Climate Change: We're Doomed

Alleviating worldly suffering along the way.

Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Zhen Li » Sat Feb 22, 2014 5:27 am

Don't you know that the world is going to disappear eventually anyway? It comes and goes with the kalpas over and over again. So practice diligently while you can still obtain a human body, and not try to preserve that which can't be preserved.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Sherab » Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:38 am

Zhen Li wrote:A nuclear melt down is never going to be like a nuke, and most of the radioactive material released will decay in a few days. You can walk and have a nice stroll right through the Fukushima exclusion zone and receive less radiation than you would have got while in the jumbo jet flying to Japan.

Fukushima is an ongoing disaster with very long term consequences. If we are not careful, it could become a global disaster, if it is not already happening already as far as the ocean is concerned. And there are long half-life radioactive material still being released.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Zhen Li » Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:08 am

Source?
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Malcolm » Sat Feb 22, 2014 4:00 pm

kirtu wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Sherab wrote:Molten salt nuclear reactors are considered to be "safe and proliferation-resistent".


Yes, the operative word here is "considered"; Three Mile Island was "considered" safe, Fukushima was "considered" safe, Chernobyl was "considered" safe until it turned out that they weren't safe at all.


TMI was in fact safe. The radiation release was heavily overblown in the press


Your facts are wrong here:

Gundersen, a leading technical expert on nuclear engineering, says: "When I correctly interpreted the containment pressure spike and the doses measured in the environment after the TMI accident, I proved that TMI's releases were about one hundred times higher than the industry and the NRC claim, in part because the containment leaked. This new data supports the epidemiology of Dr. Steve Wing and proves that there really were injuries from the accident. New reactor designs are also effected, as the NRC is using its low assumed release rates to justify decreases in emergency planning and containment design."
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harvey-wasserman/people-died-at-three-mile_b_179588.html

Fukashima was stupid design and that could easily be seen.


Right, which is why there is a reactor of exactly the same design sitting on Long Island Sound, and another just a few miles south of Boston, sitting on the Massachusetts Bay.

However safe means, if there is a total disaster, the reactor will shut itself down with no or minimal radiation release (obviously we need to engineer this for no release).


You are a smart guy, and I respect your intelligence, but on this score I think you are being blinded by your enthusiasm for technological fixes. The entire nuclear industry from soup to nuts is lethally toxic and bad for the environment. There is no such thing as a "safe" nuclear power plant.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Feb 28, 2014 7:41 am

One tiny step for mankind ... http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_keystone_xl_pipeline_loc/:
If approved, the Keystone XL pipeline will help pump billions of dollars into the pockets of a few companies... but also millions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere. It's been called "a fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet". Bold public action has delayed it once, and a court ruling last week has dealt a serious blow to the project. Now, if we act fast and in massive numbers, we can help kill it for good.


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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby sherabpa » Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:15 pm

If approved, the Keystone XL pipeline will help pump ... millions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere.


Actually it pumps oil, not carbon. This is important, since it has been said that that the oil will be extracted and the carbon generated regardless of the Keystone pipeline. This was actually said by someone who was against the pipeline, because he thought the oil should 'stay in the ground'. But even if you accept that carbon is similar to a 'bomb' I don't see how stopping the pipeline would help keep the oil in the ground or the carbon out of the atmosphere.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:09 am

sherabpa wrote:
If approved, the Keystone XL pipeline will help pump ... millions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere.


Actually it pumps oil, not carbon. This is important, since it has been said that that the oil will be extracted and the carbon generated regardless of the Keystone pipeline. This was actually said by someone who was against the pipeline, because he thought the oil should 'stay in the ground'. But even if you accept that carbon is similar to a 'bomb' I don't see how stopping the pipeline would help keep the oil in the ground or the carbon out of the atmosphere.

If it can't be moved from where it is to where it will be burned, it will stay in the ground.
If it can't be moved cheaply enough it will stay in the ground.
The cost of extracting the oil it is already so high that the project is economically marginal.
The pipeline is the cheapest way of moving it.

End of story - pretty much.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby kirtu » Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:33 pm

We actually may be doomed, but climate change and energy consumption are only part of the problem.

A new study by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has claimed that only a few decades are left for our current civilization before it collapses. Mathematician Safa Motesharrei of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center wrote a report along with her team of natural and social scientists. The report said that there are fixed numbers of days for modern civilizations, and there is nothing to blame on climate change, or a potential World War III.

They cited five major reasons for the social collapse, comprising of population, climate, water, agriculture and energy. According to the report, within the last 5,000 years, all societal collapses have been a result of the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity as resources were overstretched. Also, the economic stratification of society into Elites and poor in Masses caused the social collapse.

The flow of resources accessible to Masses is controlled by the 'Elite' population, which in turn allows Elites to accumulate a great amount for themselves. It is more than enough to strain natural resources.

Motesharrei's team is of the firm belief that this will become the cause of societal collapse at the end of civilization.


A write-up is here (of course there are many online but the Austrian Tribune is quite clear about the problems).

