Senate Debbie Downer - The Senate Thread

Discussion in 'Community' started by Jabbadabbado, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I need to get at least one more of these in.

    The landmark Limits to Growth has to date never been successfully debunked. Its conclusion that if we failed in the late 20th century to make drastic changes to zero out our population growth and limit resource consumption, we were likely heading toward a potential population collapse beginning somewhere between 2050 and 2100, and that the longer we wait to initiate global policy efforts toward zero population growth, the worse the collapse is likely to be.

    In the mid 1970s, the world population was 4 billion. Today it is more than 7 billion and by mid century it will likely be over 9 billion. The environmental pressures caused by population growth and per capita consumption by the world's rich and poor have led to resource depletion, soil degradation, ocean desertification, decrease in biodiversity and ecosystem eradication, climate change, etc.

    The world's energy and food supplies are likely near an all-time peak. Despite some local fossil fuel success stories, energy prices remain high and global supplies remain tight. Most power grids throughout the world are regularly taxed to their output limits.

    [IMG]

    Continuing political destabilization and stagnant economic growth caused by access challenges to affordable food, potable water, and energy will likely be the big story of the first half of the twenty-first century. And a peak in the human population may be the big story of the second half.
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  2. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    It all goes to support the classic be prepared for a "Mad Max" world that's been a forum staple for years now. I think it's the only universal truth that has been agreed on here....
  3. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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  4. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Except, as the article mentions, all that wealth is paid out to keep cows warm in the Arctic conditions, so there's that.

    If cows ever turn out to be aliens from space, and their mothership arrives one day, then Norway will achieve a special place in the hearts of the new Bovine Overlords. Montana or Nebraska, probably not so much.
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  5. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
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    That's not just Oslo. An Austrian dairy farmer is a guy with five cows and a one acre corn field, subsidized to a comfortable middle class lifestyle. How they do this without oil revenue, I dunno.
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Jan 9, 2014
  6. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Well to be honest, that is the serious aspect of that. I'd think that the folly of setting up an ingrained wealth distribution system based on the prices of fossil fuels should be fairly obvious. Maybe the financial networks in Norway are more adaptable. I don't know. Maybe in a decade or two, Norway will throw itself back to the 1100's, when having 5 cows and an acre was a good base to go pillaging from but not much else.

    I can't help but think about things like when the entire economy of Switzerland almost collapsed when the Swiss put all their eggs into the Swatch basket, and Swatches stopped being cool in 1989. Sure, now Swatches are retro again in some circles, but only after a decade or 2 of harsh reality for the Swiss. (in comparison of course)
  7. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
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    Norway thinks of its oil reserves as a national asset and the profits from oil exports as a resource available for the benefit of all its citizens, not unlike Alaska. I don't have a problem with that. If it were playing a more long-term game, Norway would consider not pumping that oil at all and keeping it as a reserve for 200 years from now so that their great great great great grandchildren can keep the lights on and cows warm when everyone else is living out the Mad Max scenario.
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Jan 9, 2014
  8. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Yeah, that's kind of what I meant. The Alaskan parallel is a good one, but the main difference is that Alaska state government issues the oil fund back as a rebate bonus. So the citizens in Alaska can get new HDTV's every year, but it's not a substitute for the workforce. It seems that the economy in Norway replaces actual economic production with the dividend. So while all is good now and everyone in Norway sits around on a single national revenue stream, less and less is being produced. When Al Gore gets installed as universal king and everyone starts driving hybrid cars, everyone in Norway is going to have to find a job, and there can only be so many dairy farmers. But then again, Norway seems progressive enough to get the lock on the world's Soylent Green production before anyone else. Since there are less people in all of Norway than there are in New York City, Norway might be a good Soylent importer-exporter and keep that fund forever.
  9. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I think Saudi Arabia will corner the market on Solent green exports when they can no longer export oil. The key is to combine zero economic opportunity with high birth rates.
  10. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Not so gloomy Jabba! Be like this guy.

    [IMG]
  11. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    But in Alan Moore's mind, the future revolves around a giant, genetically mutated creature that is going to kill everyone with a burst of psychic energy. Now that's gloomy.

    Come to think of it, he still might not be as gloomy as Jabba.....
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  12. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 6
    90 percent of that "information" is porn and the rest is, like, people pushing money around and livejournals and celebrity tweets

    your Singularity's not coming, alan. you dont get to own a jetpack. ask warren ellis
    Last edited by Rogue_Ten, Jan 9, 2014
  13. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Marketplace reported yesterday that coal pollution kills 500,000 people in China annually. China consumes more coal than the rest of the world combined. In 1988 it was consuming 1 billion tons of coal a year. Last year that had increased to 4 billion short tons. It gets 70% of its power from coal.

