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Thread: The Age Of Consequences

  1. #1
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    Default The Age Of Consequences

    Watch it now:

    http://pbsinternational.org/programs...-consequences/

    (with a nod to Sibbo's Pentagon thread)

    Basically showing how globalised our human economy already is, and how anthropogenic induced climate change is fuelling global economic, and security instability in ways that we cannot begin predict, but aren't based around the silly hollywood styled caricatures of what these consequences are presented by those who think it's not actually happening.

    Drought in the ME is driving young men off the land and into the arms of ISIL for a start.
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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    Bump. This is too important a piece of filmmaking to go unnoticed.
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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    I watched the story on Four Corners last night. It's rubbish journalism... trying to make out that climate change is a bigger factor in certain conflicts than it really was.

    Here's a comment on it from another viewer:

    4 Corners hit a new low last night. I assume they didn't have to pay for the program.
    A documentary linking climate change with everything wrong on the planet.
    No Syria & other conflicts are not about religion, politics, social misfunction, international influence they're all about Climate change with a few ex military people, no-one ever heard of, confirming it all.
    Like droughts, famine & pestilence never happened before the Industrial revolution.
    It went for 45 minutes and never mentioned population growth may be a factor.
    The military commentators referred to climate change as a "multiplier". No quantification of that multiplier - is it a doubling? Is it an extra 5%?

    The reality in the two main regions mentioned is that deforestation is the driver of the droughts there. Yeah, that deforestation has led to localised climate changes and droughts and famine... but the program puffed it up out of proportion.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    Hey Ian, what factor do you give deforestation in the Syrian drought?

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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    Hey Ian, what factor do you give deforestation in the Syrian drought?
    Lessee... Syria is part of the (former) "Fertile Crescent". This, from wiki:

    Since the Bronze Age, the region's natural fertility has been greatly extended by irrigation works, upon which much of its agricultural production continues to depend. The last two millennia have seen repeated cycles of decline and recovery as past works have fallen into disrepair through the replacement of states, to be replaced under their successors. Another ongoing problem has been salination gradual concentration of salt and other minerals in soils with a long history of irrigation.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    For those interested in the real issue:

    The Erosion of Civilization

    The Fertile Crescent's fall holds a message for today's troubled spots.

    (Jared Diamond is a professor of geography and environmental health sciences at UCLA. His book "Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies" won a 1998 Pulitzer Prize.)

    Iraq sits along a stretch of land once so productive that the whole region -- which included present-day Syria, Iran and Jordan -- was known as the Fertile Crescent. In ancient times, the area led the world in agriculture and technology. It's hard to reconcile that history with the reality of today, when the term "Infertile Crescent" would seem more appropriate.

    The Fertile Crescent's current desperation stands as testament to the steepest downturn of local fortunes since the end of the last Ice Age. For 8,000 years Iraq and its neighbors led the world as the source of most things embodied in the term "civilization." Technology, ideas and power flowed outward from Iraq to Europe and eventually to America. Iraq's decline holds lessons the world should heed.

    The region's ancient dominance didn't arise from any biological superiority of its people, just as America's dominance today has nothing to do with our own biology. Instead, Fertile Crescent peoples profited from an accident of biogeography: They had the good fortune to occupy the world's largest zone of Mediterranean climate, home to the largest number of wild plant and animal species suitable for domestication. Until 8500 BC, all the world's peoples obtained their food by gathering wild plants and hunting wild animals. Then the ancient Iraqis and other Fertile Crescent peoples began to develop farming and herding, domesticating wild wheat, barley, peas, sheep, goats, pigs and cows. Even today, these species remain the world's staple crops and livestock. Agriculture fueled a population explosion, and also generated food surpluses that could be used to feed full-time professional specialists, who no longer had to devote time to procuring their own food.


    These specialists fed by agriculture included smiths and metal workers, who developed the world's first copper tools around 5000 BC, bronze tools around 3000 BC and iron tools around 1500 BC. The specialists also included accountants and scribes, who developed the world's first writing system around 3400 BC. That was a huge head start: Writing didn't reach what is now the United States until 5,000 years later. It makes Iraq's current rate of illiteracy an especially cruel irony.

