Climate Change Adjustments Must Be Fast And Major, U.N. Panel Says

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A new report from the United Nations' panel on climate change says major action is needed, and fast, if policymakers want to limit global warming to acceptable levels.

There's an international target to control climate change: keeping the global temperature rise to just 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — that's 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. TheIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change now says it's technically possible to meet that goal. But doing so will require rapid, large-scale shifts in energy production and use.

Greenhouse gas emissions will have to drop 40 to 70 percent by 2050 — and then drop even more, to nearly zero by the end of this century — the report says.

The trouble is, emissions have actually been increasing. The panel notes that emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the previous three decades.

Reversing that trend would require a huge shift toward energy sources like wind, solar or nuclear power, plus a slew of other changes, like increasing the energy efficiency of buildings and slowing deforestation.

"That's not going to happen on its own. Public policies are going to be required. That's the key message," says Harvard University's Robert Stavins, an economist and expert on climate agreements who worked on the report. "What's really striking and what's new about the report is that policy is addressed much more comprehensively than previously."

Written By: Nell Greenfieldboyce
continue to source article at npr.org

66 COMMENTS

  1. I find these presentations really interesting. It really goes to show how hard it is for humans to grasp long term trends and problems that might arise in the future. Just think about it for a second. Here are a few leading scientists smiling in front of a camera after having delivered a presentation that presents the near future as not bright but perhaps an unprecedented disaster where billions people might die. It’s like not even the scientists can grasp or come to terms with what they are actually saying. It’s all so polite, it’s all so civilized. Men (mostly) in suits sitting in comfortable ball rooms casually talking about what might very well be the end of human civilization as we know it. If you actually think about it, it’s really absurd. I guess, this is one of the reason why people don’t seem to be bothered by climate change. It’s all embedded in a very technical and sterile language. It’s almost like it isn’t really happening in the real world but only in boring technical scientific papers.

    I know many despise Al Gore for his “fear-mongering” with regard to climate change. Yes, he misrepresented some of the science. Yes, it was counterproductive since AGW deniers can point at Al Gore’s errors and claim global warming is altogether a fraud. But, in all honesty I kind of appreciate his passion and ability to actually get people’s attention. Even if there are errors in his presentations, watching them really gives you a good idea what we are heading for. We need more people like Al Gore.

    • In reply to #1 by Nunbeliever:

      I know many despise Al Gore for his “fear-mongering” with regard to climate change. Yes, he misrepresented some of the science. Yes, it was counterproductive since AGW deniers can point at Al Gore’s errors and claim global warming is altogether a fraud. But, in all honesty I kind of appreciate his passion and ability to actually get people’s attention.

      Hi Nunbeliever,

      It’s been awhile since I’ve seen An inconvenient Truth. However I remeber thinking at the time that the criticisms I was hearing where weak. The two I remember where that he incorrectly reported the melting of the ice in the Himalayers as too early – but as this was taken directly from an incorrect section in an IPCC report that is more down to them than him. And that the graph he showed indicated early warming events preceeding rises in CO2. I agree that this was not fully explained but given a limited time for any movie I felt that this was understandable. As for being alarmist I don’t see how most of the predictions at the time have turned out to be much worse that reported then. Could anyone fill me in on any actual mistakes he deliberatly made (note- I’m not interested in conspiracy nonsense from climate deniers)? Perhaps you or Alan4Discussion if you are reading. Just prefer to be informed. Cheers

      • In reply to #2 by Reckless Monkey:

        Could anyone fill me in on any actual mistakes he deliberatly made (note- I’m not interested in conspiracy nonsense from climate deniers)? Perhaps you or Alan4Discussion if you are reading. Just prefer to be informed. Cheers

        Well, it’s obviously been a while since I watched his documentary. I think that Al Gore was not as much guilty of errors in the sense that the information he presented was completely wrong. It had more to do with exaggerations. Al Gore has mostly been criticized for using, what scientists at the time labelled, worst case scenarios. For example, he showed maps of the sea level rising several meters washing away entire cities, islands and countries. He also linked natural disasters (like Hurricane Katrina) and changing environments to global warming without having concrete evidence to support his case. I can’t remember how explicit his claims were. My point though, is that the documentary seems to be a quite accurate portrayal of what future generations might be facing.

  2. In reply to #2 by Reckless Monkey:
    >

    It’s been awhile since I’ve seen An inconvenient Truth. However I remeber thinking at the time that the criticisms I was hearing where weak. The two I remember where that he incorrectly reported the melting of the ice in the Himalayers as too early – but as this was taken directly from an incorrect section in an IPCC report that is more down to them than him.

    The Himalayas error was from political campaign input, not science.

    I have not seen ” An inconvenient Truth.” but would take the view that “alarmist claims” are similar to the “alarmist” nature of a fire alarm! – reflecting the denials of those who want to live in their little world of delusion – aided and abetted by those who want to continue to profit from carbon sales from their obsolete industries, – immune from government intervention.

    The IPCC has greatly added to its research since its earlier report.

    The later IPCC report – http://www.climate2013.org/spm and most recent reports confirm all the key issues and then add some.

    Al Gore took on the difficult task of trying to convince many scientifically illiterate people of the urgent need for action, in the face of a heavily funded disinformation denial campaign, which had no regard whatever, for truth or social responsibility.

  3. It’s all so polite, it’s all so civilized. Men (mostly) in suits sitting in comfortable ball rooms casually talking about what might very well be the end of human civilization as we know it. If you actually think about it, it’s really absurd. I guess, this is one of the reason why people don’t seem to be bothered by climate change. It’s all embedded in a very technical and sterile language. It’s almost like it isn’t really happening in the real world but only in boring technical scientific papers.

    This is an excellent point. People cannot relate to distant facts; it needs to be personalized. Let’s take our cues from religion and start using the power of “story” and analogies. If they can make us relate to a supposed God/creator of the universe by nailing him on the cross centuries ago (plus all those dated stories) certainly we can make climate change relevant. All sorts of stories need to be told – fiction to analogies with animals. Baby animals trigger something in us and could be useful. Dying species and changing landscape also is good. A fiction of someone’s great, great, granddaughter’s life (who happens to be pregnant.) Zoom out to the future and then back into present day to make it relevant…. Visual graphs that are illustrated showing the changes in a fun kid friendly manner may help. There also needs to be some sort of “what you can do” to go along with everything.

    • In reply to #4 by QuestioningKat:

      Yes, I think we need to use more emotional and strong language in order to get people to react. The problem though is that emotional campaigns are only effective in the short term… and if you bombard people with these campaigns they tend to have less of an effect. A good example is all the campaigns for Africa in the 80s. I still remember all the posters and ads with swollen starving children with flies in their eyes. They were really scary and quite effective in getting people to donate money to charities. But, after a while you just start ignoring these pictures. We need to find a way to attract attention to global warming and climate change for many decades to come. I honestly don’t know how to do that.

    • *In reply to #4 by QuestioningKat

      . People cannot relate to distant facts; it needs to be personalized. Let’s take our cues from religion and start using the power of “story” and analogies

      Apparently Hollywood is stepping in to address this aspect. A series of dramatised, personal accounts is planned to tell the personal stories relevant to climate change. I’m not sure if this is going to be a film or a TV series, but I do know that Arnold Swatznegger and Harrison Ford are signed up to star in the production.

      • In reply to #11 by Nitya:

        *In reply to #4 by QuestioningKat

        . People cannot relate to distant facts; it needs to be personalized. Let’s take our cues from religion and start using the power of “story” and analogies

        Apparently Hollywood is stepping in to address this aspect. A series of dramatised, personal accounts is plan…

        When I was a child I would wonder about climate change. I would think about my campfire and motor vehicles and wonder if the heat and pollution they created ever left the planet. I think about billions of years of time and many of the events that occurred including: uncontrolled forest fires, volcanos, and asteroid impacts. There is the sun constantly heating the earth. Surely it should be hot by now. The heat never seems to stick around. The cold winter always comes. There are so many ice ages and unice ages. Although there have been many supposed green forests in history that turned to desert.

        From time to time I see a story in the news about climate change. The weather man will say ‘this is the hottest day on record here since 1936′ then I wonder if people were concerned with global warming back then. It seems like if the weather man goes back far enough he will always find a hotter time in history, or a colder time.

        Calgary, Alberta was recently washed away by the flood of High River. That is its actual name and has been for many years; longer than anyone there can probably remember. I don’t think anybody was alive when the river was named. I imagine they gave it the name ‘High River’ so that future generations would be aware of the danger just by reading its name. But this did not work as well as planned, the people see High River and mock it’s name. They state how stupid the man who named it must have been because ‘clearly’ as they say ‘the river is low’. ‘Maybe it used to be high’ they say ‘global warming caused it to disappear’. Then the river rises and washes Calgary away and ‘Oh shit, global warming’. I am personally aware of the possibility of any river rising over its banks, some rivers are more likely to flood than others.

        When the continents start to break apart and drift across the oceans we will then clearly know for sure that global warming is real. I think earth change has been happening for billions of years. The problem might be that some people have just come to the conclusion that it is happening a little too fast for their liking and they have ridiculous solutions. The Pope sweats and everyone is ordered to turn off their engines, put out the fire, and perhaps cut the hearts out of a few men. There, that should do it, the Pope feels cooler already. Not doing what we used to do is not a solution. I think we need to figure out how to do what we always do, but better and with no pollution. Telling people to trade in their muscle cars for smart cars because it’s better for them will not do.

        When I drive down the highway I see a crew of people at work cutting down the trees. This crew of people never seems to go away, they are always here and there along the road. The trees don’t appear to go away for long either, they seem to constantly thrive out to towards the highway.

