*take nothing for granted!
Unless otherwise indicated all photos © Richard McKie 2005 - 2015

Who is Online

We have 37 guests and no members online

Translate to another language

 

 

Climate

 

I originally wrote the paper, Issues Arising from the Greenhouse Hypothesis, in 1990 and do not see a need to revise it substantially.  Some of the science is better defined and there have been some minor changes in some of the projections; but otherwise little has changed.

In the Introduction to the 2006 update to that paper I wrote:

Climate change has wide ranging implications...  ranging from its impacts on agriculture (through drought, floods, water availability, land degradation and carbon credits) mining (by limiting markets for coal and minerals processing) manufacturing and transport (through energy costs) to property damage resulting from storms.

The issues are complex, ranging from disputes about the impact of human activities on global warming, to arguments about what should be done and the consequences of the various actions proposed.

To the conclusion I added:

Australian impact on global climate is insignificant. Our main contribution is likely to be indirect by way of diplomatic efforts to change global behaviour or through research into solutions that can be applied globally. Climate is likely to change no matter what we do. In Australia we are all too familiar with the effects of natural climate fluctuations. 

The degree to which human activity changes climate is related to our level of resource utilisation.  Although energy consumption is very important in this equation so too are mineral extraction and processing, farming and land clearing, pollution of oceans and lakes and the shear number of humans and their consequent demands for food and shelter.  Not only does excessive population lead to stresses on the biosphere of the planet; it makes huge numbers of people highly vulnerable to relatively minor changes in that biosphere.

Sudden climate change is just one of a number of a range of potential catastrophes that might befall the planet. It is important that while doing all possible to mitigate the impacts of increasing resource exploitation we:

1      commit more resources to means to respond flexibly to climate change than to trying to prevent it and;

2      treat the disease (over-population) not just the symptoms (like greenhouse gasses).

We need to focus on the possible. An appropriate response is to ensure that resource and transport efficiency is optimised and energy waste is reduced. 

Another is to explore less polluting energy sources. This needs to be explored more critically.  Each so-called green power option should be carefully analysed for whole of life energy and greenhouse gas production against the benchmark of present technology before going beyond the demonstration or experimental stage.

Much more important are the cultural and technological changes needed to minimise World overpopulation. We desperately need to remove the socio-economic drivers to larger families, young motherhood and excessive personal consumption (from resource inefficiencies to long journeys to work). 

Climate change may be inevitable. We should be working to climate "harden" the production of food, ensure that public infrastructure (roads, bridges, dams, hospitals, utilities and so) on are designed to accommodate change and that the places people live are not excessively vulnerable to drought, flood or storm.

Only by solving these problems will we have any hope of finding solutions to the other pressures human expansion is imposing on the planet.

The world still predominantly depends on coal and oil for energy as outlined in Energy and a ‘good life’ and A Crude Awakening – Critique on this website.

I have summarised much of this discussion in the Environment chapter within the Meaning of Life essay, also on this website.

Recent extreme weather events appear to confirm the predictions made in my earlier paper.  As the energy of the system increases, so this energy is partly dissipated in more violent weather excursions.  This upward trend in the severity of weather excursions from the norm, as well as the shift in the norm itself, can be expected to continue.

I am still inclined to believe that human overpopulation will soon have further serious consequences for the climate, in addition to other environmental devastation, and I continue to believe that there are grounds for alarm.

In practical terms the resulting climate impacts may mean that different crops or crop varieties and grazing patterns will be required across arable regions and crop yields may be increasingly affected by extreme events; floods; droughts; fire and so on.  Correspondingly some urban and outer urban areas, for example those particularly prone to flooding; fire; or high wind, may need to be relocated.  In other areas significant new infrastructure may be necessary to guard against climate related disaster.

And the real and underlying problem, of runaway population, is no nearer to being addressed.

But politically the World is quite different.  When I originally wrote the paper on climate change scientists were alarmed but very few politicians had any opinion on the matter.  Now it is 'bread and butter'.

 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh


    Have you read this???     -  this content changes with each opening of a menu item


Travel

Laos

 

 

The Lao People's Democratic Republic is a communist country, like China to the North and Vietnam with which it shares its Eastern border. 

And like the bordering communist countries, the government has embraced limited private ownership and free market capitalism, in theory.  But there remain powerful vested interests, and residual pockets of political power, particularly in the agricultural sector, and corruption is a significant issue. 

During the past decade tourism has become an important source of income and is now generating around a third of the Nation's domestic product.  Tourism is centred on Luang Prabang and to a lesser extent the Plane of Jars and the capital, Vientiane.

Read more ...

Fiction, Recollections & News

The new James Bond

 

 

It was raining in the mountains on Easter Saturday.

We'd decided to take a couple of days break in the Blue Mountains and do some walking. But on Saturday it poured.  In the morning we walked two kilometres from Katoomba to more up-market and trendy Leura for morning coffee and got very wet.

After a train journey to Mount Victoria and back to dry out and then lunch in the Irish Pub, with a Cider and Guinness, we decided against another soaking and explored the Katoomba antique stores and bookshops instead.  In one I found and bought an unread James Bond book.  But not by the real Ian Fleming. 

Ian Fleming died in 1964 at the young age of fifty-six and I'd read all his so I knew 'Devil May Care' was new.  This one is by Sebastian Faulks, known for his novel Birdsong, 'writing as Ian Fleming' in 2008.

Read more ...

Opinions and Philosophy

The Last Carbon Taxer

- a Recent Wall Street Journal article

 

 

A recent wall street journal article 'The Last Carbon Taxer' has 'gone viral' and is now making the email rounds  click here...  to see a copy on this site.  The following comments are also interesting; reflecting both sides of the present debate in Australia.

As the subject article points out, contrary to present assertions, a domestic carbon tax in Australia will neither do much to reduce the carbon impact on world climate, if implemented, nor make a significant contribution, if not implemented. 

Read more ...

Terms of Use                                           Copyright