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We’re done

Wed, Jun 20, 2012

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British economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) is well known for his views on monetary policy. The printing-press approach he forwarded is widely used today, even as especially as the world-wide Ponzi scheme nears its end. My favorite line from Keynes: “In the long run, we’re all dead.”

As I pointed out in this space a few years ago, I concluded in 2002 that we had set into motion climate-change processes likely to cause our own extinction by 2030. I mourned for months, to the bewilderment of the three people who noticed. And then, shortly thereafter, I was elated to learn about a hail-Mary pass that just might allow our persistence for a few more generations: Peak oil and its economic consequences might bring the industrial economy to an overdue close, just in time. Like Pandora with her vessel, I retained hope.

No more. Stick a fork in us. We’re done, broiled beyond hope wishful thinking. It seems we’ve experienced a lethal combination of too much cheap oil and too little wisdom. Yet again, I’ve begun mourning. It’s no easier the second time.

As always, I’m open to alternative views — in fact, I’m begging for them, considering the gravity of this particular situation — but the supporting evidence will have to be extraordinary. By the way, irrationally invoking Al Gore doesn’t count as evidence. Ditto for unsubstantiated rumors about global cooling. A small dose of critical thinking might be required, rather than the ability to repeat lines touted by neo-conservatives and their owners in the fossil-fuel industries.

Before you launch into the ridicule I’ve come to expect from those who comment anonymously from a position of hubris and ignorance in the blogosphere, I invite you to fully consider the information below. I recommend setting aside normalcy bias and wishful thinking as you peruse the remainder of this brief essay. (While you’re at it, go ahead and look up the word “peruse.” It probably doesn’t mean what you think it means. I’ll make it easy: Here’s a link to the definition.)

We know Earth’s temperature is nearly one degree Centigrade higher than it was at the beginning of the industrial revolution. And 1 C is catastrophic, as indicated by a decades-old cover-up. Already, we’ve triggered several positive feedbacks, none of which were expected to occur by mainstream scientists until we reached 2 C above baseline global average temperature.

We also know that the situation is far worse than indicated by recent data and models (which are reviewed in the following paragraphs). We’ve known for more than a decade what happens when the planes stop flying: Because particulates were removed when airplanes were grounded, Earth’s diurnal temperature range increased by more than 1 C in the three days following 11 September 2001. If the change in range leans toward warming, in other words, Earth’s temperature is already nearly 2 C higher than the industrial-revolution baseline. And because of positive feedbacks, 2 C leads directly and rapidly to 6 C, acidification-induced death of the world’s oceans, and the near-term demise of Homo sapiens. We can’t live without life-filled oceans, home to the tiny organisms that generate half the planet’s oxygen while comprising the base of the global food chain (contrary to the common belief that Wal-Mart forms the base of the food chain). So much for the wisdom of the self-proclaimed wise ape.

With completion of the on-going demise of the industrial economy, we’re there: We’ve crossed the horrifically dire 2 C rubicon, as will be obvious when most of the world’s planes are grounded. Without completion of the on-going demise of the industrial economy, we’re there: We’ve crossed the horrifically dire 2 C rubicon, as described below. Joseph Heller, anybody?

I’ve detailed the increasingly dire assessments. And I’ve explained how we’ve pulled the trigger on five positive-feedback events at lower global average temperature than expected, while also pointing out that any one of these five phenomena likely leads to near-term human extinction. None of these positive-feedback events were expected by scientists until we exceed 2 C warming above the pre-industrial baseline.

My previous efforts were absurdly optimistic, as demonstrated by frequent updates (for example, here, here, and here, in chronological order). Yet my frequent writing, rooted in scientific analyses, can barely keep up with increasingly terrifying information about climate change. Every day, we have more reliable knowledge about the abyss into which we have plunged. Consider, for example, the International Energy Agency’s forecast of business-as-usual leading to a 6 C warmer planet by 2035. Malcolm Light, writing for the Arctic Methane Emergency Group, considers one of the many positive feedbacks we’ve triggered in one planetary region and reaches this conclusion: “This process of methane release will accelerate exponentially, release huge quantities of methane into the atmosphere and lead to the demise of all life on earth before the middle of this century.”

Please read that sentence again. Light is a retired earth-systems scientist. As nearly as I can distinguish, he has no hidden agenda, though he believes geo-engineering will save us (an approach that would take several years to implement, and one that we’d almost certainly FUBAR).

Forecasts by the International Energy Agency and the Arctic Methane Emergency group match the recent trend of increasingly dire assessments based on collection and interpretation of more data and increasingly powerful models. If these forecasts are close to accurate, we’ve only a requiem to write for human beings on Earth.

It’s time to modify Keynes’ famous line thusly: “In the short run, we’re all dead.” For those of us living in the interior of a large continent, much less on a rock-pile in the desert, I’d give us until 2020 at the latest. Carpe diem, reveling in the one life we get.

What, then, shall we do? As I contemplate the shackles we’ve created for ourselves, the words of Albert Camus come to mind: “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” In terms of action, I hardly know what that means for me, much less for you. But I encourage any and every act of liberty and rebellion, particularly as the world burns.

I’m often asked why people living in industrialized nations shouldn’t relent to hopelessness and party like hedonists as the world burns. My typical response is to ask how our lives would be different if we suddenly starting acting like hedonists.

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This essay is permalinked at Counter Currents, Seemorerocks, Island Breath, Plan B Economics, Desdemona Despair, and Doomstead Diner.

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I was interviewed by Alex Smith at Radio Ecoshock. Podcast is here (high resolution) and here (low resolution). It’s also here, with a extensive supporting information.

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I’m embarking for a speaking tour of New Zealand (track it here, and look for frequent updates as events are added). As a result, I’ll be posting lightly or not at all for the next three weeks.

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234 Responses to “We’re done”

  1. Steven Earl Salmony Says:

    A question for the UN Secretary General to be asked during 21 June of the Global Town Hall in Rio de Janeiro.

    Our planetary home is filling up with many too many people and pollutants. Unbridled economic growth is a threat not a solution to the global challenges looming before humanity. If we continue to grow the global economy and increase the size of the human population as we are doing now, what chance do we have of making necessary changes to sustainable lifestyles, right-sized corporate enterprises and an eco-friendly balance with the natural world upon which life as we know it depends for existence?

  2. Steven Earl Salmony Says:

    If we agree to “think globally” about climate destabilization and at least one of its consensually validated principal agencies, it becomes evident that riveting attention on more and more seemingly perpetual GROWTH could be a grave mistake because we are denying how economic and population growth in the communities in which we live cannot continue as it has until now. Each village’s resources are being dissipated, each town’s environment degraded and every city’s fitness as place for our children to inhabit is being threatened. To proclaim something like, ‘the meat of any community plan for the future is, of course, growth’ fails to acknowledge that many villages, towns and cities are already ‘built out’, and also ‘filled in’ with people and pollutants. If the quality of life we enjoy now is to be maintained for the children, then limits on economic and population growth will have to be set. By so doing, we choose to “act locally” and sustainably.

    More economic and population growth are soon to become no longer sustainable in many too many places on the surface of Earth because biological constraints and physical limitations are immutably imposed upon ever increasing human consumption, production and population activities of people in many communities where most of us reside. Inasmuch as the Earth is finite with frangible environs, there comes a point at which GROWTH is unsustainable. There is much work to done locally. But that effort cannot reasonably begin without sensibly limiting economic and population growth.

    Problems worldwide that are derived from conspicuous overconsumption and rapacious plundering of limited resources, rampant overproduction of unnecessary stuff, and rapid human overpopulation of the Earth can be solved by human thought, judgment and action. After all, the things we have done can be undone. Think of it as ‘the great unwinding of human folly’. Like deconstructing the Tower of Babel. Any species that gives itself the moniker, Homo sapiens sapiens, can do that much, can it not?

    “We face a wide-open opportunity to break with the old ways of doing the town’s business…..” That is a true statement. But the necessary “break with the old ways” of continuous economic and population growth is not what is occurring. There is a call for a break with the old ways, but the required changes in behavior are not what is being proposed as we plan for the future. What is being proposed and continues to occur is more of the same, old business-as-usual overconsumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities, the very activities that appear to be growing unsustainbly. More business-as-usual could soon become patently unsustainable, both locally and globally. A finite planet with the size, composition and environs of the Earth and a community with the boundaries, limited resources and wondrous climate of villages, towns and cities where we live may not be able to sustain much longer the economic and population growth that is occurring on our watch. Perhaps necessary changes away from UNSUSTAINABLE GROWTH and toward sustainable lifestyles and right-sized corporate enterprises are in the offing.

    Think globally while there is still time and act locally before it is too late for human action to make any difference in the clear and presently dangerous course of unfolding human-induced ecological events, both in our planetary home and in our villages, towns and cities. If we choose to review the perspective of a ‘marketwatcher’ who can see what is actually before our eyes, perhaps all of us can get a little more reality-oriented to the world we inhabit and a less deceived by an attractive, flawed ideology that is highly touted and widely shared but evidently illusory and patently unsustainable.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/Story/story/print?guid=5690DE5A-B033-11E1-AB8D-002128049AD6

    This situation is no longer deniable. During my lifetime, many have understood the Global Predicament we are having to confront now, but only a few ‘voices in the wilderness’ were willing to speak out loudly and clearly about what everyone can see. It is not a pretty sight. The human community has precipitated a planetary emergency that only humankind is capable of undoing. The present ‘Unsustainable Path’ has to be abandoned in favor of a “road less travelled by”. It is late; there is no time left to waste. Perhaps now we will gather our remarkably abundant, distinctly human resources and respond ably to the daunting, human-induced, global challenges before us, the ones that threaten life as we know it and the integrity of Earth as a fit place for human habitation. Many voices, many more voices are needed for making necessary changes.

  3. KK Says:

    Thanks for this candid update on your thinking and research. Too bad you “sugarcoated” it. Ha ha!

    I, for one, am glad to be old. As elders, I am pretty sure that our advice will not be heeded. One more casualty of civilization.

    BTW – 2/3’s through the radio ecoshock podcast. Alex Smith does a great job in asking the questions I would ask. It was great hearing the rooster in the background, too!

    Safe travels, Dr. McPherson!

  4. Cathy Says:

    Seems foolish and a waste of time now to be making “disaster preparedness” arrangements. Who would want to bw living in such future dire circumstances? Think I will just start collecting an ample supply of narcotics so that I can exit gracefully on the day when it all just becomes too much.

  5. Kathy C Says:

    You wrote once Guy that words matter

    You asked us to ask how our lives would be different if we acted like hedonists. I suppose that depends on the definition

    1. Pursuit of or devotion to pleasure, especially to the pleasures of the senses.
    2. Philosophy The ethical doctrine holding that only what is pleasant or has pleasant consequences is intrinsically good.
    3. Psychology The doctrine holding that behavior is motivated by the desire for pleasure and the avoidance of pain

    Back I guess 20 or 25 years ago I had my first hospice patient. Mozelle was incredible and the Hospice folks knew being her volunteer would educate me. She faced death with such bravery and calm. She was living then in the assisted care part of a nursing home, had her own little apartment. She told me one day that she missed cooking and she missed fried fish – it was never the same brought home as it was at the restaurant. So I told her she could cook by instructing me in her favorite recipe. The next visit we made corn bread and her recipe is still handwritten in the front of my cookbook. My friend’s sister was a waitress in the local restaurant. I got them to open a bit early and have a fried fish meal ready. Mozelle’s stomach was so swollen with cancer that she couldn’t get in any street clothes so she wore a bathrobe and we went out for fried fish. The next day she asked to be moved into the nursing home facility and a month later she died.

    For both of us it was a pursuit of pleasure at the end of her time. It certainly was far more than a peasant gets at the end of their time on earth. But was it hedonism.

    I had great pleasure this morning watching the goldfinches that come to my sun flowers that I plant just for them. I plan that pleasure in early spring.

    We have ahead of us the untimely death of humans and probably most species on the planet. We can take pleasure in the natural world and in kindness to each other. The later will become an increasing opportunity as events unfold. “In the long run the sun dies, and the planet and all on it are dead.” The only way I have to deal with the angst is to know that we all die, suns all die, planets with life die when the sun dies, and yet while we are alive we can love what we have and who we have.

    “There is an old joke where a guy walks into an astronomy lecture and listens to a professor talking about the fate of the Sun. “In a billion years” the professor says “our star, the Sun, will run out of fuel and die”. The guy raises his hand and says, “How long did you say we had?” The professor repeats his billion-year prediction. “Whew,” says the guy, “I was getting worried. I thought you said a million years!”

    http://www.mhhe.com/physsci/astronomy/uspeak/sept_00_uspeak.mhtml

  6. Curtis A, Heretic Says:

    The extreme weather we are having in northern Illinois, leads me to favor crops failures, possibly this year. As I posted on the previous thread, Michigan lost 80% to 90% of their cherry crop.

    Major crop failures will wipe us out fast, with the least damage to the rest of life. Our best scenario.

  7. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    Kubler-Ross: An Ongoing Process

    Every time I come across
    Some more news about doomer loss,
    I don’t feel lots worse,
    I just reimmerse
    Myself in my Kubler-Ross.

  8. Robin Datta Says:

    The import of this post will be missed by some at an intellectual level, by some at a visceral level, and by some at both.
    99 Ways To Die

  9. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    Guy, thank you again for such a thoughtful essay. I say thank you in the same way that a patient says it to me when I tell them they have a terminal cancer. It’s not the news they want, but it’s the truth and that’s always better than being lied to.

    I agree with your words and have been feeling the same way for quite some time now. I have always been an idealist/optimist. It’s in my nature to take bad news in stride and slowly work my way through it. Yet, it seems that every time I encounter another report on the climate, or the oceans, or the myriad other calamities facing us, I’m knocked down and before I can get back to where I was before, I’m knocked down even farther. I must admit that somedays I wonder why I keep slogging on.

    I think Cathy may be on to something there with respect to the narcotics. There are many worse ways to go.

    The question for each of us, I guess is whether or not we want to know any more. The hermit living in a cave (literally or figuratively) doesn’t know what’s coming. He just keeps going about his business enjoying life, living each day to the fullest. When he’s done, he’s done. He shuffles off the earth quietly.

    Ultimately, as Kathy C says, each of us dies. No one gets out alive. We can’t change that inescapable fact. So, we can spend the rest of our days in mourning, or in happy ignorance. In spite of my statement about truth at the beginning of this comment, I’m not sure which I prefer yet.

  10. W Wallace Mud Says:

    The ‘People’s Movement’ is finally realizing that marches and meetings, no matter how well meaning and heartfelt, have become meaningless in the face of the corrupt global power structure. The ballot box too offers no solution when the corporate owned mass media’s message of fear blares the same song from every outlet. People fear the loss of whatever they have, as long as 50%+1 people still believe they have something to lose they can and will be easily controlled by their fears.

    In addition to the meaningless of protest and the complacency of a materialistically fearful population, many more are subject to the leverage of fear beyond the grave doled out daily by religious institutions.

    In short, we’re screwed. There seems to be only two choices. One a worldwide civil war, WWIII really, this time not a war between nations but a war in every nation between rich and poor. The other, sit back, have another beer, smoke another joint and wait for the environmental Apocalypse, the great leveling. Personally i’d rather go out with a bang than a whimper, looks like lottsa others would too, see ya at the barricades.

  11. Milton Dixon Says:

    I have faith that life will go on. Perhaps not human life but life nonetheless. We’ll just have to see how it all plays out…

  12. Paul Chefurka Says:

    Thank you for speaking the truth, Guy. It helps me accept that knowing what I know doesn’t mean I’m crazy. It helps me understand where this overwhelming grief is coming from. It helps me understand why I feel such a need for quietness now.

    Thank you.

  13. Leslee Waggener Says:

    I have gone through depression and grief over these things as well, but have begun to come out of it on the other side. I realize now, according to all ancient cultures, we are poised at the edge of a huge solar-system wide event which is to be a cleansing and rebirth and the beginning of a new spiritual age. All the planets have been going through the same dramatic climate changes. Now, I too say, “we’re done” – with our current civilization. Bring on the next one!!

  14. Kevin Moore Says:

    Looking forward to you arriving in New Plymouth and delivering a slightly toned-down version. Or not.

  15. Gary Says:

    Quote: “This process of methane release will accelerate exponentially, release huge quantities of methane into the atmosphere and lead to the demise of all life on earth before the middle of this century.”

    “All life on earth”? Come on. Get serious. I’m sure there will be a few life forms like slime mold and algae that survive, and possibly even some cockroaches. So claiming that all life will be wiped out is an obvious exaggeration.

  16. Sunweb Says:

    You are walking to New Zealand?

    Willful Blindness, Willful Hypocrisy, You first.
    What’s your spin?

    Here’s the deal. Research reveals that we lie to ourselves. Not you and I of course, but others do prolifically. Willful Blindness is one of various books and research papers that verify this. We seem to fool ourselves for a variety of reasons. Two of the main reasons, one is self protective and the other is social protective.
    From:

    http://sunweber.blogspot.com/2012/06/willful-blindness-willful-hypocrisy-you.html

    http://peakoil.com/consumption/willful-blindness-willful-hypocrisy/

    Along with the bibliography at the end of the essay, here is another excellent source on denial.
    Cohen, Stanley. 2001. State of Denial. Polity. Cambridge.

  17. Ole Johanes Winther Kristensen Says:

    As I contemplate the shackles we’ve created for ourselves, the words of Albert Camus come to mind: “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” – Quoted.

    This might seem bizare, but I hope that quote was the exact thought going through Albert Camus mind, when he was killed by industrial civilisation through a car accident.

    Dear Guy Mcpherson, we didn’t create these shackles. (WE have to stop saying WE and at least stop identifying with the industrial mega powers) Industrial civilisation has shackled the natural world and is suffocating her, slashing him and finally burning and crashing human people and non-human people to death.

    Do you ever pause to think that industrial civilisation can be stopped, that resistance is more than leaving university and mass-society behind?

    Let me ask you directly: Have you read Deep Green Resistance – Strategy to save the planet?, or have you not read that book? Authors are: Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith and Aric Mcbay.

    This movement has started, will you join?

  18. Guy McPherson Says:

    Sunweb, I’m doubtless a human, hence a hypocrite. But in this case, walking will not save industrial civilization. I’m trying to cause the price of oil to increase, therefore plunge the world’s industrial economy into the toilet, not allow it to persist. Furthermore, I’d gladly give up all fossil fuels if I thought terminating my use would terminate a fossil-fuel-driven set of living arrangements. If I believed ceasing to drive would terminate car culture, I would’ve stopped years ago. Are you familiar with Jevons’ Paradox?

    Ole Johanes Winther Kristensen, I’m in. Please do a little homework before you cast dispersions. I began promoting resistance long before Keith and McBay joined the party. If you’ll read a few of the >300 essays on this blog, going back nearly five years, you’ll see I began promoting the principles of DGR before the organization formed. In fact, I’ve been called a terrorist, I’ve received threats on my life, and — according to several people commenting anonymously — I’ve had the “authorities” called on me.

  19. Kathy C Says:

    Cathy, re narcotics, I understand that feeling. Sometimes we treat dogs better than humans in that we will get the vet to give them a peaceful end while humans are expected to live through the worst for one more year, month whatever. Narcotics are however controlled. For the terminally ill who live in countries where Doctors are not allowed to provide a dignified death, Derek Humphrey has written a book on self exit called Final Exit – Supporting the Right to Death with Dignity. http://www.finalexitnetwork.org/new/book-store/ Some might want to research ways to exit before the worst hits. Doesn’t mean you will do it, just opens up different options other than a rope if one finds that life after collapse is similar to a final year with cancer.

    But heck, when the grid goes down, and chaos reigns, some gun toting guy might give the coup de grâce – see I can be an optimist at times :)

    Meanwhile a stockpile of whiskey has multiple uses – merry making, pain deadening, barter, incapacitation of enemies :), food energy, and disinfecting. It stores well.

  20. Michael Irving Says:

    Guy,
    I vowed I would not do this but…

    I tried to “peruse” but got bogged down in trying to figure out who the speakers were and what their agenda is.

    How creditable is the Arctic-News Group? By linking to them you’ve concurred with a prediction of significant extinction beginning in 2017 leading to the total extinction of ALL life on earth by 2051. If you trust their data then why would you suggest that their solution, geo-engineering (using radio waves to convert released methane to nanodiamonds) is likely to FUBAR? If not their solution, then what? Dr. Light has also championed methane extraction by horizontal drilling below the Arctic pack ice, calling the extracted methane a “Subsidized Green Energy Fuel” (after Wales 2012) (Arctic-News May 30, 2012). When Light hooks up with Sam Carana a geo-engineer then what do we have? Is this just scaremongering in order to generate subsidies for geo-engineering?

    This leads me back to my question for Victor in your previous post (Ties that Bind). How can we get some feeling for where we are going given the extremes voiced by the supposedly knowledgeable people commenting on our trajectory. Even you have sent mixed signals within the last year or so. What’s it to be, Jeffersonian agronomy, hunting and gathering, or Permian extinction +?

    Michael Irving

  21. Robin Datta Says:

    I too say, “we’re done” – with our current civilization. Bring on the next one!!

    The next civilization may have to derive from extremophiles.

  22. Victor Says:

    Guy,

    Very targeted and precise message. One of your better ones, I should think. You nailed it on the head.

    The target global average temp increase is currently set at 2 deg C, but should it have been – we have learned so much since then. We will likely find that it was actually lower than thought. But regardless of the level of the barrier, it seems to me the import question to ask is what is the implication of meeting or exceeding it? And this, to me, was your most important thought provoker and critical piece of truth, as I see it. When we reach the target temp, whatever that truly is, we set off a set of positive feedback processes, not necessarily simultaneously (some might have to await the initiation of another before it can start.

    Each feedback process is then proceeds on its own with or without human efforts thus rendering it irreversible by mankind and must proceed until it reaches a new equilibrium – all the ice melts, all the methane is released, the ocean and the forests are converted to carbon emitters. Once those processes start then the power to control them passes from humanity over to Nature.

    Think about that most carefully – at the targeted temperature level humanity is no longer in charge. It is then completely up to Nature.

    If civilisation fell, it would not matter any more. It wouldn’t mean anything, not a twit.

    Thanks, Guy. I wish for you an enjoyable trip to NZ. And I’m certain Kevin is looking forward to it.

  23. Vicki Lipski Says:

    You’re a reluctant quitter, aren’t you? You’ve given up, but just don’t know how to walk away.

    Do you remember the movie The Miracle Worker? Helen Keller’s brother confronts Annie Sullivan, demanding to know why she keeps trying to “reach” Helen, when she is so obviously unreachable. Sullivan furiosly responds that giving up is beyond being unacceptable, an act which she describes as the original sin.

    Did you know that many – not all, certainly, but many – European Jews, as they waited in line for a “shower,” chanted the Shema, the holiest prayer in Judaism? That prayer is an affirmation of the unity of God, in which they still believed, even as they waited on the doorstep of death.

    So: you know so much better than they did. You’ve got all the facts and figures, and YOU, all-knowing you, have presented us with the incontrovertible truth.

    Perhaps, just perhaps, you have been tested and found wanting. And that’s why you can’t walk away.

  24. Guy McPherson Says:

    Michael Irving, I simply don’t know how credible is the Arctic Methane Emergency Group. But the analysis by Malcolm Light on their website matches the assessment of the International Energy Agency (6 C by 2035). Considering the positive feedbacks already triggered, and the likely death of the oceans before we hit 6 C, I certainly would not rule out the potential for extinction of all life except thermophiles by mid-century. Organisms on Earth have never faced such a rapid rise in global average temperature, so there is little chance of adaptation. Homo sapiens certainly will not adapt in time. Evolution by natural selection isn’t so quick.

  25. richard pauli Says:

    I might offer the term: Apolalyptic Cornucopianism – or Game Over Carpe Dieum
    I used to think it a threat to survival or sustainability. Instead there may be a conflict between those who want to struggle to survive, and those prefer letting go. How much do we respect those who think we can reach a multigenerational survival? Personally, I put the most faith in the complete reversal of the geoengineering experiment we have been performing till now – i.e just halt all greenhouse gas emissions. However, this approach would turn the world into a type of North Korea with lots of climate hospice workers.