        It’s easy for me to understand that when I burn plastic and many other things and breathe in the fumes it is unhealthy for me. Even smoking doesn’t seem to be healthy anymore. But I enjoy it. And I enjoy driving old vehicles equipped with a V-8; coincidentally while doing so my engine gives off CO2 for the trees- now that’s getting 2 birds stoned with one joint.

        • In reply to #13 by Tender:

          I can see how tempting it must be to look at the weather and not feel alarmed. The change on a small scale is barely perceptible. It’s also easy to see how one could look at the changeable nature of climate over long passages of time and not think current trends are anything out of the ordinary.

          Small variations in temperature can have major consequences, however. Here in Australia , the weather patterns are strongly influenced by the el niño effect. This is caused when currents bring warmer water from South America. The warm water increases the air temperature and eventually we can experience greater numbers of devastating bush fires. Houses are lost, native animals destroyed and farmland laid waste. Our environment is fragile and the slightest change in temperature can result in dramatic weather events. The inhabitants of this country experience the consequences directly and in a very small timeframe.

          I’m afraid your comment about the correlation of smoking and future health problems leaves me speechless! It probably won’t affect you for a few more years, but just wait until you’re in your mid-sixties and the telltale X-ray reveals a suspicious shadow. Use your imagination and visualise visiting the surgeon and having him tell you that the tumour is inoperable so you’ll need an aggressive program of chemotherapy and radiation! Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky few to make it till you’re in your eighties? It’s not worth the gamble.

          • In reply to #15 by Nitya:

            In reply to #13 by Tender:… I’m afraid your comment about the correlation of smoking and future health problems leaves me speechless!

            My elderly mom “enjoyed smoking” most of her adult life but she no longer can smoke because you can’t smoke when you are hooked up to an oxygen tank 24 X 7. She even has to sleep with the damn thing. It’s really a pain, every time we go anywhere I have to factor in about another half hour to an hour for her because she has to move very slow even with oxygen and an oxygen tank is surprisingly heavy and a drag to get in and out of cars and buildings with.

            BTW, there was no doubt in the mind of her doctor that smoking is the reason her lungs are almost useless to her in old age.

            I hope this doesn’t put a crimp in Tender’s enjoyment of smoking. Actually I’m enough of an altruist that I sort of hope it does but having read Trivers book on self deception I’m unfortunately rather confident that Tender will find ways to rationalize this and convince him or herself that what applies to my mother and virtually all of the smokers who were in a nursing home with her (I realized oxygen rental would be a great business) won’t apply to Tender.

          • In reply to #16 by Red Dog:

            Yes! I could go on because this is very relevant to me at this moment! ( not me, fortunately), I saw the light many decades ago.

            I’ve looked for Trivers’ book in all the libraries to which I belong but I guess I’ll just have to spend money and buy it!

          • In reply to #17 by Nitya:

            In reply to #16 by Red Dog:

            Yes! I could go on because this is very relevant to me at this moment! ( not me, fortunately), I saw the light many decades ago.

            I’ve looked for Trivers’ book in all the libraries to which I belong but I guess I’ll just have to spend money and buy it!

            Cool, hope you like it. BTW, Dawkins also likes that Trivers book, he had an article about it on this site a long time ago before it was published and recommended it which was why I originally made sure to get it.

            Do you have a Kindle or iPad? The Trivers book is also in Kindle and other formats and my local library always has an electronic copy. It may take a little work to set up your account to get access to the eBooks, at least it did for me but once you do it’s awesome. it’s so cool to browse the library at my computer, find a book I want, and then it’s on my Kindle without me even having to get my lazy butt out of the chair.

            BTW, if you are a Luddite who just loves real books and won’t read eBooks I actually understand as well. That was my opinion for a long time but once I tried the eBooks I went from Luddite to Zealot. Anyway, hope you like the Trivers book in whatever format you can find it.

          • In reply to #18 by Red Dog:

            Too late! I’ve just ordered the book online. I wish I’d read your post first because I have an iPad and like instant access. Now I have to wait.

  4. The technologies are there for developing, but governments are still pussyfooting around, trying to dodge responsibilities!

    http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-gulf-of-kutch-50-mw-tidal-power-project-in-rough-seas-1569677
    >

    he project developer wants state government to hold stake in the proposed project, but the latter wants to be only facilitator.

    The 50 MW tidal power project, proposed to come up in Gulf of Kutch, seems to have run into an unexpected barrier. The project’s developer, Singapore-based Atlantis Resources Corporation, wants the state government to hold stake in the ambitious project, the first of its kind in the country. The government, however, wants to restrict its role to that of a facilitator.

    The proposed project will be Asia’s first commercial scale tidal power plant. Atlantis, which had signed an MoU for setting up the project during Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2011, wants the government to hold 40% equity in the project, said an official.

    DJ Pandian, principal secretary, energy & petrochemicals department, said that the state government wants the tidal power project to come up in Gujarat. However, it is content playing the role of a facilitator.

    “The state government’s policy is to facilitate private investment. And, we are doing so by providing a conducive environment and by helping investors obtain various approvals and clearances in an easy manner. We do not want to hold any equity interest in the project,” said Pandian.

    However, considering the fact that tidal energy is an unexplored area in India and the risks associated with the project, state government was exploring other options to see if the project can get financial assistance under any government scheme. “We are also exploring if the project can get assistance under any Central scheme,” added Pandian.

    When contacted, a company spokesperson said that the project details were under negotiation and it was not appropriate to comment on them.

    However, he added that Atlantis was delighted with the progress made and that further field data gathering exercises in Gulf of Kutch, which have been running for past few months, will soon be complete. The project is expected to deliver important economic benefits for the region and also pave the way for more such projects along Gujarat’s coastline.

    According to officials, the 50 MW project is estimated to cost around Rs450-500 crore. The project can be completed within 18-20 months and can be scaled to more than 200 MW capacity.
    Atlantis had earlier said that it will also conduct investigations into the ability to combine offshore wind resource in the Gulf of Kutch with the proven tidal current resource to assess the feasibility of a mega marine power project.

    http://atlantisresourcesltd.com/media/news/1-latest/106-atlantis-unveils-the-worlds-largest-tidal-turbine-the-ak1000.html

  5. For sunny climates or desert locations 24/7 solar power is an excellent solution to low carbon systems replacing coal.

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/how-it-works-solar-power-towers-with-integrated-storage-78892

    The 110MW Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant, located near the town of Tonopah in the Nevada desert, will be the largest solar tower plant with integrated energy storage facility built to date.

    But what exactly is it? What does storage actually do? And how does it work?

    Let’s start with the tower. There are a bunch of different technologies that come under the umbrella of solar thermal, or concentrated solar power. These include compact linear Fresnel reflectors, and parabolic troughs.

    Solar towers use heliostats (or dual-axis sun-tracking mirrors) to reflect the sun’s heat onto a single receiver point. This technology is favoured because it can generate more heat than other technologies, has great economies of scale, and can integrate storage.

    That heat could be used for industrial processes, such as steam production, as well as generating electricity. Generally, the more heat that is created, the more efficient the plant.

    The heliostats track the sun‘s movements through the day. At SolarReserve’s Crescent Dunes facility, the plant will comprise 600 hectares of land, approximately 10,340 heliostats (each one 115 sq metres) with a total of approximately one million square metres of glass.

    In the case of Crescent Dunes, the receiver (and the solar tracking algorithms) was derived from rocket engine propulsion technology developed by Rocketdyne, now a subsidiary of Aerojet.

    Unlike other solar towers, which heat water directly to create steam and drive a turbine, the Crescent Dunes facility will heat molten salt, which is piped through the receiver located at the top of a tower, which is 180m high.

    Two storage tanks are used. A cold tank stores the salt at 280C, pumps it up to the top of the tower where it circulates through the receiver, where the salt’s temperature is taken to 565C and it is then piped back down to the hot storage tank.

    There, the energy is stored for use at a later time or released immediately into a heat exchanger that produces steam that powers a standard steam generator.

    Solar power tower – Wikipedia

    Governments need to stop subsidising exploration for coal and oil, and get the subsidies and guarantees directed to renewable technologies.

    The above are large generation plants to replace coal-fired steam-turbines, but there are many smaller more local systems, which can be used in a wider range of climates. The information is readily available.

    Solar thermal energy – Wikipedia

  6. Thanks Nunbeliever and Alan4Discussion,

    I’ve watched it a couple of times but not for many years. My feeling was while he portrayed alarm (that no-one or very few in the general public until Tim Flanery and he started speaking about it was feeling) I couldn’t remember him claiming anything that was exaggeration. In that he for example (from memory) linked specific amounts of melting to ocean sea level rises rather than saying that this will definitly happen. Where I thought he was excellent was in that he was not a scientist but clearly very good at communication and convincing people (hence the politics), I’m not sure if he had become president he would have gotten as much tracton on the issue as he did (of course you need to balance this against having George Bush for two terms). Scientists are trained to be analylitical and precise and expect the whole process to work the same way this often leaves the general public feeling that they are unsure or not terribly concerned. Sometimes you need someone to say loud and clear “The house is on fire, get out!”. The Moon missions became boring to the public because all of their interactions were clipped and precise. These were all military pilots trained to keep information brief and to the point for the very good reason that you’re blocking the channel for everyone else so you can’t be chattering away. So the ideal astronaught is not necessarily the ideal person to communicate to the public about it. Anyway thanks again, you have got me curious I’ll have to get it out and watch it again.

    Cheers

  7. In reply to #1 by Nunbeliever:

    It really goes to show how hard it is for humans to grasp long term trends and problems that might arise in the future.

