Climate Change: We're Doomed

Alleviating worldly suffering along the way.

Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:12 am

anjali wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:My optimism is purely pragmatic:
I believe that if everyone does as much as they can we can ameliorate enough of the problems sufficiently that we can achieve a softer crash-landing - tens of thousands of deaths due to sea level rise, for instance, rather than tens of millions.


What I suspect we can all agree on, based on your above comment, is that, if the world maintains a "business as usual" course of action, we are headed for a cliff. A good planner will look at different scenarios and attempt to estimate probabilities of their likelihood. So, I'd like to ask a question of you (and anyone else who wishes to answer).

Given what you know about the state of the world today, what do you think the likelihood is for a continued "business as usual" scenario until it is too late to avoid a catastrophe? Here is a qualitative probability scale.

A. Highly Likely
B. Likely
C. Toss up (50/50)
D. Unlikely
E. Highly Unlikely

Personally, I choose A. From what I can tell, we are trying to turn a huge boat headed for a water fall, but we have started turning too late. Does that mean I shouldn't do what I can? Of course not. I'll throw my tormas at the approaching demon. (Echoing back to a previous post ;-)

Thank you for a sensible question! :twothumbsup:
Unfortunately or not, the answer is made complicated by the fact that the "catastrophe" is not a one-off all-or-nothing event, or even clearly defined. We're not headed for a waterfall so much as a steep set of rapids, and we can define "catastrophe" as the boat making it to the bottom more-or-less intact or just a few survivors swimming out of the wreckage. And do we count the exponential growth of solar power (already under way) as BAU or not? What about Holland''s flood mitigation project?

At this stage it is certain - not just 'Highly Likely' - that some elements of the catastrophe will come to pass because in fact they already have: we have lost species, and we have caused extreme weather events like the Russian heat-wave and Sandy.
We can't turn the boat away from the rapids. We have to ride it all the way down. On the other hand, we can make it more seaworthy, we can lighten it, we can steer better and we can reduce the height of the rapids (the metaphor is beginning to break down there, but I'm sure you know what I mean).

So it isn't really 'how likely' but 'how bad'. Myself, I think the most likely scenario is that we will be playing catch-up for the next ten or twenty years and then achieve a softish crash-landing over the next ten or twenty. The 'new normal' will be be liveable but not much fun. Extreme weather (by our standards) will be normal. Food shortages will be normal. I wouldn't be surprised if climate change refugees number in the tens of millions.

Just how bad it will be depends crucially on our efforts now, and next week and next month. The quicker we can make the necessary changes, the less-bad it will be for all of us in the future. Like Dan74 (right back on the first page!) I have quite a lot of faith in humanity's ingenuity when under pressure. I just wish our foresight was as good!

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:32 am

Here's another report:

Canada's natural gas industry could be worth $1 trillion

Canada's natural gas industry will rival the oilsands and generate more than a quarter of a million jobs a year for the next two decades, says one of Canada's most influential business think-tanks.

The Conference Board of Canada published an analysis Monday that expects Canada's natural gas industry to add more than $1 trillion to Canada's economy over the next 24 years and support an average of 260,000 jobs a year over that time frame.

The ambitious projection factors in all the direct investment, but also ancillary spinoffs down the supply chain and figures all regions of the country stand to benefit, even those provinces without any large natural gas holdings. ...


http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/201 ... l-gas.html


So, industry is enthusiastic about extracting around a trillion dollars worth of natural gas and of course selling it to consumers. No mention of the long-term environmental consequences.

This same thinking applies to oil and coal. As long as a profit can be made, it will be extracted and consumed.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:50 am

Here's another report to consider:


Pollution from car emissions killing millions in China and India
Study published by Lancet says surge in car use in south and east Asia killed 2.1m people prematurely in 2010


An explosion of car use has made fast-growing Asian cities the epicentre of global air pollution and become, along with obesity, the world's fastest growing cause of death according to a major study of global diseases.

