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Science

A Countdown To Global Catastrophe? 1403

Posted by Hemos
from the you-said-crossing-the-streams-was-bad dept.
An anonymous reader writes "From The Independent: The global warming danger threshold for the world is clearly marked for the first time in an international report to be published tomorrow - and the bad news is, the world has nearly reached it already. For the full story, see this article."
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A Countdown To Global Catastrophe?

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  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:41AM (#11455122)
    Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions. Mayor: What do you mean, biblical?
    Ray: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor... real Wrath-of-God-type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies.
    Venkman: Rivers and seas boiling!
    Egon: 40 years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanos. Winston:The dead rising from the grave!
    Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats, living together... mass hysteria!
    • Can't wait for the free marshmallow...
    • Winston:.... since I've been with these guys I've seen $h1t that'll turn you white.
  • by Enigma_Man (756516) on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:41AM (#11455125) Homepage
    start the looting yet?

    -Jesse
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:42AM (#11455126)
    I'm buying a Hummer!

    (The SUV, you pervs)

    • by aaamr (203460) on Monday January 24, 2005 @12:17PM (#11456230)
      Why is this marked funny?

      One of the key culprits in global warming is the increased use of large, fuel inefficient vehicles - like the Hummer whose fuel efficiency is best measured in gallons per mile.

      If we (mostly North Americans) could end our love affair with huge, wasteful vehicles that more often than not are driven by only one person at a time, perhaps we wouldn't be in this situation now.

      I for one make extensive use of public transportation, and the cars we own are small and fuel efficient. When our family grows to the size where we need a larger vehicle, it won't be an SUV, becuase we *never* go offroading, and frankly, a minivan gets better mileage.

      But I'll still take public transport whenever possible.

      In short, the parent comment is *not* funny. It's symbolic of the larger problem. I found it depressing.
      • by Lord Kano (13027) on Monday January 24, 2005 @12:36PM (#11456519) Homepage Journal
        When our family grows to the size where we need a larger vehicle, it won't be an SUV, becuase we *never* go offroading, and frankly, a minivan gets better mileage.

        Maybe you understand. When you have a family a minivan makes sense. Before you have a family you're better off with an SUV because single guys who drive minivans don't get laid.

        LK
    • Oh my god. Never have I seen a funnier Score 5 funny. Good job dude. Or not.
  • Original Study? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Snowman (116231) * on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:42AM (#11455131) Homepage

    The possibility of changes to the world's ocean currents is a very real possibility, and could have catastrophic consequences. However, they are not irreversable. I have read reports citing the fact that these currents have cycles, where every 10 or 20 thousand years they shut off, only to restart a century or two later. Yes, that would be catastrophic to us, but not to the planet. Hell, it survived a fiery birth, multiple major meteor impacts, magnetic pole reversals, caldera supervolanoes, et al. and the planet is still around. We might not be around later, but good ol' Earth sure will be.

    Does anyone have a link to the actual report? This article just sounds like more scare mongering and dumbing down. As always, the devil is in the details, I want to see the details.

    • Does anyone have a link to the actual report?

      Just search scholar.google.com for Dr. Chick N. Little...
    • by ianscot (591483) on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:57AM (#11455289)
      Yes, that would be catastrophic to us, but not to the planet.

      You just touched on the colossal, huge, central point that virtually every dimisser of global warming fails to "get." It's not that the world won't survive. Life on earth has survived, and thrived, at higher global temperatures than we have now. It's just that, when major transitions occur, the dominant forms of life do not remain dominant. And that would mean us.

      This ain't about hugging spotted owls. It's not about whether Sandhill cranes have a place to roost on their way north in the spring. The debate's about our survival. When we read:

      ...could include widespread agricultural failure, water shortages and major droughts, increased disease, sea-level rise and the death of forests - with the added possibility of abrupt catastrophic events such as "runaway" global warming, the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, or the switching-off of the Gulf Stream.

      Those are serious risks. Any *one* of those would stand a considerable risk of destabilizing the world as we know it. Imagine a Pakistan, armed with nuclear weapons as it is, whose politics were affected by a massive drought. That's the easiest thing to predict in the world; climate change precipitated the Mfcane, which set loose a huge migration of people in southern Africa, which in turn had a lot to do with the military dictatorship of Shaka Zulu. Governments, in a state of global climate change, would be made drastically unstable.

