Climate Change Denialists (who get all shy)

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  • #99321 Reply

      Glenn, as to why overpopulation isn’t talked about more, maybe it started out as a religious thing, but then large populations were useful for wars, mass production, tax etc.

      In the harsh reality of now, it’s still hardly ever mentioned. Even to talk about it is to risk sounding like a crazed, WEF Globalist, planning some sort of ‘cull’ lol…

      Look at the enormous (and ever growing) cost of the healthcare sector.

      If modernity is unsustainable, then healthcare is even more so. As economies contract, justifying their cost gets harder. Even in good economic conditions, all the material/energy use seems wasteful (like so much else in modernity).
      The problem is, now it’s here, it’s very difficult to just pull the plug, when so many depend on it and owe their lives to it. What a sad predicament…

      #99322 Reply

        Clark: “…the global average temperature has to be the most trivialising way possible to quantify global heating”

        A German woman explained to me in Portugal how climate concerns were all a load of nonsense. Why, German tourists go to Egypt and so on precisely because it’s a few degrees warmer there! Why should we worry about a couple of degrees, it’s not going to kill them!”

        It’s kind of hard to counter a long-standing conception like that in a passing conversation. Scientists have done an absolutely appalling job of communicating with the public, yet they still think that throwing one more graph or data-point will somehow turn the whole thing around, and everyone from politicians to the most disinterested citizen who rarely even bothers to vote will suddenly see the light.

        #99328 Reply

          Glenn_nl – “It’s kind of hard to counter a long-standing conception like that in a passing conversation.”

          Ten Hiroshima bombs per second is how fast the biosphere is heating up. And accelerating. Instead of quoting the “average temperature”, they should quote the total added heat content in megatonnes of TNT equivalent, like nukes. That would capture its cumulative nature.

          #99330 Reply

            From the figures I’ve seen, ‘wealth’ seems to be more of a problem than population. Certainly as far as emissions are concerned, but emissions are a good proxy for all the other damage humans do. I’ll try to drum up some graphs, if I can remember where I saw them. DoTheMath has been on a population thing recently.

            The other thing about population is that birth rates have been falling rapidly for quite some years. Only Africa is yet to pass peak birth rate; everywhere else, birth rates are falling, and in most of the ‘richest’ parts of the world, it has actually fallen below the replacement rate.

            As to why it doesn’t get mentioned, I think reasons vary. The political right and its media don’t mention it because people are the ‘producers’ and the ‘consumers’. Basically, the population is ‘the market’ which the right worships, so the bigger it gets, the more profit there is to be made.

            The left doesn’t mention population because it looks racist; it’s always the ‘third world’ that gets accused of breeding too much. There’s some truth in this, because the ‘rich’ do far more damage. I’ll go looking for those graphs…

            #99332 Reply

              I haven’t found the graphs I saw recently, but here’s a table of power consumption. I’ve tried posting tables before and the blog software makes it impossible to lay them out nicely, until a moderator edits the html. So sorry, this is going to be screwy to look at, but the relevant info is there. I’ll try to tidy it up a bit, but I won’t know how well my efforts have worked until I post it. Here’s where I found it:


              _Pop is population in billions, _kW is kilowatt per person, Power is in terawatt.

              Region_: _Pop, _kW, Power
              Africa_: 1.49, 0.5, 0.8
              Asia___: 4.79, 1.8, 8.6
              Europe_: 0.74, 4.9, 3.6
              Latin-A: 0.67, 2.2, 1.5
              N. A.__: 0.38, 9.9, 3.8
              Oceania: 0.05, 5.4, 0.3

              World__: 8.12, 2.3, 18.5

              I think we can take power use as a fair proxy for damage, and probably mineral use too, so straight away we can see that the average North American does nearly twenty times more damage than the average African. North America does 4.75 times the damage of Africa, though Africa has nearly four times as many people.

              Now let’s group this up. Africa, Asia and Latin America are all relatively low power per person, whereas Europe, North America and Oceania are all relatively high. So totalling population for those two groupings, and using power usage to estimate percentage of overall damage:

              Under 3kW – 86% of the people do 59% of the damage
              Over_ 3kW – 14% of the people do 41% of the damage

              We should probably remember that much manufacturing has been outsourced to Asia, which is exporting like crazy to the richer places.

