Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

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The reason some popular posts are tagged ‘no title’ is not because they have no title—they all do—but because the old Blogger embedded the title at the top of text, and the new software does not see that. You can see the titles in capitals at the start of each snippet. (It would be nice if Blogger introduced an upgrade program that could fix this little problem.)

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Friday, 9 December 2005


Which is a headline that sounds like the cry of some nutter leading his accolytes up a mountain to contemplate the fluff in their navels and wait for The End. But the sentiment comes from the scientist who discovered 'global-warming' (better called global-overheating) back in the 1970s. A radio report has just quoted him as saying that if we get a one-degree rise in the average global temperature in the next decade, irreparable harm will have been done to the planet (sadly, his name escaped a Google News search). Which is a nice way of saying that we have passed the point of no return, because human beings are obviously not going to kick their deep-seated addiction to the Black Stuff in less than ten years.

His sentiments are echoed by the Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University, Professor James Speth, who was reported at this site, which might be a bit hard to get into (you might have to click Refresh a few times to kick it into gear). Dr Speth says we cannot now escape negative global consequences. The best we can hope for is to ward off catastrophe.

Meanwhile, one of the Biggies from the Black Stuff, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, Claude Mandil, has just the world that we cannot expect to have more than 30% of the world's vehicles running on hydrogen by 2050--a 30% that is predicted to be 700 million, which would mean that there would be twice as many ICVs on the roads as there are now. Just what we wanted. More of those damned things. The present 775 million have killed the planet. Twice as many does not bear thinking about.

Here is the full article on Mr Mandil's vested-interest prognosis.

Also from the Black Stuff vested interests, on the 2nd of September 2004, Niel Golightly, director of environmental strategies for Ford Motor Company, told USA Today, "Clearly, the entire industry could build nothing but zero emissions cars today if it wanted to." so the whole world is forced to go heavily.

Underlining the planet's peril, and the fact that although computer modelling of climate-change is dire it underestimates the speed at which things are going pear-shaped, is this BBC News item. 14 kilometres a year is 1.6 metres an hour, 26mm a minute. You could stand there and watch it moving.

The problem with computer modelling is that although its accuracy has been proved by running the models backwards and comparing their results with historical records, the predictions based on the extrapolations forward take the mid-line. They do not predict the worst possibility, or the most optimistic. They go through the middle. But the readings are tracking along the top. And as the man says, there are things we have not taken into account.

So we are in for a rough ride, and we are going to get to the rough bit far faster than most people think. It is not a question of avoiding it--we have gone to far for that--it is just a question of how bad we are going to make it before we get sane.