions earlier. So, um, a third of all greenhouse gases are caused by buildings worldwide and 43% of that third is from the US alone. So if they, if, if he, if people followed suit like that and just did the small things, that would be a massive chunk. It’s just working out how you can chunk away at causes of the greenhouse gases. Um, but yeah, I think

Tom:                      And it’s having someone who is so forward thinking in the right position. Cause you had someone, I can’t remember his name, he’s the CEO of Walmart and because it’s such a big company, other companies might follow suit to try and get good PR even, even if it’s just for that reason. At least they’re doing it. But it’s having people in a board of directors like position or a CEO position where they can make these changes. Um, it’s going to have a big impact because you know, Walmart is everywhere.

Mitch:                   Yeah. So saying thank you to Doug McMillon, the CEO of Walmart for being forward thinking. Good job, Doug.

Tom:                      Well done, Doug.

Mitch:                   Um, so going on to the, the Carbon Geo engineering, some of these I like, some of them are quite obvious like um, afforestation, which is just a global scale tree planting effort. So just putting trees down that seemed quite obvious and I think that that’s like one of the lower impact ones. So you know, you talked about the morally what would happen if we’d like we released aerosol into upper environment. I think there are some of these that are morally could be argued better.

Tom:                      Yeah. And I think afforestation is something that we are doing now and is morally like accepted. I mean there are like browsers you can use instead of using chrome, I think there’s one called Geosia (I meant Ecosia… whoops) And if every like a hundred pages you search that they plant a tree,

Mitch:                   that’s pretty good.

Tom:                      So that is something as a you could do now is instead of using Google chrome, which sucks up all of your ram and CPU and everything, use a less intensive one and they plan trees because you’re just searching the internet.

Mitch:                   Yeah. So a few of these are quite big tasks. Not as easy as the solar geoengineering. So this one called, um, bio energy with carbon capture and sequestration so you grow biomass and then burn it to create energy and capturing and sequestering the carbon dioxide created in the process. So the biomass takes in the carbon dioxide, then you burn it to create energy and whilst you burn it, uh, you capture the carbon dioxide given off by it and then you use it back in the process I think is the how that works.

Tom:                      Yeah. Or um, sequestering can mean just like you literally put it underground, which is very cheap to do.

Mitch:                   But then that goes back into biochar. So charring biomass is when you bury it so that its carbon is locked up in the soil. But that seems like you’re just delaying

Tom:                      a, but there are a lot of things that use carbon. It’s true, the soil. So one of the great things that plants do, and this is kind of Geo engineering, but also modifying genomes, is they create a lot of suberin and suberin in is very good, or they don’t create a lot that’s the problem. Suberin in is very good because it’s made up of hundreds and hundreds of carbon atoms and some oxygen atoms. And the oxygen atoms are what microbes will look forward to decompose and, uh, fix the carbon within themselves. Fixing, being taken one form of carbon and making it into sugars and other forms. Um, so this is like super plants. What they’re trying to do is alter the genome so that these plants can make a ton more suberin and they can fix it back into the atmosphere or the soil. Sorry. By having longer roots and deeper roots

Mitch:                   Isn’t one of the biggest things they trying to do that with as well with algae to create super algae?

Tom:                      Yes, yes, yes, they are.

Mitch:                   So for those who don’t know, uh, algae, um, pretty much, uh, I think it’s like half of all the oxygen around the world that’s created,

Tom:                      Yeah cos you gotta thin about how much plankton there is in the ocean.

Mitch:                   Yeah. It’s directly like created by that. So if we can like steroid, these plankton and algae, um, you could potentially like fix it in that way. I don’t know. Yeah.

Tom:                      Yeah, it’s really good idea. But unfortunately that, you know, I think the, the only moral thing with that is we don’t know the unintended consequences it might have. So while for the moment it looks like there are no consequences to just, uh, increasing the amount of carbon an organism can take that, provides more energy for the next trophic level. So for example, the fish that feed on this plankton, yeah. They’re going to be growing so much stronger and you don’t know what effect that will have because of course it will affect the whole food chain. So maybe everything grows stronger. Fine.

Mitch:                   Yeah. We don’t, we don’t need that. We talked about sharks before they to be getting stronger screw those guys. If they become any stronger, they’re just gunna start walking.

