Monday 30 December 2013

Thinking Caps

If you want a full testing read and discussion the 28 December post in "Energy Matters" by Euan Mearns on the coming Ice Age is just right.  The suggestion is that it may be about to start getting cooler then colder and colder rather than warmer.

Imagine, a world where nobody can afford the heating bills despite political promises, you do not need a freezer you are living in one and the wine would always be chilled if there was any which there wasn't.

It may be that rather than climate it is migration that may be the main issue in 2014.  In deep history climate and weather patterns have often been the spur to population movements especially when the growth of numbers is involved.  In our own debates this factor is often overlooked.

One serious problem is that of the collapse of the state and the internal wars in Syria.  According to the populstat dot info web site the population of Syria in 1901 was just short of a million.  By 1951 the figure was around 3.5 million and in 2010 the estimate was 23 million plus.

For Romania at the same dates, the figures run 6 million, 16 million and recently 23 million.  For Bulgaria there is a contrast, 3.8 to 7.25 and then 8 plus for 2010, but with a decline since 2005.  This suggests either attrition or previous outflows or both. 

Another contrast is Nigeria, 1901 at 15.6, then 33.4 in 1951 and estimated at 181.6 million in 2010.  That is a lot of people.  In terms or ordinary movements to be expected it is quite possible that from Nigeria the proportion leaving could have gone down some but the rate of population increase means many more in actual numbers.

As you check out other states you will see many variations.  The general story is that on our globe there are now a lot more people than in the past.  People move for all sorts of reasons.  I doubt there has ever been a time in human history when they haven't.

That history tells us that there are winners and losers. Also that what happens and where is likely to be unpredictable and with unintended consequences.  Our problem is that we all have our head stuffed with notions and attitudes from the past, one way or another.

Given the sheer numbers, the rapidity of economic change, and the stresses arising from global activity and the capability of recent transport developments the future is not going to be the same as the past.  In Syria it is possible that more than half the population now want out, so where do they go?

If it does start getting colder rather than warmer then the options for world migration may start to narrow.  But if it does get warmer the same may apply.

Happy New Year.


  1. Significant global cooling could be a disaster. The only comfort is that those making predictions seem to know rather less than they imply. Uncertainty is still widespread even if not always admitted.

  2. With very little disruption, and adoption of nuclear electricity generation you could have reasonably priced power at rates that could be guaranteed far into the future, as a byproduct the cooling water presently wasted by the hideous cooling towers could be used to heat greenhouses or ponds growing food fish.
    Hopefully your politicians could adopt a similar sense of urgency to a cooling period that they have adopted to the phony global warming scare to avert a large die off of the poor and malnourished. Though I rather suspect that it is government policy to kill off pensioners as they are very inconvenient and costly to sustain, whereas the global warming boondoggle was all about sending money offshore for feelgood photo opportunities.
    Despite my obvious ill-humour, may I wish you all a healthy and prosperous new year.