    Hi Nunbeliever. I am very concerned about the underlying driver of Climate Change, which is severe overpopulation, which many competent scientists reckon is already more than double the long-term sustainable limit.

    We are still having a major problem getting people to accept that humanity can & has changed the planetary climate, but even more problems getting folk to even discuss the population issue.

    Without addressing the fact that we have 3-4 billion too many humans already, the chances of slowing climate change by a noticeable amount are doomed to ultimate failure, since the Earth’s capacity for carrying such a huge resource using & abusing species is already overloaded.

    The social, political & economic issues involved in massively reducing population very much overshadow those of climate change, to the point that we’re so scared that we hardly ever bring up the subject, despite these two issues being intimately intertwined.

    I’ve done quite a bit personally for 10+ years to reduce my life footprint & resource loading, even though I won’t be around when the shit really hits the fan, but I do hope us humans can face up to the really big picture – which is well past it’s ‘best by’ date – before it’s far too late…. Mac.

    • In reply to #10 by CdnMacAtheist:

      The social, political & economic issues involved in massively reducing population very much overshadow those of climate change, to the point that we’re so scared that we hardly ever bring up the subject, despite these two issues being intimately intertwined.

      A recent fluffy piece of news reporting celebrated the birth of baby #16 to a local family. The footage showed happy family shots of the logistics involved in caring for such a large family. Personally, I was appalled. How could this family keep wilfully adding to the 7 billion already here on earth. They probably imagine their offspring are adding to the community as healthy, hardworking citizens, but I think the time for these “feel-good” stories has passed. I’m not suggesting that these families be pilloried by the rest of the community, but I do think that people should be asked to think twice before adding to the population burden. Perhaps advice from the pulpit would be a good place to start.

      • Appalled is the right word. And it’s glorified by equally appalling “reality” TV shows such as the 18 (or 19?) and counting one here in the states on that most loathsome of cable channels, “TLC: The Learning Channel”. This (birthing huge families) has been a Muslim strategy for years, albeit primarily radical Islam. Supposedly as preparation for never ending jihad. And of course the annihilation of the Jews. Whichever comes first.

        In reply to #12 by Nitya:

        In reply to #10 by CdnMacAtheist:

        The social, political & economic issues involved in massively reducing population very much overshadow those of climate change, to the point that we’re so scared that we hardly ever bring up the subject, despite these two issues being intimately intertwined.

        A rec…

      • In reply to #12 by Nitya:

        In reply to #10 by CdnMacAtheist:
        Perhaps advice from the pulpit would be a good place to start.

        Hey Nitya….

        For me, the oncoming overpopulation disaster overrides all other global issues, since they are all driven by our exponential increase in numbers over recent centuries, leading to these climate change issues, especially since we started using fossil fuels in quantity.

        I first brought up this subject here in Jan 2013 with my only RDFRS Discussion “The herd of elephants in the room” after noticing the lack of coverage or comments – apart from some by A4D & others. I was a bit disappointed that the response was less than I hoped – apart from a tech-head wishful-thinker who thought that we’ll just technologize our way past the issue (much exaggerated by me, he claimed).

        I continue to comment on the subject, but I’d like to see more attention given to this growing problem. The tide is starting to turn on climate change with such strong evidence finally getting our 10 second attention spans, but radical population reduction will be a much more intractable problem with all the social, political, economic, regional & religious engines driving this overloaded & leaking ship forward.

        One of the main reasons I’m a strong anti-theist is because religions are the main driving force behind population increases & is the social force most resistant to change – just as fossil fuel interests deny climate change, dragging our economics & politics along with them – because it hits them in their in-group size, their power-base, political influence & financing in the race among their memeplexes to dominate the local, regional, continental & global faith business.

        Irrationally & uncritically believing in revealed bullshit handed down by submissive faithists deluded by indoctrination is bad enough, but when they can’t even conceive of the real ‘end times’ consequences for all remaining species it’s the worst crime ever commited in our history.

        I do try to get to the bottom of issues – instead of bashing at symptoms – as best I can, but the reluctance of 21st century humans to see past their own noses on big issues is frustrating & deadly. The solutions aren’t easy for anybody – particularly all the 1st world societies who are the biggest resource abusers, but fearfully avoiding “the (growing) herd of elephants in the room” isn’t the answer…. Mac.

        • Mac,

          Instead of beating around the bushes arguing about abstract concepts and science associated with AGW, the simplest solution would be to focus on concepts even the most uneducated can relate to- unbridled population growth in a finite world.

          Yet for some baffling reason to me, the scientific community (and the UN) are still arguing the minutiae about effects of AGW, when the obvious solution would be to educate and explain the effects of overpopulation and take care of two problems simultaneously. Without wanting to sound too cynical, but it seems there are once again too many vested interests at work, scientists protecting their turf and livelihood, to address the real problems and relatively simple concepts of stabilizing and even reducing world population.

          I wonder why? Is is because there is an influential AGW industry and lobby group supported by unethical institutions craving funding that are slowly abandoning their principles of scientific truth in search of the almighty $?

          Maybe, maybe not, but the fact remains large amounts of public funding are made available for AGW research at the expense of possibly more significant issues ( population control), simply because it is the flavour of the day and there is a strong established lobby group.

          Personally, although a scientist myself, I’ve become a little disillusioned by a “system” that has strayed in certain instances from the basic scientific principles and methodology, to an institutionalized system of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back” and outright lying and falsification of data.

          Here is an article illustrating my point: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v483/n7391/full/483531a.html

          And a video on the problems of growth:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umFnrvcS6AQ

          I can also speak from personal experience whereby highly respected Researchers at prestigious Institutions of learning have admitted to falsifying data to come up with a certain conclusion, and been caught lying, all ultimately justified by personal financial gain. Although a complaint of academic misconduct is underway, realistically I don’t see any reprimand or censure ensuing . “Can’t rock the boat. Must maintain our reputation”. So much for scientific independence. jcw

          In reply to #21 by CdnMacAtheist:

          In reply to #12 by Nitya:

          In reply to #10 by CdnMacAtheist:
          Perhaps advice from the pulpit would be a good place to start.

          Hey Nitya….

          For me, the oncoming overpopulation disaster overrides all other global issues, since they are all driven by our exponential increase in numbers over recent cen…

          • In reply to #23 by kaiserkriss:

            Personally, although a scientist myself, I’ve become a little disillusioned by a “system” that has strayed in certain instances from the basic scientific principles and methodology, to an institutionalized system of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back” and outright lying and falsification of data.

            I don’t understand what your point is and I don’t see how that Nature article supports what you are saying. Are you saying that the process for funding research is not pristine and pure? Are you claiming that scientists are human, we have biases, and that these biases and political issues often get in the way of good research?

            Because I think all those things are true. I have specific stories of people who by my standards and most of the standards of my colleagues were not doing good research but they still always got grants because of their name, reputation, or they were really good at schmoozing the people who award grants.

            But so what? I mean is that really a surprise? Of course scientists are human and research funding is hardly ideal and I’m always open to suggestions for ways to make it better. But to go from all those obvious points to some general critique of science or the scientific community much less to in any way indicate sympathy for the liars and idiots who won’t accept the overwhelming scientific evidence for climate change seems totally unwarranted to me.

          • Red Dog: Thanks for your comment.

            Hmm, I can’t see where I attacked the principles of AGW research, since it has been clearly established and accepted by most luddites. If anything, I’m pleading for more research into curbing AGW by addressing the main culprit- ANTHROPOGENIC (man) aspect of AGW rather than just global warming. To spell it out simply: less man = less GW.

            I must’ve expressed myself poorly. I don’t disagree with anything you say, but am expressing disappointed that the “purity” of the sciences is being manipulated by certain individuals for ulterior, or less than noble motives. Not everyone has the obviously high standards you and your colleges do. If anything I’m pleading for those higher standards to be more widespread and that the slippery slope the less scrupulous have allowed themselves to fall into, for whatever reason, to be called out for what they are.

            Using the excuse of current human failings and foibles is not a valid excuse in my books. Its a cop out for not changing the status quo, and demanding we improve standards and evolve the process to something better. If anything it is enabling the liars and cheats.

            Call me naive for being an idealist, but I’ll gladly take that label over a manipulative fraud that’s guilt of misrepresentation, contrary to the scientific method.

            As for the article cited, it was used as an illustration how peer reviewed claims of significant breakthroughs in the cure for cancer in 85% of the cases examined “didn’t amount to a hill of beans” and were no longer pursued. I would call that damning evidence there is something wrong with the “peer review system”, and that it is being abused for personal gain. If its happening with Cancer research, surely it would be naive to suggest it is not happening elsewhere with other types of research?jcw

            In reply to #24 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #23 by kaiserkriss:

            Personally, although a scientist myself, I’ve become a little disillusioned by a “system” that has strayed in certain instances from the basic scientific principles and methodology, to an institutionalized system of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back” and o…

          • In reply to #26 by kaiserkriss:

            I don’t disagree with anything you say, but am expressing disappointed that the “purity” of the sciences is being manipulated by certain individuals for ulterior, or less than noble motives. Not everyone has the obviously high standards you and your colleges do.

            Thanks for clearing that up. I really wasn’t sure what you were saying. Which doesn’t mean you expressed it poorly, I often don’t get what people say. Anyway I’m glad you weren’t supporting the deniers, I wasn’t sure but I thought you might be and clearly you weren’t.

            Using the excuse of current human failings and foibles is not a valid excuse in my books. Its a cop out for not changing the status quo, and demanding we improve standards and evolve the process to something better. If anything it is enabling the liars and cheats.

