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(14,205 posts)
Tue Jun 4, 2024, 08:33 PM Jun 4

Rate of global warming caused by humans is at an all-time high, say scientists

From phys.org

The second annual Indicators of Global Climate Change report, which is led by the University of Leeds, reveals that human-induced warming has risen to 1.19 °C over the past decade (2014-2023)—an increase from the 1.14 °C seen in 2013-2022 (set out in last year's report).

Looking at 2023 in isolation, warming caused by human activity reached 1.3 °C. This is lower than the total amount of warming we experienced in 2023 (1.43 °C), indicating that natural climate variability, in particular El Niño, also played a role in 2023's record temperatures.

The analysis also shows that the remaining carbon budget—how much carbon dioxide can be emitted before committing us to 1.5 °C of global warming—is only around 200 gigatons (billion tons), around five years' worth of current emissions.

In 2020, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calculated that the remaining carbon budget for 1.5 °C was in the 300–900 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide range, with a central estimate of 500. Since then, CO2 emissions and global warming have continued. At the start of 2024, the remaining carbon budget for 1.5 °C stood at 100 to 450 gigatons, with a central estimate of 200.


Indicators of Global Climate Change Dashboard

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(14,552 posts)
1. We need to bring smaller population sizes into the debate
Mon Jun 24, 2024, 08:39 AM
Jun 24

Even the centrist NewsWeek published this:

I agree with that author. The comments section of that article is largely the usual nonsense (a little over half anyway), but the article is decent.

No one is talking about coercive policies like the ones in China. But there is a difference between calling out the veiled racism or classism of some attacks on arguments for smaller population sizes. And denying the issue altogether.

It is a heavily loaded debate but only honesty can fix that. In an economy where a black single parent of two is made to feel bad for getting some govt assistance while the Duggars and their 19 kids are considered valuable contributing members of society, these debates become absurd if care is not taken to be blunt about the realities of overpopulation without those becoming a rationale for more cruel austerity policies.

But certainly I wish a global campaign like the one against tobacco existed letting people make the connection between mass extinctions and ecological degradation and over-large human populations.

Definitely here in the global south I see the effects of overpopulation every day. It is really absurd to deny it. More people does not equal more happiness or a democratic dividend or any of the bs a type of media bullish on this model of crass growth favours. It means more breaking infrastructure…

While the specific model of resource depletion that is Malthusian didn’t come to pass. That doesn’t mean that many of the stresses of modern life are not due to population pressure. It is callow nonsense imo - that libertarian stuff about excess humans meaning excess creativity.

The truth is that our resources are strained and it takes a lot of input to make a fully aware citizen of our complex global world. And we are not there..every war, every crisis we have would be less scary with smaller populations. Fewer angry, bored, misinformed people fighting over the same narrow pool of resources..we are mass producing people and cheap phones etc and cannot really mass produce true experts (which is what is needed for all our varied crises).


(38,568 posts)
2. Any affluent person who discusses resource depletion and overpopulation...
Mon Jun 24, 2024, 11:12 PM
Jun 24

... sounds like a hypocrite at best and a racist xenophobe at worse.

This first occurred to me the year I graduated from college, after a nine year struggle with severe mental health issues.

My personal environmental footprint was tiny then, I was living on a hundred dollars a month in a Vietnam War veteran's garden shed. My bicycle and my bus pass were the only forms of transportation I could afford, I had a working car parked on the street but I had to move it about every three days or it could be towed away by the city, and would certainly be towed away on street sweeping days.

That was not my lowest point, not at all.

I was still a member of the Sierra Club then and attended meetings regularly. The local chapter was largely composed of very affluent people with humongous environmental footprints, at least 50 times my own at that time, who, when they weren't talking about overpopulation, water shortages, or their opposition to new housing developments, were discussing their their trips to Machu Picchu, etc..

Fucking clueless...

I was there because I'd been advise to put myself out there if I wanted a job related to my education.

It's damned near impossible for any affluent person to reduce their environmental footprint below the world median. I've lived on both sides of it.

There are three proven ways of halting human population growth that don't involve war, starvation, and pestilence.

These are the political and economic empowerment of women, universal access to birth control, and realistic sex education.

The "conservatives" of many religions and ideologies do, of course, oppose all three. I oppose them.