    These sure are interesting times.

    Thanks for your wonderful essay.

  26. Michael Irving Says:

    Guy,

    Thanks for that quick, clear answer.

    Have FUN in NZ. Hope you’ll see Kevin.

    Michael Irving

  27. Steven Earl Salmony Says:

    Dear Guy,

    Superb presentation. Your words send one message; your actions another. Enjoy NZ.

    Always,

    Steve

  28. Tom Says:

    i knew this was coming. i didn’t know it was for everyone on earth in a relatively short period of intense suffering.

    So live your life to the fullest as long as you can – not by consuming and spending all your time in revelry, nor working feverishly day and night, but with a balance of activity as situations dictate. Don’t drown in despair or drop out (to borrow an old Leary term). Go on doing what you’re doing – do it the best that you can.

  29. Jean Says:

    Meanwhile, as we speculate about who’s credible, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (who believes those guys!?)reports that Arctic sea ice is currently melting at the astonishing rate of up to 57,900 square miles PER DAY(!),and the National Weather Service (another pack of liars) tells us that we’re at the front end of at least a year without a single below normal 3 month average temperature area ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY! Above normal predictions abound, particularly in the Arctic! As a farmer, Iv’e been following these predictions for years and have never seen the like. This year will change a lot of minds, but as Guy says, it’s too late. The tipping points have tipped, and that’s that.

    However, instead of grieving, I’m coming to realize that the end of life on earth is probably no more tragic than the inevitable end of our own lives. It’s been a fabulously great run! To have lived at all is an immense gift which we have been privileged to experience and for which I’m immensely grateful. Also, I’m a great believer in infinity, and the great likelihood that life exists elsewhere in the universe, and so may it always be.

  30. James S Says:

    Strange how we take on the values of our culture without even knowing it. If it really is “game over” then what does it matter if you choose hedonism or otherwise? Those preaching against hedonism seem to have taken on the idea that there is a final judgement awaiting them. And stranger still, that the Judge will care if they kept their nose to the grindstone while the world burned.

    Personally, I find it hard to believe that life is that fragile. In Chernobyl, it’s amazing how much nature has rebounded once humans got out of the way. Yet there are so many scaremongers in the doomer crowd that are worried about all the nuclear power plants that will fail in the future. Some say that failing nuclear power plants after peak oil will kill us all off.

    I’m starting to wonder if all of this doom is just an expression of “thanatos”: a death wish because our culture has gotten so ugly and rotten at its core.

  31. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    Vicki Lipski,
    You said:
    You’re a reluctant quitter, aren’t you? You’ve given up, but just don’t know how to walk away.
    . . .
    Perhaps, just perhaps, you have been tested and found wanting. And that’s why you can’t walk away.

    I spent a little bit of time looking at your website (assuming that the link on your name is a site which you write). I’m curious what experience and/or training you have as a librarian which makes you more qualified to judge climate science than Guy, who IS a climate scientist. I’m not criticizing librarians – lord knows I have a deep love of all things book – but when I’m considering sources, I figure someone in the profession is going to be more knowledgeable than someone who isn’t.

    I realize that you don’t criticize his science directly with your comment, rather you address his personal character. But, in actuality, it’s the content of his essay that you’re criticizing. He’s done nothing but present a summary of the most recent data available. As a scientist, he then shares his opinion on the implications of that data.

    Guy certainly doesn’t need me to defend him, but I’m curious: do you have data which refutes his assessment? If so, please share it. In fact Guy requested the same thing in the essay above:
    As always, I’m open to alternative views — in fact, I’m begging for them, considering the gravity of this particular situation — but the supporting evidence will have to be extraordinary. By the way, irrationally invoking Al Gore doesn’t count as evidence. Ditto for unsubstantiated rumors about global cooling. A small dose of critical thinking might be required, rather than the ability to repeat lines touted by neo-conservatives and their owners in the fossil-fuel industries.

    If you don’t have any refuting data, then how do your efforts at growing a garden in suburbia for the last 8 years compare with Guy’s efforts to build a community with a more durable set of living arrangements – in the desert? Does the outcome of that comparison give you the moral authority to judge him so harshly?

  32. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    James S:
    . . . Yet there are so many scaremongers in the doomer crowd that are worried about all the nuclear power plants that will fail in the future. Some say that failing nuclear power plants after peak oil will kill us all off.

    This has been discussed numerous times here on NBL but my question remains the same and unanswered: what’s the solution? If we assume that just like Japan is doing right now, we find ourselves unable to decommission our nuclear power plants in the interest of economic growth, and we keep using them until the industrial economy collapses, can you explain how we will contain the fallout of 400+ nuclear reactors which have melted down secondary to no more fuel to power the cooling pumps? We keep going round and round on this topic, but no one has yet to answer that question.

    I’m starting to wonder if all of this doom is just an expression of “thanatos”: a death wish because our culture has gotten so ugly and rotten at its core.

    There certainly may be some truth to what you suggest. It’s something I’ve pondered at least a little bit. Unfortunately, there’s all that pesky data and multiple facts which keep cropping up and getting in the way. You know, things like all the data Guy presented above and in numerous other essays about global warming. There’s the fact that 1,000,000,000 humans are not getting enough food now and yet we continue to add the equivalent population of the U.S. every two years. There’s the fact that we live on a finite planet which is reaching its limits in every way, yet every facet of our society is dependent on infinite growth. I could go on . . .

    If I tell a patient that the biopsy and other tests show a terminal cancer and that in my qualified opinion they have less than a year of life left, does that make me a doomer with a death wish? Or does that make me a messenger who isn’t willing to water down the facts?

  33. Yorchichan Says:

    Guy,

    I think I can offer some hope for humanity in the short term and life on earth in the long term. You make the mistake many Americans make in thinking that America is the world. It isn’t. Even if it were true that the grounding of the flights over the USA following 911 caused an increase in temperature of over 1 C, it is poor use of the data to simply extrapolate this to the entire world because clearly the density of flights over the USA will be many times greater than the world average. But if you were to “peruse” the findings (and by the way you were correct the word doesn’t mean what I thought it meant :) ) more carefully you would discover that in fact temperatures following 911 did not increase by over 1 C; what did increase was the difference between maximum daytime temperature and minimum nighttime temperature: daytime temperatures increased and nighttime temperatures decreased.

    Anyway, as you must be aware, you can find studies on the internet to support almost any theory if you look hard enough. For example these dispute the grounding of flights as being even the cause of the increase in temperature difference

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/climatechange/2009/05/911_contrails_study_challenged.html

    “But now a US study by Dr Gang Hong of Texas A&M University has found that DTR variations of 1°C during September aren’t all that unusual and that the change in 2001 was probably attributable to low cloud cover. Elsewhere, a team at Leeds University, working with the Met Office Hadley Centre, ran contrails through its climate models and found that you’d need about 200 times the quantity of flights over America to produce a significant effect on DTR.”

    Why would the release of methane hydrates lead to the extinction of all life on earth? Such releases are thought to have happened many times in the past and yet life is still around. Now I don’t attempt to trivialize the catastrophe a release would be for life or humans, but given releases have even occurred since the evolution of mammals and our tremendous adaptability, isn’t there a slight chance a few humans might survive?

    Thirdly, why do you find it necessary to suggest that anybody critical of your writing is arrogant and ignorant? Why should such a person wish to hide behind internet anonymity? You already know my real name and I’m quite happy to post it along with my full address if anyone has the slightest interest. Being unwilling to listen to other opinions is the height of hubris.

    You have said many times you would give up your life in an instant if it would terminate the industrial economy. This is not particularly impressive and I would hope any caring person with an ounce of courage would do the same. But what real action have you ever taken? Have you blown up any dams or power stations? I doubt it. So don’t be so quick to criticise others who disagree with you.

    You have important things to say and the world is in dire straits but the timescale, while short, is nothing like as short as you suggest. With only six months to go are you still sticking by your forecast of lights out by the end of 2012? It ain’t gonna happen. Making such apocalyptic predictions undermines your credibility.

  34. Robin Datta Says:

    European Jews, as they waited in line for a “shower,” chanted the Shema, the holiest prayer in Judaism?

    This is the first line:
    שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָד

    However, with its reference to “Yisrael” it does not include the goyim.

    My preference is the following modification, in which I have inserted “wa olamot” 
    שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל ו עולםת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָד

  35. Resa Says:

    The REAL Doctor House:

    Regarding your comment to Vicki, asserting that Guy is a REAL climate scientist – where did you find evidence of that? Other than Guy stating such once or twice in his responses.

    Even under Academic History at the University of Arizona, I can find no qualifications for his being a climate scientist. I only find the following:

    B.S. Forest Resources, University of Idaho, 1982
    M.S. Range Science, Texas Tech University, 1984
    Ph.D. Range Science, Texas Tech University, 1987

    The first one falls under Forestry, the second and third under Agricultural Science.

    What are you finding that I’m missing?

    I have a bunch of science degrees as well (actually one more than Guy does), but in no way, shape, or form would I call myself a climate scientist.

    Guy, where do you keep your climate scientist credentials? BTW, I would love to challenge you on some of your data points. But lets settle this credential issue first. My apologies (in advance) IF I have it wrong.

    I will say this, however. I do have to agree with Yorchichan, especially after dealing with family from the old country (in the old tongue) for most of the past month. As they pointed out to me repeatedly, “America is NOT the world.”

    So, Curtis Heretic, who commented above that Michigan lost 80-90% of its tart cherry crop, (yes indeed it did), I’d like to point out that we have a helluva nice tart cherry crop over here, so Americans (and perhaps even the world) may have to tighten their belt a bit when it comes to cherry pies and cherry tarts and cherry jam, but they won’t go completely without, and next year, (weather permitting, of course) those same trees will be well-rested and producing in aces.

    We’re half way through June and average temps (here) are still 3 degrees below normal. So, Curtis, rest assured that Michigan (and Illinois) are NOT the world.

  36. John Day Says:

    Hi Guy,

    May I recommend Nelson, New Zealand, as an open and agreeable, hip and cosmopolitan little spot on the North tip of the South Island of New Zealand?
    Jenny and the kids and I rode our bikes the circumference of the South Island in Jan-March 2006, and liked Nelson about the best. I think you would find enough people interested in your message, and it has a really nice feel.
    That crowd on Zero Hedge is ruthless, patterned after the movie Fight Club, which I never saw. It’s all fairly stylistic, though there are some who are more intelligent, even in a broader way. MsCreant did not bash you. The usual crowd are mostly trying to be “internet tough guys. I watched it since it’s inception in 2007 or 2008. That site has come a looong way. They got some big finding in early 2009 or so, and suddenly they were on top of everything minute-to-minute.
    I had New Zealand in mind as a place to ride out the storm. It didn’t really pan out. The Kiwis don’t often see how bad things are in the world. they are mostly content to be worried about the Chinese and other Asians overrunning them, or at least content to have that s their worry.
    Nelson is a bit hipper than that, good vibe.

  37. Yorchichan Says:

    Thanks Resa, and your comments on cherry crops were hilarious. :)

  38. Victor Says:

    Resa

    Please clarify, if you would. Are you saying that only those with formal credentials in a field can comment with credibility? Are you saying that self-education cannot produce people who, though having no ‘credentials’ in that field, can be considered expert in that field?

    And really – what is a ‘real’ climate expert? Most top climate scientists I know of never received a degree in ‘climate science’, per se, and yet they are considered Climate Scientists. Indeed, there was no such degree offered until only relatively recently. That is why you find most climate scientists today coming from a past in which they found themselves working in a related area and eventually specialised in climate science studies, via self-education. As an example, many became experts over time due to the impact they saw upon their own field of study, and so developed climate expertise to enhance that. Look at James Hansen as an example – he was educated at the University of Iowa, where he obtained a BA in physics and mathematics, an MSc in astronomy and in 1967 a PhD in Physics focusing on cloud formation on Venus. Where are his earth climate credentials? So this is where, I think, Guy has landed most admirably. I might add!