Tom:                      Yeah, I mean you get to the point, okay, if everything grew proportionally stronger, great, but what influence does that have on other aspects? So, but that all comes with testing and making sure that everything works, I guess.

Mitch:                   Yeah. And that’s why the five principles were created was for when you, when they looked at different geoengineering solutions like we’ve talked about, they look at these specific things that could happen and making sure that everybody knows what’s going on.

Tom:                      Yeah. Have you heard of the origin power process?

Mitch:                   No.

Tom:                      Uh, so there’s really great ted talk by this guy and I think it’s titled If we just get rid of CO2 in the air, will it like stop climate change? Um, obviously the answer was no, but, um, led on to this amazing talk where he created this process all by himself, where if you take natural gas and feed it into a fuel cell, it creates electricity and heat. You can then sell that electricity. So that’s good. And then the heat is used down to is used to break down limestone into lime and CO2. So that sounds a bit odd because he’s creating more CO2 but it’s pure CO2, which is important because it can be used as another source of energy. Or it can be stored very easily and very cheaply under the ground and then the lime and the limestone that you’ve got leftover, um, can is very good for removing CO2 as well. Like limestone naturally absorbs CO2. And it can be released into maybe the ocean to stop acidification.

Mitch:                   Yeah, that was, that was one of the goengineering so that that go straight in there. Is a ocean alkalinity enhancement. Where you grind up and disperse limestone and silicates and calcium hydroxide into the ocean.

Tom:                      Again. But that again is the thing is they don’t know the implications, the extra implications that might have on the environment.

Mitch:                   To that point though is is the, is it still good? I guess taking in and releasing what is the impact gonna of really seeing pure CO2 can have on the environment? Is that we were saying?

Tom:                      No because they wouldn’t be releasing the PSCO to, they’d be using a, using it as the burning it or putting it underground. Um, but the act of releasing limestone heavy, lots of limestone into the ocean, to pick up, we don’t know the act, the consequences that might have. But what’s really good about the origin power process. So if you want to produce a kilowatt hour of energy, you create 400 kilograms of carbon into the atmosphere. But with this carbon, with this origin power process, every time you create a kilowatt hour of energy, you remove 600 kilograms of carbon from the atmosphere is carbon negative process. That is a like 120% more than you would be releasing. But instead you’re taking in your. So that was a something, I thought it was really cool, but I guess the truth of the matter is no one can agree on a solution.

Mitch:                   Yeah. One thing we haven’t talked about during this is nuclear power.

Tom:                      Okay. Yeah. Yeah.

Mitch:                   Well going off of using, uh, the power of it and sort of how we produce power. Obviously everybody knows about fossil fuels and how that isn’t sustainable and how we’re moving to more of a nuclear, um, society. And over the recent years, sort of the stigmatism about nuclear being awful and terrible has moved away because it’s become safer. Obviously there are have been some tragic events in the past to do with nuclear. Um, but we’re moving away from that. Um, and then moving to a quite a safer environment to do nuclear. But along with just being a safe environment, there have been recent um, developments in the technological aspect of nuclear. So it’s not just the standard. There is one way of doing it. This is how they do, they make it, make it more efficient. They are looking at, um, new ways of doing it that are better for the world, use less resources and a safer, so a global organization, I think it’s like there’s eight to now, she knows more than that. I think there’s like 10 different countries that come together that formed this organization called ITER, like the international technical logical something research. I think it’s like a very international technological environmental research (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor…. actually) possibly. Um, they’re currently building a liquid fluoride Thorium reactor in the south of France and

Tom:                      That’s a bunch of words that didn’t really know. But

Mitch:                   yeah, so well individually you would know them. So there’s fluoride, which is what goes into toothpaste, thorium. That’s probably one that you’re not gunna the regular person off the street isn’t going to know, but I think it’s tight

Tom:                      It’s as a radioactive material, isn’t it?

Mitch:                   Yeah.

Tom:                      Mary Curie actually discovered that.