    Agriculture also fed politicians, bureaucrats and judges. That's why the world's first states arose in Iraq around 3500 BC, and the first multiethnic empire arose there around 3000 BC. The Middle East continued to lead and dominate western Eurasia for several thousand more years, and its languages were spoken from Ireland to India. The English we speak today grew out of the Indo-European languages originally spoken by Middle Eastern peoples, and the fact that people in the United States speak it -- as opposed to a language derived from ancient Algonquin or some other Native American language family -- is a testament to the Middle East's ancient dominance.

    So how did Fertile Crescent peoples lose that big lead? The short answer is ecological suicide: They inadvertently destroyed the environmental resources on which their society depended. Just as the region's rise wasn't due to any special virtue of its people, its fall wasn't due to any special blindness on their part. Instead, they had the misfortune to be living in an extremely fragile environment, which, because of its low rainfall, was particularly susceptible to deforestation.

    When you clear a forest in a high-rainfall tropical area, new trees grow up to a height of 15 feet within a year; in a dry area like the Fertile Crescent, regeneration is much slower. And when you add to the equation grazing by sheep and goats, new trees stand little chance. Deforestation led to soil erosion, and irrigation agriculture led to salinization, both by releasing salt buried deep in the ground and by adding salt through irrigation water. After centuries of degradation, areas of Iraq that formerly supported productive irrigation agriculture are today salt pans where nothing grows.

    Once the Fertile Crescent began to decline for those environmental reasons, hostile neighbors helped speed the process. The original flow of power westward from the Fertile Crescent reversed in 330 BC, when the Macedonian army of Alexander the Great advanced eastward to conquer the eastern Mediterranean. In the Middle Ages, Mongol invaders from Central Asia destroyed Iraq's irrigation systems. After World War I, England and France dismembered the Ottoman Empire and carved out Iraq and other states as pawns of European colonial interests. As the end product of this history, the former world center of wealth, power and civilization is now poor in everything except oil. Iraq's leaders ensured that few benefits of that oil reached their people.

    Iraq's decline holds a broader significance. Many other countries today face similar crippling environmental problems, including the deforestation, overgrazing, erosion and salinization that brought down the Fertile Crescent. Other countries already crippled or nearly so by such problems include Haiti, Somalia, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, the Philippines and Indonesia.


    You may well detect a similarity between this list of looming environmental disasters and the CIA's list of overseas trouble spots, places prone to civil wars and violent regime changes -- places to which we often end up dispatching U.S. troops. Those two lists are related by cause and effect. When environmental damage makes people economically desperate, they are likely to suffer from poor health and short life spans, blame their governments, kill each other, end up with crazy leaders and seek to immigrate illegally to more favored landscapes.

    The First World can respond to these Third World problems in one of three ways. It can provide humanitarian aid once a crisis has arisen. It can ignore the situation as long as possible and then intervene militarily once the crisis cannot be ignored (at a cost, in the case of Afghanistan and Iraq, of an estimated $100 billion per intervention when you add up all the potential costs of military action and rebuilding). Or it can intervene before a crisis to stave off looming problems.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    Uh huh.
    following form.

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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    Uh huh.
    following form.
    Pointing out misrepresentation and Bulldust. Yep. Do some research Jeff. You might eventually learn something
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    I can only guess at the discussion going on, (and I will only guess at it on the basis of a promise to Scot), but the expert and considered opinions of the top echelons of Pentagon and other US military and security agencies, as expressed in the documentary, is pretty unequivocal: Climate change is playing a significant role in a complex ecology of factors that are leading to social unrest, armed conflict and political instability.

    I thought the example of the failure of wheat harvests in both China and Russia leading to a spike in the street price of flour in wheat import dependent economies was a great one. Not much to debate there.

    The other example of drying alpine flows from the Himalayas, coupled with land-mass loss in Bangladesh due to sea levels rising (only small increments are required to have significant effects on that nation) creating a nexus of very large populations being squeezed into narrower stretches of land was the other great one.