            It depends. If someone fudges some data and then says “hey I’m only human!” that’s clearly a cop out I agree. But when I see general critiques of science or when someone points out a couple of specific examples of bad science and then uses that as a general critique of science or the current scientific community to me that’s not fair. Because we are human we are never going to completely get rid of bias and politics. In fact to some extent when people point out an example of someone who presented data prematurely but was then corrected to me that can just as easily be taken to show that science works and that unlike other disciplines (e.g. Theology, Postmodern theory) there are well defined and proven protocols for catching errors and frauds.

            Call me naive for being an idealist, but I’ll gladly take that label over a manipulative fraud that’s guilt of misrepresentation, contrary to the scientific method.

            We are in complete agreement there.

            As for the article cited, it was used as an illustration how peer reviewed claims of significant breakthroughs in the cure for cancer in 85% of the cases examined “didn’t amount to a hill of beans” and were no longer pursued. I would call that damning evidence there is something wrong with the “peer review system”, and that it is being abused for personal gain. If its happening with Cancer research, surely it would be naive to suggest it is not happening elsewhere with other types of research?jcw

            I disagree. IMO it’s not a problem with peer review per se, it’s an example that shows that peer review isn’t perfect and can still be politicized. I think a more appropriate response is not to say that there is something wrong with the peer review process but to get more specific about what was wrong about cancer research and how it could be corrected and how that might apply to other research.

            Not that much of a difference perhaps in what we are saying, it’s just that as an American I constantly see politicians and average citizens make general complaints about science that I think are groundless so I’m leery of talk that can support that kind of criticism.

            So far, correct me if I’m wrong I may have missed it, you haven’t really given any descriptions of specific problems or possible solutions. To me that would be valuable but just giving a general critique that says peer review doesn’t work the way it should isn’t.

          • Red Dog:

            We are in complete agreement.

            As for the imperfect peer review process, I haven’t really got my head around viable solutions and thus haven’t suggested any. I’m not an Academic, but work in industry and have recently been the victim of what appears to be a deliberate scam- thus my scepticism of the current system. Its broke and needs fixing by people with more knowledge and expertise than mine.

            I was told by the inventor “the claims made in the published paper were peer reviewed and thus truthful.” This was despite efforts made to independently verify the claimed results by a third party, (a Chemistry department in a highly regarded University specializing in the subject matter involved) utterly failed to reproduce the claims made by the inventor in any shape or form. Such “scientists” should have their credentials revoked and barred from ever working in the sciences again. Yet they do!

            I have been witness to several similar “claims”. Instead of being able to rely on the integrity of scientific principles being applied by scientists, as one should expect, especially with a peer review process in place, it now seems we are now in a situation where it becomes a case of “buyer beware”. It reflects poorly on science and scientists and potentially gives them the same credibility as homeopaths in the eye of the public at large. And it should’t be that way. jcw
            In reply to #27 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #26 by kaiserkriss:

            I don’t disagree with anything you say, but am expressing disappointed that the “purity” of the sciences is being manipulated by certain individuals for ulterior, or less than noble motives. Not everyone has the obviously high standards you and your colleges do.

            Tha…

          • In reply to #23 by kaiserkriss:
            >

            I wonder why? Is is because there is an influential AGW industry and lobby group supported by unethical institutions craving funding that are slowly abandoning their principles of scientific truth in search of the almighty $?

            You seem to have it backwards! The unethical institutions WITH funding from vested interests are using the tobacco strategy to cast doubt on reputable research.

            Maybe, maybe not, but the fact remains large amounts of public funding are made available for AGW research

            This is trivial in comparison with the subsidies of Trillions of Dollars are Pumped into our Fossil Fuel Addiction Every Year. It really is unsurprising that research should be funded to provide planning information on what land and resource management will be required in the coming years to avoid disastrous water and food shortages and allowing people to cope with various forms more severe weather.

            at the expense of possibly more significant issues ( population control),

            This is a false dichotomy – both CO2 pollution and population need to be regulated.
            Hurricanes, floods, big freezes, heat-waves, and droughts affect areas regardless of if they contain large or small populations.

            simply because it is the flavour of the day and there is a strong established lobby group.

            To suggest that man made global warming is some fashion-fad illustrates a profound ignorance of the urgency of the real major environmental and industrial changes which are urgently required if colossal losses are to be avoided by numerous human populations.

          • *In reply to #25 by Alan4discussion:
            *A4D:

            “To suggest that man made global warming is some fashion-fad illustrates a profound ignorance of the urgency of the real major environmental and industrial changes which are urgently required if colossal losses are to be avoided by numerous human populations”

            I have no real argument with what you are saying. I’m saying if you address the “MAN” or “Population” issues rather than just understanding the many causes of AGW, including Co2, you’ll be attacking the root of the problem more effectively. To most people the details of AGW is background noise they cannot get their heads around because they haven’t been trained in the minutiae of the subject.
            On the other hand, the concept of finite resources and an ever increasing population is relatively easy to understand, and can be easily illustrated and understood by anyone with the example of an ant farm.

            Its called the KIS principle- Keep It Simple.

            All the on going doom and gloom reports are achieving is putting people into a defeatist mode, because they can’t fully understand the science.
            What you seem to suggest is to cut CO2 down to zero, harvest energy from renewable sources (all good), but continue economic growth and population growth unabated, by not addressing those issues.

            I’m suggesting we address population growth and consumption. Taking your position to its ultimate but impossible conclusion would result in planet Earth being one mass of flesh expanding at the speed of light;-). Surely we have to put limits on growth of population and consumption before that occurs.

            So why not do it do now? By introducing concepts of population and resource development control that people can actually understand, we have a better chance of getting the necessary changes made to have a sustainable population on Earth for a long time into the future. Many studies show if people ” buy into concepts”, they are willing to change their bad habits. How do you get them to buy in? By selling them concepts they can easily understand.jcw

            In reply to #23 by kaiserkriss:

            I wonder why? Is is because there is an influential AGW industry and lobby group supported by unethical institutions craving funding that are slowly abandoning their principles of scientific truth in search of the almighty $?

            You seem to have it backwards! The uneth…

          • In reply to #28 by kaiserkriss:

            In reply to #25 by Alan4discussion:

            A4D: -”To suggest that man made global warming is some fashion-fad illustrates a profound ignorance of the urgency of the real major environmental and industrial changes which are urgently required if colossal losses are to be avoided by numerous human populations”…

            All the on going doom and gloom reports are achieving is putting people into a defeatist mode, because they can’t fully understand the science.

            What “defeatist doom and gloom”. You seem to have been listening to strawman drivel from denialists!

            The message is both clear and simple! Replace the obsolete polluting industries with new green technologies – and NO they are not vastly more expensive than carbon systems. That is a myth put about by denialists who are happy to hide the subsidies given to carbon sales and exploration.

            The carbon Luddite industries and countries also have a lot to lose. If their vast coal and oil reserves can’t be burnt and have to be left in the ground, they will effectively be revalued from multi-billions to zero.

            What is needed, is to take the subsidies away from the carbon polluters and invest the money in building the new systems – which will dilute the development costs and provide good returns when full production of them is under way.

            What you seem to suggest is to cut CO2 down to zero, harvest energy from renewable sources (all good), but continue economic growth and population growth unabated, by not addressing those issues.

            That is not what I said:- @25 – This is a false dichotomy – both CO2 pollution and population need to be regulated.

            I’m suggesting we address population growth and consumption.

            So am I. Not only do we need to stop the population explosion, but we also need to stop the explosion in levels of consumption in rich countries. It is also unsustainable for populations which currently have low levels of consumption to increase their consumption to the level of rich profligate countries.

            Taking your position to its ultimate but impossible conclusion would result in planet Earth being one mass of flesh expanding at the speed of light;-).

            I don’t know where you got that from:- @25 – This is a false dichotomy – both CO2 pollution and population need to be regulated.

            Surely we have to put limits on growth of population and consumption before that occurs.

            Indeed we do, but the need to change our energy generation and usage, needs to happen regardless of other changes.

            I have no real argument with what you are saying. I’m saying if you address the “MAN” or “Population” issues rather than just understanding the many causes of AGW, including Co2, you’ll be attacking the root of the problem more effectively. To most people the details of AGW is background noise they cannot get their heads around because they haven’t been trained in the minutiae of the subject.

            It is the devious strawman arguments generated by denialists which are complicated. For those who accept multiple confirmations of the science, the issues are simple:

            Build tidal, wave, wind, hydro-electric, geothermal, thorium nuclear, and solar photovoltaic and solar thermal energy systems. Grow biofuels, insulate buildings and fit heat and ventilation management systems with ground heat storage facilities. Install electric bus and train services where these are economic, reduce waste and unnecessary travel, stop causing releases of CO2 and methane by poor land-use and poor agriculture, and get rid of most of the fossil carbon burning pollution before the natural escalator feed-backs kick in and the whole thing gets beyond our control.

            What you seem to suggest is to cut CO2 down to zero, harvest energy from renewable sources (all good),

            There is a temperature related natural balance in land and oceans on the planet between absorption of CO2 and releases of CO2. We have destroyed that balance and need to restore it. The longer we put off doing so, the further we will have to go to, or below, zero CO2 emissions. (ie. CO2 extraction and sequestration). Reducing consumption in some technical areas can be as simple as replacing filament light-bulbs with LED ones!

            There are already feedback effects from the decomposition of carbon sinks (peat-bogs and forests), Ocean acidification, and increased wild fires. There is also some signs of increased natural methane releases (even before we look at leaks from fracking and oil wells)

            The public needs to listen to the science specialists. You don’t need a degree in electronics to use a television set! – Just a set of competently written instructions.

