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Monday, October 25, 2010

Birth Control will not stop climate change

...but it sure could help. From a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

...reducing peak population to roughly 8 billion, for example, could save 29 percent of expected greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, if people are allowed to retire at a reasonable age (there is a trend to increase retirement ages), some industrialized countries could also see a very large drop in CO2 emissions.

On the negative side, increasing urbanization could increase emissions because that trend tends to go along with greater wealth and wealthier people tend to do stupid things like build large homes, drive large cars, and buy second homes.

The $1 million dollar bed pictured above came from this Mongabay article:

The report, based on more than a year of investigations, shows that Madagascar's valuable hardwoods—including ebony, pallisander, and rosewood—are being illegally harvested from rainforest parks and trafficked to Asia, Europe, and the United States. The vast majority of timber—98 percent—however ends up in China, where it is converted into luxury furniture.

"In China, Malagasy rosewood beds sell for a million dollars apiece...

The person who buys the above bed should get the prestigious "Moron of the Century" award. It's not just how many of us are consuming but how and what we are consuming as well.

I suspect that if a global meme were to get started that super-efficient, solar enhanced, small homes, and cars were cooler than the cavernous status symbols of today, urbanization and the wealth that follows could drive emissions down more than the study estimates.

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