Climate Change (the big picture)

on Jun 05 in Flotsum & Jetsam by

The twentieth century opened on a world that was home to little more than a billion people and closed on a world of 6 billion, and every one of those 6 billion is using on average four times as much energy as their forefathers did 100 years before. This helps account for the fact that the burning of fossil fuels has increased sixteenfold over that period. (J.S. Dukes, Burning Buried Sunshine: Human Consumption of Ancient Solar Energy, Climate Change 61 (2003): 31-44

“In 1961…there were just 3 billion people and they were using only half the total resources that our global ecosystem could sustainably provide. A short twenty-five years later, in 1986… our population topped 5 billion, and such was our collective thirst for resources that we were using all of Earth’s sustainable production.

In effect, 1986 marks the year that humans reached Earth’s carrying capacity, and ever since we have been running the environmental of a deficit budget, which is sustained only by plundering our capital base…” (from the World Wide Fund for nature, now the WWF, Living Planet Report 2004, October 9, 2004)

“100 tons of ancient plant life is required to create one gallon of gasoline.”

“422 years worth of blazing light from a Carboniferous sun and we have burned it in a single year.”

“By 2050, the population is expected to level out at 9 billion, the burden of human existence will be such that we will be using – if they can still be found nearly two planets worth of resources.”

– The Weather Makers, by Tim Flannery, Grove Press, 2005.

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