Darwiniana

History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Time’s Up

March 15th, 2006 · No Comments

I just finished reading Tim Flannery’s The Weather Makers : How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth. Time’s Up

TIME’S UP
It has been the “consideration of our wonderful atmosphere in its various relations to human life, and to all life, which has compelled me to this cry for the children and for outraged humanity. . .. Let everything give way to this… Vote for no one who says “it can’t be done”…Vote only for those who declare “It shall be done.”
-Alfred Russel Wallace, Mans Place in the Universe

If everyone who has the means to do so takes concerted action to I atmospheric carbon emissions from their lives, I believe we can stabilize and then save the cryosphere. We could save around nine out of every t species currently under threat, limit the extent of extreme weather even so that losses of both human life and investments are a fraction of those being predicted, and reduce, almost to zero, the possibility of any of t three great disasters occurring this century. But for that to happen, individuals, industry, and governments need to act on climate change now: The delay of even a decade is far too much, Credible data indicates that the world may experience the end of cheap oil sometime between now and 2010. The few years we have left before the onset of the oil shortage are the crucial ones for making the transition to a carbon-free economy, for that is when we can build the new infrastructure and technologies most easily and at the least expense.
The people in the hot seat today are the CEOs of large energy corporations. Some seem to be hoping that climate change will just disappear, at least until their retirement. The worst are aggressively pushing for

more coal-fired power plants, and their influence should not be under
estimated: Even in New South Wales, whose premier, a well-known environmentalist and which is suffering the worst drought on record, they look set to build new coal-fired power stations. And this despite the fact that the existing power plants consume a fifth as much water as Sydney’s 4 million residents.
Whatever their views on climate change, all energy company CEOs
have a few things in common. All, have responsibilities to a board, shareholders, and their employees, and you can be sure that they are fully briefed on the emerging disaster; they can make no plea of ignorance. Furthermore, market reform in the energy sector means that all are increasingly vulnerable to the mood of the market, which is why the actions of consumers and investors are so important.
The dilemma facing the coal burners is a difficult one, yet it is not insoluble. Just as big oil is getting into gas, so should big coal be getting into something else. This may seem a hard line to argue when coal prices stand at an all-time high-but that is what the oil companies have done and are doing, and for very much the same reasons: Limitations of supply
and pollution sinks dictate that neither oil nor coal has a long-term future.

Tags: Booknotes · General · In the News

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