(14,552 posts)
3. I guess-the overpopulation debate is often engaged with dishonestly
Tue Jun 25, 2024, 01:22 AM
Jun 25

Last edited Tue Jul 2, 2024, 02:07 AM - Edit history (8)

I am not affluent, but I take the position that if you care then you have to be able to notice how finite resources are. That is the flip side. The people who just dismiss overpopulation are also not the ones opening up their wallets to help their neighbors when social safety nets etc fail.

Where I live you can see the suffering from covid irl and I started helping out this one person financially (an older woman-as an older woman myself I sympathise with her) but the people who speak glibly about the economy and how welfare is parasitism, they add to the chorus of voices that also often discount overpopulation. There are more takes on any complex problem than the rote few that are trotted about.

What I notice as opposed to your experience is that people who tend to favor deregulated capitalism and chaos and this economic model of perpetual growth (that too of so many kinds of rubbish…cheap toys that distract people the world over as they lose access to the cornerstones of human prosperity-a stable source of income, education, healthcare)

I don’t live in the US. What I see growing everywhere is that same model of consumer culture of ever cheaper crap and the exploitation of a pool of cheap labor along with the same thoughtless blather about growth and endless prosperity. It is mindless. OTOH I see that more ethical food businesses for instance (vegan or generally clean food specifically that is priced factoring things in decently) struggle to survive.

The protein needs of the world are being met by horrific systems like factory farming.

I don’t think that everything is about how one sounds. It is just as bad to not discuss overpopulation and have the same crap culture of the rest of the affluent who don’t discuss it.

I don’t single out the affluent who at least care somewhat about the environment. I am not that allergic to the affluent..i prefer the “liberal elites” to illiberal people.

Between the affluent who acknowledge the realities of overpopulation and the ones like Musk who put a eugenics spin on it overtly and the affluent who just don’t care about the environment, I’ll take the Sierra Club people who talk about overpopulation as long as it is not racist or classist. Discussions of overpopulation are not innately racist, classist and xenophobic. In fact I doubt you would have as much opposition to the acceptance of the reality of overpopulation among nonwhite people of more liberal or progressive propensities as long as it isn’t progressives who eschew all discussion of this “taboo” topic. Especially progressives living in the global south with some sense of math and reality who know that not discussing overpopulation in no way means that there will actually be safety nets to support the indigent afflicted by climate change.

I don’t get this: it is not consumption or population. It is both and it is absurd to posit that population sizes will magically shrink when that topic is verboten on the left while every right wing nut from every culture wants more procreation along with mercenary libertarians.

Arguably saying that there are no finite limits on resources and looking the other way re how the growth based model of economics actually works is neither humanist nor non racist. It is silently acknowledging (given that we all know that what safety nets exist are under constant attack and their expansion is ludicrous when mostly it is a hard job to keep what safety nets people have in society) that a lot of people will basically suffer and just not addressing that.

How can anyone practically claim that what safety nets there are not under constant attack by the right in various incarnations? I think the UN was absolutely wrong to drop overpopulation from their list of issues. It is more dark ages thinking prevailing.

As someone who cares and tries to help people at least somewhat with their globally middle range resource pool, I find the notion that discussing the finiteness of resources is innately hateful to be nonsensical honestly. It is a way to make a topic uncomfortable rather than discuss it rationally. I can open my wallet so much and no more and if the pool of people keeps increasing it makes it harder for progressives like me to care at some point if the solution..bs of the day all the way to hell and animal rights and ecological rights independent of human prosperity should not be discussed except to discuss how to harness and deplete them entirely, pack animals into smaller cages and then use brutal methods like ventilation shutdown.

There is no harm in overtly saying that across the board, rich or poor, it is selfish towards your own kids or overall to have more than two kids per two people by 2024.

I really disagree with the type of leftist mentality that immediately associates acknowledgement that people with smaller family sizes contribute to the ecological health of the planet with hateful or meanspirited ideologies. That is not at all what I am talking about.

Yeah sure the libertarian economist type won’t tell you how to live..no nanny state! They also don’t care if you starve. Free markets! Merit! That alone and with no regulation or ethics will according to them lead to a magical world of opportunity. The reality is that resources are finite and systems are imperfect and we all have to help each other out and that becomes more chaotic and harder with large population sizes. Every kind of chaos increases.

If the Sierra Club affluent (a common target of this sort of ire) are not giving up much you can be sure that every other type of affluent will stick to their resources even more tightly while telling everyone to “get a job” and pull themselves up by their bootstraps. I don’t mind the kind of people you described I guess. I prefer that to the far more common type of person who just doesn’t give a shit but can pull out vaguely progressive sounding slogans when needed.

