Climate Change: We're Doomed

Alleviating worldly suffering along the way.

Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby pueraeternus » Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:16 am

Huseng wrote: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.


I think the only thing that can awaken and mobilize the whole of humanity to act is when the whole system tips over and the current ecological chain collapses and undergo irreversible change. Millions upon millions will perish from environment catastrophe, starvation (due to collapse of the food chain) and ensuing wars for resources. It probably will not spell the end of humanity, but the surviving ones will learn to adapt and change.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:45 am

pueraeternus wrote:I think the only thing that can awaken and mobilize the whole of humanity to act is when the whole system tips over and the current ecological chain collapses and undergo irreversible change. Millions upon millions will perish from environment catastrophe, starvation (due to collapse of the food chain) and ensuing wars for resources. It probably will not spell the end of humanity, but the surviving ones will learn to adapt and change.

Look, we might be slow learners but don't you think that we might wake up before "Millions upon millions ... perish"?
:crazy:
The evidence from Hiroshima and Nagasaki is that we can learn fast enough to save ourselves when we are presented with irrefutable evidence for the scale of the threat.
I have a strong suspicion that that kind of evidence is what we are getting now from the extreme weather events which are being boosted by global warming. Katrina and Sandy in the US; floods in Pakistan; the heat wave in Russia a couple of years ago; floods in northern Australia ditto; and so on. And they are getting worse and coming more often - check out http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/09/09/810221/interactive-timeline-of-2012-extreme-weather/.
People are waking up to the problem like never before. We're in for a time of radical change, like it or not, and our choice is whether we try to steer it in the direction of safety and sanity or let it just run amok.
Pretty simple choice.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby KeithBC » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:46 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Look, we might be slow learners but don't you think that we might wake up before "Millions upon millions ... perish"?
:crazy:
The evidence from Hiroshima and Nagasaki is that we can learn fast enough to save ourselves when we are presented with irrefutable evidence for the scale of the threat.
I have a strong suspicion that that kind of evidence is what we are getting now from the extreme weather events which are being boosted by global warming. Katrina and Sandy in the US; floods in Pakistan; the heat wave in Russia a couple of years ago; floods in northern Australia ditto; and so on. And they are getting worse and coming more often - check out http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/09/09/810221/interactive-timeline-of-2012-extreme-weather/.
People are waking up to the problem like never before. We're in for a time of radical change, like it or not, and our choice is whether we try to steer it in the direction of safety and sanity or let it just run amok.
Pretty simple choice.

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Kim

Indeed, people will wake up before millions perish. But it will still be too late.

If the engineer on a freight train sees a vehicle stalled on the track half a mile in front of the train, he can slam on the emergency brakes, but the train will not stop in time.

We have passed the time for slamming on the brakes on climate change. It doesn't mean we shouldn't still attempt to stop, to reduce the impact if we can. But the collision is inevitable now. We don't even have the engineer's choice to ride it out or jump.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:32 am

Hi, Keith - long time no see!
You're basically right but IMO your freight train metaphor is not such a good one. Climate change - global warming - is on us now, has already happened to a degree (some puns are irresistible :toilet: ) and will keep on happening for the foreseeable future. It's not a sudden, all-or-or-nothing catastrophe, and any metaphor that suggests it is will encourage exactly the sort of sitting-in-a-corner-and-wailing response that I have been objecting to all along.
Climate change is a global issue but it is one that can be - and must be - tackled locally and piecemeal. Doing anything is worthwhile. Doing everything is going to be necessary. Doing nothing is indefensible.

BTW, here's a local example of climate change in action: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-09/australia-heatwave-forecast-one-animated-gif-map/4458006
for those not used to degrees Celsius - 45C is 113F. Be glad you're not in Australia this week!

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby corrine » Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:45 pm

I think that there is a huge problem that is not being addressed and that is that so many people, at least in the United States, simply do not believe that there is a problem at all. Complete, total, denial.

I was talking to a colleague about how much hotter our summers are now and how much colder the winters. Tonight it is supposed to be 23 and I live in southern california. Never used to happen in the many years that I have been in this area. My late husband moved here in the 1930s and used to say that it was a much more moderate climate back then with a lot more rain - 30 inches a year versus the paltry 8 or 9 we get now. Her comment was that it gets hotter, then colder in a cycle and that there is nothing wrong and that I (and others like me) should stop obsessing about so called climate change, because this is just 'natures way'. Her reply was typical among many I work with. They drive the biggest vehicles they can afford and spend a small fortune pumping gasoline into the engines, with no thought about the future. They think that the United States should just 'drill, drill, drill', as politicians have said. Conservation is a word that simply does not exist in their vocabularies. They keep their homes at 75 degrees all year round, running air conditioning or heating systems as needed with no thought to how that energy is being produced.

I feel sorry for future generations because f we do not even acknowledge that there is a problem, then how can we ever do anything to fix it?

