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another_someone

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Re: global warming
« Reply #50 on: 04/02/2006 02:38:59 »
quote:
Originally posted by Andrew K Fletcher

This planet is productive enough to support a massive population many times the size we are at present.




I would agree with this, with a few caveats.

Apart from fossil resources, which are fairly remote, and not easily available to most other life on this planet; most of the resources on this planet are being utilised by one form of life or another.  We are still only a small fraction of the biomass on this planet, thus we certainly have a lot of resource that we can utilise that is otherwise being utilised by other living organisms, but there are no non-fossil resources that are not in one way or another being used by another living organism, and thus that we would have to displace as we expand our utilisation of non-fossil resources.

Ofcourse, while some of the biomass we will be displacing will be aesthetically pleasing, and will evoke a lot of political resistance as we seek to displace it in order to expand our utilisation of its resources, most of the biomass of the planet is not even on our radar (things like bacteria), and so we can go about displacing it without any adverse political consequences.

Nonetheless, nature is very efficient, and we we are not utilising the resource, it seems a fairly good bet that something else is (excepting where that resource is too remote to be utilised by any living organism).

But, yes, there is a lot of resource we are still not utilising, and that gives us scope for expansion.

quote:


 Mis-management of land and resources is where we are screwing up. Address the problems of environmental decay and solve the other problems by doing so.




In general, there is no problem with land mismanagement.  We are growing more than enough food to feed the worlds population, its just that we are unable to deliver much of that food to the people who need it.  In Britain, farmers are actually being paid to take farm land out of production – if we had a shortage of food, then this would be a nonsense thing to be doing.

True, the shortage of food is in the Third world, but that is largely caused by political problems (wars, etc.) and lack of infrastructure.  Food production in Africa is mostly on the decline, and this is mostly not because of poor soil conditions, but because farmers are not left in peace on their land to grow food.  Zimbabwe is a prime example of how to undermine the ability of a region to feed itself.

Clearly, there is a difference between growing enough food to eat, and bringing the peasant communities in some countries out of poverty, but this is a problem of wealth distribution rather than the capacity of the land to grow food.
 

another_someone

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Re: global warming
« Reply #51 on: 04/02/2006 03:03:12 »
quote:
Originally posted by VAlibrarian

I will admit that the demographic shift that will result in a smaller number of young people supporting a larger number of aging people is a potential economic problem. But I would argue that it is a "challenge" rather than a hole in the ground dug by ourselves. Why so? Because in a finite system such as planet Earth, a deceleration of population growth has always been inevitable. The only other choice was to continue to grow the human population until most of us starved, and that option is not appetizing to me.




That there is an upper limit that the human population can sustain on this planet, I would agree; but I also agree with Andrew, that we are a very, very, long way from reaching that limit.

As for their being a choice between starvation or distorted age demographics, I am not sure there is a choice at all.  If we have a lot of mouths to feed, but not enough people to produce the food to feed them with, then they will starve – even if the soil could grow the food.

OK, in simple terms, we can extensively mechanise food production, so in simple terms, we will not die of lack of food; but there will be a lack of money, because the economy as a whole would lack an adequate labour force.  We may not starve, but we will nonetheless die of many other preventable causes through lack of funds and labour to do anything about it.

I suppose it might be argued that this will largely be a short term pain, and one the older generation has died off, although there will still be a labour shortage, there would at least be fewer mouths to feed, and if the birth rate then starts to pick up again to fill the demographic vacuum left by the loss of the older generation, things will ultimately stabilise (possibly after about two generations).  The question is: how well will those two generation weather the difficulties, and will they be able to pick up the birth rate quickly enough to prevent a total collapse of the infrastructure (bearing in mind that many of them will also probably be beyond their prime reproductive years, and even as they have children, those children will have to reach maturity before they can become an asset to society).

quote:


Would I care about the possible impact of climate change on future generations if those generations included none of my descendants? Probably less than I do. Silly perhaps, but there it is. What I find odd is that many people with half a dozen grandkids apparently have no concern at all that climate change may have a negative impact on those grandkids, or the grandkids of the grandkids.




