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Climate Change and Renewable Energy: Saving Our Planet for Future Generations


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Forecasting Global Change

Elections 3016

Predicting the future


Dr. John J. Hidore

November 16, 2016—–The desire to know the future is deeply ingrained in the human species. The future is extremely important to contemporary society, but it is probably no more so than it was to people at any other time in history. Forecasting is the process of predicting some event or the status of some phenomenon in the future. Forecasts can be useful for planning purposes, humorous, or even dangerous. In the past when a demand for knowledge of the future existed, mystical forms of prophecy came into existence. Priests, witches, prophets, crystal balls, astrology, palmistry, and oracles all played a part.

Climate change

Nothing is Permanent

The Great Pyramid of Cheops

There exist sites and remains of structures which have played important roles in predicting the future in ages past. One of the earliest is the Great Pyramid of Cheops (ca. 2650 B.C.) in Egypt. The size and finesse of construction of this pyramid, more than 4000 years ago, has led to speculation of every kind about its construction and what it means.

The pyramid is a monument to Pharaoh Cheops, founder of the fourth dynasty. Perhaps as many as l00,000 laborers built this monument. They moved more than two million stone blocks from a quarry down the Nile River to near Cairo. The blocks were then transported to the west side of the Nile valley and hoisted onto the escarpment. There they assembled the blocks into the structure which remains today. White limestone pieces were then fitted so as to provide a smooth surface to the structure. Most of the white facing is now gone. Only a few pieces still remain near the top. It was probably pirated over time for other structures.

All change is not growth

Moving Backwards

Inside the structure are a series of passageways which lead to two burial chambers, one for the pharaoh and the other for his wife. In 1864 a Scottish astronomer, Charles Piayyi Smyth, made accurate measurements of the direction and dimensions of the passageways. Based on his measurements he came up with a chronology covering 6000 years. He used one pyramid inch (25.25 mm) to represent one year. Downturns and restrictions in passageways represent hard times and world disasters. Upturns, broad passageways, and the burial chambers themselves represent good times and major advances for the human species.

Some of the structural chronology and significant world events coincide. However, either the human species did not heed the message, or there were mistakes made in construction because the system fails frequently. They built the passageways, as they are, for real reasons. Certainly, a people capable of the design and construction of the monument did not build the interior randomly. However, their reasons are now unknown. The end of the corridors implies a great new world by 2001, an optimistic prediction which unfortunately did not seem to be correct.

The Need for Forecasting

Today, as in the past, there are many questions about the future global system for which we need information. One whole group of question centers around the widespread and varied impact that climate change would have on other aspects of the environment. Among the many things that would change if climate changes are global temperatures, sea level, biological diversity both on land and in the ocean. Some notion of the difficulty of forecasting global environmental change is the complexity of the interaction and feedback between various parts of the global system.

For example, human induced increases in CO2 and other trace gasses are major elements in potential global warming. However, because CO2 is the primary raw material for photosynthesis, increased CO2 concentration is likely to have a direct biological impact on the extent and distribution of Earth’s vegetation.

Forecasting Today

As the human population grows, and the world enters further into a global economy, forecasting future events becomes ever more important. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing the future for certain. There are now forecasts being made from climate change to space travel. Some forecasts are being made out as far as the year 2100, 85 years from now. If we look back 85 years to 1930, it is worth noting what has transpired. Technological developments that have occurred since then include such things as hybrid cars, self-drive cars, drones, television, organ transplants, satellites, travel to the moon, nuclear weapons and artificial intelligence. None of these could have been included in forecasting today’s world.

Today forecasts are being made for conditions as far away as 2050 and 2100. The question is, how can forecasts for conditions this far out be made accurately, when so many technological and cultural changes can be expected to occur during this time. Some cultural elements, such as regional over-population, income imbalance, indigenous uprisings, and resource depletion, are individually and collectively important factors in defining our world in the future. There can be no doubt that in 2016 the rate of change is taking place faster than ever before and how it will change simply is unknown in many, if not most, cases.

The effective life of forecasts may be very short. For instance, climate forecasts by the IPCC have often underestimated the extent of future changes. These forecasts have been revised every seven years. Forecasts of global conditions to 2050 are at least questionable. Those for 2100 even more so. It must be recognized, that for some forecasts that are continually being made, the reliability decreases on almost a daily basis.

As an example of forecasts going bad is the presidential election in the United States in 2016. A seemingly endless number of forecasts predicted Hillary Clinton to win up to the day before the election. Sadly they were all wrong.

As the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus is purported to have stated, “There is nothing permanent except change!”


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Turmoil in Today’s World

Annual population percent change in the world....

Annual population percent change in the world. Source: CIA World Factbook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By John J. Hidore

August 24, 2013–In the second decade of the 21st Century Earth’s human population is in turmoil. People the world over have taken to the streets to protest hunger, poverty, unemployment, and drastic environmental change.

Desperate people take desperate measures. Civil uprisings and terrorism are widespread over the earth. The people want change, the ruling establishment does not. The determination of the establishment to hang onto the status quo has led to widespread uprisings and the overthrow of governments. The uprisings result directly from growing poverty among the people. In Africa, Asia, and South America governments have fallen to these uprisings. The Fund for Peace maintains a list of nations that are in danger of failing. Some 21 countries in Africa are on the alert list of collapsing into failed states. Out of the 35 countries at highest risk, conditions worsened in 25 of them from 2012 to 2013. Some of the characteristics of these unstable areas are:
High population growth rates
Economic decline
Deterioration of public services
Breakdown of law and order
Growing inequality of wealth
Tribal conflicts
The United States has not escaped these problems. Many of these characteristics describe our country–but not to the extent as some other countries. America’s population is also in a major state of confusion. In 2007 the stock market began a drop that in 2009 collapsed nearly 50% of its earlier value. The housing market collapsed and bankruptcies were widespread. Jobs disappeared by the millions. The Occupy Wall Street event was just the beginning of a wave just starting to grow. There are national protests against racism, unemployment, and voting rights among others.
There are a number of processes now operating simultaneously in the global culture that are root causes for the uncertainty and chaos. They are:
1.An exploding population
2.Economic growth and unemployment
3.The rapid transfer of wealth upwards into the hands of a few
4.Global warming
5.Resource depletion
6.Individual and International debt

Human history covers some three million years and modern humans have inhabited the earth for the last 200,000 years. The global population has been growing throughout this time. People have faced many of these problems in the past as the population has grown. However, all of these processes are problems at this particular moment in time. If we translate the three million years of human existence into a day, these events have become widespread in less than the last second of human history. What is unique is they are taking place at the same time on a global scale. Not only are they taking place at the same time, but the speed of these processes is increasing faster and faster. The rate of change in some cases is so rapid it is difficult to forecast their future status more than a few months or a decade or two.
If these trends continue, the results include, but are not limited to the following:
There will be more and more crowding
There will be more and more uprisings by large numbers of people as they protest the continual decrease in quality of life.
There will be more and larger migrations of people in search of better opportunities.
There will be more and more environmental problems of all kinds.
Global climate change will result in greater stress for most living species.

How long these trends will continue is unknown. However, they will continue because at present there is little will to change.