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View Full Version : Earth's climate will slip past "tipping point" within 100 years



Fraser
2008-Feb-05, 09:20 AM
Nine key geographical factors have been highlighted as Earth's critical climate controllers most at risk of slipping past their "tipping points". This means that once damage reaches a certain point, there can be no recovery; the damage will continue in a downward spiral, amplifying global warming and environmental damage on historic scales.*And as*if climate news [...]

More... (http://www.universetoday.com/2008/02/05/earths-climate-will-slip-past-tipping-point-within-100-years/)

GOURDHEAD
2008-Feb-05, 07:11 PM
http://www.universetoday.com/2008/02/05/earths-climate-will-slip-past-tipping-point-within-100-years/



This means that once damage reaches a certain point, there can be no recovery; the damage will continue in a downward spiral, amplifying global warming and environmental damage on historic scales.It is extremely difficult to believe that any of us (I should say you since I know I'm not) are clever enough or have developed sufficiently sophisticated algorithms and have arranged them in accurately deterministic climate change models to know that irreversible tipping points exist much less that we are temporally approaching them.

Thus far the recommended "cures" are the reduction of CO2 in the environment by various stratagems without defining the hit to the world wide economy nor the changes in lifestyle that would be required. No data are available to show that the "cure" is better than the injury. Data from the past geological epochs, faulty as they may be, don't seem to show global disasters related to climate extremes, except for the ice ages, with CO2 levels much higher, there is no record of them having been much lower (<300ppm) , than they currently are.

With humans actively watching the store, I believe we can make sure no tipping point will occur that is irreversible. It is easy to believe that either the disaster prevention cure or the disaster will reduce the human population by more than 50%.

Noclevername
2008-Feb-05, 07:20 PM
With humans actively watching the store, I believe we can make sure no tipping point will occur that is irreversible. Why? We've been "watching the store" this whole time, and a lot has slipped our notice until now. What else might we have missed?

Some of these so-called "tipping points" have already happened. (I'm taking the statements about their supposed "irreversibility" with the same grain of salt I reserve for all climate change studies, pro or con).


It is easy to believe that either the disaster prevention cure or the disaster will reduce the human population by more than 50%.

Reducing our population might even be part of the cure.

Ronald Brak
2008-Feb-05, 07:21 PM
You are in error on several points in your post Gourdhead, but I feel that if I went into them this thread my be taken off the topic of tipping points. I'll just refer you to the wikipedia article on the Stern Review for now:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stern_Review

If you want to discuss it, maybe you could start a new thread on the Stern Review.

Kebsis
2008-Feb-05, 07:31 PM
Why? We've been "watching the store" this whole time, and a lot has slipped our notice until now. What else might we have missed?

Some of these so-called "tipping points" have already happened. (I'm taking the statements about their supposed "irreversibility" with the same grain of salt I reserve for all climate change studies, pro or con).



Reducing our population might even be part of the cure.



Which tipping points have already occured?

Noclevername
2008-Feb-05, 08:44 PM
Which tipping points have already occured?

Not sure, I thought I recalled the Greenland ice melting and the ocean current shifting had reached that point, I could be wrong.

agingjb
2008-Feb-05, 09:14 PM
The Earth's climate had be such that, in 1938, it was able to enable at least one human being to come into existence. Then, for a few years it had to remain at a level that enabled the consciousness of that human being to achieve self awareness. After that, it's down to luck (not, may I say, something much associated with that specific human awareness).

Van Rijn
2008-Feb-05, 11:43 PM
The first tipping point prediction was very soon, "Collapse of the Indian summer monsoon (approximately one year)." I googled if I could find any more details on that, and found a bit more. From here:

http://www.climateark.org/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=92490


-Collapse of the Indian summer monsoon (approximately one year). The monsoon circulation is driven by a land-to-ocean pressure gradient. Greenhouse warming tends to strengthen the monsoon since warmer air can carry more water. Air pollution and land-use that increases the reflection of sunlight tend to weaken it. The Indian summer monsoon could become erratic and in the worst case start to chaotically change between an active and a weak phase within a few years.

That sounds a good bit less clear cut than the original prediction, and apparently, according to this, regional pollution and land use would be the reason for monsoon collapse, not global climate change.

GOURDHEAD
2008-Feb-06, 03:30 PM
You are in error on several points in your post Gourdhead, but I feel that if I went into them this thread my be taken off the topic of tipping points. I'll just refer you to the wikipedia article on the Stern Review for now:
Thanks for the reference. Since I believe that the reality of accurately defined "irreversible tipping points" is a very critical piece of information favoring the taking of drastic measures that may have serious economic impacts which in turn may generate uncontrollable chaos and political turmoil, I think it is quite proper to include the economical assessment of what is at stake. I am hyper-awed at what I perceive to be the complexity of the interweaving of climate control and economic impacts, and this enables me to discount those of you who claim to be so much smarter than I that you can be confident that a sufficient portion of the parameters affecting this complexity are well understood. I fear many of you are acting like newly hired sorcerer's apprentices.

I haven't read the 700 page report and the reference did not summarize the data and analysis that led to whatever Stern's conclusions were. I have copied some of the comments contained in the link you provided that other detractor's of his report have made to demonstrate the lack of consensus among those whose opinions should be taken more seriously than mine:
Richard Tol, an environmental economist and lead author (amongst a total of over 450 lead authors) for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said that "If a student of mine were to hand in this report as a Masters thesis, perhaps if I were in a good mood I would give him a 'D' for diligence; but more likely I would give him an 'F' for fail. There is a whole range of very basic economics mistakes that somebody who claims to be a Professor of Economics simply should not make. (...) Stern consistently picks the most pessimistic for every choice that one can make. He overestimates through cherry-picking, he double counts particularly the risks and he underestimates what development and adaptation will do to impacts." [26] Tol also showed that the Stern Review's estimate of the social cost of carbon is an outlier in the literature.[27]

William Nordhaus, an economist who has done several studies on the economics of global warming, criticised the Review for its discount rate assumption[28]:

The Review’s unambiguous conclusions about the need for extreme immediate action will not survive the substitution of discounting assumptions that are consistent with today’s market place. So the central questions about global-warming policy — how much, how fast, and how costly — remain open. The Review informs but does not answer these fundamental questions.

Yale economist Robert Mendelsohn made similar criticisms in a BBC radio programme The Investigation. A number of other economists and scientists on the programme argued that the review's assumptions were far more pessimistic than those of most experts in the field, and that while claiming to be a review of current academic thinking the Stern review's conclusions were in fact at odds with the mainstream view.[29]

Harvard economist Martin Weitzman writes[30] that "the Stern Review consistently leans towards ... assumptions and formulations that emphasize optimistically-low expected costs of mitigation and pessimistically-high expected damages from greenhouse warming", that the documentation in the report is "elusive, frustrating, and ultimately unsatisfactory" and that "the key assumption that drives its strong conclusions is the mundane fact that a very low interest rate is postulated". Weitzman writes that "concerning the rate of pure time preference, Stern follows a decidedly-minority paternalistic view", and that "in a similar spirit of choosing extreme taste parameters, Stern selects as its base-case coefficient of relative risk aversion ... that is the lowest lower bound of just about any economist’'s best-guess range." Weitzman continues to argue that the Stern Review underestimated the risk of climate change and that, therefore, the Stern Review is "right for the wrong reasons", a conclusion shared by Yohe and Tol.[31]

Cambridge economist Partha Dasgupta calls Stern's combination of pure rate of time preference and rate of risk aversion "patently absurd" as this would imply a savings rate of 97.5% while the observed rate is around 15%.[32] Berkeley economist Hal Varian shares Dasgupta's critique.[33]

Controversial environmental writer Bjørn Lomborg criticised the Stern Review in OpinionJournal[34]:

Mr. Stern's core argument that the price of inaction would be extraordinary and the cost of action modest [...] falls apart when one actually reads the 700-page tome. Despite using many good references, the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change is selective and its conclusion flawed. Its fear-mongering arguments have been sensationalized, which is ultimately only likely to make the world worse off.