    China's State Council announced in Sept. of last year that it was banning construction of new coal-fired power plants around Beijing.

    In the U.S. there is exactly one coal plant with carbon capture technology under construction, economically feasible because the CO2 will be injected into an old oil well to drive tertiary oil recovery.
  14. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    It doesn't matter. Eventually, the earth will throw us off, probably with a disease.

    Ever read Richard Preston's "The Hot Zone?" Nature always wins.

    Peace,

    V-03
  15. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    The Singularity

    [IMG]
  16. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    The Hot Zone is a classic. But it seems to me there's no disease that's so virulent and spreads so quickly that it's immune to sterile procedures and quarantine. If I remember the book, one of the "problems" with ebola is that it's so deadly and kills so quickly that it tends to burn itself out before it can become a global pandemic.
  17. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    True, but those problems can be fairly easily overcome with a little genetic engineering. And even that doesn't have to happen; look at H1N1 already this year. 61% of all hospitalized patients are between the ages of 18-64, which is entirely due to the lack of inherent immunity to the virus in the non-geriatric population.

    A new mutation that made Ebola hardier and able to spread through the air, for example, is not an outrageous possibility. New diseases are trying to break into the human race all the time; SARS and MERS are the most recent examples.

    The bugs are smarter than us. Eventually, the worse is gonna happen. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think I am.

    Peace,

    V-03
    Last edited by Vaderize03, Jan 11, 2014
  18. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    @Jabbadabbado - have you read Frank Herbert's The White Plague ? It's great, a molecular biologist takes revenge against the world for the death of his wife in an IRA bombing by tailoring a plague that kills only women which he distributes by infecting currency and then making cash donations around the world.
    Last edited by LostOnHoth, Jan 11, 2014
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  19. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Yep. One big Gaia sneeze.
    Vaderize03 likes this.
  20. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    LoH-

    Haven't read that one in YEARS. It was brilliant for its time, especially considering what's happened since.
  21. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Yes, a favorite!
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  22. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    The food concerns are the same ones made decades ago. Energy may be a bit trickier of a shift, but as far as food production, I think we still have a fair bit of growth ahead of us due to improving technologies. As it stands now, we don't lack food, we lack the ability for food to get to those who need it. With the additional work being carried out with GMOs, I do think it's quite likely that food production will be able to grow to match the 9 billion people the population is expected to reach when it reaches an approximate maximum in half a century or so.
  23. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I think water is going to be a big problem. Water is needed for energy production, directly for urban populations, and indirectly for agriculture. The one time spend down of fossil aquifers in China, India, the Middle East and the U.S. along with the big one time fossil fuel spend is what bid up the population to 7 billion in the first place. The collapse of irrigation in India and great swaths of the U.S. and China is going to place immense pressure on the food supply, and would even if we weren't expecting another 50% added to the global population.
  24. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    This is true, although I'm hoping that water recycling and desalination efforts continue to grow. Especially as without something along those lines, the US Southwest is poised for a collapse as well, so I think that may well serve to push the technology forward into being more economical ahead of a world crisis. Other areas have also been pushing forward with this sort of technology, and the current desalination capacities can be seen here
  25. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    U.N. Says Lag in Confronting Climate Woes Will Be Costly

    The new report highlights and confirms what I have argued for years, that the twin drivers of population growth in the developing world and high levels of per capita consumption among the richest nations make the chances of doing anything about climate change before it becomes catastrophic extremely slim, and that if we had really wanted to succeed, we would have started thirty years ago.

    We can argue about the size of fossil fuel resources still in the ground and under the oceans, but the costs of burning whatever quantity remains will be dire. And we are not making any substantive shifts. Though wind and solar capacity is growing, it is not growing relative to the expansion of fossil fuel consumption - mostly coal. And although the U.S. has adjusted to higher fuel costs by driving less and has modestly decreased oil consumption, part of this achievement has come through exporting our greenhouse gas emissions to China, which now does it for us.

    It seems clear that no effective treaty will be in place before this target is passed. Because we failed to begin addressing this problem a generation ago, our grandchildren will be left with a daunting engineering/technology task at the intersection of science fiction, irony and reality -- that of terraforming the Earth.

    Here's the main report page. The Summary for Policymakers is an easy read.
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Jan 17, 2014