Archive for the 'Climate change' Category

A little bit less either/or

27 December 2008

A great insight by the always intriguing Micheal Pollan. The notion of wilderness is a beautiful thing but it has made it all too easy for us to dismiss the not-wilderness as beyond redemption – as outside the circle of care. What’s needed is an ethic of sustainability that applies to all the other part of nature not given wilderness status.

Here he is:

Soldiering on

12 October 2006

“Things are getting worse in terms of climate change and it’s clear that we’ll have to act before it’s to late and there is no hope left.”

This is an intellectual cul-de-sac. No matter how bad things get I cannot imagine that we’d ever decide that it was “too late” and that “there was nothing to be done”.

I guess I’m arguing that we’re misunderstanding something about ourselves when we bring arguments like that forward. There may come a time when it’s too late to do anything to save the world as we know it (and need it to be if we’re to survive). But at the same time, I just can’t see that it’s ever going to be intellectually possible for us to go “That’s it. It’s now too late to do anything.”

We’ll have to keep going until we drop.

29 June 2006

Real climate on the wisdom of geo-engineering as a solution of climate change:

Think of the climate as a small boat on a rather choppy ocean. Under normal circumstances the boat will rock to and fro, and there is a finite risk that the boat could be overturned by a rogue wave. But now one of the passengers has decided to stand up and is deliberately rocking the boat ever more violently. Someone suggests that this is likely to increase the chances of the boat capsizing. Another passenger then proposes that with his knowledge of chaotic dynamics he can counterbalance the first passenger and indeed, counter the natural rocking caused by the waves. But to do so he needs a huge array of sensors and enormous computational reasources to be ready to react efficiently but still wouldn’t be able to guarantee absolute stability, and indeed, since the system is untested it might make things worse.

So is the answer to a known and increasing human influence on climate an ever more elaborate system to control the climate? Or should the person rocking the boat just sit down?


29 June 2006

One world. Don’t fuck it up.


21 February 2006

I’m not seeing much (any?) talk about the intersection of climate change and peak oil.

There’s a prima facie case to say, of course, that since we’ll be running out of oil soon that global warming will just end up being automatically corrected by us managing to run out of oil at an opportune moment. I don’t know how seriously to take this particularly since there’s still a lot of coal in the ground and it could be a huge global warming offender.

That said, the possiblity that really interests me is that we run out of oil and have an economic crash right around the time it becomes inescapably clear that we need to take radical steps to mitigate climate change. So, we end up with a coincident need to take probably incredibly expensive steps at the same time as our ability to do so tanks.