Carbon emissions top the polls

US CO2 emissions 1990-2007

Image via Wikipedia

So global carbon emissions reached a record level in 2010 according to the International Energy Agency. Whoopee doo. We keep toppling records with gay abandon and little thought for the future.

This shouldn’t come as a complete surprise considering how profligate we are and how China and India (accounting for most of this particular rise) are developing at leaps and bounds and therefore consuming more energy and emitting more CO2 into the atmosphere and beyond, while we more developed countries don’t seriously address any diminution of our energy consumption. Disaster recipe coming up.

The record amount of 30.6 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions achieved last year puts pressure on the world to curb its bad habits that are now nearly equalling the level of emissions supposed to be reached in 2020. Now tonight on the news, I hear that the 2020 anticipated CO2 levels will most likely be achieved within months. Holy jumpin’ catfish, Batman!!

Well, sigh. How many times does anyone have to say no good will come of anything we attempt to do unless and until we curb our breeding habits. And that just does not seem to be on the cards regardless of the dire straits we find ourselves in. There is any number of real time population counters on the web – this is just one of them but it does indicate a lot more relevant information about governments and society. Here’s another one showing numbers relating to other areas of interest.

I have been watching a current take on the mapping of a massive volume of ecological information during the 1950s and the massive commune experiments of the 1960s and 1970s. The thesis is that there was always the assumption that the underlying order, if only we could see and practise it, would save the ecology and us. And it was there and we could trust it to be so.

Well, what happened is that the underlying order was actually a fallacy and the theory had to be abandoned in the face of painstakingly collected evidence. That was evidence. As a social framework, it also had to be abandoned but people were and still are loathe to let go of it. It would appear that we still hang on to this fallacious way of viewing things regardless. Interesting phenomenon. We are definitely flawed somehow.

It is interesting in the light of the rebel and resistance movements politically in Europe and now in the Middle East. Aljazeera calls the Middle East political uprisings the Asian Awakening. It has an internet component that also has the assumption that there is an underlying order. In fact there is not. Once the movement has gathered pace there is no way it is controllable. It can fall apart; it can grow into a massive movement and just as easily be demolished as the powerful come back to take control.

The interesting part is that there is no homogeneity amongst people and there is no balance of nature in ecological systems. The chaotic nature of our ecologies and us as part of the overall ecological system tends to fragment whatever order we try to impose on ourselves and our environment. One of the things that the commune experiments highlighted was that there are powerful personalities that can swamp (and do) less powerful people within ‘the group’. So that bullying is apparent and submission is part of that equation. So egalitarianism is a fantasy and we still have dominance and submission. And we are the intelligent species.

All we really had to do was look around us and realise that our frontal cortex was no match for billions of years of brain-stem development – at least not yet. Mid and hind brain still rule, yes!

It seems to me that intelligence, while obviously not an essential criterion for survival in this world, may actively contribute to our undoubted record (in the making) as the shortest lived species on our blue planet. We most certainly won’t make the grand longevity that the crocodiles enjoy or E. Coli, for that matter.

And maybe that’s the trouble with every intelligent species on whatever planet, blue or otherwise, in our universe. Intelligence may well act against species’ longevity. It certainly appears so on this little Ark.

Maybe that’s why we have never heard from any obvious lifeforms in our desperate searching for a friend, any friend (well, sort of!).

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2 comments on “Carbon emissions top the polls

  1. Rosie says:

    I was interested to see the plan from Germany yesterday as to how they will manage a 23% loss of energy in 2020 when all their nuclear power stations are closed – increase renewables and, oh joy, reduce energy consumption by 10%. I wish them well, and hope others get a similar message, and more!

    • Veronique says:

      Yes, well, Germany’s announcement certainly caught me by surprise. I think the pie-in-the-sky wish that energy consumption will decrease while population and business activities increase is just that – pie in the sky.

      Germany already imports some of its energy needs from France (nuclear) and I suspect that the new generation of nuclear-driven power stations will occur anyway. Renewable energy schemes will and ought to come into the energy mix which will, in one way or another, include nuclear power. It only makes sense. Here’s Nature News’ take on Germany’s decision in today’s on-line publication.

      I guess the salient point to remember is that these decisions are politically driven and the desires of the lobbyists who fund the political process will always take precedence, despite any weasel words reported in the popular press.

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