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Humanity's bull-in-a-china-shop approach to climate has to stop. Regardless of future growth, we are already in overshoot in terms of climate impact. We need to take responsibility for stabilizing the climate. Once we've done that, we will have the tools enabling us to search for an optimal climate equilibrium. That should be interesting, politically...

But before we can get to that, we need to correct the overshoot urgently. This requires optimizing resource use to produce, at minimum, the same amount of food etc. with fewer primary resources, and producing much less greenhouse gases. If we don't manage this, we are heading for die-off (which is one of Nature's wonderful ways of balancing the population/resource budgets).

Now comes the question of growth. The study of demographic transition shows us that populations stop growing once a certain level of education and well-being is achieved. World population is levelling off, or at least is no longer in exponential growth, because of this phenomenon. The urgent goal is to help the countries who aren't there yet, rather than decreeing some arbitrary limit to population (and enforcing it how?)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 08:27:52 AM EST
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I may have misunderstood your comment concerning environmental control. Control through conservation is one thing, control by manipulating or engineering the climate is quite another.

I think we're making the same point on population growth. The sense of well-being means that you've accepted what you have, you're sated, you've effectively accepted that you've reached your limit. It's how that limit is defined that's key. Defining it through wealth and acquisition doesn't seem to work too well.  

by Jace on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 09:28:41 AM EST
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Humanity's bull-in-a-china-shop approach to climate has to stop

It will.  Either we'll use our vaunted cognitive ability to address and solve the problem or Mother Nature will solve it by crashing the global human population in her own indomitable fashion.  

I have become pessimistic we'll choose the first.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 02:19:56 PM EST
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