Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Twelve doomiest stories of 2010

Twelve doomiest stories of 2010. These are not my selection, but they make for depressing reading.

Top ten environmental stories of 2010. Not all of these are quite so doomy. Four are even primarily good news stories.

Top 10 climate events of 2010 - from a US-centric perspective.

Gaming carbon credits.

Humans consuming more than a quarter of all primary production. That is, more than a quarter of the earth's total productive photosynthetic capacity is devoted to human consumption or use.

Amazon suffers worst drought on record.

Per capita energy use vs GDP. H/T Tim.

The rise of climate refugees.

The great bank heist of 2010.

Invasive species' cost lags growth in globalisation, leaving a legacy to future generations.

Oil and (agricultural) water don't mix. Or rather, they do.

Polar bears are indeed starving due to declining Arctic sea ice (or interbreeding with grizzlies). I generally avoid polar bear discussions as something of a distraction from the weighty and widespread effects of climate change on human society, but this video is heartbreaking. A recent Nature cover story suggesting a slim hope for them was probably misleading.

4 comments:

geoffc said...

hey Byron

Do you agree that humankind will be extinct, possibly within the next 100 years??

byron smith said...

Geoff - I think that human extinction on that time frame is very, very unlikely (barring a large scale nuclear war, which can't be ruled out, especially given the potential for many of the challenges we face to exacerbate existing tensions), though it can't be entirely ruled out due to possible black swans. As I said back here, a complete extinction of the most stupendously "successful" super-predator in the entire history of the planet would be difficult. That's not really what I'm concerned about most of the time, which is the much more mundane threat of the collapse or serious and sustained decline of life as we know it (in contemporary industrial civilisation).

Despite the impression I may have given to some readers, I am far from the most pessimistic commentator on our present predicament. I also admit that accurately predicting anything specific even a few years into the future is very difficult and so generally stick to an expectation of a very "bumpy" next few decades. Where we go after that depends very much on what we do in the next few years.

byron smith said...

Some (slightly) good news on Arctic ice loss.

byron smith said...

Common Dreams: Bad News About Water Quality — and Quantity.