    Surely if you would take the time to observe, you would find that virtually all new areas of science, and this has always been true, start with no formal accreditation and gradually evolve to formal accreditation. In my own field I have worked alongside highly talented professionals who had no degree whatsoever, and credentials or no they were most definitely considered experts in their field, even by those bristling with credentials.

    But I think you are quite aware of these things.

    Therefore, I think you are being a bit unfair to question his credentials in a new field of scientific studies in which expertise is very often attained through self-education than through formal accreditation. And if you will permit me to be most frank with you, I consider your question about his credentials to be little more than a nasty little attempt at discrediting him on his own website, and a thinly-disguised,but not-too-subtle, attempt to increase your own credibility with the accompanying statement that you have more credentials than he.

    You might not have meant it that way, but that is surely how it came across to me.

    In my opinion Guy speaks with every bit the authority of a ‘real’ climate scientist. And I highly respect his opinions (don’t get the bighead, Guy).

  39. Privileged Says:

    I’ve been traveling throughout Europe for over three months and it seems pretty clear to me that it’s part of the global economy. In fact I would bet that at this point it doesn’t even matter if you’re part of the global economy….it’ll find you and if it doesn’t it will destroy what you depend on.

    I don’t agree with everything on this blog but I do find it amusing when we argue about credentials and cherry crops when it’s obvious what’s at risk…everything. You ARE on a planet with a destructive global economy that is hell bent on taking everything down with it…so please…and yes I fly in planes.

  40. Victor Says:

    This leads me back to my question for Victor in your previous post (Ties that Bind). How can we get some feeling for where we are going given the extremes voiced by the supposedly knowledgeable people commenting on our trajectory. Even you have sent mixed signals within the last year or so. What’s it to be, Jeffersonian agronomy, hunting and gathering, or Permian extinction +?

    Michael Irving

    If this expresses the core of your previous question to me, then I would have to come down on the side of Permian extinction event…. ;-)

  41. ed iglehart Says:

    “if we suddenly starting acting like hedonists.”
    IF?

  42. Steven Earl Salmony Says:

    Dear Friends,

    Guy’s presentation, We’re Done, has given rise to what appears to me as the best discussion yet in the NBL blogs. I look forward to what comes next, both from Guy and commenters.

    Thank you to All,

    Steve

    PS: from the Qumran Scrolls: Not one is there who knows the whole tale.

  43. Kathy C Says:

    Anyone who thinks the planet it not seriously warming needs to find an explanation for the following – perhaps some dedicated team of New World Order folks are using blow torches to melt the glaciers????

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/02/09/421825/global-ice-loss-cover-the-entire-united-states-in-one-and-half-feet-of-water/

    “Earth’s glaciers and ice caps outside of the regions of Greenland and Antarctica are shedding about 150 billion tons of ice annually, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.
    The total mass ice loss from Greenland, Antarctica and all Earth’s glaciers and ice caps between 2003 to 2010 was 1,000 cubic miles, about eight times the water volume of Lake Erie.
    “The total amount of ice lost to Earth’s oceans from 2003 to 2010 would cover the entire United States in about 1 and one-half feet of water,” said CU-Boulder physics Professor John Wahr, who helped lead the study….
    The measurements are important because the melting of the world’s glaciers and ice caps, along with Greenland and Antarctica, pose the greatest threat to sea level increases in the future, Wahr said.
    The researchers used satellite measurements from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) to calculate that the world’s glaciers and ice caps lost about 148 billion tons, or about 39 cubic miles of ice annually from 2003 to 2010. The total does not count the mass from individual glacier and ice caps on the fringes of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, which could add up to an additional 80 billion tons.
    “This is the first time anyone has looked at all of the mass loss from all of Earth’s glaciers and ice caps with GRACE,” said Wahr. “The Earth is losing an incredible amount of ice to the oceans annually, and these new results will help us answer important questions in terms of both sea rise and how the planet’s cold regions are responding to global change.”
    … According to the GRACE data, total sea level rise from all land-based ice on Earth including Greenland and Antarctica was roughly 1.5 millimeters per year annually or about 12 millimeters, or one-half inch, from 2003 to 2010, said Wahr. The sea rise amount does include the expansion of water due to warming, which is the second key sea-rise component and is roughly equal to melt totals, he said.”

  44. Kathy C Says:

    Resa, you stated that you have a bunch of science degrees, in fact one more than Guy. I think in the interest of a fair discussion on the matter you should give your full name and list your degrees so we can check your veracity.

    Every time Guy makes a statement about climate change he backs it up with a link which is essentially a footnote. I believe that is the usual practice among scientists to footnote their statements based on the findings of other scientist, which you should know given your multiple science degrees. Please start footnoting your counter claims or linking to your own scientific studies on the matter.

  45. cuntagious Says:

    For a long time now I’ve felt that the adverse effects due to anthropomorphic climate change would occur sooner and with more ferocity than what had been predicted. And thus far I’ve been proven correct. When I was a child I wondered how humans would go extinct. We now have our answer. Well, that is if we don’t annialate ourselves first with nuclear weapons/disaster. Either way the jig is up in the not-so-distant future.

    BTW – the last sentence of your blog entry succintly sums up the state of things.

  46. John Day Says:

    Hornet’s nest with this post…
    This really is like a longer-winded Zero Hedge comments section with the sniping.
    That usually means that the edges of certain core-worldview-assumptions are being trod upon.
    Ad hominem attacks are usually a pretty good indicator of that, and they are about 50% here (though I didn’t tally, so that may be my mistaken perception).
    Since the ice cubes are the thermal buffers of our fair planet, all hell might break loose when their surface area is diminished by around half, which will also reveal all that sun-absorbing dark earth, the double positive feedback thingie…
    Anyway, we are not threatened here, either by Guy’s post or by the thoughts and bristlings of others, so we might all review our core assumptions and do some cross-checking. Plenty of points to cross-check are raised, but they don’t really scratch the surface, do they?

  47. navid Says:

    medicine – “first, do no harm”

    science – “first, try first to disprove”

    “Lions and tigers and bears – oh my!” on a blog ?????

    I’d rather stick with Peer Reviewed Research
    ———————

    Geologic methane seeps along boundaries of Arctic permafrost thaw and melting glaciers

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/pdf/ngeo1480.pdf

    ———–

    Methane game upgrade

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/06/methane-game-upgrade/

    —-

    … the Perils of Extrapolation

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/04/arctic-sea-ice-volume-piomas-prediction-and-the-perils-of-extrapolation/

  48. Robin Datta Says:

    ‘Fer yer’all’s infermashun:

    A variant of the argumentum ad hominem, an informal logical fallacy, is the “credential fallacy”/ “official degree fallacy”:
    but you don’t have enough academic degree

  49. the virgin terry Says:

    just to point out another dubious claim, the 6 degree celsius rise by 2035 figure posted by the iea is predicated on the absurd notion that co2 emissions will continue to steadily rise, not taking into account oil depletion and the fact that oil consumption by 2035 is projected by many credible sources to be less than 1/2 of what it is now.

    so i agree with yorchichan, but i also agree with privileged. the thing i like about this blog is it’s primary focus is on catastrophic runaway agw and the threat it poses to many species, including ours. it seems most ‘doomer’ sites focus more on fossil fuel depletion and economic crash, which to my mind is missing the big picture. yes, the collapse of industrialism is nigh and is going to bring about catastrophic death rates of humans, but slightly longer term, climate change poses the biggest threat. i think humans are probably goners, but many species of the billions now around will probably survive, and after millions of years, gaia may more or less fully recover from this great extinction.

  50. Resa Says:

    Victor:

    It’s interesting that you should counter my questioning of Guy’s credentials with: “And really – what is a ‘real’ climate expert? Most top climate scientists I know of never received a degree in ‘climate science’, per se, and yet they are considered Climate Scientists.”

    It wasn’t all that long ago that you questioned the legitimacy of 49 former employees of NASA, dismissing their voice because they weren’t climate scientists. How exactly did you determine that? Was it because they didn’t have “PhD Climate Scientist” after their name?

    And that’s not the only instance you (and others on this blogsite) have done so.

    So perhaps the difference between your acceptance of Guy as a “real” climate scientist and your quick dismissal of others as not being “real” climate scientists has little to do with credentials and more to do with a difference in opinion, suggesting (as Michael indicated several days ago) a case of dogmatism.

    I pose a legit question. Grassland/rangeland management, ecosystem management, invasive species management are admirable endeavors, but do they make one a “real” climate scientist? An interest in poetry, philosophy, and criminal science are admirable qualities, but do they make one a “real” climate scientist? I may hold several science degrees, but I don’t consider myself a climate scientist. I do work with data, however, and when I compare my data with what Guy purports, I see gaps, which I question. (Don’t worry, I question your “gaps” as well.)

    Citing the opinions and results of others (typically as weblinks from countercurrent websites) doesn’t count. Those websites are by definition, biased.

    As I’ve stated before, I’ve seen substantiation for slight warming. I won’t argue that. What I haven’t seen is substantiation for Guy’s catastrophic warming. In other words, I haven’t seen your fuck factor.

  51. Robin Datta Says:

    Also fer yer’all’s infermashun:

    The Discovery of Global Warming: Climatology as a Profession

    On top of social and perceptual gaps were technical divergences. As one expert remarked in 1961, “The fact that there are so many disciplines involved, as for instance meteorology, oceanography, geography, hydrology, geology and glaciology, plant ecology and vegetation history — to mention only some — has made it impossible to work… with common and well established definitions and methods.” Scientists in different fields might use standards so different, he said, “that comparisons between the results have been hardly possible.”(26)

  52. Kathy C Says:

    Resa, some time back you asserted that most glaciers weren’t melting and that you were sure the NSIDC would support that but you hadn’t checked there lately. I provided a link to the NSIDC on the topic http://nsidc.org/cryosphere/sotc/glacier_balance.html
    Where it said “Because they are so sens itive to temperature fluctuations, glaciers provide clues about the effects of global warming (Oerlemans, J. 2001). The 1991 discovery of the 5,000 year-old “ice man” preserved in a glacier in the European Alps fascinated the world, yet the discovery meant that this glacier had reached a 5,000-year minimum. With few exceptions, glaciers around the world have retreated at unprecedented rates over the last century. Some ice caps, glaciers, and even an ice shelf have disappeared altogether. Many more are retreating so rapidly that they may vanish within decades. Some scientists attribute this retreat to the Industrial Revolution; burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and affects our environment in ways we did not understand before.” This was not a blog, but the very site that you thought would prove you right and instead it proved you wrong. While they are a bit hesitant to address about the cause that doesn’t matter. You were wrong about the retreat of the world’s glaciers. After I quoted that I believe you stayed away for a bit. You are ever long on assertions and ever short on documentation.

  53. Kathy C Says:

    An excellent read by Richard Heinberg on those who would “save” us by geoengineering http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2012-06-20/who-do-you-trust-mother-nature-or-mr-wizard – as if we haven’t meddled enough with our only home.

    Heinberg has to work harder every day at being optimistic that something can be done.

    “Reading the Breakthrough report, one can’t help but think of Captain Ahab and the crew of the ill-fated Pequod. Is planet Earth our Moby Dick? Will we commit collective suicide in the pursuit of economic growth, led ever onward by a Promethean obsession that recognizes no limits or boundaries?

    Fortunately there are other novels, and other myths, to live by.”

    Rio+20 is looking like another failure.

  54. the virgin terry Says:

    here’s a little humorous interlude, with thanks to kathy c. for first introducing us to these australian comics:

  55. Robin Datta Says:

    And agin’ fer yer’all’s infermashun:

    The pot calling the kettle black is an instance of Argumentum Ad Hominem Tu Quoque

  56. Martin Knight Says:

    What is wrong with Robin Datta? He invokes the sophomoric taunt of ad hominem, even though this stale shibboleth is an ad hominem all of its own. And until and unless human beings create a world worth living in we’re all fair game for the cheapest insult. Who can afford the conceit that they’re exempt? No one. Wipe your face in it. Oh, you were a doctor? Too bad. Shit in your breeches and wipe your face in it.

