Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

"
If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"
Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot,
by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse.
" -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Quite Possibly the Last Post That You'll See Here on Climate Change

Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy has a post up regarding the disappearance of old Arctic Ice. Essentially, the Arctic is on track to be ice-free in 30 years or so. The fabled snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro will likely soon be gone.

So why am I not going to blog about it anymore?

Because I agree with this guy: It's likely far too late to do anything about it.

I think that it was almost inevitable from the get-go. Even if it had been made crystal-clear to the politicians back when the First World was moving away from coal, nobody would have had the will to say "hey, we can prevent this from happening." No, we did what humans have always done, assume that "dilution is the solution for pollution". Which works until the system is overloaded. Which is why waiting for rivers to clean themselves stopped working decades ago. Which is why the air in many Chinese cities is almost unbreathable.

But we still persisted in the illusion that there were systems that were so large that we couldn't fuck them up: The atmosphere, the oceans.

Only now we have. By next year, atmospheric carbon dioxide will probably be over 400ppm year-round. The oceans are acidifying (not to mention all of the crap we've dumped into them).

So congratulations to humanity, for we've well and truly manage to fuck up our world, bringing about an extinction event unseen since the K-T (or K-Pg) Event, which was triggered by the Chicxulub impact 66 million years ago.

Now we have to adapt to it. For if we don't, if civilization goes away, there will be no restarting it. Almost all of the stuff that helped propel our society above the Stone Age is gone. The easily-obtainable copper, iron and tin deposits are played out. The coal that was mineable from the surface is gone. The oil that was bubbling from the surface has been exploited.

A hundred or two hundred million years from now, after plate tectonics has punched up some new mountains, things might be different. There may even be another intelligent species to take advantage of it. They'll probably fuck things up, too.

(Provided that Earth is still in the Goldilocks zone.)

7 comments:

One Fly said...

It really suck watching the only planet you will ever have die.

Joe said...

I don't think the planet will die. It's seen worse.

Best cartoon I've seen on the topic:
http://humon.deviantart.com/art/Mother-Gaia-207388674

One Fly said...

There is no humor on this point.

Borepatch said...

As you know, I'm quite sceptical about climate model projections. The Arctic was supposed to be ice free, according to projections from 5 years ago. Instead, it's back to normal. Why were the old projections wrong? What's different with the new projections?

Nobody really much talks about this.

I think the whole thing is a big distraction from environmental events of real significance, chief of which is local land use changes. Likely the reduced snow cover on Kilimanjaro is from the drying up of surrounding lands as they are developed, not from warmer temperatures (which we haven't seen in ~ 17 years).

Global Warming makes for good headlines for Greenpeace, but they're taking their eye off the ball where they could do some real good.

And politicians just see huge new taxes, which they've never turned down before. The taxes (unsurprisingly) are terribly regressive (see the electric rate increases in Europe) and so contribute to the impoverishment of the people while fat cats like Solyndra get big bucks.

Other than all that, it's great Progressive policy. ;-)

JeffreyPtr said...

Take heart, nature will eventually recover and establish a new equilibrium. It's just not likely to include humanity.

Richard said...

Everything is going to be fine. Man will go extinct and the earth will slowly recover. Man was never anything but an ego-centric pain in the ass anyway

Anonymous said...

Great attitude there, Richard. If you jump off a bridge now you'll leave more for the rest of us egocentric pain in the asses and less burden on the poor Earth which doesn't give a crap about any of us.