Collapse as a marathon: Take your best shot

Five years ago I predicted this omnicidal set of living arrangements would be done by the end of this year. In the intervening period, the following individuals have made predictions consistent with complete collapse of the world’s industrial economy: James Howard Kunstler, Niall Ferguson, Michael Ruppert, “Rice Farmer,” Karl Denninger, Rob Viglione, Gerald Celente, Jeff Rubin, Matt Savinar, Catherine Austin Fitts, Max Keiser , Jim Willie, Graham Summers, Charles Munger, Gonzalo Lira, Peter Schiff, John P. Hussman, Doug Casey, Jan Lundberg, Chris Hedges, Michael Snyder, Kenneth Deffeyes, Matt Simmons (deceased), Bill Bonner, Paul Craig Roberts, Marc Faber, James Wesley Rawles, Tony Robbins, Nouriel Roubini, “Tyler Durden” (the collection of analysts and writers at Zero Hedge), James Kwak, Simon Johnson, Chris Clugston, John Taylor, Bob Janjuah, Samsam Bakhtiari, Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy, Bob Chapman, George Ure, Anthony Fry, Igor Panarin, Mac Slavo, G. Edward Griffin, Joseph Meyer, Harry Dent, Lindsey Williams, Richard Russell, Harley Bassman, Niño Becerra, Martin Weiss, Stephanie Jasky, Eric deCarbonnel, Richard Mogey, Robin Landry, Robert Prechter, Pamela and Mary Anne Aden, Paul Farrell, Nassim Taleb, Gilbert Mercier, Chris Duane, John Williams, Hugh Hendry, Arthur Laffer, Daryll Robert Schoon, Jeff Gundlach, Byron King, Simon Black, Albert Bates, Gordon T. Long, Clyde Prestowitz, Bill Deagle, John Lohman, Alessio Rastani, Mark Grant, Ann Barnhardt , Christopher Greene, George Soros, Bill Clinton, and Willem Buiter.

It’s small consolation to have such abundant and varied company. American Empire didn’t fall. Neither did the Eurozone. We haven’t hit Dow 4,000 (hence capitulation of the stock markets). Hyperinflation hasn’t kicked in. Sadly, I’m still hacking away, and you’re still reading online.

Maybe next year. Here’s hoping.

This post is a gift to all those folks cheering for industrial civilization to keep on keeping on. To keep destroying every aspect of the living planet. It seems you’ve found what you’re looking for, in the spirit of the three Chinese curses, so feel free to point out I’m incorrect. Again. I’m done with predictions involving timing. And we’re done, too, in the very near future, with particular thanks to continuation of the industrialized economy. We’ve locked in near-term human extinction. First to go: those of us living in the interior of a continent in the northern hemisphere.

Same-day update: I’m featured in this week’s version of OWS Week. It’s embedded below.


_________________

The essays about motivated reasoning will remain open to commentary for another couple of days. During that time, I’ll be traveling.

Comments 204

  • Guy

    Do you concede that you may be wrong about the far more complex issue of near term human extinction too? I’ll concede that you may be correct, but still think it highly unlikely.

  • All the evidence supports Guy’s position, there’s no evidence to support your position, Yorchichan, it’s just your opinion.

    https://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/12/15/1329841/report-humanity-has-overshot-the-earths-biocapacity/

    Humans can continue to degrade the planet for a long time yet, but every day the damage is worse. That can only lead to one inevitable conclusion.

  • Yorchichan, we’ve triggered eight positive feedbacks, seven of which — acting alone — lead to near-term human extinction. Abundant evidence points toward near-term human extinction. Each of the positive feedbacks was triggered within the last four years. Had economic collapse been complete in 2009, as seemed likely at the time, our species probably would have persisted at least another couple generations.

  • Yorchichan,

    Preventing Guy’s NTE scenario requires something big enough to break the upward growth in anthropogenic carbon emissions, drive them into rapid and dramatic decline, and rapidly cool the planet enough to restore the Arctic sea ice to early 1980’s extent and thickness.

    Only three things might be able to do that:

    1) asteroid impact (impossible within the needed time frame)
    2) eruption of a supervolcano within the next few years.
    3) nuclear war

  • What’s amazing to me, is how few–only four–atmospheric sampling stations are in all of the Arctic. Only two are in-situ. There is only one surface flask observatory in all of Russia! Add to this the socio-economic reasons for distorting any evidence of a massive methane spike, and I wonder if we will ever see, reliable data about methane levels in the Arctic again.

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/dv/iadv/index.php?code=SPO

  • That graph goes to 2005 ? It’s 2012 ?
    Motivated reasoning will clutch at straws.

  • According to this essay, it’s not a fiscal cliff. Rather, it’s descent into lawlessness.

  • It just doesn’t make sense to me that anyone (or groups) would cover up this methane story. I mean, if you are on the sinking ship and can’t get off, what would be your motive (or advantage) in trying to cover it up? This is what I don’t understand.

  • ====> This has nothing to do with the current post, but is a question about the previous “virtual conference” posts. I was about to respond to comments directed towards me, but realized that the post had been closed to comments.

    It seems that one of the virtues of a blog/conference is that it can be unstuck in time as much as it is in space. Whereas I can apprehend that a real, live conference has to end Sunday at 4:00 p.m. for logistical reasons, I seem to have missed the closing deadline here, for what it is worth. Greg seems to have promised quite a lot from these sessions (descriptions filled with what “will” come out of them, what “will” be analyzed, and so forth) and, as much as one might dismiss these particular lines of inquiry, it certainly does not help to have the dialog cut short. Most blogs I have come across leave comment threads open, even for years.

    ============
    Anyway, to keep it brief, I would like to respond at least in passing to OzMan’s long, thought-out comment: I am aware of “transitional objects” and think that he’s not entirely wrong to connect that concept to “motivational reasoning”. What’s clear is that there is a failure of modern humanity to Grow Up, in other words. The Native Americans who cautiously took decisions based on the outcome for the Seventh Generation have been forced to give way to the man-babies with sideways baseball caps derided by James Howard Kunstler.

    I don’t understand Greg Robie’s backhanded compliments by which he alternately grovels before me (I have apparently not only emasculated him, but beheaded him!) and then patronizingly seeks to explain away my spontaneous and non-personal criticisms as my lashing out at him for having made poopie* in my refuge (Guy’s blog) — *this is Greg’s metaphor.

    I just call ’em as I see ’em. Guy’s blog interests me, but is not my refuge (there is no refuge). Over the last couple of months since I discovered NBL, I suffered through many sociopathic comments by certain parties who now seem to be officially unwelcome in order to read sincere comments by the likes of BCNurseProf, Daniel, Kathy C, uvufgl, etc. (sorry if I get anyone’s handle wrong).

    I have been on a long journey of study to get to where I am and Guy’s blog is a waystation, certainly. One of the ultimate waystations, you might say: a place people go when there is nothing left to do or to say, but they need to keep talking, or listening.

    My situation is particular in that I have just recently started caring for my mom, 81, who is dying of a fatal lung disease (I will spell it out to avoid the jargon/acronym; it’s Ideopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis). Neither she nor I wants extraordinary measures for her, but she’s on O2 24/7 (not deemed an extraordinary measure). We’re at that point where there isn’t really much more left to do or to say, except to say goodbye–a goodbye that could last a few months or a few years, it’s unclear. It’s nauseating to witness the doctor’s inquiries about “depression” (“what do you look forward to?”), and we both dread the required upcoming appointment with the “Spiritual Counselor” (I have the luxury of being able to absent myself). If the doctor or the Spiritual Counselor asked me what I looked forward to, they would get an earful… For some reason, it appears to be deemed unnatural for dying old people to be depressed, btw.

    So I take some comfort (not refuge) in Kathy C’s repeated offering to the effect that no-one will die who wasn’t already going to die. That does make viewing the passing of the world less painful, so thanks, Kathy C.

    Anyway, to get back to the place you go when there’s nothing more to do or to say: that’s the Hospice. Hospice, interestingly, DOES want you to do things (O2) and say things (Spiritual Counselor). And right here at Guy’s place, though we know the world is “on hospice”, we are exhorted to do things and to say things!

    I think this is a curious parallel and one that I am going to work through over the coming days and weeks.

  • Kathy C: The number of outages as more than doubled in the last 20 years. The stress on the system from overuse as temps rise will increase. The damage to the system from storms will increase. And our congress allocates funds to highways and bridges. Increasing blackouts was what Richard Duncan of Olduvai theory fame said would happen as we headed back down the stone age.

