As Australia Burns, It Exports More Coal to Provide Electricity for 25% of the World’s Population

We humans evolved a short-term focus because it was adaptive to survival prior to industrialization. Unfortunately, our economy has evolved faster than our brains so now we do things that are not in our long-term interests.

Carl Sagan was likely right when he speculated that intelligent life might be self-extinguishing.

www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/climate/coal-adani-india-australia.html

Are the Amish Ahead of Their Time?

The Real Thing
Hauling supplies

Many of us look down upon the Amish for avoiding the use of modern technologies (in fact they use more of it than we think, e.g., they use cell phones, albeit with many restrictions). But in fact, they might be well ahead of the rest of us. As I wrote on my page last year, one way or another we will go from post-industrialization to micro-industrialization once we either stop using fossil fuels, or they run out within the next 100 years. Alternative energies and muscle power simply will not be able to produce nearly the same energy levels that we rely on today.

Although this will be a difficult (catastrophic?) transition, humanity will likely adjust over the following 100 years, with a much larger proportion of people farming any remaining arable land.

Amish Countryside
Lancaster County, PA

A Progressive Insurance industry?

Strange as it might sound, this part of the business community might be more effective at slowing climate change than our federal government. Aside for higher costs for flood insurance, I foresee exclusions for rebuilding in flood-prone areas. In other words, you would be compensated by your flood insurance only if you rebuilt/ purchased elsewhere.

www.nytimes.com/2019/07/24/climate/moodys-ratings-climate-change-data.html

Biodiversity loss threatens humanity

Yet another major report documents the effects of climate change. Although there are many local and regional initiatives around the world that will slow this down a bit, a concerted world initiative is necessary to stop the sixth extinction. I do not see this as likely to happen, given that it has to start now. The result will be a great die-off, including some of humanity. Although the developing countries will be most affected, many in the developed world will be affected by mid-century–just thirty or so years away.

And to think that we did this in about 170 years (in the “blink of a geological eye”).

www.nytimes.com/2019/05/11/opinion/sunday/extinction-endangered-species-biodiversity.html

Sea-level Rise Predictions

nyti.ms/2DPxUmt

 


 

Since the 1980s computer model projections of climate change have underestimated this event. With greater advances in our understanding of the greenhouse’s effect on environmental change we have been able to make what scientists believe to be more accurate projections. However, recent radar studies of Antarctic ice mentioned in this New York Times article show there are likely more factors we are not aware of.

In this case we learn that warming ocean waters have created a huge cavity beneath one of Antartica’s ice sheets. Since most of this sheet lies above the ocean, if and when it breaks off, it could raise sea-level by as much as two feet within a short period of time–threatening coastal cities and many islands across the world.

As many environmental scientists have proposed, climate change might reach thresholds (i.e., tipping points) where unanticipated sudden catastrophic events might occur.