      The risk of nuclear war, during the cold war, was not a certainty -- it was a risk. We spent untold resources to address that risk, on both sides. The question is, how much do we commit to addressing this one? When an overwhelming majority of scientific opinion is playing the role of Cassandra, how seriously do you take the possible tragedy?

      • by Anonymous Coward
        "The risk of nuclear war, during the cold war, was not a certainty..."

        Fry: "This snow is beautiful! I'm glad global warming never happened."
        Leela: "Actually, it did. But thank God nuclear winter canceled it out."
      • Key point: not (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Caractacus Potts (74726) on Monday January 24, 2005 @11:33AM (#11455712)
        You just touched on the colossal, huge, central point that virtually every dimisser of global warming fails to "get." It's not that the world won't survive. Life on earth has survived, and thrived, at higher global temperatures than we have now. It's just that, when major transitions occur, the dominant forms of life do not remain dominant. And that would mean us.

        I'd wager to bet that most of the "dismissers" you mention are well aware of these facts. Scientifically literate people can see what's going on and visualize the possible long-term consequences, but it's going to take more than public opinion polls and stock-market prediction techniques to understand the process well enough for longer-term predictions. Cassandra is being listened to, just with a grain of salt.
      • It's just that, when major transitions occur, the dominant forms of life do not remain dominant. And that would mean us.

        Don't count on the cockraoches taking over just yet. Humans would not be wiped off the face of the Earth, it's just that a lot of us would die. The ones who depend on technology, commerce and "artificial" food/water distribution would be hardest hit. It just so happens that those are the ones responsible for a disproportiately high share of the warming problem.

        So this whole global warmi

      • How much do we commit?

        We commit whatever it takes to build and stock 15 Vaults in SoCal, that, when the time is right, the Vault Dweller can rise and make things right in the world.

        PS: Always stock extra water chips.
    • by ggvaidya (747058) on Monday January 24, 2005 @11:04AM (#11455394) Homepage Journal
      We might not be around later, but good ol' Earth sure will be.

      Yeah, sorry about that, the fleet's a little delayed. But we'll get to it eventually.

      Cheers,
      Prosthetic Vogon Jeltz

    • Re:Original Study? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Angostura (703910) on Monday January 24, 2005 @11:19AM (#11455550)
      Sadly, the actual report is not online, it costs £5 to buy, which is pretty mad IMHO.

      You can find the original press release and list of recommendations, here [ippr.org.uk] though.

      I'm a trained biologist, but not *not* an eco-nut. However the variety of scientific evidence coming out lately, combined with the interesting stuff on global dimming [bbc.co.uk] has got me seriously worried. And I mean seriously.

      I'm sure you are right and the Earth's biosphere will probably cope, over the space of a few thousand years. However I have a two year old daughter, and I would really rather prefer her to enjoy the fruits of our society, rather than watching N. American and Europe become a dust-bowl over the next 40 years.

      Time to actually take this stuff seriously.

      Precis on dimming: Global warming effects may have been masked by particulate pollution which appears to have reduced the amount of sunlight getting to the Earth by a massive 30% in some cases).
      • Re:Original Study? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ChrisMaple (607946)
        As I understand it, particulates are in the air because they are produced continuously. Any substantial reduction in particulate production would quickly (1 or 2 years) reduce the quantity in the air, thus reducing the "global dimming".

        Particulates are heavier than air, and consequently sink out of the air. The particles that settle on water mostly continue sinking.

        Most of the weather effects of Mt. Minatubo were gone in two years.

      • Re:Original Study? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by khallow (566160)
        I'm a trained biologist, but not *not* an eco-nut. However the variety of scientific evidence coming out lately, combined with the interesting stuff on global dimming has got me seriously worried. And I mean seriously.

        I'm sure you are right and the Earth's biosphere will probably cope, over the space of a few thousand years. However I have a two year old daughter, and I would really rather prefer her to enjoy the fruits of our society, rather than watching N. American and Europe become a dust-bowl over

  • since the Ice Age...

  • Now what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dr.Opveter (806649)
    I thought we already knew we're too late fixing things up, plus some of the countries that polute the most don't really want to do much about all this anyway. Better rake in the profit before we all perish. Really, is there anything that can be done?
  • Already Flipped (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross@ ... .ca minus distro> on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:46AM (#11455162)
    I was reading National Geographic and they were talking about climate change. One of their opinions was that climate change is already underway. Essentially the switch was flipped some fifty or so years ago.

