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PaulaFarrell Donating Member (840 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 05:47 AM
Original message
World Faces Massive Increase In CO2 Emissions As Population Grows
World Faces Massive Increase In CO2 Emissions As Population Grows

Illustration only
Tours, France (AFP) Jul 19, 2005
The world faces a massive increase in carbon dioxide emissions, which fuel global warming, due to population growth, poor countries getting richer and the failure of wealthy countries to reduce greenhouse gases, a world population conference heard here Tuesday.
"We're on a toboggan and we've gone over the edge," Tim Dyson, professor of population studies at the London School of Economics, told the gathering.

"It (global warming) will screw everyone up, no matter where you are," he said at the start of the four-day conference of 2,000 demographers, economists, geographers and sociologists from 110 countries.

Scientists predict global warming, caused mainly by increasing carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of coal, oil and petrol in motor vehicles and power stations, will increase the frequency and severity of droughts, flooding and storms, threatening global agricultural production.

The world scientific authority on global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), predicted in its 2001 report that rising levels of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide will increase temperatures by between 1.4 degrees and 5.8 degrees Celsius (35 and 42 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century and sea levels by between 9 and 88 centimetres (3.5 and 35 inches).

more...

http://www.terradaily.com/news/climate-05zzzu.html

I know it's intuitive that this is going to happen with increasing population, but this is still one of the more depressing things I've read lately (thier fahrenheit conversion is wrong - should be an increase of 3-10 degrees Fahrenheit, they didn't take away the 32)
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HysteryDiagnosis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 05:54 AM
Response to Original message
1. People give off Co2 when excercising profusely... we're going to
have to cancel future Tour de France and Superbowl events. All kidding aside... this is some serious stuff... seems like there is no place to turn.... crap.
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slor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 06:34 AM
Response to Original message
2. Support Hemp!
We need to get our oil from Hemp, and growing it will cut CO2 amounts.
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Massacure Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:03 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. Hemp is great for paper and clothing but there are better choices for fuel
Algae would be excellent for biodiesel - it provides 10,000-15,000 gallons of fuel per acre instead of a couple hundred for land based plants. Plus it can be grown in salt water, in the southwestern desert regions. Plus California has a lot of cow manure to spare as fertilizer. :)
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-25-05 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #5
29. If things get that bad, we'll be smoking it, not wearing it
--p!
Don't Bogart that planet!
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wli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 06:51 AM
Response to Original message
3. no one's discussing dealing with the consequences
No concrete plans to adjust agriculture, deal with inundation of coastal areas, dealing with larger, more frequent, and higher velocity hurricanes, or anything.

What can be stopped is additional GHG's. The climate change will keep going for another century after GHG's stop.
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rfkrfk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 08:03 AM
Response to Original message
4. tax on foel for internatioal flight ... zero
not one effin penny.

Tax on fuel for US domestic flight, $0.043 a gallon

not a typo ... just over four cents a gallon
you hvve to start somewhere
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Massacure Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Oftentimes air travel is more efficient than ground travel.
One airplane will use less fuel than 500 SUVs. That is assuming you have a near full flight though. If you only have 200 people, then it is a huge waste.
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:52 AM
Response to Original message
7. until we come to grips with overpopulation
all else is mere tinkering. But nobody will talk about it: on the right the libertarians and christofascist find such talk abhorrent, on the left such talk raises human rights concerns and accusations of racism. So nothing gets done and things just get worse. I've just about abandoned all hope that we might deal with this in a moral, proactive manner, I guess we'll just react like the stupid monkeys we apparently are when the shitstorm arrives. Then we'll see some real authoritarianism as humankind scrambles to deal with it much too late.

There are some that say that overpopulation is no big deal. That human ingenuity, better resource exploitation and allocation will allow humankind to live with a population of 12, 15 billion. I just wonder what kind of lives those would be. With all potential arable land in use, all trees farmed, all seafood aqua cultured because the oceans are poisoned and barren, what will be left of the habitats that were our homes for hundreds of thousands of years? Or the myriad species that we shared the earth with? Not the kind of place where I'd want to live. While I believe collapse the more likely scenario either makes me sad and glad I won't be around to see it.
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PaulaFarrell Donating Member (840 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. I started thinking about the movie 'soylent green'
it has started looking more and more prescient. I'm hoping I won't be around to see it either, but I worry about my kids. Thank god I only had two. I'd have probably stuck to one or none if I'd have seen how things were going - even though I love my kids and their company, I can't help thinking I've put them in the shit. I try not to talk about how I feel about the future as I don't want to depress them. Let them at least carry on for a while thinking they've got a future. I hope I'm wrong, but that's how I honestly feel sometimes.
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 03:22 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. you have but one choice
You must fight like hell for their future. As they say, failure is not an option.
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theHandpuppet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-23-05 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #7
13. Excellent post!
I would love to see you fashion this into a separate thread so I can nominate it for the "greatest" page.
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Boomer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-23-05 10:56 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. "Not the kind of place where I'd want to live. "
Edited on Sat Jul-23-05 10:57 PM by Boomer
Nor me. The thought of supporting a population two to three times our current numbers strikes me as a horror from Dante's Inferno, a new circle of Hell for our species.

We are vermin who are exploding in numbers so large that we are crowding out the majority of species on this planet.

These days, I'm beyond supporting Zero Population Growth. We need negative numbers, not a zero. We need to reduce our numbers significantly to even hope for some kind of ecological recovery. Even then, given the increasingly volatile climate change, the stress on species may be too great for them to avoid extinction.

Unfortunately, not even ZPG is going to happen. Humans do not appear capable of rising above their animal instincts to reproduce, yet we've been clever enough to avoid the checks and balances that usually keep a species in its place.

The final check is going to be a doozy -- too bad there's not going to be many other species around to breathe a sigh of relief when we've finally wiped even ourselves off the face of the planet.
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thegreatwildebeest Donating Member (224 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-24-05 03:33 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. Most developed countries...
...actually face a shortfall in the next decade or so. Births are way below replcement rates in most countries, particuarly Japan, while rates are up in poorer, developing countries (due mostly for the need for labor). Even immigration won't be able to bolster the ranks of most developed countries in time.

Negative population growth? That smells vaguely of provocations to start shooting people, and that also smells of something an authoritarian would do, deeming himself to be "above" the riff raff around him, and th eone most deserving to live. I've got no interest in facist throwbacks to force peoples birthrates down, and I have no interest also in describing people as "Vermin" and other ridiculous accusations upon wide swaths of people who were basically screwed into this situation (which is to say, the non developed world). Sitting at a computer in a developed country and calling people "vermin" is absolutely ridiculous, and since I don't see you committing suicide to help out the earth, I suggest you check your own overblown rhetoric at the door.
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Boomer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-24-05 12:22 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. And it's this reaction that insures growing populations
The most benign way to achieve ZPG or reduce our numbers is simply to stop having children. But as you point out (in a defensive and combative manner) this goal is seen as authoritarian and politically indefensible.

And, frankly, I would agree. The vast majority of people have no interest in voluntary childlessness and would resist any attempts to impose such restrictions on one of their most basic animal instincts. There are also overwhelming financial and political interests in fostering population growth (as you also alluded to).

The end result is exactly what we have now -- completely unregulated population growth that is depleting natural resources beyond their ability to regenerate. We are THE most destructive species on the face of the planet. If that doesn't qualify humans as vermin, I'm not sure what does.

I'm puzzled why my status as a computer user in a developed country somehow disqualifies me from remarking on the rather obvious self-destructive behavior of our entire species. I'm not excusing myself from that category and I readily admit I'm as much a part of the problem as anyone around. Although I have refrained from having children, it's a small and practically useless gesture at this point.

We are screwed. Our planet has passed the point of no return for sustaining our current population, much less an increased one. Ecosystems are collapsing all around us, and all too soon humans will realize that we can't live without the bioweb that bred us. Like Easter Islanders, we will degenerate into chaos and cannibalism.

Fun fun fun for all.
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thegreatwildebeest Donating Member (224 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-24-05 08:38 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Ignoring history and facts...

And, frankly, I would agree. The vast majority of people have no interest in voluntary childlessness and would resist any attempts to impose such restrictions on one of their most basic animal instincts. There are also overwhelming financial and political interests in fostering population growth (as you also alluded to).


Yes, those BEASTLY animal like people in Africa. Ignore of course, the history of colonialization (they didn't seem to have a food problem BEFORE the european countries showed up on the scene) and the fact that a large chuk of this world (the developed) sucks the bone marrow dry from the rest (the un-developed).

We are THE most destructive species on the face of the planet. If that doesn't qualify humans as vermin, I'm not sure what does.

Actually, a very small portion of humanity is the most destructive. They are the ones who galivanted around the world, claiming to "discover" parts of the world, enslaving whole continents, exterminating those who were on there, and otherwise robbing the riches at gun point. The other portions basically have had guns put against their head.


I'm puzzled why my status as a computer user in a developed country somehow disqualifies me from remarking on the rather obvious self-destructive behavior of our entire species.


It disqualifies you because, hey hey hey, a pretty good chunk of the world was pretty much ecologically balanced out for a large part of history. Indigenous groups, hunter gatherer groups, etc etc lived within the environmental confines of their area and didn't over do it (with a couple exceptions) for most if not all of recorded history. It's been the Western European (and to a lesser extent Asian) civlizations that have sustained themselves off huge resource extraction. With the exception of some of the South American empires ( Aztecs and Mayans) who featured civilizations not that much different from the imperial Rome, most people outside of western europe till recently lived a much more ecologically sound life than us. Take the San Bushmen, or the Pygmies, or the various indigenous groups in South America.

Don't sucker the blame of the worlds problems on the back of the undeveloped and the poor (a fact you conveniently glossed over in your response) because the civlizations we exist in put guns to their heads to keep us with the resources to run our mega machine. Put the blame where it deserves to be: the colonial efforts of Western Europe, the economic surrogation of countries in South America to the US, the mass conversion under the Catholic church of the global south, and a mega machine of such ridiculous proportions that one would be amazed if it wasn't so horrific. That's where the blame should go.
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Boomer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-24-05 10:34 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. "That's where the blame should go."
Edited on Sun Jul-24-05 10:36 PM by Boomer
No argument from me as to where the majority of the blame falls in terms of ecological unbalance. Western Europeans (who, incidentally, killed large numbers of my Mexican Indian ancestors) are the undeniable culprits for the worst damage in current times.

Your inflamed and righteous indignation has manufactured statements that I never made, such as blaming the undeveloped and poor for our situation, or somehow absolving Western Europeans (only partly my heritage, btw) of responsibility. I, in fact, made no such distinctions, because that wasn't a focus for my particular argument.

Your assumption seems to be that Western Europeans are somehow distinctly different from native indigenous groups at a species level, so my holding the entire species responsible for self-destruction is not a valid argument. And that is where we part company.

There's a rather fascinating PBS series running right now about how the accidents of geography and natural resources resulted in certain human groups developing agriculture, then empires. Some human groups have achieved enlightened equilibrium with their environment, but they are in no way genetically different from the humans who did not. It is our cultures which differ, not our DNA. And culture, unfortunately, is not a very reliable means for curbing the potential excesses of our species.

We are a very clever, but not very wise primate with a high potential for violence and short-sighted greed. Assigning the blame to one particular group of humans doesn't mean the rest of the species isn't inherently capable of making the exact same mistakes at some point in the future.
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thegreatwildebeest Donating Member (224 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-24-05 11:25 PM
Response to Reply #21
24. About "human nature"...

Your assumption seems to be that Western Europeans are somehow distinctly different from native indigenous groups at a species level, so my holding the entire species responsible for self-destruction is not a valid argument. And that is where we part company.


No there not different, other than, for whatever reason, western european civilizations were founded off and relied upon agriculture for their needs. I'm sure, as you mentioned, there are a number of theories why this is, and they probably mostly settle around the vnirons they found themselves in.


We are a very clever, but not very wise primate with a high potential for violence and short-sighted greed. Assigning the blame to one particular group of humans doesn't mean the rest of the species isn't inherently capable of making the exact same mistakes at some point in the future.


Of course there is the potential for the same mistakes to be made. But it is not fundamentally one way or the other really as far as humans being wasteful, or greedy, or overtly violent. In fact, evidence seems to show that for the most part humans AREN'T wasteful, overly violent, or particuarly greedy. Hunter gatherer tribes were pretty egalitarian, lived ecologically sustainable lives, and were also pretty damn smart (most of them in fact, CHOSE not to be "civilized", as indicated by the use of similar tools to "civilized" humans, but not abusing them for power or wreaking environmental destruction). To quote the san bush man "Why would I farm when there are so many mangogo nuts in the world?" Why indeed.

People who argue that humans "by nature" are anything often times seem to limit their world view to the highly bankrupt and ridiculous current output of humans. When Hobbes said life was "nasty, brutish, and short" he was ironically better describing the lives of the working class Londoners below him, than the life of any real hunter gatherer, or "primitive". For a good part of history, in a good part of the world, things were pretty good. Another small portion of people, in a different culture, wrecked it.
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Boomer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-25-05 12:08 AM
Response to Reply #24
26. About human nature indeed
>> For a good part of history, in a good part of the world, things were pretty good. Another small portion of people, in a different culture, wrecked it. <<

I think you have an exaggerated view of the differences between "then" and "now." It never been just one small group and not just one culture. Humans have a long record of wrecking their environment and then simply walking away from the damage and going elsewhere. Unfortunately, we're running out of new territory to spoil.

For whatever reason, you seem to have a very strong vested interest in believing Western Europeans are unique in this self-destructive behavior, whereas I see them just as the most blatant and recent example of behavior innate to our species.

At this point, we'll just have to agree to disagree.


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thegreatwildebeest Donating Member (224 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-26-05 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #26
33. Alot of anthropologists...
...would disagree with you. It's not that Western Europeans are the only ones who have had civilizations based on resource extraction (Asian and some South American countries have had as much), but that people, for a good chunk of time, in a wide spread geopgraphical area, have lived ecologically sound lives. Read studies about the Kung! Bushman or realize that until 12,000 years ago, EVERYONE was a hunter-gatherer, and moved around in bands that were generally far more egalitarian, far more gender neutral than what society amounts to today. Even current indigenous tribes, that live a sedantary and agricultural existence, sometimes have trappings of inequality and gender problems, but usually not on the scale apparent in most modern societies.

The argument that we used up resources in one area and just walk away does not apply to hunter gatherers, even if they DID move around to avoid such possibilities. Many other species move in large herds and consume far more vast quantities of foods than humans do. Yet no one is suggesting we wack elephants because they do so, or kill other herd species because of that. Everyone has a role to play afterall in the community of nature.
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theHandpuppet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-24-05 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. Your knee-jerk reaction to this topic isn't unexpected...
... and its exactly why no rational discourse can ever be held regarding population control, aka that big fat elephant sitting in the living room of our planet. Or should I have said, the living room, dining room, bedrooms and garage, with its trunk sucking everything from the fridge?

The poster to whom you responded said nothing about forcing birthrates down in developing countries; voluntary population control should not only be across the board but NEGATIVE population growth encouraged in developed nations, whose peoples are sucking the earth dry at a rate many times that of any person in a developing country.

A snippet from http://www.populationconnection.org /

Population and the Environment
The link between population growth and environmental impact seems obvious at first glance: more people consume more resources, damage more of the earth and generate more waste. Humans are a force of nature. As nations develop, they increase consumption. This simple reasoning is true as far as it goes, but the larger picture is more complex.

A very small proportion of the population consumes the majority of the world's resources. The richest fifth consumes 86% of all goods and services and produces 53% of all carbon dioxide emissions, while the poorest fifth consumes 1.3% of goods and services and accounts for 3% of C02 output. (1)

Per capita municipal waste grew 30% in developed nations since 1975 and is now two to five times the level in developing nations. (1)

An average American's environmental impact is 30 to 50 times that of the average citizen of a developing country such as India. (1)


So yes, we're all in this together, and those of us in "developed" countries should shoulder ever more of the responsibility not only to control our population growth but to conserve those resources we so greedily consume at the expense of the species and the planet.

Further, from the same source cited above...

"The need is to balance the requirements of a growing population with the necessity of conserving earth's natural assets.

Human action has transformed between one-third and one-half of the entire land surface of the earth. We have lost more than one-quarter of the planet's birds, and two-thirds of the major marine fisheries are fully exploited, over-exploited or depleted. (2)

Every 20 minutes, the world adds another 3,500 human lives but loses one or more entire species of animal or plant life - at least 27,000 species per year. This is a rate and scale of extinction that has not occurred in 65 million years. (3)

Spreading deserts and declining water tables in a third of the planet are contributing to famine, social unrest and migration.