And here is a draft of the paper.

So the paper says that either economic stratification or ecological strain can independently lead to societal collapse. The claim is made that the model derived in the paper can predict past historical collapses. Collapse can be avoided if both population is reduced to a steady state at the maximum carrying capacity (which must be defined in the paper but I haven't yet read), the rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level and resources are distributed equitably.

So our current civilization appears to be in fact doomed.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby gordtheseeker » Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:47 pm

Newspaper headline in 2143...

Earth May Be Doomed Soon!
Scientists of the Federated Solar Initiative reported today that after much research and calculations by the Neptune Mathematics Collective, Earth is on course for a social and biological collapse in the next 5-10 years......

that said I don't pretend to believe that this planet isn't in for some hard times soon. but it is what it is. I remember reading an interesting article ones that compared humanity as a whole as stuck in a samsara of sorts. A cycle where we continually destroy ourselves and then are reborn. The article's whole basis was some archaeological finds that had some 'evidence' that pointed to a nuclear war happening in ancient times or something hehe.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby kirtu » Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:43 pm

Well gord, I have recently seen references to the Rwandan Genocide indicating that local overpopulation was a key element rather than strictly hatred prompted by hate mongers in the media (which was the general explanation at the time of the Rwandan Genocide). If this has some validity, then global overpopulation is not necessarily a factor at all. Local resource competition might be sufficient to cause a disaster.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Fri Mar 21, 2014 2:31 am

Overpopulation is the cause of many many problems in any country that suffers it.

Here in India you can easily see the results of overpopulation: widespread government corruption, cutthroat competition for scarce jobs, environmental stress, unaffordable living costs in cities, massive pollution problems and so on. The vast surplus of labor ensures the rich get richer by paying the working class perpetually low wages. The lack of land in the countryside means many flock to the cities for work, which again only enriches a small segment of the population which tends to hoard its wealth. On top of that inflation is cutting into the food budgets of many people. In the last few years the cost of food has gone up considerably, not just for the middle class but for common people as well.

Economic growth is also rapidly declining in India, which is causing employment problems especially amongst youths. I'm rather pessimistic about India's future. Climate change will mean additional environmental problems which the population is already suffering in some areas. If the population wasn't so high, then maybe migration out of troubled areas would be possible, but there's no place for these people to go, and lands prone to severe flooding still need to be used for agriculture.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Thrasymachus » Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:00 pm

kirtu wrote: ... And then we'd have free, non-polluting energy forever.


That would be the worst nightmare imagineable for the earth's living systems. The problem is the mentality of humanity, its social systems and the social order we built. Even if we had an allegedly non-polluting, renewable form of energy, we would just destroy the earth faster. The social order and imperialist mentality posits what we call nature as something to battle against and transform for selfish human ends.

90% of the large fish are gone from the oceans. Will mythical "clean energy" do anything besides allow us to build greater factory ships to trawl and empty out the oceans of large life faster so consumers can get fatter? Will mythical "clean energy" do anything besides encourage disgusting pig Westerners to do anything but move even further out from their jobs and get even bigger vehicles?Etc., etc.

Just wishful ignorant masturbation. Capitalism and its offshoots like state capitalism don't respect the biophysical basis of the natural order of the earth, they discount the soil, the water, the trees, the insects and animals to over-emphasis increasing the gross domestic product. They just narrowly concern themselves with putting into circulation more useless goods and services with every greater efficiency, technology and technique -- but all this involves a battle against the earth that humanity is winning so handily that eventually it will lead to collective demise.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:21 pm

That's actually a good point I've thought about too: humans tend to use energy that is available to them, so if virtually unlimited energy became available you can be sure industrialization would figuratively devour the planet. It wouldn't be enough to give every human 24/7 electricity and high-speed internet access. Infrastructure would pave over land which was once undesirable. Everyone and their dog would want to eat delicious food imported from remote lands like we do in the first world. You can see what amplified energy availability did in a short time to a place like Hong Kong or Tokyo and think the whole world's population would suddenly want the same thing on an even grander scale.

There's actually no solution to our energy problems other than to use less energy, but it isn't politically feasible to re-engineer our infrastructure and lifestyle standards to be at levels which our grandparents had (think minimal electrical appliances, no A/C, no private cars, ship transport rather than airlines, local food production, kitchen gardens and so on). For a country like India or China this would invite revolution in short order because political power and security is tied to economic growth and industrialization.

Societies seldom voluntarily reduce their complexity even when it would possibly save them from collapse.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Thrasymachus » Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:07 pm

The techno-utopians are just searching for desperate excuses to avoid owning up to their impact on the world today by imagining in the future some technological singularity will create a "free lunch" so to speak that will allegedly make their audacious lifestyle excusable. But will they still be creating waste and indeed only justify creating more of it themselves because of such "free/clean energy" delusions?

