Climate Change: We're Doomed

Alleviating worldly suffering along the way.

Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:30 am

greentara wrote:Kali yuga "age of vice" is the last of the four stages the world goes through as part of the cycle of yugas described in the Indian scriptures.
It couldn't be more apt. The proliferation of porn on the internet, rampant greed, the chopping down of vast tracts of forest, pollution of the great rivers of India, China, Sth America and the USA... on it goes.

Even if this is all literally correct (which I don't accept, but that's my choice) how does a good Buddhist behave in kaliyuga?
Huddle in a corner, weeping and wailing?
Or keep right on following the 8FNP and striving to "cease from evil, to do good, and to purify the mind " ?

Huseng seems to go with the first, which is why I said his belief was "bad Buddhism". What do you think?

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:43 am

We are all sangha puppies from the same pack in here.

Having said that since we're all Mahayanists it seems to me we have all been taught that this thing called bodhichitta is something that's got legs. Our teachers don't just use it to rubber stamp us. It's the very heart and core. If we don't believe it can really make that much of a muchness - perhaps we should tell our teachers to quit going on and on about it. But see, apparently they think it's pretty important. I wonder why.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:46 am

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:We are all sangha puppies from the same pack in here.

Having said that since we're all Mahayanists it seems to me we have all been taught that this thing called bodhichitta is something that's got legs. Our teachers don't just use it to rubber stamp us. It's the very heart and core. If we don't believe it can really make that much of a muchness - perhaps we should tell our teachers to quit going on and on about it. But see, apparently they think it's pretty important. I wonder why.

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^^^
Rofl that's a keeper.
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is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:30 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:The tone of this is very condescending - is it neccessary to resort to that kind of tactic, questioning people's Buddhism for disagreeing with you?



I'm saying whether you believe in kaliyuga or not is up to you. If you examine history, the human condition and the scriptures of both Buddhism and Hinduism, then you may or may not agree that time runs through cycles and for better or worse we're just on the downward arc of one. The Buddha by his own admission foresaw dark times ahead in the distant future, though by no means are they permanent.

One prominent sutta in the canon is the Cakkavatti Sutta: The Wheel-turning Emperor. See the following:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Consider the summary:

In the past, unskillful behavior was unknown among the human race. As a result, people lived for an immensely long time — 80,000 years — endowed with great beauty, wealth, pleasure, and strength. Over the course of time, though, they began behaving in various unskillful ways. This caused the human life span gradually to shorten, to the point where it now stands at 100 years, with human beauty, wealth, pleasure, and strength decreasing proportionately. In the future, as morality continues to degenerate, human life will continue to shorten to the point were the normal life span is 10 years, with people reaching sexual maturity at five. "Among those human beings, the ten courses of action (see AN 10.176) will have entirely disappeared... The word 'skillful' will not exist, so from where will there be anyone who does what is skillful? Those who lack the honorable qualities of motherhood, fatherhood, contemplative-hood, & brahman-hood will be the ones who receive homage... Fierce hatred will arise, fierce malevolence, fierce rage, & murderous thoughts: mother for child, child for mother, father for child, child for father, brother for sister, sister for brother." Ultimately, conditions will deteriorate to the point of a "sword-interval," in which swords appear in the hands of all human beings, and they hunt one another like game. A few people, however, will take shelter in the wilderness to escape the carnage, and when the slaughter is over, they will come out of hiding and resolve to take up a life of skillful and virtuous action again. With the recovery of virtue, the human life span will gradually increase again until it reaches 80,000 years, with people attaining sexual maturity at 500. Only three diseases will be known at that time: desire, lack of food, and old age. Another Buddha — Metteyya (Maitreya) — will gain Awakening, his monastic Sangha numbering in the thousands. The greatest king of the time, Sankha, will go forth into homelessness and attain arahantship under Metteyya's guidance.



Setting aside the fine details, the basic idea is one of devolution over time. This theme is common to both Buddhist and Vedic literature. One fine example of the latter is the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam in canto 12:

http://vedabase.net/sb/12/2/en

SB 12.2.1: Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Then, O King, religion, truthfulness, cleanliness, tolerance, mercy, duration of life, physical strength and memory will all diminish day by day because of the powerful influence of the age of Kali.

SB 12.2.2: In Kali-yuga, wealth alone will be considered the sign of a man's good birth, proper behavior and fine qualities. And law and justice will be applied only on the basis of one's power.

...




