Monday, August 11, 2008

The Dawning of a New Era

And it's not a pretty one...


This article by Mike Davis points out that the London Society, one of the world's leading scientific bodies, now believes that the earth has entered a new epoch. The "Anthropocene" era is differentiated from the last not in geological terms but in terms of human intervention.

In a report published by the Geological Society America [pdf]:
The combination of extinctions, global species migrations, and the widespread replacement of natural vegetation with agricultural monocultures is producing a distinctive contemporary biostratigraphic signal. These effects are permanent, as future evolution will take place from surviving (and frequently anthropogenically relocated) stocks.

The implications of this are mind-boggling and Davis does a pretty good job of going over some of the more obvious ones. Some of his best points:

1) The private sector is not the solution (investment in alternative technologies is at the moment largely state driven, despite the propaganda coming in the form of TV ads from Exxon-Mobil, BP, Shell and Chevron).

2) Carbon trading is not the solution (there's every possibility that even if the Kyoto treaty and other Carbon trading mechanisms were actually in place, there would be minimal change to net global carbon emissions, which is what really matters if we're worried about the global ecosystem).

3) Developed countries have collectively done more damage (and should take more responsibility) than developing countries for the damage done. Countries in the global south till date are still much smaller per capita carbon emitters than the U.S. or Europe. Furthermore they have built their development models - especially during the colonial period but even till date - on the extraction of resources from the Global South, and therefore there is an ecological debt that the North owes the South.

Again, definitely worth a read.

Far less educational but on the humorous side of things is this spoof of Bush's climate denial done by Saturday Night Live featuring Will Ferrell as W. Talking about "the global warmings".

No comments: