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March 11, 2008

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tom

Hundreds of millions of Chinese are rising out of poverty and Brad sitting in his home with indoor plumbing and all the modern conveniences thinks this is bad news for man's future. Pollutants reduce human welfare. CO2 emmisions are a sign of increasing human welfare. People who think otherwise might as well come out and admit that they would be in favor of genocide. Logically, genocide is Brad's final solution.

Verdurous

Big claims there Tom,

Sadly you're way off track. CO2 emissions (at the scale we are producing them) ARE a form of pollution. If you seriously believe that a billion Chinese can attain Western consumption levels with the Earth's life support systems intact, then you are largely ignorant of ecological science. Does this mean, we in the Western world can continue our levels of waste and consumption? Of course not, we must urgently move to adopt low consumption, low carbon lifestyles. Don't mistake GDP for "welfare". Happiness is very poorly correlated with GDP.

Verdurous

Big claims there Tom,

Sadly you're way off track. CO2 emissions (at the scale we are producing them) ARE a form of pollution. If you seriously believe that a billion Chinese can attain Western consumption levels with the Earth's life support systems intact, then you are largely ignorant of ecological science. Does this mean, we in the Western world can continue our levels of waste and consumption? Of course not, we must urgently move to adopt low consumption, low carbon lifestyles. Don't mistake GDP for "welfare". Happiness is very poorly correlated with GDP.

Steve Salmony

Dear Dr. L. B.,

I am imagining that your questions are rhetorical ones.

You ask,

“Why are politicians and skeptics so willing to risk their future and everyone else’s future on blindly clinging to a course of action that has a high probability of leading to a seriously crippled future? If you even suspect that global warming represents a serious risk to your survival (and we have far more than suspicion these days), why wouldn’t you do everything protect and conserve your planet?”

It would please me to hear from others; but from my humble perspective the “answers” to your questions are all-too-obvious.

First, the leaders in my generation of elders wish to live without having to accept limits to growth of seemingly endless economic globalization, of increasing per capita consumption and skyrocketing human population numbers; our desires are evidently insatiable. We choose to believe anything that is politically convenient, economically expedient and socially agreeable; our way of life is not negotiable. We dare anyone to question our values or behaviors.

We religiously promote our shared fantasies of endless economic growth and soon to be unsustainable overconsumption, overproduction oand overpopulation activities, and in so doing deny that Earth has limited resources upon which the survival of life as we know it depends.

Second, my not-so-great generation appears to be doing a disservice to everything and everyone but ourselves. We are the “what’s in it for me?” generation. We demonstrate precious little regard for the maintenance of the integrity of Earth; shallow willingness to actually protect the environment from crippling degradation; lack of serious consideration for the preservation of biodiversity, wilderness, and a good enough future for our children and coming generations; and no appreciation of the understanding that we are no more or less than human beings with “feet of clay.”

We live in a soon to be unsustainable way in our planetary home and are proud of it, thank you very much. Certainly, we will “have our cake and eat it, too.” We will fly around in thousands of private jets and live in McMansions, go to our secret clubs and distant hideouts, and risk nothing of value to us. Please do not bother us with the problems of the world. We choose not to hear, see or speak of them. We are the economic powerbrokers, their bought-and-paid-for politicians and the many minions in the mass media. We hold the much of the wealth and the power it purchases. If left to our own devices, we will continue in the exercise of our ‘rights’ to ravenously consume Earth’s limited resources; to expand economic globalization unto every corner of our natural world and, guess what, beyond; to encourage the unbridled growth of the human species so that where there are now 6+ billion people, by 2050 we will have 9+ billion members of the human community and, guess what, even more people, perhaps billions more in the distant future, if that is what we desire.

We are the reigning, self-proclaimed masters of the universe. We have no regard for human limits or Earth’s limitations, thank you very much. Please understand that we do not want anyone to present us with scientific evidence that we could be living unsustainably in an artificially designed, temporary world of our own making…… a manmade world filling up with distinctly human enterprises which appear the be approaching a point in human history when global consumption, production and propagation activities of the human species become unsustainable on the tiny planet God has blessed us to inhabit….. and not to overwhelm, I suppose.

Third, even our top rank scientists have not found adequate ways of communicating to the family of humanity what people somehow need to hear, see and understand: the reckless dissipation of Earth’s limited resources, the relentless degradation of the planet’s frangible environment, and the approaching destruction of the Earth as a fit place for human habitation by the human species, when taken together, appear to be proceeding at a breakneck pace toward the precipitation of a catastrophic ecological wreckage of some sort unless, of course, the world’s colossal, ever expanding, artificially designed, manmade global economy continues to speed headlong toward the monolithic ‘wall’ called “unsustainability” at which point the runaway economy crashes before Earth’s ecology is collapsed.

Sincerely,

Steve

Barack Stimulus Package

It is true that millions of chinese, if not eventually billions, are raising their standard of living, and this is going to increase the emissions of China in a big way. And it is also true that we can sit here in comfort and complain about it but we are just as much the problem as them.

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