Professor Emeritus of Economics at Pepperdine University George Reisman said that "Any serious consideration of the proposals made in the Stern Review for radically reducing carbon technology and the accompanying calls for immediacy in enacting them makes clear in a further way how utterly impractical the environmentalist program for controlling global warming actually is. The fundamental impracticality of the program, of course, lies in its utterly destructive character." [35]

If you care to specify my errors and why you think they are errors, I'd like to discuss them in this thread. Maybe you can convince me that I am tilting at windmills, and I can be saved from further folly.

One approach would be to list all the things we could do to alter global warming and guess at the benefit of complying and the cost of non-compliance in a quantitative way. Early guesses will probably not be very accurate but as we bounce them back and forth, we may be able to get a more accurate picture and eliminate biases such as mine from the discussion.

banquo's_bumble_puppy
2008-Feb-06, 06:58 PM
okay so- worst case scenario = Venus????

Noclevername
2008-Feb-07, 12:39 AM
okay so- worst case scenario = Venus????

Nope, but worst case scenario= no humans. It would take a concerted effort to get to the very worst case scenario, though. Realistically, what we face will be somewhere between economically inconvenient*, and catastrophic loss of life.

*Economically inconvenient as a direct consequence of climate changes, I mean, although the "cure" will involve short-term economic inconveniences as well. Although cure is probably the wrong word for allempting to affect the balance of a massively complex and incompletely understood dynamic system.

Jerry
2008-Feb-07, 04:14 AM
okay so- worst case scenario = Venus????

Yes.

The Earth's albeto is changing, and changing quite rapidly: less reflective area equates to more solar absorption. The 'tipping point' is less well defined, but not for want of trying. There is a satellite sitting in a Maryland warehouse that was completed in the late 1990's; but when the Bush administration moved into office, they cancelled the launch of this satellite that was specifically designed to measure heat flow to and from the Earth.

So the one human aspect that does separate us from all other mammals: The ability to use empirical data to make long range projections about the anthopological effects upon the Earth has been thwarted by - [fill in the rant].

We are left guessing. Our best guess is we are tipping. All the overquoted and underqualified conservative sages not withstanding.

Noclevername
2008-Feb-07, 05:22 AM
Yes.


Still no. Earth has been through periods of lower albedo than we're heading into, and not gone Runaway Greenhouse. We also have different conditions than Venus; distance from the Sun, planetary and atmospheric mass and composition (buth core and surface), our Moon, all of which will lead to different results even if we do somehow get to the point of RG.

Maha Vailo
2008-Feb-07, 06:55 AM
I generally take any study that says that such-and-such a disaster will happen in 50-100 years with a whole lot of grains of salt. A lot can happen in 50-100 years, and a lot will happen in the next 100, just because the pace of technology has been so fast in recent decades.

In the next 100 years, I predict that our rate of CO2 production will go way down, thanks to a shift in energy use from fossil fuels to hydrogen and electricity (mainly from nuclear and solar) and, to a lesser extent, conservation. CO2 sequestration may (will?) play a role as well. All this will come not because of massive efforts to control CO2 emissions, but because technology simply marches on.

I'm not saying there isn't going to be some global warming going on in the coming decades; there will be. However, I'm saying that it's not going to be the complete disaster that many scientists claim it will be.

- Maha Vailo

Ronald Brak
2008-Feb-07, 07:05 AM
I'm not saying there isn't going to be some global warming going on in the coming decades; there will be. However, I'm saying that it's not going to be the complete disaster that many scientists claim it will be.

Often on BAUT I've heard complaints about people who make unrealistically catastrophic predictions about global warming, but I've never met one of these people. Generally I find scientists tend to be quite realistic in their accessments about global warming, on account of their coming to their opinions using science. Could you name some of these scientists who claim global warming will be a complete disaster so I can google them and see who they are and what they say?

