Introduction Basics of Climate Change Dangers of Linear Thinking Human • Policy • Economy Outlook Appendix • Publisher's Corner
Executive Summary

In the field of engineering, so-called load assumptions are mandatory when planning an object (such as a building or aircraft). Accordingly the object is designed for rated loads (such as wind or payload) which are so high that it is guaranteed to withstand the actual loads (such as wind or payload). Under a similar approach, climate protection and sustainable growth must be planned based on rated loads which are so high that future danger to human life is largely excluded.

Load 1: Non-linear functions

Climate change and global growth processes obey non-linear functions. Linear human thinking underestimates their increasing pace to a dangerous extent. As a result, measures can be overtaken by the events they were intended to prevent even before they are implemented. The non-linear functions can also accelerate each other because of positive feedback effects. Once critical threshold values are exceeded, the processes become autonomous and can no longer be influenced.

Load 2: Studies by the Club of Rome

According to the studies by the Club of Rome, there has been a non-linear increase in the gap between raw material consumption and raw material availability since 1980. The same applies to the gap between the production of pollutants and the capacity of the ecosystems. The critical threshold value corresponding to the collapse of human civilisation would be reached in 2030.

Load 3: Endangered Amazon region

A three-year period with climate stress and / or damage to more than 50 % of the rainforest could transform the Amazon region into a savannah or desert. The consequences in terms of climate change and species diversity would be dramatic.

Load 4: Fossil methane deposits

Fossil methane deposits in sub-arctic regions and possibly methane hydrate could be released as climate change progresses. This would add several degrees to current predictions for the increase in temperatures.

Load 5: Rising sea levels

Higher temperatures could cause the failure of the West Antarctic ice shelf associated with a maximum rise in sea levels of 7 m affecting one billion people directly. The Greenland glaciers could melt causing a rise of further 7 m. Author fears these processes could occur in the short term (10-20 years?). This is based on load 1 and the following episode. At the beginning of 2002, scientists estimated the Antarctic Larsen B ice shelf would last another 100 years. It broke apart completely between January 31 and March 5, 2002!

Load 6: Retreat of the Himalayan glaciers

The Retreat of the Himalayan glaciers will ruin an enormous natural water reservoir. Around 40 % of the world's population will be affected by water shortages and floods.

Load 7: Energy supplied by finite resources

The consumption of fossil and atomic finite resources (see load 2) eats up more than two trillion Euros annually around the world (research, subsidies, tax exemptions). Lobbyists have been fighting in favour of this financial boon and against criticism for more than 100 years. Valuable financial assets urgently required for the conversion to renewable energy sources are therefore wasted. This prevents the development of a self-sufficient energy supply and a possible boost for the economy by decentralising the energy supply ("ergy community").

Load 8: Economic inefficiency of postponing measures

Strict measures for climate protection and sustainable growth are put on the back burner based on economic arguments. Because of the consequences identified in load 1 through 7, which are most likely inestimable, delaying the required measures could lead to the collapse of the world economy. Public corporations in Germany are obligated to conduct an economic viability comparison in this regard according to Section 7 of the Federal Budgetary Regulations (BHO).

Home Forward => <= Back © Env. Eng. Jörg Martin 02/14/2010