Friday, February 2, 2007
The somber warnings of Dennis Meadows and his colleagues at MIT,
35 years ago, were spot on. Depletion of Earth's resources and
destruction of the environment, Meadows warned, will lead to
disaster unless nations of the world adopt policies of austerity
and population control. Technological optimists were horrified
by this negative thinking. Their alternative was "The High
Frontier," a 1976 book by Gerard K. O'Neill of Princeton, calling
for building "islands in space" to offload excess population.
Reality is the ISS. It houses 3 Earthlings at a cost of $100B.
Even as 600 climate scientists were meeting this week to update
the IPCC report on climate, the Zurich-based World Glacier
Monitoring Service reported that the rate of mountain glacier
melt is accelerating. The IPCC report, however, does not
incorporate data published after 2005. The IPCC report puts the
probability at 90% that human activity is responsible for the
observed warming, up from 66% in 2001. It's higher. The report
refrains from recommending what actions governments should take.
On Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee, Chaired by Henry
Waxman (D-CA), looked into accusations that the administration
interfered in federal climate research. Bipartisan criticism of
the White House stance on climate was prompted by a survey
conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists, together with the
Government Accountability Project, which turned up hundreds of
government climate scientists who had experienced political
interference in communicating their findings. Whenever WN cites
a Union of Concerned Scientists report, there are complaints that
UCS is an advocacy group, and so it is. WN would prefer that the
government police itself. While we're waiting, WN will continue
to look to UCS to give us the facts. They do it very well.
Yesterday, Exxon Mobil announced 2006 profits of $40 billion, its
second consecutive annual record. It's also the largest profit
ever reported by an American company. If you're that profitable,
you can bribe journalist to downplay the importance of global
warming, (WN 5 Jan 07) .
Any program that conserves energy, or protects the environment,
or feeds the hungry, or cures disease, will be quickly overtaken
by population growth. Simple greed is certainly a factor in
opposing population limits, but the fundamental obstacle is
fundamental religion. "Be fruitful and multiply," Genesis 1:28,
is seen by many as a commandment.