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We're In Serious Trouble on Climate

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Scientists: take away global dimming, and global warming will be much worse - "formidable challenges ahead"

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As our economy dims and there is less output of smog and the effects of global dimming diminish...we could indeed be in far more serious trouble on the environment and all that much sooner than we think.

Will it be ironic or hilarious if the doubt and denial reaches its peak just before we slam head first through the windshield of reality? The thing about hitting the windshield of course is that its an effect of a collision that its too late to do anything about.

That said...

As financial mayhem and recession increasingly demand the attention and resources of governments around the world, environmentalists are starting to fret: What about climate change?

Their concern is not just that the trillions devoted to rescuing the global financial system mean less cash for the climate-change agenda; they are worried a prolonged recession will deflect consumers from green habits and drain corporate and government coffers of funding for research and development into green technology.

Decisions decisions...

What a Gordian Knot we've woven ourselves into.

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As our economy dims and there is less output of smog and the effects of global dimming diminish...we could indeed be in far more serious trouble on the environment and all that much sooner than we think.

Will it be ironic or hilarious if the doubt and denial reaches its peak just before we slam head first through the windshield of reality? The thing about hitting the windshield of course is that its an effect of a collision that its too late to do anything about.

That said...

What a Gordian Knot we've woven ourselves into.

Where is my sword? I will give that knot a good hard slash of the blade - Climate destruction can not be stopped because we have created an economic system of production and consumption that is needless for survival but neccesary to satisfy insane greed - This greed that is now considered normal will kill us...It's not the planet that is doomed - IT IS US THE UNFRIENDLY BACTERIA THAT IS DOOMED...Once we are gone - the miracle sphere of live will recover and we will finally do it some good as fertilizer. I hope that this economic collaspe continues to the bitter end untill all of mankinds harmfull activities cease...some with spirt will survive and the greedy will perish - good buy Charley.....funny - speaking of the prince - he gives us a short time to survive - and he is a hypocrite ---who's buisness concerns damage the planet - instead of toning down his wealth - he wants to cull down humanity so HE can continue...what a joke.

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As our economy dims and there is less output of smog and the effects of global dimming diminish...we could indeed be in far more serious trouble on the environment and all that much sooner than we think.

Will it be ironic or hilarious if the doubt and denial reaches its peak just before we slam head first through the windshield of reality? The thing about hitting the windshield of course is that its an effect of a collision that its too late to do anything about.

That said...

What a Gordian Knot we've woven ourselves into.

I guess, from the quoted and incorporated article, that we can't win other than by going back to the Stone Age. This is Chicken-little-ism at its worst, notwithstanding my tongue-in-cheek opening post.

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I guess, from the quoted and incorporated article, that we can't win other than by going back to the Stone Age. This is Chicken-little-ism at its worst, notwithstanding my tongue-in-cheek opening post.

Well, the first article certainly indicated something could be done, as for levity I take it my diminishing dimming pun didn't do it for you.

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Well, the first article certainly indicated something could be done, as for levity I take it my diminishing dimming pun didn't do it for you.
No I didn't get the pun. I must be too dim. Especially with my IQ of 85.

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I guess, from the quoted and incorporated article, that we can't win other than by going back to the Stone Age. This is Chicken-little-ism at its worst, notwithstanding my tongue-in-cheek opening post.

Indeed.....but if one gift from the global economic downturn is less attention on "climate change" lunacy, it is a good thing.

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Indeed.....but if one gift from the global economic downturn is less attention on "climate change" lunacy, it is a good thing.

Yes, ignorance is bliss! I suppose your planning on being dead before the shit really hits the fan, but our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren are going to pay the price for the greed, gluttony, and wanton destruction of the natural environment, all in the name of profit and wealth.

Climate is a complex, poorly understood subject, and yet you and other conservatives who put greed before the common good, are willing to take the word of a few oil company-funded deniers as the last word on the subject. The truth is that the worse effects may not even be what's going on in the atmosphere, but instead what's happening to the world's oceans which absorb about half of that CO2 that's pumped into the atmosphere every year:

ScienceDaily (Feb. 23, 2009) — A dramatic increase in carbon dioxide levels is making the world's ocean more acidic, which may adversely affect the survival of marine life and organisms that depend on them, such as humans. The article "Off Balance Ocean" is scheduled for the Feb. 23 issue of Chemical & Engineering News.

