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MsMagnificent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 12:58 PM
Original message
'Almost too late' to stop a global catastrophe
Independant Online Edition (UK)

http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article194079...

The possibility of avoiding a global catastrophe is "already almost out of reach", Sir Nicholas Stern's long-awaited report on climate change will warn today. One terrifying prospect is that changes in weather patterns could drive down the output of the world's economies by an amount equivalent to up to 6 trillion a year by 2050, almost the entire output of the EU.

With world temperatures on course to rise by two to three degrees in 50 years, rainfall could be catastrophically reduced in some of the world's poorest countries, while others grapple with floods from melting glaciers. The result could be the largest migration of refugees in history.

These problems will be "difficult or impossible to reverse" unless the world acts quickly, Sir Nicholas will warn, in a 700-page report that is expected to transform world attitudes to climate change. It adds: "Our actions over the coming few decades could create risks of major disruption to economic and social activity, later in this century and in the next, on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th century."

But the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, and Environment Secretary, David Miliband, will emphasise the positive message accompanying Sir Nicholas's stark warnings, because the report will also say that the world already has the means to avert catastrophe on this scale, although it will involve the huge expense of 1 per cent of global GDP (0.3trn).

<snip>
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AndyA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
1. James Inhofe (A-Oklahoma) is no doubt on record already as stating
that this report is not credible, offers no proof, there is no crisis, no global warming, etc.

:eyes:
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aggiesal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #1
26. Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA) as well. n/t
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 01:06 PM
Response to Original message
2. "unless the world acts quickly"
Don't worry, we won't.

We all want more, right? We all want higher living standards, for us, as well as everyone around the world, right?

Guess what? You can't have both. Either we "act quickly"(fat goddamn chance), or we progress into the future. Efficiency only allows more people to consume more. New technology only allows more people to consume more.

It's one or the other. We(mass society) have already chosen.
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theophilus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 01:10 PM
Response to Original message
3. A turning point for humanity?
Yes. But will it be a period of change we are relatively in control of or will most countries keep on doing nothing until catastrophic change sweeps away billions?

When the Dems take control of the House and, hopefully, the Senate, they better make some bold and significant moves toward softening this disaster as much as possible. Will they?

If not, will we see the rise of an "Environmental Protection Party"? Those of both parties with a few functioning brain cells are going to realize that many other issues must take a back seat to this issue. Will it be too late? The Democratic Party used to be the party of the environment. We need to show that this is still the case and make the Corporations toe the line. Will this happen? The destruction of the global ecosystem and the global economy will cause change. We need to plan the stabilization of all we can and try to reduce population sensibly.

Change WILL happen.
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. we have already forfeited a lot of "control."
Maybe all of it that matters.
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ramapo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. We're in too deep
Don't count on the Democrats doing anything bold, dramatic or significant.

Any action that might be defined as the above would mean taxes, regulations, higher prices, and a change in our day-to-day habits. There would need to be a true, bi-partison approach. Clearly this is not something that will take place. The direness of the situation is not yet clearly evident to the majority of people.

Meanwhile, time will be frittered away on the countless banal trivialities that clutter our lives.

Change will happen when Mother Nature has had enough of our crap. She won't be nice about cleaning up our mess.
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aggiesal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:45 PM
Response to Reply #6
29. Wrong - Clinton tried to implement alot of environmental changes ...
The companies/corporations that got affected the most went to court and stalled their implementations.
Then, they hired a patsy as their front man, by donating lots & lots of money, and had him elected president.
This patsy then went about destroying all the legislation on environmental concerns.
The companies/corporations are now happy again because they no longer have to abide by
Clinton's environmental regulations.
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ramapo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. Somewhat
He tried to do some things. He also failed to do many other things.

Bottom line...where he failed it was because of two reasons. There was a lack of bipartison support coupled with inadequate popular support to force bipartisonship.

Money and lobbying also impacted what he could/could not do.

None of this has changed.

Most people do not want to pay more for gasoline, natural gas or electricity. They do not want higher food prices caused by increased shipping costs. People love their cars, want McMansions, and salad-in-a-bag.

People want to water their lawns, even in the desert.

The list goes on and on. When the shit hits the fan, people will see that all the above are untenable.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 01:17 PM
Response to Original message
5. And the point at which we can avoid catastrophe will continue to be
just about out of reach until one day we will wake up to find we passed that point years ago.

I suspect that point has already been passed, and before the end of the century we will see a die off of billions as temperate lands become deserts and the oceans become vast dead zones. As fresh water becomes a scarce commodity, disease will tear through world populations like the black plague tore through Europe in the 14th century.

I'm having a pessimistic day.

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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 01:25 PM
Response to Original message
7. the catastrophe will NOT be averted-- not only that...
...but greedy bastards will continue to profit from both causing it and from the misery it causes until they themselves are swept up, and then other greedy bastards will take their place.
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greenman3610 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 01:30 PM
Response to Original message
8. Don't be a pessimist.
Do something.
Go out and buy a high efficiency bulb.
Buy another one for your mother.
Tell your neighbor, or someone at church, that
you did it.

Look into an energy audit for your house. Join Netflicks..
(fewer trips to the vid store)

Consider what energy alternatives are available in your
area. Some utilities offer "greenpower" pricing on
electricity..your money goes to support alt energy in
your area.
Investigate a wood stove, corn or pellet burner. In
some areas, solar installations are a well established
alternative, check and see.
Water heater leaking? Check for a "demand" water
heater - more efficient.
Look into buying carbon offsets for your next
plane trip. It's not very expensive.

Write a letter to the editor and share this info with
your community.
Always better to act on something than just
stew.

Pessimism is a luxury that only sophomores with
trust funds or tenured professors can indulge in.
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Katzenjammer Donating Member (541 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 01:31 PM
Response to Original message
9. Just the other day at DU, people were poo-pooing the idea that
extinction is not merely possible but virtually guaranteed if we don't make massive changes soonest. Even very smart people can't seem to get it through their heads that higher-order life depends on having a stable, relatively narrow band of environmental conditions. Change those conditions and the only ones left are the roaches.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #9
34. Environmental catastrophe does not mean extinction for humans
though it could mean a huge proportion of humans die. But humans are one of the most adaptable animals on the planet - living in all conditions from the Arctic to the equator, with or without modern technology. Perhaps people were just pointing out that humans themselves are very likely to survive, evn if large numbers of other animals and plants die out.
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Katzenjammer Donating Member (541 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-01-06 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #34
40. Pretty to think so. However, we're already seeing massive extinctions
of other species. So why on earth would you imagine that humans are immune? We are part of and dependent upon the ecosystem we're destroying. We are sitting on the tree limb we're busily sawing off. Believing that we're somehow above it all and in control is near-psychotic hubris.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-01-06 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #40
41. Because humans are incredibly adaptable
We realise that there are problems, so we can change our behaviour to adapt. We're omnivores, so can survive on a wide variety of foods - and can herd animals to take advantage of foods we can't eat ourselves, such as grass. We have the ability to decide where to migrate to, based on our knowledge of what's happening.

I'm not saying there might not be a huge decrease in human numbers. But we're already spread across the entire world, with large amounts of knowledge distributed through that population.
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 01:31 PM
Response to Original message
10. Can you say "famine", children??
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Castleman Donating Member (166 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Famine?
Auuugggh! It's made out of people!
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shadowknows69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. Some of the processed meat I've had to eat
due mainly to our financial situation, well let me just say, If that isn't already soylent green then I don't know what is because not even the chicken tastes like chicken.
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bleedingheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:29 PM
Response to Reply #16
23. are you eating chicken roll?
ugh...I hated when mom would serve that...the only chicken about it was the fact that they used the skin and fat to make "lunchmeat"...gag...
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shadowknows69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:32 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. I'm pretty sure that the words "chicken" and "roll"
shouldn't even be in the same sentence together.
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bleedingheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:45 PM
Response to Reply #25
30. hahahaha
it is actually more...compressed chicken skin roll...slather it with mayo or mustard and you might be able to get past the texture and taste...
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 01:32 PM
Response to Original message
11. We are in a 25% overshoot situation
in relation to the ecological footprint of our current population. Human population growth is continuing (at a slowing rate, but it is continuing) and the growth imperative enshrined in the global economic system shows no signs of changing.

Given that the real problem set is so much larger than just climate change (i.e. we face an amplifying convergence of climate change, oil depletion and food depletion) our civilization is toast. We'll do all we can, especially when the problems become undeniable, just because that's our Buddha nature. But the chance to save our civilization appears to have slipped past unremarked. No big deal, other civilizations have collapsed in the past and there's no reason ours should be exempt. It's just too bad that in getting to this point we have damaged the Earth so much that the chances of another techno-industrial civilization arising from our ashes have been cut to about zero.

This report is notable for its frankness, but even these dire predictions (a cost up to 20% of global GDP) fail to account for the amplifying effects of a convergence of a number of problems over the next 10 to 20 years.

The main converging forces that are going to interact with climate change to potentially destabilize civilization are my favourite hobby horse Peak Oil, along with declining grain production - global food shortages due to soil and water depletion.

When these three factors collide, each will make dealing with the others more difficult, and in some cases solutions in one area will make problems in another worse. Examples of this include using non-sequestering coal plants to replace declining natural gas for electricity generation, or market reallocation of natural gas towards home heating and away from fertilizer production.

Our growth-based economy requires an unending stream of resource inputs, no matter how efficient it becomes at using those resources and dealing with the resulting wastes. It's obvious that indefinite growth on a finite planet is not possible, and if we continue with business as usual at some point the global economy is going to go into permanent contraction. What happens then is anyone's guess, because we've never done it before. Economic "instability" is inevitable. Whether it turns into a crash or not depends on a lot of things, but the probability is non-zero.

We're in heap big trouble here. We have less than ten years to get effective global mitigation strategies in place, and we're still taking baby steps on all these issues.

Oh, and one more factor to keep our eyes on is the extinction rate:

Changes to Earth's biodiversity have occurred more rapidly in the past 50 years than at any time in human history, creating a species loss greater than anything since a major asteroid impact wiped out the dinosaurs.

That's the conclusion of Global Biodiversity Outlook 2, a report released today by the United Nation's Convention on Biological Diversity.

"In effect, we are currently responsible for the sixth major extinction event in the history of the Earth, and the greatest since the dinosaurs disappeared, 65 million years ago," the report states.

The wide-ranging report also states that demand for resources globally exceeds the biological capacity of the Earth by some 20 percent.

Among the findings:

* The average abundance of species declined 40 percent between 1970 and 2000 while species in rivers, lakes and marshlands have declined by 50 percent.
* Between 12 and 52 percent of species within well-studied higher taxa including birds, mammals and amphibians are threatened with extinction.
* In the North Atlantic, populations of large fish have declined 66 percent in the last 50 years.
* Since 2000, 6 million hectares of primary forest have been lost annually.
* In the Caribbean, average hard coral cover declined from 10 to 50 percent in the last three decades.
* 35 percent of the world's mangroves have been lost in the last two decades.

"Two thirds of the services provided by nature to humankind are in decline, worldwide," said Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the U.N.'s Convention on Biological Diversity, in an open letter to all of the planet's citizens. "Humans have made unprecedented changes to ecosystems in recent decades to meet growing demands for food and other ecosystems services."


Everyone do the Apocalypso!

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tk2kewl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
13. Am I reading that expense number right?
"nvolve the huge expense of 1 per cent of global GDP (0.3trn)"

0.3 trillion = 300 billion = $570 billion

Haven't we spent over $300 Billion in Iraq alone, and wasn't our budget deficit about the same?

Developing the technologies needed to prevent catastrophic climate change would certaily be something worth going $570 Billion in the hole for.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #13
22. Global GDP is about 61 trillion USD
So yes, 1% of that is about 600 billion dollars a year, every year. Think of it this way - would you spend 1% of your income on home repairs each year? It's not a lot of money, really.

We won't do it, though. We'll end up paying the 10 trillion dollars per year that procrastination will cost us.
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shadowknows69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 01:47 PM
Response to Original message
14. Mom nature is about to do some major population control
on our asses. Being gleefully helped along by the world corporations and the hubris of the powerful who seem to think they're immortal. First places I'm going looking for free range humans to eat are the suburbs and mansions.
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Hardly free range
More like the tender caged meat. They won't be able to run either, being so used to driving :party:
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shadowknows69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. Good point
We could use their swimming pools to marinate them en masse. MMMM marinade (Insert Homer Simpson drooling sound effect here)
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:07 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. What do you guys think the gates on their communities are for?
:evilgrin:
I am vegetarian now, but who knows what tomorrow will bring?
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 01:57 PM
Response to Original message
18. "The Thirteenth Tipping Point" is in the latest Mother Jones.
It's also online. Read the details of 12 climate change "tipping points"--any one of which could happen any day now. And they are pretty inter-related.

www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2006/11/13th_tipping_p...

The author does have hope for humanity, but it will be a close call, indeed.
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AliceWonderland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #18
24. Thanks for the Mother Jones link
*Very* interesting read -- the "interpretive community" part was especially enlightening.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #18
28. I was especially interested by these two paragraphs
Edited on Mon Oct-30-06 02:45 PM by GliderGuider
I've always wondered at the degree of polarizartion on this topic. Those who dismiss the idea of global warming seem to have a very consistent world view that is diametrically opposed to mine. This study makes it abundantly clear that mine eyes are not deceiving me.

