Monday, June 18, 2007

two views on global warming

Inaba projects has made a verifiably fantastic video (available on YouTube) forecasting a gently totalitarian, evolving, regenerative urban future. The title, "Moore's Law Meets Sustainability," should give you a teaser of it's unbridled positivism. This relentless, mechanistic optimism could have easily derailed the video, but it is just creepy and unreal enough to inspire rather than pacify.

On the other end of the spectrum, the City of Santa Cruz provides us with a powerpoint presentation entitled "Turning the Tide." Buried within the promises to cut emissions and provide more greenspace, which (to me) only highlight the issues of attempting local solutions for a global problem, is the following slide:

This list can be seen as histrionic and alarmist by some (100 year flood levels, widespread drought, etc etc), but I actually found it to be comforting: here is the end result on urbanism in a few decades if we can't manage to turn around world trends in industrial pollution and unbridled waste-- desalinization plants, levees and dikes, and-- as was suggested in a recent NYT article -- urban shorelines that look more and more like Venice or Amsterdam.

I am somewhat reminded what I was once told on a tour of Prague, that centuries of debris had made the former first floors of many old buildings into the basements. I can only imagine, if the worst-case scenarios for ocean levels come true in fifty years, that some localities might choose canals and waterlogged first floors over losing long-held property. How do property rights fit in when the shoreline moves 200 feet inland in a decade?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice find. I agree that even the worst case scenario's for global warming leave me wondering why all the fuss. Most of the problems it causes seem to have pretty feasible and time-tested work-arounds (e.g. desalination, dikes, etc.). Even that assumes the worst case. It isn't pointed out enough that man is capable of innovation. The Moore's Law video is one of the first things I've seen that suggests humans might have come up with new ideas 50 or 100 years from now. And it seems that man has a habit of solving the most pressing problems first (there's more money in it). If global warming really is a big deal, I have trouble believing that we'll all sit and twiddle our thumbs while there is such a killing to be made from stopping it.