Deforestation coupled with the rampant destruction of natural resources will soon have devastating effects on the future of society as we know it, according to two theoretical physicists who study complex systems and have concluded that greed has put us on a path to irreversible collapse within the next two to four decades, as VICE reported.
The research by the two physicists, one from Chile and the other from the UK, was published last week inNature Scientific Reports. The researchers used advance statistical modeling to look at how a growing human population can cope with the loss of resources, mainly due to deforestation. After crunching the numbers, the scientists came up with a fairly bleak assessment of society’s chance of surviving the climate crisis.
“Based on the current resource consumption rates and best estimate of technological rate growth our study shows that we have very low probability, less than 10 percent in most optimistic estimate, to survive without facing a catastrophic collapse,” the authors write in the study abstract.
From all the issues that the climate crisis raises like rising sea levels, increases in extreme weather, drought, flooding, and crop failures, scientists zeroed in on deforestation since it is more measurable right now. They argue that forest density, or its current scarcity, is considered the cataclysmic canary in the coal mine, according to the report, as The New York Post reported.
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quizto conclude this weekend pf nonsense and frustration:
Is this story responsible to report as news without a lot more context?
As you might guess, my opinion is that it is not. I’m willing to be persuaded otherwise, but I don’t know how you’d do it.
Essentially, the story tells me, “Two guys I’ve never heard of have developed a model that predicts catastrophe in, oh, a hundred or two hundred years, give or take several decades, if their assumptions are correct, which is highly unlikely. In addition,
- These are physicists, not environmental socialists, not climatologists, not geologists. Who cares what they predict?
- What possible good does this completely speculative projection do? It just appeals to the confirmation bias of climate change hysterics.
- There is no reason to trust such a model, and very good reasons to assume it’s garbage. One thing Edward Lorenz taught us about chaotic systems (and the environment is certainly one of them) is that tiny, unpredictable events can set in motion a chain of other events that have massive effects. A model that projects such a system’s behavior a year in advance is likely to fail. For a model involving a century of projections to be accurate requires a billion to one, maybe a trillion to one chance to come true. If it does, it’s not the model, it’s luck. Basing public policy on such a model is absurd, reckless, incompetent.
The article included one general acknowledgement of this problem:
Of course, as with every theoretical paper, there are limitations. The paper assumes that some measurements (such as population growth and deforestation rate) will remain constant, which is certainly not guaranteed. Forest is also taken as a proxy for all resources, which could be seen as too simplistic, as IFLScience noted.
That’s not nearly enough. Typical readers don’t have the scientific knowledge to put such an item in proper perspective, which is that it is as informative and useful as a horoscope. At best the item is trivia, as in “Fred Burroughs of Belman, South Dakota can play the Minute Waltz on the harpsichord with his feet.” Interesting! But not news.
Representing the theory of these two publicity- and grant-seeking scientists as news misrepresents its importance and significance, which are just about nil.