    One of the side effects of the push for all healthcare records in the U.S. to be electronic is that when the power goes out, so does healthcare. Even though we have battery backup for all of our systems, they only last few an hour at best. When they go out, then we can’t make appointments, print prescriptions, see patients’ medical records, order tests, nothing. Even though I still have my education and medical knowledge, if I can’t access a patient’s chart to see what medications he or she is on, and then can’t write a prescription (I no longer have rx pads – we just print them out when we need them), there’s not much I can do. If a power outage lasts very long, then healthcare becomes one more casualty of a collapsing system.

  • Bailey: It just doesn’t make sense to me that anyone (or groups) would cover up this methane story. I mean, if you are on the sinking ship and can’t get off, what would be your motive (or advantage) in trying to cover it up? This is what I don’t understand.

    There are several reasons I can think of. Chief among them is denial. Most people are in denial about what’s happening. Even those who are well educated and well informed are in denial. Of those who accept the numbers, many think that technology will save us. The path toward NTE, which the methane numbers make much more likely, leads to chaos and destruction of our dream state world. The path toward salvation by technology is much more orderly and pleasant. Solution: don’t release the data.

  • Lidia, thanks for the comparison between hospice and Guy’s blog. I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but I guess it’s quite valid. The world is on hospice.

  • I agree with Dr. House. Denial, even among the well educated and the elites, seems to be the main reason for inaction. A close friend of mine lives next door to a climatologist at the University of Miami. When he recently asked his neighbor about methane, the climatologist was astounded. He said that in his experience no one outside of the scientific circles who deal with climate/ecological issues had any awareness about the methane crises. He also said that they can’t get any of the politicians to listen to them.

    It’s psychologically easier to posit some grand conspiracy behind the wall of ignorance and delusion because it implies that someone is in control. Chaos and blindness are more unsettling. I don’t think that anyone is in control, or at least not in control enough to change the course of this civilization. Our species is headed off a cliff because of the stupid choices we collectively made (or allowed to be made for us). Although some brainy wack jobs in places like the Pentagon have dreamt up Dr. Strangelovian survival plans (such as limited nuclear war, or underground cities in Antartica), at the end of the day these are all just paper napkin fantasies that will never come to fruition. When the long slide into oblivion picks up speed, Bill Gates, et al., will be swept up in the death drive along with the rest of the unwashed peasants.

  • The REAL Dr. House: ” we can’t make appointments, print prescriptions, see patients’ medical records, order tests, nothing.”

    My family got great care under the UHC (Universal Health Care) regime in Italy while we lived there, although it happened that I came upon a receptionist/administrator who lamented the lack of toner in his printer. Since the State/Region or what-have-you hadn’t seen fit to deliver him the needed toner, he just kept PRINTING OUT PRESCRIPTION LABELS THAT WERE UNREADABLE. Because, hey, he was just paid to print the labels out, NOT to assure that they were readable!

    At the same time as the State was attempting to digitize everything, it was still the case that (unlike in the US) patients were always given their charts/results to cart around to the next doctor/appointment (always a sound practice, actually, IMO).

    ===
    I remember my sister telling me, several years ago, about a power outage in LA. She was shopping at some mall, and without electronic backup the clerk *could not* make the sale: UNABLE to calculate the sales tax or the giving-change aspect of the transaction. My sister quickly figured the totals, but the clerk refused payment until the “system” was back on line to process it. So my sister left the merchandise on the counter unsold.

  • During this time of the year when double layered make believe prevails, it’s comforting to know that there are some people somewhere who are at least trying to see.

  • Regarding: “…it’s not a fiscal cliff. Rather, it’s descent into lawlessness.”

    Shallow views. Got 9/11 wrong and thinks PROSPERITY and GROWTH are the answer.

    We are so addicted to the cheap and plentiful energy. “There is nothing we won’t believe and do to keep the addiction going”. (That’s a Dr. Phil quote, by the way) The world would rather deny and die than go into rehab. How many in this group really want to be personally responsible for all their food, clothing and shelter? You know, like all the other mammels on the earth. That would require us to recycle our waste, like all the other mammels on earth. Who wants to do that?

    My daughter saw “Chasing Ice” last weekend. She was very impressed. Is a believer now. She sees that the earth will heat up without its cooling system. Anyone who drives a car knows that.

  • Bailey, LOTS of things are covered up or just not talked about in the news
    The methane time bomb possibility is known. Its also called the clathrate gun hypothesis. Google either term. I learned about it about 6 years ago when I read the book When Life Nearly Died which posited that such an event might be part of the end Permian-Extinction. You can also google “rising methane in the arctic” to see that in fact this is something scientists know about.

    But for example if you lived near a nuclear power plant that had some serious vulnerability don’t you think you should know? Not according to the NRA. Thus it takes a whistle blower to let you the public know. Even then it is not front page news – you learn these things by being interested in the subject and doing your own research once you hear some tidbit
    In a letter submitted Friday afternoon to internal investigators at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a whistleblower engineer within the agency accused regulators of deliberately covering up information relating to the vulnerability of U.S. nuclear power facilities that sit downstream from large dams and reservoirs.

    The letter also accuses the agency of failing to act to correct these vulnerabilities despite being aware of the risks for years.

    These charges were echoed in separate conversations with another risk engineer inside the agency who suggested that the vulnerability at one plant in particular — the three-reactor Oconee Nuclear Station near Seneca, S.C. — put it at risk of a flood and subsequent systems failure, should an upstream dam completely fail, that would be similar to the tsunami that hobbled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in Japan last year. That event caused multiple reactor meltdowns.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/14/flood-threat-nuclear-plants-nrc_n_1885598.html
    Last summer when Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant was flooded, the flood was the big news, but the worry behind the scenes was that upstream dams might break. Each dam that might break would then put added water against the next dam creating a cascade of dam failures that would have created our own Fukushima.
    There is strong pressure on the mass media and/or voluntary cooperation to keep many things out of the news or play them down, back page them etc.

  • Lidia, having volunteered for 10 years with Hospice in 3 different cities I can tell you that various Hospices are better or worse at what they do. My father was put on Hopsice 7 years ago and 4 years latter he was off because he had failed to die. His wife is the main reason for that. One could wish for no better caregiver than her in one’s last years. Although she is 25 years younger than him, I fear that she will now not last as long as he does.

    But to the point, when he went on Hospice he had to option to take or not take various services. They did not opt for the spiritual counselor or social worker or volunteer, only the nurse visits. If you find some aspect of Hospice to not be helpful, ask if you can NOT use that service. I suspect that you have that option.

  • From deadly cold in Russia, floods in Britain and balmy conditions that have residents in southwest France rummaging for their bathing suits, the weather has gone haywire across Europe in the days leading up to Christmas.
    http://www.terradaily.com/reports/White_Christmas_for_Moscow_while_south_Europe_sweats_999.html

  • Fer yer cognisance:

    Dr. Jeff Masters’ WunderBlog
    The top ten weather stories of 2012

  • dairymandave : How many in this group really want to be personally responsible for all their food, clothing and shelter? You know, like all the other mammels on the earth. That would require us to recycle our waste, like all the other mammels on earth.

    The other mammals don’t ‘recycle their waste’, other organisms do it for them, as part of the ecology. Each species has it’s particular characteristics, we, as primates, have ours. We were never ‘personally responsible for all our food, clothing and shelter’, we lived in groups, where we cooperated, and devised many different approaches to solving the problems of survival, from living in caves to living on boats to following herds of animals.

    We actually had excellent systems that provided everything that we needed, for example, throughout Europe, self-contained peasant villages, which grew crops like flax to make linen, for weavers to make into cloth, for tailors to make into clothes, where everybody had a skill, trade, a livelihood, a place in the community, with a rich cultural life. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but in places like Estonia it lasted for more than three thousand years, with examples where it actually enriched the ecology, examples of the highest density of plant species on Earth, actually in a manmade environment.
    It all got wrecked, by industrialisation, by urbanisation, by lust for power, imperialism, and the discovery of coal and oil, by the idea that things could be ‘improved’ by making farming ‘more efficient’…. hubris and the myth of progress, which has lead to total catastrophe for everyone…

    Theoretically, we could redesign our systems and have excellent elegant lives in communities which provided us with all our food, clothing and shelter. Jeff Vail did some fascinating work on that years ago, which he called ‘envisioning a hamlet economy’ and his rhizome theory, in the days when we dreamers still thought there was a chance humans would see sense and do something to avert oncoming extinction. Sadly, it has turned out that we proved to be unduly optimistic.

    http://www.jeffvail.net/2006/04/envisioning-hamlet-economy-topology-of.html

  • Hey everyone: all the best to you during the holidays (and beyond) – please enjoy and cherish the time we have left!

