Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Fully Enlightened Earth

I've been wanting to put this information up for a while, but it's difficult to get over the resistance that even contemplating the catastrophe (this one, merely one among many) facing us engenders in me, not to mention the resistance I have to stating things the obvious. But perhaps these figures will be helpful. I finally got around to reading/skimming the devastating but not entire hopeless opinion of the U.K.'s Stern report on global warming (here). Of course, the Stern report imagines a world economy that continues to grow, rather than one that suffers a economic catastrophe (which could help in reducing emissions by killing consumers and producers).

Cost of stabilizing the planet's greenhouse gas emisions (expressed as %1 of world GDP, estimates run from below %1 to 5%): $ 403 Billion

Cost of Iraq war to date: $660 Billion.

Does stabilizing mean that the seas won't rise? That weather won't be even worse than it is? That crops won't fail? Your thingies fall off? Most scientists say no; these things are almost certain. Buy that designer survival kit now!

Should we just accept the end and leave the lights on all day long? No, no, no.

As nauseating as any calculations involving human life and suffering are, there's a difference between one foot of sea level rise and ten feet. Between ten Katrinas and one hundred Katrinas. The difference is entire cities and towns.

Should the whole world go on strike on my birthday or the birthday of anybody living this year? Yes, yes, yes.

Is there any hope? Yes, a sliver. A very sharp sliver.

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