Two thirds of the world's population lives within 100 miles of an ocean, inland sea or freshwater lake: 14 of the world's 15 largest megacities (10 million or more people) are coastal. Their impacts include growing loads of sewage and other waste, the drainage of wetlands and development of beaches, and destruction of prime fish nurseries. (4)

Technological advances can mitigate some of the impact of population growth, and market mechanisms raise prices for some diminishing resources, triggering substitution, conservation, recycling and technical innovation so as to prevent depletion.

But market systems often subsidize industries such as logging, mining and grazing without tallying environmental costs. No market considers commonly held resources such as groundwater levels or atmospheric and ocean quality. Nor do markets consider earth's "services," such as regulation of climate, detoxification of pollutants or provision of pollinators, much less questions of human equity and social justice. When water quality is degraded, well-off people can buy bottled water, for example, but poorer people cannot..


Yes, the issue of population control is a complex one, but if we do not make some drastic course corrections the human species will be an extinct victim of its own success; it is unfortunate that we will take so many species down with us.

Bottom line: There are TOO MANY HUMANS on this planet who have neither the will, means or desire to control their reproduction. All the good intentions, advanced technologies et al do not change the fact that our numbers need to come down, not only for our own survival but that of thousands of other species doomed to extinction by our own short-sighted greed as we continue to increase our numbers exponetially.

The previous poster may have compared us to vermin on the face of the earth; I would perhaps liken us to an out-of-control cancer that will eventually kill our host and in doing so, ourselves along with it.

Perhaps some folks are comfortable with the following numbers, but I find them appalling:

U.S. pop growth
8/19/2004
U.S. population is expected to rise 43 percent by 2050 -- from 293 million today to 420 million.
Source: Population Reference Bureau

Is that truly the future people want?
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thegreatwildebeest Donating Member (224 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-24-05 08:57 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. Your missing the point, also, is not unexpected...
... and its exactly why no rational discourse can ever be held regarding population control, aka that big fat elephant sitting in the living room of our planet. Or should I have said, the living room, dining room, bedrooms and garage, with its trunk sucking everything from the fridge?

Oh, and I'm confident that calling people "vermin" is the pinnacle of logical rhetoric. Moreover, the "elephant", if there is one, is not "population control", which does not confront the prejuidices and preconceptions of people from developed countries, but a system built on the pure exploitation of billions of others for a very small (in the hundreds of millions) portion. Population control "advocates" want to policy wonk their way into some sort of sustainable arrangement, somehow thinking that having less children will somehow change the tune of the game. No, it won't. Whats needed is wholesale change of the system that breeds (both literally and figuratively) such unsustainable practices. That means the utter dismantling of western civilization as its been known, which is to say, to take it off the backs of other people and other peoples land. Simply having less children is not going to somehow change the game.


The poster to whom you responded said nothing about forcing birthrates down in developing countries; voluntary population control should not only be across the board but NEGATIVE population growth encouraged in developed nations, whose peoples are sucking the earth dry at a rate many times that of any person in a developing country.


Actually, he said about forcing birthrates down PERIOD. He made no distinction between developed and developing. Read over his post again if you want. Theres no distinction.


So yes, we're all in this together, and those of us in "developed" countries should shoulder ever more of the responsibility not only to control our population growth but to conserve those resources we so greedily consume at the expense of the species and the planet.


Us controlling our population doesn't do squat as long as the system of exploitation that feeds us is still sustained.


Yes, the issue of population control is a complex one, but if we do not make some drastic course corrections the human species will be an extinct victim of its own success; it is unfortunate that we will take so many species down with us.


Victim of its own success? Or do you mean the "success" of Western civilization, in all of its megamachine, Panopticon glory? Last time I checked, most people around the world once were ecologically sustainable till someone (namely our ancestors) put guns to their head and made them start extracting resources to fuel their own wanton lifestyles.
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theHandpuppet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-24-05 10:54 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. Your aim is misguided
"Actually, he said about forcing birthrates down PERIOD. He made no distinction between developed and developing. Read over his post again if you want. Theres no distinction."

You're quite correct -- the poster made no distinction between developed and developing countries. Only YOU did. Only YOU made that assumption.

No one here is arguing that the current system (aka the Western, self-indulgent and exploitative megamachine) sucks and wholesale change needs to be made on a global scale. But unless we face up to the problem of our ever-burgeoning overpopulation, there won't be time to solve diddly-squat nor anything left for future generations to inherit -- be they from developed or developing countries.

This is not an either/or problem we're facing. There are many fronts to this battle, but I'm not going to deny that overpopulation is one we must face while fighting on other fronts as well.

And as far as my reference to humankind being a "victim of its own success", I was referring to success as in the biological success of a species. Again, your defensiveness led you to a conclusion that was off target.
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Boomer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-24-05 11:01 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. You keep assuming disagreement where there is none
>> That means the utter dismantling of western civilization as its been known, which is to say, to take it off the backs of other people and other peoples land. Simply having less children is not going to somehow change the game. <<

I'm in agreement with that statement. Western European civilization is built on the fallacious assumption that increased growth -- of financial markets, of standards of living, of consumption -- can be supported in a world of finite resources. That is insane thinking and is the basic contributor to the destruction of our planet.

Curbing population growth is only the first step in a long agenda of changes that would need to be made to save the earth from the impending ecological collapse. At some point in the past, it might not even have been the most important item to tick off the list, but right now it has assumed primacy because we are very, very quickly outstripping our resources.

I'm sorry you find the use of the word "vermin" so appallingly offensive. It's obvious the word holds emotional connotations for you that it does not for me. I see humans as one animal among many, and a very problematic one in terms of its ability to spread across the planet and take root in all environments, not unlike rats and other especially clever and tenacious rodents.

Western civilization is relatively new, but our species has shown its propensity for rapid dispersal long before the rise of that particular group. You see one human group as the source of our current dilemma, but I see it as a species issue, in our innate behavior which can always manifest itself under the "right" circumstances.

Regardless of perspective, we're still all pretty much screwed.
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thegreatwildebeest Donating Member (224 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-24-05 11:36 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. There is no human "nature"...

I'm sorry you find the use of the word "vermin" so appallingly offensive. It's obvious the word holds emotional connotations for you that it does not for me. I see humans as one animal among many, and a very problematic one in terms of its ability to spread across the planet and take root in all environments, not unlike rats and other especially clever and tenacious rodents.


I too see humans as one among many (I am after all, an intense advocate of primitivism and deep ecology). But I don't have a particularly jaundiced view of whole swaths of people. I find it offensive because it DOES have negative connotations, and assuming it doesn't is either naive or attempting to deflect your intent.


Western civilization is relatively new, but our species has shown its propensity for rapid dispersal long before the rise of that particular group. You see one human group as the source of our current dilemma, but I see it as a species issue, in our innate behavior which can always manifest itself under the "right" circumstances.


As I mentioned in response to your previous posts, people who talk about human "nature" inevitably show up an extremely narrow and narcissistic world view. Narrow because they limit their "view" of humanity primarily to western civilization, and primarily to a very small chunk of time in the history of humans existing. Narcissistic because, despite their seeming criticism of the powers that be and the foundations around them, they still consider themselves the end all be all, and the PRIME example of human nature (why is it that, as said prior, the evidence is stacked against people who consider humans intrinsically bad, wasteful, evil, whatever that they still insist that that is the case...they still insist it because they consider THEMSELVES as central, and anything else as aberrations, despite mounting evidence that THEY are the aberration). Humans aren't anything more really than the products of whats around them, same as any other creature. Showing that humans who are products of western civ are on the whole wasteful etc is not showing that humans are innately bad, but showing that the framework is bankrupt.
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Boomer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-25-05 12:26 AM
Response to Reply #25
27. Funny, I keep thinking you're the one with the narrow view
We really are talking at cross purposes, because you keep focusing on Western civilization and I keep dismissing it as a pretty recent phenomena, albeit a vivid example of the worst damage humans can wreak.

For me, the "culprit" in this entire situation is our intelligence, which led to the development of agriculture. As hunter/gatherers we were a species in balance with nature, but once we developed this new food technology we started down the path to oblivion. Western civilization may have greased the slide, but it didn't set the direction.

It doesn't matter that not all humans took up a hoe, but the fact that any of us could dream up that technology and transform our cultures as a result bespeaks of a very, very clever animal who has the potential to completely disrupt the natural order of life.

I don't see this as evidence of an "evil" or "bad" nature, just an unfortunate one. Makes me think there's a very good reason that so few species have depended on intelligence for survival -- the down side to that trait is becoming all too evident.
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thegreatwildebeest Donating Member (224 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-26-05 11:28 PM
Response to Reply #27
34. Funny, you don't seem to read my posts...
We really are talking at cross purposes, because you keep focusing on Western civilization and I keep dismissing it as a pretty recent phenomena, albeit a vivid example of the worst damage humans can wreak.

As indicated by my reference to other non-Western European civilizations in other posts, I assert that other civlizations have existed outside of the western european fold. I have said that the western european are the worst, a position you now claim is yours, and that I have never mentioned.

As I mentioned in a previous post:
It's been the Western European (and to a lesser extent Asian) civlizations that have sustained themselves off huge resource extraction. With the exception of some of the South American empires ( Aztecs and Mayans) who featured civilizations not that much different from the imperial Rome, most people outside of western europe till recently lived a much more ecologically sound life than us.

Asserting that western civ is the one that won out and is the worst is not saying that other places didn't have problems (heck, one or two hunter gatherer tribes have been found to have slaves), but asserting that the majority of the non-western/non-asian world has been populated by generally ecologically sound people with pretty egalitarian foundations. This is not semantics, and it does matter that for a majority of the time, the majority was eco-concious.

The fact that this is not now the case mostly indicate that we are aberations, and nothing about us is INTRINSIC or NATURAL to the human species proper. Dismissing as you do, a large chunk of evidence that people have generally been the opposite of the way we are, is trying to pull a Hobbseian fast one of claiming that life is "brutal, nasty, and short" just because we today are. We are not the indicators or necessarily the pinnacle example of what "humans" are. You can't work backwards and say we've always been fundamentally flawed just because of how things are today. That's the fallacy of affirming a conclusion.


For me, the "culprit" in this entire situation is our intelligence, which led to the development of agriculture. As hunter/gatherers we were a species in balance with nature, but once we developed this new food technology we started down the path to oblivion. Western civilization may have greased the slide, but it didn't set the direction.


And you completely missed my point that many hunter gathers were not only intelligent, but actively CHOSE to be such. Theres a number of cases of even once agricultural or pastoral indigenous tribes choosing to pack up and be hunter-gatherers for a variety of reasons. The Plains Indian are an example of such an incidence. One day, for whatever reason, they packed up and started following the herds. The fact that others overpowered or beat down hunter-gatherers (from Aztec civilization, to Western European, to Japanese civilization) is not indicative of some sort of species wide problem, or innate nature, particuarly when the supposed "culprit" used to be found in a tiny minority of the world. The fact that it is now the majority is beside the point, as it has not been the majority for a comparable amount of time, and is near on the brink of ending its run.



It doesn't matter that not all humans took up a hoe, but the fact that any of us could dream up that technology and transform our cultures as a result bespeaks of a very, very clever animal who has the potential to completely disrupt the natural order of life.