So, I am quite justified as a Buddhist, and someone sympathetic to Hinduism as well, to believe in kaliyuga, and to point out that Buddhism from the beginning had such a perspective of destined degeneration regardless if the exact term "kaliyuga" was used or not to specify it.


It's just that if I remember right if you go by any of the chronological mentionings of it, the termination - and culmination of it is like millions and millions of years after Shakyamuni Buddha..in which case, the view that we are at the terminal edge of it seems out of whack.



In terms of cosmic time, we're only starting our descent into the age. It only started a few millennia ago. In our lifetimes and for the foreseeable centuries of course we can expect things to only get worse, not better. Once the planet starts warming up considerably and the oceans swallow many cities in littoral regions the physical decay of our world will become all the more evident. We are already starting to see the beginnings of this in our lifetimes.


Are you representative of a certain school Huseng, rather than your own individual interpretation?


As I pointed out above a few times, there are canonical sources for what I am saying. I am not making this up. You have the right to reject it as a free-thinking critical individual, but I have the right to believe in orthodox sentiments that have existed for twenty-five centuries or thereabouts.



IS there some sort of strict standard for the idea of Kaliyuga across a broad swathe of Buddhist thought?


The Buddha among many other masters, Buddhist or otherwise, suggested we're in a period of degeneration. This is a very common theme in Buddhist literature all over Asia.


There are also issues like the idea of people's life spans dwindling as the Kaliyuga progresses - the opposite of this is happening now- why? Or is that just like the spans of time, they don't need to be specific but somehow just magically represent this point in time, and add weight to your opinions..despite the obvious inconsistencies?


The average life expectancy is first of all based on life expectancy from birth, not conception. Stop and consider how many abortions occur in the world on a daily basis. Consider the average lifespan of all humans, not just those privileged few in the First World. If life expectancy was gauged from conception rather than birth, it wouldn't be so high, or so I would reckon.

Even if lifespans are nominally higher, it won't last. It all depends on increased nutrition and access to quality medical care, all of which depends on finite fossil fuels (the agricultural development of the last century as well as pharmaceuticals all depend on oil).

So when the age of oil comes to an end, and all that plastic used in a single operating theater, to say nothing of all the pharmaceuticals and social complexity which depend on energy rich fossil fuels, becomes unavailable, we'll live a lot shorter lives than before even in what is now the First World. When all the poisons we've created in our industrial age come back to haunt us, we'll suffer for it.

Actually as fossil fuels decline, there will be a push for nuclear energy (this is actually already occurring as many environmentalists who once abhorred nuclear energy are becoming turncoats) and in due time when there is not the skilled people and resources to maintain them, they'll have to be abandoned. All that toxic waste will still be toxic for many many centuries from now.

That coupled with lifeless oceans and topsoil depletion means we'll not have the means to feed so many humans either. That means decreasing lifespans in due time as well, even in what is now privileged countries.



Either there is something there to point to the Edge of the Kaliyuga being nearer rather than farther,


As I have already stated, kaliyuga has already started. The qualities of the age are outlined in the aforementioned texts.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:49 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:If it was just religion, I could happily let you go off and be as miserably defeatist as you wanted to be. I would feel sorry for you, of course, but I wouldn't feel that your religion was any of my business. The problem is that you have used your religion to argue that we are doomed and therefore shouldn't even try to do anything about climate change.


I'm really just saying there is our collective fate, which can't be changed given what we've collectively done past and present (as I said above you can't magically transform trillions of dollars of infrastructure that depends on oil into something that works with wind turbines), and as an individual you have options.

I'm saying prepare yourself mentally, live a simple lifestyle that is a lot less destructive than otherwise, and cultivate merit while perhaps practicing meditation as best one can so as to be ready for death. You can't change the fate of industrial civilization and to think otherwise is naive and ignorant. The time spent petitioning the government to stop drilling for oil in the ocean would be better spent on a meditation cushion.

This aspect of your religion is therefore leading you to abandon compassionate action on behalf of people and other living beings now alive and yet to be born, and to encourage other people to do likewise. That is the crux of my opposition to you.


A bodhisattva can only really help others when she is liberated from saṃsāra herself. Anything else is just palliative care. As one master wrote:


Humans for the most part
Are involved in things ignoble.
Therefore, most ordinary beings
Will surely go to the miserable realms.