    Turboguy: i saw a response to that (crazy) idea you ended your comment with that goes like this. What we need is a teacher in every gun shop!

    Kathy C and Lidia: i’m at a similar place with a younger cousin dying of starvation because he’s allergic to food and meds among a vast array of other things. He’s been suffering with this for 30 years as it progressively got worse and now he’s backed into a corner. Hospice wanted to provide him with a feeding tube, which he refused and they were going to transfer him to a hospital. His brother intervened and read them the riot act and now he’s just waiting to die. He hasn’t eaten anything in 39 days now and looks like an Aushwitz victim – gaunt, sunken, weak – skin and bones. He just wants it to be over. i visited with him yesterday and, while a football game was on in the background we laughed and talked about food, which he really misses. He’s in constant pain (especially his gut) and relayed that one of his nurses visited with him the night before and commented that “you shouldn’t be here” (in the sense that she’s never seen anyone last that long without food). His mind is still sharp, he has great memories but is looking forward to death.

    Quick check on Bayou-Corne:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Kp8-sKja6A&list=FLHE92x768p8h-fMrqhsnE1Q&index=1

  • Some while back dairymandave asked what to say to a neighbour about record low temperatures in Russia and Siberia, as a result if global warming.

    I think that is easy to answer. Increasing CO2 wrecks the climate system and feedback loops, as Guy has mentioned, kick in, so the weather becomes chaotic, with unusual extremes becoming increasingly more frequent. Melting of Arctic ice has wrecked the jet stream, so its oscillations are amplified.

    Anybody remember this ancient paper by Donella Meadows ?

    A positive feedback loop is self-reinforcing. The more it works, the more it gains power to work some more.

    The more people catch the flu, the more they infect other people. The more babies are born, the more people grow up to have babies. The more money you have in the bank, the more interest you earn, the more money you have in the bank. The more the soil erodes, the less vegetation it can support, the fewer roots and leaves to soften rain and runoff, the more soil erodes. The more high-energy neutrons in the critical mass, the more they knock into nuclei and generate more.

    Positive feedback loops drive growth, explosion, erosion, and collapse in systems. A system with an unchecked positive loop ultimately will destroy itself. That’s why there are so few of them.

    Usually a negative loop kicks in sooner or later. The epidemic runs out of infectable people—or people take increasingly strong steps to avoid being infected. The death rate rises to equal the birth rate—or people see the consequences of unchecked population growth and have fewer babies. The soil erodes away to bedrock, and after a million years the bedrock crumbles into new soil—or people put up check dams and plant trees.

    In those examples, the first outcome is what happens if the positive loop runs its course, the second is what happens if there’s an intervention to reduce its power.

    The most interesting behavior that rapidly turning positive loops can trigger is chaos. This wild, unpredictable, unreplicable, and yet bounded behavior happens when a system starts changing much, much faster than its negative loops can react to it.

    http://www.developerdotstar.com/mag/articles/places_intervene_system.html

  • michele/montreal:

    and from the article at the beginning of this thread, WOW!, what a boy’s club!: James Howard Kunstler, Niall Ferguson, Michael Ruppert, “Rice Farmer,”…

    It IS interesting that nearly all the experts who claimed “global financial collapse/complete collapse of the world’s industrial economy” were guys. Boy’s club indeed!

  • ulvfugl; I agree but most of my neighbors wouldn’t understand any of that. So why try?

    I might try the idea of the polar caps being the cooling system of the earth, similar to their car’s antifreeze. Most people understand that.

    My mother is in a “home” @95 and we visited her the other day during their christmas party. Santa was there doing his usual Ho, Ho, Ho thing. This is what people really believe in, I think. Something for nothing.

  • Yeah folks, I have personally been well aware of the methane situation for a couple of years. I guess I am one of those people that is in denial about people in denial. Climatologists have to know about this, and for the life of me, I cannot understand why they aren’t organizing marches on Washington. What good is your career, reputation, funding etc. if you know you are going to be bending over and kissing your ass goodbye soon? Even the so called Union of Concerned Scientists do not have anything on this..
    http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/

    I am one of those people who have gone through life with my eyes taped wide open, and I don’t get the denial thing – unless you are one who can benefit from denial without said circumstance effecting you and your’s personally. The cognitive dissonance of the human race astounds me. Now if I can just find my crashed space ship so that I can return to my home planet.

  • The reason the Boy’s Club’s prediction of complete collapse of world’s industrial economy by 2012 did not come to pass is that the Club’s perspective proceeded from (at least) three flawed assumptions.

    First, the Club assumed that politicians would do nothing to intervene in a financial crisis and just “let the Market decide”. In fact, they intervened with a vengence. For better or worse, said intervention broke the back of the financial panic, which stabilized the global financial system (albeit precariously).

    Second, the Club assumed that businessmen, fundamentally, are all vicious people, suspicious of everyone, and thus eagerly waiting to stab both their customers/clients and their business partners in the back at the first opportunity to make an extra buck (such as during a financial panic). In fact, business operates on the basis of contracts, a high degree of mutual trust, and ability to flexibly respond to the needs of the situtation at hand. And so, the widespread use of long-term contracts for energy supplies cushioned the effect of wild price fluctuations in the spot markets. The existence of mutual trust between businessmen, and between businessmen and customers/clients, led to flexibility in enforcement of contractual obligations (timing and amounts of deliveries, payment schedules, etc). Together, these behaviors prevented a deep economic recession (depression in some countries) from turning into economic collapse.

    Third, the Club assumed that the public at large, fundamentally, is composed of individuals who by nature, will act solely in their own narrow self-interest and tear each other apart to try to get whatever they can for themselves in a free-for-all the moment the opportunity presents itself (such as during a financial panic). The fact that that largely did not happen, of course, further stabilized the world financial and economic system between 2008 today. Moreover, the fact that that largely did not happen speaks volumes about the veracity of this view of human nature.

    Those are the main reasons why the Club predictions were so wildly off, I think. In passing, I should also mention that many of the Club’s members are “goldbugs” and are heavily invested in the precious metals and precious stones markets. Given that, perhaps it would be wise to consider the possibility that the Club may have had a vested interest in encouraging financial panic and economic collapse, as a possible reason for the intensity and shrillness of their public pronouncements.

  • Arthur; Yes, money can be created, bailouts given, contracts and laws can be made, more energy can be fracked or steamed to prod things along.

    The latest fear, however, is food. None of these tricks will work with food. However, the number of eaters could be reduced. Or the quality of what is eaten could be lowered. Or less could be exported so someone else starves. Less ethanol produced. Less waste.

  • Tom, I wish your cousin a speedy end to his suffering.
    Even Hospice personnel can be in a bit of denial at times. I had one patient who wanted me to massage her legs, so I did. I mentioned this to Hospice and they got upset and said that could cause a clot to go to her heart. Duh? You mean horrors she might die before 6 mos are up?

    In another case a woman had to put her father in the hospital finally – he had Congestive Heart Failure. The Dr. prescribe pain medication of x to y quantity. She asked the nurses to give the largest dose he prescribed. A nurse accused her of trying to kill her father.

    People so often are forced to suffer because others can’t deal with death. They are willing for others to live in pain so they don’t have to face the fact that we are mortals.

    Oh well
    Christmas day and no special dinner planned, no family around, no gifts to unwrap. Maybe I will make the merry christmas phone calls to family later in the day – maybe not. PEACE blessed Peace from the craziness. :)

  • Arthur, what you outlined is exactly related to the point which I made (and why I never expected the collapse then). I.e., the world is an interconnected, interdependent industrial parasite colony which operates as a giant safety net (regardless of surface ideological differences). Think of group of meth users and ask how important their personal ideologies are!

    This is why I say that all ‘soft issues’ can be averted and ‘shock absorbed.’ However, the ‘Hard issues’ related to environmental collapse, food and water shortages, peak oil, coastal destruction, etc, etc. will ultimately bring the economy and Empire down. Though I cheer for it daily, I do not expect it as soon as many here do. I have been hearing (and cheering) for collapse for decades now, and it never happens.

  • dairymandave2003,

    None of these were “tricks”, in a morally odious sense. They were all aspects of the global economic and financial system that allowed it to respond to a financial and economic crisis with enough flexibility to prevent collapse. The Club missed it because their view of reality was too rigid. Moreover, their view of human nature, of what a human being is, was and still is, fundamentally flawed. Their view of how business actually operates was and still is fundamentally flawed. The simple understanding of how and why businessmen use long-term contracts was and still is lost on them. Likewise, the simple understanding that two businessmen who mutually trust each other may be comfortable with adjusting contract terms, payment schedules, amount of payment owed, etc., when one (or both) of them face a time of adversity was and still is lost on them.

