It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Monday, May 21, 2007

Essential Reading: Updated

Whew, it's harder to maintain a blog when you are working than when you ain't...

Anyway, a couple of bits of essential reading from the blogroll today: Samadhisoft points to this BBC report which suggests that
  • There is a global migration crisis

  • climate change will make it worse
Yep.

It's not a matter of climate change, all else being stable. It's a matter of throwing an unprecedented problem into an increasingly volatile mix. I think people should be talking about the big picture more. I see this in science as well as in politics. Everyone's wrapped up in their niches. Thinking about the big picture is discouraged.

Dennis at Samadhisoft calls the confluence of population and technology driven global problems a "Perfect Storm Hypothesis". I'm not sure it's a hypothesis, strictly speaking, but that's whistling past the graveyard, isn't it?

UPDATE: IS THIS TRUE? YOU'D THINK THERE WOULD BE MORE TALK ABOUT IT.

ANOTHER UPDATE: YES I THINK SO, SO WHY ISN'T EVERYBODY TALKING ABOUT IT?

Meanwhile Eli points to John Fleck, (who gratuitously invokes the Framing Meme in) pointing to the joint position of the various national science academies of:
Brazil
Canada
China
France
Germany
India
Italy
Japan
Mexico
Russia
South Africa
the United Kingdom
the United States of America
surely representing the great majority of contemporary scientists worldwide, stating:
  • "Our present energy course is not sustainable."

  • "Responding to this demand while minimising further climate change will need all the determination and ingenuity we can muster."

  • "The problem is not yet insoluble but becomes more difficult with each passing day."

  • G8 countries bear a special responsibility for the current high level of energy consumption and the associated climate change. Newly industrialized countries will share this responsibility in the future."
Nicely done. Hopefully this will have an impact on most people's thinking. It's a great relief to see the academies making such strong and unequivocal statements.

Update: Also, be sure you catch up on the last of Jeffrey Sach's Reith lecture series. In the final installment, Sachs suggests that defeating severe poverty and inequity, globally, in the very near term (a decade or so) is a necessary and plausible first step in our escape from our quandary. I think he has a point.

Finally, I suggest you wander over to the Global Change List which is getting very interesting these days.

4 comments:

John Fleck said...

Gratuitious? :-)

I don't think it was gratuitous at all. One of the useful frames frequently invoked in this context is the "economic benefit through technological innovation associated with greenhouse gas reductions" frame. The Academies invoked it. I merely pointed it out.

Michael Tobis said...

You can often see people accusing others of what they themselves are guilty of. My use of "framing" was quite gratuitous, whether or not yours was. Saying "framing" seems to catch some random traffic. You just gave me the opportunity.

Of course you never know what will drive traffic. Apparently there is a "Great Global Warming Swingle" typo-meme floating around that caught me a fish or two quite by accident!

Anyhow, it's a pleasure to see you here, John. Come back and set a spell some time.

Gareth said...

I think you'll find Lord Reith's been dead for a while... (see Update)...

Michael Tobis said...

Fixed, thanks Gareth.