            Making spouting wilfully fraudulent pseudo-science a criminal offence would also help.

          • Sorry A4D, I missed the comment about Co2 and population control and was focusing on the last paragraph of #25. My bad.

            What you are suggesting is a paternalistic approach, which history has shown never really works long term (the Television example). On the one hand we as atheists want to invoke more critical thinking of the populous at large, but now you are suggesting the population at large “just believe us because we are right and know what we are doing”.

            Sounds very much like a religion to me.

            You can’t have it both ways. OR, am I totally misunderstanding you?

            I’m still missing a reason, valid or not, why we can’t address population control (first raised in #23) that more should be undertaken in said field in your answers to my position. You simply continue to put forward great ideas – many of which are already being implemented to change our energy consumption patterns from fossil fuel based ones to renewable ones, but don’t address my position. However, as you are well aware, to change an existing, established infrastructure overnight is a nigh on impossible task, and takes time. As does implementing and even discussing population control.

            If anything, I’m complaining, again, the elephant in the room- population control is being skirted and avoided at all costs when there should be an imperative to address the unpleasant subject at a global level. How many studies have you seen on the subject as compared to studies on AGW, when obviously the two issues are very closely related? Empirical evidence would suggest very few. Similarly the prominence given to population control in the media is quite sparse. Why? It’s an unpleasant subject relatively easily understood and not as glamorous or prestigious in the eyes of the public as AGW?

            Or, you tell me. jcw

            In reply to #30 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #28 by kaiserkriss:

            In reply to #25 by Alan4discussion:

            A4D: -”To suggest that man made global warming is some fashion-fad illustrates a profound ignorance of the urgency of the real major environmental and industrial changes which are urgently required if colossal losses are to be avo…

          • In reply to #34 by kaiserkriss:

            What you are suggesting is a paternalistic approach, which history has shown never really works long term (the Television example). On the one hand we as atheists want to invoke more critical thinking of the populous at large, but now you are suggesting the population at large “just believe us because we are right and know what we are doing”.

            Sounds very much like a religion to me.

            You can’t have it both ways. OR, am I totally misunderstanding you?

            I’m still missing a reason, valid or not, why we can’t address population control (first raised in #23) that more should be undertaken in said field in your answers to my position.

            Population control should be addressed, but the rest of the world’s problems cannot wait for this to happen – especially in the face of the determined opposition from some powerful agencies.

            You simply continue to put forward great ideas – many of which are already being implemented to change our energy consumption patterns from fossil fuel based ones to renewable ones, but don’t address my position.

            My position is that the problems should be addressed concurrently, not sequentially.

            However, as you are well aware, to change an existing, established infrastructure overnight is a nigh on impossible task, and takes time. As does implementing and even discussing population control.

            The only culture which has rapidly got results from population control is the enforced Chinese “one child policy”.

            As for changing infrastructure, the problem is politically wilfully delayed starting, not the ability to build the new!

            We could have thorium nuclear generation, now, but for media promotion of hippy-green stories and militaristic politicians, who had to have uranium and plutonium for bombs, – which hopefully will never be used.

            The French have been running on (uranium) nuclear generated electricity Nuclear power in France (75% of the country’s total production), and have had the operational Rance Tidal barrage, which has been open since 1966.

            What you are suggesting is a paternalistic approach, which history has shown never really works long term.

            The Chinese enforcement and repression of religious counter campaigns, is the only successful example of rapid results. European education has worked with EDUCATED populations, but these are being out-numbered and replaced, by unrestricted proliferating native and immigrant religi-breeders.

            What you are suggesting is a paternalistic approach, which history has shown never really works long term. (the Television example)

            Respect for peer-confirmed science is not “paternatism”. It is the “authority of expertise”, on which we rely every time we use a power-tools, modern transport, or modern medicine. It is not perfect, and like all human systems, is open to abuse, but it is vastly superior to the more or less assured failures of politically adopted pseudo-science and quackery.

            The television example, is where the technology has been taken over by the quackologists, with scientific peer-confirmed information, being largely replaced with trivial amusement, opinions of the ignorant, and political manipulation.

          • In reply to #42 by Alan4discussion:

            but these are being out-numbered and replaced, by unrestricted proliferating native and immigrant religi-breeders.

            Though containing truth this isn’t broad enough for me.

            The habit of religiosity and hyper breeding both find their roots in marginal existences. In third world countries both arise as a wish-thinking and a practical hedge against a gloomy future respectively. Kids die under these circumstances and having a sufficiency of surviving children is essential to be able to survive yourself into any kind of old-age. As Melinda Gates observed contraception will not be embraced until infant and child mortality rates tumble.

            The only way to reliably control populations is to create personal security, excellent infant health and female education to the highest levels. Theocratic religious parasitism thrives under the conditions that drive hyper breeding and it does everything in its power to encourage the supply of fresh young minds, unsullied by education, but it is an additional problem not the root per se.

            The issue in Europe, despite these concerns, is a small one. Europe has flat-topped in population growth (so too Japan, but not China yet). It is Africa that is exploding. If we continue to press for decent female education in Europe I see no reason why the observed changes in immigrant habits towards the local norm won’t continue. (Having said that I do want a more robust treatment of communities that shield individuals from state services and a general change in all to the understanding that children are not property.)

            The big bucks and attention need to go fix Africa, to bring our population growth under control in a benign way.

            I am incidentally, much less exercised about population growth than I used to be. I now see big populations as bringing more minds to bear on our major long term problems, the natural catastrophes waiting to happen, and creating the economic muscle to insure against them. I also see techniques actively being used that dramatically increase food yield per square metre and drop water and energy usage to 10% and change the whole sustainability equation. I also suspect that in the centuries to come after the competitive growth phase, wealth creation will occupy less and less of our time, freeing us to a life of future problem solving and education. Then, and only then, would I be happy to see populations drop an order of magnitude to 1bn, say. (I suspect this will occur naturally, though.)

          • In reply to #30 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #25 by Alan4discussion:
            Making spouting wilfully fraudulent pseudo-science a criminal offence would also help.

            Hi Alan…. 8-)

            Your comment is why I’m so much an anti-theist, since ignorant, submissive and fearful theistic ‘my-god-did-it-by-magic’ thinking is the biggest enabler of non-science nonsense. Religion should only be practiced by adults in private until they become extinct & humanity takes proven reality more seriously with the use of effective policies & actions.

            The fact that there are no sky daddies to protect & save his mind-slaves is the best reason for us to collectively do something about our trajectory, before it’s too late & we can only await ‘armageddon’ as our infrastructures collapse in ways that make the 2008 financial meltdown seem like a mere blip in the market.

            It won’t take too many economic implosions or big natural disasters to upset our precarious economic, political & social systems. Just the ocean level rises that will flood & ruin so many waterfront cities & communities will create issues that will push our world wars far down the future lists of history’s biggest man-made disasters.

            I don’t have all the answers, but whistling in fear past the biggest problem to throw a bucket of water on a forest fire isn’t enough to save humanity & civilization as we know it… Mac.

        • *In reply to #21 by CdnMacAtheist

          . One of the main reasons I’m a strong anti-theist is because religions are the main driving force behind population increases & is the social force most resistant to change – just as fossil fuel interests deny climate change, dragging our economics & politics along with them – because it hits them in their in-group size, their power-base, political influence & financing in the race among their memeplexes to dominate the local, regional, continental & global faith business.

          I remember the thread and I agree wholeheartedly. I also recall the fact that I didn’t have much to contribute because by that stage it had been comprehensively covered by others. Attitudes towards family size need to be changed. I think this is possible in the west as we’re all susceptible to methods of persuasion used by the media. These days it would be unthinkable to make a racist or sexist comment as one would be exposed as ignorant and unfeeling. A pregnant woman would be chastised if seen holding a glass of wine or smoking a cigarette. I think the media needs to portray a small family as a responsible choice made by the parents.

          The news clip I mentioned was quite irresponsible to my thinking. The family were obviously motivated by some brand of religious nuttery, and would have no doubt felt that they were fulfilling their obligations as adherents to their faith. IMO anyone with any influence over the behaviour of others needs to be up there extolling the benefits of no population growth.

    • I totally agree with you Mac. We live on a planet with finite resources. Growth of any kind, be it population, economic or resources out of which we make things will ultimately bring us closer to the finite limit the faster we consume them.

      Europe represents roughly 10% of the world population, and North America another 11%. Even if both were wiped out instantaneously that would still leave 5.5 billion of us around reproducing. 5.5 billion is probably STILL to much for planet earth to handle. I just wonder where on the normal curve describing population cycles, the human animal currently resides. In my undereducated opinion (no evidence) we must be getting close to the plateau before falling into rapid decline. As a beneficial side effect, the problem of AGW will also become less and less of a problem. Ultimately, as a civilization the majority of us by far, are still to dumb to understand these things… jcw
      In reply to #10 by CdnMacAtheist:

      In reply to #1 by Nunbeliever:

      It really goes to show how hard it is for humans to grasp long term trends and problems that might arise in the future.

      Hi Nunbeliever. I am very concerned about the underlying driver of Climate Change, which is severe overpopulation, which many competent scientists…

    • In reply to #10 by CdnMacAtheist:

      Without addressing the fact that we have 3-4 billion too many humans already, the chances of slowing climate change by a noticeable amount are doomed to ultimate failure, since the Earth’s capacity for carrying such a huge resource using & abusing species is already overloaded.

