View topic - The overwhelming issue of our times

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PostPosted: July 3rd, 2013, 7:44 am 
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FT, I agree. Washington won't wait. They can't because their worried about the 2014 election. Elected officials need to be able to say that they are doing things to help the people feeling the pain.

If the econmy improves, I really don't think that the national debt will be on that many peoples minds. If the economy improves so that middle class people can go back to buying SUVs, and poor people can find a job, the national debt will slide back below the public consciousness just like it was duing the living the big life making lots of money of the 1990s and 2000's. Personally, I'm afraid of the national debt issue as well as the personal debt issue as much as any tea partier. But I don't have faith that either will improve if the economy improves.

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PostPosted: July 3rd, 2013, 10:29 am 
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Sturgeon said, "Actually the overwhelming issue of our times is human overpopulation, but NO ONE has the guts to talk about it openly and honestly." I may be a small exception. Back in the late 50s, a couple of us high school students were pushing the population issue. Of course, we met with wide acceptance, but all who agreed were killed by a meteorite. Back about 1965, a well written book appeared, "Too Many Americans." It was roundly ignored.

The problem isn't who is willing to speak out, it's who shows understanding and is willing to put in long, steady work on the issue. Because it isn't going to be solved just by undeveloped countries becoming developed.

Someone suggested that population growth is needed for economic growth. If so, we're screwed, because one of the old arguments about population growth is mathematically true. If it were to go on unchecked, we literally would have *standing room only*! So, it can't go on the way it is in poorly developed countries. It isn't going to go on forever. The only question is, can we stop it before our earth becomes unpleasantly crowded and toxic to life.


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PostPosted: July 3rd, 2013, 11:01 am 
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ezwater wrote:
Someone suggested that population growth is needed for economic growth. If so, we're screwed, because one of the old arguments about population growth is mathematically true. If it were to go on unchecked, we literally would have *standing room only*! So, it can't go on the way it is in poorly developed countries. It isn't going to go on forever. The only question is, can we stop it before our earth becomes unpleasantly crowded and toxic to life.


That's my point. Take FT's chart and draw a line at zero (zed for you Canadians). Over 50 years there are only a handfull of years that there was zero growth or a loss. A much more useful chart would eliminate the GDP growth as a result of population increase, because the population of the land occupied by the US has increased every year since well before the USA declared independence.

But any good scientist knows that it can't go on forever. It never has for any other species. At some point world population (and as a result US population) will have to stop growing. The reality of natural disaters (flood, famine, pestilence, etc.) is that they keep populations in check. Depite humans short existence on Earth, we believe our intelligence and ability to engineer will allow the species to survive despite our increasing numbers. To a degree that may be the case, and Hollywood has made millions based on the pretense that we can figure out a way to survive. Sadly, as a species we can't control our population, that means we put our survival as a species in the hands of a very few very bright people to provide erngineering controls to keep us around.

There are some really smart people who are talking about this as an issue. But most of us are oblivious... Most people just want to go to work, spend time with their family, laugh a little, and enjoy a vacation or two (to steal from another active thread). Sadly this won't solve our economic problems, our climate changes, or our over population. Which of these crises will hit first? Maybe we should just stick our heads in the sand and hope there isn't another heavy bombarment of the inner planets.

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PostPosted: July 3rd, 2013, 1:16 pm 
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PK

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That's my point. Take FT's chart and draw a line at zero (zed for you Canadians). Over 50 years there are only a handfull of years that there was zero growth or a loss. A much more useful chart would eliminate the GDP growth as a result of population increase, because the population of the land occupied by the US has increased every year since well before the USA declared independence.


Zed???

If the GDP chart doesn't hold much meaning for you since population growth isn't factored out and you still want to believe the economy is fine in spite of those stagnating GDP numbers, take a look at this chart showing recent trends in household income and unemployment.


Image

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/won ... recession/

Could there be any relation in those trends with GDP? (I expect you to point out that correlation does not imply causation as any good scientist would).