Yes in fact, it does matter that not all humans didn't take up a hoe. Some species in various places have run themselves extinct. Humans are no different, and the fact that some humans chose to do as much is not indicative of anything natural, so much as the result of circumstances of the environment that the humans in question found themselves in.
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-25-05 11:13 AM
Response to Reply #16
28. "shooting people"
Nice. Your multitude of presumptions proves my point about the Left. You ignore empirical biology and frame the entire issue as a political/social issue, denying the larger context. Now we are possibly the ultimate social animal but until we accept our place as one among many species on this planet and pretend it's all just social struggle then we're fiddling while Rome burn.

Of course attaining population reduction can only be done in a moral manner by reducing the birth rate below replacement. How we get there is very touchy indeed, I don't pretend to have the answers. But someone smarter than me better figure it out: a non-coercive way of convincing people to have 1 or no children for 1 or 2 generations. Don't think it will be easy, possibly impossible. Education is of course a key, as is improving the lives of the poor so they don't gravitate towards default mode. Turning westerners and Americans in particular into citizens of Earth from hoovering consumers will also be tough, spoiled children can be nasty. But we better do something soon, it might already be too late. If we had listened to Jimmy Carter concerning energy and Paul and Anne Ehrlich concerning population in the 70's the world could not help but be a much better place than it is today.

I find your knee jerk assertions of fascism and racism insulting and narrow minded. You want to see all of that evil shit just keep ignoring overpopulation, many a sci-fi scenario is in the cards, Soyent Green, killing the old, the different, anyone not with the power base. If we keep acting like irrational monkeys then well, there you are.
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thegreatwildebeest Donating Member (224 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-27-05 12:10 AM
Response to Reply #28
35. Leftist? Hilarious!
Nice. Your multitude of presumptions proves my point about the Left.

Hilarious. I am not evening of "the Left". While I don't pigeon hole myself in any particular brand of politics, I do basically agree with most of the ideas of POST-left insurrectionary anarchism, with dashes of anarcho primitivism thrown in for good measure. Buzz! Your wrong. I'm not even part of the left.

. You ignore empirical biology and frame the entire issue as a political/social issue, denying the larger context.

I frame it as a political/social issue because thats what the poster in question framed it as. Anyone who talks about "convincing" people to have less children is talking about a "political/social" issue, regardless of the biological imperatives. Moreover, as its safe to assume most people on this board are STATISTS and such programs would be administered by the state or some other form of social institution, it is safe to assume that the population control they speak of is "political".

Moreover, I don't buy this crap that many (developed, rich, yuppie) population control "Advocates" assert that population control is so ecologically imperative that we cannot even think or raise dissent about its possible administration, because it MUST BE DONE. It's not that I don't think population control isn't essential, or thats its not needed, but I'll be damned if I'm going to sit back and watch people completely ignore a shitload of problems, issues, and possibilities of coercion just because they deem it the most important thing on the block, and sacrosant.No one's getting off the hook for damn stupid ideas just because its "ecologically imperative".

Education is of course a key, as is improving the lives of the poor so they don't gravitate towards default mode.

Default mode? I was unaware that the poor were some sort of unthinking mass herd, popping out babies left and right, ecological consequences be damned.


I find your knee jerk assertions of fascism and racism insulting and narrow minded. You want to see all of that evil shit just keep ignoring overpopulation, many a sci-fi scenario is in the cards, Soyent Green, killing the old, the different, anyone not with the power base. If we keep acting like irrational monkeys then well, there you are.


I find your riduclous assumptions hilarious. I'm not "ignoring" overpopulation, and I'm not for any sort of Soylent Green-type scenario. As an anarchist I'm certainly not for propping up any sort of "power base", though I'm sure many population "advocates" wouldn't mind "culling" some developing countries various means, even though developed countries are the ones that set up the problem in the first place, and where a baby sucks up far more resource than ten or a hundred babies in a developing country.

Moreover, the scary fact is we ARE rational. Bureacracy and systematic control is nothing but full of "rationality" and rationalizations. Logic itself was invented by members of one of the most profligate and wasteful empires this world has ever seen. With such "rationality" I hope people in the future are irrational.

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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-27-05 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #35
36. Well, excuse me!
Edited on Wed Jul-27-05 11:06 AM by blindpig
Didn't mean to tickle your funny bone with my assumption of your position on the admittedly inadequate l/r linear scale. My bad, I guess.

Your assumptions of the intentions of zpg advocates are groundless. Where does one find such information, unless you're reading neonazi trash? Please, please show me. Nothing that I have read over the years even hints at race/class motivated genocide as an answer. For my part, I have said time and again that population control need be applied to all people and that Westerners must also seriously constrain consumption.

I find you puzzling. In post 25 you claim to be an advocate of deep ecology. You show a good understanding of the origins of the mess our species finds itself in, the abandonment of hunting/gathering for agriculture. Yet you show no concern for human overpopulation, a primary tenet of deep ecology. Same with biodiversity, not a whit of concern. Despite your knowledge your pov seems to be utterly homo-centric. Now I might charitably assume that you feel that we must straighten out our horribly fucked up society and all else will follow, which might be true if not for little problems like climate change, peak oil, the accelerating Great Extinction, and the looming crises of dying oceans and the scarcity of fresh water. Population and practices must both be addressed.

Nothing wrong with my reference to default mode. Being poor is a state that any group of humans can find themselves in, often due to other groups of humans. That people who are poor tend to have more children in agricultural societies is pretty apparent.

Perhaps I was not clear about rationality. It is a tool, not an end all be all. Unless tempered with morality it can be a very dangerous tool, as the nazis proved. Properly applied it can help get us out of this mess.

If we don't seriously address overpopulation it will destroy civilization and seriously damage the biosphere, regardless of the style of social organization. The goal of a better society is something that I believe we share. Syndical Anarchy sounds good to me, though I have no idea how the greater society will get there any more than I know how to implement a non-coercive 1 child family policy. I just know that both are needed and to ignore the population problem precludes solving societies problems.