In the article, C&EN Associate Editor Rachel Petkewich notes that the increased use of fossil fuels has caused levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to nearly double since the Industrial Revolution. The ocean absorbs large amounts of carbon dioxide — about 22 million tons a day — causing the water's pH to decrease or acidify. The pH scale measures how acidic or alkaline substances are. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral. A pH less than 7 is acidic. A pH greater than 7 is alkaline. The ocean's pH is currently about 8.1, down from 8.2 in the 18th century, the article notes. Scientists project that the ocean's pH will fall by about 0.3 more units in the next 50 to 100 years. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/...90223091752.htm

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Yes, ignorance is bliss! I suppose your planning on being dead before the shit really hits the fan, but our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren are going to pay the price for the greed, gluttony, and wanton destruction of the natural environment, all in the name of profit and wealth.

Oh Christ.....first you whine about a poor local economy (steel mills and automotive manufacturing), and in the next post attack profit and wealth.

Climate is a complex, poorly understood subject, and yet you and other conservatives who put greed before the common good, are willing to take the word of a few oil company-funded deniers as the last word on the subject. The truth is that the worse effects may not even be what's going on in the atmosphere, but instead what's happening to the world's oceans which absorb about half of that CO2 that's pumped into the atmosphere every year:

The earth doesn't give a crap about your worries or fairy tales. It will survive just fine for at least a few more billion years.

First it was "global warming"...then a quick switch to "climate change"...because there has always been "climate change".

Duh!

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Yes, ignorance is bliss! I suppose your planning on being dead before the shit really hits the fan, but our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren are going to pay the price for the greed, gluttony, and wanton destruction of the natural environment, all in the name of profit and wealth.
Al Gore sure isn't planning on impoverishing himself to save the planet. Just everyone else.
Climate is a complex, poorly understood subject, and yet you and other conservatives who put greed before the common good, are willing to take the word of a few oil company-funded deniers as the last word on the subject. The truth is that the worse effects may not even be what's going on in the atmosphere, but instead what's happening to the world's oceans which absorb about half of that CO2 that's pumped into the atmosphere every year:

ScienceDaily (Feb. 23, 2009) — A dramatic increase in carbon dioxide levels is making the world's ocean more acidic, which may adversely affect the survival of marine life and organisms that depend on them, such as humans. The article "Off Balance Ocean" is scheduled for the Feb. 23 issue of Chemical & Engineering News.

In the article, C&EN Associate Editor Rachel Petkewich notes that the increased use of fossil fuels has caused levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to nearly double since the Industrial Revolution. The ocean absorbs large amounts of carbon dioxide — about 22 million tons a day — causing the water's pH to decrease or acidify. The pH scale measures how acidic or alkaline substances are. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral. A pH less than 7 is acidic. A pH greater than 7 is alkaline. The ocean's pH is currently about 8.1, down from 8.2 in the 18th century, the article notes. Scientists project that the ocean's pH will fall by about 0.3 more units in the next 50 to 100 years. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/...90223091752.htm

Your first sentence was right; it is poorly understood. In 1975 Newsweek ran an article called "The Cooling World" (link to jpeg image of article).

Excerpts below:

There are ominous signs that the Earths weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.

The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually. During the same time, the average temperature around the equator has risen by a fraction of a degree a fraction that in some areas can mean drought and desolation. Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars worth of damage in 13 U.S. states.

To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the worlds weather. The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earths climate seems to be cooling down.

*****************

A survey completed last year by Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals a drop of half a degree in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere between 1945 and 1968. According to George Kukla of Columbia University, satellite photos indicated a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72. And a study released last month by two NOAA scientists notes that the amount of sunshine reaching the ground in the continental U.S. diminished by 1.3% between 1964 and 1972.

******************

Just what causes the onset of major and minor ice ages remains a mystery. Our knowledge of the mechanisms of climatic change is at least as fragmentary as our data, concedes the National Academy of Sciences report. Not only are the basic scientific questions largely unanswered, but in many cases we do not yet know enough to pose the key questions.

******************

The worlds food-producing system, warns Dr. James D. McQuigg of NOAAs Center for Climatic and Environmental Assessment, is much more sensitive to the weather variable than it was even five years ago. Furthermore, the growth of world population and creation of new national boundaries make it impossible for starving peoples to migrate from their devastated fields, as they did during past famines.

Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed,
such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers
, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.

Now, would you have been among those geniuses that wanted to dump soot all over the Arctic? Doesn't sound like such a great idea eh.

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...it is poorly understood.

When humans are confronted with something they have a poor understanding of they usually approach it cautiously.

Now, would you have been among those geniuses that wanted to dump soot all over the Arctic? Doesn't sound like such a great idea eh.

Speaking for myself, no, I don't think this would be a good idea.