    They also said that climate change happens and that's a fact of life. For example the downfall of the Egyptian empire was partially due to a massive warm spell that caused crops to fail and deserts to form. Ironically the article pointed out that there were no cars at that time.
    • Re:Already Flipped (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ezavada (91752)

      ...climate change happens and that's a fact of life. For example the downfall of the Egyptian empire was partially due to a massive warm spell that caused crops to fail and deserts to form. Ironically the article pointed out that there were no cars at that time.

      Biological warfare happens and is a fact of life. The downfall of the Mayan and Incan Empires was partially due to a massive smallpox epidemic deliberately released by Europeans as a deliberate act of war. Ironically, there were no biological weapon

      • Re:Already Flipped (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheSync (5291)
        a massive smallpox epidemic deliberately released by Europeans

        Where is your evident that this was deliberate? At the time of original contact, no one understood how smallpox was spread.

        At least one million Native Americans along the Mississippi died of smallpox in the 1500's before they ever met any Europeans.
        • Re:Already Flipped (Score:3, Informative)

          by ezavada (91752)
          A little research shows I was wrong on 2 points: First, the Mayans were already gone by the time the Spanish encountered the Incas. It was the Aztecs and Incas who were decimated by smallpox.

          Second, historians agree that the Spanish spreading of smallpox to the Aztecs was accidental. I was confusing this with later events during the conquest of Native American tribes, for example as approved by General Amherst on July 16th, 1763 [nativeweb.org].
    • Re:Already Flipped (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Yokaze (70883)
      Either it was simply a bad article, or you misunderstood something. Citing the downfall of an empire due local climate as an example for "everyday" global climate change is quite weak.

      The page titled Global Warming @ National Geographic [nationalgeographic.com] doesn't seem to suggest such a causal view of climate change.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:48AM (#11455186)
    a Swedish scientist was warning about global warming in the early 20th century. Nobody did anything then, nothing meaningful is being done now. Nothing meaningful will be done until literally hundreds of millions or billions of people are killed. The world economic system is too narrowly focused in objectives to have people work for the wider good unless all individuals' survival is directly and personally threatened.
    • by khallow (566160)
      Nobody did anything then, nothing meaningful is being done now. Nothing meaningful will be done until literally hundreds of millions or billions of people are killed.

      It's called "crying 'wolf'". Where's the urgency? Why should we deal with global warming now when we can deal with it later with better technology, a wealthier society, and a greater understanding of the problem? Poverty kills a lot more people than global warming does and the current proposed solutions to global warming increase poverty. I

  • by Undefined Tag (750722) on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:54AM (#11455257) Homepage
    What I don't understand about this issue are the arguments against doing something to resolve the problem. They seem to be:
    1) We're in a warming cycle/trend and this problem is not our fault.
    2) The earth will survive the warming.
    3) The problem is not as bad as people say.

    Given that the earth is warming, and that this warming will cause catastrophes in excess of anything we've seen, shouldn't we be trying to do something about it? Does it matter if it's caused by us or something else? Does it matter if the problems will arrive in 100 years or 1,000 years?

    If we see a clear path to fixing a problem that could save millions of lives, shouldn't we do that?

    This whole thing seems like a server admin arguing against doing system backups. Sure, they *might* not be necessary, what what sane person doesn't do them?
    • by 16K Ram Pack (690082) <tim,almond&gmail,com> on Monday January 24, 2005 @11:19AM (#11455548) Homepage
      Whenever you see an argument made by someone, it's often best to look behind the motivation.

      Very few people I know who like to find convenient articles regarding global warming are people with small, efficient cars who also use the trains quite a lot. Basically, they lap up the "global warming is a myth" because they don't want to face the question that their unnecessary SUV may be causing serious damage to the planet.

      For goodness sakes people, get out of your cars. If we find that we got global warming wrong, what's the result? Oh, you probably got a bit healthier and maybe met some interesting people on the bus.

    • by Dun Malg (230075) on Monday January 24, 2005 @11:45AM (#11455850) Homepage
      Given that the earth is warming, and that this warming will cause catastrophes in excess of anything we've seen, shouldn't we be trying to do something about it?

      Well the obvious answer to such a hypothetical situation is "yes", but it's a classic case of begging the question. Your statement of "Given...that this warming will cause catastrophes in excess of anything we've seen" flies in the face of the main point of argument. You're basically saying "let's assume I'm right, so we have to do things MY way, right?" That's hardly an effective debating position.

