Will we overcome the problems of Global Warming?

ljfallavollita

Create Your Own Universe
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#1
This is a question that I have spent many hours thinking about over the last few years. Will mankind be successful in overcoming the challenges of Global Warming or will those that come after us face even bigger challenges?

What issues will mankind be facing in 2100? What about 2200?

I'd like to know your thoughts on this subject.
 
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#3
Not as long as the right in the United States continues to make a political rather than a scientific issue out of it.

In a really interesting development, however, a portion of the US Christian evangelical community has just sent a letter to the Bush administration urging it to take the problem of global warming more seriously, framing it as an issue of taking good care of God's creation. Now, however you feel about the whole religious thing, I feel that this is a positive development even though they still have to convince the hard right wing of the evangelical movement of their position. If they can do that, the Bush administration might have to change their position on the issue in order to please their support base.

If I can come up with a link on this story, I'll return and post it.

Here is the BBCs take on this development: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4695320.stm

I had understood that the letter had been sent to the Bush administration - that was the impression I got from a network news report yesterday evening. However, according to this story the letter was published as a open-letter advertisment in a number of newspapers across the nation.

This article also highlights the split within the evangelical community over the issue. The hard right wing opposes getting into this issue, they say, because it interferes with their campaign against abortion and "pro-life" issues, while those signing the letter claim that preserving the environment is in itself a "pro-life" issue. That argument was also highlighted in the report I heard last night.

As I said, I think this is an interesting development even if I don't necessarily share the religious views that lead to this particular approach to environmentalism. It is a much better point of view, in my opinion, than that of those whose religious views lead them to feel that it doesn't matter how polluted the earth gets.
 
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kyektulu

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#4
I agree with you brian, I honestly dont think we could prevent it.
We as a species have just become too accustomed to our lavish lifestyle.
I do hope that something can be done, I do believe it would be a good idea to start locally and make recycling and energy saving a cost effective and accesable to everyone.
I also want car owners (I am one myself) to be made accountable for how mush petrol we use and to use cars responsibly, alot of people get lazy with a car and drive just to the corner shop two mins away on foot.
I heard on Radio 2 today, a enviromentalist guy (cannot remember his name, sorry) suggested there should be a higher tax levy on the owners of 4x4 vechiles.
I couldnt agree with this more.
I understand farmers and people who live in unaccesable, unroaded areas need them but it really, really annoys me when people just own them for trips to the shops or to pick up there kids from school.
They (im most sure) are fully aware the effect these petrol guzzzlers have on the enviroment.
People need to be made aware that recycling and helping the enviroment is EVERYONES responsibility and one person does make a difference.
 

YOSSARIAN

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#5
Even if the whole evangelical movement were to support a movement to take global warming more seriously, neither the Bush administration nor any similar type administration in the future would do anything that would conflict with power and industry interests. The evangelical movement wields more influence than one would assume given how small a faction it really is. The reason that the right-wing panders to them as much as they do is that the fundamentalists are almost guaranteed to vote how they are told to vote by the leaders of the movement. The issues that these people care about (abortion, intelligent design theory) do not conflict with the lobbies of the real power base of Washington D.C. (unregulated greed). If the evangelicals ever make the environment as high priority as fetuses and school prayer, we will have seen the end of their political clout. I'm not holding my breath...
 
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#6
Well, I choose to be a little more optimistic. Anyway, fundamentalists and evangelicals are far from the same thing. I attended a Christian university where I met a number of evangelicals who are far from being fundamentalists, and far from being knee-jerk ideological right-wingers. I don't have any illusion that the hard-core Christian right - the Robertsons, the Falwells, the Dobsons, and the like - will ever step back from their "culture war" mentality. However, there is a larger pool of individuals out there who seem to be more and more disassociating themselves from these more dogmatic individuals.

