Sunday, January 13, 2008

Questions That Must Be Asked

Since polar cities won't be built or inhabited until much much later in human history, and I sincerely hope it never comes to that, really, but in the event that that which we don't want to think about or talk about really happens in the future -- catastrophic global warming events that wipe out 9/10 of humankind and force survivors to take refuge in so-called polar cities along the then-warmed Arctic Circle d-o-t-t-e-d line on Globe Earth, just for the sake of an interesting thought experiment on our part now, in the here and now, just as an imaginative exercise, what kind of questions must be asked? [I made a prelimary side blog here, where you can add your questions to the list. Or add them here below in the comments section.]

For example:
1. Who will govern these polar cities?
2. Who will protect, guard and maintain them?
3. Who will pay for these guard services, and how will money to pay for such armies be generated in those far distant days?
4. Medical services?
5. Who will be the teachers, and what will they teach, how will they teach, what materials, textbooks, will they use?
6. Religion: will a new religion arise with new kinds of pastors, or will the old religions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Shinto, Hinduism, Taosim, Buddhism, etc, survive and endure in these polar cities?
7. What kinds of counselling services will be provided?


dan said...

Says Jane Porter, on her blog in Funland, er, Finland:

["My thoughts on global warming: I don’t care.

Does this statement shock you? Coming from someone studying it – it probably should.

I just posted the same argument on two Globe and Mail articles. It’s unnerving to read the back and forth foolish conversation. You’re either a Harperite (right-winger for those int’l readers) or a crazy leftist or a denier or an alarmist. It seems as though we’ve never graduated from kindergarten.

So why don’t I care about the one of the biggest debates covering the news? I don’t care because I feel like people are attacking the science and forgetting the common sense.

But here was the gist of my post:

I’m not going to pretend that I know all of the science behind the causes and effects of climate change. I can research it and study it but at the end of the day, I’m not a scientist. And most likely, nor are most of the people debating these scientific theories.

But let me ask you all this:

Are you against conservation?
Are you against efficiency?
Are you against making smarter choices so that we take care of our natural resources for the generations to come?

Let the scientists debate about the actual science, but just look at the issue with common sense.

Population is increasing (can you debate that?)
Demand for natural resources is increasing (can you debate that?)
Natural resources are essential to life (can you debate that?)
Natural resources are being depleted faster than they can be restored
(read the Natural Step and for hard data, go to if you’re questioning this point)
Combine the basic facts that you know….then make your judgment. We all have to live with uncertainty.

I don’t really care what side of the “global warming” fence you’re on (or any environmental discussion for that matter) but are we so passionate about debating that we forget about the actual issues?

Problems are happening all around us - whether we choose to believe it or not - and we’re not helping solve these issues when everyone (including the non-scientists) simply argue scientific conclusions back and forth.

I’m not saying don’t question, just don’t be ignorant.

In terms of my own personal stance on global warming?

I’ll believe what I want to believe but one thing is sure: I’m not going to sit back and wait for “scientific consensus” to start making changes. My common sense is telling me which path to take.]


"We have a range of options to choose from.

If the Dr. Hansen or the IPCC are correct, we have to act before we
have the data everyone wants to be "sure".

Argue the science all you want…but if we don't start dramatic
reductions on a world scale now, then we are betting our children's
future that the IPCC is dead wrong.

I don't like that bet.

So, I propose you add a point to your list that says: "Everyone agrees
that *if* the IPPC is correct then we have to start substantially
reducing per capita GHG emissions now."

The data we have now is very likely to be the best we will available
in time to make our risk assessment on whether to act on IPCC

It's risk assessment not scientific certainty at this point folks."



"In the USA, TV talk show hosts are ignoring Global Warming. See

Because of this the US is lagging the world in its awareness of the
problem of Climate Change. Before we can tackle the problems we all
need to be better informed and all media needs to focus on the real
threats to our future we need the threats of global warming to be as
well reported as the threat of terrorism. In fact Global Warming is a
bigger threat it has the potential to destroy the planet and kill more
people than a nuclear holocaust. The New York Times should be praised
for allowing discussions such as this thread. We all need to
understand the science and the threat. We have solutions such as
alternative energies and by making all use of energy more efficient.
What we need now is the will to change. The media plays the most
important role is this process.

― Posted by John Pratt at DOT EARTH



"My point I guess is that renewable energy achieves nothing (as per
Jevons) without a fundamental shift in policies, behaviors, and
civilizational values. We have to invent new sources of energy, but
more importantly we have to invent a new society." -- Ivan

[ANDY REVKIN notes: ''Vaclav Smil at the University of Manitoba has made
this same important point to me and I'll be doing a print story on
this (the idea is that more energy always increases our appetite for
energy, which also cuts against the idea that energy efficiency will
reduce energy demand). What's that Laurel and Hardy line about "Oh
what a fix you've got us into?"]

dan said...

LETTER on Jan. 15, 3008, from a man in cyberspace:

"Hi Danny,

Great job on the Polar Cities material. Saw it today on the news
sites. I was just telling my wife last week that I wish there was
some way to

a) get affordable housing in Longyearben

b) have a "green" home in the polar regions

I work for a distributed company so I can live anywhere in the world.
Living in one of these [Branson-funded] MODEL polar city test research cities would be very fun for us (and
my one year old).

I wish you the best."

dan said...


I just read an article about your 'Polar City' in the news. My fiance and
I would like to volunteer to be residents. I think our backgrounds
would make us excellent candidates for the project. We are young
professionals looking to start a family in the near future. We've
already discussed traveling with our future child/children and would
like to expose them to as much as possible, this would seem like a
great opportunity. I have an extensive background in computer work
and the visual arts. I'm currently the Creative Director for a small
but success marketing firm, providing plenty of experience leading and
inspiring others as well as maintaing IT equipment. My fiance is a
nurse so the added benefits there are obvious. Please let me know if
you have any questions."

Anonymous said...

"I notice that the report makes an exception for the souther continent of Antarctica. Recent science is showing that the Antarctic ice sheet is melting fast. Link here antarctica-melting.html

They found that for Antarctica overall, the ice loss increased about 75 percent over the ten-year period, from 112 gigatons of ice per year in 1996 to 196 gigatons of ice per year in 2006.

As to whether Antarctica will lose or gain ice as global warming proceeds, the measurements disagree with existing climate models that suggest “[the ice sheet] is going to get bigger because of increased snowfall with warming temperatures,” Bamber said.

“We don’t see that. We see the ice sheet losing mass,” he said. “So there’s a bit of a paradigm shift in what the ice sheet has done recently and what it could do in the future.”

Scientists are concerned the melting ice will contribute to a dangerous sea level rise. "

— Posted by John Pratt on Dot Earth