Maha Vailo
2008-Feb-07, 07:47 AM
Could you name some of these scientists who claim global warming will be a complete disaster so I can google them and see who they are and what they say?

You're telling me the folks who made the predictions in the OP weren't scientists? And what about the UN consortium that's made similar comments in the past few years?

Personally, I'd like to see some of your scientific sources that say that global warming isn't going to be a disaster. Any links would be much appreciated.

- Maha Vailo

GOURDHEAD
2008-Feb-07, 12:51 PM
Personally, I'd like to see some of your scientific sources that say that global warming isn't going to be a disaster. Any links would be much appreciated. http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/ and entry #9 above. A more rational treatment of this argument requires that we carefully define the limits of change that become disasters. It's easy to believe that some discomfort will be visited on some geographical areas.

Ronald Brak
2008-Feb-07, 08:39 PM
You're telling me the folks who made the predictions in the OP weren't scientists? And what about the UN consortium that's made similar comments in the past few years?

Personally, I'd like to see some of your scientific sources that say that global warming isn't going to be a disaster. Any links would be much appreciated.

I'm sorry, I didn't make myself clear. I should have said that I've heard people complain about scientists who say that global warming is going to be a much worse disaster than the general scientific consensus and I was wondering who they were. My interest is limited to scientists who actually study climate.

Ronald Brak
2008-Feb-07, 08:41 PM
Thanks for your link, Gourdhead, but it's not actually what I'm looking for.

Eratosthenes
2008-Feb-09, 12:40 PM
As EARTH's counselor, I am privy to her wishes and must reject the anthropomorphic value judgements being cast around here.
While it is true that EARTH is headed for the next Ice Age 15,000 years from now, the EARTH's short-term global warming is the complete opposite from being an environmental disaster. The apex predator species of Earth has posed a grave danger to the existence of tens of thousands of other species. The most likely way to continue biodiversity is if this species can somehow be wiped out by disease and famine ASAP.
My client is merely aiding and abetting this predator's self-destructive tendencies.

clop
2008-Feb-09, 12:57 PM
Though unqualified to take part in this discussion I am going to watch it with acute interest since gourdhead sounds to be one of the most intelligent, objective and dare I say scientific voices I have yet come across on BAUT.

clop

RocketDog
2008-Feb-09, 03:18 PM
Has Anyone out there ever Heard of the Easter Island Effect ??? We are currently chopping down all the trees, destroying food supply chains, and reproducing like lemmings......We will be in serious trouble in another 150 years, if the Mayan calander is wrong. If it is correct, we only have till 2013.....and they were better Mathamaticians than we are...

KaiYeves
2008-Feb-09, 07:06 PM
I think that's enough time to make a change.
Call me crazy, throw tomatoes.
But I'm an optimist, darn it!

Jerry
2008-Feb-10, 12:37 AM
I'm sorry, I didn't make myself clear. I should have said that I've heard people complain about scientists who say that global warming is going to be a much worse disaster than the general scientific consensus and I was wondering who they were. My interest is limited to scientists who actually study climate.
When the predictions were made in the early seventies, the increase in Atmospheric CO2 and associated world temperature rise were in a window of about a 1 degree C in thirty years: The World average temperature would rise ~1.5 deg C by 2000 as the max; and 0.4 deg C at the min. So what we are witnessing is in line with the worst-case predictions. (If there were worse predictions than what we have actually witnessed through 2007, I would appreciated anyone pointing these out).

In addition:

The recession of glaciers, melting of polar ice pack, and general climate changes we are witnessing are exceeding the wildest predictions of thirty years ago. Again, evidence otherwise is welcome.

The trend was tempered at first: The 80's were cool, in part due to volcanic eruptions, and (apparently) a lot of CO2 was being buffered into the oceans, but once the rise in atmospheric CO2 started in earnest (~1988); the rise has been alarming, even to the slowest of all national leaders.

