Unprecedented: Can Civilization Survive the CO2 Crisis?, by David Ray Griffin, is filled with important and well-documented information. The arguments are compelling and convincing to those already convinced. The blizzard of facts will be ignored by those who don’t want to admit that global warming is happening, or that human-introduced CO2 has any part in any problems. The physical problems are what the scientists are revealing in compelling ways, but the economic, social and personal problems are what make even modest solutions difficult and long-term human solutions impossible.
This book is refusing to face the real issue, the one that most of the pro-ecology books choose to ignore. That is, there are far too many people for the planet Earth to support for very long at the current rate of resource consumption. If humans were living and consuming Earth’s resources as they did back in 1825, we could continue as a species for a very long time. Back then there were only a billion people, living with only a little fossil fuel consumption. Now there are seven and a half billion of us, with many consuming vast amounts of fossil fuels both directly in our daily lives and indirectly in the consumption of things created with fossil fuels.
The unfortunate bias in the book is demonstrated by the fact that the words population and overpopulation don’t appear in the index. Human population was never discussed even though it is the present multitudes of humans that create the CO2 problem. But, there would be no problem if there were only a hundred million humans, and that’s a lot of individuals compared to the numbers of individuals of other species of our physical size. A hundred million is the global population about the time of the Classic Greek civilization, and they were getting along quite well, but it’s one-seventy-fifth of our current population.
The processes of nature will play out in the end and will bring us into alignment with that reality. Only time will tell what that will be, but stir in tens of thousands of hydrogen bombs in the control of contending humans, and the intervening events are obvious. This book ends on a positive note that coal, oil and gas as energy sources will soon be replaced by solar and wind, and that China and the US are beginning to move in that direction.
There is hope for humans for a few more years.