[EAS] Warmth, Reason and Profit
Peter J. Kindlmann
pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Fri Feb 2 18:38:28 EST 2007
Dear Colleagues -
Global warming is much in the news these days. Muting the "global
warming deniers" is difficult, because it pits reason against either
unreason or greed. Both are tenacious. The last issue of Bob Park's
newsletter touches all these issues, so I thought I'd forward it.
[Apologies to those of you who already subscribe.]
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>WHAT'S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 2 Feb 07 Washington, DC
>1. THE LIMITS OF GROWTH: IT'S TIME TO REVISIT THE 1972 CLASSIC.
>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.
>2. PARIS: THE IPCC REPORT ISSUED TODAY IS ALREADY OUT OF DATE.
>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.
>3. WASHINGTON: THE ADMINISTRATION SUPPRESSES CLIMATE FINDINGS.
>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.
>4. IRVING, TEXAS: EXXON MOBIL REPORTS RECORD PROFIT FOR 2006.
>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, http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN07/wn010507.html .
>5. THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE: WHY DOESN'T THE WORLD LIMIT POPULATION?
>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.
>THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND.
>Opinions are the author's and not necessarily shared by the
>University of Maryland, but they should be.
>Archives of What's New can be found at http://www.bobpark.org
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