Major Antarctic glacier at risk of major collapse - is 'past its tipping point'

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davew
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Re: Major Antarctic glacier at risk of major collapse - is ...

But more interestingly, I would be interested to hear your views on what could, if anything, be practically done to remedy the changes GW will create?

Mind if I chime in? This is the wrong way to think about the problem. Preventing damage is much easier and cheaper than cleaning up afterward. If you accept that our policies are going to carry forward unchanged then you might as well start digging a whole bunch of graves because feeding 9 billion people on a warming planet is not feasible given current or conceivable technology. Nor is moving 2 billion of them away from the coast lines.

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oobflyer
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Re: Major Antarctic glacier at risk of major collapse - is ...

I agree davew, we may be in big trouble if we don't head this off now. Even if those few hold-outs that refuse to accept the advice and evidence from the other 97% happen to be right - what's the worst case scenario if we wean off of oil and transition to alternative fuels? I see it as Saudi Arabia having an economic recession...
The worst case scenario if we don't do anything? Planetary disaster. Who wins if we transition? The entire planet, because I'm sure we'll bail-out Saudi Arabia when they file for bankruptcy ;-)

marcopolo
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Re: Major Antarctic glacier at risk of major collapse - is ...

davew wrote:

But more interestingly, I would be interested to hear your views on what could, if anything, be practically done to remedy the changes GW will create?

Mind if I chime in? This is the wrong way to think about the problem. Preventing damage is much easier and cheaper than cleaning up afterward. If you accept that our policies are going to carry forward unchanged then you might as well start digging a whole bunch of graves because feeding 9 billion people on a warming planet is not feasible given current or conceivable technology. Nor is moving 2 billion of them away from the coast lines.

You are most welcome, we were getting very pedantic! Your statement that 'Preventing damage is much easier than cleaning up afterwards' sounds very sensible. That is, until you start to try to implement the concept.

Actually, we can easily feed a population of 20 billion. This is a science I do know a little about. The problem is more what we eat, and how we distribute food than actual consumption or production. GW is a factor that will have to be addressed within the terms of economic restructuring and technology, especially in agriculture.

Although, I agree with much of what MikeB explains, (well its hard not to, he puts it so competently!), However, I suspect we will disagree as we move away from the certainties of science and enter the more uncertain area of social and economic effects. Which is why I am interested in his thoughts on remedies.

Oobflyer, Oil will still play a major role in civilisation on earth. That's why it's too precious a resource to waste as transport fuel. But your point is very valid. As London's Lord Mayor points out, it is a wonderful opportunity to pursue exciting new technologies and methods, the motivation doesn't have to be a grim sanctimonious, puritanical socialist 1984 state. No indeed, this will be the era of the electric Porche M2, (the original Porche was electric)! the challenge is before us to keep the best of our current civilisation but add new concepts and ideas to emerging problems.

The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,
Excelsior! (Longfellow)

Well, in my opinion, Excelsior will be the rise of technology.

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davew
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Re: Major Antarctic glacier at risk of major collapse - is ...

Actually, we can easily feed a population of 20 billion. This is a science I do know a little about. The problem is more what we eat, and how we distribute food than actual consumption or production. GW is a factor that will have to be addressed within the terms of economic restructuring and technology, especially in agriculture.

I agree with this to a point. Western diets are especially wasteful. Looking at this practically, however, I don't see any countries with a food surplus mandating vegetarianism so they can export more crops to the rest of the world.(I personally approve, but alas I am not king of the world.) Also I think if you look at the world today you can see that food is not distributed based on need. Western countries have more than they need while large sections of Africa, the middle east, and Asia have much less than they need and I do not see either a mechanism or a will to fix this.

The other thing to bear in mind is that much of the world's agriculture, especially in the US, Africa, and India is based on unsustainable use of groundwater. Sooner (India/Egypt) or later (US) these countries will be more dependent on weather and the crop failure rate will go up.

So, while feeding 20 billion people now may be technically possible, I don't think it is realistic especially as we don't feed 6 billion people now. As the 6 billion becomes 9 billion and the amount of food goes down due to climate disruption, especially in those areas of the world that need it the most, the question of climate change mitigation becomes largely academic.

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marcopolo
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Re: Major Antarctic glacier at risk of major collapse - is ...

davew wrote:

Actually, we can easily feed a population of 20 billion. This is a science I do know a little about. The problem is more what we eat, and how we distribute food than actual consumption or production. GW is a factor that will have to be addressed within the terms of economic restructuring and technology, especially in agriculture.

I agree with this to a point. Western diets are especially wasteful. Looking at this practically, however, I don't see any countries with a food surplus mandating vegetarianism so they can export more crops to the rest of the world.(I personally approve, but alas I am not king of the world.) Also I think if you look at the world today you can see that food is not distributed based on need. Western countries have more than they need while large sections of Africa, the middle east, and Asia have much less than they need and I do not see either a mechanism or a will to fix this.

The other thing to bear in mind is that much of the world's agriculture, especially in the US, Africa, and India is based on unsustainable use of groundwater. Sooner (India/Egypt) or later (US) these countries will be more dependent on weather and the crop failure rate will go up.

So, while feeding 20 billion people now may be technically possible, I don't think it is realistic especially as we don't feed 6 billion people now. As the 6 billion becomes 9 billion and the amount of food goes down due to climate disruption, especially in those areas of the world that need it the most, the question of climate change mitigation becomes largely academic.

I have no objection to people being vegetarian, I just wish vegetarians would stop misrepresenting it as beneficial for human health. (Or claiming natural state for omnivores such as humans beings is to be a vegetarian.'

However, philosophical dietary differences aside, while the poor nations are often malnourished, this is largely because of poor management and dysfunctional social infrastructure. For far too long these nations have been the victims of well meaning western nanny states propping up bad economic practises. Many of these poor nations should be incredibly wealthy, since they often possess great mineral wealth and potentially fertile agricultural conditions.

The excuse of colonialism and exploitation has long creased to be acceptable. New Guinea is an example, Zimbabwe is another. Chile is an example of a nation who quickly reversed it's 3rd world status and instability. It is completely within the power of any nation to implement disciplined economic and social reform. Climate change may be just the incentive these population need to reform.

I suspect that you are correct, in the worst case scenario, the poorest performing populations will simply perish and that will, cruel as it sounds, prove beneficial for the environment!

You are correct food is not distributed on the basis of need, (morality aside) nor will it ever be. Nothing in the affairs of humans is equal. We are a very competitive species. We only cooperate for mutual advantage. Well meaning attempts to achieve social justice through most aid programs, inevitably end in failure.

Look at the situation in Haiti, disgraceful poverty in an area which should have incredibly valuable real estate. Although the current earthquake is a terrible disaster, it would be dramatically worse without massive US assistance. Maybe no assistance would be temporally cruel, but in the long term the survivors would acquire through necessity and adversity, civic responsibility and good governance.

Everyone tut tut's about the desirability of population control, but exactly how do you go about it?

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strawhistle
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Re: Major Antarctic glacier at risk of major collapse - is ...

That sounds very Maciviel-ion ? LaTeR

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