    I would go even further than that. I would go so far as to claim that the very idea that mutual trust and cooperation are fundamental operating principle of human relationships is completely lost on all the Club members. What prevented collapse of the industrial economy? Mutual trust and cooperation prevented it. Simple as that. Club members remain bewildered by it all.

  • Bailey,

    I like your description of the world economy as a giant, industrial parasite colony. Your prediction of the colony’s fall due to the “Hard issues” of resource depletion, environmental destruction and climate instability sound much like that of John Michael Greer. “Slow collapse” over many decades, even a couple of centuries.
    Though I notice that Greer has been using the term “climate instability” as a cause of collapse more frequently over the past year (since the late 2011 reports of accelerated Arctic methane outgassing, really)…

  • dairymandave2003,

    Speaking of (lack of) food, the likelihood of major food riots in the “Arab Spring” countries of the Middle East by late 2013 is very high. The on-going North American drought being the primary root cause.

  • Limits to Growth offered several scenarios of how things might play out.

    In 1972, the Club of Rome’s infamous report “The Limits to Growth” [Meadows, D.H., Meadows, D.L., Randers, J., Behrens_III, W. W. (1972). The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind. Universe Books, New York] presented some challenging scenarios for global sustainability, based on a system dynamics computer model to simulate the interactions of five global economic subsystems, namely: population, food production, industrial production, pollution, and consumption of non-renewable natural resources. Contrary to popular belief, The Limits to Growth scenarios by the team of analysts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology did not predict world collapse by the end of the 20th century. This paper focuses on a comparison of recently collated historical data for 1970–2000 with scenarios presented in the Limits to Growth. The analysis shows that 30 years of historical data compare favorably with key features of a business-as-usual scenario called the “standard run” scenario, which results in collapse of the global system midway through the 21st century. The data do not compare well with other scenarios involving comprehensive use of technology or stabilizing behaviour and policies. The results indicate the particular importance of understanding and controlling global pollution.
    Check out the charts here comparing actual data to the various scenarios they presented – (a) standard run, (b) comprehensive technology, and (c) stabilized world
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378008000435
    If you read what the media puts out about Limits to Growth you have no idea about what they actually said. Turns out that doing nothing (standard run) is playing out quite close to what they projected for population, industrial output, non-renewable resources, pollution, food, services per capita.


  • Lidia Says: the world is “on hospice”

    The world is on hospice, it’s true—
    Easing pain is the best we can do;
    We could still be humane
    While circling the drain—
    Remember: we’re just passing through.

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-MssbI4_SzYg/UFzThvOrSvI/AAAAAAAAAT4/gqIRy0T0NXg/s1600/mr+natural2.jpg


  • (Oldie from elsewhere:)

    As people become doom aware,
    Psychological help for despair
    Should try to provide
    A quick self-care guide
    For hospice type terminal care.

  • Climatologists have to know about this, and for the life of me, I cannot understand why they aren’t organizing marches on Washington. What good is your career, reputation, funding etc. if you know you are going to be bending over and kissing your ass goodbye soon?

    People will believe anything rather than face the fact that their lives and their world are coming to an end. This is especially true of people who are well fed and comfortable.

    During the Holocaust, the Jewish prisoners (who significantly outnumbered the guards) went along with the most superficial lies because the truth was too unimaginable.

    Unlike concentration camps, death camps had no barracks to house prisoners, other than those for workers at the camps. In order to process the murder of thousands of people, great pains were taken to deceive the victims concerning their fate. Jews deported from ghettos and concentration camps to the death camps were unaware of what they were facing. The Nazi planners of the operation told the victims that they were being resettled for labor, issued them work permits, told them to bring along their tools and to exchange their German marks for foreign currency. Food was also used to coax starving Jews onto the trains. Once the trains arrived at the death camps, trucks were available to transport those who were too weak to walk directly to the gas chambers. The others were told that they would have to be deloused and enter the baths. The victims were separated by sex and told to remove their clothes. The baths were in reality the gas chambers.

  • My point is that even if climatologists had the ability and will to organize a resistance movement, the masses won’t believe what they are saying. The information about the methane catastrophe is readily available on the internet. It’s hidden in plain sight, but almost no one wants to believe it. The sheeple are not imprisoned by the suppression of knowledge, they simply prefer a state of pleasant ignorance. Knowledge hurts, stupidity soothes.

  • depressive lucidity,

    The wake-up call will be the appearance of the first Arctic methane firestorm. Most people will have to visually see a methane firestorm before they realize it’s a problem.

  • Global leaders have rejected the AMEG’s call for large-scale geo-engineering to cool the Arctic. For 2013, they plan to concentrate on global financial matters. Global leaders are hoping that an imminent major eruption of a volcano in Argentina will inject enough sulfate particulates into the stratosphere to stave off sea-ice collapse for a couple of years (2017 vs. 2015).

  • Global warming seems to cause an increase in volcanic activity.

    The periods of high volcanic activity followed fast, global temperature increases and associated rapid ice melting. To expand the scope of the discoveries, Dr. Kutterolf and his colleagues studied other cores from the entire Pacific region. These cores had been collected as part of the International Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) and its predecessor programs. They record more than a million years of the Earth’s history. “In fact, we found the same pattern from these cores as in Central America” says geophysicist Dr. Marion Jegen from GEOMAR, who also participated in the recent study. Together with colleagues at Harvard University, the geologists and geophysicists searched for a possible explanation. They found it with the help of geological computer models. “In times of global warming, the glaciers are melting on the continents relatively quickly. At the same time the sea level rises. The weight on the continents decreases, while the weight on the oceanic tectonic plates increases. Thus, the stress changes within in the earth to open more routes for ascending magma” says Dr. Jegen.

    http://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/when-the-ice-melts-the-earth-spews-fire/

  • depressive lucidity,

    Interesting. But will it be in time, and will it be enough?

  • Btd, just passing thru – yep that about covers it.

    Great picture at the link :)

  • Thank BtD. That is what I thought – nice to have it confirmed

    We think that our lives have meaning
    More than just housework and cleaning
    If it doesn’t mean shit
    I’ll have to admit
    For my ego that’s very demeaning

  • BenjamintheDonkey,

    You’re rhyming is becoming contagious.

    Someway, somehow…

    …you have to be stopped.

    :)

  • @Ulvfugl

    You stated:

    “…..Jeff Vail did some fascinating work on that years ago, which he called ‘envisioning a hamlet economy’ and his rhizome theory, in the days when we dreamers still thought there was a chance humans would see sense and do something to avert oncoming extinction. Sadly, it has turned out that we proved to be unduly optimistic.”

    http://www.jeffvail.net/2006/04/envisioning-hamlet-economy-topology-of.html

    I both agree and remember well that narrow window of time when the dawn of peak oil, allowed for a bevy of foolish optimism to swell among the choir. I then considered Vail’s writing to be some of the best. His rhizome theory was a key part of forming my own local food security schemes…..oh well. Looking back…..it was lovely time, wasn’t it.

  • Yes, we had a chance, didn’t we, Daniel, all sorts of positive ideas, we’d figured out what the problems were and figured out what the answers were, Fukuoka, forest gardens, reed beds for sewage systems, etc, etc, and then came the evil, the madness of Bush and Cheney and Blair… that squandered the one small chance…

    In a way, that’s why it’s easier for me now, because my shock, despair and grief happened years ago, when I realised most American and most British had not the slightest idea about what the real issues were…

    Instead of destroying whole countries, like Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, now Syria, killing, bombing, in fact killing the whole effing planet, with this mad lust for power and control and money and exploitation, we could have been doing this…
    https://youtu.be/xzTHjlueqFI

  • Good news, folks. It looks like the imperialist disco party orgy which treats the planet as a giant buffet of cheap resources may soon be swallowed up by 600 trillion dollars of derivatives.

    http://www.infowars.com/say-goodbye-to-the-good-life/

    The 2nd Great Depression will not be enough to avoid NTE, but at least we will get to see the look of shock and awe on the faces of the piglets when their world of Big Box Consumer bullshit crashes. I hold them morally responsible for choosing to be pigs instead of conscious people. They had the chance to wake up. The information is all around them. Even the Tea Party Preppers (as autistic as they are) recognize that something just ain’t right. 99.8% of the people I know will not even acknowledge that there’s a problem.

  • @Arthur Johnson

    You stated:

    “I would go even further than that. I would go so far as to claim that the very idea that mutual trust and cooperation are fundamental operating principle of human relationships is completely lost on all the Club members. What prevented collapse of the industrial economy? Mutual trust and cooperation prevented it. Simple as that. Club members remain bewildered by it all.”