I am not sure either of us are arguing from the perspective that we do not care about the world we leave behind us, it is just that we have a different perspective regarding the needs, risks, and achievables, regarding that world.
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Re: global warming
« Reply #52 on: 04/02/2006 10:28:51 »
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0778851.html Link to some useful stats on deserts.

One third of the World's land mass is desert. However, desertification in progress, scrubland and marginal lands are not included in this figure, nor are the airport runways, urbanised areas, tarmac and concrete roads, polluted areas, open cast mines, and the spoils from mining dumped on to the surface to create wastelands. I mention the latter to put things in prospective.

There are plants that can be grown in dry lands, which can produce bio fuels in abundance. arabidopsis being one, and oil bearing seed plants being another. Methanol production could solve some of the fossil fuel dependence. Fermenting human waste and farm waste to produce methane, leaving behind a valuable fertilizer free of pathogens another.

But reforesting massive desert areas with sewage and waste water from the main polluting nations solves many of our main ill-managed land problems and addresses many of the impending problems with global warming, feeding the starving, providing work, and providing vast areas to grow biomass and bio fuels.


"The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct."
K.I.S. "Keep it simple!"
 

another_someone

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Re: global warming
« Reply #53 on: 05/02/2006 09:09:16 »
quote:
Originally posted by Andrew K Fletcher

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0778851.html Link to some useful stats on deserts.

One third of the World's land mass is desert. However, desertification in progress, scrubland and marginal lands are not included in this figure, nor are the airport runways, urbanised areas, tarmac and concrete roads, polluted areas, open cast mines, and the spoils from mining dumped on to the surface to create wastelands. I mention the latter to put things in prospective.

There are plants that can be grown in dry lands, which can produce bio fuels in abundance. arabidopsis being one, and oil bearing seed plants being another. Methanol production could solve some of the fossil fuel dependence. Fermenting human waste and farm waste to produce methane, leaving behind a valuable fertilizer free of pathogens another.

But reforesting massive desert areas with sewage and waste water from the main polluting nations solves many of our main ill-managed land problems and addresses many of the impending problems with global warming, feeding the starving, providing work, and providing vast areas to grow biomass and bio fuels.




I am not arguing against trying to reclaim deserts, all I said is that at present there is no global shortage of food production.  In the developed world, the amount of food we are able to grow for each acre of land under cultivation continues to rise year on year.

The two largest deserts, each larger than the sahara, itself three times larger than the next largest desert, are the Arctic and Antarctica, which if the global warming predictions are proved correct, will not remain frozen wastes for too many decades longer.
 

Offline i_have_no_idea

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Re: global warming
« Reply #54 on: 12/02/2006 03:57:34 »
I dont believe in global warming.
 

another_someone

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Re: global warming
« Reply #55 on: 12/02/2006 06:54:13 »
quote:
Originally posted by i_have_no_idea

I dont believe in global warming.



This, I'm afraid, is an usustainable position.

There is very well documented evidence that the Eaurth goes through cyclical weather changes.  It went through a warm period, that peeked around the 11th century (when the Vikings found it warm enough to settle in Greenland and Newfoundland), and then reached a minimum during the 17th century (when the River Thames, in London, regularly froze over – something that it never has done in my lifetime, nor in any time in the 20th or 19th centuries).

Since the 17th century, to the modern day, the Earth has been warming.  At least part of this appears to be due to increases in solar output (one of the peculiarities during the coldest periods was the absence of sunspots on the Sun, and these have been on the increase since that time).

The issue that is contentious is, not whether the Earth is warming, but whether or to what degree human activity has contributed to it.

What this ofcourse means is that since humans, are at most, merely magnifying a natural phenomenon; thus even if such a magnification were stopped, it would not stop the underlying phenomenon.
 

Offline tonycsm

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Re: global warming
« Reply #56 on: 12/02/2006 10:11:42 »
Global warming is highly emotive not least because it is so little understood and is propagated by those who least understand. It does exist but is a natural phenomenon. It's cyclic and has been going on for millions of years but the problem is that most people including politicians and the public just don't understand this!

This has given rise to a worldwide industry of alarmist academics who get massive grants for supposedly studying the effects of this phenonomenon, so it is in their interests to promote the irrational fears in order to maintain their academic lifestyle!