Honestly, I'm not holding my breath either. But that is mostly because I don't think the Bushies will ever abandon their oil industry/big business cronies. I don't actually think they are driven by the religious lobby on this issue. However, more voices for environmental care is better than less voices for it.
 

Balfa

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#7
I said:
We'll adapt to it - eventually - rather than prevent it - unfortunately.
I agree with you, Brian. Today's life is just too dependant on technology to start giving it up. We will just have to get used to it. It's the course of the evolution, wheter is right or wrong way.
 

YOSSARIAN

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#8
I really think that the breakthrough in environmental responsibility will come when our titans of industry find a way to make large sums of money from it.
 

chrispenycate

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#9
Overcome the problems of global warming? Yes, without any doubt. (though thw "we" is a little misleading. I' for one, won't be around to see) The risk of runaway greenhouse effect (à la Venus) is minimum with the amount of water on Earth. Anything less and a few species will go extinct, a few million humans die, bits of the planet that at present support large populations become uninhabitable, lots of things which it would be nicer to avoid will happen - but the human species is adaptable, and if nothing but global warming is involved humanity will ride over the problems, particularly if the change occurs at a decently slow pace. (see also my aquatic thread)

Yes, I am convinced that it's too late to prevent climate change, and all the subsiduary changes it involves (Like losing two thirds of the worlds major cities) That doesn't mean we shouldn't do our maximum to slow it; the rehousing of some of the densest populations in the world will go much easier if a few decades rather than a few years are available for the task. Still, I'm convinced that, by the time it had been recognised, it was already too late to reverse the trend, but certainly nothing much ws done to slow it.

However, global warming might not be the only problem faced- and the loss of cities with universities and the general disorganisation of a suddenly migratory population might well complicate efforts to counter the other problems. I have no idea from what these problems might arise, but we're releasing literally thousands of new products into the environment, and into society every year, and some of these are bound to give problems - problems which would certainly be discovered and eliminated in a stable enviroment, but more complicated in total chaos.

It is this that governments could be doing: preparing their lowlying populations, building new centers of learning outside the regions most likely to be affected, making sure that populations can be housed and fed in case of increasingly frequent and increasingly violent weather events, that when an industrial region is overcome it doesn't pollute the entire region. Are they doing it? Not that I can tell.

Logically (which has very little to do with the argument I admit) insurance companies should be raising their premiums for danger spots, which should, if there ie enough lead time, give the financial stimulus required for direct industrial prufit based affairs ; but governments (who're using your money and don't need to make a profit) are much more difficult to predict.

Yes, I believe the time ahead will hold problems, but, with a measure of preparation, no insurmountable ones.

:)
 

Gwydion

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#10
Global Warming is earth's problem, but people blame it for far to much. It affects a very small amount of regular weather patterns. And the events in the film, the day after tommorow, could never be caused by global warming according to scientists. We can overcome it. Future problems will be fossil fuels, space exploration, and terroism still.
 

Rosemary

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#11
I found this rather disturbing article in the news -

Flooding fears as glaciers melt faster

February 2006
Alarming satellite images show seas rising far faster than expected.
A sharp rise in the volume of water produced by melting ice in Greenland has prompted scientists to warn of faster-than-expected rising sea levels.

GREENLAND'S glaciers are melting into the sea twice as fast as previously believed, the result of a warming trend that renders obsolete predictions of how quickly the Earth's oceans will rise over the next century.
The new information, from satellite imagery, gives fresh urgency to worries about the role of human activity in global warming. The Greenland data is mirrored by findings from Bolivia to the Himalayas, scientists said, noting that sea-level rise threatens widespread flooding and severe storm damage in low-lying areas worldwide.
The scientists warned that they did not yet understand the precise mechanism causing glaciers to flow and melt more rapidly, but they said the changes in Greenland were unambiguous - and accelerating. In 1996, the amount of water produced by melting ice in Greenland was about 90 times the amount consumed by Los Angeles in a year. Last year, the melted ice amounted to 225 times the volume of water that Los Angeles uses annually.
"We are witnessing enormous changes, and it will take some time before we understand how it happened, although it is clearly a result of warming around the glaciers."