    I would love to agree you. But unrestrained and undocumented trillions of dollars in “quantitative easing” may have something to do with kicking economic collapse down the road a bit….don’t you think? Where you see mutual trust, I see mutual dependence and no alternative to sustaining a hopelessly broken global economic system by any means necessary.

  • Aha, so, the North Korean propaganda film, (which I thought was brilliant) showing how crap American capitalist culture is, wasn’t actually made by the North Koreans after all…

    http://ondemand.tv3.co.nz/Media-3-Season-1-Ep-16/tabid/59/articleID/8890/MCat/540/Default.aspx

  • Arthur Johnson The reason the Boy’s Club’s prediction of complete collapse of world’s industrial economy by 2012 did not come to pass is that the Club’s perspective proceeded from (at least) three flawed assumptions.

    All due respect, I don’t recognise that depiction of yours, of what has occurred over the last few years at all

    How about this, as an alternative, rather more realistic, story of what happened…

  • Daniel,

    But unrestrained and undocumented trillions of dollars in “quantitative easing” may have something to do with kicking economic collapse down the road a bit….don’t you think?

    It did. And this was part of my “first point”. The Club members assumed that politicians and government officials would do nothing to intervene in the financial panic, that they would simply watch while “the Market” took care of everything. In fact, they intervened with a vengence, breaking the panic, and causing many of the Club members, particularly the “goldbugs”, to lose a lot of money in the process (they had placed big bets on economic collapse, thinking that everyone was going to have come crawling to them to buy gold. Things didn’t out that way).

    “Mutual trust” primarily came into play in the mutual behavior of businessmen towards each other and their customers/clients. Instead of “mutual suspicion”, for the most part, what actually occurred, for the most part, was “mutual trust”. “Cooperation” primarily came into play in the behavior of the general public. Instead of individualism (“just grab whatever I can for me and mine”), what actually occurred, for the most part, was “cooperation”.

    The Boys’ Club got it all wrong. Their assumptions about the nature of government, the nature of business, and human nature itself were so far off the mark it’s ridiculous. Interestingly, as michele/montreal pointed out, with one or two exceptions, the Club members are all men, er, boys. Is it possible that, in all their machinations, the Club neglected to consider the dramatic change in the status and position of women vis-a-vis men worldwide? Could that dramatic change have had something to do with why global financial collapse/collapse of the industrial economy did not occur in 2008-2012? Hmmmm.

  • Kathy C, thanks for sharing your experiences with Hospice. Thinking of you today and sending wishes of peace. Thanks also to you and Benjamin for your wry verses.

  • On the methane situation, no wonder the public doesn’t take it seriously when you have ‘experts’ (and commentators) like this completely downplaying it.
    http://tinyurl.com/cvul35t

  • @ Arthur Johnson

    I’m sorry Arthur, but I’m just not following your logic. Gold in over $1,650 an ounce. I personally, told everyone I knew over ten years ago, who had any kind of stock portfolio, to sell everything and buy gold, which then was around $300 oz. As far as gold is concerned, and I’m highly doubtful that that was many of “the clubs” motivation, but even if it was, I don’t think they have been proven wrong, at least in that regards.

    It’s not that I am defending “the boys club’s” economic predictions. I personally pay very little attention to anyone’s economic predictions.
    Yes, it was probably imprudent for Guy to continue to include others predictions of economic collapse by year’s end. But it seems that you’re suggesting that we have somehow averted permanent economic contraction, and that somehow all the underlying coercive factors contributing to capitalism global Ponzi scheme, have somehow been ameliorated by “businessmen’s mutual trust”????

    You stated:

    “Mutual trust” primarily came into play in the mutual behavior of businessmen towards each other and their customers/clients. Instead of “mutual suspicion”, for the most part, what actually occurred, for the most part, was “mutual trust”. “Cooperation” primarily came into play in the behavior of the general public. Instead of individualism (“just grab whatever I can for me and mine”), what actually occurred, for the most part, was “cooperation”…….The Boys’ Club got it all wrong. Their assumptions about the nature of government, the nature of business, and human nature itself were so far off the mark it’s ridiculous.”

    I so vehemently disagree with the bases of your assumption, I don’t even know where to begin…….so I won’t. If you consider global finance to be driven by anything other than acute self-interest, not alone, cooperation and mutual trust………it’s going to take far more than a few blog comments from me to counter such wishful thinking. And god knows I would love for you to be right!

    And as another example of not being able to follow your logic, you stated:

    “Is it possible that, in all their machinations, the Club neglected to consider the dramatic change in the status and position of women vis-a-vis men worldwide? Could that dramatic change have had something to do with why global financial collapse/collapse of the industrial economy did not occur in 2008-2012? Hmmmm.”

    It’s far from my intent to be a needless contrarian, but what you’re saying is on the verge of being nonsensical. And not only that, but I would walk into the kitchen and castrate myself with a dull butter knife, for even the possibility of what you’re saying, to be true. If you have any evidence that the status of women throughout the world, has somehow prevented the economy from collapsing then please provide it, otherwise you’re being even more hyperbolic than the “boy’s club” you’re attempting to discredit.

    But, while there are unfortunately very few examples, by the time any woman has risen through the ranks to influence the inner workings of Wall Street, Central Banks and government, they are no less egregious than their male counterpart. Thatcher, Merkel, Clinton, Albright, Rice, Lagarde……….these people are monsters, regardless of their sex.

    Or, are you suggesting that the paltry advancement of women in becoming more of the bread winners on Main Street, or recipients of micro loans in developing countries, has somehow had any bearing on the absolute insanity of international neo-liberal fiscal policy?

    Again, I’m sorry AJ, but I can’t at all, follow what you’re implying.

  • Guy

    Yorchichan, we’ve triggered eight positive feedbacks, seven of which — acting alone — lead to near-term human extinction. Abundant evidence points toward near-term human extinction.

    Sorry for the slow reply. I don’t have your list of eight positive feedbacks in front of me, but I do recall that at least half of them related to release of methane (not really sure why these are not all lumped into one category). I’ve had a look at the historical atmospheric methane levels and, yes, Daniel is correct that methane levels have resumed their upward trend after a brief leveling off at the start of this century. However, the rate of increase is still not as great as it was a few decades ago. If methane was already acting as a positive feedback I would expect to see the rate of increase in methane levels going up every year rather than decreasing. A methane molecule only persists in the atmosphere for about a decade (on average) so a tremendous amount would have to be released over a very short space of time for runaway greenhouse to occur. I haven’t the faintest idea what this ‘tremendous amount’ might be. Anyone else got any figures?

    ulvfugl

    All the evidence supports Guy’s position, there’s no evidence to support your position, Yorchichan, it’s just your opinion.

    I would respectfully disagree. I’ve yet to see any convincing evidence of near term human extinction. The link you provided only shows evidence of overshoot and suggests therefore we are due a die off rather than extinction. For near term extinction near term runaway greenhouse is required, and this has yet to be proven (admittedly, in my opinion).

    Arhur Johnson

    I fail to see how any of the three catastrophes you mention (supervolcano/ nuclear war/asteroid impact) would help prevent near term human extinction. In fact, quite the opposite because our food supply would be removed for a few years. Even if the atmosphere were dimmed sufficiently to re-cool the planet, this effect would only be temporary until the particulates left the atmosphere and then we’d be back to where we started with the positive feedback mechanisms still triggered.

    Or are you arguing that because the disasters would kill so many people plus industrial civilization, we would no longer be in a position to pollute the atmosphere with greenhouse gases? In this case any disaster would do and not merely one which cooled the planet.

  • Feedbacks and relative associated information are described in detail in the presentation embedded here. A cryptic overview follows, and bear in mind that “beyond 1 degree C may elicit rapid, unpredictable and non-linear responses that could lead to extensive ecosystem damage” (United Nations Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases, 1990):

    Arctic Ocean methane hydrates (Science, March 2010) equivalent to 1,000 to 10,000 Gigatons of carbon (vs. 226 Gigatons thus far via burning fossil fuels)

    Arctic is defrosting because warm Atlantic water is shooting through the Fram Strait (Science, January 2011)

    Siberian methane (Tellus, February 2011): vents increased in diameter by three orders of magnitude between summer 2010 and summer 2011

    Amazonian drought (Science, February 2011)

    Boreal peat (Nature Communications, November 2011)

    Antarctic methane, equivalent to 10x carbon in northern hemisphere (Nature, August 2012)

    Russian forest and bog fires (NASA, August 2012)

    Arctic drilling, fast-tracked by Obama administration during summer 2012

  • Daniel, please don’t castrate yourself with a dull butter knife, and not just because I doubt the stuff about “increased status of women” somehow preventing economic collapse.

