Radio Ecoshock: The Coming Greenhouse World

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reikiman's picture
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The latest Radio Ecoshock .. well, it's rather doom-focused. He's got pieces from several scientists discussing recent research documenting the human-driven releases of carbon (etc) into the atmosphere. One of the points is methane releases that scientists have documented in the arctic. Well, a methane release isn't directly causated by humans but the claim is that the methane release is due to higher temperature, and that higher temperature is due to prior human-caused releases of carbon into the atmosphere.

Over the history of the planet the atmosphere carbon levels have varied over time, of course. And of course the whole planet has been ice-free at times. The difference this time is that human activities are seeking out sources of high carbon materials (coal, oil, etc) and burning those materials for fuel releasing the carbon. It's been proved over and over there is a strong link between carbon levels and temperature.

The picture in my mind listening to this is - because businesses are incentivized to do more business - that means society is incentivizing itself to seek out fuels and use those fuels to drive business activity - and hence the forces driving business to drive fuel use are indirectly driving increasing release of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

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http://www.ecoshock.info/2010/05/coming-greenhouse-world.html

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Mik
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Re: Radio Ecoshock: The Coming Greenhouse World

Fascinating stuff!

I find it so much more desirable that the catastrophe will hit us in our lifetime than the unfair postponement to future generations!

It's just baffling how it can take humanity so long to recognise the plainly obvious.

Maybe there will be a good use for all the stockpiled atomic weapons! Blowing up a few mountains a month with neutron bombs might allow to add the right amount of "Sunscreen" to the atmosphere!

But I think it's more likely that we will have to stay indoors for a few million years!

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Re: Radio Ecoshock: The Coming Greenhouse World

Mik wrote:

It's just baffling how it can take humanity so long to recognise the plainly obvious.

Be fair ... our bodies evolved to recognize threats like lions who jump us and rip our throats out. Evolution didn't give us the ability to recognize a threat that grows a centimeter a year until it reaches a point where it suddenly blows up.

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Re: Radio Ecoshock: The Coming Greenhouse World

reikiman wrote:

The picture in my mind listening to this is - because businesses are incentivized to do more business - that means society is incentivizing itself to seek out fuels and use those fuels to drive business activity - and hence the forces driving business to drive fuel use are indirectly driving increasing release of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

In the words of a US president, "There y'go again!"

If I understand you correctly, business is basically evil because it responds to a demand from the people? Now correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't this also make the people guilty?

Ah, forgive me if I preempt your reply, you may argue that the people are hoodwinked or poorly informed.

Well, that isn't exactly a very Democratic concept. Would you be happier with institutionalised elitism?

What model would you propose instead of a free enterprise system? Don't be coy, because simply complaining without proposing an alternative, is pretty unproductive.

The article you refer to contains this pompous nonsense as a conclusion;

Quote:

:....if we cared for our children and grandchildren at all, if we cared about the world, we would stop all oil exploration, anywhere, today. Call it off! The atmosphere can't take another drop hauled out from under the sea, from under the land, from the Tar.

Just imagine the consequences! The vast sea of human misery such nonsense would produce in the name of arrogant idealism.

But such ideologues care nothing about human health and prosperity, they simply want to pontificate as loudly, and fortunately as ineffectively as old time fire and brimstone preachers.

The analogy is valid! Just swap judgement day for GW, and the doomsday cult gathers supporters.

I recently attended a gathering of eminent GW climatologists,and asked the harmless quest of how warming information and statistics were gathered and by whom.

You would have thought I had asked for State Secrets to be divulged!

To the muttering of, "bloody obvious, he's a climate change denier", I humbly asked if a large percentage of temperature/ weather gauges were located in major cities> If so, how did the changing environment created development of city structures around those instruments be measured, and what accommodation was allowed in computer modelling. I received a great deal of gratuitous abuse, but no actual answer.

Not even an honest, "Don't know, I'll find out and email you".

Such behaviour from eminent 'climatologists', makes a non-science person like myself suspicious. Undoubtedly, there is a perfectly rational explanation, but not forthcoming from a lofty high priest, like Ross Garnaut

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Re: Radio Ecoshock: The Coming Greenhouse World

If I understand you correctly, business is basically evil because it responds to a demand from the people?