If you switched off Britain now, there would be no measurable impact of world readings of supposed greenhouse gases. Over 98% of all accumulated GHGs are of natural output and the more moderate academics among us don't even know if the total world output of man's burning of FFs etc has any effect whatsoever on GW. But you won't read this in the newspapers because it doesn't make good headlines.
The greatest fear should be the fear of a return to another ice age! That would have far greater consequences than GW!! Most of Northern Europe could well disappear under several thousand feet of ice much as it did during our last ice age. There would be massive world food shortages and starvation. probably hundreds of millions of deaths, over-population of reduced land habbitable mass and complete destruction of society as we'd know it! So for those pedlars of GW, get your facts first and then concentrate of how we can come to terms with it rather that spend time resisting it!
Global warming is far better than global cooling.
I'd rather see a few atols in the Pacific  and a little low lying land disappear under water than have half a continent disappear under ice with the displacement of hundreds of millions of people.

A bigger fear should be what we are putting into our oceans rather than into the atmospere.

I've studied GW for 17 years since first graduating from university and have yet to find compelling evidence to suggest that it is other than a natural occurance.



 
 

Offline VAlibrarian

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Re: global warming
« Reply #57 on: 12/02/2006 17:28:17 »
Okay, Tonycsm. I accept your right to an opinion regarding global warming that differs from my own.

If however you criticize the academic community as having ulterior motives for their opinion that global warming is being accelerated by human activities, please have the grace to admit that Corporations and individuals who have a vested interest in the continuation of the petroleum based transportation economy are equally likely (if not more likely) to have their opinions formed by their naked self interest. George Bush's public position regarding global warming has clearly been part of a quid pro quo for the massive investment that the oil industry made in his two election campaigns.

So who to trust? I will trust the scientists before I trust the pseudo scientists who claim that they know more about science than the scientists do. You are entitled to trust who you prefer.

chris wiegard
 

Offline ukmicky

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Re: global warming
« Reply #58 on: 12/02/2006 18:26:09 »
Global warming is a natural phenomenon that has shaped the world which we see and live in today.
Yes we are speeding up this natural cyclical process but so does every volcanic eruption and every living thing on earth.
Are we doing enough to preserve the good times and the environment that we have been blessed with, no maybe not?
But should we hold ourselves back socially and technically which will be an inevitable effect of reducing levels of green house gases when even our best efforts will only produce a tiny change in the timescales of the process. I say no

The ice caps would still be melting, sea levels would still be rising and the polar bears would still be at risk even if we weren’t here.

I say yes do more to preserve our environment as long as it’s not detrimental to our technological advancement. Rather than spend billions on cutting greenhouse gases we should be spending billions on future tech like fusion power which would be far more beneficial for the future of our earth and environment and would radically cut the  levels of greenhouse gases produced by us.


Michael
 

another_someone

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Re: global warming
« Reply #59 on: 12/02/2006 19:30:38 »
quote:
Originally posted by VAlibrarian

If however you criticize the academic community as having ulterior motives for their opinion that global warming is being accelerated by human activities, please have the grace to admit that Corporations and individuals who have a vested interest in the continuation of the petroleum based transportation economy are equally likely (if not more likely) to have their opinions formed by their naked self interest. George Bush's public position regarding global warming has clearly been part of a quid pro quo for the massive investment that the oil industry made in his two election campaigns.

So who to trust? I will trust the scientists before I trust the pseudo scientists who claim that they know more about science than the scientists do. You are entitled to trust who you prefer.

chris wiegard



I think that, with a few exceptions, it is unfair to both sides to argue malice or deliberate deceit.

This is not to say that either side is telling the whole truth, but this is not because either side is trying to lie, but people tend to fit into the environment they are a part of, without even being concious that each environment inevitably has its own bias.

One cannot say that one trusts scientist A, but distrusts pseudo scientist B.  In general, each will have some part of the truth, and each will simply block from their minds those things that don't fit with their own preconceived notion of what the truth should look like.