I think a better idea would be to reduce our CO2 emissions on general and precautionary principles alone. If evidence points to dimming as a possible solution to warming, we should place a large solar panel between us and the sun and use it to cool the Earth. We could always build a reflector as well to increase the temperature when it gets too cool. Obviously we could use both of these to generate power and beam it back to Earth to power all the new electric cars that the auto sector is going to build us.

Whatever we do, any economic stimulus that doesn't have a corresponding environmental componant at this point will be an excersize in futility. You can have a natural ecosystem without a human economy but you can't have it the other way around, its just that simple .

Do you really think humans can just keep drawing down the bank of natural capital forever without consequence? Do you honestly believe the planet's economy can be restored to its former glory on the back of what's left of that capital without putting anything back into too it other than more pollution?

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....Do you really think humans can just keep drawing down the bank of natural capital forever without consequence? Do you honestly believe the planet's economy can be restored to its former glory on the back of what's left of that capital without putting anything back into too it other than more pollution?

Yes...humans are, after all, of the earth. We are not aliens from outer space.

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I think a better idea would be to reduce our CO2 emissions on general and precautionary principles alone.
Right. You only have that position because you don't understand the energy system and you have been fooled in believing it is possible to support 9 billion+ people without emitting large amounts of CO2. Renewables and electric cars are pipe dreams and will never replace the infrastructure we have now unless there is some major technological breakthrough.
Whatever we do, any economic stimulus that doesn't have a corresponding environmental componant at this point will be an excersize in futility. You can have a natural ecosystem without a human economy but you can't have it the other way around, its just that simple .
Humans are part of the environment like beavers or ants. We modify the ecosystem but that is not necessarily bad. More CO2 and warmer average temperatures simply brings the planet back to where it was when the majority of organisms alive today first evolved. This will be a good thing for the ecosystem as a whole.

Climate change is NOT an ecological problem. It is human economic problem that only exists because the huge numbers of humans alive today are not particularily mobile and cannot shift with the climate.

Do you really think humans can just keep drawing down the bank of natural capital forever without consequence?
DO you really believe it is possible to feed 7 billion people without doing what we are already doing? Edited by Riverwind

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A good illustration of why the anti-CO2 nuts are clueless:

http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/promethe...energy-gap-5062

Lewis’s numbers show the enormous challenge we face. The world used 14 trillion watts (14 terawatts) of power in 2006. Assuming minimal population growth (to 9 billion people), slow economic growth (1.6 percent a year, practically recession level) and—this is key—unprecedented energy efficiency (improvements of 500 percent relative to current U.S. levels, worldwide), it will use 28 terawatts in 2050. (In a business-as-usual scenario, we would need 45 terawatts.) Simple physics shows that in order to keep CO2 to 450 ppm, 26.5 of those terawatts must be zero-carbon. That’s a lot of solar, wind, hydro, biofuels and nuclear, especially since renewables kicked in a measly 0.2 terawatts in 2006 and nuclear provided 0.9 terawatts. Are you a fan of nuclear? To get 10 terawatts, less than half of what we’ll need in 2050, Lewis calculates, we’d have to build 10,000 reactors, or one every other day starting now. Do you like wind? If you use every single breeze that blows on land, you’ll get 10 or 15 terawatts. Since it’s impossible to capture all the wind, a more realistic number is 3 terawatts, or 1 million state-of-the art turbines, and even that requires storing the energy—something we don’t know how to do—for when the wind doesn’t blow. Solar? To get 10 terawatts by 2050, Lewis calculates, we’d need to cover 1 million roofs with panels every day from now until then. “It would take an army,” he says. Obama promised green jobs, but still.

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A good illustration of why the anti-CO2 nuts are clueless:

http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/promethe...energy-gap-5062

I don't think green tech is going to replace fossil fuels, but it isn't a bad supplement. The energy sector is where it's going to be at, might as well cash in, nuclear, green, bio, conventional, it will all be needed...

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I don't think green tech is going to replace fossil fuels, but it isn't a bad supplement. The energy sector is where it's going to be at, might as well cash in, nuclear, green, bio, conventional, it will all be needed...
I look at it this way:

Everyone agrees that exercising is good and that being able to complete a 10k marathon is a worthy goal. However, I think most people would agree that passing a law that required an out of shape 50 year old to complete a 10k marathon in under 40 minutes will likely result in either the law being ignored or the person severely injuring themselves attempting to achieve the impossible.

That I why I can support a variety of incentives for renewable energy sources but absolutely oppose hard targets that will never be achieved. Laws that mandate the impossible will at best be ignored but they have the potential to severely damage the economy in the process (i.e. accelerate the transfer of jobs/technology/industry to countries without such hairbrained laws).