Good/Evil is actually much too simplistic a way to put it. What I really see is a broken system. The system is designed to destroy the planet because the system doesn't have any checks in it to slow down runaway exponential curves. Instead exponential growth patterns are purposely designed into the system because it's good for business.

Now correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't this also make the people guilty?

Well, yeah... I'd prefer the word "responsible" however. Corporations don't make decisions on their own, it is people who occupy positions of power over corporations that make decisions. And it is the customers of corporations who are making demands of corporations.

It's the whole system that is leading to this flawed result. But of course it's a flawed system because humans created it. It seems that humans can only create imperfection.

...the people are hoodwinked or poorly informed....Well, that isn't exactly a very Democratic concept. Would you be happier with institutionalised elitism?

You're jumping to conclusions here. Yeah the people are being hoodwinked and misinformed. There's a whole line of argument about corporatized control over the media and the horrid state of what usually passes for journalism. However as someone who has for the last year been a working journalist, it's a rather tough field to be in right now, with immense pressures and competition. News outlets are going out of business right and left ...

In any case I shudder at elitism. I think there is huge value to having an informed populace who is able to make more intelligent decisions. The informed populace requires a media/journalism system that is actually doing real journalism. In the US the result seems to be sensationalized and surfacy. See the prior paragraph however.

What model would you propose instead of a free enterprise system? Don't be coy, because simply complaining without proposing an alternative, is pretty unproductive.

Fair enough - but I haven't got a real carefully explainable description of an alternative as yet. I have a friend who's active in the Simplicity movement and she described a question/answer they developed which resonates with me.

Namely: What's the economy for anyway? Is the purpose of the economy to make megabucks? No.. the purpose of the economy is to provide the goods and services that we need for living. However the people running many businesses are under a delusion that the main/sole purpose is to make megabucks and who cares about the resulting products/services. Those are two separate purposes ... a) provide products/services that fill the needs of the people, b) make megabucks and screw the consequences

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Re: Radio Ecoshock: The Coming Greenhouse World

Some recommended watching:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVkFb26u9g8&feature=fvw

It shows where money comes from and why it cannot work much longer;

and

http://www.cctv.org/watch-tv/programs/author-and-peak-oil-activist-michael-ruppert

Michael Ruppert wrote:

So with the collapse of human industrial civilisation a given, a fait accompli, happening before our eyes as we speak, what do we do now?

Ruppert says basically what I have been saying for over 30 years, only much better and with a growing audience!

I am beginning to understand that this is due to my ability to understand exponential functions (to a degree at least). It makes all the difference!

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Re: Radio Ecoshock: The Coming Greenhouse World

reikiman wrote:

Fair enough - but I haven't got a real carefully explainable description of an alternative as yet. I have a friend who's active in the Simplicity movement and she described a question/answer they developed which resonates with me.

Namely: What's the economy for anyway? Is the purpose of the economy to make megabucks? No.. the purpose of the economy is to provide the goods and services that we need for living. However the people running many businesses are under a delusion that the main/sole purpose is to make megabucks and who cares about the resulting products/services. Those are two separate purposes ... a) provide products/services that fill the needs of the people, b) make megabucks and screw the consequences

What you call megabucks, I call, surplus.

"Delusion"? " megabucks"? "screw the consequences""needs of the people"

These are very moralistic, emotive terms! The objectives of all 'simplicity movements', are hardly new. Shangri-la seekers, abound in every era.

The real strength of an industrialised economy, is an ability to create vast surplus. Civilisation is created from surplus! Past civilisations created surplus with slave labour. The industrial revolution simply mechanised the slave from humans and animals, to steam-powered machine technology. The greater the surplus the greater the achievements of civilisation!

I agree, nothing produced by mankind will ever be perfect! Nor is it meant to be! The day human civilisation becomes perfect, we will have ceased to exist.

Are surplus driven economies sustainable? Absolutely! Prophets of Doom throughout the ages, have always preached the end of the world. Such rantings, like simplicity, socialism, etc, appeal to those who seek certainty, and morally virtuous solutions, to a very complex and confusing environment.