  • by Lifereaper0 (850920) on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:56AM (#11455285)
    I think we need a good end of the world situation. I look forward to leading hordes of bad people in the search for pleasure. I plan on wearing a cool mask and driving a highly tuned car o' death while screaming "Give Me Your Oil!!"...but that's just me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:56AM (#11455286)
    "The countdown to climate-change catastrophe is spelt out by a task force of senior politicians, business leaders and academics from around the world."

    Obviously being a politician or business leader qualifies you for all sorts of fear mongering.
  • by havaloc (50551) * on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:57AM (#11455294) Homepage
    From tsunami [indiatimes.com] to Kyoto not impacting the environment at all [cnsnews.com] to dropping emissions [epa.gov], to overblown disaster movies [clickability.com], scientists resigning various environmental organizations [colorado.edu], and other speeches [senate.gov]. People are even connecting the environment [episcopalchurch.org] to the tsunamis, which have nothing to do with the environment, and everything to do with Earthquakes that are going to happen anyway. Lets get some perspective here.
    • Just thought I'd pipe up -- one [episcopalchurch.org] of your links is being used in a misleading fashion.

      That article does not say that global warming caused the earthquake that caused the tsunami. It said that the earthquake (somewhat localized) had effects that touched people's lives very, very far away, and that global warming will touch even more lives.

      Cheers, Matt

  • blech... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LetterRip (30937) on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:57AM (#11455301)
    It sounds like the newspaper writer is making statements far beyond what the report says.

    This happens all the time, the journalist misreads (or overinterprets) the report, makes irresponsible claims and statements supposedly based on the report, which inevitably results in the authors of the report being accussed of alarmism by pundits.

    Which means the general populace gets bad information all around, and the zealous individuals of the 'right' and 'left' continue to feel they are vindicated in their opinions on global warming and how the 'other side' are ignoring the obvious truth.

    LetterRip
    • Re:blech... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Angostura (703910) on Monday January 24, 2005 @11:37AM (#11455756)
      Is that what it sounds like? Based on what?

      From the publisher's site [ippr.org.uk]

      Key recommendations of the Taskforce include:

      1. The G8 and other major economies, including from the developing world, form a G8+ Climate Group, to pursue technology agreements and related initiatives that will lead to large emissions reductions.

      2. The G8-Plus Climate Group agree to shift their agricultural subsidies from food crops to biofuels, especially those derived from cellulosic materials, while implementing appropriate safeguards to ensure sustainable farming methods are encouraged, culturally and ecologically sensitive land preserved, and biodiversity protected.

      3. G8 governments establish national renewable portfolio standards to generate at least 25% of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025, with higher targets needed for some G8 governments.

      4. G8 governments increase their spending on research, development, and demonstration of advanced technologies for energy-efficiency and low- and zero-carbon energy supply by two-fold or more by 2010, at the same time as adopting strategies for the large-scale deployment of existing low- and zero-carbon technologies.

      5. All industrialised countries introduce national mandatory cap-and-trade systems for carbon emissions, and construct them to allow for their future integration into a single global market.

      6. A global framework be adopted that builds on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol, and enables all countries to be part of concerted action on climate change at the global level in the post-2012 period, on the basis of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities.

      7. A long-term objective be established of preventing global average temperature from rising more than 2 C (3.6 F) above the pre-industrial level, to limit the extent and magnitude of climate-change impacts.

      8. Governments remove barriers to and increase investment in renewable energy and energy efficient technologies and practices by taking steps including the phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies and requiring Export Credit Agencies and Multilateral
      Development Banks to adopt minimum efficiency or carbon intensity standards for projects they support.

      9. Developed countries honour existing commitments to provide greater financial and technical assistance to help vulnerable countries adapt to climate change, including the commitments made at the seventh conference of the parties to the UNFCCC in 2001, and pursue the establishment of an international compensation fund to support disaster mitigation and preparedness.

      10. Governments committed to action on climate change raise public awareness of the problem and build public support for climate policies by pledging to provide substantial long-term investment in effective climate communication activities.
  • by failedlogic (627314) on Monday January 24, 2005 @11:02AM (#11455367)
    I live in Halifax, N.S. Canada for 10 years. In the 10 years since I've left, there's been record snowfalls for 3 years ... so much I never would have imagined. Also, hurricanes have been striking with increasing devastation whereas the cold water of the Atlantic usually diminished the hurricane significantly.

    California and Vancover have been having record rainfalls (each over 600 mm in a week). There's flooding and landslides.

