Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The future from two new perspectives

According to Rod Dreher and Walter Russell Mead, these are the most important messages from the current economic meltdown:
  1. “The American Century isn’t over”
  2. “Liberal capitalism works”
  3. “The rogue states are parasites”
  4. “The Old Left is dead”
  5. “Nobody really understands the world economy”
  6. “That goes double for financial markets”
  7. “The Battle of Financial Markets is over; the Battle of State Finance has begun”
  8. “The demographic crunch time is here”
  9. “Culture matters”
  10. “The politicization of economic governance is dangerous business”
The justification given by Mead, I must say, is fairly weak. He does cite that the protests are coming from the conservative Tea Party movement, supported by well-known libertarian Ron Paul, rather than from left-wing groups. However, this may be a reflection of a growing divide, as I have been predicting for a long time, between Australia on one hand and the rest of the developed world (and indeed most developing nations) on the other.

In the case of Australia, I am far from sure that these are the lessons to be learned. Whilst Australia has fared, owing to its monopoly of mineral resources, fairly well, its appalling greenhouse emissions could mean disastrous consequences at least in the long term. Recent research, for instance, clearly shows:
  1. that wet-bulb temperatures above 31˚C never occurred pre-industrially
  2. that warm-blooded animals cannot handle wet-bulb temperatures above 35˚C
  3. that wet-bulb temperatures of 35˚C were widespread during the Paleogene and Mesozoic
  4. that, as the map shows, wet-bulb temperatures above 35˚C would occur over most of the world under a temperature increase of 10˚C (probable with underground coal gasification)
  5. that wet-bulb temperatures above 35˚C could occur regularly in parts of India by 2100 under likely global warming scenarios (especially with the development of underground coal gasification)
  6. that reptiles can handle wet-bulb temperatures as high as 45˚C or 10˚C in excess of normothermic mammals and birds, with the result that they were able to dominate their more-evolved relatives for 150,000,000 years
Under these conditions, what Australia may face in the future needs first of all to be taught to the energy-guzzling suburbs who are the largest per capita emitters of greenhouse gases in the world.

It is time that these findings are printed – even if doing so involves fights with editors - in every local newspaper in growing car-dependent suburbs of Melbourne and Adelaide especially.

No comments: