Posted on April 2, 2012 by jeremy
This TED talk is a useful summary of Paul Gilding’s book, The Great DIsruption. Listening to the first half of his presentation, one could be forgiven for thinking that Gilding has thrown in the towel, based on his projected level of doom and gloom. This is not entirely the case. Yes, things do look grim, but Gilding is not nearly as pessimistic as James Lovelock or Clive Hamilton. The book goes into great detail as why he (and his collaborator Jorgen Randers) believe there is a future for humanity with their One Degree War Plan.
Filed under: Climate, Development, Ecological degradation, Energy, Food, Human rights, International political economy, Materialism, Oil, Pollution, Sustainable development | Tagged: carbon emissions, China, climate refugees, Clive Hamilton, coal, deforestation, ecological footprint, global warming, Lovelock, Paul Gilding, sustainable living | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 29, 2011 by jeremy
I was trying to find some recent data on climate refugees just now because of the controversy (in some quarters) over inaccurate UN projections (which, it seems, did not emanate from the UN at all). A Wikipedia site is of considerable assistance in this regard in that, while noting the conceptual problems, it does not dismiss the issue of ‘environmental migrants’. I’m reminded of an anonymous quotation on the definition of an economist I came across once, that read something along the lines of ‘someone who sees something in practice as asks whether it works in theory’. Does it really matter if there are 50 million climate refugees in 2010, 2020 or 2030? Is it somehow acceptable if it is an event that occurs 10 or 20 years from now? Or is it less of an issue because we are not sure whether a person can or cannot be counted because it is not possible to prove conclusively whether they were displaced because of environmental factors or war that may or may not have been caused by deteriorating environmental resources?
My challenge to the skeptics would be to watch this movie and then present a convincing argument that displaced persons arising from environmental factors is decreasing or not deviating from any historical trend. Furthermore, maybe if some of the climate change skeptics within government circles could bring themselves to watch it, they would spend less time trying to argue against the science and recognise that, whether they believe in the science or not, the consequences of climate change are sitting on their door step right now in the shape of a ‘national security problem’.
Filed under: Climate, Ecological degradation, Energy, Food, Human rights, International political economy, Sustainable development | Tagged: climate refugees, climate skeptics, environmental migrants | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 4, 2011 by jeremy
Image source: thinkingouttabox.wordpress.com
A report in the NYT the other day, Plan for China’s Water Crisis Spurs Concern, provides an update on the ambitious attempt by the Chinese government to redirect water from the south of the country to the increasingly dry north.
The Chinese, it seems, have a very sanguine view of their ability to control the forces of nature. As Chairman Mao once famously declared:
Natural science is one of man’s weapons in his fight for freedom. For the purpose of attaining freedom in society, man must use social science to understand and change society and carry out social revolution. For the purpose of attaining freedom in the world of nature, man must use natural science to understand, conquer and change nature and thus attain freedom from nature.
Speech at the inaugural meeting of the Natural Science Research Society of the Border Region (February 5, 1940).
As no-one has yet successfully managed to replicate biodiversity, I confidently predict that this plan will add to China’s water problems rather than ameliorate them. What worries me most is that there does not seem to be a ‘Plan B’, or at least it is not publicly stated. Where will China go for its water when the well runs completely dry?
Filed under: Ecological degradation, Human rights, Pollution, Water | Tagged: China, climate refugees, Gaia, politics of water, pollution, river redirection, water, Yangtze, Yellow River | Leave a Comment »