    There were lots of of sobering examples to suggest that we are on a road to environmental hell, and that we are doing little else rather than fiddling our way to its gates.

    The risk assessment of these highly qualified and experienced individuals is that we need to change our actions significantly around this issue. To do nothing is one choice of action. I liked the analogy about 99% of intel' suggesting an IED on the road ahead, but the remaining 1% suggesting there's nothing to worry about, so let's go with that 1% because we like it better.

    Pretty stupid.
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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan Gibbs View Post
    There were lots of of sobering examples to suggest that we are on a road to environmental hell, and that we are doing little else rather than fiddling our way to its gates.
    You might notice that we cannot get back to where we were or even back to where we might like to be. We are committed to environmental hell.
    Life is complex.

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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    And I cannot see us as a species altering our behaviour enough to make a difference.

    And Yes Ian, I should have read all your very good post.

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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    And I cannot see us as a species altering our behaviour enough to make a difference.

    And Yes Ian, I should have read all your very good post.
    A quote from Jared Diamond agreeing with the documentary though the poster doesn't realise it.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    To a certain extent, I agree that we've set our course down that road. How quickly we travel down it, or indeed pull up to a halt, is something that we should be discussing, rather than the extremely obtuse position that we haven't set off down this road already.

    Part of the documentary was that we should be building systemic resilience into our human societies, institutions and look at what we have in common, rather than the normal 'screw you, I've got mine' position, when the problem belongs to us all; something the documentary succinctly expounds. What happens in one part of the World can have significant effects on other parts of the World, creating new ripples of effect that go on and on in a complex globalised political, military and economic ecology.
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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    ".....we should be building systemic resilience into our human societies, institutions and look at what we have in common, rather than the normal 'screw you, I've got mine' position....."

    Good luck with that Duncan. If our polls can ignore the overwhelming public mood re equal marriage rights for their own ideological positions then I have very little confidence in our capacity to effect any meaningful changes.
    Of course if climate change causes a big enough die off then the remaining subsistence farmers may get by OK as they have for thousands of years.

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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    The only thing that is going to change minds is climate change affecting "nice, polite, middle class white people". Bangladeshi refugees need not apply.

    A slowing or halting of the thermohaline conveyor and therefore freezing Western Europe and the resulting Depression would qualify.
    http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~stefan/thc_fact_sheet.html
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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    Greg will say, "depressing lot aren't you (we)" and I do see his point.
    Can't offer a solution at this stage under the system we have.

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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    I've been accused of that.

    But if you find yourself in a bus going down a very steep hill and note there are no brakes .... then have the temerity to mention it, does that make you a doom laden naysayer or just a rational observer?
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    And I cannot see us as a species altering our behaviour enough to make a difference.

    And Yes Ian, I should have read all your very good post.
    Well, thank you Jeff

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    A quote from Jared Diamond agreeing with the documentary though the poster doesn't realise it.
    Actually, Peter.... you seem to be the one having the trouble realising what the two articles are saying (including the Scientific American one that you linked).

    SA point out the impact of over-development of wells in the region, lowering the water table and making the impact of droughts worse.

    Then there's the massive population increase in an area with already marginal resources.

    Then there's the deforestation. Perhaps you should read some Bill Morrison material about the impact of deforestation on the water resources in an area.

    Then there's the salt issue.

    If you, like the documentary makers, want to pin everything on climate change, go ahead. Do it and look as silly as they do.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    The documentary was savaged by the NY Times. Part of their review:

    Talking about one of the strategies of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, the retired Brig. Gen. Stephen Cheney states, “You control the water, you control the livelihood of the people.” Climate change affects the amount of water, and so terrorist organizations move to where the water is. The connection between environmental disaster and terrorism is drawn, persuasively. (The “Mad Max: Fury Road” scenario in which a despot clings to power by holding on to a water supply starts to look mildly plausible.)