    Or does he rile me because he has done very well out of his academic qualifications, but can afford to disown them now that he is retired? Or is it because he prates endlessly about the “non-initiation of violence,” a phrase he no doubt got from that tiresome hag Ayn Rand, even though he is drawing a fat retirement benefit from the U.S. Navy?

    Or is it simply because he drones on in that emotionally disengaged, autistic way of his about Eastern mysticism, which it is now safe for him to wheel out, but which he didn’t dare bring up while he was safely in the employ of the U.S. Navy, employing Western medicine?

    Sigh. Stand by while they call me a troll. Again.

  57. James Dunlap[ Says:

    Hi All,

    I am new to reading this blog (some pretty interesting essays). I still do not have a solid feel for what the purpose of this blog is nor whether I should take it seriously. But I am enjoying it so far. Now to the part that will let me fill in some of my uncertainty about the blog.

    Guy clearly states that he wishes to be challenged about his facts on this essay. So here goes.

    I claim no great expertise. I am not James Hanse nor Gavin Schmidt. I do have an engineering degree and a good foundation in math and physics. I also have been following the topics of Climate Change and Peak Oil for many years and before that have had a long interest in protecting our environment. So, I am not an enemy. I have, however, found several errors in the above essay and do not think its conclusion is justified by available facts.

    Before I get to my points I would like to state that AGW is most definitely real and has catastrophic implications for mankind in particular and life in general. But…we won’t be dead by 2020 and not by 2035 either.

    Re: the statement in the essay which claims evidence that contrails from aircraft are hiding 1 C of warming. This is incorrect. The linked article refers to measurements that seemed to indicate that temperatures, in the absence of contrails, would be 1 C higher during the daytime and coorespondingly lower at night. The researcher, at that time, came to the conclusion that this meant that contrails were resulting in a NET cooling of the atmosphere. Implying that in the absence of contrails the global temperature would rise. Subsequent research over the last 11 years has definitively determined that contrails result in a VERY small net warming not a cooling. This is due to the their overall impact on cloud formation. Aircraft emissions result in a significant warming effect (CO2 emissions). Google the topic adding in NASA and James Hansen and you will find many items supporting what I have stated.

    Re: The IEA’s forecast (if you follow Peak Oil issues you know to be very careful in placing much faith in IEA statements and figures) of continuing BAU resulting in a 6C warming by 2035. This is NOT what the link says. The IEA forecast discusses 2 different scenarios (which, to me, are both versions of BAU scenarios). One of them results in 3.5C warming and the other 6C warming. But the dates of these respective warming’s are NOT by 2035. What is meant is that following these scenarios out to the year 2035 would result in temperatures eventually rising to the above numbers. Not at 2035 but at equilibrium (which would be several hundred years from now as that is how long it takes to reach equilibrium temperature for any CO2 forcing scenario). So, we may all be dead come 2035 but not due to what is described by that link.

    Re: I follow the topic of methane emissions closely. The link does not align with peer reviewed papers nor scientific descriptions of the issue from noted Climate Scientists. See Real Climate, Skeptical Science, the NOAA ESRL Global Monitoring Division web sites for volumes of hard scientific data, references and in-depth discussions of this topic. In sum, there has been no global spike in methane levels. Just a constant rise. Around the Arctic on land there have been a significant number of documented increases in methane emissions. Also from the East Siberian Arctic Sea for the last couple of years researchers have documented significant plumes of methane emissions. But one must keep in mind that the totals coming from these locations are still an extremely small percentage of the amount it would take to have a meaningful impact on global warming. Not that we won’t eventually end up with giant releases in those regions (as the potential is there) but it is highly unlikely to happen for some time yet. On Real Climate there was an extensive discussion this year on what the impact of very large methane emissions would be on warming and the answer is that it takes a much larger amount than is generally assumed. The author of the link seems to be confusing the simultaneous existence of methane emissions and weather related temperature anomalies as naturally linked. Correlation does not equal causation as they say. His graph of methane emissions cannot be reproduced with the actual data gathered by NOAA. The data is on the ESRL site if you would like to check yourself.

    Regards, Jim

  58. Vicki Lipski Says:

    Hi Dr. House – Dr. McPherson’s science is faultless. My only point is that giving up isn’t allowed. Think it if you like; it’s best kept to yourself. – Best, Vicki

  59. Guy R. McPherson Says:

    Citi’s Willem Buiter joins the large and growing list of people predicting “end-2012 Armageddon a la the Maya.” Here’s hoping those seventy-some people are correct.

    A scientist is an expert in one or more of the sciences. By extension, a climate scientist is an expert in climate science. If you’ll take a quick look at a list of my publications, including refereed journal articles, symposium proceedings, and a book, you’ll be hard-pressed to conclude I’m not a climate scientist. If you prefer ignorance, don’t look. If you prefer the continuing omnicide induced by the age of industry, don’t act. If you prefer ignorance, omnicide, and also making yourself look clever, toss in a few unfounded insults.

  60. Kathy C Says:

    James Dunlap it always helps to read the whole article – on the global dimming link it says
    NARRATOR: And that’s not all. Climatologists like Peter Cox have begun to worry that Global Dimming has led them to underestimate the true power of global warming. They fear that the Earth could be far more vulnerable to greenhouse gases than they had previously thought.

    DR PETER COX: We’ve got two competing effects really, that we’ve got the greenhouse effect, which has tended to warm up the climate. But then we’ve got this other effect that’s much stronger than we thought, which is a cooling effect that comes from particles in the atmosphere. And they’re competing with one another. And we know the climate’s moved to a warmer state by about point six of a degree over the last hundred years. So the whole thing’s moved this way. If it turns out that the cooling is stronger than we thought then the warming also is a lot stronger than we thought, and that means the climate’s more sensitive to carbon dioxide than we originally thought, and it means our models may be under sensitive to carbon dioxide.

    NARRATOR: The models that everyone has been using to forecast climate change predict a maximum warming of 5 degrees by the end of the century. But Cox and his colleagues now fear those models may be wrong. Temperatures could rise twice as fast as they previously thought with irreversible damage just twenty-five years away.

    When they first discovered dimming they couldn’t make sense of it because the world was warming and it should be cooling. Then the horrible light bulb. The world would be warmer already if it weren’t for dimming. What’s more the particulate that causes it drops out of the air quickly.

    This is why certain scientists have schemes to increase global dimming to counteract warming. They mean well but we have messed with the planet enough and things keep having unexpected consequences. But the suggestions indicate that they know dimming is holding back warming.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_dimming#Possible_use_to_mitigate_global_warming

    Some scientists have suggested using aerosols to stave off the effects of global warming as an emergency geoengineering measure.[47] In 1974, Mikhail Budyko suggested that if global warming became a problem, the planet could be cooled by burning sulfur in the stratosphere, which would create a haze.[48][49] An increase in planetary albedo of just 0.5 percent is sufficient to halve the effect of a CO2 doubling.[50]

    The simplest solution would be to simply emit more sulfates, which would end up in troposphere – the lowest part of the atmosphere. If this were done, Earth would still face many problems, such as:

    Using sulfates causes environmental problems such as acid rain[51]
    Using carbon black causes human health problems[51]
    Dimming causes ecological problems such as changes in evaporation and rainfall patterns[51]
    Droughts and/or increased rainfall cause problems for agriculture[51]
    Aerosol has a relatively short lifetime
    The solution actually advocated is transporting sulfates into the next higher layer of the atmosphere – stratosphere. Aerosols in the stratosphere last years instead of weeks – so only a relatively smaller (though still large) amount of sulfate emissions would be necessary, and side effects would be less. This would require developing an efficient way to transport large amounts of gases into stratosphere, many of which have been proposed [1] though none are known to be effective or economically viable.

    In a blog post, Gavin Schmidt stated that “Ideas that we should increase aerosol emissions to counteract global warming have been described as a ‘Faustian bargain’ because that would imply an ever increasing amount of emissions in order to match the accumulated greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, with ever increasing monetary and health costs.”[52]

  61. Vicki Lipski Says:

    Hi Guy –

    I guess I asked for that. Dr. House is correct, I got way too personal. My apologies for those unwarranted and undeserved remarks.

    Best,
    Vicki

  62. Resa Says:

    Kathy C:

    My exact glacier quote back in March was: “There’s lots of glacier data available on the NSIDC site as well. I haven’t had a chance to go through it all, but it appears that the Antarctica ones have increased in size, most of the European ones have decreased, and ironically, the US ones are split 2:3 between increasing and decreasing.”

    Where you get that I “asserted that most glaciers weren’t melting” (your words, not mine) I’m not sure. Nothing about my original statement states that.

  63. Robin Datta Says:

    I have not read Ayn Rand, and I did not retire from the Navy. And science does not conflict with non-dualism. Attacking the messenger to discredit the message is precisely the argument of ad hominem.

  64. the virgin terry Says:

    the thing i love most about this blog is it’s appropriate and thus highly unusually persistent focus on the ecocidal evil that is industrialism, the grave danger it presents to survival for most species (i’m being intentionally conservative here). i love the degree of alienation and indignation found here, the fear, anger, grief, and despair. the carpe diem spirit that results. this is a spiritual home for scientifically literate and engaged minds who recognize in surreality an utter absence of sentimentality and dependability. we recognize that shit happens all the time that no one can predict or prevent. we recognize we’re biological beings caught up in an integral and intricate web of life that can’t be torn asunder without harm to ourselves. we know that our wishes are worthless without actions, that prayers aren’t answered (except by sheer luck sometimes), and nature is our boss, not vice versa. we know nature’s about to terminate us most likely, if we don’t do it to ourselves in the meantime. we know the outlook is grim. there’s no shying away, no denial.

    we know we live in a culture of ignorance and delusion, deceit and coercion. we know that there’s no hope of stopping or significantly lessening the utter foolishness of the culture at large. the only thing that can and will bring it (us) to our knees, and perhaps our graves as well, is the ‘wrath’ of mother nature, and the surreality of rather suddenly finding ourselves immersed in collapse chaos. living in a world of scarce resources and desperate masses and gaia only knows how much violence and war, starvation and privation.

    we know that at least in the short term, all is not lost, and there are actions we can take to improve our own future prospects. that’s a large part of the conversation here. it’s not all gloom and doom.

    in the spirit of carpe diem, we emphasize indulging ourselves in whatever brings pleasure and happiness. some of that gets shared here.

    in light of all this positive life affirming ‘doomerism’, a bit of dogmatic pessimism is easily overlooked. perhaps for some it serves as inspiration, focus on the surreality at hand. there’s nothing like the threat of imminent demise. perhaps there’s genius in guy’s madness.

  65. Resa Says:

    Guy:

    I have gone through your publication listing. I have read your last book. I have read several of your articles. You have plenty to substantiate your academic research in range, fire, invasive species, and semi-arid management. Much of it extremely interesing, I might add. I have no dispute with that. But I’m harder pressed to find items to substantiate your claim to being a climate scientist based on the definition that climatologists study climate trends over the long term. I see you quoting the results/opinions/weblinks of others. I don’t see conclusions based on individual research.

    However, I did find the following via a Google search: “Climate scientists also make recommendations as to changes humans can make so that we positively affect our climate and therefore our very survival.” That you indeed do, so based on that statement, yes, you’re a climate scientist.

  66. navid Says:

    the virgin terry Says:
    June 21st, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Excellent commentary – you have a way with words.

  67. Michael Irving Says:

    Resa,

    You should not be so smug about out temperatures. We (Washington, Oregon, and also Southern British Columbia) are the only parts of North America that are below normal. Everyone else is cooking.

    Michael Irving

  68. Curtis A, Heretic Says:

    Resa,

    I know Illinois and Michigan are not the center of the universe. My point, which I should not have to explain, was that a crop loss reduces the size of the total pie. If enough weather anomalies occur, then we can have food shortages. We see numbers often enough to know we are on the edge as far as food per person goes.

    Have you listened to Guy’s presentations? Do you question the validity, honesty, or accuracy of what he is saying?
    I think we are here to help each other stay informed and to exchange what might be good ideas. We are, I hope, not here to score points on each other. If you think he is misrepresenting himself or others, or just plain nuts, then don’t waste your time here.

  69. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    With respect to food shortages and the U.S. not being the center of the universe: food shortages are already happening in many places around the globe.

