Scientists' Warning on Technology

Scientists' Warning on Technology

Show Video

Peter: So Bill Ripple now has, under his  motivation, has got a lot of papers published   on the science warnings for humanity. It's really  excellent. So this is the latest one of many,   right? It's a very important paper just  because it's addressing technology and   science and technology is our main cause for  climate disruption, let's face it. And it has   to be switched around to an uncause, if I can  put it like that. The authors have undesign in   the paper, which I like, so that's okay. [Music] Regina: Well, welcome everyone to another climate emergency forum. My name is Regina and I'm  going to be your host as we in the forum discuss   “Scientists Warning on Technology.” Now this was a  recent paper and it is a conglomeration of a great  

deal of thought that has gone into this really,  really very interesting topic. That is technology,   which is something that we are always looking  towards and thinking about because we are in the   age of technology and sure as Google's going to  provide you a Chrome update, there's going to be   something new under the sun that we have to learn.  Now technology is an amazing gift and it can also   be somewhat of, I don't want to say a curse, but  can have unintended consequences and these authors   do discuss that issue. One of the things that  we want to look at is, of course, the promise   of technology and that is further electrification,  drawing us away from prior centuries use of coal,   fossil fuel, what they call the clean fuel,  whatever moniker you want to give it. Technology  

will hopefully bring us into a realm where we're  not spewing carbon emissions into the atmosphere,   thereby continually warming our planet and  the world that we live in. Now in terms of   clean energy, there's a lot to look forward to,  electrification. There's also the issue of what   to do with the waste that comes from technology.  Also, AI is very promising, but we are so new,   we're just on the cusp of it. We know so little  about what it can do and we also know so little   about what can go awry. Now there is great  potential. I've seen shows about drones and  

how they're able to drop seeds onto areas that  have been deforested through fires to help regrow   these forests. So I mean that's a fantastic thing.  Also, AI being used to observe animals, animal   crossings, how to open up various corridors to  keep them safe. This is really, really exciting,   but some of the things that the scientists have  wanted to warn us about, I'm going to mention here   and there are three. Now the first one is some  of these technologies are causing harm to the   climate and climate change through habitat loss  and they suggest that these technologies should   be phased out as soon as possible. I couldn't  agree any more if I tried. Secondly, they warned  

that future technologies could very much produce  harms on their own. Okay, so it's not necessarily   all of them and we can't always predict what harms  they can cause in advance. So while the scientists   say yes, we encourage research into this and  finding substitutes for our current energy sources   that are harmful, they say we need to proceed  with caution. There are so many things that we   can look back in the past that were miracle cures.  I don't know why, but for some reason thalidomide   came to my mind. This was a medication that was,  I believe, used to treat morning sickness and  

pregnant women and unfortunately this wonder drug  caused great, great problems for the gestating   babies and it's just terrible monstrous problems.  So while technology and science can bring us great   gifts, there are outcomes that we can't always  be aware of ahead of time. And then lastly,   they suggest that, well, technology and AI has  great promise for us that it's not the only thing   that's going to do it. It's not going to be a flip  of a switch and here we have this great technology  

that is going to draw all the carbon out of the  atmosphere. First of all, that's not near on the   horizon, I hate to say it, but also we have to  deal with humanity. Humans, us, our minds can   be our greatest enemies and so many humans are  averse to change. So we have to deal with these   political, social and economic issues that we as  humans are so, so enmeshed in fighting against. I   remember when here in the United States, I think  it was back in the 80s, they changed the driving   miles per hour to 55 and there was just, people  were just not having it. So even though things   can be good for us, we humans are stubborn and  I want to turn it over to Peter. I want to hear  

what he has to say about these problems facing  humanity and what we can think of in terms of   what this paper brought for you, Peter. Peter: Thanks, Regina. That was a very good   coverage on this fairly long article. Thanks a  lot. So Bill Ripple now has, under his motivation,   has got a lot of papers published on the science  warnings for humanity. It's really excellent.   So this is the latest one of many, right? It's a  very important paper just because it's addressing   technology and science and technology is our main  cause for climate disruption, let's face it. And  

it has to be switched around to an uncause, if I  can put it like that. The authors have undesign   in the paper, which I like, so that's okay. So  the paper is a great basis for discussion. So I'm   glad we're doing that, but hopefully there'll be a  lot more discussion out there. Now I'm going to go  

into some technologies and attitudes to technology  that I had in my co-author book in 2018. First of   all, and what we decided, what we found was very  different to what is being done. So first of all,   we found that the technologies and goods and  services had to be completely converted. So we had   to take technologies, etc., that are greenhouse  gas emitting, completely switched them, no more,  