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby treehuggingoctopus » Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:45 pm

True that. It's not only the US, denialism isn't absent from Europe either - actually, in Eastern European countries it may be even more widespread than it is in the States. And, instead of decreasing, it seems to be on the rise - thanks to the media, of course. There are Murdochs this side of the Big Pond too, every little bit as demented and insane.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:42 pm

Yes, it's sad, but I don't know that that attitude is spreading. I think extreme weather events are going to focus people's minds rather quickly, and people who noticed the problems earlier have gained knowledge and put in place structures which will allow surprisingly quick turnaround of all sorts of things.
For instance, look at the political side: the world's first Green party was founded almost exactly 40 years ago. Look at them now - http://www.globalgreens.org/federations

Yes, the problem might be getting exponentially worse. But the solutions are able to grow exponentially, too.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby waimengwan » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:26 am

I think biofuels are the future, Brazil overcome the expensive oil prices of the 70' by turning to Sugarcane
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel_in_Brazil

Global warming well stop eating meat of especially red meat
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uTJsZrX2wI
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:44 pm

I have just come across a web-site that is relevant and positive - The Context Insitute, http://www.context.org/
Its guiding principles are:
Transforming our cultures to fit our new reality is the core challenge of our times.
We have inherited most of our institutions, values and concepts from a very different time in history. They aren’t working to solve today’s problems because they weren’t developed in or for today’s context.
There are no environmental problems …
only environmental symptoms of human problems.

and
▪ Business-as-usual is not sustainable
▪ The culture is not changing fast enough
▪ A thriving sustainable society is possible
▪ A pathway to get there is possible
▪ These four are all reflections of the major cultural transition that humanity is in the midst of now, a transition as profound as the shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture and cities that happened 5,000 to 10,000 years ago.


The content is a a thoughtful blog by the founder and a collection of "900 articles by 600 authors" from a related magazine which is no longer in print.
It's all very browsable.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby shaunc » Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:06 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Hi, Keith - long time no see!
You're basically right but IMO your freight train metaphor is not such a good one. Climate change - global warming - is on us now, has already happened to a degree (some puns are irresistible :toilet: ) and will keep on happening for the foreseeable future. It's not a sudden, all-or-or-nothing catastrophe, and any metaphor that suggests it is will encourage exactly the sort of sitting-in-a-corner-and-wailing response that I have been objecting to all along.
Climate change is a global issue but it is one that can be - and must be - tackled locally and piecemeal. Doing anything is worthwhile. Doing everything is going to be necessary. Doing nothing is indefensible.

BTW, here's a local example of climate change in action: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-09/australia-heatwave-forecast-one-animated-gif-map/4458006
for those not used to degrees Celsius - 45C is 113F. Be glad you're not in Australia this week!

:namaste:
Kim

We're finally in for a much needed change, low 20's where I am for a couple of days, but the last 2 weeks have been between 35-40 degrees. Even the tomatoes are looking stressed & how I haven't lost any chooks I don't know.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby justsit » Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:24 pm

From the New York Times today:

"WHETHER in Davos or almost anywhere else that leaders are discussing the world’s problems, they are missing by far the biggest issue: the rapidly deteriorating global environment and its ability to support civilization.

The situation is pretty much an endgame. Unless pressing issues of the biology of the planet and of climate change generated by greenhouse gas emissions are addressed with immediacy and at appropriate scale, the matters that occupy Davos discussions will be seen in retrospect as largely irrelevant. "

Read the full article here.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby pueraeternus » Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:20 pm

justsit wrote:From the New York Times today:

"WHETHER in Davos or almost anywhere else that leaders are discussing the world’s problems, they are missing by far the biggest issue: the rapidly deteriorating global environment and its ability to support civilization.

The situation is pretty much an endgame. Unless pressing issues of the biology of the planet and of climate change generated by greenhouse gas emissions are addressed with immediacy and at appropriate scale, the matters that occupy Davos discussions will be seen in retrospect as largely irrelevant. ".


Indeed. And the main reason for this is that the world leaders consider the economic health of their countries and the global macro-economy to be more important. And why? Because the people demand it. The very nature of our current economic model ensures it will never lead to sustainability, since it is based on consumption.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:03 am

pueraeternus wrote:Indeed. And the main reason for this is that the world leaders consider the economic health of their countries and the global macro-economy to be more important. And why? Because the people demand it. The very nature of our current economic model ensures it will never lead to sustainability, since it is based on consumption.


We're really all to blame for it.

If people get a hold of money, they buy crap with it like cars and bigger houses.

If energy is available, it will be used. Political and social forces will see to it being used one way or another if it is affordable and needed.

Take for instance the tar sands in Canada. They weren't affordable many years ago, which is why they were left untouched. Now there is demand for them and despite people complaining about the cancer and toxic air, there is the political will to develop them. The rest of the country benefits from the money generated through such exploitation of the environment.

The nice perks of being associated with the devil are difficult to voluntarily give up. If Canada gave up the tar sands (it won't happen), then a lot of people involved in academia and service industries would find their positions cut as they'd prove unaffordable and in many cases unnecessary.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby pueraeternus » Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:46 pm

Huseng wrote:
pueraeternus wrote:Indeed. And the main reason for this is that the world leaders consider the economic health of their countries and the global macro-economy to be more important. And why? Because the people demand it. The very nature of our current economic model ensures it will never lead to sustainability, since it is based on consumption.