      ‘Too many people’ is a common mantra fed to us by affluent folk who don’t want to pay attention to their own consumption habits and the economic system that relies on these consumption habits. It should be pointed out that many of these ‘too many people’ are themselves involved in one way or another with sustaining the consumption habits of the first group, and that have made it possible in the first place for workers in the ‘First World’ to enjoy so many benefits. It’s certainly true that under the CURRENT system (I guess, once again, it falls to me to name it: CAPITALISM), there are ‘too many people’. That doesn’t mean that population is the ‘main problem’.

      ‘I am very concerned about the underlying driver of Climate Change, which is severe overpopulation,

      No it isn’t. The underlying driver of climate change is capitalist accumulation and its need for ever-greater energy through-put and resource extraction to fuel growth and avoid stagnation and depression. Without paying attention to the nature and imperatives of capital accumulation and why it’s NECESSARY in a capitalist economy, your analysis is dead in the water.

      which many competent scientists reckon is already more than double the long-term sustainable limit.

      True, given capitalism. In order for China and India to attain the same standard of living and consumption as the United States, we’d literally need several more Earths. In other words, the drive for continued growth is a flat-out ecological impossibility, and billions of people must NECESSARILY be kept poor and desperate if we’re to maintain capitalism while warding of (for the time being) ecological collapse. Of course, population is one important component of the problem and should be addressed in a real solution to this ecological crisis, but to confuse it with the primary problem is to have a truncated view that precludes a genuine long-term resolution rather than temporary remedy.

      To fix the problem, you first have to know what it actually is:

      1) the capitalist imperative to expand or die
      2) the need for capital to subjugate nature and turn it into a commodity
      3) the capitalist-imperialist world system wherein ‘Third World’ countries are basically neo-colonies for imperialist capital and that service the high standard of living in the imperialist ‘centres’
      4) the conditions in Third World countries that make it rational, at the individual level, to have more children

      Focusing on ‘too many people’ without also looking at the structural factors that lead to this situation (that is, focusing on point 4 without looking at points 1-3) is to ignore that itself a form of national chauvinism wherein the well-to-do people in the wealthy nations prescribe ‘solutions’ to the problems created by the hordes of overpopulating brown folk in the Third World and condescendingly view their reproductive habits as ‘the’ problem of our age, without acknowledging that the world is interconnected and that reproductive choices occur within a material context as part of a global system. Of course, I don’t expect any TED talk to touch this with a ten-foot pole.

      The notion that we can keep on consuming and living in basically the same way we do now if we just assume more personal responsibility in our energy use and if governments ‘get their act together’ by funding more ‘eco-friendly technologies’ is delusion that is certainly on a par with anything coming out of religion. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: the question isn’t so much whether we can devise technologies, reproductive practises and consumption habits to ‘solve’ the ecological crisis; the question is whether we have the social organisation to take advantage of those practises. And the answer, clearly, is NO, we don’t. If anyone thinks otherwise, please let me know.

      • In reply to #47 by Promethean Entity:

        In reply to #10 by CdnMacAtheist:
        ‘Too many people’ is a common mantra fed to us by affluent folk who don’t want to pay attention to their own consumption habits and the economic system that relies on these consumption habits. It should be pointed out that many of these ‘too many people’ are themselves involved in one way or another with sustaining the consumption habits of the first group, and that have made it possible in the first place for workers in the ‘First World’ to enjoy so many benefits.

        I’m very specific in my Comments (going back 2 yrs) about how the ’1st world’ populations are the biggest part of the problem, since they contribute 5-9 times more than 3rd world societies to the ‘carrying capacity loading’ of our planet – see my Comment 21: “The solutions aren’t easy for anybody – particularly all the 1st world societies who are the biggest resource abusers.”

        It’s certainly true that under the CURRENT system (I guess, once again, it falls to me to name it: CAPITALISM), there are ‘too many people’. That doesn’t mean that population is the ‘main problem’.

        Capitalism, with its need for constant growth, is one of the reasons reducing population growth or size is so difficult, but the fact that our population is too big is as clear as climate change is.

        Mac said: ‘I am very concerned about the underlying driver of Climate Change, which is severe overpopulation,

        No it isn’t. The underlying driver of climate change is capitalist accumulation and its need for ever-greater energy through-put and resource extraction to fuel growth and avoid stagnation and depression. Without paying attention to the nature and imperatives of capital accumulation and why it’s NECESSARY in a capitalist economy, your analysis is dead in the water.

        The social, political and economic systems we now use are obviously the vehicles which we use to sustain our massive overpopulation – a situation which is non-viable in the LONG term, since the Earth has only so much usable resources to use up before spiralling down as multiple resource and food chains collapse.

        Mac said: which many competent scientists reckon is already more than double the long-term sustainable limit.

        True, given capitalism. In order for China and India to attain the same standard of living and consumption as the United States, we’d literally need several more Earths. In other words, the drive for continued growth is a flat-out ecological impossibility, and billions of people must NECESSARILY be kept poor and desperate if we’re to maintain capitalism while warding off (for the time being) ecological collapse.

        My comment history on this subject shows that I’m well aware of these facts, since our present ‘vicious-circle’ economic methodology is not conducive to large and rapid population reduction, ref my Comment 10: “The social, political and economic issues involved in massively reducing population very much overshadow those of climate change. . . .”

        Of course, population is one important component of the problem and should be addressed in a real solution to this ecological crisis, but to confuse it with the primary problem is to have a truncated view that precludes a genuine long-term resolution rather than temporary remedy.

        Using a wider view, the social, political and economic systems are so much of a problem because of our rapid growth in population over a short time. If our population had been on a much slower growth curve, we would have a lot more time to address the climate change problem and gradually change our methodologies to allow for a better, more sustainable, LONG term trajectory.

        To fix the problem, you first have to know what it actually is: 1) the capitalist imperative to expand or die 2) the need for capital to subjugate nature and turn it into a commodity 3) the capitalist-imperialist world system wherein ‘Third World’ countries are basically neo-colonies for imperialist capital and that service the high standard of living in the imperialist ‘centres’ 4) the conditions in Third World countries that make it rational, at the individual level, to have more children.

        I haven’t implied that the issues are simple or easy, but the basic driver of our global trajectory is both population size and growth curve, with all the other problems being consequential symptoms of that brute fact.

        Focusing on ‘too many people’ without also looking at the structural factors that lead to this situation (that is, focusing on point 4 without looking at points 1-3) is to ignore that itself a form of national chauvinism wherein the well-to-do people in the wealthy nations prescribe ‘solutions’ to the problems created by the hordes of overpopulating brown folk in the Third World and condescendingly view their reproductive habits as ‘the’ problem of our age, without acknowledging that the world is interconnected and that reproductive choices occur within a material context as part of a global system. Of course, I don’t expect any TED talk to touch this with a ten-foot pole.

        You may be making a general and salient point, but I haven’t said anything like that in my Comments, have I? My main focus is on the “long term carrying capacity” of our planet, which seems to call for a population of under 3 billion – and that’s the thing that people aren’t paying enough attention to – whatever it may take to get there, as quickly as possible, just like climate change.

        The notion that we can keep on consuming and living in basically the same way we do now if we just assume more personal responsibility in our energy use and if governments ‘get their act together’ by funding more ‘eco-friendly technologies’ is delusion that is certainly on a par with anything coming out of religion. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: the question isn’t so much whether we can devise technologies, reproductive practises and consumption habits to ‘solve’ the ecological crisis; the question is whether we have the social organisation to take advantage of those practises. And the answer, clearly, is NO, we don’t. If anyone thinks otherwise, please let me know.

        Yup, that’s been my point all along: do we have the rationality and willingness as a species to do the right things, of which it seems to me – because of religious power and self-centered intransigence, which supports delusional thinking despite all the evidence – changing our ingrained and selfish personal and social habits about population is the most difficult…. Mac.

        • In reply to #51 by CdnMacAtheist:

          My point is really that the political-economic system (which you alluded to as ”The social, political and economic issues”) should be NAMED so that it can be properly identified as the culprit. If the strands of the analysis aren’t unified into a coherent structure that links different phenomena together, then the analysis will remain disparate and diluted.

          Yup, that’s been my point all along: do we have the rationality and willingness as a species to do the right things, of which it seems to me – because of religious power and self-centered intransigence, which supports delusional thinking despite all the evidence – changing our ingrained and selfish personal and social habits about population is the most difficult.

          Whether ‘we’ (a word that implies a homogenous mass of people who somehow just happen to be ‘irrational’) can develop and internalise a suitable analysis is itself a function of asking the correct questions about class structure and basic economic organisation. Religious power is itself something with profound political-economic content, as is ‘self-centred intransigence’, which is fostered by the basic relations of production and distribution in society and all the contradictions it engenders. To get beyond that, you need to arm people with a systemic analysis. In sum, the issue isn’t whether ‘we have enough rationality’; it’s whether we can bring the proper analysis that pays attention to and brings to the fore the basic relations of society, that links these to a concrete account of how they are manifested in current society, so that people can BECOME rational so that they view their interests in a different way.

          Of course, the issue of population does need to be one of the points of the discussion, but not as something that should ever obscure or make excuses for not paying attention to the primary issue (I’m not accusing you of doing this, I’m just saying that we should keep this in mind when talking about population, and that we should call out those critics who put undue emphasis on it to the detriment of other factors).

          • In reply to #53 by Promethean Entity:

            Could I bring in another aspect of the “overpopulation” sub-thread that seems to be emerging here? No one has mentioned the fact that the strain of back-to-back childbearing has a negative impact on the quality of life for women with no alternative. When various women were interviewed in a television program called “The Vasectomist”, they all stated that endless childbearing was destroying their lives!

          • In reply to #54 by Nitya:

            Could I bring in another aspect of the “overpopulation” sub-thread that seems to be emerging here? No one has mentioned the fact that the strain of back-to-back childbearing has a negative impact on the quality of life for women with no alternative.