I also don’t see (as someone who has lived in the global north for a long period and is from the global south and back here) how it is xenophobic to point out that once people move from the global south to the global north or when people living right here in the global south uncritically endorse mass consumption implicitly if not explicitly are not themselves also part of the problem for the poor of the global south.

I pull my share re caring. I just think it is refusal to acknowledge the finiteness of resources behind a lot of broken discussions with convoluted and not necessarily honest politics. Wherever you live and whatever your income or race, denying human overpopulation (especially in combination with really rubbishy economic models) is a bit like denying any of our other ecological problems.

I think the Malthusian model of resource depletion is wrong. But irl what I notice is that callous takes on that model abound from people who deny or discount overpopulation more than those who don’t. It simply isn’t true that the “green elite” want the poor to die and the bullish populist doesn’t.
The green elite are no more callous than the average affluent person and often they are less so.
In fact, typically the “green elite” types are also likelier to vote for expansion of safety nets. They just may not say that “just leave it to women and leave it unsaid or it’s innately racist”. That I passionately disagree with as a green who tries to walk the walk on as many logical levels as they can.

The people who say overpopulation is not real are most often (in my estimate from scouring the web and from real life) - they are often people who will do nothing to help anyone who is poor, but they will point to any environmentalist who makes the point that overpopulation is real and say that this person is anti poor or racist etc.
There is nothing racist either about saying that humanity as a whole has to reduce its population numbers and humane programs that say that bluntly are a far call from coercive sterilisation or force.

I absolutely disagree that you cannot acknowledge overpopulation without being considered racist etc. I think it does show how superficially a lot of online debate and politics are engaged in where serious points are shut down and glib retorts like “well then why don’t you kill yourself. Well why don’t you live in a mud hut if you are so green?” tend to dominate.

If we had functioning systems of regulated sane capitalism and strong stable governmental safety nets and infrastructure with investment in education, health etc sanely …but instead we are always in the politics of drivel because that is what lousy education does to the human brain.

A lot of it is poor instincts about mathematics, poor critical reasoning (the population of the world consists of people with a range of complex views on complex topics). But I have yet to meet a person who deines the reality of human overpopulation whom I would want to really talk to. And I would not want to talk to any racist eugenics supporter except that that is a straw man raised sometimes to shut legitimate greens up. Usually it is a sign of dishonest arguing when you know the person talking would not do a damn thing to help out another human being but suddenly find their “humanist” side in this debate. But a greater problem is how progressives have just allowed this debate to be ignored.
Every war we have is at its root a war over resources-typically between groups with dark ages views on all sides. All the religious nonsense for one thing..

Final note: I sometimes wonder who I leave these for. I certainly don’t see any sane debates taking about our most serious root issues and making all the connections in any sane way. We are always in crisis mode. As with the pandemic there are some core workers dealing with it and over stressed and relatively underpaid. But by and large this mindless “life goes on in the shallowest way possible” mode is prevalent. The few jobs worth doing are so competitive people burn out or make it learning to deal with severe stresses all the time.

We are a shallow and fucked up society and there is no real recognition of that. I look at my own life-and it has not gone in any way as I planned. It wasn’t anyone’s fault but the degrowth movement gets it…life is not about cheap baubles and factory farmed food.

The animal rights activists who actually care about something other than popular human stuff get it far more..the impassioned ones.

For one thing the fact that we are driving all other lifeforms to the brink and engaged in a war on animals basically (there is beautiful and stark photography assay called The War on Animals) is something so alien to most people I try not to talk about it. My cynical take is that at least you get cred with fellow humans when you care about human stuff. But the roots of caring are the same. People who don’t see any horror in factory farming are unlikely to care much about the ubiquitous poverty.

But to most people in this shallow mercenary thoughtless society that barely registers. Hashtags are easy-a way of “showing you care” without literally sacrificing a single damn comfort. You can eat factory farmed food and wear clothes made from child labor and still support hashtag whatever the fuck on what is that thing run by that moron Musk xitter or something?