This is why adherents to such philosophies, can't devise a practical alternative. Instead, ethical, moral, and emotive issues are employed to create an illusion of power over an uncontrollable phenomenon.

Capitalism is not an ethical, or unethical system. In fact it's barely a system.

Certainly, capitalism, (or Free Enterprise) obeys certain inherent rules. The first of these is to create an unlimited surplus. The most important concept of the Renaissance was the creation of wide spread international credit to utilise the benefits of compounding interest.

The occurring vast expansion of capital, created the industrial revolution, and harnessed the development of the New World.

Every achievement of modern man has been created by ever increasing surplus.

Conspiracy theorists, Gloating Dooms Day Economists, and other cranks with simplistic messages, are just recycled fire and brimstone preachers. This includes Mik's prophet, Ruppert, along with a host of others, spouting arsine comments as,

"So with the collapse of human industrial civilisation a given, a fait accompli, happening before our eyes as we speak, what do we do now?'

Well, try lying down with a brown paper bag over your head!

"The collapse of human industrial civilisation" IS NOT A GIVEN! IT WON'T HAPPEN!

John, look at the logic of what I am saying, in fact look around you, look at the speed of human ingenuity and ability to conceive technology to redress problems. In the later half of the twentieth-century, wealth creation underwent a major shift from old-fashioned heavy industry, to hi-tech information industries. The rapid expansion of knowledge created unprecedented opportunities for peoples of all nations to participate and benefit from an expanding world economy.

As old corporations die, old inefficient economies collapse,old resources disappear, they are replaced by a myriad of new corporations, industries and economies. Wealth is redistributed.

This is human evolution, driven by the efficiency of the market place! Governments, have an important role in providing regulatory conditions to further the expansion of trade within the human dynamic.

I would suggest that you would be better placing your faith in human ingenuity and technology, rather than the rantings of the doomsayers.

The adage of my youth, "tune in!, turn on!, drop out!" , has been replaced by "been there!, done that!, still here!"

Despite the threat of Nuclear war, Club of Rome, Famine, Pestilence,Plague, Fluoride, Martians,rock 'n'roll, gamma ray's, twitter, the species is still here, and doin' just fine!

As the era of Oil and fossil resources comes to an end, new, and better, technologies are emerging in replacement. Exciting new opportunities are being created, in the words of Dylan, "The times, they are a'change'n" !! (Odd, how 46 years later,the lyrics of that old anthem, could apply equally to both side of this debate).

It's human technology and adaptive skill that created human civilisation. Our survival will always depend on our ability to seek opportunity in adversity. The concept that humans can 'live in harmony with nature' and simplify existence is an absurdly romantic concept. If this was the nature of mankind, we would never have stolen fire from the gods!

Well, anyway that's just my perspective!

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Re: Radio Ecoshock: The Coming Greenhouse World

marcopolo wrote:

...
...
...

Conspiracy theorists, Gloating Dooms Day Economists, and other cranks with simplistic messages, are just recycled fire and brimstone preachers. This includes Mik's prophet, Ruppert, along with a host of others, spouting arsine comments as,
...
...

Not my prophet, Marcopolo.

I have not even knowingly heard of the guy until yesterday.

And he talks about a lot of stuff I would not have the faintest clue about. There may be a lot of utter BS in it, and a heavy dose of conspiracy theory to boot. But that is all completely inconsequential from my point of view.

You see, I don't need a prophet, because I have been quite able to think for myself for a long time, and I figured out before I was even a teenager that the basic premise of endless growth, on which the current economic system is built, is impossible to maintain. It just is plain obvious to me.

No need for prophets!

Some people understand, some don't.

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Re: Radio Ecoshock: The Coming Greenhouse World

Mik wrote:

Not my prophet, Marcopolo.

accepted!

Mik wrote:

You see, I don't need a prophet, because I have been quite able to think for myself for a long time, and I figured out before I was even a teenager that the basic premise of endless growth, on which the current economic system is built, is impossible to maintain. It just is plain obvious to me.

Ok, Mik, I have learned to respect your views. However, would you not agree that there is a need to define what we both mean by endless growth?

I am presuming that you think endless growth is a fairly inflexible dynamic based on a mathematical calculation of resources and consumption.