Edited by Riverwind

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Your first sentence was right; it is poorly understood. In 1975 Newsweek ran an article called "The Cooling World" (link to jpeg image of article).

Excerpts below:

Spare me!

To begin with, your 1975 article has nothing to do with the problem I mentioned that half of the CO2 we are producing is being absorbed by the world's oceans and making conditions more acidic and destroying corals and other marine life. And since you're offering an opinion on a scientific topic, have you considered asking yourself whether your old Newsweek article represented the consensus of scientific opinion at the time, or was the research they were citing an outlier even back at that time?

Climate myths: They predicted global cooling in the 1970s

This scenario was seen as plausible by many other scientists, as at the time the planet had been cooling (see Global temperatures fell between 1940 and 1980). Furthermore, it had also become clear that the interglacial period we are in was lasting an unusually long time (see Record ice core gives fair forecast).

However, Schneider soon realised he had overestimated the cooling effect of aerosol pollution and underestimated the effect of CO2, meaning warming was more likely than cooling in the long run. In his review of a 1977 book called The Weather Conspiracy: The Coming of the New Ice Age, Schneider stated: "We just don't know...at this stage whether we are in for warming or cooling - or when." A 1975 report (pdf format) by the US National Academy of Sciences merely called for more research.

The calls for action to prevent further human-induced global warming, by contrast, are based on an enormous body of research by thousands of scientists over more than a century that has been subjected to intense - and sometimes ferocious - scrutiny. According to the latest IPCC report, it is more than 90% certain that the world is already warming as a result of human activity (see Blame for global warming placed firmly on humankind).

Update: A survey of the scientific literature has found that between 1965 and 1979, 44 scientific papers predicted warming, 20 were neutral and just 7 predicted cooling. So while predictions of cooling got more media attention, the majority of scientists were predicting warming even then.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11643

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Right. You only have that position because you don't understand the energy system and you have been fooled in believing it is possible to support 9 billion+ people without emitting large amounts of CO2. Renewables and electric cars are pipe dreams and will never replace the infrastructure we have now unless there is some major technological breakthrough.

So, let's all get together and do nothing and pave the way for the extinction of future generations!

Humans are part of the environment like beavers or ants. We modify the ecosystem but that is not necessarily bad. More CO2 and warmer average temperatures simply brings the planet back to where it was when the majority of organisms alive today first evolved. This will be a good thing for the ecosystem as a whole.

Get real! OUr modification of the environment can't even be compared with beavers and ants. And our modifications, even going back to the beginnings of agriculture are still recent developments in the history of life on Earth. According to zoologists tracking declining numbers of plant and animal species, we are already in a mass extinction cycle, even though most people aren't even aware of it.

Climate change denial strategy seems to look more and more creationism: we never can tell exactly what we're arguing against. First deniers claim CO2 isn't increasing, then the increase isn't man-made, then increase CO2 lags temperature increases, now it's sure, CO2 levels are rising and the earth is getting warmer, but that's a good thing! A good thing maybe if you want to see the end of life on Earth, since past melting of the Arctic sea ice and high CO2 levels coincided with the worse mass extinctions in the planet's history.

Climate change is NOT an ecological problem. It is human economic problem that only exists because the huge numbers of humans alive today are not particularily mobile and cannot shift with the climate.

It can be both an ecological problem and a human economic problem; and in the past, ecological disasters have inspired mass migrations of people and wars, such as the barbarian invasions of the Huns and later the Mongols.

DO you really believe it is possible to feed 7 billion people without doing what we are already doing?

Which is why the Earth's population needs to decrease instead of increasing......but hopefully in an orderly fashion and not one of those Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse population reduction strategies.

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Which is why the Earth's population needs to decrease instead of increasing......but hopefully in an orderly fashion and not one of those Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse population reduction strategies.
Do you have kids? If so have you encouraging them to not have kids? Have you considered eliminating your own environmental footprint through suicide? If not then you are all talk and no action.

The cruel reality is that it is not practical to decrease the earth's population without resorting to measures that most would consider repugnant. The only option we have is to promote growth and development in the poor countries that are creating the population problem. Of course, this will only increase the impact that humans have on the environment.

