Archive for October, 2009

We’re all dead

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Or so says Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara:

“It could be that the 2016 Games are the last Olympics in the history of mankind,” Ishihara told reporters at a Tokyo 2016 press event ahead of the vote.

“Global warming is getting worse. We have to come up with measures without which Olympic Games could not last long.

“Scientists have said we have passed the point of no return,” said Ishihara.

Why do scientists scare politicians like this? Everyone knows politicians are like children… feed them, and give them a nice bed time story.

So. It could be that the games are the last Olympics in history. And it could be that my cousin Tanisha will fly. Wait, she’s a pilot. Scrub that remark.

Look, even taking the Al Gore alarmist extremist Global Warming death predictions seriously (which no sane sober intelligent person should do), we aren’t facing Armageddon. Al Gore-style Global Warming would likely mean the human race could grow considerably more food — if Russia and Canada were willing to do so. It could mean that some of the poorest and smallest countries in the world would face serious flooding — a cost of many billions of dollars, perhaps even a trillion dollars, but not one that we can’t deal with. (The cost to the economy to reduce CO2 emissions would be about 18 trillion dollars… and that’s solely in the West. This assumes reducing emissions would do anything).

Nations such as Kiribati, Vanuatu, and Micronesia might be devastated or completely wiped out. If Al Gore’s extremist predictions are correct (which they are not). But sure, let’s take the worst case.

I know you’re probably saying “who?”. I admit I’d never heard of Kiribati. (formerly the Gilbert Islands; students of 20th century history would instantly recognize the Phoenix Islands — a part of the nation)

This happens. We adapt and move on. It’s very unpleasant — horrible — for those who are dispossessed, but being a big socialist pinko (not) I have no problem with significant foreign aid and relocation assistance, and favourable migration policies for refugees.

But that’s not the point. The point is simply that Al Gore is a hysterical exaggerator and Shintaro Ishihara is coming off as a deluded lunatic. [The link is biased to the right, but note the NY Times quote].

I had originally thought that the IPCC had it about right. I believed there was a 50-70% chance that the earth was warming, and a 50-70% chance that warming was anthropogenic [woman-made] via CO2 emissions.

I no longer believe this. I’m not sure what the long-term [say over the next 1000 years] climate trend is, though I suspect it is one of cooler temperatures. My view that mankind is making the earth’s temperature warmer via CO2 emissions … I now think that’s about a 20% chance, down from 50-70%.

I think it’s sensible, as a precautionary measure, to reduce emissions that aren’t things like oxygen and water. Nitrates are probably pretty cool too; after all, we have to pee and poop. But pumping out radioactives into the air, as coal plants do, yeah that’s pretty bad.

I’d like to see every coal plant there is gradually shut down over the next generation — unless we actually achieve “clean coal” technology, whatever that may be. Those plants pump vile toxins into the air; I don’t especially want to breath them. This has nothing to do with CO2, and everything to do with wanting clean air.

Nuclear is fine by me, though we really should go ahead and select a disposal site. I suggest Harry Reid’s front yard. Hydro’s good too, though does have issues with land disposition, scale, and mercury. Solar… iffy, though I think solar concentrators have a shot in certain areas. Wind, sure, but that’s very limited. There may be also micro-turbulence issues that ultimately contribute to global warming. Who knew?

Gas? Yep, but that dreaded CO2 and it leaves Europe in the clutches of Russia. Geothermal, nice idea, good in certain areas, like wind. Solar Power Satellites beaming power? My favourite idea. Make it so, but we’re a ways off. Mainly need cheap transport to geosynch, and to deal with whiny environmentalists re: beaming power to earth.

Or power everything off cow farts.

Look the point is this: we are a fabulously inventive species; we can figure out what to do. Unleash the free market, laissez les bon temps roulez, and we’ll cope.

We shall not die but live.


Update: Corrected spelling of Vanuatu.