The Greenland study is the latest of several in recent months that have found evidence that rising temperatures are affecting not only Earth's ice sheets but such things as plant and animal habitats, the health of coral reefs, hurricane severity and droughts, and globe-girdling currents that drive regional climates.
The ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are among the largest reservoirs of fresh water on Earth, and their fate is expected to determine how far oceans will rise. Scientists have declined to guess how much the faster melting would raise sea levels but said current estimates of about 50 centimetres over the next century were probably too low.
While that may not sound like much, it could have profound consequences for flood-prone countries such as Bangladesh and trigger severe weather around the world.
"The implications are global, we are talking of the worst storm settings . . . you are upping the probability major storms will take place."
 

Amber

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#12
Let's be realistic however. If there is a choice between living lavishly, and having to cope with the problems that life styles brings, or living like an ascetic, I for one would go for the lavish lifestyle. Not because I don't care about the world, but because what is the use in having life if you don't maximise it to the full. We'll probably always find a solution anyway.
 

PERCON

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#13
ljfallavollita said:
What issues will mankind be facing in 2100? What about 2200?

I'd like to know your thoughts on this subject.
By 2100 and 2200 it is very likely that Earth will no longer be the 'home' of humanity. Mars and asteroids in the asteroid belt will probably be colonised by then. I doubt humanity will have travelled out much further than that by 2100. Imagine piloting an asteroid that's been developed to support a small human colony. :)

Those dates are quite a long way in the future but I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to be there to find out.

PERCON
 

dreamwalker

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#14
PERCON said:
By 2100 and 2200 it is very likely that Earth will no longer be the 'home' of humanity. Mars and asteroids in the asteroid belt will probably be colonised by then. I doubt humanity will have travelled out much further than that by 2100. Imagine piloting an asteroid that's been developed to support a small human colony. :)

Those dates are quite a long way in the future but I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to be there to find out.

PERCON
try the years 3100 or 3200...

And as for leave, I don't think we'll ever leave Earth or lose ties completely, not for many thousands of years.
 
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#15
Hi,

It's interesting to read the spectrum of opinions here. I'm afraid I polarise at the 'doom and gloom' end, as climate on this planet is a far larger and a more powerful system than mankind has the ability to manage. Because of an innate arrogance and self importance, we delude ourselves into believing that we are in control and will always exist on this planet. Even if this were true, greed and selfishness will prevent any 'real' effort from our governments to minimise the effects of climate change until it smacks them, and us, in the face.

The unsustainable lifestyle we are so reluctant to give up will be our undoing, although, we could claim, in part, that we are victims of government and administrative policies, which force us into patterns of behaviour that conflict with the environment! Out-of-town shopping, for example, almost impossible without a car! Excessive use of fresh water, poor town planning, the cancerous growth of housing development on the countryside, etc. etc.
BUT! the most fundamental cause of the distruption to the planet's ecosystems is the sheer size of the human global population, now. There are just too many of us! I don't care what the so called experts claim, it's not just a question of feeding us all, which we don't, it's the spin off from human occupation. One of the very worst examples is what was done to Manhatten Island. A showpiece of what humanity can do to the natural environment and a centre for the consumption of Earth's resources with no positive contribution in return. Unfortunately, this is true for every such concentration of human residence.

I for one, see a very bleak future for humanity, assuming we survive. It's difficult to imagine our species without the base instincts that, on the one hand, have enabled us to survive our primitive history but on the other, now threaten to drive us to extinction. Too severe? we will see.

Mike.
 
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polymath

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#16
I kind of agree with tecmic, though I think he's overegged it.
Coastal cities and large river-side cities are going to have a rough time of it, I think that's a given.
But overall? We ought to pull through after a huge overhaul of our habits, though we usually need a major kick up the backside to change our habits. I think that kick up the backside is on its way.
 