    So far, to me, it sounds a bit like freak weather we get every 50 years or so. If this is a sign of what's to come, due to global warming we're in for a rude wake up call.

    What's worse: the brunt of the pollution stems from North American and European industrialization. I cannot image what would happen if India or China had a 2 or 3 car family (let alone, the emerging trend of one car as income increases).

    With the increase in industrialization of many countries (in part because of consumer culture) and also because of economic expansion and the lower cost of the automobile (namely, in India and China) what can we do to help stop, slow down or perhaps (if possible?) reverse this trend?
    • I'm in Halifax now, and getting sick of this series of storms we've been having.

      There's a few things we can do. All Canadians by now have probably heard of the one-ton challenge [climatechange.gc.ca]- even Rick Mercer's helping promote it.

      For a bit more comprehensive fare, you can try David Suzuki's solutions [davidsuzuki.org].

      Political pressure helps, but right now market solutions are probably the easiest way to deal with the crisis. If you have the means to install solar panels or can invest in renewables, go for it.

      The most cost-effective
    • by Kohath (38547) on Monday January 24, 2005 @12:11PM (#11456160)
      Freak weather is normal. Every year, it's either unusually hot, unusually cold, unusually wet, unusually dry, unusually windy, or unusual in some other way.

      Think about it. When was the last year when nothing interesting happened with the weather? Wouldn't it be odd to have an entire year of weather when nothing notable happened?
    • hurricanes have been striking with increasing devastation

      Devestation (in the sense that it's talked about and covered in the news) relates to damage to the stuff people build, or to the people sitting inside that stuff when it falls down. The biggest factor in hurrican damage for the last 100 years has been the increasing number of expensive things that we've stupidly put on the coasts that are periodically hit, and always have been.

      Leaving aside the financial insanity of constantly bailing out (with
    • What's worse: the brunt of the pollution stems from North American and European industrialization. I cannot image what would happen if India or China had a 2 or 3 car family (let alone, the emerging trend of one car as income increases).

      Are you aware of what China looks like NOW? There's a near-permanent haze over most of eastern China [nasa.gov]. I was there in October, and even on a "sunny" day, we couldn't see the sun. Most mornings in Hong Kong, we could barely see across the Bund, and even at mid-day, good luc

  • Luckily ... (Score:4, Funny)

    by crmartin (98227) on Monday January 24, 2005 @11:14AM (#11455498)
    the world ended in the 1100s and the 1500s when the temperatures were that high before, so this is just academic.
  • by BigFire (13822) on Monday January 24, 2005 @11:41AM (#11455795)
    Human activities masked another Ice Age [examiner.ie]. Kind of like the novel, Fallen Angels [larryniven.org] by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn.
  • Disappointed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cackmobile (182667) on Monday January 24, 2005 @12:00PM (#11456034) Journal
    I thought slashdotters were intelligent. Every post here is saying global warming is a sham. If you actually spend some time looking you will find out that global warming doesn't just mean it gets hot. It means everything goes hay wire. Most likely is that we will have hotter summers and colder winters. Weather will be extreme. More tornados, more hurricanes, more droughts and more floods.
  • by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Monday January 24, 2005 @12:19PM (#11456257)
    Anyone who is aware of the situation knows that there is a definite environmental crisis looming. This isn't just about global warming and resource depletion, but about eliminating our forests and converting nature into a wasteland. The side effects already affect your day to day life: more health problems, environmental pollutants, decreased quality of and less diversity of food, climate uncertainty.

    But for us to sit here and say "nothing will change" and turn a blind eye is just plain stupid. If you're older, than ... keep your mouth shut (thanks for the mess, btw). If you're younger, you have a responsibility to not contribute toward a spiralling problem because. What do you do?
    • BUY LESS STUFF and don't throw out so much trash (help decrease the resource consumption cycle)
    • Demand resource and energy efficient alternatives
    • Tell your politicians that you care about environmental issues such as air, water quality, waste responsibility
    • Steer clear of, and tell others to stay away from practices you know to be harmful
    If you are fearing that such practices will destroy the US economy, don't worry -- the economy is on its way to collapse under the weight of decades of corporate scandals and greed. You are NOT going to destroy the economy by cutting down consumption. Nor are you going to save the economy by purchasing new cars or computers.

