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Your thoughts on climate change

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jungle Japes, Feb 22, 2014.

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  1. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    Whether people are willing to change their lifestyles or not is irrelevant. Our entire economic system is based upon consumerism and any attempt to change this will be met with fierce resistance by those who's got something to lose. Sadly, these are also the people of extreme wealth and power and what little can we do to challenge them?

    The products of today aren't meant to last. Seldom is this clearer than when considering the longevity of our many electronic appliances. Most people of today have seemingly accepted that a phone or iPod or whatever lasts for about a year or two before getting sluggish and gradually rendering itself useless. Many so-called "patches" are designed, not primarily to fix the latest release, but to destroy earlier ones. Consumers are forced to renew their products much sooner than they should have to.

    Another bizarre example is something I saw on the news the other day. The subject was economy vs climate and a member of the Committee on Finance was actually telling the viewers that buying used products from second hand stores was economically irresponsible. The hack of an interviewer naturally let the statement go unchallenged.

    So I agree with Smuel, albeit for different reasons. This thing we call democracy has little chance of changing the system and placing our hope in a revolutionary force is equally naive. Working within the system, however, I see little chance for solar power or other environment friendly energy sources. Investing in these are just to far sighted, especially considering the massive wealth involved in the whole fossil fuel industry. Short term gain will always be more alluring. Change? Gladly, just not in my lifetime.
     
  2. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    The fact that three billion aging people are invested in the status quo does not recommend it to future generations.

    Humans are flexible creatures. In my opinion, this is the meaning of Genesis describing us as made from clay; we're very impressionable.

    Couple this trait with exponential population growth and information technology and you have many billions of children growing up in a highly fluid culture. Anything could happen, maybe even common sense on a global scale.
     
  3. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    You're not still clinging to the prospect of exponential population growth are you? I thought we established last time that populations decline as they become more educated. So your "information technology" will directly correlate to a decrease in global population.

    So yeah - physics. Populations will decline and the rise of solar power is inevitable. I'm sorry that these things won't result in the armageddon you are secretly hoping for.
     
  4. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    Darwin wrote that if voluntary contraception became wide spread, then Homo philoprogenitas would evolve, meaning there will always be as many babies as food available.

    We agree that human nature is going to trump common sense, anyway.

    For the record, I'm hoping for some kind global awakening but I am ready for armageddon. I think I've lived through about four apocalypses now, so I'm pretty confident.

    Seriously though, Smuel, I concede all of your points. Your logic is sound. You win one internet.
     
  5. Grossenschwamm

    Grossenschwamm Well-Known Member

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    Re:

    He's lucky, then - Verizon bought the internet over here.

    Money seems to be more powerful than physics, at least in the US. Most of the people voting over here are doing so with the mind-set of "I think this presidential candidate is least likely to be the anti-christ," meaning they're going toward politicians who outwardly share a mindset and ideology of imminent armageddon, at most in a few decades; hence fewer policies to control emissions and more to get as much oil from the planet as possible.

    Now, whether or not these people are stupid or just ill-informed, I'll leave up to you - however, it's much easier to control ignorant masses with emotional arguments for their beliefs, rather than attempting to teach them something new. Sadly, this is true of both liberal and conservative minds.

    In short, we'll need to wait a few decades to get rid of them. Hopefully, in that time, the people of our* generation won't be just as stubborn.

    Edit; I said "my generation," forgetting that most people on the board are children of baby-boomers.
     
  6. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    It's probably worth noting that the poor old baby boomers grew up with the mutually assured destruction policy hanging over their heads. It's no wonder they're so insane.

    We sure live in interesting times.
     
  7. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Whether or not that's true (hint - it isn't), it doesn't matter because the money is heading in the direction of solar power too. The average price of solar energy has fallen by 50% since 2008, and will continue to get cheaper. Meanwhile the cost of coal power is steadily increasing. The reason for this is labour costs - once you've made a solar panel it just sits there generating electricity, so all you have to do to make it cheaper is reduce manufacturing costs - something that capitalists are extremely good at. On the other hand coal requires constant labour - you have to mine the coal, transport it to power plants, and keep the power plants running. Labour is expensive, and is only going to get more so, as populations simultaneously become more educated and shrink in size.