              #99333 Reply

                And we haven’t even considered inequality of wealth within those regions.

                #99334 Reply

                  It seems to me that there could be plenty to go around and we needn’t be in a crisis at all, with a lot more equality and social provision. Really, a bit of planning, cooperation and self restraint are all we need.

                  But Michael is quite right; we’ll never get there if we try to build a few billion electric cars. I’ll add that we can’t afford the old fashioned ones we already have. We need to change our way of life so we don’t need either. Doesn’t seem too hard; there were less than a dozen down my road where I grew up, now there must be a hundred, but everything still got done.

                  #99335 Reply

                    Putting my groupings into a form with more impact – and this is the whole world population remember:

                    6/7ths of the population do 59% of the damage,
                    1/7th does 41% of the damage,

                    before considering that the 6/7ths are working for the 1/7th.

                    #99336 Reply

                      Clark, thanks for those informative posts, of course you’re right about the West doing more damage per person, but the system iteself can’t be reformed. It only goes one way (resource extraction, depletion, pollution etc).
                      So I am not optimistic.
                      The people who do the planning don’t do self restraint.

                      #99337 Reply
                      Fat Jon

                        And the biggest barrier to curbing the natural disaster which is 99% caused by human activity, is the general political feeling that we must strive for growth. The MSM are also part of this problem, viz. the economy has shrunk – bad news, this particular country has 10% growth – good news.

                        But growth of any economy is virtually impossible without the use of the planet’s finite resources. I suppose it might just be possible for a country to reach 100% recycling of materials and 100% power generation from solar/wind/wave/geothermal processes; but how do we manage that when much of the world has been locked into a never ending growth cycle?

                        #99338 Reply
                        michael norton

                          “And the biggest barrier to curbing the natural disaster which is 99% caused by human activity”

                          I can’t believe you said that Jon.
                          The Storegga events, especially the most recent one 6225–6170 BC
                          It has been suggested that the bulk of the European Mesolithic population lived around and in the North Sea, the Stroregga tsunami, essentially ended the Mesolithic for Europe, those few people remaining, after the tsunami, probably becoming servants/slaves to the Middle East agriculturists who introduced the neolithic age to Europe.Genetics has shown that we mostly come from the Middle East/Turkey.
                          The recent tsunami off Sumatra, killing an estimated 227,898 people in 14 countries in one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.
                          The Black Death, may have caused half the population of Eurasia to die in the fourteenth century, taking several hundred years to recover.

                          So, no, humans are not responsible for 99% of disaters.

                          #99341 Reply

                            “I suppose it might just be possible for a country to reach 100% recycling of materials and 100% power generation from [RE]”
                            No, that won’t be possible. Wind turbines etc. have finite lifespans, after which they need replacing. That means more copper etc. But copper is a finite resource (like FF, most metals and minerals).
                            Also, each cycle of recycling loses a bit of material – there can be no 100% recycling (plus, the process itself requires energy).
                            Depletion can’t be solved.
                            The best way is a reduced population, who could use ‘actual’ renewable energy, ie wooden windmills and water wheels etc.

                            “humans are not responsible for 99% of disaters.”
                            Yes, but the Earth recovers fairly quickly from natural disasters (shame for all the humans killed, mind). It does not bounce back so easily from deforestation, habitat loss, overfishing, species extinctions, pollution, chemical spills, plastic waste etc etc etc.
                            All those things, humans are responsible for.

                            #99344 Reply
                            Fat Jon

                              “So, no, humans are not responsible for 99% of disaters.”

                              May I suggest that people take more time to read my posts carefully, before rushing to rubbish what they believed they might have read?

                              I was referring to natural disasters caused by humans, not natural disasters killing humans. I doubt that the Sumatran tsunami caused too much of a natural disaster because the natural world recovers quickly after those kinds of events; as it has been doing for a billion or more years.

                              I suspect this applies to all tsunamis. Also I doubt the Black Death caused too much damage to the flora and fauna in the UK.

                              I think James has described the various irreversible damage caused by humans, which was my point.

