Friday, 23 November 2007

Global warming for the politically uncorrect.

The discussion about global warming has become more and more heated with this year's Nobel Prize going to IPCC (for scientific achievements) and to Al Gore (for marketing). But even decided supporters of `action now' are getting pissed with the overwhelming propaganda, depicting England as a small scattered archipelago after a 60 METER (instead of centimeters) increases in sea level in our lifetimes and other comparable idiocies.

Yes, I know that the IPCC reports are difficult to read in their entirety. But they are at least worth leafing through. Estimates, analyses and predictions are much more sober. Go to the source, whenever you can. Journalists and commentators (including myself) are not reliable sources.

But there is one thing that I found missing in the IPCC report. The clear indication of the cause of the human induced component to the global warming. Yes, I do believe that there is such a component. I also believe that there are huge natural forces components. And in the past these have been much stronger than what we predict for the next 100 years. During the recent glaciation (only 25-20 thousand years ago) the sea level was 80 meters lower!

What I found missing is a very simple comparison, between the factors considered to measure the global warming (such as the concentration of CO2) and ... human population. The correlation is clearly visible.

(greenhouse gases, 18 000BC to present day, from IPCC WEB site)

(human population, 10 000 BC to present day, WIKIPEDIA)

But what is my point? That out of political correctness the IPCC report does not make a simple statement (at least I did not find it): human induced global warming factors are directly resulting from the explosive growth of human population. Not something that we do wrong, in trying to live thin the best conditions that we can, driving cars and using electricity, and eating and heating our houses. Simply by being too numerous. The difference between the per capita emission of CO2 in US and in India is a factor of 10. This is huge, I admit. But the growth of the population in the last 10 000 years was by a factor of 1000 - three orders of magnitude. Moreover, the overpopulation resulted in humans filling every continent, every niche, every environment, and turning them to our own purposes. I am deeply worried that by omitting this simple correlation, by concentrating on cars, and devices left on standby as ways to reduce our `carbon footprint' we are only fooling ourselves. It would but allow the population to grow more. There are simply too many humans.

I am reminded of the little speech of Agent Smith in the Matrix (should he get a Nobel Prize too?):
I'd like to share a revelation I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species. I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with their surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to another area, and you multiply, and you multiply, until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet.

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