In 2010, more than 2.1m people in Asia died prematurely from air pollution, mostly from the minute particles of diesel soot and gasses emitted from cars and lorries. Other causes of air pollution include construction and industry. Of these deaths, says the study published in The Lancet, 1.2 million were in east Asia and China, and 712,000 in south Asia, including India.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2 ... hina-india



I can say that Taipei's air is quite horrid and has prompted awful allergies in me. Most countries in Asia and their populations have a surprising tolerance for toxic air.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:05 am

Huseng wrote:I can say that Taipei's air is quite horrid and has prompted awful allergies in me. Most countries in Asia and their populations have a surprising tolerance for toxic air.

Maybe you can, but you are apparently incapable af answering this - http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=6973&start=240#p142725 - which itself includes my request for answers to questions asked even longer ago.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:19 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Huseng wrote:I can say that Taipei's air is quite horrid and has prompted awful allergies in me. Most countries in Asia and their populations have a surprising tolerance for toxic air.

Maybe you can, but you are apparently incapable af answering this - http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=6973&start=240#p142725 - which itself includes my request for answers to questions asked even longer ago.

:coffee:
Kim



I'm waiting for darkness to descend over the land as demonic forces are victorious just as all the prophetic literature suggests.

In the meanwhile I'm trying to live quite simple (no car, house, kids, fancy clothes, etc...), get some stuff done, make some merit and hopefully have some realizations that will make the bumpy ride into my future life a bit easier.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:23 am

Huseng wrote:I'm waiting for darkness to descend over the land as demonic forces are victorious just as all the prophetic literature suggests.

In the meanwhile I'm trying to live quite simple (no car, house, kids, fancy clothes, etc...), get some stuff done, make some merit and hopefully have some realizations that will make the bumpy ride into my future life a bit easier.

Hey! An answer! Thanks.
In terms of this set of questions -
Kim wrote:
But what are YOU actually going to DO?
[1] Nothing? You're letting the problems grow.
[2] Proclaiming doom, gloom and helplessness? You're helping the problems grow.
[3] Something like what I suggest? You're doing a (tiny, I know) bit to ameliorate the problems and you're leading by example.

- you are doing a bit of all three. That's not bad, really. If only you could restrain your tendency towards [2], we could get along quite well. :smile:
What good does [2] do for you anyway? Or for anyone around you?

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:31 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:What good does [2] do for you anyway? Or for anyone around you?


The prospect of death and the lower realms are a bit more pressing to me than being a cheerful optimist in the hopes of making people more comfortable and happy in an increasingly degenerate age.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:52 pm

Huseng wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:What good does [2] do for you anyway? Or for anyone around you?


The prospect of death and the lower realms are a bit more pressing to me than being a cheerful optimist in the hopes of making people more comfortable and happy in an increasingly degenerate age.

Hey! Another answer! That's good.
It's not really an answer to "What good does [2] do for you anyway? Or for anyone around you?" [emphasis added for clarity], however - it's an answer to "Why do you do it?"
But it's still useful if I can disentangle it. I will start at the end:
"an increasingly degenerate age" : you have decided that these are (to use Christian terms) the End Times. This is not a rational decision (if it were, you would have more company) but your own individual summation of what you see around you. From that point onwards, everything you see and do confirms your wiew: you find scriptures which 'explain' your perception, you see physical evidence for things falling apart but are totally blind (as I have said before) to any contrary evidence; and you reject optimism for yourself and others. But have you heard of confirmation bias? Have you heard of attachment to views?
I think your negativity is bad for you, bad for those around you (which includes me), and bad Buddhism. As far as I'm concerned, we are enjoined to practice sila and the brahmaviharas (just to pick the most obvious teachings) whatever is gong on around us.

All of that is internal. What of its relation to the external world?
The facts which lead you to preach the inevitability of climate catastrophe are a biased collection of the evidence - chosen, consciously or not, to confirm your psychological orientation. They are therefore totally useless as a guide for your action or anyone else's action, because we need a balanced and preferably expert summation.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Dan74 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:20 pm

In Zen there are many teachings on the mirror-mind perfectly reflecting what arises, the story of the 6th Patriarch comes to mind. But before the mirror-mind we have projection-mind - we see our inner world around us.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:49 pm

Huseng wrote:I'm waiting for darkness to descend over the land as demonic forces are victorious just as all the prophetic literature suggests.

Huseng.