    I’m not at all convinced that women have “advanced.” Oppression and exploitation are alive and well. I’m not sure what “status” and “advancement” are supposed to mean. And which women are we talking about?

    And economic collapse is only a matter of time. People just can’t resist making predictions about when. The fact that not everyone is seeing evidence of economic collapse doesn’t mean it isn’t already happening, or that some dramatic event isn’t imminent. Why do so many people still believe the economy is cruising along just fine? It boggles my mind.

  • @ Jennifer Hartley

    I concur….boggled indeed.

  • Good plan Doc, skipping the time frame predictions. Not enough data and too many variables. Best, I think, to embrace both ignorance and certainty.

    Of course there’s the soundtrack to enjoy!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_5kv8QeBBc

  • Guy

    I’ve watched a few of your presentations before. They are good but get a bit repetitive after a while and the one you linked to isn’t great quality video or audio so I’ll give it a miss.

    Scary figures on the amount of methane stored in the Arctic. This is located in the ocean sediments rather than the rapidly disappearing ice. Is there any evidence a significant amount of these hydrates has been destabilised and is about to be released?

    Skeptical Science, hardly champions of the climate change deniers, seem to think the jury is still out on Arctic methane:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/arctic-methane-outgassing-e-siberian-shelf-part1.html

    No time to comment on all the other feedback mechanisms you list. Taken together they certainly present a grim picture, but has anyone proven runaway greenhouse will occur before industrial collapse?

    Is there anyone else apart from yourself and some/most of the NBL regular contributors who thinks human near term extinction is a done deal?

  • I know this may sound cold but I have not been following closely the Nancy Lanzer story. How do many of you see this link being credable?

    “School shooting is now a proven false flag.”

    Pretty hard to tell over here down under.
    Any comments would be helpful.

  • Daniel”by the time any woman has risen through the ranks to influence the inner workings of Wall Street, Central Banks and government, they are no less egregious than their male counterpart”

    The worse boss I ever had was a woman. Not even rising as far as you suggest apparently had the same effect. Some feel like they have to try so hard to be like the boys in the club that they manage to be worse than the boys in the club.

  • It seems comments on the other workshops are ended so…

    ulvfugl

    You wrote on the other workshop:

    “In old fashioned vernacular parlance, that would have been called ‘stupid, confused, immature…’ so you replace a basic common term with a fancy upgrade that makes it sound as if you’re being smart and intellectual and superior and educated, but the actual added insight and utility is zero.

    Of course, you couldn’t publish papers in academic journals or give talks at conferences about ‘stupid’ or ‘ignorant’ people, but you can about people who use ‘motivated reasoning’, so that makes it okay and acceptable.”

    I do agree with this generally, however, perhaps the term ‘stupid’ describes someone who has limited mental reasoning capacity to begin with, but it does not describe those who in all other ways appear reasonably capable of understanding complex, even abstract ideas, but nevertheless display ‘blue smoke’ and ‘gear grinding’ when faced with some of these propositions and evidence of NTE, Peak Oil etc.

    So I wouldn’t want to diminish the usefulness and aptness of descriptors like, ‘stupid’, ‘confused’ or ‘immature’, however, I do think there is a case for looking a little deeper, to see if these descriptions are covering other types of messes in peoples’ minds.

    To me the defining note with this issue is fear.
    A stupid or immature of confused person does not necessarily experience fear when displaying these inadequacies, but the postulate of ‘motivated Reasoning’ and my proposal that fear and anxiety are operating in the same way that it does in the ‘Transitional object’ scenario, is an attempt to explain the fear. Why is it manifesting at that time?

    There is probably no way to go much further with these issues in discussion here, and I accept you are right on most points.

    As a leaving comment, I think ‘Motivated Reasoning’ as a concept is attempting to look at why some people are not disposed to go beyond the normal cosmological socialisation of their worldview, or what we call as thier comfort zone.
    I feel that it is fear, and once educated to a reasonable degree, the fear becomes apparent when topics and evidence are put forward that requires the fear barrier to be crossed, or alleviated by trust for a time, so the evidence can get an airing.
    No accounting for just plain stupid though, I agree.

  • Oz man, the shooting is suspicious, but on this youtube clip this guy is stating things as true that others that have been investigating have not found solid proof of, such as that the father was to testify about Libor. http://occupycorporatism.com/no-viable-connection-between-peter-lanza-us-senate-libor-hearings/ As far as gun control, doesn’t the NRA counter proposal of armed guards at the schools seem more like a step to a police state. For my part I am more afraid of preppers with shit loads of guns than the government. And I really would like people who buy guns not to be known violent criminals. But at any rate what good are guns in the hands of the citizens if the government can take you out with a drone? I would presume that the point of such shootings if they are actually done by the gov’t is to continue to instill fear, not take away guns – Diane Feinsteins gun control proposal bans assault weapons – with 900 EXCEPTIONS. That doesn’t sound to me much like taking away everyone’s 2nd amendment rights.

    At any rate if you want to have a little conspiracy theory fun google “Eric Holder Oklahoma City” Seems our attorney general has an interesting past.

  • http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2012/11/29/166156242/cornstalks-everywhere-but-nothing-else-not-even-a-bee

    quick article which illustrates the effects of spraying/gmo corn on the biota

    expand this to large scale and what have we got?

  • Feedbacks. We look at all the climate feedbacks feeding into each other but in fact the whole system of civilization has positive feedback feeding into disaster. We’ve talked about the grid collapse causing 400 Fukushimas. But well before that climate will cause plant meltdowns. We have flooding, upriver dam breakdown, not enough water for cooling, not cool enough water, increasing fires with less resources to fight them that could engulf power plants, geological instability from changing weight on the planet and fracking which could lead to more earthquakes, rising sea levels making storm surges more dangerous.

    I listened to a Peter Ward talk on rising sea levels the other day. He talked about cities flooding but I didn’t hear him mention nuclear power plants flooding.

    It is of course hard to envision all the interconnectedness and how they affect each other, and there will be the ones we can imagine as well as the unknown unknowns

    A tragedy we have sown
    No point to moan and groan
    We studied and learned
    Hoping not to be burned
    But we cannot know all the unknown

  • @ Ozman …perhaps the term ‘stupid’ describes someone who has limited mental reasoning capacity to begin with…

    Oh, the way I use ‘stupid’, it applies to lots of people who are well-educated and think themselves very intelligent… my point was really, that some of those academics are just using euphemisms, and not doing what intellectuals are supposed to do, imo, which is to clarify, explain, bring useful insights…

    The intellectuals talk about ‘narratives’ and ‘paradigms’, but why not just call them ‘stories’, which is what I prefer to do, because that is, essentially, what they are, and then everyone knows what we’re talking about. And then explain in simple terms, with examples that people are familiar with. You know, wtf does a psychologism like ‘cognitive dissonance’ actually mean or feel like ? It’s just bullshit jargon to exclude common folk from the conversation.

    What it means is, that if you grow up believing that the world was created by God, as in the biblical account, and then along comes Darwin with a pile of fossils as evidence, you’ve got two incompatible stories. And that creates a problem, not just for soceity, but inside your own head. That’s cognitive dissonance. The discomfort that occurs when two ( or more ! ) sets of beliefs collide, and are impossible to reconcile.

    This happened to me, growing up reading kid’s comics, that said we were all going to be riding around in our own personal flying cars by now, and visiting other planets for holiday breaks. Instead, I’ve got NTE.

    Another example of cognitive dissonance is when your US president tells you that some evil Al Q guys destroyed your Twin Towers, therefore you have to go and invade Iraq, and then you discover that the story makes no sense, and Iraq had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Twin Towers….

    That’s the trouble with cognitive dissonance. You sorta want to believe the one story, because it’s easier, but there’s that bit of the story that just doesn’t fit any more, that bit that keeps niggling and causing anxiety…. like you want to trust your husband or wife, they wouldn’t ever cheat on you, would they, but…..