Mitch:                   Oh, there you go. And it’s liquid and a reactor. So I would hope you’d know. Liquid and reactor. So this is, it’s pretty much just a new way of trying to create energy from those two. Umm radioactive material and the way that it’s done is how to describe it. There’s like a circular cylinder that goes round that’s kind of like warped in it like spins up and spins around a bit like the Hadron collider, but very much smaller. And very much more compact. They’re made a small one and it works for them. They’re creating a full size one to see if it can create enough energy. And to put it into sort of a perspective about how much energy these things can produce. It is incredible compared to a normal nuclear reactor. So we have a one of these reactors, I’m gonna abbreviate it because it sounds much, much cooler. The LFTR, um, you get say that you use a bathtub worth of water of um, fluoride, liquid fluoride. So it wouldn’t be when you, when you mine the ore when you turn it to obviously liquid, it expands. So it’s more than that isn’t theirs. Think fluoride compared to a lot of the minerals in the earth, there’s much more of than what we’re currently using to use a bath tub size, like vat of that. And then you get thorium. And there’s a lot more forum that we have compared to the rest of the radioactive family and using those two combined. And when I say use thorium, it’s like a battery size, like a laptop battery.

Tom:                      Okay. So that’s 20 centimeters.

Mitch:                   Yeah. Nothing bigger than that and that and that if you using them in this process, that amount of materials that we have and we have lots of those, you can create power to generate a capital city for a week.

Tom:                      Oh Wow.

Mitch:                   And that’s through one running of it. And these generators, um, once they’ve sped up the the manufacturing purses for how the building and then the, um, sort of prototypes anymore and they’ve like put into production and very easy to make. They take up a lot more space (think he meant less space lol). And I’ve like been to the, uh, the LFTR in the south of France, like I’ve driven around it. I haven’t been into it, but I’ve driven around it and the space they had takes up is a lot less than a normal nuclear reactor. So you don’t need massive stack columns that you see because it’s not pumping out anything. And one of the big selling points with the LFTR is the safety aspect of it.

Tom:                      That was going to be my point is, you know, obviously a lot of people are worried about safety and nuclear and yeah, we’re going to build one in the UK, but I don’t think they did in the end.

Mitch:                   So, um, what a very clever guy came up with and I, I watched a talk by him, I can’t remember his name currently, um, is a it’s called an ice bung. That seems so simple and so clever. So when it’s running and when the machine’s up and whriling round, it’s doing its business, um, there is a pipe at the bottom of it, which it would be a drainage pipe. But it’s blocked off by this massive block of ice and when it’s up and running, there are systems in place that are cooling this, this ice block. So they’re keeping it intact and they’re keeping it blocking everything. So if the system fails, the ice block melts the liquids and all the rate there. reactor things that would possibly cause a tragedy, gets drained off through this pipe into a predesignated neutralizing agent at the end of like in a vat. At the end of the pipe. So it is a completely autonomous system that can stop it going bang pretty much.

Tom:                      That’s cool. So it’s Kinda like a fail safe, automated fail safe where I think the, as you say, the components are dropped by the action of gravity. Maybe we can pretty much rely on gravity, not failing us anytime soon. So that’s good. And being neutralized. Oh that’s really cool.

Mitch:                   Then when I read that I was like, okay, this is, this isn’t just like someone hasn’t just thought this up. They like that is so simple, but just a perfect sort of answer to what it is because the ice is going to melt. Even if like the, the liquid that comes through the pipe does melt it will melt by itself anyway.

Tom:                      Yeah. And then I mean, radiation and nuclear reactions cause heat. So yeah, it will definitely, I think melt. Yeah. So with nuclear energy, I think that was a very positive and I think, you know, if someone was like, oh, we’re going to build that down the road from your house. Okay, maybe I don’t want to see a big facility like that. I wouldn’t be so scared of, you know, going off if I knew kind of that was in place and that would get people to like a lot of security and I mean you’re producing that efficient energy, that is kind of what we need to do. That was one of the points of the UN and the Paris climate agreement is making stuff more effective. That’s really what we need to do if we’re going to combat climate change and reduce emissions, even if it comes down to say, geoengineering, we need a bit of help, like a helping hand, fine. But I think the main, like one of the takeaways is this is we need to really reduce emissions.

Mitch:                   Yeah. They’re like, there are a lot of positives to the liquid thorium reactor, the LFTR, I think one of them is the efficiency of the power that’s generated. The second is the fuel cost is significantly lower to fuel it. So in regular nuclear reactors, the you salt and that’s like $150 per kilogram, whereas thorium costs 30, $30 per kilogram.