May the cuteness be with you.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:52 pm

Huseng wrote:The prospect of death and the lower realms are a bit more pressing to me than being a cheerful optimist in the hopes of making people more comfortable and happy in an increasingly degenerate age.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby greentara » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:54 pm

India is likely to be the second largest consumer of coal, surpassing the United States, in the next five years, says a report.

“China and India would lead the growth in coal consumption over the next five years... while India will become the largest seaborne coal importer and second-largest consumer, surpassing the United States,” according to a report by International Energy Agency (IEA).

The report further said that coal demand is expected to increase in every region of the world except in the U.S., where coal is being pushed out by natural gas.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:25 am

greentara wrote:India is likely to be the second largest consumer of coal, surpassing the United States, in the next five years, says a report.
“China and India would lead the growth in coal consumption over the next five years... while India will become the largest seaborne coal importer and second-largest consumer, surpassing the United States,” according to a report by International Energy Agency (IEA).

The report further said that coal demand is expected to increase in every region of the world except in the U.S., where coal is being pushed out by natural gas.

Good to know, since ignorance is never good, but not game-changing, since it is only one of millions of factors in play.
Googling "fossil fuel consumption" gets you 7,190,000 results and we won't learn much by looking at any of them except a high-level overview. Why not? Because they lack context.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:59 am

Just came across this - http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2012/12/07/3649206.htm and thought it was relevant here.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:46 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:"an increasingly degenerate age" : you have decided that these are (to use Christian terms) the End Times. This is not a rational decision (if it were, you would have more company) but your own individual summation of what you see around you.


Oh, wow, really? I didn't know kaliyuga was the same thing as End Times.

You really have no idea what you're talking about.

Kaliyuga is not the end of the world. It is a period of sustained degeneration, not the end of the world.



From that point onwards, everything you see and do confirms your wiew: you find scriptures which 'explain' your perception, you see physical evidence for things falling apart but are totally blind (as I have said before) to any contrary evidence; and you reject optimism for yourself and others. But have you heard of confirmation bias? Have you heard of attachment to views?



Have you ever read a few Buddhist scriptures and treatises? This is a Buddhist forum and I'm really just presenting the same outlook and perspective as one finds in the canon. Things in this age will get continually worse and worse. This is neither comforting nor agreeable to most people, but then it isn't supposed to be. Saṃsāra is not a nice place.


I think your negativity is bad for you, bad for those around you (which includes me), and bad Buddhism.



Again, your knowledge about Buddhism is insufficient to make such assertions.




The facts which lead you to preach the inevitability of climate catastrophe are a biased collection of the evidence - chosen, consciously or not, to confirm your psychological orientation.



And here I thought the scientists issuing warnings about climate change were an objective source of knowledge.





They are therefore totally useless as a guide for your action or anyone else's action, because we need a balanced and preferably expert summation.


I'll decide my own actions. My perspective on the degeneration of the physical world and the human condition is actually quite orthodox. My outlook on climate change and fossil fuel consumption, as I have demonstrated above, are all based on reasonable estimations and predictions concerning energy, industrial growth, politics and so on.

If you don't like it, well, feel free to disagree.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:03 am

Huseng wrote:If you don't like it, well, feel free to disagree.

I don't like it and (in case you hadn't noticed :tongue: ) I always did feel free to disagree.
The rest of your post is pretty much rubbish but I haven't got time at the moment to tell you why.
Back later. :hi:

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:21 pm

Okay - I'm back.
Huseng wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:"an increasingly degenerate age" : you have decided that these are (to use Christian terms) the End Times. This is not a rational decision (if it were, you would have more company) but your own individual summation of what you see around you.

Oh, wow, really? I didn't know kaliyuga was the same thing as End Times.
You really have no idea what you're talking about.
Kaliyuga is not the end of the world. It is a period of sustained degeneration, not the end of the world.

They fulfill the same psychological function, which was all that I wanted or needed to say.
Huseng wrote:Have you ever read a few Buddhist scriptures and treatises? This is a Buddhist forum and I'm really just presenting the same outlook and perspective as one finds in the canon. Things in this age will get continually worse and worse. This is neither comforting nor agreeable to most people, but then it isn't supposed to be. Saṃsāra is not a nice place.
I think your negativity is bad for you, bad for those around you (which includes me), and bad Buddhism.

