Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

More musings on the end of the world as we know it

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It’s clear that in this session of Congress nothing will be done (again) to combat global warming, whose effects are more evident than ever. Indeed, I strongly suspect that a substantial number wealthy and powerful people are even now trying to figure out how to survive—and perhaps how to become even more wealthy and powerful—when the effects grow ever more pernicious. I have alluded to the multiple crises (and, likely, wars) as a result of crop failures and famines: we can’t expect our crops to do well as the climate changes drastically and rainfall patterns shift. A new Dust Bowl in the Midwest, for example, could create a crisis.

I note this article, "The Rush to Hedge Against Black Swan Events," in Bloomberg Businessweek. With no serious efforts to stop global warming (and I suspect that we’re within a few years—a decade at most—of the time at which it will be too late for our efforts to have any effect), the smart money is doubtless expecting quite a few previously rare calamities. Indeed, we are seeing record temperatures this summer around the world.

Jonah Lehrer has a very interesting article in Wired on the science of stress. The article has not yet been posted, but you can see here some extracts from it. The effects of stress on human health and the immune system are quite interesting===and severe. This indicates to me that, in the years ahead as crops fail and other resources (freshwater, oil) become scarce, we can expect not only wars but also extremely high levels of stress, day in and day out, which will compound the survivors’ problems.

It’s not a pretty picture, but so far as I can tell we are heading straight for it, thanks to a poisonous combination of greed (the oil and gas industry, for example) and ignorance (James Inhofe and his ilk). I doubt that we can turn aside in time—certainly no sign of it so far.

Written by Leisureguy

24 July 2010 at 10:40 am

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