Archive for the ‘Climate Change’ Tag
Lord Stern, Chair of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, better known as The Climate Chief has called for everyone to turn vegetarian to halt climate change. He is concerned that the belching of cows and farting of pigs is a huge contributor to the world’s output of greenhouses gasses.
As a Lord I assume he has been around a bit and he has also visited plenty of restaurants, I wonder then how he squares his views with what you get offered in most restaurants across Europe, the US, New Zealand and Australia. Its meat and no veg, except for chips and the obligatory garnish of green salad. Unless you eat in a vegetarian restaurant, vegetables are rarer than good customer service in the UK.
I have no evidence to dispute his claims about the gaseous discharges from farm animals but his request must be one of the most futile of the whole climate change agenda. There is absolutely no way the world will voluntarily turn into lentil lovers even if we are encouraged by the application of all the potentially redundant cattle prods to our nether regions.
Geoengineering is the new climate change buzz word, its the process of artificially modifying the climate to counteract the effects of global warming. Its now thought by some engineers and scientists that it is too late to try and significantly reduce CO2 emissions and we need to start extracting the excess CO2 from the atmosphere. Until now such a suggestion has been given little time by the climate change lobby, perhaps things are now changing.
The problem with this solution, and all the others proposed over recent years is one of cost. Fossil fuels are relatively cheap easy to access and convert into power and heat. Renewable energy is expensive unless you live somewhere with a geophysical advantage such as the thermal springs in Iceland or the hydroelectric systems of Norway. For most of the worlds population these low cost energy sources are unavailable.
There is no conclusive evidence to say we have reached the tipping point beyond which climate change is inevitable although many think it is now very close. When the tipping point is passed geoengineering will become essential, lets hope national governments don’t wait too long to start investing in this new technology.
Hmmm. We have until 2030 until the world decides we have been partying too long and too hard, and shuts down our life support. If I’m still around then I will have exceeded the average lifespan for men in the UK. Living beyond one’s allotted three score and sixteen years (as it is now) is an enticing thought, but being left to clean up after the party is less enticing. We prefer to eat our cake but leave the washing up to someone else. We have been doing it for years even though there are now few scientists who deny climate change is a problem.
Our Government also seem to be denying the problem exists. Approval for a third Heathrow runway, new coal fired coal stations and a lack of investment in carbon saving technology will mean we do not achieve the necessary reductions to prevent the forth coming disaster. They have banned tungsten lamps and provided minimal grants for home insulation but this is as effective and trying to put out a forest fire with a water pistol. Expecting individuals to make changes without taking a firm lead and major action themselves is typical of the way modern government’s work.
They do not have the courage to act because they are more concerned at winning elections, its all self interest not public interest. Scientists are now saying we are very close or may have passed the tipping point at which any action we take will not stop a disaster that could effect the whole of mankind. Nice one Gov, you keep an eye on your expenses and pensions, they may keep you warm in the future, after all there will be noting to spend it on.
Our appointment with asteroid NT7 on 1 February 2019 will see the subject of several works of fiction becoming fact. If NT7 is the first real threat to this world we have 10 years to find an answer. Considering how the pace of change in technology has accelerated since man landed on the moon 40 years ago and assuming those with the technology are able to work together to find a solution it would seem reasonable to say NT7 will not be a problem. I think, on this occasion, we will be able to sleep easy in our beds.
When Star Trek started teleporting people about, scientists said the laws of nature made it impossible. Now they are saying it is not only possible but has, in a very small way, been done. I am typing this on a netbook computer that is massively more powerful than the first computer I used in 1970, an ICL 1100 which was the size of several large family cars. There is now a paint that heals itself if scratched, glass that cleans itself, flying machines the size of flies and a medical camera the size of an aspirin. Science fiction is becoming science fact all the time.
Natural disasters are a timely reminder of how fragile our life is on the earth. We have yet to develop technology to prevent or control the major events that strike the world from time to time but we do have the technology to destroy the world ourselves many times over. The fiction of Nevil Shute’s book On The Beach could still come true.
The news that sea levels may rise by over meter in the next 90 years seems to have washed over most people like a neap tide. It seems the idea that countries such as the Maldeves, Holland, Suriname, Vietnam and many Pacific islands will all but disappear is an impossibility. Even the rapid loss of coastline in parts of Suffolk which have left home owners watching their houses fall into the sea does not seem to raise concerns.
As a kid I would often walk along the cliff top path from Hastings to Fairlight before taking the bus back to Hastings. Over a matter of a few years a whole estate of several dozen houses was lost as the cliff edge slowly moved northwards. The empty houses teetering on the edge of the cliff were a place to play and explore. Ignoring the warning signs and wire fencing we would enter the houses to find the whole of outside wall on the cliff side had collapsed leaving the rooms open to the wind and rain. 50 years later the loss is continuing as Fairlight Cove slowly succumbs to the power of the sea.
http://flood.firetree.net/ lets you see how differing levels of sea rise effect the coastline of the UK. Even with a rise of just one metre would result in the coast moving 30 miles inland towards our home. It’s a stark reminder of how fragile our tenure of this planet is, and how we can so easily find our own little world washed away.