onto non-polluting economies. That really  isn't out there at all. Even this paper,   I noticed a couple of times, mentioned reducing  or phasing out fossil fuels. I was disappointed   at that because we have to phase out fossil  fuels. The science is definite, and this is  

why we came to the conversion method. Science is  definite that we must stop burning fossil fuels   as soon as possible, and the paper certainly  does indicate that. But it really bothers me   where I see reducing fossil fuel or reducing  emissions. That's universal now, and that's   really all I read anymore. And the fact of the  matter is, as I keep on repeating, that the IPCC   is definite. The IPCC chairs for the past five  years have been calling, based on the science,   for the immediate and rapid decline of emissions,  and that's for the two degree C limit. And so it  

applies to the two degree C limit because we're  way past 1.5 degrees C. So I think it really comes   down to intention. I think it really comes down to  science. The definition of science is supposedly   the acquisition of knowledge for the benefit of,  used to be mankind, of course, now it's humankind,   which is good, So after conversion we came  to the conclusion that we, and this is 2018,   we had to do everything, all of these conversions,  like instantly. Right, so this has been backed  

up by the IPCC now. And that meant a massive  Manhattan-type project, a project such as the   world has never ever seen. And the Manhattan  project was actually an excellent model,   because they produced two bombs, not one. The  work on it was only about eight months, so really   they did it in less than a year. I'm explaining  this because of course a lot of people say, well   isn't it too late? You know, isn't it unfeasible?  You know, I don't like to hear that stuff either,   because we have to have the intention, as I  say. So what would we do with the Manhattan   project? Right, you've seen the Oppenheim movie.  So they threw all the best scientists, right, and  

all the resources, unlimited at this project. So  we have to do exactly the same thing on climate,   and anything short of that in this day is not  going to do it for us. So first of all we have to   tell the scientists, you've got to rapidly upgrade  all of these renewable technologies, and make them   as good as they potentially could be. You've got  to rapidly invent, which would be like the bomb,   invent safe and effective methods to cool the  planet, or parts of the planet, and to remove CO2   from the atmosphere. If we don't remove CO2 from  the atmosphere, we really don't have a future.   Atmospheric carbon dioxide is now the highest in  14 million years, and it's increasing as fast as   it's ever increased in the past tens of millions  of years, the scientists are going to say. So CO2  

is up there and increasing, still accelerating,  it's actually increasing now, this month,   faster than it ever, ever has. So I was happy to  see that there was quite a bit actually in the   media on a Manhattan climate project. So that's  what I would promote with our technology.   Regina: Thank you so much Peter, we definitely  need a moonshot, we need a Manhattan project,   we need it now. And the thing that kills me is  we have all this technology, we have computers,   we have these minds that are so amazing.  It's really disheartening for me to see some   of the greatest minds today spending time doing  research and design on how to build better bombs,   creating bigger and stronger weaponry  to go to war against other countries,   when this is what we need our minds to focus  on, maintaining life on planet Earth. Paul,  

what was your takeaway from the paper? Paul: Yes, thank you Regina and thank you   Peter also. So I'll just go through some of the  key points that I think could be emphasized. And   you talked about harms Regina, the warnings with  habitat loss, new technologies using more habitat.   I mean there are calls to rewild 50% of the Earth  and for, there's plans underway and actions on   reforesting regions and also on afforestation  putting forests where there's not regions. I mean   we're you know in danger of course of crossing  these tipping points including which is a huge   habitat collapse. We're seeing this in the coral  reefs which 25% of the ocean's fish spend part of   their life cycle on. We're also seeing this with  the rainforest etc., around the world, the Amazon   rainforest. You mentioned the sort of miracle  cures with technology with Thalidomide which  

was a wonder drug for morning sickness. My mom's  doctors encouraged her to take it when she was   pregnant with me. It's lucky that she said no  adamantly and they kept pushing her and she said   no way and I think she even got a new doctor. So  many people were born sort of in that generation   with missing limbs, deformed limbs etc from  Thalidomide the wonder drug which was horrible.   It's not only technology that will do it. We need  human agency. We need human political will and   governments. Let's talk about EVs for example. So  in the last few decades we've built hundreds of  

millions of new internal combustion engine or ICE  cars added to the global fleet. So the purpose I   think for EVs is not to replace all of those cars.  Those cars by the way produce about 45% of global   emissions. Overall global emissions is the car  industry. You know it exceeds even that for trucks   and commercial vehicles. It's a personal car  industry. So I think the EV requires how we   deal with that requires a rethinking of what  the personal car is and what they could do is   they could replace the fleet with electric cars  and with full self-driving with robo taxi ideas   coming out. If people could dial up a car and  get it within you know a minute or two there's   no inconvenience. There'd be far fewer cars on  the road, far less traffic, far less money spent  