Anyway... I've backed all this up with charts and references and I've just about had it. Quick and dirty statements, good enough for the internet.

And EZ... in my earlier post suggesting a population increase would help with rising sea levels and fix the failing economy, I wasn't being entirely serious as you might have been clued in by the :wink: afterwards.

:wink: ...again...

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PostPosted: July 7th, 2013, 7:34 am 
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Some science-based opinion on Hurricane Sandy... from the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.


Quote:
Overview
Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of the rising risks of climate change. A number of warming-related factors may well have intensified the storm's impact. Higher ocean temperatures contributed to heavier rainfall. Higher sea levels produced stronger storm surges. New research suggests that Arctic melting may be increasing the risk of the kind of atmospheric traffic jam that drove Sandy inland. While no single weather event can be said to have been directly caused by climate change, our weather now is the product of our changing climate, as increased warming raises the probability of extreme weather events. In highlighting our vulnerabilities to extreme weather, Hurricane Sandy underscores two imperatives: We need to reduce the risks of climate change by reducing our carbon emissions, and we must strengthen our defenses against future impacts that it may be too late to avoid.

Enhanced Precipitation
Warming increases the amount of moisture in the atmosphere. Globally, the resulting increases in heavy precipitation are well documented. Like Hurricane Irene last year, Sandy carried an unusual amount of moisture, which increased the risk of very heavy precipitation within its path. Much of the warming from climate change occurs in the ocean, and this year’s sea surface temperatures are well above normal. September saw the second highest ocean temperatures on record globally. Sandy spent significant time over uncommonly warm sea surface temperatures – 5 degrees above normal -- boosting the amount of moisture available to rain down on the Northeast U.S.

Sea Level Rise
Recent studies have identified the Northeast U.S. as a “hotspot” of accelerated sea level rise. Over the past 30 years, sea levels in the region have risen four times faster than the global average, increasing the risk of storm surges and flooding. During a storm surge, a matter of inches can mean the difference between safety and extensive flooding. Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge was exacerbated by both the warming-driven sea-level rise and the timing of the lunar cycle. Sandy occurred during the astronomical high tide, which is 2 to 3 inches above a normal high tide. Global sea level has already increased by 4 inches since 1950, creating the equivalent of a fulltime astronomical high tide. In New York, a record storm surge 13 feet above mean low water level flooded parts of lower Manhattan and poured into subway tunnels.

Atlantic Traffic Jam
Hurricane Sandy encountered a “traffic jam” in the North Atlantic, known as a “block” to meteorologists. This block did not allow Sandy to track out to sea like most northeast storms. Meanwhile, a storm associated with some very cold air over the Midwest also ran into this Atlantic traffic jam, resulting in an unusual “hybrid” storm. Recent research has shown that these blocking events and fall cold outbreaks are related to sea ice loss in the Arctic. In short, open water in the arctic helps break down the barrier between high- and mid-latitude weather, which increases the risk of cold outbreaks and blocking events. Hurricane Sandy seems to have tracked into the middle of one of these unusual meanders in the jet stream. While this is an evolving field of research and these conditions could have occurred in the absence of climate change, there is growing evidence that climate change is increasing the risk of extreme atmospheric arrangements.

Vulnerability
Hurricane Sandy provides important lessons about our vulnerability to the kinds of extreme weather likely to become more common in a warming world. Our levees, sea walls and other infrastructure were built to cope with the extreme weather risks of the 20th century. Sandy is offering an opportunity to see where we fall short in preparations for the 21st century.


http://www.c2es.org/science-impacts/ext ... cane-sandy

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PostPosted: July 7th, 2013, 1:30 pm 
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frozentripper wrote:
Some science-based opinion on Hurricane Sandy... from the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.


I didn't read anything there that I didn't know 20 years ago. Sandy was just an appropos disaster that hit a heavily populated portion of North America. It's a good time to bring it to the attention of the masses. Sort of like the floods in Alberta. You get more bang for your buck after a disaster which brings more bucks for your bang going forward.

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