I have recently become aware of two camps of thought with regard to global warming/climate change, niether one relating to religion vs science. On one side is the internationally recognized theory of rapid devastating change and on the other a token uncertainty of the actual changes occuring in terms of what effects we may be facing and how quickly they will emerge.
As a "regular sort" I don't really know a lot of the science involved with our changing conditions and so I guess that puts me in between the two in this arguement. They both have very valid points and the answer to this riddle is important- so what do you all think?
The problem is we can't afford to be right and do nothing. But we can afford to be wrong and do something. If we wait 30 years to find out, it might result in such damage as to be irreversible. As exciting as it is to me to see what would really happen, its not the right thing to do.
You ever do anything as a kid 'just to see what would happen', even though your gut says you shouldn't. I feel some people are secretly giddy inside waiting to see what will happen to the planet.
99% of climatologists, geologists, biologists, ARE in agreement on this issue, there is global climate change, the risks, albeit of uncertain certainty, are huge, and they are in large part due to humanity. The "deniers" you hear for the not very aptly named "global warming" are an very small minority of relevant scientists, but mostly NON-scientists spouting off. One could use the round-Earth analogy to deny human induced climate change, yes. But whereas the immediate risks to the planet and humanity were pretty near nil regarding round-Earth, they are nowhere nil on the issue of climate change.
Natural history has demonstrated that climate change does happen on it's own. What humanity has changed is the global balancing act capacity by loading the atmosphere with CO2 past any historical levels, and by isolating ecosystems to such a degree as to hamper their natural capacity to adapt. Thereby causing total collapse of multiple ecosystems.
I put it to you that right or wrong in this debate is completely irrelevant and arguing about it does nothing other than derail constructive discussion and delay what needs to be done collectively as a species. I have stated this in other threads on this theme -
arguing about which side is right regarding global warming is irrelevant. What is important is that we have identified factors which do contribute to GW. Many of these factors are irresponsible and unnecessary bad habits by our species. Habits can be changed.
I like to explain the GW debate as a variation of Pascal's Wager, though a far more pertinant one as we will eat our own cooking.
Assume GW is correct and -
* Take action - we may avert catastrophe
* Take no action - we head into Mad Max territory
Assume GW is incorrect and -
* Still take action - no harm is done, our environment gets healthier and our carbon addiction gets an extended life time as we source alternate energy models
* Take no action - we still head into Mad Max territory, as infinite growth with finite resources will always end in tears
All debate and no action is just like Nero fiddling while Rome burns.
Raising the level of hysteria is going to do nothing to change the minds of those in environmental denial. You will only entrench them more. This approach may achieve something when all else fails.
Which is why I'd really like to see a change in the wording that we apply to this conversation. We must imbue it with a little more science to allow lay people to understand the concept of tipping point of ocean currents and examine food chain realities. There will never be PROOF of global climate change until it is DONE, therefore too late. (Reminds me of the misuse of "Darwinism" when speaking of evolution...
Until then, there are plenty of solid indicators as evidence, which we should be scientifically presented to the public.
Interestingly and sadly I might add, China will zip by North America on the race to alternate energy not because they acknowledge climate change officially, but because they see the opportunity to be the first to jump on the technological/business possibilities opened up by our circumstance. As if NA needs any more foreign takeover than already :(
Business/government interests are SO entrenched in North America that changes in business attitudes are nearly impossible to enact. North America has become, politically, the very copy of what the immigrants fled Europe for.
As you say, we must take the fear out, and I add to that we enact positive political decisions. The general people are ready, only the powers that be are lagging behind.
Well Felch, your post made me think of "Peak Food Production" Has our ability to produce more food finally peaked folks? Did anyone understand what was happening when wheat went up from $3.00 a bushel to $11.60 just two years ago? Yes, the price is back down, but for how long? I contend that food production has peaked, and frankenseeds and the ability to expand cultivated land is falling far behind the population increase and subsequent demand for food.
Food has peaked and I will wager the farm on that.
Larry, you're correct that it is the responsibility of those making the claim to support it with evidence and reason. Climate researchers have done so in abundance. It's baffling to me how anybody could remain unconvinced in the face of that. Except, of course, that they trash reasonable evidence and plausible mechanism for ideological reasons. It's not the AGW side that's being religionist, despite your many slanders to that effect. If you think the AGW science doesn't add up, go do your own damn research. So far, the AGW-denier side hasn't been able to come up with A) evidence that stands up, or B) a plausible mechanism for why CO2 wouldn't heat the planet. Until they do, AGW is the best explanation for what we see.
99.99% reversibility, obviously for the very reproductive reasons you state. My theory only reduces unwanted pregnancies of irresponsible youth. It may help those wanting children to delay their output until they DECIDE to procreate. And once procreation is a DECISION, maybe more people will back off.
As for the third world, it so fucked up since missionnaries/medical advances allowed so many babies to survive. Africa didn't use to be like that. Women and food controlled fertility and the infant mortality rate was higher... Our religious ancestors are solely responsible for that mess, and by removing religion from African society, I think the problem would self-correct, to a point.
Actually TNT666, high infant mortality causes high birth rates, because parents keep having kids because they know some will die. When infant mortality is reduced, parents stop having so many kids, and end up with fewer kids that live to adulthood. Decreasing infant mortality actually makes the population growth rate decline, because parents have more certainty their children will survive.
There's no question that the "be fruitful and multiply" religious meme has done a lot of damage, but the picture is not quite as simple as you stated. Even in Italy, where the pope lives, the birth rate is below replacement rate, and infant mortality is very low. African populations had high birth rates and high infant mortality rates before the missionaries ever showed up, because of disease, malnutrition, and a lack of modern medicine. And let's be clear, here. The Catholic Church is the worst offender in reproductive matters. They really don't care if an infant dies, as long as it's baptized first. That's why they send priests and nuns, rather than doctors and nurses. I suggest you read the (very depressing) book Death Without Weeping for a first-hand exploration of this topic.