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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
supergee
Jan. 18th, 2006 08:14 pm (UTC)
"Before this century is over, billions of us will die" strikes me as an actuarially reasonable statement that requires no further assumptions.
mckitterick
Jan. 18th, 2006 08:19 pm (UTC)
Ha - true! Okay, maybe he was just saying it that way to make us read further. Unfortunately, I think he means the Earth's population will be reduced by billions.
tessagratton
Jan. 18th, 2006 08:42 pm (UTC)
yikes. I hope he's wrong. But considering how enthralled I am by the earth system theory... ya gotta listen to him, at least a bit.

I think we need to add the complete works of shakespeare to that book of basic scientific knowledge he suggests for the survivors.
mckitterick
Jan. 20th, 2006 04:23 pm (UTC)
I agree! It would suck if the only literature that was truly preserved was that of L. Ron Hubbard in that titanium vault in Idaho or wherever, awaiting the return of the alien warlords. (No, really.)

Chris
bobhowe
Jan. 18th, 2006 09:23 pm (UTC)
As I said to Mike, David Ignatius covers the same territory in today's Washington Post in his column, Is It Warm In Here? with a slightly less hysterical tone, but the essential message is the same: by the time we know it's too late, it'll be too late.

professormass
Jan. 19th, 2006 03:43 pm (UTC)

Except that we had scientists telling us it would be too late by now as early as 1990.
bobhowe
Jan. 20th, 2006 02:54 am (UTC)
I'm not familiar enough with the science to know when researchers reached some reasonable consensus on global warming. It seems clear now that the holdouts are in the minority (the honest holdouts—not the hired guns in the pocket of industry). From what I know, it seems plausible that policymakers might have been forgiven in 1990 for not setting in motion huge economic programs based on the current science.

Now we have an administration that by its own admission is not part of the reality-based community, and whose track record for corrupting, ignoring and denying scientific facts is breathtaking. There is no excuse for its reactionary energy policy. But the straits we find ourselves in with global warming are partially an artifact of the way science works: answers are provisional, it takes time for data to accrete, and for that data to be analyzed. It then takes more time for peer review and consensus to build within the scientific community. Then it takes still longer for a critical mass of policymakers to take the scientists seriously. This is not, by any means, to let the Bush administration off the hook: it is the most corrupt, mendacious and incompetent government in living memory. I'm just saying the problem extends out past the edges of the government's responsibility.
the_monkey_king
Jan. 18th, 2006 09:37 pm (UTC)
Well, it's nice to hear him project a "worst case", and he's right about "when we know, it's too late."

But it's not exactly news, is it?
blzblack
Jan. 18th, 2006 11:54 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I was a bit disappointed in this sort of panic-generation (or even any kind of zealotry) in a scientist. There may be truth to what he says, but it seems to me the function of a scientist is to weigh the data. There are simply way too many climate models now, giving general trends. It seems to me he's way too definitive for the range of data available (but then I haven't read the book. It may be the book is more even-handed than the media).
minnehaha
Jan. 19th, 2006 12:41 am (UTC)
He's probably wrong, but he's certainly closer to right than those who pretend there's no problem.

B
pointoforigin
Jan. 19th, 2006 04:00 am (UTC)
Well! This sounds like EXACTLY the kind of thing you need to be reading while having the flu. Cheer up! We're all gonna die! :P Not that I'm not worried about the planet too . . . But maybe you need to step away from the computer and have some nice chicken soup, especially if you're going to spend the rest of your life in Antarctica.
mckitterick
Jan. 19th, 2006 04:12 am (UTC)
Heh. Well, no, I spent most of my day updating my various class websites (34 web pages at a quick count, holy mackerel!), class syllabi (4 of those), handouts (46 of those), and assignments (coincidentally 46 of those, too). And then creating spreadsheets of all my students' contact information, then writing to all of them to let them know where they can download all of these goodies.

Busy week!

Tomorrow I write to all the Sturgeon nominators and to Tor to find out why they didn't nominate anything for the Campbell.

Best,
Chris
professormass
Jan. 19th, 2006 03:44 pm (UTC)

Given what I've read from Lovelock and other reputable scientists, it's quite likely that he's entirely correct. And look at the cause — the mass explosion of the human pollution. Around 1 billion in 1900 to over 6 billion today. We're eating the planet.

We need to get to space. Sooner than later. Unfortunately, I doubt the technology will be there to make it happen.

*sigh*
mckitterick
Jan. 19th, 2006 03:49 pm (UTC)
You are entirely correct, but one danger is something Gunn has repeatedly warned about: There's a limited time in which we must establish real infrastructure in space (not the silly ISS) before we run out of fossil fuels to fuel our expansion. Once in space, we'll have access to unlimited energy (the sun, no blocking atmosphere), and that'll be a simple thing to then beam down to earth. With unlimited energy, anything is possible; with depleted energy, nothing is possible.

*shudders*
c3fyn
Jan. 19th, 2006 05:23 pm (UTC)
...and thus possum-kind inherited the world from its rather hastier former custodians...
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