If energy is available, it will be used. Political and social forces will see to it being used one way or another if it is affordable and needed.


And of course, because there is so much money to be made in the oil industry, there is little to no political will to truly develop green and sustainable forms of energy and switch to those permanently. Why? Because the banks and corporations truly pulls the political strings, and the preference of those in power is the short term gain in obscene profits instead of long-term viability for the entire planet.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:51 pm

pueraeternus wrote:
justsit wrote:From the New York Times today:

"WHETHER in Davos or almost anywhere else that leaders are discussing the world’s problems, they are missing by far the biggest issue: the rapidly deteriorating global environment and its ability to support civilization.

The situation is pretty much an endgame. Unless pressing issues of the biology of the planet and of climate change generated by greenhouse gas emissions are addressed with immediacy and at appropriate scale, the matters that occupy Davos discussions will be seen in retrospect as largely irrelevant. ".


Indeed. And the main reason for this is that the world leaders consider the economic health of their countries and the global macro-economy to be more important. And why? Because the people demand it. The very nature of our current economic model ensures it will never lead to sustainability, since it is based on consumption.

Well for the sake of your own future comfort and the thanks of generations yet to be born, get out there and start DEMANDING a new model.
Sheesh.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:01 pm

Huseng wrote:If energy is available, it will be used. Political and social forces will see to it being used one way or another if it is affordable and needed..

Hi, Huseng,
You said something like this a few pages back and I asked you about the source of your 20/20 foresight and you shut up for a while ... can you either answer that question now or admit that you really don't know?
Huseng wrote:Take for instance the tar sands in Canada. They weren't affordable many years ago, which is why they were left untouched. Now there is demand for them and despite people complaining about the cancer and toxic air, there is the political will to develop them. The rest of the country benefits from the money generated through such exploitation of the environment.

So the smart political counterstroke is to make the drillers and users pay for the environmental cost of the CO2 emissions the tar sands will generate. That is, bring in a carbon tax. As big a carbon tax as possible as soon as possible. We've got one, the EU has got one ... why can't Canada?
Oh, a right-wingnut government. Hmm. Get rid of it.
Not :guns: of course - letters to politicians, money to Green groups, boycotts of polluters ... we know how to do this stuff!
As I said to peterpanic, sheesh!

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:06 pm

:coffee:
My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.
...
We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet ...

:applause: :applause: :applause:

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:12 pm

pueraeternus wrote:And of course, because there is so much money to be made in the oil industry, there is little to no political will to truly develop green and sustainable forms of energy and switch to those permanently. Why? Because the banks and corporations truly pulls the political strings, and the preference of those in power is the short term gain in obscene profits instead of long-term viability for the entire planet.


True, but consumers if given the choice will drive gas guzzling cars and eat plenty of meat while fully aware that both are damaging the environment both in the short and long terms. The companies selling those things are responding to market demand and consumer desires.

Even if we had green and sustainable forms of energy they would be wasted on harmful and destructive projects.

You need only look at how people in the third world react when they suddenly get money: they try to live like the first world middle class.

The oil industry is developed and sustained not because the executives are greedy, but more a result of consumers wanting that energy for various purposes.

It isn't the 1% we should blame, but ourselves.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:30 pm

Ahem .... Huseng ...
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Huseng wrote:If energy is available, it will be used. Political and social forces will see to it being used one way or another if it is affordable and needed..

Hi, Huseng,
You said something like this a few pages back and I asked you about the source of your 20/20 foresight and you shut up for a while ... can you either answer that question now or admit that you really don't know?


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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby pueraeternus » Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:18 pm

Huseng wrote:
pueraeternus wrote:And of course, because there is so much money to be made in the oil industry, there is little to no political will to truly develop green and sustainable forms of energy and switch to those permanently. Why? Because the banks and corporations truly pulls the political strings, and the preference of those in power is the short term gain in obscene profits instead of long-term viability for the entire planet.

True, but consumers if given the choice will drive gas guzzling cars and eat plenty of meat while fully aware that both are damaging the environment both in the short and long terms. The companies selling those things are responding to market demand and consumer desires.


I would say that a lot of these consumeristic impulses have been cultivated into the populace by the said banks and corporations. The explosion and exploitation of advertisement by the likes of Bernays have magnified those kleshas that are already present in humans and directed into the development of a lifestyle of waste and excess that has become normative in developed countries, and looked upon as a holy grail by those in the developing nations.

Its all logical - if you want to have an economic system characterized by endless consumption, you need people to want to consume more and more, so you cultivate a mindset using the power of the mass media. You also don't want people to question this (and other things) too much, so you proceed with programs to limit their intellectual horizons, encourage indulgence in senseless entertainment, etc.

I am not saying that we the people are just innocent lambs - we are culpable too, in that we already have such negative traits all along human history (as per the historical antecedents of cultures destroying themselves through uncontrolled consumption of their environmental resources). However, the purposeful exploitation and magnification of such traits as exist in the current modern world is unprecedented, and hence this time the risk envelopes the entire planet.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

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