Tom:                      Oh, this is a massive difference then.

Mitch:                   Oh yeah. Like it’s like a safe of like the cost. And the final thing, which um, I know a lot of people like when they say nuclear, they get very scared about um, weaponry stuff is that the radioactive waste that’s produced by this reactor cannot be weaponized.

Tom:                      Oh, that’s good.

Mitch:                   So all the fears about it going off, which is the big one, weaponization is like the second major one. It just can’t happen the the stuff that it produces isn’t enough. I’m not sure what specifically causes it not to be enough, but it, yeah, it just can’t be used to create weapons with.

Tom:                      That’s good. I think the, the final point that people also get a bit concerned about as okay you’ve got the waste now and what are you doing with the waste? That’s something I don’t know the process of. I know they put it in the ground and they put it in the ocean away from people, obviously. Uh, but I don’t think that’s a good method. I did hear one kind of outlandish idea of ejecting it into space and I mean, that could work, but at the same time, I’m quite unsure on how these processes work in their entirety.

Mitch:                   Yeah. So, um, just to add to the whole waste thing that you just said, um, because of, um, thor… The LFTRs use thorium in its natural state. And what I’m comparing that to is, um, in normal actors you need like, um, enriching, uh, like you’ll see they have, you will put in enriching like pods into other reactors. Um, and that, that’s what really causes the waste. Like the impurities in that and how builds up, but because, uh, it uses thorium in its natural state a, there’s no expensive enriching processes or like fabrications of fuel rods that you need to create. But because it’s so natural, like the, it pretty much consumes nearly all of the fuel. So it leaves very little waste. And um, yeah. So yeah, there like there’s, there’s not many things wrong with them. Um, but yeah,

Tom:                      No, that was pretty cool. And maybe then in the future as this kind of develops and if this thing in the south of France goes well, we might see this implemented a bit more around. Okay.

Mitch:                   Yeah so, um, just as a, like, it’s where, where it’s going and how positive it is. The, uh, America are trying to currently put through a 5 billion, $5 billion investment into it because it is so positive compared to what we’ve currently got.

Tom:                      Yeah. It’s a real step forward in

Mitch:                   yeah, so there’s the investment, but there’s also, uh, do, this is things that we’ve talked about are like the little hypothetical’s, but this, the facts, they now need to get it working in, up and running. And I think the project in the south of France is nearly close to being finished. I think they are six years down the line now.

Tom:                      Oh, wow. long project then. So on the subject of perhaps nuclear explosions and the extensions of human, uh, you know, something that I kind of had the, at the top, that question in my head was, okay, so say we don’t fix the climate, we can’t think of anything or technologically wise to save us. Would the humans survive the climate change event? You know, we think of ourselves as so advanced. Um, so this kind of going off the wall a little bit. Uh, so yeah, would we survive this climate event if it happened? We think of ourselves so that we could create maybe a artificial environment that we can survive in or something like that. Then I came across the argument that in this climate change event, there would be food shortages, there would be water shortages and there would be mass movements of people and all three of those incite conflict and war. And so the likely outcome would be maybe even if we didn’t die to the climate, there would be mass loss of human life through conflict and war. So in that scenario, if you were one of these few people left alive in postwar Earth, what would be one of the first things you would do if you had like complete free reign, what would be one of those activities you would do?

Mitch:                   Well this is a topic that surprisingly in my friendship group gets brought up a lot. I don’t know. I don’t know why. Um, but

Tom:                      Dunno what that says about you,

Mitch:                   but a lot of people you said, would you say they would just give up? They were just like, they would tap out. Because they were like, what’s the point of living if I’m by myself and it’s just super hard and I don’t, I don’t really understand that point of view. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not like, well, I wouldn’t say it was like an isolationist, but I enjoy and can deal with being by myself. So I’ve, I’ll have like a whale of a time, well the first thing I would do probably stock up on food, go, go around, find the like, um, some tinned food and go to the library if it’s still there. And hasn’t been destroyed and find all the books on like um, planting and farming cause that’s something that I’m going to have to do is as quickly as possible. If I want to survive, um, there’ll be a water for the time being, but then I’m going to have to work out how to condense it. And that’s pretty simple. Likea big tarpaulin up over a certain area let the dew in the morning, collect or collected from certain situation. Depending where it is and then burn it and obviously boil it off. then condense it. So it’s like pure water and I’m not going to poison myself. Um, yeah, I think the, the biggest thing I’ll be scared of is hurting myself, injuring myself. Like if I was to fall down or something because there’s no hate, there’s no health system getting antibiotics. If so, if I’m like, if you’ve got an infection or something is going to kill me pretty damn quickly and yeah, I think, yeah, that’s probably what would, what would get me in the end with either illness or like, yeah, like an infection or something.

