Let’s not rush things

Written By: - Date published: 11:01 am, June 18th, 2010 - 7 comments
Categories: climate change, energy, science - Tags: ,

Sometimes it just makes you sad.

The science behind the greenhouse effect was first proposed 186 years ago. Climate change due to changing levels of greenhouse gases was shown to be theoretically possible in 1896. Mauna Loa has been showing rising levels of carbon dioxide since it came online in the 1956.

Public awareness has been widespread for 40 years. Hell, in Soylent Green from 1973 Charlton Heston living in New York in 2022 is sweating all the time because of the greenhouse effect. In 1992, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was opened for signature. In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol to the Convention was agreed, all but five countries have since ratified it.

In 2006, the Stern Report showed that climate change could decrease global GDP by 20% this century and be avoided with an investment of 2% a year concluding: “Tackling climate change is the pro-growth strategy for the longer term and it can be done in a way that does not cap the aspirations for growth of rich or poor countries”

And, for all that we are clearly aware there is a major problem, we haven’t even managed to stop emissions rising.

We are completely dependent on oil to sustain our populations and economies. As someone said to me the other day, over the past century we’ve turned 1.5 trillion barrels of oil into an extra 5 billion people, most of them consuming beyond the imagination of their great-grandparents.

And we show no sign of breaking our dependency. Sure President Obama has just come out and said the US and the world needs to get off its oil addiction. But, just as we’ve been talking about climate change for nearly two centuries, before it was even a problem, and done nothing about it, Presidents have been declaring its time to end the oil age for 40 years and nothing has changed.

Once again, the Daily Show lays it out better than you would ever see in the ‘real’ media:

7 comments on “Let’s not rush things”

  1. Seti 1

    “over the past century we’ve turned 1.5 billion barrels of oil into an extra 5 billion people”<

    1.5 billion barrels is only around 17 days global consumption, and it is estimated 1.1 trillion has been extracted so far.

  2. Hilarious, if somewhat depressing. Loved the Nixon was a pinko greenie bit at the end 🙂 Didn’t even mention the China connection. Just shows how regressive politics have been over there for so many years.

  3. mcflock 3

    Although to be fair, there was a bit of a slide on the Daily Show: Bush snr and before were more concerned with US reliance on “foreign” oil rather than oil per se – mass-drilling off Louisiana would be consistent with that goal.

    But the point is fair – and even if the anti-AGW morons were right[correct], the fact is that the basic volume of use is unsustainable. So the choice is between a sharpish realignment of the economy starting now, or a sudden realignment away from oil when we get another shock. My impression, if other sudden economic realignments are anything to go by, is that the former will result in less people being unemployed/dead than the latter.

  4. Croc 4

    And people still think positive change will come from top down?

  5. fatty 5

    “So the choice is between a sharpish realignment of the economy starting now, or a sudden realignment away from oil when we get another shock. My impression, if other sudden economic realignments are anything to go by, is that the former will result in less people being unemployed/dead than the latter.”

    That’s the question and we all know what will happen. We live in a world where profit is first priority. This will not change and the oil problem will not be fixed until we move away from capitalism. Look at our choices in terms of NZs main political parties, they all support capitalism, all neo-liberal, except maybe the greens, if you use your imagination.
    We (humans) are stupid enough to vote these people in, but they probably reflect our own greedy desires.

  6. Zaphod Beeblebrox 6

    Have some sympathy for the pre-Clinton presidents. They could not possibly have forseen the emergence of John Stewart and his merciless ridiculing of political platitudes and hypocrasy. After all they only had to deal with CBS and ABC.
    Fox and Friends new motto would have to be “the most mocked show on television”.

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