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Get real! OUr modification of the environment can't even be compared with beavers and ants. And our modifications, even going back to the beginnings of agriculture are still recent developments in the history of life on Earth. According to zoologists tracking declining numbers of plant and animal species, we are already in a mass extinction cycle, even though most people aren't even aware of it.
So what? The environment is always changed by the organisms living in it. The idea that environmental change is bad and the planet before humans was in a state of perfection is absurd. That kind of thinking is nothing more than the Christian "orginal sin" myth with "Gaia" recast as the garden of eden/diety.
Climate change denial strategy seems to look more and more creationism...
Yada yada yada..... The entire alarmist religion has replaced holy books with computer models. People who dare to suggest that these computer models do nothing more than reproduce the expectations of their makers are called infidels and viciously attacked for questioning the word of "god" as revealed through his priests (a.k.a. IPCC approved climate scientists).

It would be pathetic if there was not so much at stake because the cult of climate change has found too many followers.

Edited by Riverwind

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A good illustration of why the anti-CO2 nuts are clueless:

http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/promethe...energy-gap-5062

Lewis’s numbers show the enormous challenge we face.

The challenge appears just as nuts looking at it from the other side, I just can't see how we can physically sustain 9 billion people burning 28 - 45 terawatts of conventional carbon based energy sources when our economy and ecosystems can't even sustain ourselves now using 14 terawatts.

I'd say our best years are probably behind us and probably forever.

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The challenge appears just as nuts looking at it from the other side, I just can't see how we can physically sustain 9 billion people burning 28 - 45 terawatts of conventional carbon based energy sources when our economy and ecosystems can't even sustain ourselves now using 14 terawatts.
That is what Elrich said in the 1970s. He was proven wrong.

I also disagree with the claim that 'the ecosystems cannot sustain themselves'. That is a value statement that presumes that change is necessarily bad. The real question is whether humans can adapt to the changing ecosystems and I think we will find that humans can if there is a will. However, the energy being spent campaigning against carbon is dangerous because it diverts attention from the need to adapt.

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That is what Elrich said in the 1970s. He was proven wrong.

I also disagree with the claim that 'the ecosystems cannot sustain themselves'.

Who claimed that? I meant us when I said our economy and ecosystems can't even sustain ourselves now using 14 terawatts. I should have said us instead or ourselves. Ecosystems as I've said can and have existed independently of our economy for millions of years. Our economy cannot, however much we believe otherwise, exist independantly for even a few short years of Earth's ecosystems. No more than you could live without air for more than a few minutes.

The real question is whether humans can adapt to the changing ecosystems and I think we will find that humans can if there is a will. However, the energy being spent campaigning against carbon is dangerous because it diverts attention from the need to adapt.

This is definitely the question and I agree that humans can if there is a will. However, the energy being spent campaigning for carbon is dangerous because it diverts attention from the need to do adapt.

Edited by eyeball

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The challenge appears just as nuts looking at it from the other side, I just can't see how we can physically sustain 9 billion people burning 28 - 45 terawatts of conventional carbon based energy sources when our economy and ecosystems can't even sustain ourselves now using 14 terawatts.

I'd say our best years are probably behind us and probably forever.

I would agree, if we persist in nutsy policies of transferring wealth to unproductive regions, cultures and peoples. If people have to provide for their progeny they'll find a way of limiting population growth pretty damned fast. If some beneficent world government provides or promises handouts, people will treat procreation as recreation and react accordingly.

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I would agree, if we persist in nutsy policies of transferring wealth to unproductive regions, cultures and peoples.

I'm almost afraid to ask but do you agree that transferring the bulk of North America's manufacturing capacity elsewhere was a good idea?

If people have to provide for their progeny they'll find a way of limiting population growth pretty damned fast. If some beneficent world government provides or promises handouts, people will treat procreation as recreation and react accordingly.

The problem is however that most of humanity ultimately depends on their progeny to look after them. What we should be doing is taxing the carbon footprint of wealthy people and paying poor people to stop having children.

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Ecosystems as I've said can and have existed independently of our economy for millions of years. Our economy cannot, however much we believe otherwise, exist independantly for even a few short years of Earth's ecosystems. No more than you could live without air for more than a few minutes.
That is another assertion that does not support your original claim about the systems not being sustainable. The ecosystems and economies are always changing and adapting. Where is your evidence that the adaptation that happened in the past will cannot take place in the future?
This is definitely the question and I agree that humans can if there is a will. However, the energy being spent campaigning for carbon is dangerous because it diverts attention from the need to do adapt.
CO2 is a hypothetical problem invented by people who place too much faith in computer models. Any energy spent trying to "solve" an hypothetical problem is going to be wasted. There are enough real economic/ecological issues that need addressing (i.e. loss of cropland due to over fertilization, problems with fresh water supplies). We should not be wasting time with the hypothetical. Edited by Riverwind

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