for infrastructure. Think of the housing crisis.  People's garages no longer need to hold the car.   There's enough space in some of those that  exceeds out of shipping container, you know,   for small homes and things. So EVs are taking off  in leaps and bounds but how we manage them and   how many and how they're deployed I think is very  important. One thing I didn't notice in the paper   was much talk on climate intervention or climate  restoration using things like carbon dioxide   removal or even solar radiation management. Carbon  dioxide removal has become mainstream. The idea,  

the whole idea and the policy makers language  of net zero means it's emissions minus what   we capture out of the atmosphere. They don't  state it explicitly but they're assuming these   technologies will exist. That can be very risky  in itself to just assume, you know technology is   so amazing that you know, we assume it's going  to save us and that's the wrong way of thinking   and of course there's a double-edged effect  that come into place too. But there is a lot   of push now on so-called climate interventions  or climate restoration or climate engineering   and I think that was an oversight in this  particular paper not to include those things.  

Regina: Thank you so much for pointing that out  Paul. I mean I found that interesting too and   you know I wonder what that omission means. For  me and I think you know and people who watch the   show regularly know that I am very cautious  when it comes to messing with Mother Earth.   There used to be an ad when I was a kid I think  it was about butter I don't remember. I think   it was of all things to sell margarine. Paul: I mean messing with mother earth we're   actually committing a geoengineering experiment  right now by removing sulfur from shipping fuels.  

It's been in there for years causing a huge  warming of the planet. So we're taking sulfur   out of the system and I would argue that's  geoengineering because we've had it in it's   been in these fuels for a long long time and it's  created low-level clouds over the ocean which have   cooled the planet and we've removed it as James  Hansen clearly points out; it's causing warming   to greatly accelerate. So we're doing these  interventions whether we realize even know it or   not or whether and whether we like it or not. So  we have to at least understand the science behind   them and be smart about it. You have to be very  careful with with what what you do but you know   we're at the stage where the changes are so bad  and so negative you know, the warming is huge. The  

extreme weather events, you know, that conference  in Dubai. Dubai's underwater right now the   airport's under foot of water. Planes are coming  in going through the water. I mean this is in the   desert so if you're thinking about mother nature  getting back at the fossil fuel industry then   this is a perfect example of that happening. Regina: Yeah I would argue that from the moment   that primitive man or woman first discovered the  spark that led to fire that's when we started   geoengineering. That's when we started messing  with the planet and you know that the tagline   for that ad was, I think it was “You can't fool  mother nature,” or “It's not nice to fool mother   nature.” Either way just us being here human  beings are environmental disruptors. It's an   unfortunate thing to say but I would have to say  that it's true and and and we look at you know   like you talked about removing the sulfur from the  atmosphere. Well what got it there in the first  

place? I mean we did to the degree that we did.  You know some of our greatest inventions have been   our greatest folly especially with the invention  of the combustion engine and automobiles. It's   a conundrum. I don't own a car but that doesn't  mean that if a friend's going to pick me up and   and say that they'll take me upstate for a weekend  I'm going to say oh no no I'm not going to go in   a combustion engine car. I understand that a lot  of people need cars to get around. I'm fortunate   I live in a city that has mass transit but also  it has been created this way. There was a lot of   mass transit before GM came and started tearing  up the infrastructure that we all paid into to   have trolleys and buses and cable cars that was  destroyed by the automobile industry and then   they forced us to depend upon their product. I'm  going a little bit far afield with this but just  

to say it can be a good friend and it can be,  well, technology can stab us in the back. So I'm   going to switch it back over to Peter and hear  other things that you got from this paper. Peter: Thank you Regina and thank you Paul. I'm  very happy to see you say that you agree with me   that the personal private automobile has had its  day and you know it's a pretty lousy way to move   people around in the first place. So yeah thanks  very much for that. Now to me the big point on   science and technology is evaluation, choosing  and regulation. Now long long long ago I was  

