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Monday, September 17, 2012

ON SAVING PLANET EARTH AND HUMANITY

It has now been more than four years since I started this blog site.  I took on the ultimate challenge:  to Save Planet Earth and Humanity.  Clearly, I'm not succeeding, as global warming attitudes seem to be deteriorating, renewable energy has not progressed all that well, we are getting more obese and the U.S. is now sending military troops to Australia.  Look, let's face it, though, while my attitude is abominable, I did not harbor much hopes of making much headway anyway, so I can't say I'm disappointed.  I'm having fun (especially in my weekend entertainment postings), so there.  If there were more comments, I'd probably spend more time on this effort.

The disinformation specialists of the fossil industry are certainly winning the battle.  FORBES reported on the Heartland Institute's annual International Conference on Climate Change that "Meteorologists are Global Warming Skeptics."  Particularly underscored was the figure that only 30% of them are very worried, so, hah, what's the problem?  Well, if you go to the survey itself, an additional 42% were somewhat worried and only 22% were not very worried or not worried at all.  Oh, by the way, here is one view of that gathering:

The conference was described by Washington Post reporter, Juliet Eilperin, as “a sort of global warming doppelganger conference, where everything was reversed.”

But what can you expect from the very rich who run FORBES?  And that Heartland Institute?  In one of my Huffington Post articles, entitled, "Why Do Republicans Like Fossil Fuels and Not Care That Much for the Environment," I was surprised at a couple of mean and hateful responses (there were 40 total comments, meaning these were in the minority), so I decided to try to track down the source.  It turned out that two of them worked for the Heartland Institute, which is funded by fossil fuel companies.  They are paying professionals to undercut postings such as mine.  What a compliment!  When I made my analysis four years ago, this was so.  Now, they have found a way to sanitize their contributions, but, let's face it, the original source of their funds still come from industry at large, and, more specifically, the coal and oil sectors of our economy.

recent poll indicated 46% of Americans believe that global warming is caused by human activities, a decrease from 50% last year.  Further, 47% trust President Obama as a source of global warming information, while 21% trust Mitt Romney.

A second issue has to do with population.  While there are some who question the wisdom of Malthusian thinking, suggesting that science, technology and human ingenuity can overcome, most feel that there is no way that the average person will ultimately live the lifestyle of Americans.  In fact, all trends seem to indicate that our way of life is already declining.  However, when you look around the world, Europe is a basket case, Japan is falling, Russia is aging and China is close to breaking down.  Hard to be optimistic about India, Africa and rest of the developing world.

It was Tertullian who argued that "we are burdensome to the world, the resources are scarcely adequate for us...already nature does not sustain us."  He was a Christian philosopher in the Year 200 when the world population was less than 200 million.  Then 200 years ago was that scaremonger Thomas Malthus (right), who, when Planet Earth supported less than a billion, said that there were too many people, already.

I'm ambivalent about population.  On the one hand, I don't think we need to do much about control because birthrates will drop when the economy of any nation rises.  The red countries are already showing decline, while the pink ones are getting close:

On the other, I am pro-Malthusian, for I feel that some time before 2050 the carrying capacity of our planet will be exceeded, with the trigger being Peak Oil, and the world population will decline.  My HuffPo on "In 2050 the World Population in 2050 Could Well Be 7 Billion" might well be optimistic.  And, no, this is not a typo, for I do know that we reached 7 billion last year.

About renewable energy, I've shifted from being an unabashed promoter to now saying that solar, wind and biomass will not be able to satisfy our needs.  They are too intermittent, diffuse and expensive.  While we need to continue the R&D and commercialization when warranted, oil was for this period the nearly (most of it is in the Middle East, which is why we are now in the midst of an Islamic war) perfect fuel.  Click on THIS for a short Peak Oil clip.  We need to quickly bring on line fusion and ocean thermal energy conversion to reduce fossil fuel combustion because of global warming consequences and the irreparable consequences of Fukushima for nuclear fission.  I've also long warned about our almost total dedication to  electricity when ground and air transport is the larger problem.  I will in postings this week and next focus on why solar might be more promising than my recent analyses, plus a couple on fusion and what's happening today.

Frustrated that compelling evidence did not do much to influence decision makers, I thus became desperate enough to play the fear card.  I conjured up THE VENUS SYNDROME to scare politicians to make a decision about climate change.

As conventional thinking usually takes a long time to mostly go nowhere, I also fantasized about geoengineering and worked for NASA's Ames Research Center on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, for what if signals are beaming in from civilizations billions of years advanced with the formula for fusion or a clue about how to gain world peace?

About peace, my very first HuffPo, "Well, Barack, We Have a Problem," dealt with this subject.  I've written a few more on this subject, with the latest more than two years ago on "The 10% Simple Solution to Peace."    No one, and I mean nobody, has even bothered to personally follow up with me about this, pro or con.  Talk about getting nowhere.  However, after Obama gains a second term, perhaps I'll again send him that initial HuffPo, for by then he might have the maturity and vision to actually think for himself.  That should be his ultimate legacy, and mine.

So what grade do I give myself towards saving Planet Earth and Humanity?  Well, as I've utterly failed to get anything important started, but Planet Earth still is here and Humanity exists, I'll average this out and generously give myself a C for effort.

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1 comment:

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