    This talk about if we have bad weather we’ll have food shortages, while true, is too late. South Sudan is experiencing near famine conditions right now. North Korea has been in a famine for decades. Those are both due to war/politics, but they certainly aren’t alone. The U.N. FAO estimates that 850 million people are undernourished as of 2008.

    While I agree that we are one bad harvest away from mass starvation in the developed world, it’s helpful to remember that for many, that’s already a reality.

    To add to what Curtis posted, as the U.S. (specifically the plains states) is one of the largest exporters of a variety of grains and other foodstuffs, if we have failure of a major crop here in the U.S., then the effect will be much more profound and widespread than it would be if, say, Portugal had a crop failure.

  70. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    tvt, hugs to you too, buddy :-)

  71. the virgin terry Says:

    navid and tsdh, thanks for making me smile. terry kath and the band ‘chicago’ had a way with music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enzhOIzpdx0

  72. Gary Hurd Says:

    I have nearly finished writing a rebuttal to Guy’s blog item. Perversely, he is wrong because he is too optimistic. In 25 words: Soon, over 200,000,000 people will be forced to migrate. People unwilling or unable to accommodate them will resist. Slaughter follows. Humans have already survived worse.

    (Regarding the trivial credential debate some of you have indulged in- I only needed one doctorate, more seemed like failing the first time).

    Keep watching;

    http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/

  73. Yorchichan Says:

    Cutis A Herectic

    Guy does misrepresent facts all the time. Read carefully through this blog again and you will see it is indisputable. Then when an error is pointed out we never get an apology or retraction from him.

    If dissenting voices are not allowed I suggest Guy moderates all posts or makes his website members only.

    Without the alternative points of view I am concerned that vulnerable people reading the blog will make life changing decisions they later regret based on misinformation. I write from personal experience.

  74. Michael Irving Says:

    Navid,

    Thank you for the links, especially the Allen, Frame, Huntington, et.al. from realclimate.org.

    Michael Irving

  75. Robin Datta Says:

    Persons, when they have a choice, see what they want to see / are accustomed to see / are trained to see. Even eminent authorities in the hard sciences put their own english on the facts. In something as fuzzy as climate, population, ecology or natural resources, the “facts” from different quarters vary widely, as may the facts one selects and how they are interpreted.

    Some enthusiastic doomsayers attain a cult following – until the predicted date passes. But one can usually spot the reluctant doomsayers by the sadness in the tone of their pronouncements. They too can be wrong, but in such cases there may be enough of an undercurrent of truth in their understanding  to give it some value. Separating the wheat from the chaff depends one one’s threshing skills. 

  76. Michael Irving Says:

    Victor,

    My response morphed into more than a page so I’m starting over:

    See Navid’s post at 9:41am.
    Link #1—Dr. Anthony—Methane leaks are extensive.
    Link #2—Dr. Archer—Yes, but not compared to the total CO2 load, and lot all at once. Instead release extends over centuries.

    Guy’s post
    Link #3—IEA—We’re headed to 6°C—Here’s what you can do to protect your energy business.
    Link #4—Dr. Light—Total extinction planet wide by 2050 unless we do massive geo-engineering starting right now!

    Numerous google links
    #5—Bill Gates—Geo-engineering? Count me in!

  77. Robin Datta Says:

    One explanation for the Fermi paradox

    It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself

    See also: Doomsday argument
    This is the argument that technological civilizations may usually or invariably destroy themselves before or shortly after developing radio or space flight technology. Possible means of annihilation include nuclear war, biological warfare or accidental contamination, climate change, nanotechnological catastrophe, ill-advised physics experiments,[Note 4] a badly programmed super-intelligence, or a Malthusian catastrophe after the deterioration of a planet’s ecosphere. This general theme is explored both in fiction and in mainstream scientific theorizing.[46] Indeed, there are probabilistic arguments which suggest that human extinction may occur sooner rather than later. In 1966 Sagan and Shklovskii suggested that technological civilizations will either tend to destroy themselves within a century of developing interstellar communicative capability or master their self-destructive tendencies and survive for billion-year timescales.[47] Self-annihilation may also be viewed in terms of thermodynamics: insofar as life is an ordered system that can sustain itself against the tendency to disorder, the “external transmission” or interstellar communicative phase may be the point at which the system becomes unstable and self-destructs.[48]

    From a Darwinian perspective, self-destruction would be an ironic outcome of evolutionary success. The evolutionary psychology that developed during the competition for scarce resources over the course of human evolution has left the species subject to aggressive, instinctual drives. These compel humanity to consume resources, extend longevity, and to reproduce—in part, the very motives that led to the development of technological society. It seems likely that intelligent extraterrestrial life would evolve in a similar fashion and thus face the same possibility of self-destruction. And yet, to provide a good answer to Fermi’s Question, self-destruction by technological species would have to be a near universal occurrence.

    This argument does not require the civilization to entirely self-destruct, only to become once again non-technological. In other ways it could persist and even thrive according to evolutionary standards, which postulate producing offspring as the sole goal of life—not “progress”, be it in terms of technology or even intelligence.

  78. OZ man Says:

    For all those posters, and contributors, I’d like to offer some insight as to what is going wrong here, and on other related posts.
    When I write wrong, I mean the a somewhat degenerating cycle of continual resort to disputes about qualifications, data links, and what is the truest source of factual information about the climate science.

    I wrote a lengthy contribution to another of Guy’s articles, The Cost of Affluence, and my entry ran 3 months after all other correspondence had ceased. Some of what I wrote was a bit speculative and intended as abit of a spoof on social networking etc.
    However, I launched into belief, as a topic that I feel is very relevent to the matters discussed at hand. No comments so far.

    So I would like to expand on this area a little to clarify what I feel is missing in a lot of discussion, especially when we have some of what I term, Chicken Little syndrome.

    Humans are all in various stages of maturity, and we all need to appreciate that others are going to be interpreting ‘the world’, according to thier point of view, (POV).

    I have been impressed over my life by a very simple definition of this range of maturity which I will attempt to succinctly outline now. Hopefully this may add to the understanding of what is to be done if and when very rapid onset of death occurs for many beings here on the Earth.
    For the purposes of this entry there are three stages of human life. Infancy/Childhood, Adolescence, and Adulthood.
    Some simple details first.
    We all start as infants and progress to adulthood via adolescence.
    No one can circumvent adolescence, it is a go-through phase, not a go around.
    Now more complex details.
    The primary emotion of childhood is joy, and anyone who has witnessed a child with teeming happiness at play will never forget it.
    When threatened a child’s response is fear, and in general it is family’s role, and by extension a community’s role, to protect children from real dangers both physical and emothiooal. Trying to reassure a frightful child, whether it be a real danger, or a perceived one, often makes little difference. The adult projects safe circumstances for the child. The fear passes.
    To a large extent childhoods that are relatively ‘safe’ are what we wish for.
    Adequate food and shelter, family care and community involvement give childhood the basics. Every family, and society have customs and rituals, many emanating from a religous discipline, but others not.
    A child generally adapts and conforms to these ways of life and incorporates them into their own identity. That loading up of conditioning goes along until adolescence.
    Adolescence is a new phase because the child, already adjusted,(well or otherwise) to these family, community and broard cultural codes, moves into adjusting to their own peer group. Attempting to find ones place in the family is a childhood concern.
    Attempting to find one’s place in one’s peer-group is the characteristic of adolescent growth. As this process unfolds, a thriving adolescent shows no fear, to varying degrees, and in some sense the drive to use a well grown, fit and versatile body drives many young males to extremes. Howerver, the role of fear as a limitation is largly gone if the adolescent is well adjusted.
    So the characteristic emotion of adolescence is passion. A central aspect of this passion is romantic and relational. This phase is also characterised by partnering and erotic love.
    When challenged the primary emotion of the adolescent is anger/defiance.
    When an adolescent is required to habitually continue to behave as a child by family and culture, the anger, hate and defiance can be evident.
    The outmoded child ‘clothes’, or adaptations, no longer are of use, and are actually cripling sometimes. So adolescents attempt to redefine themselves in a wider, and more often diverse peergroup, and are sensitive to managing the zones where family and peergroup overlap, as there is potential for embarrassing conflict there. Adolescent boys will not let themselves be seen in public with their mothers!
    In terms of global beliefs a child mostly adapts to the defaults in their close environment, of family and community. There is a lot of diversity in the modern world in this regard. Some children are raised in a family of very singular beliefs, others are more cosmopolitan. When adolescents move beyond the family they encounter new and often challenging beliefs.

    The primary developmental task for the adolescent is to establish indepedence, in a psychological sense, from the mother culture of birth. That may be attributing a lot to this stage, however, when we look back a the prehistory of our Hunter/Gatherer ancients, the rites of passage were given at this stage and often were based on survival. For example, Australian Aboriginal cultures,( over 200), had rituals called ‘walkabout'; a term loosely meaning that an initiate would be required to travel alone over ancestral country, survive off the food in that country, finding water, and visiting required sacred sites. The duration varied, however, the purpose was manyfold, but self sufficency as we define it was one aspect. Becoming sensitive and aquainted with ancestral dreaming was also important.
    Modern societies place educational requiremants on adolescents, and these are somewhat warped into the deemed need to provide an occupational livelihood within the diverse industrial complex.

    However, the adolescent is not without challenges that can cause them to respond with fear, or to regress to the child stage. The pressure to conform to the dominant local codes and social beliefs in a peer group are at this stage everpresent.
    The great taboo in peerbound social intercourse is to show fear. This is a sign of lack of strength, of character and thus resolve. Witness animals butting heads to prove their reliability to a mate, and to display social position. So fear is a taboo emotion, because psychologically it is the root emotion of the child’s identy under challenge.
    In a broard social sense, the 1960’s and 1970’s in Western European societies was a sign that adolescence was upon us. No longer did many in that generation wish to do as previous one’s had, neither to fight unjust resource wars in another country, Korea, Vietnam, nor adopt idealised middle class values of material opulence as a reward for financial servitude.
    The defiance and rebellion were signs that the attempts to steer that generation back to childish obedience was over, (not for good though).

    The issue of beliefs is crucial for this phase of life because the inner drive is to find ones own beliefs, as distint and often in contradiction, to the prevailing beliefs of one’s family and culture.

    The adolescent may reject those beliefs and aspects of identity that make up the child identity. And in the counterculture movemant we witness that assertion, Make Love not War. And many then correctly saw war as a preoccupation of empire, something Guy has emphasised a lot in his articles and general thesis about the maladaptive nature of Empire.

    So the adolescent is motivated in varying degrees, to question established authority. We ephasise in our modern educational rhetoric that a high achieving college or university student is characterised by the capicity to think laterally, and Science has its creedo of being sceptical of everything.
    Herein lies the differentiation that developed, scientific empire cultures have made. The childhood beliefs, many postulationg an animate universe, have variously challenged that belief and largely discarded it, replacing it with Science.
    I characterise that as an attempt to find Truth for the adolescent mind. The dominant religious and anamistic traditions of the preindustrial world, although not completely gone,( witness the modern use of the term ‘Spirit’ to communicate a non-denominational animate force),have given way to the paradigm of materialist Scientism, that defines reality as everything quantifiable to the senses, and their extentions, (measuring instruments), unable to account for consciousness itself, except as a byproduct consequence of matter.

    These two adolescent historical responses to the new world of industrialisation appear contradictory. On the one hand we have the industrialisation of agcriculture and work, fuelled by the rise of Science as a ‘proving’of materialism. Most of Western European culture adapted to this, but a generation came along that saw clearly what was being sacrificed in that ‘progress’.
    The movement of travellers to Eastern societies like India and Nepal,where Hinduism and Bhudism still dominated the culture, brought back to the West the primacy of spiritual reality, which was now missing.
    Joseph Campbell, as a world renowned comparitive anthropologists and sociologists,(are those his actual credentials?), wrote and spoke about earlieir stages of human societies, well before the madern era. One thing he emphasised about the adolescent phase was that it was painfull, and has the possibility for very disruptive behaviour. Consequently H/G societies could not afford, neither economically nor psychologically, to let adolescence go on too long.
    The rituals for boy and girls were usualy different, mainly because for girls the phase was signalled by the onset of menstruation, and sexual fertility. I have read that when boys as a cohort were displaying defiance and disruption, the older men would gather them and go off to bring the ritual to a head and offer the rites. (Obviously there was a lot of diversity the world over.)
    The challenge to one’s belief system is necessary and unavoidable, in the adolescent phase. In part this is a saftey valve in a stable H/G society, so that rituals and ways of life are challenged and have to reset themselves to potentially changing conditions in the world and in the culture. No adolescent head butting, and there may be too stable a social matrix and survival stratergies may not change.

