RE: global warming and sea level rise

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Fri Jul 27 2001 - 07:43:49 MDT

Spike Jones wrote,
> > Spike Jones wrote,
> > > I dont think tar balls belongs on this list, however.
> Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> > True, I should retract the tar balls.
> Wait, dont retract the tar balls. I retract my original objection.

(By selectively quoting posts, the appearance of consensus is reached...
:-) )

> > I guess I'm missing the problem here. Certainly fixing leaking
> toilets to stop wasting water is a good thing.
> When fresh water is being thrown into the sea from rivers, it seems
> absurd for them to be worrying over a few thousand cubic
> feet of fresh water a year from a bad toilet valve. My contention
> is that life is adaptable, and no ecosystem is *that* delicate.

OK, good point. Except that your estimate may be low. Are you estimating
1000 toilets, each leaking a single cubic foot of water per year? I would
assume a lot more toilets times maybe a cubic foot of water per day. (Just
a nit.)

> Grab? We would *buy* those lands for a pittance, and here is how
> this is calculated. The vast grasslands which I speak of is sometimes
> used to grow grain and alfalfa, both fairly irrigation intensive, with
> razor thin profit margins. The price of the land is easily estimated by
> taking a typical yearly profit margin, which is about 200 bucks an
> acre year, then divide by the current cost of money. Right now money
> is about 6%, so that land can be bought up for about 3200 bucks an
> acre, or in other words, practically free.

I won't argue economics much, because it is outside my field. However, you
are valuing the land based on its current use. If it is required to save
the planet, the price would probably go up. This does seem to be an
extensive plan in the future to recover from something that we haven't lost
yet today. Also, if the land is cheap because it is so hard to grow crops
there, how are you going to grow massive forests cheaply? It seems like
these lands already have proven difficult/expensive for plant growing.

> I am all about here is pointing out the deplorable level of water control,
> this in the biggie developed nations. We really need to have better
> control of water. There is no shortage of fresh water; we dump the
> stuff into the sea at the Sacramento River Delta, at the mouth of the
> Columbia, at the Mississippi River Delta. We still have *floods* every
> year along the Mississippi, floods! Why dont we control water better
> than that? We can do better.

Agreed. This is the same for land, food, water, energy, money and freedom.
There is no shortage of any of these, but their is a distribution problem.

> There is no need to put dykes around Florida, for if we hold
> the sea level we could intentionally warm the planet, melt some of the
> Northern ice and make for more productive land.

You don't expect Florida voters to agree to that, do you? I also don't
think most Floridians would want to leave the country to move back north.
Besides, we have developed lands and infrastructure. You are trading
expensive, devolped, popular land for undeveloped, remote wilderness. It
seems like you are trading the valuable quantity we have and know for a
potential of unknown quantity of dubious value in the future. It doesn't
sound like a good trade to me. Of, course I am trying to retire down in
Florida. ("It's always about Florida, isn't it Harv?")

  We could likely
> keep the Antarctic ice while clearing off most of Greenland and
> much of Siberia. Of course these are major projects, and currently
> we may have a shortage of people on this planet to get it all done,
> but with encouragement, populations can be expanded to help
> with the project. We could eco-engineer this planet into one that would
> be a much better place for humans and transhumans. Perhaps not so
> great for mosquitos as it is today. Why do we need to have harsh
> climates anywhere, when we have or can develop the technology to
> fix it?

I guess I agree with you in theory. But I'm not quite ready to say that we
can throw away safety and precautions now on the assumption that we'll
figure out how to fix it later. That would be like eating an unhealthy diet
because nanotech will replace my heart before it malfunctions, or avoiding
cryonic signup because the singularity will save me before then. It might
work, but I wouldn't bet my life on it. You eco-scenarios may very well be
true, but I wouldn't bet the planet on it.

Harvey Newstrom <> <>

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