involved in that quite a lot and I learned how  it worked and we've actually abandoned it now   because of the power of the corporations. So the  corporations are making the decisions now for us,   we're not making them anymore. So I would like  to start with a lot more public review, you know,   promoted and funded by governments for the public  to see and assess and see what they think of all   these things. So what used to happen of course is  that a corporation or a manufacturer or a chemical   industry would come up with some new science  and technology and say to the governments we   want to use this, we want to make it, and then the  government would put a science panel together and   the panel would evaluate, if it's AI for example,  would evaluate it in respect of, is it safe,   is it effective, is it for the benefit of people,  right, and what does it do to the environment? So   all of that was examined by, over many, many,  many months by panels of scientists. Now it   was absolute anathema to have the government  involved in any way at all, right, in this   process. Of course with the IPCC, which I think  was unavoidable, we've broken that rule, right,  

so the IPCC is influenced now by corporations  of course. Now in the day the governments had   the power to ban, right, eventually DDT and other  pops were banned, but that took years and years,   but it did happen, right. Now new pesticides, you  wouldn't believe how many are being produced, and   they're just going through the market and they're  not being evaluated at all, right. So then the   government and this, the scientists make a report,  the report sent to the government, and the report   is published. So only then do the governments  decide whether they're going to approve this,   whatever it is at all, or regulate it. And  in the day the regulations became very,  

very strict. I was very glad to say, particularly  with respect to carcinogens of course, but all   of this applies to technologies more than they  ever ever have, right, because number one we've   geo-engineered the planet to death, right,  the ocean as well as the land, the ice caps,   everything, everything is in a state  of rapid degradation and rapid decline,   right. The IPCC 2018 1.5 degrees C assessment  stressed something really important, and that   was that we had to have fundamental change at  every level of our society, and that's what   we have to do. But that requires a new way  of thinking, that requires a new intention,   and if the public are allowed to, you know, look  at these things, it would be, it would be very   positive, I believe. Anyway, that's some bit of  history there, which needs to be brought back.  

Regina: Thank you so much for bringing in that  bit of history, Peter, because I think it is   always helpful to provide context, like what we're  talking about here didn't occur in the vacuum, so   it's really helpful to get that information. And  in terms of information, I hope that you've gotten   something so far from what we've been sharing with  you. By the way, I do recommend this article, it's   very interesting, it's freely available and we'll  share the link to the PDF in the description down   below, and maybe you can read it as well. I have  to say it's very readable, accessible to anyone,   you don't need a hardcore science background. And  you know, if you find something upon reading that  

you think that we've left out of the conversation,  please let us know in the comments. We'd love to   hear your thoughts. And as always, like, share,  and subscribe. And now I'm going to switch it back   to Paul. Paul, bring us back to the science. Paul: Yes, thank you. I was just going to talk   a little bit about the politicians and the, it's  very inexpensive for the fossil fuel industry to   buy off the politicians, because large checks  from their companies or shell companies make a   big difference to congressmen, to senators. And  I just think that a rule should be put in place  

where instead of them wearing three-piece suits or  fancy dresses, they wear a t-shirt with the logo   of the person who's bought them off, you know, of  the fossil fuel company, with the amount of money   in big letters, you know, how much it is. Because  it's hard to distinguish between the government   and corporations sometimes, it really is. In fact,  in Canada, you know, some oil companies have been   known to write the actual documents that then go  into the legislation that are pushed by Canadian   politicians. And that's just absurd, because  there's no, you know, we need independence   of government from these very, very powerful  corporations. Because as Peter says, basically,  

the corporations are running the show now, and  they don't have our best interests at heart,   the general public, they have the profit motive is  at interest. So I always like Bill Ripple papers,   because they always, you know, bring up lots of  things to make you think, you know, he does a very   critical, critical in the sense of very detailed,  very educational, informative analysis of issues,   in this case of technology. And they put out  quite a few papers, as both you and Peter have,   have alluded to have mentioned that we've  covered some of their previous papers as   well. So it's well worth listening to them. Most  of them are somewhat, I would say that they're   leaning towards more of the mainstream science  view than the outlier view. And this is, I think,  

the simple reason why they just didn't want to  touch on the still controversial ideas of solar   radiation management. And also, there's a large  lead, lead in time to publication. So I don't   know when the draft was completed, you know, they  may have submitted this paper to the journal, like   a year ago, and then had feedback and revisions  and more and more information. So you know, it's,   it's the information in it is probably going to  be from probably a year ago, I'm guessing. I mean,   people could go and check that because there's  sometimes that information is within or on or on   the scientists warning website or whatever. So,  you know, I'm sure that working on things now,   great stuff, things now that will come out in  a year, maybe one of them, I hope will be on,   on interventions and restoration and so on  some of the things that, that I'm, you know,   that I was hoping would be in this report, but,  you know, overall, you know, very good job. And  

