"Begin at the beginning,and go on till you come to the end: then stop." (Lewis Carroll, 1832-1896)

Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked."Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat."I don't know," Alice answered."Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

"So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"

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Location: Australia

I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. Like Arthur Dent from "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", if you do not have a Babel Fish in your ear this blog will be completely unintelligible to you and will read something like this: "boggle, google, snoggle, slurp, slurp, dingleberry to the power of 10". Fortunately, those who have had the Babel Fish inserted in their ear, will understood this blog perfectly. If you are familiar with this technology, you will know that the Babel Fish lives on brainwave radiation. It excretes energy in the form of exactly the correct brainwaves needed by its host to understand what was just said; or in this case, what was read. The Babel Fish, thanks to scientific research, reverses the problem defined by its namesake in the Tower of Babel, where a deity was supposedly inspired to confuse the human race by making them unable to understand each other.


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Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I watched Professor Ian Lowe's speech to the National Press Club when it was on Australian television late last year. Professor Ian Lowe is the President of the Australian Conservation Foundation. What he said was of no shock to me, but it should be a wake up call to the population who still wants to live in "La La Land" concerning global climate change and the human influence thereon. The complete speech can be read here. For the lazy or disinterested, I will post some of his more pertinent points.

From: "Shaping a Sustainable Future" Professor Ian Lowe addresses the National Press Club – 30 August, 2006

"The way we are currently living is not sustainable; it doesn’t satisfy any of the main criteria. Despite the evidence that the overall consumption of the present population is degrading our environment, we encourage both growing numbers and increasing consumption per person. If we haven’t yet passed the peak of world oil production, we are certainly near it, and there is no prospect of scaling up production to meet the demand we have stimulated."

"We are seriously changing the global climate, with economic and social consequences ranging from increased costs of water supply to growing numbers of human casualties from heat stress and severe weather events. We are already in the middle of the sixth major extinction event in the history of the planet, with global warming adding to the driving forces of habitat loss, introduced species and chemical pollution. In economic terms, we have had 44 consecutive trade deficits, a trend that should have alarmed our leaders."

"Experts disagree about whether we are approaching the peak of world oil production, or have actually passed it. Either way, we are near the end of the age of cheap petroleum fuels. The second problem is that our use of “fossil fuels” – coal, oil and gas – is seriously changing the global climate. We have known about the problems of peak oil and climate change for decades. But Australia still has no concerted responses, no overall energy policy, just a few half-baked schemes and political stunts thrown together hastily to give the appearance of action."

"We also need to put much less carbon dioxide into the air. There are two ways to do this. First, we must use cleaner fuels. We can’t afford to keep using old technologies that are changing the global climate – like coal-fired electricity. Using electricity to heat water or cook, rather than burning gas, puts about four times as much carbon dioxide into the air! Renewable energies, like solar or wind power, are cleaner still. These natural energy flows are huge, far greater than human energy needs. As a specific example, the entire world’s energy use for a whole year is only about double the solar energy hitting Australia in one summer day! We should get much more of our energy from sun, wind and other renewable sources. It might cost a bit more than burning coal, but it won’t impose the large and growing costs of climate change."

"On Four Corners this week, the Prime Minister showed the contradictions in his approach to climate change. He said emissions trading is unacceptable, even though it is supported by business and economists, because it would increase prices of electricity and petrol – yet he was quite happy to instruct an inquiry to investigate the viability of nuclear power, an industry that has never survived anywhere without massive ongoing public subsidies. He said we hadn’t ratified Kyoto, shaming us on the global stage, because it doesn’t solve the problem and doesn’t impose binding restraints on the biggest polluters, China, the USA and India. Instead he supported the AP6 move – which doesn’t solve the problem and doesn’t impose binding restraints on the biggest polluters, China, the USA and India."

"The US economist Lester Thurow said that it is hard to tell people the party is over, especially if they haven’t got to the bar yet! I am, in those terms, telling you that one type of party is coming to an end. But I am also telling you about a better party that is starting up. It is a better party because it won’t run out of food and drink. It is a better party because it won’t leave you with a very nasty hangover of radioactive waste or disrupted global climate or despoiled natural systems. It is a better party because it is based on quality of human experience rather than gluttonous consumption. It is a better party because the neighbours won’t be enviously peering through the windows or throwing rocks on the roof, because they will all be invited. And it’s a better party because our children will be able to keep enjoying it after we are gone."

"Some Like It Hot"

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Blogger Coffee Messiah said...

BAck in the 70s we had a water shortage in Ca, USA and since then, we started to recycle, manage our electricity, deal with fuel efficient vehicles, etc, etc. I'm now in the midwest of the US, and a good majority of people barely attempt to recycle.
Maybe a "bang on the ear" would help? ; (

7/2/07 12:28 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

We have quite severe water shortages in many places in Australia which have never suffered water shortages before on such a scale.

