Global Warming December 19, 2007Posted by John A. Davison in general.
I regard the future of our civilization to be in great jeopardy.
As a physiologist I regard man as a chemical machine obtaining energy through the oxidation of fuel just as other chemical machines do. Machines are rated in horse power; one horsepower is 746 watts. A 70 kilogram human at rest is producing heat, CO2, and H2O through the oxidation of food stuffs at a rate of about a tenth of a horsepower (80 watts). Accordingly, a human, when driving a typical automobile rated at 200 horsepower, is producing CO2 and H2O at a rate 2000 times greater than himself.
No other animal has the energy requirement of Homo sapiens. It is all due to the industrial society we have created. Everything we do produces CO2 far beyond that needed for our physiological maintenance as an animal. Coupled with this, we are by far the most numerous mammal on earth, approaching 7 billions – 7,000,000,000. No other mammal even comes close. There may be an equal number of chickens which contribute a substantial fraction of our animal food. These mind boggling numbers have led me to question if it is possible to sustain a civilization with such requirements. My intuitive, knee jerk, reaction, and that is all that it is, is a definite NO!
What I find amazing is the polarization that surrounds this issue. It is demonstated in the rallying cry of the skeptics invading the Bali Conference, shouting – “Have the courage to say no.” What could possibly ever be accomplished by such an attitude?
I recently discovered the book, “The Weather Makers” by Tim Flannery, an Australian climatologist and naturalist. Like myself, he has reached what can only be described as a doomsday forecast. While my concern is only intuitive, Flannery presents solid evidence that the changes we see taking place right now have already proceeded too far to be reversed. I recommend his book for all those interested in the future of the earth which, as far as we know, is the only planet in the universe supporting life in any form. The way things are progressing, Homo sapiens, the youngest and apparently last mammal species that will, in my opinion, ever appear may also prove to be the one with the shortest life span.
The only solution I can offer involves the reduction of our numbers by at least two orders of magnitude to around 70 million, or very roughly the world’s population prior to the industrial revolution a mere two centuries ago. It was that revolution that produced this result. Never in the history of the planet have such great changes taken place over such a short period of time.
I consider pandemic disease to be the most likely means by which this reduction will occur.
I realize this is a pessimistic forecast and with that in mind, I welcome the views of others.
“A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”