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thegreatwildebeest Donating Member (224 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-24-05 03:28 AM
Response to Reply #7
15. Population control...
...at the end of the day has to be something done by people themselves, an active choice. It CANNOT be forced, because nine times out of ten, it will be the priviliged who get out on loopholes or technicalities, while minorities and the lower classes basically get sandwiched.

Then we'll see some real authoritarianism as humankind scrambles to deal with it much too late.

Real authoritarianism? You mean a world where one is born, get schooled 5 days a week for 6 or 7 hours in one building, following strict rules, than proceeding to leave said school, enter the workforce to work another 40+ hours a week, and then finally retiring at the age of 65 (or 66 and a half!) and finding yourself robbed of all the vigor and energy and emotion you once had, isn't authoritarian enough? Welcome to the Panopticon my friend. Daily life itself.

End is ngih sign holding to me, is kind of counter productive. What am I going to do, turn off the whole oil machinery tommorrow? No. We may be in knee deep, if not higher, and it may be the time for sudden change. But sitting around despairing about it isn't going to really change anything, other than line the pockets of apocalyptics like Kunstler. No, sorry, I've got better things to be doing with my time.
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Viking12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 12:12 PM
Response to Original message
8. Abstract for the paper:
"On development, demography and climate change: The end of the world as we know it?

Tim Dyson

London School of Economics

Paper prepared for Session 952 of the XXVth Conference of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, Tours, 18-23 July, 2005

Abstract

Adopting a holistic stance, the present paper attempts to provide fresh perspective on global warming and climate change. It does so by considering most major sides of the issue, and, quite consciously, it does so from a distance. Essentially, five main points are made. First, that since about 1800 economic development has been based on the burning of fossil fuels, and this will continue to apply for the foreseeable future. Of course, there will be increases in the efficiency with which they are used, but there is no real alternative to the continued - indeed increasing - use of these fuels for purposes of economic development. Second, due to momentum in economic, demographic, and climate processes, it is inevitable that there will be a major rise in the level of atmospheric CO2 during the twenty-first century. Demographic and CO2 emissions data are presented to substantiate this. Third, available data on global temperatures, which are also presented, suggest strongly that the coming warming of the Earth will be appreciably faster than anything that human populations have experienced in historical times.

The paper shows that a rise in world surface temperature of anywhere between 1.6 and 6.6 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 is quite conceivable - and this is a conclusion that does not require much complex science to appreciate. Furthermore, particularly in a system that is being forced, the chances of an abrupt change in climate happening must be rated as fair. Fourth, while it is impossible to attach precise probabilities to different scenarios, the range of plausible unpleasant climate outcomes seems at least as great as the range of more manageable ones. The agricultural, political, economic, demographic, social and other consequences of future climate change are likely to be considerable - indeed, they could be almost inconceivable. In a world of perhaps nine billion people, adverse changes could well occur on several fronts simultaneously and to cumulative adverse effect. There is a pressing need to improve ways of thinking about what could happen - because current prognostications by environmental and social scientists are often rather restricted and predictable. Finally, the paper argues that human experience of other difficult 'long wave' threats (e.g. HIV/AIDS) reveals a broadly analogous sequence of reactions. In short: (i) scientific understanding advances rapidly, but (ii) avoidance, denial, and reproach characterize the overall societal response, therefore, (iii) there is relatively little behavioral change, until (iv) evidence of damage becomes plain. Apropos carbon emissions and climate change, however, it is argued here that not only is major behavioral change unlikely in the foreseeable future, but it probably wouldn't make much difference even were it to occur. In all likelihood, events are now set to run their course."

Excerpt:

"Following publication of the IPCC's second report, world leaders met in Kyoto in 1997. But in many respects the ensuing 'Kyoto process' can itself be seen as one chiefly concerned with ways of avoiding making reductions in CO2 emissions. Examples of this tendency include the discussion of 'carbon sequestration' i.e. the planting of trees and other vegetation to help 'neutralize' CO2 emissions. It took considerable time for the limitations of this approach to be appreciated fully - in particular, that over the long run the areas of forest required are incredibly great and that there is no feasible way of stopping the 'respiration' of sequestrated carbon back into the atmosphere (Lohmann 1999). Another approach with a strong element of avoidance - one that has occupied armies of negotiators, lawyers, economists, consultants, etc, the very stuff of Weberian bureaucratization (Prins 2003) - is the construction of 'carbon markets'. The theory is that by enabling 'emissions trading' such markets will allow some countries (usually richer ones, with high emissions) to pay others (usually poorer ones, with low emissions) - essentially as a way of reducing the need to make any reductions at all. The fact is that: None of Kyoto's market measures tackle directly the physical root of global warming: the transfer of fossil fuels from underground, where they are effectively isolated from the atmosphere, to the air. (Lohmann 2001:5).

It was noted above that in the last decade or so virtually all countries have continued to burn greater amounts of fossil fuel. This also applies to those that have arguably been most prominent in supporting the Kyoto process - notably Canada, Japan and those of the EU. Many of these countries are unlikely to meet their CO2 reduction targets agreed under the Kyoto treaty (which finally came into force in 2005). Thus comparing 1990 and 2002, it is estimated that Canada's emissions increased by 22 percent and Japan's by 13. While the CO2 emissions of the EU(15) remained roughly constant, this was mainly due to reductions in Germany and Britain - both of which gained fortuitously from a move away from coaltowards natural gas (which emits less CO2 per unit of energy). Of the remaining countries in the EU(15), only Sweden - which relies heavily on hydro and nuclear - registered a fall in CO2 emissions. Of the 36 'Annex B' countries of the Kyoto treaty (i.e. the industrialized countries, including former eastern bloc nations), only 12 experienced declines in emissions: the three in the EU(15), plus nine former eastern bloc nations. If one excludes these, then CO2 emissions among the remaining 24 Annex B countries rose by 13 percent during 1990-2002 (Zittel and Treber 2003). Of course, the United States, the world's largest emitter of CO2, is not a signatory to the Kyoto treaty. And, to complete the list of predictable social reactions, the 'Kyoto process' has involved no shortage of rather bitter recrimination between representatives of the US and EU countries.