Aparts from that, we have a governmment that is convinced that global climate change is, if not a hoax, something that they don't want to deal with actively.

They also ignore all the warnings from the environmental experts that don't comply with their economic agenda, and set us on the path to an environmental nightmare.

Needless to say, I am less than impressed with the conservative economic ideology which thinks that business can do whatever it wants and that it won't impact negatively upon the natural world.

If we just consume more and more, everything will be ok. No it won't. An economic ideology based on the premise of more population and more consumption only puts more stress on the natural world.

We seem to be one of the few animals which actively craps in its own nest while encouraging this as a virtue for everyone.

7/2/07 8:25 am  
Anonymous ted said...

These guys are pretty cool.

We don't really have a water shortage though. In nature, water in neither created nor destroyed, so what we've got is all we're ever going to have and there'll never be enough of us to use it all.

The problem we have is with logistics. Just because it isn't falling where we'd like it to doesn't mean it isn't available, somewhere. We just need to get it to where we want it, that's all.

7/2/07 11:35 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE ted: To an extent I agree. Except that the earth is not a closed system.

I think what is more likely to happen is that many places in australia are going to become non-sustainable for the large populations which inhabit those areas presently.

Other places in the world will be getting more rain, and we will be getting less.

7/2/07 12:01 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Desalination is a good idea too. But, it requires energy to do so. If you are in Saudi Arabia, cheap energy isn't a problem though the use of said energy may add to global climate change which may lead to the problem you are trying to solve through desalination.

7/2/07 1:04 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

On the 7:30 report the other night, David Mills showed us his solar electricity plant. It used focused mirrors to melt the water for steam. The sun is cheap and should be studied harder. See here for more details. I don't see why we can't melt sea water using the same technique.

I'm not saying that it's doable right this minute though, not by a long shot, but the technology is available if you can get the research dollars. At the moment all the research dollars are being encouraged into "clean coal" (no such thing!). To my mind, the emphasis is in the wrong place, that's all...

7/2/07 6:36 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE ted

"Clean coal" or carbon sequestration is the preferred economic option as it allows australia to continue to make full economic use of its huge coal deposits.

So, I think it is as Professor Lowe suggests and that is that the option chosen by our government is not one of sustainability, but one which continues to encourage economic growth at the expense of environmental systems. We are just beginning to see the cost of unlimited expansionism.

Lowe suggests that this will only ever harvest short term benefits and may in fact exacerbate the existing environmental problems.

I agree that sun, water and wind power alternatives should be the options in which nations invest research money.

Unfortunately, the economic ideology is that continued growth is not only sustainable, but that it has little or no deleterious effects on the environment in the long term. Thst is their ideological belief. The science does not agree. And they are willing to gamble their ideological belief against the data which has been piling up on the side of science.

7/2/07 11:01 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Couldn't agree more Beep...

7/2/07 11:39 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE ted
What gets me about the climate change fiasco is that our government has had information provided by the country's leading scientists, CSIRO etc and leading scientists from around the world for at least a decade.

For the majority of that time they have chosen to ignore the science in preference to their ideological business model. It is only now that they are pretending to be interested, when they imagine that there might be some political gain to be made.

I watched Turnball and Garrett last night on TV debate it out a little. Garrett wasn't his fiery self as from his Green Party affiliation days, but he still managed to put forward relevant information concerning the topic.

Turnball was just a scumball who attempted the usual defence by attempting to malign Garrett.

9/2/07 8:50 am  
Anonymous ted said...

Well I'd expect that of Turnball and I'd also expect Garrett to have done his research.

There seems to be no substitute for short-sightedness when it comes to governments and money though. One of the big problems as I see it is that we make far to much money from coal and there's nothing to fill the void if we should happen to find an alternative that's cheap enough.

That said though, a cheap way to make steam does have the potential to address both our water and our energy issues...

9/2/07 12:13 pm  
Blogger under_the_mercy said...

A History of our planet:

an ice age is comming, no, global warming, no, ice age, no global warming.

Please decide on one or the other.

12/2/07 5:28 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: under

I hope you are right. This is one of the times when I hope that the science is wrong. I hope that we, as humans have nothing to do with the events which are going to change the environment of the planet.

Unfortunately, the science of most of the well-repespected experts in this field say other wise.

And the scientists, or views of those who differ, are predominiately vested in the industries who stand to lose most of the science is right.

12/2/07 11:10 am  
Blogger under_the_mercy said...

Most well-respected experts say (said) both.

BTW, why would you care if the planet became uninhabitable in the future, it would not matter to you.

15/2/07 8:03 am  
Anonymous ted said...

Mercy: it would not matter to you

Just curious as to what would make you think that? Are you talking specifically about Beep or atheists in general?

15/2/07 1:21 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

That's right under, I have a spaceship powerd by a sophistocated improbability drive and I will be transporting my DNA and the DNA of my descendents to Beutelguese.

So, you're right. What do I care?

18/2/07 7:28 pm  

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