I don't go around blindly believing scientists from the petrochemical industries.  I too look at what people from all sides have to say, and try and fit it together with all the other bits of information from other sources.  Like the scientists in the petrochemical industry, and those in academia, I too as an individual have my own prejudices and my own bias.  I am not a scientist, but an outsider looking in.  My prejudices are not inherently those of either one camp or the other, but I too am human, and will have prejudices.  I suppose that having also an interest in history, my perspective is also to look at how some of these scare stories look in the context both of the recorded environments of the past, but also to look at the repeated tendency of each era of human history to have its own bogey men, and to ask if the modern fears are in nature different to all the fears of the past that were shown to be fruitless.  What one sees is that the paranoia over Environmental damage (be it Global Warming, or Environmental damage in other forms) fits very neatly into a historic human need to create an interpretation of the world that blames human failure for all natural catastrophes, whether it be through the Environment seeking retribution upon humanity, or whether it be the wrath of God.  It is this similarity to the bogey men of the past that leads me to believe that the stories of human induced global warming is more a reflection upon the needs of the human psyche than it is a physical reality.
 

Offline tonycsm

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Re: global warming
« Reply #60 on: 12/02/2006 19:52:47 »
Ok Chris,
         first of all, like you I respect all views even those which differ from mine.
I am in no way defending the vast oil corporations! They obviously have their own agendas and I would actually agree with you on that point! They definitely have a vested interest in not seeing a reduction in carbon emmissions.

Regarding your point on my views of the academics who promote the GW theory. Has anyone ever thought of just how many of these would be put out of work if their government grants suddenly dried up! There is a whole worldwide industry built around it.

There are plenty of emminent scientists around the world who don't subscribe to the GW theory caused by human activity. Yes, GW obviously exists which is something I wouldn't deny, but not based on data which is deliberately intended to alarm those who are insufficiently informed!
The alarmists stifle any debate on this issue; they are supported by greens and non-knowledgable politicians who have be seen doing something!

It's about time, the less alarmist academics were allowed to put their views forward to the public and have an open debate so that each country could form it's own opinion!

I thought GW was drying up as about 18 months ago, there was a plethera of interest in the " Meteoritic Impact" another alarmist theory and there was a host of grants issued to alarmist scientists to study this but this seems to have lost favour, so there has been another increase in the GW theory!
 
As for George Bush and his resistance to the Kyoto agreement. Although I am certainly no GB lover, he is right with regard to not signing up!

By signing up to an unsustainable reduction in carbon emmission, countries which do, are giving an unfair industrial advantage to those countries which don't! In an ideal world everyone would do their best to reduce Carbon emmissions, but when the Western ecconomies start to wain and their standard of living falls due to carbon emmission reduction, then the GW theory will be redundant.
Whether or not GW is proved right with regard to man's output of carbon emmissions, the fact is that countries such as China, India, Russia and many other developing countries are not going to adhere to the Kyoto agreement because it would retard their ecconomic progress!

I am no happier than you that so much toxic material is being churned out by world industries including our own but it will take 50 - 100 years for most of the other countries to catch up to western ecconomies, so in the meantime what are we to do?
As for the oil giants, their stocks are already dwindling so they will have to diversify in order to survive!

We are spending far too much time and money on studying the cause of GW and not enough of studies on the effects even if the causation is found to be due to man's activity.
Money and time would be better spent in learning how to deal with the results of global Warming irrespective of who is right!
Tony
 

Offline VAlibrarian

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Re: global warming
« Reply #61 on: 13/02/2006 03:06:53 »
All 3 of you state your positions well. Clearly there is a complex continuum of belief on the seriousness of climate change, as well as the degree to which humans contribute to it.
I think we might actually all 4 agree in a need for accelerated research into climate change. Where we might differ is that I would not favor waiting for more results in five or ten years to take action.
I would also agree with the premise that it is too late to pretend that the human race will be able to escape all the consequences of climate change, be it natural, human-caused or a combination of both. In my opinion, the massiveness and the lasting nature of major climate changes do make it likely that we have reached a point that we must also talk about how to increase the survivability for human populations subject to these changes INCLUDING those populations in nations that lack our relative wealth. You and I can probably install air-conditioning if the summer temperature reaches 110 degrees fahrenheit. People in Bolivia do not generally have the money to do that, and their sheep and Alpacas definitely lack the money.
I still maintain that the human race has a responsibility to serve as stewards of this planet for ourselves and other life forms. If some of you are Christians, how can you argue with this position- it's in the Bible. Yes, "Dominion" means we are running the show, and we need to take credit for our mistakes. If however you are not believers in a deity, does that not also imply that we need to make good choices, as we have no backup?  Clearly I assume here what some of you do not, that our numbers and technologies now enable us to influence our planetary climate. As many perceive my convictions as alarmist, absurd, or self-important,  so I risk perceiving the convictions of my intellectual opponents as smugness, short-term thinking in a long term situation, or simply sheer inertia.
May we all find our way to a future in which our descendants will exceed our own accomplishments, rather than being mere diminished survivors. Good luck.

