I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Climate Change News

As anyone who reads these virtual pages knows I disagree with most of my progresive friends when it comes to climate change. Not because not because I deny it, I don't, but because I really don't think anything will be done about it because no one is willing to do it. A few of my thoughts:
  • While the climate is indeed changing anyone who thinks they can predict what's going to happen is as delusional as those who thought Iraq would be a cake walk. There are thousands of variables most of which we don't even know about and the rest we don't understand.
  • Any really effective short term solutions are just as devastating as the long term impact of doing nothing.
  • Carbon Credits are a delusional scam
  • Hybrid automobiles are like kissing your sister.
John Tierney points us to a commentary in Nature that claims there is no way to cut greenhouse emissions enough to make a real difference?
It becomes a bit more clear that we may have set ourselves down the wrong path when we framed the challenge of mitigating greenhouse gases in terms of “reducing emissions”. Characterizing the policy challenge in this way leads people in rich countries to focus on things like changing light bulbs and driving less thirsty cars – all good things, to be sure – but which can hardly make a dent in the overall challenge of stabilizing atmospheric concentrations. And it leads people in developing countries shaking their head – how can they “reduce emissions” when they hardly have any to begin with?
We must acknowledge up front that the world needs more energy – vast amounts more. The International Energy Agency projects that global energy demand will increase by 60% by 2030 and recent trends in China and elsewhere suggest that this may even be an underestimate. Consider also that published estimates suggest that 2 billion people or more currently lack access to electricity. Their energy needs have only one direction to go.
If the world needs more energy, and this fact seems inescapable, then the first question to ask is not “how do we reduce emissions?” but instead, “In a world that needs vast amounts of more energy, how can we provide that energy in ways that do not lead to the accumulation of carbon in the atmosphere?”
There can be only two answers to this question. One is to develop new technologies of energy supply that are carbon neutral or, to take carbon dioxide out of the air in some manner. Both types of actions require significant technological innovation. It is hard to square the I.P.C.C.’s conclusion that we have all the technology that we need with the results presented in our Nature paper.
They go onto to say that carbon taxes are not the way to go - it won't accomplish anything. Believe it or not I think that the authors are over optimistic because they think there is a solution. As I said here the real problem isn't just people using too much energy it's too many people consuming too many resources.
The estimated population of the earth in 1 AD was 200 million people. In 1800 AD it was approaching one billion, a five fold increase in 1,800 years. Between 1800 and 2000, a span of 200 years population increased six fold to over 6 billion people. This population increase was made possible in large part by fossil fuels. The reality is the earth cannot support six billion hunter-gatherers. The real solution to climate change, peak oil and water shortages can only involve population reduction. Certainly not politically correct so nothing will be done that is significant.
Nothing will be done but as the sea level rises, the deserts expand and the oil and water runs out the population will self equalize. Of course the wars over resources will speed this equalization along.