I would dispute that this is an accurate dynamic for human economies.My premise is based on the amazing ability of humans to innovate, adapt and develop. This makes every prediction of economic finality inaccurate.

But please, don't let me presume! Define your interpretation of endless growth?

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Re: Radio Ecoshock: The Coming Greenhouse World

No, marcopolo, I don't have the time to do it! And I do not think it would change your point of view.

You get it, or you don't!

I have witnessed several forum members eloquently laying out the facts before you on VisforVoltage, repeatedly, with great patience and understanding of scientific detail and nuances. I could not do any better. I would not succeed, either!

Similarly, I would not go into a detailed explanation and debate about the great idea to put a generator on the back wheel of an EV to recharge the batteries; it does come up quite regularly on VisforVoltage and other forums. Usually someone is patient enough to explain it to the person who thought s/he had a great idea there....

The onus is on you to try to address your apparent lack of capacity to comprehend what is happening. No-one else can do that for you.

Your posts are often the most interesting, and frequently the best researched ones around.

But it comes down to the ability to understand exponential functions. Maybe it's like colour blindness? Or deafness?
Very hard to explain what you see and hear to a colour blind and or deaf person!

Here is a nice example:

Quote:

Rice on a chessboard
See also: Wheat and chessboard problem

A courtier presented the Persian king with a beautiful, hand-made chessboard. The king asked what he would like in return for his gift and the courtier surprised the king by asking for one grain of rice on the first square, two grains on the second, four grains on the third etc. The king readily agreed and asked for the rice to be brought. All went well at first, but the requirement for 2 n − 1 grains on the nth square demanded over a million grains on the 21st square, more than a million million (aka trillion) on the 41st and there simply was not enough rice in the whole world for the final squares. (From Meadows et al. 1972, p. 29 via Porritt 2005)

For variation of this see second half of the chessboard in reference to the point where an exponentially growing factor begins to have a significant economic impact on an organization's overall business strategy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exponential_growth

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Re: Radio Ecoshock: The Coming Greenhouse World

Mik wrote:

I have witnessed several forum members eloquently laying out the facts before you on VisforVoltage, repeatedly, with great patience and understanding of scientific detail and nuances. I could not do any better. I would not succeed, either! The onus is on you to try to address your apparent lack of capacity to comprehend what is happening. No-one else can do that for you.

Well, the above could equally be levelled at your own position!

Your pennies on the chess board concept, contains a remarkable insight into your reasoning. The problem with such reasoning is that you design the problem to fit your answer!

The dynamics of human existence on this planet, can't be determined by any form of mathematical certainty.

In your analogy you brush away any factors that don't suit your matrix. But humans are a ornery, contrary species, who delight in proving 'experts' of all creeds fallible! The finite resources, finite solutions argument,is based on a misconception that requires all the factors to remain the same over a lengthy period of time. This was the problem for the Club of Rome, Socialist economists, etc.

Human civilisation has been growing stronger and more creative with each passing decade.

You are trying to fit black and white science into a human context. But humans are perceptive creatures, what they perceive, they will create. This ability came with the gift of fire.

Take the following environmental facts. It's a bitter winter, humans can't survive in temperatures below 14 c. Therefore human existence must perish. This is a simple, provable scientific fact!

But the Eskimo doesn't understand this, because he has built an igloo, built a fire of whale blubber and is settling down to an evening in, wondering how to get all that rice on his chess board!

(The King was unlucky not to have a good lawyer, who could have pointed out that only a modest amount of rice could cover that particular chess board! Definition, y'see, definition!)

100 years ago the concept of Solar power generation was inconceivable, but humans conceived it. Who would have thought that the Education Industry would contribute more to the Australian economy than farming? Education, information, etc.. all huge industries. The US film industry is worth more than $200 billion! None of these vast new industries are as resource intensive as 40 years ago, but the economy keeps rapidly expanding !

The trouble with all scientific predicting of the future is that unknown factors will keep occurring as a result of human creativity!

IMO aform of Star Trek type travel is only a short leap away! (far more plausible than any doomsday crap!).

Still, then again, maybe I'm wrong, maybe we're all doomed afterall....Hmmm....

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