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Accident leaves deep sea mining machine stranded

DWG

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A bit of hysteria in this one. A 25 ton machine gets stranded and the environmentalists are up in arms?

It's not the machine, it's the entire prospective industry it's a proof-of-concept for. The principle is basically like open-casting entire areas of the sea-floor. It might not dig as deep as surface open-casting, but it potentially scrapes away all the surface sea-life.

We've only relatively recently realised how much damage trawlers are doing to the sea-bed, and they aren't doing it deliberately. Something that's actively designed to scrape up the surface will be far worse.
 

chimeric oncogene

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Oh come on! I want to see manganese nodule mining in my lifetime! The seafloor must be conquered and exploited for global economic growth!
 

Foo Fighter

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The method suggested when the Glomar Explorer first came about was a suction tube which would do less damage, the method here is nothing short of raping the sea bed and it will take a long time for it to recover. Have we not raped enough of the planet yet?
 

Foo Fighter

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There needs to be some sort of brake on the system or we will not have a planet able to support us.
 

chimeric oncogene

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There needs to be some sort of brake on the system or we will not have a planet able to support us.
The risk is greatly exaggerated. Single cell protein, greenhouses, hydroponics, and other technologies should be able to function even under worst-case conditions of extreme ecological and environmental collapse.

Far from the magnitude of environmental threat, the key determinant of how well we will cope is national wealth and mobilization capacity.

Even if the planet is unable to support us, we will survive if we can support ourselves. If we cannot support ourselves, no amount of planetary support will help.
 

Arjen

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It might be possible to survive that way, but what would you foist on future humanity in exchange for short term gains?
Après nous, le déluge.
 

chimeric oncogene

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foist on future humanity in exchange for short term gains?
Long-term gains?

You know, the long-term gains of robust national economies and robust industrialized states across Asia, India, Africa, and South America, with adequate state capacity to withstand climate change impacts, with decades of capital partially built out of minerals strip-mined from seafloor massive sulfide deposits, manganese nodules, and cobalt crusts??? Good standards of living and robust state protection for the 6 billion people living in middle-income (that means India, Turkey, and China and also Honduras) and low-income countries???

Right now, 6.3 billion people (out of 7.5 billion humans) live in countries with GDP/head of under 12,000 USD. Their ability to afford single-cell-protein or hydroponic greenhouses is a lot chancier, nor are their governments necessarily going to be able to stockpile food or distribute rations effectively. Climate change is already here to stay. We need to turn mankind's billions into assets, not liabilities, and we need to do it fast.
 
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Foo Fighter

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There needs to be some sort of brake on the system or we will not have a planet able to support us.
The risk is greatly exaggerated. Single cell protein, greenhouses, hydroponics, and other technologies should be able to function even under worst-case conditions of extreme ecological and environmental collapse.

Far from the magnitude of environmental threat, the key determinant of how well we will cope is national wealth and mobilization capacity.

Even if the planet is unable to support us, we will survive if we can support ourselves. If we cannot support ourselves, no amount of planetary support will help.
This planet supports more than one race and we are losing more species all the time. I suppose you want to rape the planet until nothing bus ashes remain, hoping no doubt, to move on and do the same to another planet. No thanks. Remember this, all the crap we chuck into the sea, earth and air comes back to us via the food chain. Still happy?
 

chimeric oncogene

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Still happy?
No, because India is not posting happy GDP growth figures this year, and its lack of wealth and state capacity is already killing ten thousand Indians a day. Lake Chad is drying up, and Nigeria and Chad are suffering insurgencies from environmental degradation - which they do not have the cash to cover. The world desperately needs money, money, money. We can worry about the seafloor when India's GDP/head hits 20,000USD, and the poorest nations head past 10,000USD/head.

Also, I posited a worst-case scenario. Crops are not likely to fail that badly across all continents, although shifting growing areas is going to be difficult.


World Ocean Review has a great book on seafloor mining.
 
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Arjen

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I get the point of the developing world needing a lot of catching up to reach the developed world's amenities. If that catching up is done without fundamental course changes, the planet's ecosystems will be ruined. That will reduce the quality of life. I am not very optimistic about hydroponics etc. providing for a population of billions. How a resulting reduction of the world's human population might come about, I really don't want to witness. In a million years or so, the descendants of rats or roaches may be the dominant life forms. As a retired biologist, I would love to have a look at the state of the planet then. I don't think I will, though.
 
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chimeric oncogene

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It is clear that hydroponics can give high yields per hectare - but only at very high cost.
If we pay through the nose for food, it can definitely feed billions at minimal environmental cost.
But to gain that security requires that we have the money to spend on that very expensive food and good governance. Money that 6 billion humans do not currently have.

The Chinese had the right idea. Screw the environment until GDP/head hits 10-20k, then start going green as fast as possible. Now, China is well-insulated from the worst of climate change, and expects to be carbon-neutral by 2060. The Chinese can build seawalls, relocate cities, build water management systems and desalination plants... In a worst case ecological collapse, the government forces everyone to eat rations made from bugs. No mass starvation for the Chinese.

Everyone just has to follow the Chinese up the income ladder (hopefully with more solar panels and less coal), and then pivot accordingly.
 

Archibald

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The Chinese had the right idea. Screw the environment until GDP/head hits 10-20k, then start going green as fast as possible. Now, China is well-insulated from the worst of climate change, and expects to be carbon-neutral by 2060. The Chinese can build seawalls, relocate cities, build water management systems and desalination plants... In a worst case ecological collapse, the government forces everyone to eat rations made from bugs. No mass starvation for the Chinese.

Not sure. Not sure at all. Social credit and economic growth buying of the people souls - they won't save the chinese from the global environmental disaster... nor their future government.
 

Foo Fighter

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"Everyone just has to follow the Chinese up the income ladder (hopefully with more solar panels and less coal), and then pivot accordingly".

Not that simple at all but I'm not going to get into a pi55ing match. You just happen to be wrong is all.
 

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