We don't know what exactly triggered global warming in the past; or how the trend reversed. For example, if large scale burning of tropical and temperate forests elevated CO2 levels, reduction of forest acreage may have put brakes on the process. But more likely, global warming trends were reversed when there was a large volcanic or meteor explosion - not the kind of scenario we would like to depend upon to bale us out of a gross human mistake.

Swift
2008-Feb-10, 08:35 PM
Has Anyone out there ever Heard of the Easter Island Effect ??? We are currently chopping down all the trees, destroying food supply chains, and reproducing like lemmings......We will be in serious trouble in another 150 years, if the Mayan calander is wrong. If it is correct, we only have till 2013.....and they were better Mathamaticians than we are...
My bold.
No, they were not. I won't sidetrack this thread, but just look at any of the numerous 2012 threads for more details.

Maha Vailo
2008-Feb-10, 11:51 PM
Has Anyone out there ever Heard of the Easter Island Effect ??? We are currently chopping down all the trees, destroying food supply chains, and reproducing like lemmings......We will be in serious trouble in another 150 years, if the Mayan calander is wrong. If it is correct, we only have till 2013.....and they were better Mathamaticians than we are...

Actually, there is evidence to suggest that the "Easter Island effect" is an urban legend and that the real reason Easter Island was screwed was due to those dadgum Europeans: Link here (http://www.staff.livjm.ac.uk/spsbpeis/EE%2016-34_Peiser.pdf)

As to "chopping down all the trees", research indicates that we are doing the opposite, at least in the developed world: Link here (http://phe.rockefeller.edu/docs/PNAS-Forests_final.pdf)

I'm not sure what you mean by "destroying food supply chains", so I can't comment on that.

As to "reproducing like lemmings", once again, the opposite is true in much of the developed world. Even in most of the developing world, birth rates are slowing down, due to such factors as education of women and urbanization. (Africa and parts of the Middle East still need some work, however.) This slowdown, stoppage, and eventual reversal of population growth is known as demographic transition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_transition).

So lighten up. We're not as screwed as the doomsayers think we are.

- Maha "Chicken Little souped" Vailo

toothdust
2008-Feb-11, 03:51 AM
As to "chopping down all the trees", research indicates that we are doing the opposite, at least in the developed world: Link here (http://phe.rockefeller.edu/docs/PNAS-Forests_final.pdf)



Yes, but the "developed world, such as the US and Europe do not have the planets lungs, the rainforest's, within their boundaries. The rest of the world is chopping them down at an alarming rate trying to become developed. Little do they know that they are chopping all of us off at the knees by destroying old growth forest into grazing land for F-ing cows or soybeans. I could go on and on about the reasons not to chop down the rainforests, but I have a feeling you probably already know and agree with most of it.

Although, I have read somewhere that they northern boreal forests of Canada/Alaska and Russia are still a strong force in carbon uptake, though not as strong as the tropical forests.

Maha Vailo
2008-Feb-11, 12:32 PM
^ From what I understand, the plankton in the oceans are a much bigger carbon-sinking force than anything on land, rainforest or no, so you might be wrong on that regard.

I'm not saying we shouldn't reduce the pressures on wild lands in the developing world by alleviating poverty; that's probably one of the most important environmental issues facing us. However, I do believe we should look at things in perspective and set our priorities straight. This is a struggle that is better fought with scientific and engineering know-how than by alarmism and misinformation.

- Maha Vailo

Noclevername
2008-Feb-11, 04:36 PM
As EARTH's counselor, I am privy to her wishes and must reject the anthropomorphic value judgements being cast around here.
While it is true that EARTH is headed for the next Ice Age 15,000 years from now, the EARTH's short-term global warming is the complete opposite from being an environmental disaster. The apex predator species of Earth has posed a grave danger to the existence of tens of thousands of other species. The most likely way to continue biodiversity is if this species can somehow be wiped out by disease and famine ASAP.
My client is merely aiding and abetting this predator's self-destructive tendencies.

Are you volunteering? :lol:

toothdust
2008-Feb-11, 05:46 PM
^ From what I understand, the plankton in the oceans are a much bigger carbon-sinking force than anything on land, rainforest or no, so you might be wrong on that regard.

