[extropy-chat] Global warming news
robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Sat Mar 25 18:09:16 UTC 2006
Commenting on Martin's comments...
"I don't think you can have a measurable impact on CO2 levels by
playing with biomass." Why?
I refer you back to my message from Feb 7, on the "No frozen Europe" thread,
in which I point back to my "Global Warming is a Red Herring" paper. Though
the paper is not a finished work by any stretch (its BotE calculations in
large part) it does point out how there is technology available *today* to
solve the global warming problem *and* contribute to ending world hunger in
the process. It is *very* simple -- dump iron and phosphorus into the
You don't use "biomass" which has long doubling times, e.g. trees (many
years to double in mass). You use biomass which can double in days or
hours, e.g. phytoplankton. The replication (doubling) time for E. coli is
20 minutes. If you want to solve a big problem, and solve it quickly, you
want something that can solve the problem produce many copies of what is
required to solve it as quickly as possible. That means bacteria -- not
trees, not corn plants, not switchgrass, etc. (extending this argument from
global warming into energy supplies...)
The comments by Martin seem to be being made by someone who has "bought" the
conventional wisdom we see on TV or in the newspapers... "Global warming is
a problem", "The glaciers are melting", "We will destroy the planet", etc.
The scientific experiments *were* done *1999* that showed we could fertilize
the oceans and produce an expansion of biomass.
Until someone shows me demonstrable evidence that we cannot solve the
problem using this solution, I will assume that all "global warming" claims
As I was heading from across Harvard Square from the metro to the library
yesterday I passed a couple of folks attempting to get people to sign
petitions related to stopping global warming. (Harvard Square still has
some of "atmosphere" of the '60's & '70's remaining with respect to "these
are really 'big' problems and we really need to do something about them
*now*"...) I came very close to stopping to engage them in a conversation,
but I was trying to focus on doing some somewhat more pressing lifespan
extension  research and a little voice in the back of my mind was saying,
"though shalt not fold, spindle and mutilate" the 'do gooders'" in Harvard
Square -- they are trying to do good things -- they just haven't done their
Going back to Hal's original statement "the scientific consensus seems to be
very definitely supportive of the whole theory". My response is *so what*?
Lets *assume* for the sake of discussion the globe is "warming". The recent
scientific conclusions were *based* on comparing our current Earth with a
past Earth where the globe was warmer (and sea levels were higher). Global
warming is disruptive but it certainly isn't as significant a problem as
global freezing would be (we have had those environments as well and life as
we know it comes pretty much to a screeching halt). And in fact, because
the largest countries in the world are Russia, Canada and the U.S. and they
are at northern latitudes, global warming will make *more* land habitable
than is now the case. It isn't exactly as if Russia is experiencing
overpopulation (in fact its population is decreasing). Sure there are some
relocation problems -- one wants to move lots of people from China & India
to Russia as it warms up. The farmers in Texas have to move to Manitoba or
Alberta, but *where* is the problem here!?!
Yes, the Maldives may go under -- but *will* they go under before robust
nanotechnology becomes available to put them entirely on stilts and lift
them 10 meters higher?  (As some may recall, my solution to the Israel
vs. Palestine dilemma was to use nanotechnology to "xerox" the land, turn
both of the copies 90 degrees (so they stick out into the Mediterranean) and
hand both groups of people laying claim to the land one of the copies.)
There is a stunning lack of serious treatment of the various human and
economic costs of "global warming" and consideration of the various
alternatives -- other than the "No no we have to stop using fossil fuels."
1. "Aging" is killing a significant fraction (probably 80-90%) of the
56.6million people in the world (
2.48 million in the U.S.) that die each year. Global warming (in terms of
"world" death toll) is a 'problem' which is between 5 and 6 orders of
magnitude smaller. I suspect that global warming, because it happens
relatively slowly, is currently and will remain, on average a *smaller*
cause of death than earthquakes (and indirectly tsunamis).
2. Alternatively, the population of the Maldives is currently ~350,000, the
Queen Mary 2 holds 2,620 passengers, so you need ~134 QM2 @ $780 million
each that part of the "global warming" problem can be solved for ~$100
billion. That is ignoring economies of scale that would result from
building 100+ cruise ships over a decade or so or perhaps providing less
expensive living quarters in some other location.
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