the more you can inform yourself, and the more  you can, you know, read about on, you know,   it all helps. And then every individual, every  listener here has certain skills, you know, which   are unique to them. And if they can figure out how  best to use those unique skills to get information   to other people, like, you know, a school teacher  can talk to her kids about some of these sort of   things, you know, if you work for a corporation,  you can bring in that information to the groups   within the corporation that are concerned about  the environment, and so on. So the best way to not  

feel helpless about the situation is to actually  take action. And we all have unique skills,   and we can use those skills as best we can. And  I guess the three of us, or the five of us doing   this channel, think that, you know, this is one  of the best ways that we can use our own skills,   the five of us to get this information to use.  So thank you, I’ll echo Regina, thank you for   watching these videos and subscribing and keep  us in mind for suggestions, if you like, for   future videos or things that we've missed, and so  on, because we do read all the comments that you   provide. So thanks, I just wanted to say that. Peter: So the science tells us, and does tell us,   that we have to do this immediately, right? And  we do. It's a survival issue now, a question   of survival. To do it instantly we need a  plan, a definite plan. There are a couple,  

and they're very good, and there's no  awareness of them really whatsoever.   The International Energy Agency produced a  climate change plan for net zero by 2050,   a few years ago. It was absolutely excellent. I  mean, I just couldn't believe how right on the   science it was. And I thought, ah, now we've  got something that everybody will listen to,   but it really wasn't used, and I can't understand  why not. On sustainability we do have a plan.   The plan was made and agreed to back in 1992  in the Earth Summit. The Earth Summit didn't  

just result in the biodiversity convention and  the climate change convention. It produced,   with all kinds of experts over several years, a  comprehensive, even to the point of being costed,   plan for complete transformation of what we  call development to sustainable development.   Probably not a lot of people are aware of that  term at all now. 1992, can we go back to that?   Absolutely we can. We can use that plan. They've  got all the principles like pollution prevention,  

the precautionary principle, pollution pays,  okay? Everybody was agreed on that. So we've   got to get the plans out of the libraries and  the bookshelves and dust them off and apply them,   because we have to do this right away. Regina: Thank you so much, Peter. I agree   we have to do this right away. What other  thoughts do you have? Just closing us out with,  

I really like the idea of ending the show with  what you said, Paul, about, you know, for those   people who are having a hard time bearing witness  to climate change, even if they do just one thing,   if everyone just did one thing that was within  their realm, as it were, the world would be   an amazing place. I would love to close out.  Thank you. Thank you, Peter, for your thoughts,   and I would love to close out with yours, Paul. Paul: Thanks. Just a couple things. I mean, the   paper, you know, many other papers have referred  to it, but IPAT is a term where the impact on the   planet or on anything is the population times  the affluence times the technology. You know,  

in technology, it all comes down to energy,  right, in order to run things, in order to   have any new technologies actually do something,  you know, unless it's a can opener or something,   right? I mean, there's energy, well, even that  has human energy involved in operating it,   right? But there's energy. So I'm thinking of,  you know, we wasted a tremendous amount of energy   with things like cryptocurrencies, you know,  they were huge, and prices went to the moon,   and they just use up entire huge warehouses full  of operating servers running next to a waterfall   that can provide the power if we're lucky, if  not just taking it from a coal burning grid or   something. So we have to be careful, you know, AI,  you know, the same sort of thing applies. There's   huge amounts of energy involved with these  technologies. So we always need to consider   that that impact sort of and try to minimize  the impact. And there's lots of technologies   that can actually reduce energy usage. And  we mentioned the EV revolution, but also heat   pumps is an amazing technology. So there's lots of  things that we can still do. I don't subscribe to  

this doomerism, even though, you know, we approach  these Earth system tipping points, whether they be   glacier calving, or ocean currents slowing down,  these things are very real, we're seeing signs,   early warning signs, a lot of these things that  will be starting to trigger. But there's also   human agency involved. And there's a whole article  by Exeter University on global tipping points,   which talks about all the Earth system tipping  points. But there's also lots of positive tipping  

points where human agency can actually counteract  the negative tipping points. So I think that's,   you know, important to keep in mind, we're  not defenseless here who are alive, we're on   this planet, we can be smart, we can also be  very dumb. So let's be smart and not dumb.  Regina: I'm all for that, Paul. Let's be smart.  Let's not be dumb. You know what that sometimes  

some of the most profound sayings are very  pithy. And I think that one fits the bill   perfectly. And it's one to end the show with.  So everyone out there, let's be smart. Let's   not be dumb. And I look forward to seeing you  again on the next Climate Emergency Forum.

2024-05-11 03:56

Show Video

Other news