    The information here is compelling and frightening, but the movie is ham-handed. Malcolm Francis’s almost nonstop score is emphatic to a fault; interviewees extrapolate a “perfect storm” of concurrent catastrophes that could cripple the United States; there’s no bright side, and scant hope, just 70 minutes of unrelenting bad news served with dollops of implicit audience-blaming. A tacked-on eight-minute “call to action” coda feels halfhearted.

    At one point, a historian observes that “advanced societies were very vulnerable to confusing lifestyle with life itself.” This may be true, but delivered in this tricksy, overdetermined way, it’s likely to elicit a pot-calling-the-kettle-black response from overwhelmed viewers.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    Quote Originally Posted by The Bigfella View Post
    Lessee... Syria is part of the (former) "Fertile Crescent". This, from wiki:

    Since the Bronze Age, the region's natural fertility has been greatly extended by irrigation works, upon which much of its agricultural production continues to depend. The last two millennia have seen repeated cycles of decline and recovery as past works have fallen into disrepair through the replacement of states, to be replaced under their successors. Another ongoing problem has been salination — gradual concentration of salt and other minerals in soils with a long history of irrigation.
    Damn for such an alpha male character that is one non-sequitur

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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    Quote Originally Posted by The Bigfella View Post
    Well, thank you Jeff



    Actually, Peter.... you seem to be the one having the trouble realising what the two articles are saying (including the Scientific American one that you linked).

    SA point out the impact of over-development of wells in the region, lowering the water table and making the impact of droughts worse.

    Then there's the massive population increase in an area with already marginal resources.

    Then there's the deforestation. Perhaps you should read some Bill Morrison material about the impact of deforestation on the water resources in an area.

    Then there's the salt issue.

    If you, like the documentary makers, want to pin everything on climate change, go ahead. Do it and look as silly as they do.
    An inconvenient truth this climate change thing eh ?

    Climate change is a ''multiplier", increasing the effects of already existing problems.
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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    World Meteorological Organization Annual Statement. And the US has the twitter in chief gutting the EPA and stifling Earth science programs in NOAA and NASA.


    https://public.wmo.int/en/media/pres...global-impacts

    WMO issued its annual statement on the State of the Global Climate ahead of World Meteorological Day on 23 March. It is based on multiple international datasets maintained independently by global climate analysis centres and information submitted by dozens of WMO Members National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and Research Institutes and is an authoritative source of reference. Because the social and economic impacts of climate change have become so important, WMO partnered with other United Nations organizations for the first time this year to include information on these impacts.

    “This report confirms that the year 2016 was the warmest on record – a remarkable 1.1 C above the pre-industrial period, which is 0.06 C above the previous record set in 2015. This increase in global temperature is consistent with other changes occurring in the climate system,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

    “Globally averaged sea surface temperatures were also the warmest on record, global sea levels continued to rise, and Arctic sea-ice extent was well below average for most of the year,” he said.

    “With levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere consistently breaking new records, the influence of human activities on the climate system has become more and more evident,” said Mr Taalas.

    The increased power of computing tools and the availability of long term climate data have made it possible today, through attribution studies, to demonstrate clearly the existence of links between man-made climate change and many cases of high impact extreme events in particular heatwaves, he said

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    Default Re: The Age Of Consequences

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    The only thing that is going to change minds is climate change affecting "nice, polite, middle class white people". Bangladeshi refugees need not apply.

    A slowing or halting of the thermohaline conveyor and therefore freezing Western Europe and the resulting Depression would qualify.
    http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~stefan/thc_fact_sheet.html
    I agree that fear is a strong motivator, but those who want to stop global warming seem to be the ones who have irrational beliefs and great fears.

    If increasing CO2 is the cause of global warming then we need to decrease CO2 to get back to where we want the climate. We might lower CO2 levels to year 2000 levels. But that does not make the climate go back to what we had in year 2000.

    I have read that India has 300 million people without electricity and the country is considering building coal burning power plants to give them power. Even those who are not "nice, polite, middle class white people" don't seem interested in global warming.
    Life is complex.

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