            No doubt. Any resolution to this gigantic problem must necessarily involve the empowerment of women (something that should be done in any case even apart from the ecological dimension).

  8. It did not take long for the carbon industry apologists to put a spin on the latests IPCC report!

    EU green light for UK carbon capture and storage project – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27063796

    A UK project to capture CO2 and bury it under the North Sea looks set to receive a 300m-euro boost from the EU.

    The European Commission has confirmed that the White Rose carbon capture and storage (CCS) project is in line to win the cash (equivalent to about £250m).

    The gas will be siphoned off from a new coal-fired power station and stored in undersea rock formations.

    Climate scientists believe CCS has a key role to play in reducing future CO2 emissions.

    Building large-scale demonstration plants that capture carbon from coal or gas and secure it in permanent storage sites has not been easy.

    In 2012, the European Union was unable to find a single project to fund when it attempted to spur the development of the technology.

    At first they could not find any European government daft enough, but with a bit of persistence Carbonaceous Cameron obliged!

    Undeterred, the EU Commission again asked governments to submit written proposals on CCS and, according to officials, the UK has nominated the White Rose project.

    As it is the only eligible plan to have been put forward, it is expected that a grant of 300m euros will now be forthcoming in June.

    The White Rose CCS project will involve the construction of a new, coal-powered plant next to the existing Drax facility near Selby, in Yorkshire.

    Drax is in the process of converting from coal to biomass, and by 2016 is expecting to generate half its power from wood pellets.

    White Rose will provide electricity to over 630,000 homes but 90% of the CO2 emissions from the plant will be captured, amounting to two million tonnes per year.

    The gas will then be transported through National Grid’s proposed pipeline to be permanently stored under the North Sea.

    Last year, the UK government selected White Rose and another facility at Peterhead in Scotland as the preferred options to receive development funding of £100m.

    “It marks a major political commitment by the government to ensure that we can keep using fossil fuels but without contributing to the problem of global warming.”

    “CCS technologies could reduce the lifecycle of greenhouse gas emissions of fossil fuel power plants,” says the report, which also stresses many of the downsides of the technology, including worries about the long-term integrity and safety of CO2 storage.

    Europe was once seen as a leader in developing the CCS technology but the costs have proved challenging. It is estimated that adding CCS to a power plant could increase the cost of electricity by between 50-100%.

    So they are going to build NEW coal-burning power-plants, rather than using carbon-capture as a stop-gap on old ones while low carbon replacement systems are built!

    There are safety concerns, and costs to customers will be much higher, but hey! – The politicians are going to celebrate us selling and burning coal for a while longer. Yippee!!!! – and we can call it green energy too!!! – After all, If the conversion to burning wood-pellets is taking away the market for coal, compensatory moves are need to keep the mining sponsors happy – and any grant money diverted away from solar, tidal, wind, and low-carbon building, can only help the coal industry!

  9. I’ve just popped back into this thread and I agree with you all. AGW is real. There are too many humans on this planet which has surpassed it’s carrying capacity. The humans are burning fossil fuels and they’re not attempting to counteract the effects ( such as carbon capture technologies). IMO it’s a war that needs to be fought on all fronts.

    We pussy-foot around the population growth issue because no one wants to enact the draconian measures employed by China. I’m not suggesting that any government should take that path as it’s unnecessary force when it’s not needed. Population growth in Europe began to fall as soon as contraception was made readily available. Look at all those big Italian families. We were told that Italians loved kids and I’m sure they still do, though now only 1.41 per woman.

    I wonder about the predicted dramatic decline in the world’s population after it has reached its peak 9-12k? What is supposed to bring about this dramatic decline? Will this happen because the Earth’s resources will be depleted to such an extent that people are dying in large numbers due to starvation? This is a terrible scenario.

    • In reply to #29 by Nitya:

      We pussy-foot around the population growth issue because no one wants to enact the draconian measures employed by China.

      Yeah, I’m weird that way I don’t like totalitarian governments telling me how to have sex or raise a family. All the people who are bemoaning how everything would just be better if we didn’t all want to maximize our reproductive success should go and re-read some basic biology. Yes, climate change might not even be an issue if we all didn’t like to fuck and take pride in the results. And as my dad used to say “if the queen had a schvantz she would be the king”. You may as well whine about how obesity wouldn’t be such a problem if we all didn’t like sugar and fat so much. We do and short of draconian government intervention that isn’t going to change so let’s talk about things we can change like how much Carbon we put in the air.

      • In reply to #32 by Red Dog:

        Red Dog: its called EDUCATION. If people understand the consequences of waving their Schwanz around they’d be more careful and use protection. With less consumers around, we also control the amount of Carbon we put in the air, because people will still insist on heating their food, have transportation requirements and heating needs in the cooler parts of the planet. Control # of people, = control amount of carbon emissions.

        It’s much like slavery. It took educating the masses with a relatively simple, easily understood concept, to the extent they then demanded the change in the form of abolition of slavery from their governments. Change can’t be forced, it has to come from within through conviction. Unfortunately, as like most things in life the “least common denominator” principle rules and needs to be applied to exact meaningful change. jcw

        In reply to #29 by Nitya:

        We pussy-foot around the population growth issue because no one wants to enact the draconian measures employed by China.

        Yeah, I’m weird that way I don’t like totalitarian governments telling me how to have sex or raise a family. All the people who are bemoaning how every…

        • In reply to #35 by kaiserkriss:

          With less consumers around, we also control the amount of Carbon we put in the air, because people will still insist on heating their food, have transportation requirements and heating needs in the cooler parts of the planet. Control # of people, = control amount of carbon emissions.

          I think you are indulging in wish-thinking here! Without the technology greatly reducing the levels of personal CO2 productions, the population reductions would have to be much more drastic!

          It’s much like slavery. It took educating the masses with a relatively simple, easily understood concept, to the extent they then demanded the change in the form of abolition of slavery from their governments. Change can’t be forced, it has to come from within through conviction.

          I would remind you that in the US it took a civil war to supposedly abolish slavery, with emancipation of blacks taking very much longer AFTER they were nominally liberated. In fact many are still the mind-slaves of the missionary evangelists and semi-slaves of commercialism!

      • In reply to #32 by Red Dog:

        You’re making it sound as if there is no other possible outcome! There is! The Kennedy family didn’t have large families because they could afford to, or that they just loved having children ( these are rationalisations I’ve heard in the past), they had large families because they didn’t use birth control measures? Accidents still happen, but they wouldn’t contribute to the overall size of the population to any great extent. I think all measures of contraception should be free and readily available for everyone on Earth! That’s not force, it’s persuasion.

        PS. Contraception should be advertised! Particularly in areas where family planning isn’t the norm. I’d suggest saturation advertising, though I couldn’t see governments going for this. The issue is too pressing to be using such a softly,softly approach.

        • In reply to #36 by Nitya:

          In reply to #32 by Red Dog:

          You’re making it sound as if there is no other possible outcome! There is! The Kennedy family didn’t have large families because they could afford to, or that they just loved having children ( these are rationalisations I’ve heard in the past), they had large families be…

          I’m of course for birth control education. I think it’s a good thing and that it will help lessen the effects of climate change. But I think it’s irresponsible to pretend that if we just practiced more birth control education we could make enough of an impact on the population to significantly lessen the effects of climate change.

          And I’m appalled that people who claim to believe in science and reason can be proposing support for tyrannical government solutions as an alternative to education. Because those are the only two options.

          So talking about birth control IMO is ultimately just one more trick of the climate change deniers to get us away from talking about things we could really do that would mean something. Exxon executives would agree with you that the problem is really all about population growth.

          • In reply to #37 by Red Dog:

            So talking about birth control IMO is ultimately just one more trick of the climate change deniers to get us away from talking about things we could really do that would mean something. Exxon executives would agree with you that the problem is really all about population growth.>

            Oh no! I think you’re missing the point. My first comment of the day @29, I stated that I agree with you all. I strongly believe that we need to use every possible measure to ensure that the projected outcomes don’t come to pass. I can’t see the point of wearing blinkers when the contribution of every family can help. If I have given the impression that I support the totalitarian method you’ve suggested, I want to clear that up now. I definitely want to leave family size to the discretion of the family, though I want them to make an informed choice. I think a nations should be in common agreement about the need for urgency. This is probably a pie-in-the -sky wish on my part, but I have to say it anyway.

            Each additional child born is not some random unit of production or potential consumer, but a person who is probably going to go to bed hungry at night.

            BTW I’m really surprised that you didn’t take me to task over my assessment of the motives behind the Kennedy’s large families. I was jumping to a conclusion and had no right to do so.

          • In reply to #39 by Nitya:

            In reply to #37 by Red Dog:

            So talking about birth control IMO is ultimately just one more trick of the climate change deniers to get us away from talking about things we could really do that would mean something. Exxon executives would agree with you that the problem is really all about population…

            Thanks for clearing that up. I think there are some other people who have commented recently who seemed to me to be talking about population control as if that was the “real problem” instead of fossil fuels and that was what I was objecting to. But I think we are in violent agreement; absolutely more birth control and a lot more education are one critical thing we can do to deal with climate change. And getting over the patriarchal sexist views of most religions is a big part of that.

