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Thu Nov 29, 2012, 12:41 PM

Links between climate change and population growth

Rarely do I see the discussion of population. I almost didn't read this article. It's short and worth reading. It's pretty much a condensed version of everything I've been saying for decades. And all I can do is take a few snippets and post them, and the link.

Read it. We need to start acting. Sacrifice by the wealthy, and education of the poorest. That is what we must do NOW.

As weather threats have grown, so has our world population. Rapid population growth and fossil fuel emissions are two leading characteristics of our modern age. But we canít escape this fact: A 2005 London School of Economics study concluded that, if each of us living in a highly developed country reduced our carbon footprint by 40 percent over 40 years, all of that would be cancelled by our present population growth rates alone. And that doesnít even take into account the fact that emissions will rise dramatically if and when billions of people are able to escape from poverty.

"Failure to procreate can have violent consequences for women, some of whom are barely into their teens.". This is very much at the heart of our situation. And to think that in a so-called intelligent country, Republicans are behaving just as some of the worst of the worst on the planet: wanting to keep women from having a choice.

We have no choice now. The planet is in flames.



http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/commentary/links-climate-change-population-growth

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Arrow 10 replies Author Time Post
Reply Links between climate change and population growth (Original post)
Gregorian Nov 2012 OP
Speck Tater Nov 2012 #1
Gregorian Nov 2012 #2
GliderGuider Nov 2012 #5
Speck Tater Nov 2012 #6
stuntcat Nov 2012 #8
NoOneMan Nov 2012 #3
Gregorian Nov 2012 #4
GliderGuider Nov 2012 #7
NoOneMan Nov 2012 #9
GliderGuider Nov 2012 #10

Response to Gregorian (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 12:51 PM

1. I read somewhere that we have already passed peak per capita energy.

 

Our population growth is outpacing even our ridiculous growth in energy consumption so that energy share per person is actually going down now. The planet needs to cut population NOW! Either we can do it voluntarily by reducing birth rates and letting natural attrition reduce the numbers, or we can wait until Mother Nature trots out those always reliable methods; plague, war, and famine. (Not to mention thirst!)

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 01:52 PM

2. As evidenced by the replies and recs of this thread

You can see this is a really unimportant topic. Now if this were a thread about Bo, the dog...

I've just had to watch this in horror for 40 years. But recent revelations in how fast it's all burning up have helped me become much more selfish. Sorry, but I've decided to live my life now. I still won't have children, or travel, or build a giant house. But I've got some inventions I'm finally going to develop.

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 02:20 PM

5. Unfortunately, no.

Our energy consumption per capita was on a plateau around 1.5 toe/person/year from 1986 until about 2003. In 2003 it bagan to climb again, and is now through 1.77 on its way to 1.8 and beyond.

That plateau was what gave Richard Duncan his idea for the "Olduvai Theory", that foresaw a rapid drop in per capita energy consumption. Duncan had been faked out by a "local maximum" in p/c consumption in 1979.

The steadily rising recent consumption is what makes me think we'll run out of climate first, before we can reduce either our energy consumption or people production rates. I think we have only 30 years left before Mother Nature starts to reduce our population for us. That's not enough time for us to make any usefully large changes in demographic behaviour. After that it won't matter what we do, the Horsemen will be driving our bus far faster than we could ever manage on our own.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 02:28 PM

6. Ah, so what read was obsolete. Thanks for clearing that up. nt

 

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 04:53 PM

8. those methods..

plague, war, famine, as well as death from natural disasters, will mostly effect very poor people.

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Response to Gregorian (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 02:07 PM

3. Why must car-driving, dog-owning elites tell poor people not to breed?

 

Sure, we have an over-population problem when populations vastly surpass the carrying capacity of a given land--something that has been happening constantly since the advent of agriculture. But that condition does not, in itself, lead directly to massive carbon emissions on the scales we are seeing today.

The interesting thing is that the societies making these observations of the developing nations sit there with their animals (which take about 2 acres of land annually to provide food for each of their dogs) and feel they are proposing a real solution. The problem is that Americans, for example, have so many unnecessary energy intensive things in their lives that require more energy than a poor child. But, are those things on the table (cars, internet, smart phones, pets)? No. What really needs to happen is for poor people to stop breeding so we can drive to the dog park and text redundant camera phone images to our friend list.

When the developed nations get serious about cutting their fat, then its possible they will have the high ground to dictate reproductive activity to poor nations.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 02:14 PM

4. Read the article. They answer your question.

And as I've been saying from way back, it's a two variable equation. It's population AND modern living.

So it's more than just telling poor people to knock it off. It's rich having to sacrifice.

And that last part is why no one wants to discuss this.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 03:05 PM

7. Are questions of global morality important any more?

If we were looking forward to a nice long uniform future of expanding possibilities for all, I'd say yes. However, in the current situation where climate change is going to bite the rich and poor alike within a scant few decades, it strikes me that our current level of moral maturity is about as far as we're going to climb.

Suppose we told the teeming poor how to stop breeding, and they said "Oh shit, of course! Why didn't we think of that? We'll get right on it!" And they started an immediate program of fertility reduction. And we stabilized the world population at 7.5 billion by 2030, with plans to reduce our population back to 6 billion before the end of the century. Then 2040 comes along and a quarter of the food crops fail around the world from floods and droughts, and glacier-fed fresh water supplies dry up. Would it matter whether we had 7.5 or 8.2 billion people on the planet when that happens?

Our concerns for fairness, justice and equal opportunity are noble and laudable - they are the birthright of our consciousness, and we shouldn't stop developing them. But we have our back to a brick wall, our hands are tied and the blindfold is going over our eyes. Is now really the time to worry whether that last cigarette might give us lung cancer?

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #7)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 05:09 PM

9. No

 

Some days I struggle against my former outraged self. Living a life of perpetual conflict makes it difficult to put that conflict into perspective.

There is really only a single issue that is important any more, but we may likely be unable to do anything about it. So otherwise, that leaves us with little else to do except enjoy and embrace.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #9)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 05:43 PM

10. It's hard to set aside the outrage, isn't it?

Outrage becomes habitual, especially in the progressive political realm that is defined by "if-they-only".

If we are to gain a clear view of What Is, we need to remove the filtering lenses of emotion and judgement - no matter how well-meaning they may be. It takes a lot of practice.

"Enjoy and embrace" - I like that as a mantra for today.

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