- Aryadeva in Four Hundred Stanzas


To try and help people be genuinely liberated from suffering requires that you yourself are beyond saṃsāra and have the upaya to really work wonders in guiding people. Otherwise, try as you might, most beings are on a downward spiral into the lower realms.

So, to abandon the world, society and people to transcend saṃsāra and then be in an optimal position to return and genuinely benefit them all is actually quite virtuous. The bodhisattva when they abandon the world does so without ever forgetting the miseries of beings. This is what motivates them to practice -- and they cannot achieve much while stuck in the mire of the ordinary world unfortunately. This entails renunciation. Abandonment. Transcendence.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:39 am

I'm familiar with just that bit from the Cakkavatti Sutta Huseng, that what I referencing with the life span thing..but i'm curious how you think it validates any of what you said here, or why you seem to believe your on personal interpretation is some kind of universal Buddhist Orthodoxy.

Wait, actually i'm not, and should known better than to get involved in the first place, have fun guys :)

This thread is going just the direction of the 'modernity' one. Yawn.
Last edited by Johnny Dangerous on Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:48 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:43 am

Huseng,
Thank you for confirming so clearly that you have indeed, as I said,
... used your religion to argue that we are doomed and therefore shouldn't even try to do anything about climate change.
This aspect of your religion is therefore leading you to abandon compassionate action on behalf of people and other living beings now alive and yet to be born, and to encourage other people to do likewise.

And you will do nothing to help anyone because you can't work miracles. You'll just wait a few eons until you have achieved bodhisattvahood and then click your fingers and everything will be rosy.
I'm sorry, that's not my vision of how things work.
I am not sorry that's not my vision of how things work. (You might have to read that carefully - something as small as a comma can still be important.) (Something as small as turning off an un-needed light can still be important.)

This - an oldie but a goodie - is closer to my vision:
The Star Thrower Story by Joel Barker

http://www.starthrower.com/star_thrower ... script.htm
There's a story I would like to share with you. It was inspired by the writing of Loren Eiseley. Eiseley was a very special person because he combined the best of two cultures. He was a scientist and a poet. And from those two perspectives he wrote insightfully and beautifully about the world and our role in it.
Once upon a time, there was a wise man, much like Eiseley himself, who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.
As he got closer, he called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?" The young man paused, looked up and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I guess I should have asked, Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?"
"The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die."
"But young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!"
The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves. "It made a difference for that one!"
His response surprised the man. He was upset. He didn't know how to reply. So instead, he turned away and walked back to the cottage to begin his writings.
All day long as he wrote, the image of the young man haunted him. He tried to ignore it, but the vision persisted. Finally, late in the afternoon he realized that he the scientist, he the poet, had missed out on the essential nature of the young man's actions. Because he realized that what the young man was doing was choosing not to be an observer in the universe and make a difference. He was embarrased.
That night he went to bed troubled. When the morning came he awoke knowing that he had to do something. So he got up, put on his clothes, went to the beach and found the young man. And with him he spent the rest of the morning throwing starfish into the ocean. You see, what that young man's actions represent is something that is special in each and everyone of us. We have all been gifted with the ability to make a difference. And if we can, like that young man, become aware of that gift, we gain through the strength of our vision the power to shape the future.
And that is your challenge. And that is my challenge. We must each find our starfish.

"The Star Thrower" (or "starfish story") is part of a 16-page essay of the same name by Loren Eiseley (1907–1977), published in 1969 in The Unexpected Universe. The Star Thrower is also the title of a 1978 anthology of Eiseley's works (including the essay), which he completed shortly before his death.


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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:52 am

Suit yourself.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:03 pm

Huseng wrote:Suit yourself.

Okay, we seem to have sorted out the religion fairly accurately. Now for the science and maybe politics.
Back on page 14 - specifically in [url] viewtopic.php?f=42&t=6973&start=260#p143305
[/url] - you praised a seriously unbalanced blogger (okay, I don't know whether she is unbalanced-loony but she is demonstrably unbalanced-biased) and said:
Huseng wrote:So, renewables are uneconomical for the time being (perhaps forever?) and reduction of fossil fuel use would likewise be unacceptable to the global community.

That was the last thing you said about the science before we detoured into religion (which is fine, btw; we learned something about you and I hope you learned something). However, on page 15 - specifically http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=6973&start=280#p143326 - I presented you with reasonably authoritative, accurate, balanced sources which demonstrated a yawning gap between your statement and the truth. You have not responded to that, and I think you should.