PERCON

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#17
Global Warming can't really be stopped now, we're actually starting to see the effects of it (Later winters that are colder and also warmer summers). Although it's more of a 'climate change' than a global warming. It happens every so often on this planet. Something we can't control, we've been given warning of this for a good decade or so. Too late now really. There's an equilibrium when it comes to this planet, by putting up the amount of fumes we put into the atmosphere every year the heat will get trapped and the gas ratios in the air will change. We will get strange weather conditions ranging from extremes to normal very easily, very often.

I sometimes feel ashamed to be called human because of the generalised egotistical nature of our species.

PERCON
 

Curt Chiarelli

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#18
tecmic said:
Hi,

It's interesting to read the spectrum of opinions here. I'm afraid I polarise at the 'doom and gloom' end, as climate on this planet is a far larger and a more powerful system than mankind has the ability to manage. Because of an innate arrogance and self importance, we delude ourselves into believing that we are in control and will always exist on this planet. Even if this were true, greed and selfishness will prevent any 'real' effort from our governments to minimise the effects of climate change until it smacks them, and us, in the face.

The unsustainable lifestyle we are so reluctant to give up will be our undoing, although, we could claim, in part, that we are victims of government and administrative policies, which force us into patterns of behaviour that conflict with the environment! Out-of-town shopping, for example, almost impossible without a car! Excessive use of fresh water, poor town planning, the cancerous growth of housing development on the countryside, etc. etc.
BUT! the most fundamental cause of the distruption to the planet's ecosystems is the sheer size of the human global population, now. There are just too many of us! I don't care what the so called experts claim, it's not just a question of feeding us all, which we don't, it's the spin off from human occupation. One of the very worst examples is what was done to Manhatten Island. A showpiece of what humanity can do to the natural environment and a centre for the consumption of Earth's resources with no positive contribution in return. Unfortunately, this is true for every such concentration of human residence.

I for one, see a very bleak future for humanity, assuming we survive. It's difficult to imagine our species without the base instincts that, on the one hand, have enabled us to survive our primitive history but on the other, now threaten to drive us to extinction. Too severe? we will see.

Mike.
Hi Mike:

I could not have stated the case better. Bravo!
 

mikeo

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#19
Amber said:
Let's be realistic however. If there is a choice between living lavishly, and having to cope with the problems that life styles brings, or living like an ascetic, I for one would go for the lavish lifestyle. Not because I don't care about the world, but because what is the use in having life if you don't maximise it to the full. We'll probably always find a solution anyway.
I can only trust that you'll say this to your future children / grandchildren (if you plan to have any) - particularly if they ask you what you did to safeguard their future when the warning signs we're seeing started to appear.

(I'm not really convinced by the implication we'd have to live like monks to have less of an impact on the environment.)
 

jackokent

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#20
I agree with Tecmic, it's mostly to do with the fact there are so dam many of us.

I'm not sure the problem is about arrogance and thinking we can control everything. I think most people A) genuinely don't know where to start and B) don't actually believe it will make a difference in the whole run of things.

I am not saying people arn't arrogant but I believe this whole inertia is more about the sheer scale and complexity of the issue facing us and the sneaking belief that we are basically stuffed anyway.

I think people deal with it by believing the worst of the impact won't be felt in thier own lifetimes.

I'm also not convinced we'd have to live like monks, but we would have to do some fairly major U-turns. These aren't easy things to achieve in a democracy. Think of the problems inherent in trying to get people to accept a new picture on thier coin or to go metric. What really liklihood is there of being able to introduce really drastic legistlation that impacts on every aspect of our lives? And that's only England, we'd have to do this across the globe.

Let's face it, we aren't going to get there. Our only hope is that nature does a U-turn. Improbable I know, but less so than the idea that we can do one.
 

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