    However, the point that Campbell made was that it is not healthy to reside too long in adolescence. The reason is because generally one of two things will happen.
    Firstly, if the individual or group loses the drive to develope further, from confused belief systems, then the risk is they will regress and adopt the ways of the child, and readapt to the dominant beliefs and codes of that phase. In a modern person that can be a time of loss of independence and taking the well proffered materialist road of ego consolation, via a vast web of having and getting., which ultimatelt many come to realise is unfulfilling.
    The second response can be to overemphasise the rebellion, and defy authority altogether. The 1970’s produced a large number of people who opted out for this reason. The Watergate and other political scandles, involving the willful disclaiming of secret intellegence organisations that serve the elites propelled a significant number to reject these authorities and seek a better life in comunes, or other countries. Witness the modern positioning of the ‘Terrorist’, as a spectre of total social anarchy. The Terrorist: the universl Fear bringer. Collectively, the communicating industrialised world is at the stage of adolescence. Many people do not see haw to move neyond this, or if they have not understood the problems as I have attempted to define them here, they know the dire problems the dominant way of life is producing- Wars for our way of life, starvation for poored peaples, environmental devastation, first the air,trees,rivers,land,oceans and now climate, loss of species, radioactive long lived toxins… the list is longThis site that Guy has put up and the people who contribute to it demonstrates the magnitude of the challenge humanity faces.
    Initially, i wrote that there are three stages of human life. The last is perhaps the least well understood. The Adult phase.
    I write this because it is not defined by age, it is defined by maturity.Not education and credentials. Very educated people made this world to the point it is today, but would a mature Native Innuit, Australian Aboriginie, Native Amazoian or anyone who sees the world as a part of oneself design and unleash a Nuclear Weopon? (I ask you!)
    In order to cook dinner now for my family I will pick up on the Adult phase of life in my next posting later tonight.

  79. Kathy C Says:

    Global Extinction within one Human Lifetime as a Result of a Spreading Atmospheric Arctic Methane Heat wave and Surface Firestorm

    Abstract

    Although the sudden high rate Arctic methane increase at Svalbard in late 2010 data set applies to only a short time interval, similar sudden methane concentration peaks also occur at Barrow point and the effects of a major methane build-up has been observed using all the major scientific observation systems. Giant fountains/torches/plumes of methane entering the atmosphere up to 1 km across have been seen on the East Siberian Shelf. This methane eruption data is so consistent and aerially extensive that when combined with methane gas warming potentials, Permian extinction event temperatures and methane lifetime data it paints a frightening picture of the beginning of the now uncontrollable global warming induced destabilization of the subsea Arctic methane hydrates on the shelf and slope which started in late 2010. This process of methane release will accelerate exponentially, release huge quantities of methane into the atmosphere and lead to the demise of all life on earth before the middle of this century.

    http://arctic-news.blogspot.co.nz/p/global-extinction-within-one-human.html

  80. Robin Datta Says:

    The forming – or malforming – of the adult:
    The Bomb in the Brain

  81. Kathy C Says:

    Resa again from the link I provided at the NSDIC “With few exceptions, glaciers around the world have retreated at unprecedented rates over the last century.”

    Please provide a link to substantiate you claim that ” but it appears that the Antarctica ones have increased in size, most of the European ones have decreased, and ironically, the US ones are split 2:3 between increasing and decreasing.”

    With few exceptions does not translate into 2:3 in my understanding of the English language. If you don’t have the time to research your claims and provide some proof don’t say it.

    Again from USGS “In addition to these three glaciers, more than 99 percent of America’s thousands of large glaciers have long documented records of an overall shrinkage as climate warms,” said USGS scientist Bruce Molnia.”

    http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2277#.T-Q7chdYuCM

  82. Robin Datta Says:

    Kathy C: if the methane situation is indeed so dire, we are cooked.

  83. Kathy C Says:

    Robin, cooked and done both. Good time to be old.

  84. ed iglehart Says:

    “”Don’t speak to me of shortage. My world is vast
    And has more than enough — for no more than enough.
    There is a shortage of nothing, save will and wisdom;
    But there is a longage of people.

    “Hubris — that was the Greeks’ word for what ails you.
    Pride fueled the pyres of tragedy
    Which died (some say) with Shakespeare.
    O, incredible delusion! That potency should have no limits!
    `We believe no evil ’til the evil`s done’ —
    Witness the deserts’ march across the earth,
    Spawned and nourished by men who whine, ‘Abnormal weather.’
    Nearly as absurd as crying, ‘Abnormal universe!’ . . .
    But I suppose you’ll be saying that, next.”

    Ravish capacity: reap consequences.
    Man claims the first a duty and calls what follows Tragedy…”

    http://tipiglen.co.uk/capacity.html

  85. Steven Earl Salmony Says:

    Perhaps we are dealing with a collective failure of perception within the human community that is resulting in an inadequate reality orientation to the world we inhabit as well as to the ‘placement’ of the human species within the order of living things. Not nearly enough people see that there can be no sensibly functioning global economy without the natural resources and ecosystem services only the Earth can provide. No living Earth, no human economy.

    There are no substitutes for certain vital resources and environmental stabilization mechanisms of the Earth. Geo-engineering of the Earth and its ecology, as a way of trying to protect and preserve what is being degraded and destroyed on our watch, could be a monumental fool’s errand.

  86. Kathy C Says:

    Meanwhile back at Fukushima http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/06/radiation-level-in-sub-drain-of-reactor2-increased-10-times-after-typhoon04/

    Radiation level in sub-drain of reactor 2 increased 10 times after typhoon
    Posted by Mochizuki on June 21st, 2012

    After the typhoon, cesium level in sub-drain of reactor2 was increased 10 times higher than usual.

    Tepco comments rain washed radiation to flow into the sub-drain.

  87. navid Says:

    TVT –

    Thank you for bringing ‘Chicago’ into our loop. MEWWT and I smile, hearing that first line of the song (mewwt = eyes-well-with-tears, i think i just made that up).

    Here is one for you (I just grabbed the first link that came up, there may be better versions available):

    —–

    Michael Irving – you are more than welcome.

  88. navid Says:

    Arctic climate more vulnerable than thought, maybe linked to Antarctic ice-sheet behavior

    First analyses of the longest sediment core ever collected on land in the terrestrial Arctic, published this week in Science, provide documentation that intense warm intervals, warmer than scientists thought possible, occurred there over the past 2.8 million years…

    “The exceptional climate warmings in the Arctic and the obvious interhemispheric interdependencies were not known before our studies”, the Co-Chief scientists summarize.

    “The data are of global significance, taking strong indications for an ongoing collapse of ice shelves around the Antarctic Peninsula and margins of the West Antarctica Ice Sheet and its potential acceleration in the near future – in this respect the past could be the key to the future”.

    http://phys.org/news/2012-06-arctic-climate-vulnerable-thought-linked.html

    ————–

    OT

    I just received a letter from a great-great-great… grandchild I have not yet had, dated Dec 10, 47012.

    I am still trying to decipher and understand it (their grammar is atrocious ;)), but it sounds like some of us made it through this bottleneck.

    If I manage to translate the letter, I’ll pass it on here at NBL.

  89. OZ man Says:

    Robin Datta
    Malforming … I take your point. No one developes in a vacuum. No culture comes from nowhere, and many of us do not get much of a beginning.

    I do not equate Adulthood with perfection. ‘Socialisation’ may simply mean conformity without understanding, or conformity under duress. A capitulation to power.
    For example, some people in their working situation need almost constant supervision. Some need occasional supervision, while others need no supervision. With the exception of critical public interest tasks, a person needing no supervision is a sign of responsibility and maturity. At the other end of the spectrum is the person who needs regular superfision. This indicates no intrinsic motivation even though the socialisation is aparently adequite and ‘normal’.

    Psychologicaly an adult has come through the challenges of adolescence. An individual does not need to display teltale signs and evidence of the codified attributes of seniority and authority in society to be truly an adult. I am speaking of the outward signs of engagement in ‘adult concerns'; such as entering an occupation,(payed or otherwise), acquiring property, with a morgage, reproducing and raising children, and a somewhat bewildering but nevertheless dominant practice of accumulating capital and wealth.

    The merely socialised adult, or maladaptive adult, having encountered the dominant codes of a culture, unconsciously knows the pathways to power in the world. For many, power is just the only option, because they are positioned , by a belief system that is ego-bound and not connected to an infinate sourse of energy.

    The gift of child is the self awareness that they are connected to an infinite source of energy. A child living from birth in deprivation and famine, for example, quickly falls into acute suffering and acute distress. That real circumstance notwithstanding, a healthy child free from duress knows the world as a free place. Although we tend to characterise childhood as a nieve idylic time of carefreeness, and joy, I associate that not with an illusory immaturity. I think it is real.

    An aspect of the child mind is surrendered when adolescence is reached. Some beliefs are shattered,(Santa Cluas, ‘Magic’, and the Bogyman). However, the willingness of children to believe these supernatural processes and their personifications is not an incorrect assessment of the way the world works, or is comprised. The adolescent relinquishes some of that way of existing, in order to grow other necessary faculties, like rationality, and engagement in the world of actions and consequences. Sometimes these contradict.

    Issac Asimove wrote that the first concrete demonstration of the power of Science, and its ‘priests’, was in 17th Century Europe with the use of lightening rods in tall church spires to divert the explosive lightening to earth. He argues that if the god of Christianity was destroying his own shrines of worship, the church and its priests had no answer for it. The scientists had a superior understanding of the problem. Ordinary, uneducated people, who were in the majority, saw the results. Evidence and belief contradicted, but led to a mounting paradigm shift, with the Scientific Revolution.

    I think this example is a good one because it in itself does not disprove an animate universe. It merely provides a potent argument in favour of rationalism and reason as a way of seeing the world mechanics.
    Joseph Campbell, along with others argues that ‘The West’ begun an experiment that had as a goal to build up the functions of reason and rationality, but, going to the extreme, we just didn’t estimate the grave long term cost it would entail.

    To go back to the characteristics of functioning as an Adult, I feel we do not have very many examples of real people today who can really display the attributes of Adult maturity.
    That is a bit harsh, but I stand by it. Psychologically the main emotion of the adult is Love. I do not mean the popular culture dichotomy that divides love and hate as opposites. Here I mean the mature connectedness with all things, and all beings. Love in this sense brings receptivity, and openness, as well as strength and resilliance. it is the spiritual wellspring that reconnects the adult to an infinite source of energy.(I will not attempt to ‘prove’ this assertion.)

    In the previous entry I mentioned the segment I wrote before under Guy’s essay on The cost of Affluence; I wrote of ‘Belief':

    “I never advise people; Don’t believe what you read in the papers/hear or see on the TV/ see on the web; I advise them to reflect regularly on what they have believed up till now, and why.

    When voluntarily entered into, deconstucting one’s belief system is usually only a necessary component of esoteric and authentic spiritual practice. Usually it is too hard and requires too much self honesty, and hard research. One needs to have a strong motivation to even attempt it.

    Witness a whole generation of Woody Allen and MIA Farrow types, and their resort to Analysis. When you have the ‘Obewan Effect’ of the blind being led by the relatively blind, then true self awareness, and the freedom and authenticity of self knowlegde falls by the wayside as an objective and is substituted with superficial reinternalisations of ordinary character shortcomings, with some medication, and perhaps some well meaning, empathetic Giggy-Gigg from the therapist.

    If one doesn’t start off very intelligent, by one’s own rekonning, the committed inquirer will(still) end up knowing oneself, and freeing oneself from the habit of desiring to believe at all. That is not a path to dispair. Dispair is no longer knowing what to believe, and therefore, how to live, what to DO.

    This stage is still located in belief.”