It is really facking simple and could not be simpler, the solutions are here, and no engineering miracle is needed:
-- walk or bicycle
-- if you need to go farther use public transit
-- if you need to use a car, fill it up with the maximum number of passengers before going off instead of one or two, infact make it illegal to use a car any other way
-- don't consume animal products
-- transition to passive heating from straw bale houses, etc.
-- shit into a bucket(humanure toilet) and not a water connected toilet to flush feces into sewers, streams, oceans and water treatment plants only to waste even more energy decontaminating that sewage water, etc.(actually animal waste is many orders of a magnitude larger problem and the animal agricultural industry doesn't have to process or clean that up in anyway or else social Darwinist loving meat eaters would whine about paying actual market prices...)
-- buy used
-- no more lawncare bs
-- don't buy useless crap(while working at Fedex I saw that they manufacture floating beer coolers so lazy, likely pot-bellied people can drink beer while floating on a pool, without stirring to get the next beer...)

We can consume less now, but there is no desire for it. Instead people hide behind technological singularity-utopian visions and imagine in some distant future they will live the exact same lifestyle, but have it will have some allegedly different outcome. Needless to say it is beyond delusional. Clearly I see humanity is not gonna change and will only march toward civilizational collapse. And of course in that case the poorest may well likely end up getting the shortest straw as usual, while the biggest consumers and wasters hire mercenaries to kill for their private property and access to resources.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:01 am

Thrasymachus wrote:And of course in that case the poorest may well likely end up getting the shortest straw as usual, while the biggest consumers and wasters hire mercenaries to kill for their private property and access to resources.


Historically when a society collapses it is actually the senatorial class that suffers the most. They're lucrative targets and moreover a lot of blame can easily be laid on them. Warlords who actually command mercenaries and are able to ensure a steady income from booty rapidly rise to become kings or de facto rulers over large areas. Before the collapse happens the elites might retain a monopoly over violence, but that only works as long as the elites are unified and the actual warriors doing the grunt work (most of whom are commoners) are being suitably compensated.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Sherab » Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:10 am

For those who argue that it is ok to do nothing about climate change.

http://www.upworthy.com/one-guy-with-a- ... e-7?c=ufb3
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:22 am

Sherab wrote:For those who argue that it is ok to do nothing about climate change.

http://www.upworthy.com/one-guy-with-a- ... e-7?c=ufb3

It's good - simplistic but good - and the follow-up is worth a look too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7e10ZNpogv4#t=100

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby zsc » Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:49 am

About public transit:

Where I live, public transit is crap, due to budget issues and/or racism.

On the east side of my state (MI), white flight out of Detroit caused a massive infastructure problem. The city is made to support a dense population, so now it doesn't have enough people paying taxes to support it. Raising taxes isn't viable due to the low average income of the residents. The city taxes on those employed on the city don't help that much because a lot of city jobs are minimum wage. Also, with the conviction of Kwame Kilpatrick, Detroit lost the support of his mother in Lansing, where she had to battle tooth and nail in order for the state to better support the city, because a strong racist mentality keeps a lot of politicians not caring about the fate of the city, which they see as a sinking ship (one politician just keeps getting caught saying racist things...). So this has all lead to a very crappy public transportation system not only within the city, but also in the surrounding suburbs--the private suburban busing company that travels between the city and the suburbs limited its routes within the city dramatically (because the suburban residents who could use public transportation more don't), basically barring anyone without a car and who doesn't have a 9 to 5 schedule from being able to be employed outside of the city.

On the west side of the state, where they have a bigger budget with a metropolitan area designed for a less dense population than Detroit, they are more to the point--the surrounding suburbanites around Grand Rapids explicitly said that they do not want to be on the city bus route because they did not want to let the people living in inner city GR in. Inner city GR which has a high black and Latino population.

All of this, of course, increases our dependence on cars.

And it's true, we will always choose greed, every time. Ex: My mom bought a "FlexCar" vehicle that uses E85 ethanol and regular gasoline, paying more for the car to have a less environmental impact, and E85 at the time was always a dollar or two less than regular gas prices. Fast forward to today, where these cars are still more expensive, but E85 prices have increased to the point where there is only a 30 cent difference between the ethanol and the gasoline. People are not going to spend more on a car that can be fueled by ethanol and gasoline if ethanol is just as expensive as gasoline. It's already bad enough that ethanol is only available in select areas, and mostly in the 'burbs. But, they saw an opportunity to make a larger profit, so screw environmental measures, I guess.

Ugh, makes me see the appeal of socialism sometimes.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:41 pm

zsc wrote:Ugh, makes me see the appeal of socialism sometimes.

Maybe not socialism but the "command economy" perhaps?
It usually goes with socialism or communism in the modern world, e.g. China, but has been more accurately called the "bureaucratic state" - which is what China had in Imperial times, as it happens.
And yes, it does have some advantages. [Puts on flame-retardant suit]

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Vajraprajnakhadga » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:27 am

Indrajala wrote:That's actually a good point I've thought about too: humans tend to use energy that is available to them, so if virtually unlimited energy became available you can be sure industrialization would figuratively devour the planet.


With unlimited energy we would likely become interstellar locusts devouring many planets.
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