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  •  Gazillions is incorrect. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HeyMikey, elengul, AoT, too many people

    It's about 500 gigatons, though some say only half that much.

    The issue is actually oxygen. If the methane goes, those temperatures change the bacteria in the sea from aerobic to anaerobic and those bacteria make hydrogen sulphide instead of oxygen. It takes a very specialized mammal to breathe hydrogen sulphide and very low levels of oxygen. Genetic engineering isn't even close to that point.

    We already have some hydrogen sulphide upwellings.

    I'm very interested in the "what do we do" discussions here. I've had them all inside my head already. Nothing is happening. Nothing. I think the point about the ACA is very well taken. That is capturing almost all of our attention and it makes almost no difference. It's on the scale of one rock on a beach.

    We could postulate a Lenin figure, but this society has created powerful negative feedback loops that prevent any person, no matter how intelligent and charismatic, from changing the system.

    So basically, we have to wait for the pitchforks. Unfortunately, the pitchforks won't come out until the end times, when it's all over. It's like 2000 when I went to the computer to see where the demonstrations would be. Crickets. I tried having my own. Crickets.

    It takes a mass uprising to create change. Unfortunately, the 1% can keep it together for the vast majority until it is much too late.

    We are fucked.

    People wish to be settled, only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them. - Emerson

    by CarbonFiberBoy on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:56:22 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe we're not fucked. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CarbonFiberBoy, elengul

      Understand, there's certainly a significant chance that we're fucked.

      But there's also a respectable chance that we're not.

      New technologies come and go pretty rapidly. Whale oil was the only game in town for a long time, then it was rapidly replaced by petroleum. From the Wright Brothers' first flight to dogfights and bombing of cities was a little over 10 years. And believe it or not, there was a time before the internet and cell phones.

      Which is to say, the cost of solar and wind power is on a steady downward path.

      There is also a significant chance that we've already passed Peak Oil, which--if true--will manifest itself in steeply rising oil prices when/if the global economy recovers.

      Put cheaper wind/solar together with expensive oil, and we could see another rapid technology transition.

      The fly in the ointment is, of course, coal. There are still gazillions of tons (100% scientifically verified accurate figure) of coal left, and it will likely remain cheap, at least in the developing world. That's really a political problem--will the rich countries pay the poor ones NOT to burn coal? But as we've all observed, politics seems to be the least soluble problem of all. Thus that significant chance that we are, indeed, fucked.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:15:21 AM PDT

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    •  If we want a mass uprising then (0+ / 0-)

      we have to organize it.  People have been organizing for this here and there.  Occupy and the Black Bloc are two of the more visible manifestations.

      There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:05:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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