Specifically -
Do you now accept that you were relying on biased and incomplete information in your OP and your quotes from that blogger?
If not, why not?
And please remember, this is now strictly about the real-world science and its implementation.

Thanks,
Kim

[edited for clarity]
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Simon E. » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:27 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Huseng wrote:This is religion. Whether you believe in kaliyuga or not is up to you, though a lot of very adept individuals throughout history have indeed believed in kaliyuga and adjusted themselves appropriately to the times.

The idea is part of the Buddhist heritage of India. You have the right to reject it, but you're just an individual and not representative of any tradition or school.


The tone of this is a bit ondescending don't you think - is it neccessary to resort to that kind of tactic, questioning people's Buddhism for disagreeing with you? Can't everyone avoid that.... It's just that if I remember right if you go by any of the chronological mentionings of it, the termination - and culmination of it is like millions and millions of years after Shakyamuni Buddha..in which case, the view that we are at the terminal edge of it seems out of whack.

Are you representative of a certain school Huseng, rather than your own individual interpretation? What makes your interpretation (seemingly) of the terminal bit of the Kaliyuga being now rather than another time

"traditional"? IS there some sort of strict standard for the idea of Kaliyuga across a broad swathe of Buddhist
thought? It doesn't seem like that to me. There are also issues like the idea of people's life spans dwindling as the Kaliyuga progresses - the opposite of this is happening now- why? Or is that just like the spans of time, they don't need to be specific but somehow just magically represent this point in time, and add weight to your opinions..despite the obvious inconsistencies?

Essentially you seem to be asking us to accept Kaliyuga as literal fact (fine, there is some merit there, I think it's more than just an metaphor too), while you yourself say things like the spans of time are unimportant...which is it? Either there is something there to point to the Edge of the Kaliyuga being nearer rather than farther, or it's all so vague as to essentially just mean "stuff gets worse", which is such a pointless statement of future vision, and so relative that it is hardly worth considering.

I dont think its at all condescending...its just a fact. Several pages back I asked Mr/Mrs/Ms O Hara to identify which school of Buddhism he or she belonged to and answer came there none. Since then I have seen that he/or she is a regular poster on Dhamma Wheel and has been for some time. Which leads me to assume that his/her orientation is towards the Theravada..in fact he/she has had no input into Dharma Wheel apart from this topic and topics closely related to it.
Now I think its absolutely their choice that someone identifies most clearly the Theravada..or perhaps is non aligned..however it does mean that their views on teachings which are interwoven with other essential strands of the Mahayana in general and many schools of the Vajrayana in particular, are being pronounced from a position outside of an informed view. The teachings around the Kaliyuga are capable of various interpretations, but they are part and parcel of a world view which is only truly accessible on its own terms.
Negative cherry picking is still cherry picking in what it rejects.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:41 pm

Simon E. wrote:I dont think its at all condescending...its just a fact. Several pages back I asked Mr/Mrs/Ms O Hara to identify which school of Buddhism he or she belonged to and answer came there none. Since then I have seen that he/or she is a regular poster on Dhamma Wheel and has been for some time. Which leads me to assume that his/her orientation is towards the Theravada..in fact he/she has had no input into Dharma Wheel apart from this topic and topics closely related to it.
Now I think its absolutely their choice that someone identifies most clearly the Theravada..or perhaps is non aligned..however it does mean that their views on teachings which are interwoven with other essential strands of the Mahayana in general and many schools of the Vajrayana in particular, are being pronounced from a position outside of an informed view. The teachings around the Kaliyuga are capable of various interpretations, but they are part and parcel of a world view which is only truly accessible on its own terms.
Negative cherry picking is still cherry picking in what it rejects.

Hi, Simon,
For the record, it's "Mr" :smile:
"answer came there none"? If I saw the question, I answered it. I have a vague memory of doing so but when I looked a moment ago I couldn't even find your question. Give me a URL?
"Negative cherry picking is still cherry picking in what it rejects." Absolutely, and it is exactly what I have been criticising Huseng's science for.
"a position outside of an informed view" You are equating belief with knowledge, I think. I know a lot about postage stamps but I am not a collector - I was a collector. I know quite a lot about all schools of Buddhism but I don't believe all I know.
Am I allowed to reject kaliyuga? Of course, and I gave reasons. Should I still respect Huseng's belief in it? Yes, and I do. Why did I complain, then? Primarily because Huseng claimed it was completely orthodox Buddhism and I know - and showed, via his underwhelming response to my request for sources - that it isn't. Secondarily because his adherence to it is entangled with the defeatist attitude to climate change which he promulgated in his OP and since.