                              #99345 Reply

                                Good to see mentions of Tom Murphy’s excellent blog in this thread, especially his comments on overshoot – which population growth is indisputably a major factor. It was rather surprising (or perhaps not) to read an article in the Guardian regarding declining birth rates and how disastrous this will be for the economy. No mention of ecological impact or any consideration why rates are declining (infertility, choice etc). Of course, births may be declining, but the population is still growing albeit at a slightly slower rate. However, the principal concern from economists relate to servicing the needs of the elderly and maintaining the status quo, rather than overconsumption of finite resources with destruction of ecosystems and the atmosphere. I guess that’s not so difficult to absorb.

                                For my part, I don’t hold out much hope for the generation being born today. Climate change is a gross oversimplification of the problems created by burning fossil fuels. And remember oil has many applications and uses – not just in internal combustion devices. Don’t forget the plastic and chemical industries, whose contribution to our decline should not be underestimated either. All civilisations collapse eventually, but none have been so instrumental in destroying much of the natural world as ours.

                                There are some good examples of a better way to live in Scotland. The off-grid community at Scoraig – and individually too, with Ken Smith – the ‘Hermit of Treig’. But how many people committed to modernity would manage a transition to a sustainable life? Most would give up within a few weeks.

                                A managed decline in population combined with an entire change in our lifestyle might avert complete catastrophe and provide a ‘soft landing’ – but that really is wishful thinking.

                                It’s a great thread – thanks for the contributions for a compelling read.

                                #99346 Reply

                                  There are presently around 440 nuclear power reactors on Earth, each one of them containing more radioactive material than an entire all-out nuclear war – a warhead contains kilos of nuclear material whereas a power reactor contains tonnes. I’m not sure how many of these reactors are sited on coasts but it is the majority, because they need vast throughput of water for cooling.

                                  Emissions are trapping vast quantities of heat in the biosphere, causing seawater to expand, continental ice to melt, and thus causing sea level to rise. The extra heat also adds extra energy to the atmosphere, causing higher wind speeds, more atmospheric transport of water vapour, more frequent and more powerful storms, and thus larger floods and more powerful storm surges. 2030 to 2040 will also see increased tidal ranges due to periodic solar system alignments.

                                  A few years ago I anxiously watched local news reports from the USA as a major storm threatened a decades old coastal nuclear power station. Torrential rain and a large storm surge cut off site access by road. The shift on duty stayed on site tending the plant; supplies for them were brought in by helicopter. The outer flood walls were breached, flooding the site. The inner defences, the flood protection of the reactor building and the emergency generator buildings, thankfully held.

                                  If any damn fool politician tells me that building more of these things is ‘green’, I think I will scream.

                                  #99347 Reply

                                    Shibboleth, good to see you again.

                                    “the flood protection of the reactor building and the emergency generator buildings, thankfully held.”

                                    …and that’s why you probably didn’t hear about this incident in the ‘news’. But they were the last line of defence; closable steel shutters on the doors and windows.

                                    #99349 Reply

                                      Oh, I just remembered. Another reason population might get not mentioned much is all the fuss the ‘West’ made about China’s one child policy – though, of course, there’s Westminster’s two child benefit cap.

                                      #99350 Reply

                                        Thank you Clark, I hope you are well. We agree on nuclear – Chernobyl’s shield is estimated to last a century or two at most – but what then? We still haven’t recovered the corium from underneath Fukushima – and it may not be possible now, so we have to be content with discharging toxic radioactive waste into the Pacific from the distilled cooling water pumped into the wells to prevent overheating and an explosive chain reaction. The impact on marine life from radioactive isotopes is impossible to quantify as yet, but I can’t imagine it would be beneficial. Not content with plasticising fish, we now irradiate them too.

                                        When you really start to consider where we are in reality and not just in the fantasy most of us exist in for much of the time, it quickly becomes overwhelming – there isn’t an easy way out; not now anyway. Tom covers the dilemma succinctly in this recent post.

                                        Regrettably the old saying applies – the bigger one is, the harder the fall. I only wish we could start making the planet as safe as possible for those who survive the collapse. Decommissioning nuclear facilities and instruments – warheads, spent fuel rods – would be a good start, but there are many sites that store toxic chemical and biological waste where the containment infrastructure has failed and cannot be replaced. That’s before we talk about PFAS and microplastics and raw sewage in our freshwater. . .

