Climate Change: Week Two

Climate Change. Global Warming. Atmosphere. Oceans. Fossil Fuel. Carbon. Overload.

While I’ve prioritized my time and energy into one subject, climate change is a bit daunting. The problem is hard to define, there is no concrete “enemy”, we need short term costs to solve long term problems, there are no clear success metrics, and there is an infinite amount to learn. In my two weeks of exploring, I’ve learned some astounding things from experts and novices alike, but the result is realizing how much there is to know and learn.

One particularly thoughtful post by my friend Brian White has got me thinking about what my goals would be, and highlighted the problem of even talking about climate change.

A book recommended to me has enlightened me to how vast and complicated the science is. The book The Long Thaw goes into past, present and future of the Earth’s climate, talking about natural climate changes along with the potential ramifications of the last two hundred years of  man’s fossil fuel usage. I recommend it.

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  1. John: One other interesting thing for you to consider…

    A small group of researchers is proposing an initiative called The Cambridge Project for Existential Risk. It was founded by real scientists and an entrepreneur:

    Huw Price
    (Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy, Cambridge),

    Martin Rees
    (Emeritus Professor of Cosmology & Astrophysics, Cambridge)

    Jaan Tallinn
    (Co-founder of Skype).

    Their site is at http://cser.org/

    They are interested in exploring concerns that developments in human technology may soon pose new, extinction-level risks to our species as a whole.

    Huw Price talks about the possibility that advanced technology could be a threat when computers start to direct resources toward their own goals, at the expense of human concerns like environmental sustainability.

    From an article I read, Price acknowledged many people believe these concerns are far-fetched, but insisted the potential risks are too serious to brush away.

    “It tends to be regarded as a flaky concern, but given that we don’t know how serious the risks are, that we don’t know the time scale, dismissing the concerns is dangerous. What we’re trying to do is to push it forward in the respectable scientific community,” he said.

    Something to add to your explorations…

    And I’ll look forward to borrowing that book!

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