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Based on the ratio of human power consumption to global net primary production by photosynthesis (not necessarily the best standard, but interesting) we're roughly a Type 0.15 civilisation at present. That's close enough to 1.0 to scare me, especially when I hear talk of chewing up more biosphere to make fuel.

But wherever we are on the Kardashev scale, I vote that we skip becoming an Earth-killing Type 1 civilisation and move on toward being a fractional Type 2. This could have benefits, from a lemur's perspective and ours.
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One story reads something like this --

With Solar space open, Earth looks small. Warm, sunny land becomes more abundant by far than what a planet could offer. People are drawn there for the freedom it offers: They can tear it up and rebuild exactly as they please. The New Lands become places as beautiful (or ugly) as imagination and unimaginable wealth can make them.

Those who stay behind think differently. Many like Earth simply because it is Earth, and they support environmental laws too strict for some... who emigrate, leaving behind a polity ever more inclined to support stricter laws. As the cycle continues, unstoppable, biospheric reserves grow and merge until they encompass the Earth, stewarded by people who make homes there because they love the Earth for itself.

And they have the powers they need to live lightly, and heal.
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No Type 1 civilisations, please.

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.

by technopolitical on Sun Oct 15th, 2006 at 03:39:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Based on the ratio of human power consumption to global net primary production by photosynthesis (not necessarily the best standard, but interesting) we're roughly a Type 0.15 civilisation at present. That's close enough to 1.0 to scare me, especially when I hear talk of chewing up more biosphere to make fuel.
The Kardashev scale is logarithmic with a base of 10^10... So, if you put the "Type 1" at total power output = total photosynthetic capacity, 15% capacity is "Type 0.92".

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 16th, 2006 at 04:09:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah! A logarithmic scaling does make more sense. I see that this extension by Sagan, though.

Definitely uncomfortably close to "1.0", though the power level would be no problem if the collection and dissipation weren't being done on Earth.

(If I were doing the numbers more seriously, I'd start by looking at total solar input power and total radiative heat dissipation capacity. To look at a silly but physically sound possibility, however, it is possible to dump substantially more heat from a planet than can be radiated from it by a black surface at its ambient temperatures. The trick, of course, is refrigeration.)

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.

by technopolitical on Mon Oct 16th, 2006 at 04:29:26 PM EST
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