It is brainless. When our horrific maltreatment of animals from factory farms to wet markets results in a pandemic, thanks to the fact that the media is irresponsible and shallow and the “marketplace” has already ruined education you have people ignoring the far more probable origin of the pandemic in a wet market and latching on to idiotic lab leak conspiracists.
This is a stupid species at this point..stupid and heartless and shallow. Most of our discourse is shallow and pointless. That is not surprising. People are bored and depressed because there is a shrinking resource pool. Shrinking resources always result in more extremism. People who are hurting themselves are going to feel hate and anger more than love and hugs. I really condemn our cynical or stupid leaders (political, a lot of tech, industrial etc-so crass often that they don’t even get it). Greta Thunberg was right -our leaders are shameless, but even she won’t touch overpopulation because of this actually dangerous canard that it is racist or classist to point out that people should have smaller families going forward at least because it is selfish to not.
Trenchant and blunt language you explain is better for thought than careful slogans that assume that most people who read something are too stupid to get the point. Sure there will always be malicious interpretations of anything. But that doesn’t mean that when an issue as in your face pointing it out is wrong.
You should have the ability to reason such that you can read language like human overpopulation without immediately thinking of culling people being the solution. That is how fascists think. A realist who is progressive would at this point at least look past sloganeering and theatre and look around and see there are no safety nets, there is no security. Why would you increase the chaos of this by not doing simple things like having governments do something like the anti smoking campaign where you tell future generations the importance of family planning and that it is selfish to not. It is purely religious the revulsion to acknowledging that like anything else having children is a serious responsibility. You owe it to your kids ffs!

Nicholas Carr is right too..he is the rare type of conservative I respect. We are not blameless..we use these same stupid distraction peddling tools and shut off our brains and engage in the same spot focused polarised debates with no holistic picture of how every fucking thing is breaking. And looking at the biggest root causes: religion, poor education, the resulting human overpopulation and a cynical growth driven deregulated marketplace. Ethical businesses suffer for trying because in this chaotic hell fair pricing is exorbitant.

Above all I condemn that idea that the ugly “creativity” that often is the only path left in such an overpopulated and overconsuming and insane world is somehow beautiful. It is not. More humans does not equal to more creativity. More humans means more collateral damage is okay and we will all be too powerless to actually complain too much about the insane fucking solutions that result. The point of insane solutions is to at least somewhere get the collateral damage that goes into them.

It is the brainless sleuth of a conspiracy theorist who sees conspiracies in place of the banality of real evil. Arendt was brilliant. I only got a few chapters into her book because it was that frightening. But she understands the human psyche.
This morass of crap and brainless pap this species puts out. Until we learn to actually reason like a thougtful species instead of this..
Real education any way you can..is a solution. I have no idea if our beautiful leaders get that..

Anyway I am getting a new phone and not posting online anymore because I find the internet annoying. Anyway I don’t get the new social media driven net..who the hell posts on the net under their own name etc.?

Goodbye DU..I like this place more than I like most things. But I don’t think I will formally ever again discuss politics. I said what I had to say. I cannot stand this looking at one or two issues alone and refusing to see the whole stuff. For my generation it was bad enough..at some point future generations have to start actually thinking or they won’t have a future. I am middle aged..I only have half my life left.

I am not blaming any people really..but I do think our society has fucked up values and the left often doesn’t seem to get stuff better than the right if people like that guy Yglesias are considered left.
The one progressive voice I have really liked over the years is Nathan Robinson’s. He has one of the most intelligent holistic perspectives I have seen. He has brought animal rights and ecological issues more into the progressive fold which is great. He has a heart and brain..which is not that common.

And because it is my final post I wanted to rant about everything that exasperates me about our foul world-the last point was that economics is not a hard science. It is common sense that a discipline that did not even factor the host planet we live on in till very recently cannot be one that dominates so much of public discourse.
I saw an atrocious piece in The Conversation of all places about how large families are fine that cited this asshole:

He is the kind of conservative I find most fascinating. He is not a reactionary..but underneath the facade something rotten lurks always with guys like these.
The image in my icon uses an actual scientist Charles Darwin..whose own work was embattled in his life and exploited for socially darwinistisc crap that he almost certainly would not support.

In a society where actual scientists got more a say in public policy than economists, we might actually have a shot..


(38,568 posts)
4. Thank you for your thoughtful reply.
Sat Jun 29, 2024, 01:15 PM
Jun 29

What I was trying to say is that one can't just say "overpopulation" and leave it at that.

What are we going to do about it? Not just individually, but collectively too.

It's not about "those people." It's about "us," we as human beings, wherever we live on this planet.

It's possible we put too much emphasis on the environmental impacts of disposable consumer goods like cheap fashions or plastic water bottles and not nearly enough on the truly catastrophic environmental impacts of things like our automobile culture and the industrial scale production of meat.

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