Can we leave religion for a while? I think we all now know where Huseng is coming from, and why, and I was waiting for him to say something about science.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sat Dec 22, 2012 4:10 am

Quite by chance, the latest post on RealClimate is a pair of lectures on global warming and what to do about it: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/12/online-video-lectures-on-climate-change/
Authoritative but very clear and approachable, and an excellent resource for anyone who isn't sure they know as much as they should about the subject.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:55 pm

Here's some more bad news.

SYDNEY — China's economic boom has seen its coral reefs shrink by at least 80 percent over the past 30 years, a joint Australian study found, with researchers describing "grim" levels of damage and loss.

Scientists from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology said their survey of mainland China and South China Sea reefs showed alarming degradation.

"We found that coral abundance has declined by at least 80 percent over the past 30 years on coastal fringing reefs along the Chinese mainland and adjoining Hainan Island," said the study, published in the latest edition of the journal Conservation Biology.

...



http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/ar ... 6a4f9a1.a1

We're all really to blame for this. China's economic growth has largely been fuelled by endless consumer demand in foreign countries for cheap products.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:01 pm

Thank you for yet another black pebble, Huseng.
:tongue:
Huseng wrote:We're all really to blame for this. China's economic growth has largely been fuelled by endless consumer demand in foreign countries for cheap products.

You're right about that. We in the West have effectively exported our polluting industries to China.
What is less often recognised is that we have also exported some of our prosperity ... China's workforce, low-paid though it is, has expanded while our manufacturing sectors have shrunk and left more people unemployed. Japan was in this role when I was a child, and look what happened there. Under a BAU scenario, China will price itself out of the market, and industry (which has as much conscience as a senile scorpion) will find another nation where people are even more desperate for a job at any wage at all.

Anyway, here's a white pebble to go with your black one:
Canberrans are recycling about 10 tonnes of computers and televisions each day as part of a free e-waste dumping scheme.
Between May and the end of November last year, more than 1,900 tonnes of e-waste was dropped off at the Mitchell and Mugga Lane recycling stations.
That is almost double the number of television and computers recycled in the entire 2010-2011 financial year.

More: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-02/e-waste-recycling-proves-popular-in-canberra/4450150

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:06 pm

Hey, Huseng,
I just remembered you hadn't got back to us about these questions at http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=6973&p=145111#p143530:
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Huseng wrote:So, renewables are uneconomical for the time being (perhaps forever?) and reduction of fossil fuel use would likewise be unacceptable to the global community.

That was the last thing you said about the science before we detoured into religion (which is fine, btw; we learned something about you and I hope you learned something). However, on page 15 - specifically http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=6973&start=280#p143326 - I presented you with reasonably authoritative, accurate, balanced sources which demonstrated a yawning gap between your statement and the truth. You have not responded to that, and I think you should.

Specifically -
Do you now accept that you were relying on biased and incomplete information in your OP and your quotes from that blogger?
If not, why not?
And please remember, this is now strictly about the real-world science and its implementation.

Thanks,
Kim


Thanks in advance for your answers.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:03 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:Thank you for yet another black pebble, Huseng.
:tongue:
Huseng wrote:We're all really to blame for this. China's economic growth has largely been fuelled by endless consumer demand in foreign countries for cheap products.

You're right about that. We in the West have effectively exported our polluting industries to China.
What is less often recognised is that we have also exported some of our prosperity ... China's workforce, low-paid though it is, has expanded while our manufacturing sectors have shrunk and left more people unemployed. Japan was in this role when I was a child, and look what happened there. Under a BAU scenario, China will price itself out of the market, and industry (which has as much conscience as a senile scorpion) will find another nation where people are even more desperate for a job at any wage at all.

A P.S. to this, from RealClimate:
Have you seen Bob Watson’s presentation [http://fallmeeting.agu.org/2012/events/union-frontiers-of-geophysics-lecture-professor-sir-bob-watson-cmg-frs-chief-scientific-adviser-to-defra/] at the Meeting of the AGU (Fall 2012)?

In this presentation he points out that rather than a fall in CO2 emissions by the UK since 1990 as sometimes claimed (I remember 22%) that when the CO2 embedded in imports is counted there has been a rather large increase (I think 18%).

The UK imported goods more goods that were made abroad during this period – from countries like China. They emitted CO2 on the UK’s behalf. As Professor Watson says, the CO2 from the manufacture of these goods should really go on the UK budget.

I expect it will be much the same for the US.

Bob Watson does actually work for the UK government.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Nemo » Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:20 pm

I remember `88. Great year to be an environmentalist.

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/scienc ... ur-wheels/

By David Suzuki

In 1988, hundreds of scientists and policy-makers met in Toronto for a major international conference on climate change. They were sufficiently alarmed by the accumulated evidence for human-caused global warming that they issued a release stating, "Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to a global nuclear war."

They urged world leaders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2005. Had we heeded that warning and embarked on a campaign to meet the target, Canadians would now be healthier (because of reduced air pollution), have greater reserves of energy and more jobs. We'd also be a world leader in renewable energy and could have saved tens of billions of dollars.
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The year was significant for environmentalists. In 1988, George H.W. Bush ran for the highest office in the U.S. and promised to be an "environmental president". He didn't have a green bone in his body, but public pressure compelled him to make a commitment he ultimately didn't keep. That year, Margaret Thatcher was filmed picking up litter. She turned to the camera and said, "I'm a greenie, too."

Canada's Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was also re-elected in 1988. He appointed a bright new political star, Lucien Bouchard, as environment minister. I asked Bouchard during an interview what he considered to be our most important environmental issue. "Global warming," he responded. I continued: "How serious is it?" His answer: "It threatens the survival of our species. We have to act now."

In 1988, the environment was a top public concern, scientists spoke out and politicians said the right things. Global warming was a pressing and present issue. Now, 25 years later, carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise, and we're already seeing the consequences — more extreme weather events, melting glaciers and Arctic ice, rising sea levels, reduced water flows in rivers and climate-related illness and death, among others. It's driven in part by rapid economic growth in countries like China, India and Brazil. At the same time, most industrialized nations, whose use of fossil fuels created the problem of excess greenhouse gases, have done little to reduce emissions.

Humans are distinguished from other species by a massive brain that enables us to imagine a future and influence it by what we do in the present. By using experience, knowledge and insight, our ancestors recognized they could anticipate dangers and opportunities and take steps to exploit advantages and avoid hazards. Scientists and supercomputers have amplified our ability to look ahead. For decades, experts have warned us that human numbers, technology, hyper-consumption and a global economy are altering the chemical, geological and biological properties of the biosphere.

In 1992, more than 1,700 eminent scientists, including 104 Nobel prizewinners, signed the "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity", which included this urgent warning: "No more than one or a few decades remain before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity immeasurably diminished."
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:50 pm

Peter Ward has an idea:

Global warming can be slowed down, but not stopped for a long time. Ward would start by not shipping coal to China.


http://gulftoday.ae/portal/74570ab2-893 ... 87bb3.aspx

This again relates to what I was stressing above: China and India, among other developing nations, are unwilling to halt their industrialization. Both countries are plundering their own reserves of coal to fuel their industrial growth. China's economic growth is slowing and the political ramifications are potentially volatile. Likewise in India.

Even on this little island of Taiwan they burn coal and oil, and use a bit of nuclear, to give energy addicts their fix. 24/7 shops, full lights on everywhere, A/C blasting during the summer with the doors wide open, etc... this is what the rest of Asia wants, too. The environment be damned. Most of China's coral reefs are simply gone. Do you think much of the population there cares? No, they don't. They want big apartment blocks, A/C, nice clothes, cars, cash and the good life.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:56 pm

Nemo wrote:At the same time, most industrialized nations, whose use of fossil fuels created the problem of excess greenhouse gases, have done little to reduce emissions.


They keep increasing! Year after year.

A lot of people in my generation want to have their parents' standard of level and then some more, and they seldom see any moral issues with living it up while claiming a concern for the environment and climate change. Having a bin out front for recycling is considered sufficient and virtuous.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:13 pm

Yes, Huseng,
Things are bad and getting worse.
People are greedy and lazy and short-sighted, and sometimes extraordinarily slow to act on a problem that is not immediately (as in the next few days or months) life-threatening. That's the way people have been since they stopped being monkeys.
We are still not doomed. We still have time to make things less bad, at the very least.
If you want to convince me otherwise, you will have to give me a response to http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=6973&view=unread#p145112, one which demonstrates that you do understand the science.

:namaste:
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