Jim White gives some of the easiest to understand and most enlightening talks on climate change. Here is an excellent recent talk with a big picture view of what’s going on and what to expect in the future.
A few points he made stuck with me:
- Are humans significant enough to affect the climate? Yes!
- We move 10 times more dirt than all natural erosion processes.
- We make more nitrogen fertilizer than all bacteria on land.
- We make more sulfate than all ocean phytoplankton.
- A nasty dilemma
- the planet cannot support everyone at 1st world lifestyles
- low income = middle income/3.5 = high income/7
- We have no room left to grow:
- we cultivate all good farm land
- we use all available surface water and augment with pumped groundwater
- Despite deforestation there is more biomass today than in the 1800’s due to human CO2 and fertilizer.
- We cannot grow away climate change because there is much more carbon in remaining fossil energy than all biomass.
- Why worry about 1C warming?
- max temperature swing over last 40 million years was 10C
- +2C = 5m sea level rise
- +4C = 80m sea level rise
- Keep an eye on the Arctic. When the ice is gone we will see dramatic changes in weather.
- Climate change is an inter-generational problem. Our grandchildren will have to deal with the consequences of our behavior today.
- We say we love our children but we do not show it.
- Population must be controlled (he’s right but his fatally flawed solution is to increase the wealth of women which will increase CO2 emissions)
Here’s another very good talk by Jim White that I previously posted: