Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Grey Weather

I've been in a grey mood since Thanksgiving -- not sure why. The weather has been on the edge of freezing, producing mixed rain and wet snow. This morning it is snow.

Part of the problem, I think, was reading a book on China and world capitalism. The last chapter dealt with capitalism and global warming, arguing -- convincingly, I think -- that capitalism is not able to deal effectively with global warming. A system based on short term profit and endless growth cannot make the changes necessary to reduce greenhouse gases in the brief time we have before things get seriously awful. The book quoted James Lovelock, who predicts that by the end of this century most land will be desert or scrub land, the oceans will be mostly dead, and the planet's human population will be down to one billion people. A little grim, but far better than James Hansen's worst case scenario, which is a run-away greenhouse effect, ending with a planet like Venus, 800 degrees F on the surface.

So, that is one cause of a grey mood, not improved by the next world climate meeting, which has just begun in Cancun. Everyone is talking about reasonable expectations and modest changes -- while methane bubbles out of the melting permafrost in Siberia and Canada.


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