LEISEROWITZ'S STUDY OF risk perception found that Americans fall into "interpretive communities"cliques, if you will, sharing similar demographics, risk perceptions, and worldviews. On one end of this spectrum are the naysayers: those who perceive climate change as a very low or nonexistent danger. Leiserowitz found naysayers to be "predominantly white, male, Republican, politically conservative, holding pro-individualism, pro-hierarchism, and anti-egalitarian worldviews, anti-environmental attitudes, distrustful of most institutions, highly religious, and to rely on radio as their main source of news." This group presented five rationales for rejecting danger: belief that global warming is natural; belief that it's media/environmentalist hype; distrust of science; flat denial; and conspiracy theories, including the belief that researchers create data to ensure job security.


ON THE OTHER END of Leiserowitz's spectrum of perception regarding global warming is an interpretive community he calls the alarmists, generally comprised of individuals holding pro-egalitarian, anti-individualist, and antihierarchical worldviews, who are supportive of government policies to mitigate climate change, even so far as raising taxes. Members of this group are likely to have taken personal action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Collectively, alarmists compose 11 percent of Americans, with the remaining interpretive communities falling considerably closer to the alarmists than the naysayers in the spectrumsuggesting the gap might be cinched by sustained public education on the neighborhood dangers likely to arise in a changed global climate.

Speaking as an alarmist, I have to say thank you Dr. Leiserowitz. I always knew Republicans and their various neocon fellow travellers were messed up in the head.
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Lisa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #18
37. interesting -- thanks for posting!
Forwarding to the environmental policy prof I'm working for.
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reprobate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:14 PM
Response to Original message
20. In the words of the great Pogo: We have seen the enemy and he is us.
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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:17 PM
Response to Original message
21.  Climate report demands action, says Blair
So, maybe he's not Bush's lap dog?

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article19...

Climate report demands action, says Blair

By Gavin Cordon, PA Whitehall Editor
Published: 30 October 2006

Tony Blair today appealed to world leaders to unite to tackle the threat of climate change as the Government set out its blueprint for a new global framework to cut damaging greenhouse gas emissions.

The long-awaited review of the economic impact of rising world temperatures by former World Bank chief economist Sir Nicholas Stern warned that time was running out for effective action.

While the Prime Minister acknowledged that Britain needed to be "bolder" in the measures it adopted, he stressed the problem could only be tackled through coordinated international action.

"What is not in doubt is that the scientific evidence of global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions is now overwhelming," he said at the report's launch at the Royal Society in London.

"It is not in doubt that if the science is right, the consequences for our planet are literally disastrous."

"This disaster is not set to happen in some science fiction future many years ahead, but in our lifetime.

"Unless we act now... these consequences, disastrous as they are, will be irreversible.

"There is nothing more serious, more urgent, more demanding of leadership - here, of course, but most importantly in the global community."

...
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The Wielding Truth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:39 PM
Response to Original message
27. Who wants to bet Paraguay will be safe and lovely?
BushCo will leave the US behind to enjoy his life on his almost 100 thous.acres, while we, including his Fundies suffer.
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Katzenjammer Donating Member (541 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #27
32. Little does he realise....(nt)
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Andrew_Lindsey Donating Member (63 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #27
33. I'd be happy with 10 acres of swamp....
As long as BushCo was out of the country.
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lovuian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 05:53 PM
Response to Original message
35. Not signing the Kyoto Bill was criminal
So very sad!!!
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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 06:07 PM
Response to Original message
36. Hell, Chimp can borrow $6,000,000,000,000 easy.
He's proven it.

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Porcupine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-31-06 01:16 PM
Response to Original message
38. I'd say too late already. The US has done little or nothing.
and will do little or nothing for at least ten years. Considering that the transportation sector of the US economy is the major source of carbon dioxide emissions there will be no significant change in time.

It will take us 20 years to replace our motor vehicle fleet. Currently there is not a single one of the top five automakers that is offering a fully hybrid fleet of vehicles. If every single vehicle sold was run as biodiesel or plug in hybrids there still would be a majority of SUV's, pickups and large sedans running pure gasoline in 8 years.

Some places in the US are building more coal plants or expanding existing coal plants capacity. This is an investment in promotion of Climate Change that is not going away.

We will not change until tens of millions are already dead. Count on it.
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BreweryYardRat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-31-06 04:34 PM
Response to Original message
39. On the bright side, I've got plenty of body fat to live off of.
Hunger is less of a concern for me, so long as I get 1500 calories a day. (Over 1500, your body breaks down fat instead of muscle for the rest of your energy needs.)
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shanti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-01-06 10:28 AM
Response to Original message
42. and * buys land smack dab in the middle of the continent
of south america, OVER a huge aquifer. makes him pretty safe, doesn't it? no floods, no drought for them! :eyes:
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