    I’m not entirely against neologisms or psychologisms if they are needed or useful, for example, this one, ‘percepticide’, makes a good point, imo :

    Further, research into extremely repressive situations show that when people perceive atrocities and injustices, often they must actually renounce their own perception to avoid danger to themselves. Diana Taylor calls this “percepticide” in her study of the fourteen years of military dictatorship (1976-1983) in Argentina, which unfortunately was supported and financed by the U.S. government. This renunciation, according to Taylor, “turns the violence on oneself. Percepticide blinds, maims, kills through the senses” (Taylor, 1997, p.124). When whole populations are forced to not-know what is going on around them, when the media choose to not-name injustice, watching-without-seeing becomes “the most dehumanizing of acts.” This kind of renunciation establishes a split within the self, where certain knowings are exiled, and unavailable for the negotiation of one’s life. Robert J. Lifton (1986), in his study of Nazi doctors, described this as a doubling of the self, where one self is condemned to numbness regarding what the other self knows and understands.

    The fictitious “rational consumer” self in a homogeneous nation, mythologized in the official history of the modernist era, has been created by a long practice of percepticide. For how many years did history books portray the genocide caused by colonial expansion as a triumph of civilization, the tragedy of slavery and the plantation system as unrelated to the wealth amassed for industrialization, the exclusion of women, Native Americans and African Americans from the political process as the rise of democracy? Educated in this paradigm, how much have we learned to deny? How might we have been maimed and blinded by the thousands of media images that allow us to normalize violence, stereotypes, and passivity? In order to see ourselves more fully, the pictures we paint of ourselves and our theories of psychology must also include the likelihood that our perspectives are limited by our situated histories, that what we can see is steeped in collusion with the paradigms that shape our consciousness.

    http://www.mythinglinks.org/LorenzWatkins.html

  • Kathy C., I think that the problem you point to springs from reductionism, it’s the same problem Yorchichan has, scientists and others, try to understand by teasing out one strand from the complex tangle, and treating it in isolation. It’s not the one strand that’s going to annihilate us, it’s the whole lot together, everything imploding, because everything is linked to everything else…

  • Damn! Even the dams..

    New Global Warming Culprit: Methane Emissions Jump Dramatically During Dam Drawdowns

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808081420.htm

  • If that weren’t enough, even stressed crops are emitting more methane. And we know crops are going to get more stressed! Folks, we really do have cascading feedback effects due to our activities. The big question is not if but when.

    Stressed Crops Emit More Methane Than Thought
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090817142851.htm

    Another unreported problem is NO emissions (a powerful greenhouse gas) from increasing wildfires..
    http://summitcountyvoice.com/2011/07/12/wildfires-spur-emissions-of-greenhouse-gases-from-soil/

  • where does all the methane go? (just sayin’!)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropospheric_ozone

    Tropospheric ozone is a greenhouse gas and initiates the chemical removal of methane and other hydrocarbons from the atmosphere. Thus, its concentration affects how long these compounds remain in the air.

    Methane, a VOC whose atmospheric concentration has increased tremendously during the last century, contributes to ozone formation but on a global scale rather than in local or regional photochemical smog episodes. In situations where this exclusion of methane from the VOC group of substances is not obvious, the term Non-Methane VOC (NMVOC) is often used.

    http://www.eeb.org/EEB/?LinkServID=CE1E5250-5056-B741-DB16E09F7346411E&showMeta=0

    Methane is a major source of background tropospheric ozone.

    Together with particulate matter, ozone is the air pollutant with the highest estimated impact on human health. Ozone is a powerful and aggressive oxidising agent, elevated levels of which cause respiratory health problems and lead to premature mortality. High levels of ozone can also damage plants, leading to reduced agricultural crop yields and decreased forest growth.

    Current measures on ozone precursors have focused primarily on decreasing the peaks of ozone, especially in urban areas, and therefore on precursors such as NOx and non-methane VOCs. However, over the past decades background levels of tropospheric ozone have been steadily rising. While many of the cheapest and easiest measures to decrease these other ozone precursors have already been taken, specific controls for methane are still lacking.

    more:

    http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/env/documents/2010/eb/ge1/EMEP%2034th/presentations/Importance%20of%20Methane%20for%20Ozone.pdf

  • If you’re able, please join me in supporting Marc Baker and family

  • Excellent presentation’s Guy. I just wanted to add one thing with regard to peak oil – which has been postponed over the last couple of years via new drilling technology brought over from the natural gas tracking boom – it works to unlock previously considered irrecoverable (nonconventional) oil reserves.

    Those “smart” guys at the oil companies have now unlocked these massive stores of what was previously considered inaccessible oil. This technology is transferable to many oil reserves around the world and we may now have unlocked more oil than we have drilled and burned so far (from a climate change perspective its very bad).

    Here’s a nice graph of U.S. oil production with the trough and now increased production can be seen (the increase is supposed to continue increasing for a long time here in the U.S.):

    http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=pet&s=mcrfpus2&f=m

    Basically Peak Oil was and is correct for conventional oil, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your outlook) massive amounts of unconventional oil reserves have been unlocked by recent drilling tech and oil prices. This will probably allow the economy to continue to roll along for the foreseeable future as opposed to being choked off by Peak Oil which we won’t be feeling the effects of anymore (until enough non conventional oil has been sucked out of the ground and burned – by then, presumably, our friends the feedbacks will have taken things out of our grasp (if not already).

    This is why the expected Peak Oil production figures and pricing effects have come off the expected path – non conventional oil has been unlocked in a massive way that wasn’t foreseen even 3 years ago.

  • Scott What absolute nonsense! Anyone who has even taken a modest look at the Oil/Gas industry knows that this whole Fracking hype is a push by the Oil Oligarchs to get the easy oil and gas and make a ton of money before the public wakes up.
    https://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/15/1119969/-Drill-Baby-Drill-The-Fracking-Bubble-is-Bursting#
    take a look at the charts, these wells are playing out very quickly. And the wells that have been done so far are of course the best of the lot.

  • Hey Scott – that’s great, it’ll be business as usual while the crops dry out and burn up or the growing season gets washed away by flooding. Climate change is going to ramp up significantly, as are “natural” occurances like earthquakes and volcanic action to make growing food all but impossible, while the trees and plankton die down to the point where they aren’t contributing much oxygen. Meanwhile the rise in heat causes the electrical grid to fail and here comes the US version of Fukushima many times over. The financial system is on a knife-edge of solvency (or the appearance there-of) and when fresh water is getting hard to come-by, panic ensues and we have cascading failures of the systems that make-up civilization.

    If what you say is true, “they” aren’t going to have anyone to sell the oil to, no way to get it there or dispense it when the collapse into the sinkhole of reality increases its relentless pace, possibly this spring.

    (imho of course)

  • Dunno about fracking in the USA, Nicole Foss has done an interesting article re the UK

    http://theautomaticearth.com/Energy/the-second-uk-dash-for-gas-a-faustian-bargain.html

  • Here’s an interesting weather report from yesterday illustrating how quickly “collapse” can happen (for even more fun, click on and play the music link, the bottom one, at the same time in another window and let it play in the background while you watch and listen to the weather. Imagine what it felt like to be there. Coming to a town near you.)

    http://www.youtube.com/user/dutchsinse

  • I’ve posted a new essay. It’s here.

  • On the day after Christmas, it is likely that another anarchist will be imprisoned for refusing to talk about their political beliefs and their friends before a federal grand jury in Seattle.

    http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/maddy-pfeiffer-grand-jury-jail/6664/

  • Superman1 on RealClimate :What would be useful on this blog is to have a thread devoted to the issue you raise. I have in mind a debate, or some sort of exchange, among three experts in this area. One would be Guy McPherson, who believes we have already passed this point of no return. A second would be Kevin Anderson, who believes we are getting near. A third might be David Archer, who had a post on this blog about a year ago downplaying the immediate danger from methane relative to what McPherson or Wadhams would propose.

    The debate could be written only, with three separate contributions answering very specific topics. Or, it could be a phonecon among the three, with audio and transcript made available. Or, it could be an email exchange, with the full exchange transcribed. But, it would be valuable for each proponent to have to defend his viewpoint against knowledgeable experts.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/12/unforced-variations-dec-2012/comment-page-6/#comment-311636

    Personally, if people can’t see where this thing is headed by now…..

  • Kathy C Says:
    We think that our lives have meaning
    More than just housework and cleaning
    If it doesn’t mean shit
    I’ll have to admit
    For my ego that’s very demeaning

    Problems where ego’s involved
    May or may not be resolved
    When guru or sage
    Says, “Break out of cage:
    Shitcan ego—then problem solved.”

    ==

    Kathy C Says:
    A tragedy we have sown
    No point to moan and groan
    We studied and learned
    Hoping not to be burned
    But we cannot know all the unknown

    Things fall apart, for a start—
    The center can’t hold: that will smart;
    Or, sans bouquet,
    It’s, like, how you say,
    The fucking thing’s coming apart.