Again, your knowledge about Buddhism is insufficient to make such assertions.

Really, it shouldn't matter one iota whether I'm Buddhist or Pastafarian so long as my arguments are sound.
But if you're going to play the "I'm more Buddhist than you" card I guess I have to point you to my intro post over at the other DW - http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=2932. Actually, I think I remember you from the grey forum, too. I could also say that if your avatar pic represents you as you are, I was meditating before you were born. I no longer see a clear dividing line between "my beliefs" and "Buddhist beliefs" but I can say that the dhamma (or dharma :tongue: ) permeates my thinking.
As for "Things in this age will get continually worse and worse. This is neither comforting nor agreeable to most people, but then it isn't supposed to be. Saṃsāra is not a nice place," and "I'm really just presenting the same outlook and perspective as one finds in the canon," you are (at the very least) wildly overstating your case. Can you - no messing about or prevaricating, please - present canonical sources from your own school for your claim that this (2012 +/- 50 years, let's say) is the kaliyuga?
Can you even find canonical sources that all major schools agree on (e.g. as per [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_Points_Unifying_the_Theravāda_and_the_Mahāyāna[/url]) which predict the coming of the kaliyuga?
I won't ask you to find a source for your belief that a Buddhist living in the kaliyuga should be an out-and-out miserabilist and not try to help others "because, hey, this is the kaliyuga," because I am absolutely sure you will not find one.
Huseng wrote:
The facts which lead you to preach the inevitability of climate catastrophe are a biased collection of the evidence - chosen, consciously or not, to confirm your psychological orientation.

And here I thought the scientists issuing warnings about climate change were an objective source of knowledge.

(1) Sarcasm is not Right Speech, according to my Buddhism.
(2) You need to read more carefully. I have bolded the bit you missed. To make it even clearer, if there are 1 000 000 white pebbles and 1 000 000 black pebbles on the beach, you are not entitled to claim they are all black just because you only pick up black ones.
Huseng wrote:I'll decide my own actions.

Fine by me, so long as you don't harm others. The main reason I'm persisting with this thread is that you do harm others, now and in the future, if you persuade people they can do nothing.
Huseng wrote:My perspective on the degeneration of the physical world and the human condition is actually quite orthodox.

As I said above, I don't really believe that. It may be orthodox within some schools or lineages but my knowledge of Buddhism and Buddhists suggests that about 99% would find your position unorthodox, or at least extreme, and unjustifiable. But I would be happy to read relevant texts supporting your views so again, please support your arguments with references.
Huseng wrote:My outlook on climate change and fossil fuel consumption, as I have demonstrated above, are all based on reasonable estimations and predictions concerning energy, industrial growth, politics and so on.

No they are not. See above re pebbles.
Huseng wrote:If you don't like it, well, feel free to disagree.

Have done so.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Ukigumo » Thu Dec 20, 2012 1:34 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Okay - I'm back.
Huseng wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:"an increasingly degenerate age" : you have decided that these are (to use Christian terms) the End Times. This is not a rational decision (if it were, you would have more company) but your own individual summation of what you see around you.

Oh, wow, really? I didn't know kaliyuga was the same thing as End Times.
You really have no idea what you're talking about.
Kaliyuga is not the end of the world. It is a period of sustained degeneration, not the end of the world.

They fulfill the same psychological function, which was all that I wanted or needed to say.


I don't think you understand the difference between Christian eschatology ("end times"), which is based in a linear conception of time and an understanding of history as the progressive unfolding of divine meaning - and a Dharmic conception of Kaliyuga which is rooted in a cyclical conception of time and an entirely different view of history as being an essentially meaningless play of samsara or maya.

In other words, you don't really understand what Huseng is saying at all. Obviously, you think his comments are negative and perhaps this gets you down emotionally, in much the same way that a fundamentalist talking about the "End Times" might get you down. But this is not really where Huseng or those of us who grasp the severity of the climate situation are coming from.

Rather than trying to understand the nuances of Huseng's perspective, most of your posts here strike me as emotional reactions to negative stimuli.

