Climate Change

Yes Peter I take your points but if I can take you back a post it's not specifically warming of the oceans that's the issue as species will as you say relocate. It is the acidity of the water changing and that is a big problem as shell fish and reefs are predominantly calcium and silicon based and the lowering of the water's pH (acidifying) prevents the shells from forming and in some species it is already happening and if reefs dissolve entire species are wiped out including seaweed and algae which are converters of CO2. more strain is on the oceans as we have cut down huge areas of rain forest which also purify our air.

You are absolutely right about affluence, education and the lower birth rates. I was pointing out that some people who are not for 'controls' such as bumping off people believe what THEY say about population growth a redistribution. That is something we know is often discussed but is not MY position. My point was more about those who believe one of the reasons the planet is getting into a mess is because they believe there are too many people, thus people make the mess of our planet, not those who own the resources that allow all of us to consume goods that fill the coffers of the already rich. Redistribution of wealth by governments and private capital is poor generally and organised redistribution of population per labour needs, but never really for the benefit of those in need. Culture rarely comes into it but it is a matter of the usefulness or how expendable potential workers are at times of high and low production. The actual size of world population is not important for many markets since poor people are expendable and those are the ones, for instance in low lying island nations in the Pacific. They concern me far more than the water rising and their homes lost. Who will accept them and where? It is not just the climate change itself but the impact on people and how others will react. An almost inevitable outcome will always be wars as people look for living space but wish to have it for themselves but those already there do not offer to share thus defend themselves. It is that social outcome that many philanthropic individuals and organisations are becoming increasingly worried about.

Oh well, in for a penny in for a pound (old money of course!)

If wish (and I won't) I can be an advocate for any side you choose in this debate, there are no shortage of ambiguities.

For example, you mention population growth, but all the "evidence" shows that as any society gets "richer" and women become better educated, the reproduction ratio drops to or indeed falls below replacement level - see the UK & Germany as an example.

So the unstated policy by all governments has been to "allow" uncontrolled immigration as more people, means a greater national GDP and that means in our case more "political" power in the EU. How many times have I read that by 2050/60 the UK GDP will be greater than that of Germany as their population declines and ours increases. (Is that a driver behind the current Garman acceptance of so many immigrants, I wonder?)

The "belief!!???", is that over a generation or so, all the transient cultural conflict issues and social problems (education, housing, medical, etc) will be resolved. Arguably that worked with the mass immigration of people from the Caribbean in the 60's and 70's who are broadly integrated into our society though at the time, I heard all the same things said about them that I now hear about the current wave of immigrants.

But your central point is that we must retain and protect our core decency as a culture I must entirely endorse. My problem is the reverse of yours. I sort of understand some of the science and technology but feel very weak on how we enable our society to live thru and manage the of changes that we are facing.

In fact, a lot of what you say is clearly right. Perhaps the biggest problem is that people in power are exactly as you say but that large corporate interests have had dissidents who have spoken out and said that political party funding is one of the means by which elections are won and lost, the corporations promote who they want with money. Likewise some have said that actually those big companies are well aware of what is happening. They hire the best scientists available and those who put their work before employer loyalty would not say some of the things a few carefully chosen mouthpieces have. In fact, the large companies know well enough that they have their own plans. Until there is real damage will be a couple of hundred years before it starts to show, so they are working on projects to counteract its effects. They would prefer to continue to make profits but also have a 'last moment' strategy at hand. That will be great for the captains of industry, commerce and finance come the time but at cost of many lives. One person who spoke out said that his colleagues are working on a basis that low lying areas, sometimes entire nations, are expendable, so they do not invest in them. They also give precedence to technologically and scientifically advanced nations because that is where people with the skills they want are easiest to find, the rest of humanity is only important as consumers but those who are not are surplus to needs. That is a horrifying philosophy but I think many of us know that it exists. It also holds the key to resolving climate change. I find it inhumane but others see it as their saving, at least of their several times grandchildren when the time arrives. I have heard people say that because there are far too many people on this planet already something needs to be done to rectify that, not people with an extermination or eugenics type mentality but rational people who sincerely believe what some are saying about population growth and (re)distribution.

So, in some ways the entire issue is very much controlled anyway. yes, expressions like anthropocene are useful PR, mainly because few people have a clue what it means but it impresses those who understand, even vaguely, what it implies. Nearly everything is now made or influenced by humans so it also states the very obvious to those who do know what it means. Nonetheless, science has coined it for good reason. Part of that is, I suspect, to be able to use science to blind people whilst what will ultimately be a selection of the fittest process all over again but this time with the wealthy starting from the poorest and working their way upward until they reach the limit of who they wish to have around.

That is why I am concerned with the situation for humanity, not really the nuts and bolts of scientific causality that I do not even pretend to understand.

John & Brian

I couldn't agree more with everything you say.

But, there is always a but, the point I was making that a lot of CO2 emissions is a bad thing but no CO2 emissions is also bad and we have to learn to "manage" the global ecosystem on a long term basis.

Two problems immediately arise:

a) Our political system is focussed on the next election, i.e. what do I need to do to stay in power and not on long term solutions to anything.

b) Despite the impression given in the media, the "climate/social/political scientific complex" does not really yet fully understand how the global climate works. We are in the middle of a global experiment being conducted without our consent and with imperfect knowledge of the consequences.

The phrase "anthropocene" is a great PR phrase but is pretty meaningless in terms of addressing the problem.

This is not to say, nor am I arguing that we should do nothing only that we should be very careful what we decide to do.