chris wiegard
 

another_someone

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Re: global warming
« Reply #62 on: 13/02/2006 04:41:49 »
I do agree that we need to look at how human society needs to adapt to the changes that are coming.

I also agree that this has to be as much about how to protect Bolivians and Americans or Europeans.

I am not going to get into a religious debate over this, because it is an areas where we will be starting from different premises.

I suspect that getting air conditioning down to an affordable price would not be a major difficulty, but getting an infrastructure in place to provide reliable power for such air conditioning might be a bigger problem.

The bigger problems in general will be the social impact of transition, rather than the technical problems of how to survive.  Humans have successfully survived from the hottest of deserts to Arctic conditions, and have learnt to adapt to each environment; but the problem is that you cannot expect a society used to Arctic conditions to adapt overnight to tropical conditions, or visa versa.  Societies have a long term investment in infrastructure that is geared towards a particular challenge, and laying down new infrastructure is both expensive and a slow process.

Societies living in the Middle East have long designed houses, without any special air conditioning, that is designed to be cool in the heat of the midday sun; but every country has housing stock that can often be between 25 to 100 years old, and designed for conditions that were prevalent when the houses were built.  Similarly, traditional diets and customs are all geared towards particular prevailing weather conditions.  Clearly, weather has never remained constant, so societies have had to adapt, on the other hand, historically national infrastructure has been simpler and more adaptable.

The problems are not about what might happen in a decade or two, but what is happening today.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3091244.stm
quote:

Poor communication and the absence of doctors on August leave were among the factors behind France's heatwave tragedy, an official report has found.
The 35-hour week also contributed, says the inquiry, set up to examine why more than 11,400 people died.
The report describes what happened as a "health catastrophe".
It found that health authorities were not fully aware of the unfolding crisis on the ground.
Many of the dead were elderly people, unable to cope as temperatures soared to 40C (104F).
It suggests better organisation of the healthcare system, liaison between weather services, hospitals and those caring for the elderly, and better provision of beds for elderly patients.
"An adequate alert, watch and information system would have allowed those involved to act more quickly in implementing measures to adapt the health care system, " said the report.
France's surgeon-general resigned last month after ministers publicly blamed his department for failing to alert them to the crisis.
On Monday, officials in the Netherlands said as many as 1,400 Dutch people died in the heatwave between June and August.
The total is up on an earlier Dutch official estimate that between 500 and 1,000 people died.
In August - the peak of the extreme heat - temperatures repeatedly topped 30C, in a country where the average would normally have been 22C (72F).



There is nothing that happened in France that could not have been avoided, if it had been properly anticipated, and appropriate measures put in place – much of it being no more than public information, so that people should know how to protect themselves against overheating, and recognise the symptoms when they do see it happening.

Although to keep things in perspective, the 11,400 deaths (later I believe revised upwards to 14,000), although greater than the number deaths caused by traffic accidents (and in most other European countries, the number of deaths caused was far fewer than the number of deaths in road accidents), is still on a similar order of magnitude, and cannot be compared to the kind of problems that AIDS or malaria provides for some parts of Africa.  Thus, while in the developed world, it must be considered a significant priority; for many countries, research into AIDS must still take priority over research into anticipating the effects of climate change.
 

Offline mark71

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global warming
« Reply #63 on: 02/06/2007 02:27:16 »
if we have left it too late we are all doomed...and will need boats...get your own boats though the navy is busy at the moment...

 

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global warming
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