The Other I

June 19, 2009

Taking the time to hurry up

Filed under: Environmental Issues — theotheri @ 7:44 pm

Until very recently, my attitude toward climate change has been a rather vague view that the world shouldn’t take the risk of not trying to slow down our destructive emissions and other environmental destructive activities even if we are not absolutely sure of all the science involved.  Because by the time we were sure, it would probably be too late.

Apart from that, I haven’t seriously tried to understand the scope of the problem or how drastically we might have to change our behavior.

But I’ve recently begun to think that I need a better grasp of the issues.  I’ve got an educational background that makes it possible for me to explore many of the questions, and since I’m retired, I have the time.

So I’ve decided to spend the next six-twelve months – or whatever is needed – to answer these questions:

  • how much energy, on average, is used per person in the developed world?
  • how much of that energy is currently supplied directly or indirectly through fossil fuels compared to renewables?
  • what are the parameters of changing the ratio of fossil fuel use compared to use of alternative energies?
  • how many people are there in the developing countries who aspire to a life style with an energy consumption similar to that of Western countries?
  • what things can we do to ameliorate the damage of global warming, especially in poor countries who, ironically, will probably suffer the worst effects while having done the least to have caused them?
  • finally, how urgent is the problem of global warming?  what will happen if we do not change the way we are living?  if we change just a little?  change it a lot?

I am starting out with three studies, all available on line.  The first is the Global Climate Change Impacts in the United State, the second is a similar report as it applies to Britainand the third is David MacKay’s study Sustainable Energy.

I took a quick look at the first two reports today, and both are saying that we don’t have a lot of time to turn things around.  If Earth’s climate reaches a tipping point it will be too late.

Nonetheless, I won’t return to this subject until I think I have a better grasp of the subject than I do now.  At which time I will, no doubt, be insufferable with my pronouncements about what must be done.

Probably yesterday.

PS:  I’ve just re-read this post and realize it sounds like a course outline. Well, this time the first person I’m planning on teaching is myself.   I hope I like the professor.



  1. How exciting! Best wishes for your research!


    Comment by jooliedee — June 20, 2009 @ 2:14 pm | Reply

    • Thank you. Double thank you.


      Comment by theotheri — June 20, 2009 @ 2:58 pm | Reply

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