The debate is still open on how much of Earth's temperature rise is due to the natural glaciation cycle and how much to human activity.
But it's pretty definite that we're in a very steep warming cycle, and losing species fast.
I read recently that there are a number of human-food species in our oceans that are in danger of sudden collapse.
The bees from a number of continents are dying off -- here there's some kind of infection in commercial hives, and the move northward of killer bees that don't pollinate but do invade domestic bee hives and destroy them.
The cost of food is rising because of the cost of renting bee hives to pollinate. A worldbuilding writer could forecast famine.
A huge number of frog species are going extinct. Amphibians seem to be reproductively sensitive to something that's killing them off. Fast. They're a vital link in the food chain.
Rise in temperature is causing migrations -- and the creep of tropical diseases north and southward from the equator.
Some of this is due to global warming -- changing habitats and water availability. Some is due to pollution. Some to the increase of UV from atmospheric pollution done decades ago when nobody believed aerosols could cause a problem in the arctic -- and nobody cared about the antarctic because it was so far away.
So an sf writer who wants to do some worldbuilding futurology has to look at what changes the increase in global temperatures may bring -- and it's not just ocean levels rising.
To cope with these conditions, humans will develop better buildings against storms, better flood control, and cheaper air conditioning.
But the really big profits will be in terraforming Earth -- trying to control the glaciation cycles, to reverse the damage from global warming.
Clearly, of course, we will try to preserve the genetic specimens from species going extinct. And we'll try to re-breed and rebuild those species.
We'll have to study and breed and release microbes -- and no doubt we'll make mistakes.
But there is one response to global warming that I can't recall ever being discussed on TV or in magazines.
We are all set to spend money looking for cheap renewable energy resources and to control the greenhouse gas emissions of power plants and vehicles.
But that may not be an effective approach. It may not target the actual cause.
RESTRICTING human activity and trying to eliminate greenhouse gas production might not work. Instead, we should be looking at the other side of the problem -- not restricting our emissions but increasing the Earth's ability to recycle greenhouse gases.
Today, human activity has reduced the Earth's ability to absorb and recycle Co2 -- cutting down the Brazlian rain forrest (and forrests in the USA early in the 18th century), and spreading oil slicks and other chemicals on the oceans which is killing plankton and other ocean surface plants that absorb CO2 and release O2.
We need to stop destroying the Earth's ability to recycle greenhouse gasses more than we need to pull back on our production of them.
Suppose industry saw a profit to be made in increasing Earth's ability to absorb and recycle pollutants to match our production of them?
The richest people in the world would be those who could produce trees, plankton, and other plants with more acre-feet of leaf surface and faster C02 recycling.
In our current world, a goodly number of people are convinced that the Western industrial lifestyle is wrong, or even just plain evil. Their response is to make an all-out effort to destroy Western economies that are based on such absolute immorality.
Here you can listen online to some of their reasons and decide for yourself if they're wrong.
Now do some SF worldbuilding and visualize the future they are driving toward.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
A Different Solution To Global Warming
Posted by Jacqueline Lichtenberg at 5:24 PM
Labels: Global Warming, Obession The Movie, world building
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