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02/03/2013

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Mike Roberts

Quite right; if humans, collectively, haven't made the "right" choices up to now, with the climate science having been clear for so long, there is no basis for thinking that they might make such choices in the future. It will be interesting (among other things) to see what choices are made after the race is lost.

John D. Wheeler

I think I read that Winston Churchill said, "Americans can be counted on to do the right thing, when they have exhausted all other options." I agree there is no hope that humans will CHOOSE to do the right things, but that does not mean that we will not DO the right things. But I doubt it will be while there are multiple options left and I kinda hope that that remaining option isn't to simply die.

Oliver

Thanks Dave, it's always so illuminating and intriguing when you discuss 'choice', which is obviously wrapped up in the concept of 'free will'.

We are led to believe - via the age-old human propaganda/cheerleading machine - that we are a special/superior species because of our gift of free will. Yet everything that ensues in human conduct suggests that we don't choose, we merely act out our nature, whatever our nature happens to be or has become through our combination of genes, survival instinct and life experience. Therefore you're right to point out that we are deluded if we think we have the capacity to make meaningful choices. (Obviously, we can force the situation, such as consciously doing the opposite thing to 'normal', in an attempt to prove we have free will, but this is a false proof because we are acting out of nature just for the sake of argument.)

You have helped me understand that a psychopath isn't choosing to be a bastard to other people, such as by hitting them on the head and grabbing their wallet (common street mugger) or conning them out of their money (Wall Street mugger) - they are doing this simply because that's what they do. In the same way, humans as a whole are not choosing to maim the environment through rapacious extraction and use of natural resources, this is just what we do as par for the course for Homo sapiens. (As an aside, I now realize that the self-enriching motivation regardless of cost to the Earth that underpins our conduct en masse is the outward face of this internal animalistic drive.)

And yes, any debate that ignores this salient point is a waste of breath. My view is that any residue of hope that is held for us humans should be reserved for the idea that we might possibly evolve over time into a form of genus Homo that does not have the same base nature as our current species. Very fanciful in the circumstances, agreed. But this is a tiny flame that keeps my core temperature above 'hopeless'.

Peter

Dave, I to listened to this Friday, and while I agree with your observations, I also found it interesting that 2 of the guests (not the politicians) were trying to articulate just how critical the state of things is. Too little, too late? Undoubtedly, but I heard some of the first signs that scientists are realizing they must raise the alarm. Or was I just projecting...?

Makati1

The race ended years ago when the greedy, selfish Americans laughed at President Carter when he warned that this would happen and put solar cells on the White House roof. We lost. Now it is just a matter of finding out the penalty and how it will play out. It certainly will not be good for homo sapiens as a species. Unfortunately we will take most of the other species along with us into extinction.

Who was the race against? You could say Mother Nature. You could say The Law of Energy. You could say it was a race between intelligence and stupidity. You could say it is anything but the reality is, we lost. Who won? Well, there is a good chance bacteria will continue to exist and maybe roaches will be the next dominant species that inhabits the earth, but it will not be humans.

Jim

The simple truth is that the industrialized and developing nations will not accept greatly reduced power usage and a drop in standards of living (the only real answer to climate change) willingly. One only needs to have watched the Super Bowl to see that in action. The power went out in half the stadium, and there was a total shutdown. They couldn't play in half power.

It's why peak oil/coal/gas is the only viable 'solution' going, because the downslope after the plateaus will force an albeit unwilling change in practices.

The real question is how dramatic the peak effects will be - and a lot of this will be answered by how accurately classical economists view the nature of reality. If they are right, and energy and any resource can be replaced efficiently and endlessly in the market, then we are up a creek. There's no way we will avoid even the highest ends of temperature rise predictions. The market will continue to expand until it consumes all the oceans and all the land. I personally don't think that can happen - I think the limits will hamper our ability to do so. But then, I'm an optimist.

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