I'm not saying we shouldn't reduce the pressures on wild lands in the developing world by alleviating poverty; that's probably one of the most important environmental issues facing us. However, I do believe we should look at things in perspective and set our priorities straight. This is a struggle that is better fought with scientific and engineering know-how than by alarmism and misinformation.

- Maha Vailo

Even the vast oceans are having trouble keeping up with our accelerating pollution/carbon burning. They are getting measurably more acidic.

I know humanity will most likely get through whatever the planet throws at us. We are the best adapters in nature that we know of. It's just a question of what kind of existence we want. I would much rather go for a walk through the forest than a barren, polluted wasteland. To live at any kind of desirable level, we need to realize and remember as a global society that we ARE nature, we are a part of nature, and if continue this cancerous war against nature, we will lose. Whatever apocalyptic situation you can imagine, some may survive, but its like that cartoon where the people come out of the bomb shelter into a nuclear winter world and exclaim "Alright! We survived!"

I think a small degree of alarmism is necessary right now, because things are happening at alarming rates. It will probably go like everything else in human nature, we don't realize what we had until it is no more...

Noclevername
2008-Feb-11, 06:08 PM
^ From what I understand, the plankton in the oceans are a much bigger carbon-sinking force than anything on land, rainforest or no, so you might be wrong on that regard.

I'm not saying we shouldn't reduce the pressures on wild lands in the developing world by alleviating poverty; that's probably one of the most important environmental issues facing us. However, I do believe we should look at things in perspective and set our priorities straight. This is a struggle that is better fought with scientific and engineering know-how than by alarmism and misinformation.

- Maha Vailo

Are the plankton levels falling at the same rate as forestation? If not, then forests are still the priority, as their contribution (though less than plankton's) is still signifigant. That's neither alarmism nor misinformation, just simple practicality.


So lighten up. We're not as screwed as the doomsayers think we are.
True. I've always advocated ignoring doomsayers as well as denyers. We are, however, still potentially at least 70% screwed.

Maha Vailo
2008-Feb-11, 07:51 PM
Even the vast oceans are having trouble keeping up with our accelerating pollution/carbon burning. They are getting measurably more acidic.

Cite, please?

- Maha Vailo

Eratosthenes
2008-Feb-12, 12:13 AM
Are you volunteering? :lol:

Yes!
Other people, mainly Scientologists, New York Yankees fans, and insurance salespersons.

Ronald Brak
2008-Feb-12, 12:18 AM
Cite, please?

The oceans are increasing in acidity, because as CO2 levels in the atmosphere are increased, the oceans absorb more CO2. Here's an article on it:

http://72.14.235.104/search?q=cache:co-C0TXD0uwJ:www.nerc.ac.uk/publications/planetearth/2006/summer/sum06-oceanacid.pdf+wikipedia+CO2+ocean+acidity&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=au

Jerry
2008-Feb-13, 03:08 AM
I watched a special on a small island, ok a reef maybe, or a barrier island in the Atlantic that had been inhabited for centuries, but only had a mean elevation of a few inchs above sea level. It had to be evacuated - no more fresh water.

Tipping points are measured in inches, and for very populated regions like Bangladesh, inches mean no longer inhabitable.

Another interesting example is the 1980's expansion of the Great Salt Lake to historically high levels. Every year, it was proposed to the state legislature that a pumping station be build, and every year they convinced themselves that next year, the lake would subside. Finally, when the lake was within a dozen centimeters of flooding the airport, the pumps were built and the wet spelled ended.

In the mean time, the brine shrimp, mineral extraction, railroad, wildlife habitat, hunting clubs, major powerlines and seven miles of freeway were destroyed: Twenty times the cost of the pumps that were built too late.

Maha Vailo
2008-Feb-14, 01:55 AM
I watched a special on a small island, ok a reef maybe, or a barrier island in the Atlantic that had been inhabited for centuries, but only had a mean elevation of a few inchs above sea level. It had to be evacuated - no more fresh water.