    Ultimately there is no amount of lobbying that "big coal" can do that will stop members of the public buying cheap solar panels as a way of avoiding paying monthly electricity bills.
     
  8. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    The question is whether there are limits to our survival while we pass through this free market transition. It is theoretically possible to break the entire biosphere.

    If all the bees die or all the fishstocks collapse, or something unexpected, then all the dollars turn to firewood.

    In terms of nuclear accidents, there are also unforeseen, accumulative affects on living systems. Tuna is pretty ripe with mercury in the 21st century, at least in my ocean, and it keeps adding up.
     
  9. Grossenschwamm

    Grossenschwamm Well-Known Member

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    At this point I don't know if we're directly arguing physics or supply vs. demand - in any case, they're directly linked. I would think you can agree that money has held back alternative energy in the US, much like any other nation that has vested interests in fossil fuels. The cost of solar has gone down because the cells are becoming more efficient, meaning the argument that was constantly used over here, "It's not feasible," is not nearly as defensible as it was. Whether or not money's stronger than physics? If the money is jumping ship, that means the people with the money will control the "physics." It's fairly easy to control something's market value if you own the business that produces it.

    Because there was no amount of lobbying that would allow any one company to put the internet through a bottleneck in the US, right? I'll concede that it's unlikely, but I've been shocked by legislation before. Perhaps that won't work where you live, but we live in an oligarchy that calls itself a republic.
     
  10. Jungle Japes

    Jungle Japes Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of internet providers, Google is considering bringing Google Fiber to Phoenix. I'm not certain that having 1000mb per second download speeds would be good for my health, but I know I want it.
     
  11. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Re:

    The currently fashionable doomsday scenario where all the world's bees disappear and plants remain un-pollinated seems to betray a fundamental misunderstanding of the way ecosystems behave. There is always an equilibrium of some kind. I can triple-guarantee you that there are a whole bunch of alternative pollinators which are currently being kept in check by the dominance and efficiency of bees. If you remove the bees, all that will happen is that butterfly populations will explode to fill the gap, or moths, or flies, or any one of a hundred similar organisms. The plants will be pollinated, one way or another.

    The only reason that price fixing is currently possible in the energy sector is because building power plants is so expensive in the first place that only a few large companies can compete in the market. However, the manufacturing of solar panels is sufficiently small scale that almost anyone can start doing it. If one business keeps the price of panels artificially high, it just makes it easier for start-ups to undercut them and steal their market share.
     
  12. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    Sir, it is you who betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the way ecosystems work.

    There are breaking points. It happens.
     
  13. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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  14. Jungle Japes

    Jungle Japes Well-Known Member

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  15. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    Everyone is awarded one additional internet.
     
  16. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    Re:

    While I understand what Smuel is getting at, my inner pessimist agrees with ytzk that said equilibrium may well be reached at a point that is intolerable to human life.
     
  17. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Come on, you guys. Insects and pollinating plants survived the global cataclysm that wiped out the dinosaurs. I think they (and we) could survive the disappearance of a single type of bee.
     
  18. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    No!

    I demand that my tea be honeyed!
     
  19. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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  20. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    Smuel, your assumption that free market mechanics will correct any problem quickly enough may be reasonable, I don't know.

    However, the idea that biodiversity has an infinite number of spare parts to continue replacing lost species is certainly false. By your logic, you should be able to breath underwater if you once nearly drowned, or re grow a limb if you once grazed your knee. There are limits, dude.

    I suspect you know as little about bees and butterflies as you do about extinction events in the fossil records.

    Seriously, although I have studied ecology, my main field of expertise is making sweeping assumptions from my armchair, so I know it when I hear it. I triple guarantee that you are speaking from ignorance. A million biologists facepalmed when you wrote that paragraph.

    Stick with the ideological argument that everything will be fine because capitalism.
     
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