Some ideas like putting zillions of sun reflecting particles into the upper atmosphere are doable, ignoring cost, but what do we do if our calculations are wrong or our understanding of the global climate imperfect? In our "panic" to correct what we think we are doing wrong, we run the risk of creating another monster.

We all know of actions, such as the introduction of rabbits into Australia, that was a "good" idea but had catastrophic consequences that we now cannot undo.

Back specifically to John. What you say about the oceans is correct. But again geologically speaking the current global temperature is significantly below the long term average for the earth over the last 500 million years. And yet of course animal life survived, coral reefs have existed more or less for that whole period for example, though they "relocated" to parts of the ocean that suited their choice of life style.

During phases of huge volcanic activity as the tectonic plates split, huge amount of CO2 were released into the air and absorbed by the oceans, with all the consequences you describe. I am not sure but I suspect the lava flows we see in Iceland may be the modern equivalent - bearing in mind that the lave flows such as the Deccan Traps lasted 300,000 years - and had significant impact on life at the time. Arguably the real driver for the end of the "dinosaurs" was this event and not the asteroid impact.

Life adapts. Always has and always will.

Brian is right, we cannot go back to a pre-industrial world so we have to learn to manage the climate that takes into account all the issues and not demonise one pollutant as that may have, and nobody truly knows, what the unintended consequences of that might be.

I am out of depth with natural science on this topic but have a serious interest in it as a social scientist, the effects of what is happening to human beings, future generations particularly. We have been told we are in a climatic epoch they are now calling the Anthropocene. I straight away understood that because it starts with 'anthro' and being an anthropologist know that the whole prefix 'anthropo' from the Greek means 'related or referring to human beings'. Part of my great influence there is being part of a group of contemporaries who have always remained close to each other and our social anthropology alma mater. One of those people is Henrietta Moore, who in the end became professor of the department in 2008 and left the chair in 2014 to become director of the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College, London. She was on the honours list for 2016, so now a Dame (DBE) and still a close friend I have contact with roughly one a week. I have no formal ties but I get to see most bulletins and other information released by the IGP. Much of it is scary. That is an institute that is basically looking at philanthropy as a means of turning such things as vast corporate controls of the world around that includes trying to do something about climate change. On H's Facebook pages and regular comments it is quite clear what the IGP is supporting.

For years I have also had a 'hot line' into Greenpeace via a pal who was top dog for some years. They have been campaigning for decades now as we all know.

What I have learned in the process of time is that the warnings were there as early as the end of the 18 century when large scale industry began to emerge in Europe. Pollution and changing local conditions were soon found where particular things were done. Once into the 19 century and the massive iron and steel industries near coal and limestone mining that sprang up in the UK and Germany that all got worse. People began to say what it was all doing to both the physical and human environment. However, railways, shipbuilding, large scale agriculture and food production were established and other industries followed, the USA, the rest of Europe and various other countries began to follow suit. Famous people began to directly or indirectly comment and publications like Punch actively criticised, thus we find, for instance, that if we read between the lines in much of Charles Dickens' work, the message about the effects on humanity were beginning to be a serious topic.

Now back to philanthropy in the equation which is why I introduced the IGP and my friend into this. The majority of the great philanthropists since the end of the 19 century saw what was going on. By the mid-20 century nearly all of their vast donations to human causes included our changing environment. These were not just rich but powerful people who knew exactly what was happening and were even to some extent try to pay off some of their guilt about their contribution to what was happening to the world. It has got steadily worse since and those people have put more and more into doing something about it. Some of them, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are two examples, have been saying that is what they are giving billions for, albeit aimed to a greater extent to ameliorate the effects on people than on the physical world. However that is also changing and now more is being concentrated on funding science and research that is telling us the kind of things the BBC story is telling us. Those philanthropists used to be quite, the present crop have started to talk, in their way shout, about what is going very wrong.

So now we are, according to sound scientific research, in an epoch being called the Anthropocene and whilst the Paris Climate Conference in December made lots of accommodating noises and signed an almost unenforceable agreement too little is being done. At the same time vast multinational corporations whose concern is making profits for shareholders and to hell with the people and planet are funding (buying) research that proves that nothing is really happening that should not. I have tried to keep an open mind and understand what I could from their position but I simply do not believe them or the governments those corporations have in their thrall.

No, we do not want to turn the clock back to an idealised pre-industrial world and plagues, famines, wars that compare with the ones in the modern world in their context, burning witches, buying and selling slaves and peasants at the behest of their betters or any other of the things history recalls. Something has got to happen. People need to start listening and then reacting. Sitting back in their armchair and saying 'I'm OK, so no need' is not going to help people who will have to suffer what this world turns into after our time. I can see the physical environment is suffering and understand simple messages in explanations about glacial melting and sea rises or other easy to follow things. My concern is and will always be toward the fate of my fellow beings whereby I obviously put homo sapiens at the top of the list but increasingly see what is happening to our fellow living things. It saddens and depresses me that there is such resistance to what is clearly happening. If only enough people would wake up to it all and say enough!

Yes but we have to still reduce where the extra energy wastage where it is simply not required as it maybe ok to pat ones self on the back at warming the earth but we should be careful what we wish for. We need our oceans and excess CO2 causes the oceans to become more acidic so the ecosystem can't take the strain and animals in the sea require a narrow band of pH to live in, acidify it and those creatures and reefs will die, ask any fish farmer/keeper so we maybe warmer but we could have far less food and far less oxygen as the oceans are historically one of the most important CO2 sinks.

It's pollution we still need to be very aware of and the use of priority chemicals in daily lives and industry which then get into the rivers and oceans wiping out life that we need in order to survive. The article just under the one in your link goes into some detail.