Friday, August 05, 2011

Asteroidgate


Here is another way to think about the possibility of catastrophic climate change. Imagine that an asteroid was threatening to hit the earth. Columbia University geologist Peter Keleman explains it all.

14 comments:

Alastair said...

Dr Keleman suggests that for $50 trillion nearly a whole year of earth's economic output we could save the world from an asteroid impact. But to stop the damage that will be done by global warming we have to end the earth's economic output for ever. It is based on burning fossil fuels.

Captain Pithart said...

Hi Alastair,

it would be wise to stop the global society's CO2 surplus output for ever, yes. But I think it lacks farsightedness to think fossil fuels are the only source of energy, when you sure know there are many other possibilities. Just because we're so used to it, and have been developing this kind of technology, for 200+ years, doesn't mean we can't change to a system that does not mean living off Earth's bank account until it is empty or Earth's climate gets so disrupted it sheds us off. In fact, switching to a system that is sustainable is a way to move us into the possibility of a global community that is able to thrive enormously for thousands more years, while fossil society is obviously a dead end.

all the best!

p.

Horatio Algeranon said...

But if we don't worry about climate change, we also won't have to worry about an asteroid impact...or nuclear war...or alien invasions (or abductions)...or anything else.

So, give a whistle and always look on the bright side of life

Jimm Eager said...

No Alastair, we do not have to end the earth's economic output for ever, we have to build a replacement energy system and be much less wasteful in how we use energy, which will contribute to economic output, btw.

And people call those warning of the consequences of climate change alarmists?

Anders Martinsson said...

Republicans Vote To Repeal Obama-Backed Bill That Would Destroy Asteroid Headed For Earth: http://www.theonion.com/articles/republicans-vote-to-repeal-obamabacked-bill-that-w,19025/

FreewheelinFrank said...

Asteroid denial:

http://www.topix.com/forum/news/global-warming/TK1E426RTE5R7J1EG

Anonymous said...

I have to nit-pick a bit...

From Dr Kelemen's piece: "To stimulate action, a few astronomers exaggerate their predictions."

I can't think of a single climate-scientist who has "exaggerated" a prediction to stimulate action. And as for Al Gore? (Not a scientist, of course, but one who has often been accused of exaggeration). In light of the most recent scientific findings, his movie seems almost quaint in the modestness of its claims. AIT's mention of an eventual sea-level rise of 20 feet? The latest scientific evidence points to *much* larger sea-level figures than that, given the BAU trajectory...


--caerbannog the anonybunny

frank -- Decoding SwiftHack said...

Alastair, which is more important, the survival of mankind, or "the earth's economic output"?

The economy is supposed to serve mankind! Not the other way round!

-- frank

Anonymous said...

Alistair, I take it you missed the memo.

If you figure in all the health, pollution and geopolitical costs of fossil energy (not to mention generous subsidies) clean energy looks like an economic winner even without it saving us from climate disruption.

Pete Dunkelberg

Hank Roberts said...

> The economy is supposed to serve mankind!

"It's a cookbook!"

Anonymous said...

It's quite funny how many Republicans aka Conservatives are worried about passing on debt to future generations, and are not only fine with not actually paying for any of it by taxing anyone from Big Oil or the very rich, but are somehow fine with wasting all of the resources that future generations might find valuable.

Sorry for the really long run-on sentence or maybe not.

frank -- Decoding SwiftHack said...

Me: "The economy is supposed to serve mankind!"

Hank Roberts: "It's a cookbook!"

Oops.

-- frank

Russell said...

For the best of all possible apocalypses, NASA might nudge Titan into an earth-crossing orbit, providing a seriously cold zillion megaton impact winter, a flaming hydrocarbon atmosphere, and when the dust settles into tektites, oceans of gasoline too cheap to meter.

Kaustubh said...

This is a neat way of putting things into perspective. Thanks for the share...