    Apologies for the long self quoting, howerver, I wish to tie up my assertions here, and it does revolve around what we believe and why.

    Believing is not a characteristic of Adulthood. Believing resides in the social self only. A child can be convinced of anything, with the aid of a trusted advocate. Mum, Dad, older sibling. Trust in the source is enough to convince a child initially. For the adolescent more corroberating evidence is needed. Rational evedence and reasonable logical debate are enough to make an adolescent believe something, but only if the disenting views are discredited, or prove unfounded.

    An adult no longer truly acts from belief, but from understanding. I am not refering to accumulated experience alone. In essence the Adult will not believe anything. The Adult sees the world as it is, and when circumstances are such that a situation, at a distance or at hand is unclear, there is no resort to belief, but an acknowledgment of the lack of enough understanding on a matter. That is not denial or scepticism, for they reside in the rebuttal of evidence that contradicts an uninspected belief.
    I propose that the adult has developed the four basic human functions of mind, those being Sensation, Thinking, Feeling and Intuition. The first two are the strongest developed in the modern West, and the latter are generally marginalised and even doubted by Scientism as even existing.
    The adult has developed and stabilised all of these functions, and therefore, is not wedded to any of them. That brings the individual directly into relationship with all of the factors in their environment, animate and inanimate.
    That stage of adulthood is really a beginning of another series of phases of growth, usually called Mystical or Esoteric or Spiritual. However, beyond Adolescence and the beliefs held therueupto, the clear emmergence of understanding as a direct relational path obviates the recourse to belief.
    I wish to summerise using the Chicken Little analogy aluded to in the previous post.
    Chicken little was hit on the head by an acorn while walking in the forest. Chicken little then rushed to tell the king and encountered many other farmyard animals, while screaming, “the sky is falling, the sky is falling” raising alarm. Nobody had never seeen a piece of the sky before, so all the others were convinced in turn and went along. Then they encountered Foxy Loxy who heard their concern and Chicken little’s evidence, and led them to his den and there they met thier doom.
    Here is one version: http://eleaston.com/chicken.html.

    The farmyard animals are like children, and are persuaded to panic by some very unclear evidence. Foxy Loxy is the, let’s say, selfish adolescent, and takes advantage of their fear and trust, it being clear that the sky was not falling,(but it may have still been falling). The King is presumably an adult, and does not appear, or get to arbitrate.

    I suggest that fear, and defiance are not a mature response to the threats of global warming and the other major problems for us all.
    If we run the worst case scenario, BAU, and there is little to support that happenning, continual growth in a finite planet and all that, then we enter into a stage of life decline not seen before.
    Indivduals will react differently according to their POV. I am fully aware of the consequences of the passing of human and other life forms from the planet.
    I suggest that an adult will respond not with fear, not with anger,rebellion and confusion, but with love. I am not talking Kum by ya. I am talking the acceptence of Death. It will come to us all.

    As sociologists have pointed out for some time, the main consolation to an individual when contemplating death is that when they die they leave progeny behind, so there is some continuity, of sorts. I doubt how much that really does apply, but many think so.
    Adults accept death, even though we all do not want to go quietly into the night. We will only come through these challenging and unique times if we choose love.
    If there is fear and anger in our response to this global mess, and I have a lot of those particular feeling myself, then one must be honest, but remain sensitive, and seek situations of clarity.

    To conclude, I want to choose a recent fictional literary example to illustrate POV and maturity is what is required from us.

    I read Cormac McCarthy’s blistering novel ‘The Road’. Many people I spoke to said it was the most depressing novel, and film, they had read in a long time, and didn’t see anything so great in it. I am aware of that POV, and it is obvious that the world devastation depicted, with the actual causes still rather unclear, are extremely bleak.
    The story I found riveting is the relationship of the Man and the Boy. The extrordinary situation requires an extrordinary love to be the binding thread. I was as overwhelmed by the Man’s love for his Boy. Even though there are difficulties between them, like the way they respond to strangers and weapons, the heart of the story was a great love.
    I don’t discount the world context, but I declair that we have little actual control over the Machine of industrial world culture now. We can do our own thing, we can collectivise and demand it all stop ASAP.
    Even if we got a lot of that happening very quickly, then as Guy has pointed out population overshoot has been there for several centuries, and is therefore unstoppable.

    I suggest we be honest with ourselves as it comes, and strive to choose Love as a way of acting in the face of certain death.
    That advice works well too for ordinary relations also. We have never really known how long we will live.

    Beliefs, evidence, and atribution of sources are important, but to me it has always been how we live life that is equally important.
    There is a subtler universe of being ‘out there’, that our industrialised rational machine does acknowledge.

  90. OZ man Says:

    Sorry, that last sentence should have read;
    “There is a subtler universe of being ‘out there’, that our industrialised rational machine does not presently acknowledge.”

  91. OZ man Says:

    And too many spelling errors, lol.

  92. Michael Irving Says:

    the virgin terry @6:22
    well said

    michael irving

  93. Michael Irving Says:

    Kathy C,

    RE: Death in one lifetime

    To refute that read Navid’s link

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/06/methane-game-upgrade/

    It states that there is a methane release but it is small (relatively) and what is more while very large amounts of methane are trapped under the permafrost cap and will be released it will happen over a span of “a few centuries” rather than as one huge burst of methane forming a long tail of methane release into the future that will be problematic but not biosphere ending.

    Two climate scientists, different timelines. You may be able to sort that out in one reading but I cannot.

    Michael Irving

  94. jaime lopez Says:

    >Do you remember the movie The Miracle Worker? Helen Keller’s brother confronts Annie Sullivan, demanding to know why she keeps trying to “reach” Helen, when she is so obviously unreachable. Sullivan furiosly responds that giving up is beyond being unacceptable, an act which she describes as the original sin.

    Well, you don’t know the story of the commie Helen Keller, the one not approved by MSM.

    After Sullivan died, Helen was cared by a Scottish nurse named Polly Thompson, who used her to travel around the world. Helen eventually became completely dependent upon Polly.

    Unfortunately Helen had the bad sense of outliving Polly, although the latter was much younger.

    After Polly’s death, helen returned to the state before she met Sullivan, and spent the last few years of her life in complete darkness and silence , forgotten by virtually everyone, including the descendants of her half-brothers you had mentioned.

    Did you know that many – not all, certainly, but many – European Jews, as they waited in line for a “shower,” chanted the Shema, the holiest prayer in Judaism? That prayer is an affirmation of the unity of God, in which they still believed, even as they waited on the doorstep of death.

  95. jaime lopez Says:

    I forgot to answer about the Shema part. What I can say is they didn’t know their fate, and blindly held on to non-existent hope to their last moment.

  96. Kathy C Says:

    Michael, in the article you linked to it says that Methane only stays in the atmosphere a short time, but it fails to mention that it is a much more powerful greenhouse gas per wiki on methane “Methane in the Earth’s atmosphere is an important greenhouse gas with a global warming potential of 25 compared to CO2 over a 100-year period (although accepted figures probably represents an underestimate[29]). This means that a methane emission will have 25 times the effect on temperature of a carbon dioxide emission of the same mass over the following 100 years. Methane has a large effect for a brief period (a net lifetime of 8.4 years in the atmosphere), whereas carbon dioxide has a small effect for a long period (over 100 years).”

    It says the author took to the skies over Alaska, but if that is the only place she went she missed the methane plumes recently found in Siberia “Earlier we found torch-like structures like this but they were only tens of metres in diameter. This is the first time that we’ve found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures more than 1,000 metres in diameter. It’s amazing,” Dr Semiletov said.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/vast-methane-plumes-seen-in-arctic-ocean-as-sea-ice-retreats-6276278.html

  97. Kathy C Says:

    So Michael I raise you one with http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2012/03/rebuttal-imminent-collapse-of-arctic.html
    snip below in response to an article on Real Climate by David Archer
    Article by: Peter Wadhams Sc.D. is Professor of Ocean Physics at the University of Cambridge in the UK. He is an oceanographer and glaciologist involved in polar oceanographic and sea ice research and concerned with climate change processes in the polar regions He leads the Polar Ocean Physics group studying the effects of global warming on sea ice, icebergs and the polar oceans. This involves work in the Arctic and Antarctic from nuclear submarines, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), icebreakers, aircraft and drifting ice camps. He has led over 40 polar field expeditions. His full background is available here: University of Cambridge DAMTP:

    “Ira Leifer – methane specialist at the Marine Science Institute at Univ. of Calif – Santa Barbara – describes the mechanics of a “runaway” methane feedback:
    “A runaway feedback effect would be where methane comes out of the ocean into the atmosphere leading to warming, leading to warmer oceans and more methane coming out, causing an accelerated rate of warming in what one could describe as a runaway train.” (9)
    Given that this “train” would be one way and feed upon itself in a way that might well be unstoppable by humanity, it would seem to be a classic case where the precautionary principle should immediately be invoked. When Archer dismisses the legitimate concern that conditions in the Arctic are approaching a potentially catastrophic tipping point, he is deflecting away a vitally important perspective that needs to be communicated to the world’s policymakers. I strongly urge Archer to re-consider his position.”

  98. Laura Mae Says:

    The climate change happens too slowly for most of the inhabitants to percieve the bio feed back message to ‘Stop’ the fossil fuel usage.

    The message of climate change has been promoted too long with out most inhabitants ‘seeing’ anything in their own everyday lives, that now it sounds like a ‘Boy who cried Wolf’ story. Right or wrong, ‘Seeing is Believing’ and is just going to be too late when it comes to climate change.

    Here’s a group that has been working on a better civilization since the ‘great depression’….research indicates that our ‘Vulture Capitalism Culture’ breeds individuals that do not understand the consequences of their own actions and are self-destructive as a response to the culture they have been raised in.

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/shiftshapers/2012/05/30/venus-project-new-culture-new-economy-for-people-planet

    The Venus Project – a new Cultural new Economy – Plan for society to live w/o money see the movie ‘Paradise or Oblivion’

    http://www.thevenusproject.com/

    Some days I get to feeling discouraged. I shake it off when I remind myself to follow my heart and do what ever I can, no matter what anyone else is doing and no matter if the end of world is nye…I resolve to do my very best to support my children and any of our friends, in never fully ‘plugging in’ to the empire in the first place. For what ever time we have left, we will keep marching on to this goal, come what may.

  99. Michael Irving Says:

    Kathy C,

    Elsewhere in the article the author factors in the much greater greenhouse effect of methane vs. carbon dioxide. Also he neither discounts that or the overall amount of trapped methane. Nor does he say that the methane does not represent a problem. Nor does he say that we are in for a pleasant ride.

    None of that is the point. The point is that various scientist are presenting us with conflicting scenarios about the near term climate of earth. One group is stating unequivocally that there is nothing we can do (short of intense geo-engineering) to save us from complete, utter, total mass extinction of all life on earth within 45+/- years. The other group is saying conditions will be crap but not biosphere ending.

    From the article: “Arctic methane, and all that frozen soil carbon, could easily play a huge role, not so much in the near-term evolution of Earth’s climate, but in the long tail of the global warming climate event.”

    Again, one scientist is saying that methane releases are biosphere ending in less than 4 decades and the other is talking about methane releases having a significant impact on climate over a long period of time (a few centuries).

    Holy smoke Kathy, to remain in control of the situation, to continue BAU until the planet is ruined, TPTB do not even need to refute any of the arguments being made by the scientific community. All they have to say is, “Just listen to these scientists. They have NO idea what is going on. If you believe them then I have a bridge I am willing to sell you at a good price.”

    Michael Irving

  100. Michael Irving Says:

    Kathy C,

    I did not refresh before I posted and do not have time just now. I will get back to it later.

    Michael Irving


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  5. […] originally on the Guy McPherson Blog on Wed, Jun 20, […]

  6. […] chaos is only a small part of the big story, though it is among the phenomena poised to cause our extinction within a single human generation. In addition to triggering climate chaos, we’ve initiated the Sixth Great Extinction, and we […]

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  8. […] methane is escaping from the areas of permafrost in North America and Siberia at a rate that will bring an end to all life by 2026 or so.   The calculation of this date comes from a paper by Malcolm Light that seems both scientific and […]

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