                                        #99351 Reply

                                          But let’s keep living the fantasy. We have wars to fight, an economy to grow and money to make. If the planet is fucked, let’s just have a big party and get those bucket list item crossed off and to hell with the consequences. That seems to be the fashion now, so who’ll rock the boat?

                                          On that note some great lyrics and music to make you think:
                                          Cam Penner: “House of Liars” – YouTube, 4m 2s

                                          #99352 Reply

                                            I’ve slowly realised that no technology (in the accepted use of the word, ie plastic, metal, microchips, electricity etc) is ‘green’ or sustainable.
                                            The Amish, for their own reasons, have rejected technology, yet their community is prosperous and thriving, afaik.
                                            Walking to work each day to go and do my wage-slavery to pay the rent (landlord’s retirement fund), I’m struck by the hell we’ve created. After the brief respite of a cycle path bordered by a field, it’s concrete, tarmac and large buildings for endless miles. Loud vehicles speed past, four lanes, both directions, emitting choking fumes (especially diesel – getting a big lungful of that is enough to make you retch). Litter is everywhere (to save money, the council have gradually reduced the number of bins, and the collection frequency). Tread carefully – phlegm, chewing gum, piles of vomit… worse. On dry days, disgusting dust (ash, brake dust, plus whatever the high-viz, leafblowing council ‘workers’ have blasted from the ground) blows into your face. The only visible animals are dead ones, horrendously disembowelled by some speeding idiot, then ground into the tarmac by the ceaseless traffic.
                                            Sad-looking pedestrians try to block out the hell, either by staring at a screen, or by wearing headphones, or both.
                                            No one is talking – it would be impossible anyway, against the constant, deafening roar of the traffic.
                                            The final few hundred metres include a massive building site on the opposite side of the road. It’s been a building site for over five years yet, strangely, seems no nearer to completion. Every day, cranes, diggers, cement mixers, pile drivers, pneumatic drills, cordless drills… pededstrians, sometimes wheeling small children in trolleys, go past, silently suffering the din.
                                            This is ‘progress’?
                                            On TV, politicians speak. It’s odd… they’re the only people who use the word ‘frankly’…
                                            Watching bits of GE coverage… chummy groups of professional-journo-politico types sit round tables and have a jolly old chinwag, barely containing their excitement at this massive, changing-of-the-tards, nonsense bag of nothing.
                                            I have another drink…

                                            #99353 Reply

                                              “Thank you for calling Central Services, I’m sorry, due to temporary staff shortage Central Services cannot take service calls centrally between twenty-three hundred and oh nine hundred hours, have a nice day, this has not been a recording.”

                                              #99357 Reply
                                              michael norton

                                                The Green Party have now got four m.p.s
                                                they only used to have one.
                                                So, maybe that means more people are interested in saving the planet?

                                                #99360 Reply

                                                  “So, maybe that means more people are interested in saving the planet?”

                                                  I think that the connection between what people want and how they vote is highly tenuous. For Westminster elections, due to the crap nature of the voting system, people vote mostly either tribally, or negatively i.e. to keep the other side out. This election has been dominated by getting the Conservatives out. Labour are making a big fuss about their ‘victory’, but actually they got 600,000 less votes than they did last time!

                                                  Most people put “climate change”* quite high on their list of concerns, but not many are aware of the more ecological aspects of the same crisis, and hardly any at all about the multiple threats from resource depletion. Into a swamp arse backwards. Thank the ‘news’ media.

                                                  (* I scare quoted that to highlight its nature of being a sound-bite, not because the real thing doesn’t exist or isn’t happening. But we should never mistake the map for the territory, especially not the cartoon, Mickey Mouse maps we’re typically presented with.)

                                                  #99361 Reply

                                                    James, I want to strongly second your post #99352. Modern life is crap, and getting crapper.

                                                    #99362 Reply

                                                      James, the “diesel fumes” that engulfed you were more likely gas oil fumes; look it up. It’s cheaper than diesel, but diesel engines can run on it, and vehicles for some sectors are legally permitted to burn it. Most modern turbo-diesels produce much cleaner emission than used to be typical.

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