  • Some contributions I can offer re Arctic methane:

    In March of 2009 when the International Scientific Congress was gathered under the title “Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions” in Copenhagen, and in the same venue that the COP would use that December, I heard referenced that there were only 20 scientists in the world who had linked their careers to methane. Apparently the “established science” (~1980), upon which subsequent scientific work was based, identified carbon dioxide as the most important greenhouse gas to understand in terms of anthropomorphic climate change and government policies. Methane was also a problem, but the early scientific work saw it as distant (a century or several, ie secondary) threat. Limited funding–and therefore academic careers–pursued studying CO2. This was the gas society was adding to the air in increasing quanities, lasted the longest, and which governments could do something about. Referencing ulvfugl’s observations about stories, the first draft of the story the scientific community told itself was incomplete, but once trusted–once part of what effects homeostasis–is hard to change. (Note that the collection of data on atmospheric methne didn’t start until 1978; the CO2e of CH4 is yet being revised (upward); the atmospheric chemistry that breaks it down and requires the OH radical, the dynamics of which is poorly understood relative to altitude/air density.)

    Besides David Archer’s guest post at Real Climate ulvfugl referenced, there is another “It’s all about me(thane)” by Gavin a year or so before that reiterates the primary importance of CO2, as well as another a few years before that. From my perspective (surpriseNOT), motivated reasoning made it a challenge to see the data on methane that did not fit the trusted story. An egregious example of this was a paper published using only two years of surface air sample data (2007 & 2008) to draw a conclusion from. That ‘study’ showed that what methane there was in the Arctic, was wetland based, and not increasing. As also noted in these comments there are only 6 stations where samples can be taken, and though Svalbard showed an increase during the study period, when averaged using accepted modeling calculations, it disappeared. Because this study looked at the planet as a whole, and the Arctic contributes little of the total, the anolomy was not reported.

    In terms of the scientific community missing tripping of the positive feedbacks involving Arctic methane, they have an agreed upon definition for what that is. Theirs is likely helpful to that meme in its internal communication, but needs to be ignored to avoid serious miscommunication when communicating with the general public. What Guy, and common sense, says is the initial stages of a positive feedback tip, in scientific parlance, isn’t.

  • Don’t know how many of you use Chris Martenson’s PEAK PROSPERITY website, but there exists a very good forum on AGW run by Mark Cochrane, a proper Climate Scientist whom I very much respect….. http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/definitive-global-climate-change-aka-global-warming-thread-general-discussion-and-questions/71

    When asked about the possibility of a 6C rise by 2050, this is what he had to say…:

    Getting 6 C by 2050 seems farfetched unless we intentionally trigger to so-called clathrate gun. Even then, I am not sure that it is likely to happen that quickly simply due to the thermal intertia of the oceans and glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. Roughly 90-95% of the incipient energy imbalance goes into warming or melting water. We’ve warmed by around 0.7C in the last 30 years or so. Getting an extra >5C in the next 40 years would require truly massive changes in greenhouse gases and Earth’s albedo. This certainly wouldn’t mean that all is well if we don’t manage this incredible feat of climate suicide in 40 odd years. We may get there yet around 2100.

    Such rapid warming would lead to greatly accelerated mass loss from the icesheets in Greenland, Western Antarctica and increases from East Antarctica. Melting those giant ice blocks would be a giant heat sink that would attenuate the rise in temperature but it would do so at the cost of flooding the worlds oceans very quickly. In other words, although we might not warm so fast the cost would be rapid sea level rise of several meters this century, flooding coastlines and yielding terrible storms. As things stand, most estimates are for 1-5 meters, which will make many, many cities untenable.

    Some recent food for thought on that score came out in the last week in Nature Geoscience showing much of the western Antarctic icesheet is warming twice as fast as predicted (see BBC article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20804192, and Bromwich et al 2012 abstract http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo1671.html))

    The map (at above URL) is just correlation coeficients but the warming has been 2.4C between 1958 and 2010. While Greenland gets much of the press, the Western Antarctic ice sheet may be more unstable because most of it is currently grounded below the waterline. Basically the ice is frozen to the ground or still too heavy to lift but once the water level gets higher, then much of the sheet could rapidly float (just like an ice cube in your glass) and collapse with an ultimate 5 m sea level implication. The big brother in East Antarctica only has 30% below water line but that is another 20-25 m of sea level. Ultimately, if we somehow manage to stay on the ‘business as usual’ emissions path then over the next few centuries we will have changed coastlines world wide with 10s of meters of sea level rise (See Hansen new pdf http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2012/20121226_GreenlandIceSheetUpdate.pdf).

    Lest you think he is just a harbinger of doom touting positive feedbacks, Hansen and Sato (2012) see exponential increases in the rate of ice melting/sea level rise with a 5-10 year doubling time, they ultimately believe that once we reach about 1 m of sea level increase that strong negative feedbacs from all of the melting icebergs will dampen the temperature rise and hence slow the exponential rate of increased melting. I can’t grab the figure from the pdf, but if you go to the Hansen and Sato pdf linked above and scroll down to Figure 9 you will see the future simulations with (left) and without (right) ice melt. As you can see the melting would lead to a much cooler North Atlantic and a moderate cooler Southern Ocean with an overall global amelioration of land temperature increases. If you think the ice will somehow hold off from melting, plan for a heck of a lot warmer near future.

    Overall, if we manage to keep finding more and more fossil fuels to burn or accidentally release (melting permafrost etc) then we will have an atmosphere akin to what existed 32 million years ago before Antarctica froze up. It would take a while, hundreds to thousands of years, but we’d be putting an end to ice ages for the foreseeable future.

    Mark

  • On the other hand, according to the International Energy Agency, 6 C by 2050 is quite likely:

    “Coal will nearly overtake oil as the dominant energy source by 2017, and only a drop in world gas prices could curb the use of the dirtier fossil fuel in the absence of high carbon prices, the International Energy Agency said.”

    “The IEA, the energy agency for developed countries, said earlier this year that without a major shift away from coal, average global temperatures could rise by 6 degrees Celsius by 2050, leading to devastating climate change.”

    In other devastating news — about which virtually nobody will give a damn — we’re driving species to extinction at up to 560 species per day.

  • Wow…… so even those IEA hippies are in on it….

  • I realise we could release shitloads of greenhouse gases, but it doesn’t alter the fact that it takes 8000 times as much energy to melt ice than it does to raise its temperature just one degree if no phase change occurs….. and that this is where most of the trapped energy goes at this point in time. For temperatures to rise really dramatically, we need to import way more energy than is currently involved in melting ice…..

  • @Mike
    Such rapid warming would lead to greatly accelerated mass loss from the icesheets in Greenland, Western Antarctica and increases from East Antarctica. Melting those giant ice blocks would be a giant heat sink that would attenuate the rise in temperature but it would do so at the cost of flooding the worlds oceans very quickly. In other words, although we might not warm so fast the cost would be rapid sea level rise of several meters this century, flooding coastlines and yielding terrible storms.

    So I guess the presumption is that if there is a drastic rise in sea level, it would be the result of much melted ice as opposed to thermal expansion of sea water? I wonder about this personally, because I live near the NE Fl coast, and have thought about moving. However, without going too far north, I felt it was better to be closer to the temp moderating effects of the ocean, but there is the catch 22 of sea level rise too close to the coast. However, if sea level rise is mostly the result of melted ice, it sounds like inland areas may not be so deadly hot. Decisions, decisions. I wonder how many others are trying to decide on the best places to move (or not) based on climate considerations??

  • @Bailey, I know how you feel….. I’m in Australia, and I’m planning to move 2000 mile South to a cooler clime. What I’m reading tells me that if the WAIS does collapse, then the waters off Tasmania might cool down. THAT’s where I’m going. To be brutally honest…. if I were you I wouldn’t even stay in the US!!

  • @ Mike

    Latent heat of ice is 144 BTUs vs 1BTU to raise it 1°F. Not sure where the 8000 figure came from, but even at 144, it is a lot. My take away from watching “Chasing Ice” was the time lapse photography of the glacier deflation and retreat that visualized this transfer of heat . . . and wondering how this use of heat will change the existing IPCC modeling that leaves out land-based ice. Until I find out countering information I’m gonna go with Hansen rather than the IEA on this one. It seems to me that they likely are using the linear models sans feedbacks, only this time the omitted feedbacks allows for longer napping on our journey to hell and high water, & NTE.

  • New to me…

    We calculate that the sub-Antarctic hydrate inventory could be of the same order of magnitude as that of recent estimates made for Arctic permafrost.

    http://climatestate.com/pure-climate-science/item/potential-methane-reservoirs-beneath-antarctica.html