Tag Archives: environment

How Fast Will Sea Levels Rise? No one Really Knows

Messing up our climate with excessive CO2 emissions is taking huge risks.  With the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere rising faster every year, and massive releases of stronger greenhouse gases like methane (natural gas), it is likely that sea levels will continue to rise worldwide.  What people don’t remember is that small changes in sea level have happened all along, and that it wasn’t that long ago when, because we were still emerging from the last ice age, sea levels were several feet (or tens of feet) lower.  Now humanity has built so heavily in areas near sea level that almost any rise is reflected in an increased frequency of damaging floods.   In some areas the flooding already happens from a high tide, and no storm or other weather event is needed.

There is a lot more ice (and potential sea level rise) than most people realize.  Another thing people don’t realize is that there is enough ice on land in just Greenland and Antarctica to increase sea levels by 200 FEET!  If some portion of this increase happens quickly, in less than a month, for instance, humanity will be completely surprised and “caught with our pants down” as famine and pandemic result.  So much of our food reaches us via container ships that, when the container ports are shut down by a sea level increase of a foot or two, shiploads of food will spoil at sea, grocery store shelves will get sparse, and there is a danger of people panicking and making runs on the grocery stores and banks.

I certainly hope humanity comes to its senses soon.   Thanks for reading — Tim


Nation-scale Energy Sustainability May Be Closer Than It Appears

More and more often I am seeing articles like this one, describing how wind, solar, and hydropower are making fossil fuel-powered energy plants increasingly obsolete.  The long term survival of humanity and all life on the planet may hinge on how many humans we load onto the planet, how much energy we each use, and how much pollution is associated with that energy.  Sustainable sources have a lot less pollution associated with them than traditional sources, and this is largely a result of manufacturing processes rather than operating outcomes.  When whole countries start becoming self-sufficient on alternative, cleaner power sources, everyone benefits.  Our long term future depends on achieving complete, long term sustainability, and every country will have to invest in sustainable power if they are to support a clean (survivable) environment.

Thanks for reading — Tim

How Long Can We Afford Our Weather Disasters?

2017 was a record year for the cost of weather disasters, and this article reviews them in detail.  Infrastructure has become critically overdue for repairs during the last few years. Can we afford to fix the outcomes of weather disasters in the future?  When will we no longer be able to afford to cope with weather disasters or fix our infrastructure?  Can that time be far away?

I hope to stick around and watch, and hope that Americans will get smarter (and more principled) soon.

Thanks for reading — Tim

Agricultural Practices Can Mitigate Global Warming

This article from the Weather Underground folks pulls together several study results to show how farmers around the world are finding new methods that reduce the negative effects of climate change and provide sustainable, productive agriculture.  We need a LOT more of this kind of thinking, and hopefully it will help buy us time until we can see our way to controlling the population explosion.  We will never be safe and our civilization will never be sustainable in the long run without that.

Thanks for reading — Tim

Plans Being Made to Feed 9B People in 35 Years – What Will They Do for 10B? 11B?

This article from Wired magazine shows the weakness of American popular culture.  It is good that the authors see potential problems from the population explosion, and try to come up with a way to feed the 9 billion humans expected to live by 2050, but this is a very shallow consideration.  Certainly much thought and work should be applied to this issue, but do the authors think time and the population explosion will stop there?  What do they expect to do when the population – enabled to have even more children by the plentiful food supply – continues to explode and reaches 10 billion, 11 billion, and then 12 billion? Continue reading

Worst Disaster of 2015 Was Missed by Many

The news media report many problems and disasters, but they can miss much.  Dr. Jeff Masters Wunderblog for October 13, 2015, brought to my attention a disaster worse than any others I’ve seen this year, in which smoke from forest clearing fires in Indonesia has covered an area thousands of miles across and is causing the premature deaths of thousands of people.  This is made worse by a developing El Nino weather pattern that is increasingly keeping parts of the tropics much hotter and drier than usual.  This is clearly a huge problem, but what interests me most is what it suggests about the next century as the population explosion “detonates”.  The climate changes we’ve seen so far have been worrisome, but I’m more worried about what will happen as the planet warms, the population grows, and the weather changes still more.  Continue reading

An Excellent Explanation of Our Climate Prospects in 2015

An excellent article recently appeared at Spiegel Online International titled “The Warming World: Is Capitalism Destroying Our Planet?” and I highly recommend reading it through to the end.  In it the authors give in-depth information on the current status of the global climate, relating it back to human activity and national and international politics.  (Millions of tons of CO2 going into the atmosphere every day has to have an impact, sooner or later.)  The politics of various key nations and the negotiations at past climate conferences are described, and a lot of the latest climate science is brought forth.  The topic is a bit frightening but of such critical importance to us that, really, every adult should have to read this article (whether they believe it or not).

Then, better informed, we need to take action, vote for politicians who are deserving, and “clean up our acts” by making many changes in our selves, our decisions, and our lifestyles in order to preserve a reasonably habitable world for our kids.  The trouble is … it might already be too late.

Thanks for reading — Tim