Kim O'Hara wrote:Fine by me, so long as you don't harm others. The main reason I'm persisting with this thread is that you do harm others, now and in the future, if you persuade people they can do nothing.


Again, this is a total misreading of Huseng's position. He isn't advocating that people "do nothing" at all - he is drawing attention to the real nature of the situation we are facing, and pointing out that many of the measures people are trying to undertake are in fact a waste of time given certain facts and reasonable extrapolations from those facts.

By clarifying the real terms of the situation in which we find ourselves, Huseng and others are in fact opening a space for effective action, as opposed to ineffective action.

Acting without understanding, or with an improper understanding of the nature of reality is what is really going to harm others. And frankly, your assessment of climate change, the extent of its effects and the possible responses to it strike me as being entirely unrealistic and more likely to result in harm than anything Huseng has posted.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:01 am

Here's an article worth reading:

http://ourfiniteworld.com/2012/12/19/wh ... ts-missed/

The statement is often made that once oil prices rise high enough, renewables will become competitive. This statement is made with blinders on, in a world market for goods and services. What matters in a world market is the lowest total cost of production. Most renewables aren’t even oil substitutes; they are coal or natural gas substitutes, and these are cheaper. Anything that raises the average energy cost of a country relative to other countries makes it less competitive. When a country less competitive, it tends to use less oil. The extra oil tends to go to a more competitive country, and may help raise coal usage. Obviously wages make a difference, too, but a country that uses cheap fuels can pay their workers less, and still provide an acceptable standard of living.


Also...

There are two ways of reducing fossil fuel use that might be effective, but probably would not be well received. One is to cut back on international trade, perhaps by reintroducing taxes on trade. This would reduce fossil fuel usage, because many goods cannot be made without imported raw materials from elsewhere. Another method that would work is to tax (or forbid) fossil fuel extraction in your own country. This would make your country poorer, and less able to buy imports (such as oil and gas) on the world market.


So, renewables are uneconomical for the time being (perhaps forever?) and reduction of fossil fuel use would likewise be unacceptable to the global community.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:05 am

Ukigumo wrote:I don't think you understand the difference between Christian eschatology ("end times"), which is based in a linear conception of time and an understanding of history as the progressive unfolding of divine meaning - and a Dharmic conception of Kaliyuga which is rooted in a cyclical conception of time and an entirely different view of history as being an essentially meaningless play of samsara or maya.

In other words, you don't really understand what Huseng is saying at all.

Ukigomo,
You can have no idea what I do and do not know about comparative religion. I made one reference to Christianity and it sent Huseng off on the wrong track entirely. I explained to him the (very narrow) sense in which the comparison was relevant and intended and in spite of that you are going down the same wrong track.
Ukigumo wrote:Obviously, you think his comments are negative and perhaps this gets you down emotionally,

:rolleye:
Ukigumo wrote:in much the same way that a fundamentalist talking about the "End Times" might get you down.

:rolling:
Ukigumo wrote:But this is not really where Huseng or those of us who grasp the severity of the climate situation are coming from. ...
Rather than trying to understand the nuances of Huseng's perspective, most of your posts here strike me as emotional reactions to negative stimuli. ...
[Huseng] isn't advocating that people "do nothing" at all - he is drawing attention to the real nature of the situation we are facing, and pointing out that many of the measures people are trying to undertake are in fact a waste of time given certain facts and reasonable extrapolations from those facts.

By clarifying the real terms of the situation in which we find ourselves, Huseng and others are in fact opening a space for effective action, as opposed to ineffective action.

Acting without understanding, or with an improper understanding of the nature of reality is what is really going to harm others. And frankly, your assessment of climate change, the extent of its effects and the possible responses to it strike me as being entirely unrealistic and more likely to result in harm than anything Huseng has posted.

I am not going to respond to Huseng-voiced-by-Ukigumo but I am willing to hear your own position if you have one, and especially your answers to these questions:
What are YOU actually going to DO in the world this month and in the coming year?
Nothing? You're letting the problems grow.
Proclaiming doom, gloom and helplessness? You're helping the problems grow.
Something like what I suggest? You're doing a (tiny, I know) bit to ameliorate the problems and you're leading by example.

Choose one - or tell me about another option.

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