Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oh brother: The Guardian has really slipped its moorings with this sub headline for a rather mundane futurist's peak into what awaits us by the year 2050:

As the planet faces the most dangerous century in its 4.5bn-year history, astronomer royal Martin Rees looks into his crystal ball.

Really? The most dangerous ever? Worse than when the primordial planet was bombarded by the countless comets scientists believe brought water to the planet? More dire than the time of the great extinctions? More dangerous than the ice ages? This green frenzy is driving people of a certain political persuasion nuts. And I think the hysteria that passes for reportage about the issue in many MSM outlets is one reason why fewer people believe in catastrophic climate change this year than last.

So what does astronomer Martin Rees predict is bearing down on us? The usual worries about over population and climate change, and hopeful predictions about space exploration and high tech advances. And then there is this:

Our sun formed 4.5bn years ago, but it's got 6bn more before the fuel runs out...

Any creatures who witness the sun's demise, here on Earth or far beyond, won't be human. They will be entities as different from us as we are from a bug. But even in this "concertinaed" timeline--extending millions of centuries into the future, as well as into the past--this century is special. It's the first in our planet's history where one species--ours--has Earth's future in its hands, and could jeopardise not only itself, but life's immense potential.

He's right, you know: But not about the manageable problems he is wringing his hands about. The real threat to the planet--and this isn't hyperbole--is nuclear war. N. Korea just tested a bomb the size of the blast that destroyed Hiroshima. Nuclear Pakistan is in danger of collapse. Iran is hot on their heels in the development of nukes, and many think it will use them. I just wish the media and the liberal West were as concerned about this truly dire threat as they are about the simulated computer projections that are the prime bases of global warming worries.