  10. In reply to #29 by Nitya:

    …population growth in Europe began to fall

    Thought I read somewhere that at one point, the Italian government offered couples cash to have more children. Denmark tried a different approach recently – ‘romantic getaways’ were offered in hopes that sparks would fly, leading to procreation.

    aka layed & paid

    • In reply to #40 by bluebird:

      In reply to #29 by Nitya:

      …population growth in Europe began to fall

      Thought I read somewhere that at one point, the Italian government offered couples cash to have more children. Denmark tried a different approach recently – ‘romantic getaways’ were offered in hopes that sparks would fly, lead…

      You’re probably right about this as individual nations are becoming fearfiul of the shift in demographics. In Australia a substantial “baby bonus ” is given to new parents in the hope that these potential taxpayers will be able to sustain older workers as they reach retirement. I think we need to broaden our focus and look at the planetary population as a whole. There are plenty of future taxpayers out there, but they’re not the ones we specifically want. We want Australian, Italian, Japanese, Danish etc children to grow up and keep us in our dotage.

      I’m amazed that limiting population growth is seen as a conspiracy by climate change deniers. My mind is still firmly fixed on fighting the war on climate change on all possible fronts. A reduction in population growth is just one of these measures.

  11. I see from the comments that there is a lot of emphasis on the ‘wickedness’ of Africans and other fast-increasing populations. But how do we compare? ‘We’ are more ‘virtuous’ than many poor countries but, not so good by the standards of China, that shining light in terms of population control.

    Are we prepared to introduce strict population controls to match China’s efforts?. A one-child policy in the UK, USA, Australia, Ireland and Israel to match China’s level of virtue? The part that immigration plays does not change the argument. Unless we opt to reduce immigration as part of the overall policy of population control.

    Estimated % population growth rate for 2014 in 233 countries and territories

    • In reply to #45 by aldous:

      I see from the comments that there is a lot of emphasis on the ‘wickedness’ of Africans and other fast-increasing populations. But how do we compare? ‘

      While Africans are destroying much of their forests, they burn more firewood and less coal and oil than developed countries – ( although the carbon industries are trying to get them to develop industrial CO2 production!) Remote villages can access modern communications with the internet and photovoltaic solar panels without extensive infrastructure, and with cheap solar cookers, can even greatly reduce the workload, water-borne diseases, and forest destruction caused by over-using firewood!

      Solar cooker video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDgBgtnKpQU

  12. WOW! I’m truly impressed with the quality of discussion this particular topic has brought forth and also how it has evolved. From a rather tepid, more of the same doom and gloom report (we must rid ourselves of all Co2 production to have even a chance of survival) by the UN panel on climate change, to a discussion on associated issues of green energy, economic and population growth control, to a discussion on social structures that are required to ensure the human animal has a chance of overcoming the obvious trouble it is in currently.

    Thanks to ALL the contributors, you have all given me a reason to reexamine and modify and expand my own position on these intertwined issues that need to be addressed and given more prominence on the world stage.jcw

  13. World population will reach 9 billion by 2050. Therefore, measures to limit climate change have to take into account this inevitable increase in population. The question is how to slow the birth rate and stabilize world population at 9 billion. Availabilty of contraception is not enough in itself. Parents must be motivated to use contraception to limit the size of families. Somewhat paradoxically, it’s essential to ensure that more chidren survive. When infant mortality rates are as low as in developed countries, parents in the poorest countries will have no more children than in Europe and North America.

    That’s how Swedish health expert and statistician, Hans Rosling, explains it at anyrate in his 2010 TED talk Global population growth . So, an improvement in health provision and standard of living has to go together with availability of contraception, especially among the world’s poorest 2 billion.

  14. Our long term prospects depend utterly on “rapid, large-scale shifts in energy production and use” immediately according to the IPPC.

    Population policy is far too slow for mammals larger than mice. Our current population needs to make an unprecedented adjustment now and this seems most unlikely. Tantamount to retraining a mouse plague I reckon.

    On the available evidence Anthropocene primates lack sufficient insight to react rationally to the climactic hazards we’ve wrought while multiplying. Individual efforts are futile without determined public policy on a global scale.

    • In reply to #56 by Len Walsh:

      Our long term prospects depend utterly on “rapid, large-scale shifts in energy production and use” immediately according to the IPPC.

      I wonder what it will take? When will the large scale energy users and producers adopt rational practices? I think we ( in Austalia) won’t be motivated to do a thing until we’re on the brink.

      • In reply to #57 by Nitya:

        In reply to #56 by Len Walsh:

        Our long term prospects depend utterly on “rapid, large-scale shifts in energy production and use” immediately according to the IPPC.

        I wonder what it will take? When will the large scale energy users and producers adopt rational practices? I think we ( in Austalia) w…

        I agree with your assessment about Australia Nitya. (Edit: IPCC in lieu of IPPC)

        Australians may eventually react to sanctions imposed against coal exporters but they’re years away yet. A/G Brandis (our top lawmaker) rejects climate science as “politically correct” belief and he supports debating the issue with Andrew Bolt. He also seeks to introduce world-first (I think) legislation to protect racial bigots (Andrew Bolt again), so I’m fairly pessimistic.

        It seems unlikely to me that timely action is in prospect. Paranoia prevents international cooperation. Conspiracy theorists of every stripe inhibit any rational response on a public scale. Neo-conservatives malign climate scientists as religious conservationists or greenies and often regard the UN as a communist organ for social engineering. I call this paranoid biblical psychoticism although I recognize some atheists are so afflicted.

        • In reply to #58 by Len Walsh:

          In reply to #57 by Nitya:

          Don’t even talk about Brandis!

          We’re completely reliant on coal exports. I don’t know how this is going to play out in the long run, when China no longer wants our coal and has moved on to clean energy sources. We have put all our eggs in one basket!

          P.S. I guess I’ve spent too much time agonising about this topic and should just give it a rest, but I do feel very strongly about all aspects mentioned to date.

          • In reply to #59 by Nitya:

            In reply to #58 by Len Walsh:

            In reply to #57 by Nitya:

            I’ve spent too much time agonising about this topic and should just give it a rest, but I do feel very strongly about all aspects mentioned to date.

            If I didn’t have young grandkids I could let it go but this is the most important move humans will ever make I think. Sadly all the indications are that we won’t respond at sufficient scale any time soon. Over-population is important but action to address global emissions is needed now, to satisfy the 2050 targets cited in the OP. We seemed to be closer to action years ago, so my pessimism appears justified, when even atheists cultivate Terra War phobias instead of respect for science and reason. In any case I’m mostly content to follow the excellent and varied posts by you, Mac and especially A4D, when he’s posting to this topic at least.

            Please keep up your exemplary work as I’m certain numerous readers think similarly without necessarily contributing themselves.

      • In reply to #57 by Nitya:

        In reply to #56 by Len Walsh:

        Our long term prospects depend utterly on “rapid, large-scale shifts in energy production and use” immediately according to the IPPC.

        I wonder what it will take? When will the large scale energy users and producers adopt rational practices? I think we ( in Austalia) w…

        Australia has a drying climate with increasing heat-waves and droughts – together with a reliance in some areas, on a finite supply of fossil water. As with other parts of the world, the climate could adjust the population for communities which refuse to adapt!

        When the Chinese green technologies take over and they stop buying Australian coal, Australia will not have money for imports either. – Just a mountain of foreign debt, from money borrowed for mining exploration to find unextractable worthless coal “reserves”!

  15. What is so frustrating about Australia is that it has everything in place to develop a world class leadership in large scale solar thermal generation and solar cooling at local and district levels.

    Where are the people of vision when you need them?

    The root problem for all our ills might be romantically described as an unwillingness to dream of possible futures. More prosaically it is simple short-termitis.

    Part of the problem is panic and the belief that bandaids, vast quantities of bandaids, are all we can do. What we need, in fact, is to sell the single idea of sustainability (will this be something we can do again and again?) as a near universal panacea with immediate applicability. We need to realign tax incentives and banking legislation to favour long-term investments and sales taxes to discourage the sale of stuff that does not have a thought through life cycle. More importantly we need to carry existing businesses and business institutions with us through transitional business modes towards comprehensive sustainability.

    In the spirit of Sam Harris’s thought experiments it may, though, be necessary to contemplate an ideological antisepsis of luddite economic thinking. A swift nuclear strike against the US the UK and Australia has its merits…

    • In reply to #62 by phil rimmer:

      What is so frustrating about Australia is that it has everything in place to develop a world class leadership in large scale solar thermal generation and solar cooling at local and district levels.

      Where are the people of vision when you need them?

      The situation in Australia is worse than you describe. 8 of the 19 currently serving government ministers are full blown church going catholics!!! Tony Abbott is the prime minister and was always referred to as the Mad Monk during his political career. During my past 52 years in Australia it has been quite rare and novel to meet anybody who actually believed this stuff (a religious nutter was the common term for such people) so I am somewhat shocked to see so much power in the hands of said religious nutters. More evidence that religion is more about business, power and prestige than what people actually believe. You can tell Tony and his mates are Christians because they are completely amoral in their treatment of refugees, the environment and other such real world problems.

      • In reply to #63 by Catfish:

        In reply to #62 by phil rimmer:

        The situation in Australia is worse than you describe. 8 of the 19 currently serving government ministers are full blown church going catholics!!!

        Its gobsmacking, isn’t it? I would have thought Australia the last place to suffer this. Come on voters, you’ve been dozing and this is serious. A clean restart, else!

        • In reply to #64 by phil rimmer:

          In reply to #63 by Catfish:

          In reply to #62 by phil rimmer:

          The situation in Australia is worse than you describe. 8 of the 19 currently serving government ministers are full blown church going catholics!!!

          Its gobsmacking, isn’t it? I would have thought Australia the last place to suffer this. C…

          Ron Williams is trying to do something about it…. High Court Challenge to Chaplancy Program

          Chaplancy program is a government funded program to bring a first century sheep herders religion into public Australian schools in 2014. Just incredible isn’t it. Such is politics I am afraid.

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