Miscellanea

  Two independent assessments of the imminence of apocalypse. Top, the Doomsday Clock from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, measuring 'miunutes to midnight', 1947-2007. Bottom, my own subjective assessment of the prevailing sense of 'time to the point of no return', 1950-2010.  In the last decades the two have become synchronised, largely for the same reasons.

Two independent assessments of the imminence of apocalypse. Top, the Doomsday Clock from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, measuring 'miunutes to midnight', 1947-2007. Bottom, my own subjective assessment of the prevailing sense of 'time to the point of no return', 1950-2010.  In the last decades the two have become synchronised, largely for the same reasons.

There are bound to be things that don't find a place anywhere else, so this category is likely to accumulate some oddballs.

The first is a discussion about the 'population' question, a perennial of the environment literature. Though not to be ignored, for the simple reason that it is less 'dynamic' than its companions in the IPAT identity, it must take third place.

A Population Discussion 2003 (doc)

In some quarters of the environmental movement in the 'teenies' one can sense an apocalyptic mood -- that things are starting to get out of control, and some kind of major change/collapse is likely even if not imminent. The question is asked 'how long have we got?'. I tried to represent the changing sense of urgency in the form of a graph, and someone pointed out to me the similarity with the 'Doomsday Clock' printed on the cover of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the original journal of scientific responsibility. The 'clock' represents the editors' assessment of the level of danger to which humanity is exposed. Here the two are compared.

The Doomsday Clock 2007 (doc)

In 2012 I organised a weekend workshop/conference to discuss a major faultline in climate change policy: whether to operate within the present economic and political constraints and hope that physical reality will match up , or to create physically-realistic scenarios for the future and retool politics and economics to match the physics. (This is represented by the cartoon here).  In this instance the fault-line proved to have greater political voltage than I expected.

Physics versus Politics: Two intriguing results. 2012 (doc)