The prospects for an enforceable international agreement to significantly reduce CO2 emissions are very poor. While it may be in the interest of the world as a whole to restrict the burning of fossil fuels, it is in the interest of individual countries to avoid making such changes. Moreover, the enormous complexities involved - many of them created and informed by matters of interest - will also hinder agreement. Doubtless there will be gains in energy use efficiency, shifts towards less carbon intensive fuels, and greater use of renewable energy sources (e.g. solar, wind and tidal power). But except for a massive shift towards nuclear - which has many serious problems attached, and would in any case take decades to bring about - there are limits to what such changes could possibly achieve in terms of CO2 reduction. Other technological ideas - like the development of the so-called 'hydrogen economy', or the extraction of CO2 from coal and its sequestration underground or at sea - are remote, even fanciful ideas as large scale and significant solutions to the problem. Indeed, such notions can themselves be the basis of avoidance inasmuch as they suggest that something is being done. Understandably, poor countries are unlikely to put great effort into constraining their CO2 emissions - especially in the face of massive discrepancies between them and the rich. In sum, for the foreseeable future the basic response to global warming will be one of avoidance and, at most, marginal change. That the absolute amount of CO2 emitted is likely to rise is shown by an examination of basic demographic and emissions data in the next section."

Entire paper:

http://iussp2005.princeton.edu/download.aspx?submission...

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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-23-05 06:36 PM
Response to Original message
11. Yeah, but the good news is that ..................
as worldwide temps climb and the climate destabilizes, we will be MUCH less able to feed ourselves, so there is bound to be mass starvation. :evilgrin:
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theHandpuppet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-23-05 10:41 PM
Response to Original message
12. Since humans refuse to control their reproduction...
... it looks as if Gaia will have to do it for us.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-25-05 06:08 PM
Response to Original message
30. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-25-05 07:36 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. The Five Percent Effect
The difference between the freezing point of water and normal human body temperature is 66.6F. Five percent of that is just under three-and-a-half degrees. 105% of normal human body temperature (zero-based on the freezing point) is just about 102F.

At 98.6F, you feel pretty good; at 102F, you feel awful; without relief, you stand to suffer muscle damage, electrolyte loss, and minor brain damage. Without medical treatment, death will occur in a few days.

Ten percent brings the temperature to a little under 105F. Severe malaise, dehydration, and body pains develop quickly; brain damage is only a matter of a few hours, and death will occur within a a day.

Five percent UNDER normal brings you down to 95.3F. At that temperature, most people are in a state of medical "torpor", poorly responsive to stimuli and not oriented in their surroundings, and slowly becoming hypoxic. Unless normal body temperature is restored, it will continue to fall after a few hours, resulting in hypothermia and eventual death.

But you were discussing atmospheric gasses, weren't you?

Decrease the oxygen in the blood by 5% (called the paO2 or SaO2 in medical terminology) in most people, and they'll become lightheaded; sustain that drop, and they'll develop hallucinations, numbness, pins-and-needles sensations in their extremities, and heart arrhythmias.

Increase the carbon dioxide by 5%, and hypercapnia is the result. You get they symptom cluster of hypoxia, PLUS a reduced respiratory drive. Your blood pH goes rapidly alkaline as carbonate builds up in the red blood cells, reducing their ability to carry oxygen and a couple of ther electrolytes.

That's what 5% of something can do.

Global warming isn't causing a massive warm-up like putting a kettle on a fire -- it's two or four or five degrees over the course of a century. But it's enough to cause major climate changes. Greenhouse gasses are also increasing on a similar scale, but it is enough to change the climate. And all such changes have well-studied effects on climate and life; they have happened before, and we have seen their effects in the historical record, whether from tree rings, analysis of air trapped in amber or tar bubbles, fossils, or other "proxies".

Finally, the human contribution need not be overwhelming to throw a complex system such as world climate out of whack. Our contribution is most likely acting as a trigger. But it does not matter; we've done the deed, and the consequences are catching up with us. Now, if we had a low population, the damage would not be all that bad. We'd move to nicer areas and carry on. But we have a population nearing the limit of its resources. Even small-scale droughts cause large famines, which is one of the afflictions the people of Darfur are suffering today. A small, mobile, intelligent population could deal with it; a large, captive, tyrannized population can not.

Don't underestimate the small stresses on sensitive systems. Terrestrial ecology and human life alike depend on a dynamic balancing act of thousands, maybe millions, of interacting processes. Panic is the proper response to the threat of death from even the smallest of causes; the intelligent response to such a threat isn't to give in to the terror and flee, but to redouble one's efforts and use all available means to eliminate that threat. In our time, we face multiple threats, but with 6 billion highly-developed brains, someone surely knows how to cope!

--p!
Dr. Pangloss Meets Marvin the Paranoid Android -- and knows how to please the Ladies!
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PaulaFarrell Donating Member (840 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-26-05 06:28 AM
Response to Reply #30
32. so exactly where do you get your figures from?
I'd be interested to know. Because virtually every climatologist in the world disagrees with your premise that there's nothing to worry about. So it'd be nice to know what you base it on. Also, what would you consider more 'noteworthy' than saving the ecosystem of this planet from what's looking more and more like almost total destruction?
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