| Tuesday, May 03, 2005 - 06:08 pm |
It all comes back to viewpoints and basic cultural assumptions. The aquisitions of facts aside, you cannot know what is unknown to you and your society.
Historically speaking, we know intellectually that civilisations and societies can implode, disintegrate and disappear, but few can actually comprehend it as an actuall possibility for us.
The problem for the green argument is that there are no actual green alternatives. Everything we do degrades the enviroment, it is just that some activities do it more obviously than others.
It is known that the turning point at which the theoretical maximum production rate for oil will be passed is soon (and may have happened), at which point the cost of oil will trend forever, and at an accelerating rate, upwards.
The green alternatives to oil are neither alternatives, or green. Hydrogen fuel cells require H2 manufactured by burning fossilised fuel. Solar requires an enormous footprint of panels that need to be maunfactured and maintained. The renewables all require intensive up front capital, and are only applicable in certain locations (wind, tidal, geothermal etc.)
All the green options put together cant replace fossilised fuel, which is why some of the greens are starting to do the unthinkable, and go nuclear, but the number of nuclear stations required to replace fossilised stations would go through the worlds uranium in about a century, unless they were breeders, but then what do you do with hundreds of thousands of tonnes of plutonium.
You can use alcohol, but how much land do you need to produce the sugar in the volumes required.
Every raw non renewable resource has such a turning point (these points have a technical name - I just dont know it). Some are decades or centuries away, some are soon.
So this debate is missing the main point. Developed verse undeveloped, to Kyoto or not to Kyoto, is all just rearranging the deckchairs.
All the technical advances made in the US may have left the rivers lookin good, and the air cleaner, but all they have really done is slow the rate ofgrowth in the acceleration of our consumption of fossil fuel - but it is still accelerating.
Nothing we have is an alternative, nothing we have can be developed into an alternative. If fuel cell technology etc. etc. are all developed to their ultimate potential, it will not be enough.
This seems somewhat pessimistic, but unfortunately, I am not a pessimist (or I could put it down to my natural gloomy inclination and ignore it). Thinking, `this will hurt like hell` half way through a 10 story fall, isnt pessimism but a somewhat rose coloured appreciation of the realities.
As an aside to El Guapo, despite all your reading, you still suffer the base assumptions of your culture (as do we all). You state `In no other place the son of poor immigrants could have risen to attain two doctoral degrees. Nowhere else there's this wealth of information, in all languages, streams, and types, available for those who ask`. I can think of at least a half a dozen places where it would not only be possible, but highly attainable. Most of Australias population are recent descendants of poor immigrants. As for all the great inventions of the last 100 years being American - I had thought the French invented the car (the us just mass produced it), US congress has finally admitted that Bell stole the telephone of a Russian, if the Wright brothers had never lived, the developemnt of the aeroplane would have been delayed by months only. I thought space flight was pioneered by Russias German scientists, as opposed to Americas German scientists. I note you didnt mention antibiotics, or the radio, steam engines, the jet engine, radar etc. etc.
All americans think everything of note was developed in the US, because if it wasnt, their teachers arent interested in teaching them about it.
This isnt really a criticism, its true of all countries, it is just that Americas history of the world has become the words history of the world, where if it isnt american, it just doesnt rate, which can be irritating, even when you understand where it is coming from.