    Do what you know is right. And if you're religious at all, take pride in the fact that you will not be eternally marked with the sin of helping destroy the lives of your fellow humans.
  • Troll busting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cally (10873) on Monday January 24, 2005 @12:36PM (#11456527) Homepage
    Sadly I haven't the time to read this story at 1 or 2 to read this week's climate change trolls. Could I therefore just request that anyone about to opst about Michael Crichton, the 'new ice age we were warned about in the 1970s', farting cows, fluctuations in the sun's output, or anything else that attempts to deny the basic scientific consensus on climate change that they please go and read the relevant RealClimate.org articles [realclimate.org] first on their current misapprehension first, then include a reasoned explanation of how the scientists have all got it wrong. (Explanations based on the assumption of a world-wide scientific conspiracy will be moderated down to -1... I hope.)

    Thank you.

  • by Paradox_001 (835540) on Monday January 24, 2005 @12:42PM (#11456586)
    The current administration in the white house have religious ideologies that fall in line with apocalypse being nigh. They believe that when catastrophe hits, the elect, or chosen, (by God) will be greeted by Jesus from the heavons and provided a new earth, provided Isreal is status quo upon the arival of this doomsday. This is my own belief as to why the administration is living like there is no tomorrow. Even though the pentagon has been doing studies on how global warming and climate change might be the worst security threat we have ever faced, the administration is encouraging business as usual, why? The first President Bush said the American way of life is not negotiable.

    Here is the cold hard truth - we Americans are living in the 29th day of a lifestyle that is not sustainable, and it will end soon, very soon. The world, as well as basic geology and the second law of thermodynamics is begining to tell us we can't keep living this way. Our consumer driven lives do come at a cost, in economic terms the hidden costs of our lifestyles are called "externalities". These externalities include massive degradation to the environment. 25% of the coral reefs in the world are dead. Most fish is unsafe to eat now because of heavy metal content. Our fisheries are dying out. Rainforrests are becoming a thing of the past.

    For those of you who live down in the desert what happens to Las Vegas when the Colordo river stops turning the turbines in the Hoover dam - the flow rate was down 70% below average last year and we have had 2 wet decades and are now entering into a dry era.

    The average American meal travels 1300 miles fueled by hydrocarbon energy before we eat it. Every calorie of food we eat requires 10 calories of hydrocarbon energy input to produce it, not including packaging and transportation. All of our fertilizers and pesticides are derrived from oil and natural gas. 90% of an Iowa farmer's costs are directly and indirectly related to the cost of fuel. Every pound of beef produced uses 2500 gallons of water and 16 pounds of grain. Talk about unsustainable. What happens when the fuel runs out? We will we have a couple options, scale back usage, or go to war to procure the remaining scraps of what is left. Our administration chose plan B. Going to war for something that should be left in the ground in the first place.

    Right now is a very precarious time in American history and I think war is the last thing we should be pursuing, why? We are is massive massive debt. The trade deficit is gargantuan. Our dollar is financed to the hilt, and it's on the virge of collapse. Petrodollars as they call them now in economics are relying heavily on China buying our t-bonds, the corrupt world bank loaning money to third world nations which will never be able to pay them off (forcing them into credit card debt if you will), and the oil trade being financed in the dollar instead of the euro. That was in fact one of the hidden agendas of the war in Iraq, to get Iraq's oil trade switched back into dollars (it took about one week after the invasion to get that done) because Saddam had changed it over to euros and we weren't going to take it. But, the world is starting to consider switching anyway. We have 800 military bases around the world, fighting multiple front wars, buying, spending, consuming, pillaging, like there is no tomorrow. It's called imperial overstretch, it's why the Rome and the Soviet Union collapsed. If we don't stop imperial overstretch, there will be no tomorrow.

    By the way, did you realize that Saudi Arabia -the most intolerant regime on the face of the earth- has 7 trillion in our stock market? The lead the wold in beheadings you know. 15 out of 19 of the hi-jackers who did 9/11 were from, you guessed it, Saudi Arabia.

    Additionally the housing bubble is poised to collapse. Houses are WAY WAY WAY overvalued. I hope you didn't just buy a house. And the production of Oil and natural gas is going to start into a permanent decline when both of those peak, as soon as now - 2007.

    • I wonder how many of you people that are joking abut this shit have kids, and if so, do you care about them? Because to me it doesn't sound like it to me. When gas goes up to $7.00 a gallon I don't think you will be laughing as hard. We are are struggling to feed your kids I don't think you will be laughing as hard, then.

      You mean like gas is now in the UK? Alright, when I was there last month at the then-current exchange rate, it was $6.25 a gallon, not $7.00 a gallon, but, close enough.

      Gas at $2, $5,

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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