Tom:                      Well that was a far more pragmatic answer than I was expecting.

Mitch:                   Well what were you expecting??

Tom:                      I was like, I’m going to go like, you know, steal a car and drive around very fast. And I was imagining the scene in I Am Legend where he’s just in golf balls off the side of the plane wing, you know,

Mitch:                   I definitely would do that there. There are so many roads around where I like, where we live that I would like clear, get rid of cars and just drive down. It was like no obstructions.

Tom:                      Yeah. That’s how you would go then.

Mitch:                   Oh yeah. For like if I’m going, if I’m gonna drive found, I’m going to be, I’m going to be doing in style. Yeah, for sure. Well it’d be quite, very interesting to do cause you’re like, you would get the best car that you could find. It depends how people disappear. But um, get the best car you can find. Probably find a tanker somewhere, fill it up with like diesel or petrol, just so you’ve got like enough, put it that somewhere and then just have like a gas station, wait where you live.

Tom:                      Yeah, that would work. Well, I’m not sure what I would do I think I would obviously kind of take it, here’s a real scenario, take the same kind of situation or approach that you have to actually try and to survive. How are they, you know, there are so many crazy things that you can’t imagine walking around London and there being few if no people. Um, but you could get into all like the penthouse. You could go up the shard maybe have to walk cause there’d be no electricity, so maybe not, you know, you go sit in Buckingham Palace, say hello to the Queen, um

Mitch:                   Oh go read the queen’s diary. That iss something that I would definitely probably do. Just go and invade people’s privacy. It just be like, what’ve we got in this house who’s a got a diary that I want read

Tom:                      Well there goes our support from the royal family.

Mitch:                   Yeah. Well not, not specific there because you’d be so alone as well. There’s this one thing that you can have to combat is being alone. And I think one thing you could do is try and hold on to memories of other people. So reading the diaries, wouldd like root you into a situation where these people did exist.

Tom:                      And you know, in castaway where he creates Wilson, that was that ball and he talks to the Wilson.

Mitch:                   Yeah.

Tom:                      That is a, I’ve heard that described as an actual really effective technique that you should employ if you ever get stranded somewhere alone. Because one of the worst things that can happen to a human is isolation. And that’s why the worst thing that they can do to prisoners and the worst of the worst people, the worst thing that they can do to them, punishment wise is solitary confinement or isolation. Because humans are social, no matter how introverted you are sometimes. And I definitely have been, we are social, we need human contact.

Mitch:                   Yeah. Um, it’s like, um, ah, this is really taking a divergent path. But comparing the American prison system to like the Swedish or Norwegian, I don’t think it is though. There was documentary, where, uh, the Norwegian prison warden went to the American one. I’m just like, what are these guys doing? They’re, they’re not helping them. They’re isolating them. Like you’ve just said that that’s, that doesn’t help them rehabilitate them back into society. There’s nothing

Tom:                      That was crazy, but yeah, but horrendous diversion. We’re very good at this. Um, however, I think I’ve covered everything I wanted to cover. So again, guys, thank you very much for listening, especially if you’ve made it through all of this rambling. We have gone way over our hour allotted time.

Mitch:                   Yeah.

Tom:                      So if you guys want to check out any of the latest goings on, you can go to conduct science.com. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter by searching @conductscience. And please remember to use the #askconductscience and we’d be more than happy to answer any questions on this show. So next week we’ll be speaking about language, uh, the evolution of language, the origin, the language, what language is now. So I’m looking forward to that. Have you anything you would like to add Mitch?

Mitch:                   No, I’m all wrapped up from me.

Tom:                      Amazing. So with that guys, that is it from us this week on the conduct science podcast and we shall see you. A-next time.

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