Why couldn't they have built a desalinization plant? The population of the island couldn't have been more than a few thousand at most, so a desal plant big enough to supply their needs wouldn't need to be too big or expensive.

Evacuating the island souns like a dumb and horribly expensive mistake IMHO.

Personally, I think there's nothing climate change can't realistically throw at us that science and engineering can't solve. Contrary to what some of you might say, I think the world can well afford it, since technologies do get cheaper in the long run. And this is a long-run task.

- Maha Vailo

Noclevername
2008-Feb-14, 02:37 AM
Why couldn't they have built a desalinization plant? The population of the island couldn't have been more than a few thousand at most, so a desal plant big enough to supply their needs wouldn't need to be too big or expensive.
Too big and too expensive are relative terms. If it's more than they can afford, it's too expensive. And most places where this will become a major issue, like Bangladesh, have little enough now.



Personally, I think there's nothing climate change can't realistically throw at us that science and engineering can't solve. Contrary to what some of you might say, I think the world can well afford it, since technologies do get cheaper in the long run. And this is a long-run task.

But we have no idea how long that run may be. And technolgy prices are subject to the same market forces as everything else, making them almost as unpredictable as future climate changes.

Jerry
2008-Feb-15, 07:03 PM
Technological solutions are only as good as our careful foresight.

When the Aswan dam was built; it created a hydroelectric resource for the Nile valley; but at a surprising cost. By elliminating the annual flooding, they also eliminated the annual fertilization. The production of nitrate fertilizers ended up using more power than the dam was generating.

(I think they resolved this to some degree by creating a breach path and synthesizing annual floods, but I don't know details.)

Meanwhile the dam is slowing silting in, and without expensive dredging; the ability to use the dam for flood control will diminish over time - there are several small dams built in the early 1900's near where I live that are completely silted in.

To use new technologies wisely, we must listen to the people who are in the best position to assay problems and propose solutions. When political hacks keep pointing proudly at past technological successes in dealing with human-induced folly while at the same time keep ignoring the warnings of the large core of scientists who are deeply concerned; we might run out of rabbits in the hat.

Maha Vailo
2008-Feb-15, 07:34 PM
Then if some places don't have enough money, then we give them the money to do it. Fighting poverty will be paramount in the near-futur, if for nothing more than to fight off terrorism.

And as for politicians-vs-scientists and "running out of rabbits in hats", I do not recall of any modern civilization ever going to pot because of that. C'mon, I'd like to see a little less doom-and-gloom around here and a lot more thinking about ways to fend this off or adapt to it.

This is a science-minded forum - let's use our science-mindedness here for something constructive.

- Maha Vailo

Noclevername
2008-Feb-15, 08:26 PM
And as for politicians-vs-scientists and "running out of rabbits in hats", I do not recall of any modern civilization ever going to pot because of that.


Er, yeah, that's because they're modern. Not enough time has elapsed for all of the consequences to become great enough to shut things down.




C'mon, I'd like to see a little less doom-and-gloom around here and a lot more thinking about ways to fend this off or adapt to it.

This is a science-minded forum - let's use our science-mindedness here for something constructive.

- Maha Vailo

Science is only part of the answer, as human behavior is also at fault. Getting millions of people to change their ways requires social and cultural changes, not just technological ones.

Jerry
2008-Feb-16, 08:13 PM
Science is only part of the answer, as human behavior is also at fault. Getting millions of people to change their ways requires social and cultural changes, not just technological ones.
Exactly, although one can argue changing culture and social norms is a scientific solution - social science.

Technological solutions have failed many times: Think Great Wall, Rome, Mayan empire; and the many city-state that have fallen to famine and plague. They will continue to fail until humans fully realize that balance is necessary.

Maha Vailo
2009-Feb-24, 04:59 PM
^ That may be true, but have there ever been examples of any modern civilizations that have collapsed due to famine, plague, or anything other than politics or ideology?

- Maha Vailo