The twin sides of the fossil-fuel coin: presenting in Massachusetts

Presented without additional commentary is video from my recent speaking tour in Massachusetts. It’s my latest and most comprehensive assessment of the twin sides of the fossil-fuel coin, climate change and energy decline. In response to this presentation, I’ve heard via the occasionally accurate grapevine that I’ll never speak on that campus again.

Comments 158

  • Don’t quote me as supporting geo-engineering. Doing so would be a massive mistake and make matters much worse.

  • Doing so would be a massive mistake and make matters much worse.

    Indeed. They can’t cooperate to stop causing the problem, and yet they now think they can cooperate with a technofix ? When they have no idea what the results will be ? And some countries will benefit when others will be harmed ? And like nuclear waste management, this will have to go on, essentially, forever ? I think they will do it, out of desperation, and yes, I think it will just make an even bigger mess than we have already.

  • ulvfugl said: “I think it will just make an even bigger mess than we have already.”. What could be worse than end of life in the Northern Hemisphere by 2031 and the Southern Hemisphere by 2047?

  • Seems to me, the idea that cooling by putting stuff into the upper atmosphere ( which may be already going on, according to the chemtrail hypothesis ) solves the problem is naive, because it does nothing to stop ocean acidification, does it, which still causes mass extinction anyway. It’ll likely wreck the climate even more.
    Why not concentrate on the actual CAUSES of the disease ? Which everyone already knows ? Which is burning of fossil fuels, destruction of forests, etc. Sure, Exxon and Kochs and the coal industry will love geoengineering if it means they can keep on making big profits… but it’s a bit like having the fire fighters spray water to put the fire out whilst throwing more wood and petrol on from the other side, isn’t it ?

  • Why not concentrate on the actual CAUSES of the disease ? Which everyone already knows ? Which is burning of fossil fuels, destruction of forests, etc. Sure, Exxon and Kochs and the coal industry will love geoengineering if it means they can keep on making big profits… but it’s a bit like having the fire fighters spray water to put the fire out whilst throwing more wood and petrol on from the other side, isn’t it ?

    According to AMEG, the situation is so extremely dire that unless we stop the ice cap melt in the next few months it may be too late. If we don’t save the arctic ice by this time next year, emissions won’t matter. It’s like chain smoking after being diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

    It’s a safe bet that nothing will be done and if anything is done, it will either not work, or it will make the situation worse.

    They are now focusing on the crop loss / food scarcity situation which will eventually topple the global economy, IMO. If folks in the post-industrial, urban world have to spend too much of their money on food, there won’t be enough digital cash in their implanted microchips for iPads and iBrains and then the applesauce will hit the fan …

    AMEG predicts that the blockbuster movie The Journey of the Hairless Hominid will get horrifically violent during the last 10 minutes, then end abruptly with a few stragglers trying to eek out a living in a gray wasteland … until a mysterious black monolith appears!

    https://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/2012/12/ameg-strategic-plan.html

  • via Ran Prieur : Probably the best analogue for the current Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (AGW). How good an analogue is it, and are we really at risk of re-running it? I think we are going to re-run the PETM, not in the sense that we are likely to achieve the same absolute temperatures, although that may be possible, but in the sense that a temperature increase of at least 3degC is achievable from our fossil fuel emissions alone and this will be amplified by methane and carbon dioxide emissions from the Arctic region….

    http://dosbat.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/something-wicked-this-way-comes.html

  • OzMan Says:
    December 12th, 2012 at 6:50 am

    Ripley

    Yeah, wood has got a lot to answer for!!!

    Many here say
    The captains of empire are blame free.
    So j’acusse for doom
    The lowly tree.

  • Excellent discussion of expectations:

    http://healthafteroil.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/guest-post-survive/

    Quote:

    “There seems to be a strange expectation that we will remain as healthy as we are now, or become even healthier still through a less stressful lifestyle of bucolic bliss, tending our vegetable gardens and chicken coops, irrespective of any other problems we face. And while ‘downsizing’ – a somewhat bizarre concept in itself – might affect every other aspect of our lives, it will not apply to doctors, medical staff, hospitals and the vast power-hungry pharmaceutical factories and supply chains that give them round the clock backup. Nor does downsizing appear to apply to the other emergency services we can call on if our home is on fire or those of criminal intent wish to relieve us of what is rightfully ours. Alternative lifestylers seem to have blanked out the detail that fire engines, ambulances and police cars need fuel, and the people who man them need to get paid, fed and moved around quickly. In other words ‘we’ can reduce our imprint on the environment, as long as those who support our way of life do not.”

    An excellent blog in general, btw.

  • A couple of strong quotes re Doha…

    “There were some winners here — the coal industry won here, the oil industry won here, the fossil fuel industry won here. This wasn’t an environmental or science-driven discussion, this was a trade fair. This is not the future we need to leave to our children. We know that we need to leave four-fifths of the oil, gas and coal on the planet where it is — underground — that’s the only safe carbon reserve there is.”

    Hurricane Sandy’s damage just to New Jersey was greater than the funding sought in Doha for the Green Climate Fund.

    http://peaksurfer.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/through-doha-gateway.html

  • In all likelihood, we passed 2 C quite a while ago. Consider 2.4 C near Concord, Massachusetts. Sensors there indicate 1 C warming, consistent with ca. 1 C warming at the planetary level (e.g., analysis here and graphic depiction here). Oh, and 1 C is catastrophic.

  • deprassive, I fully agree with:

    “According to AMEG, the situation is so extremely dire that unless we stop the ice cap melt in the next few months it may be too late. If we don’t save the arctic ice by this time next year, emissions won’t matter. It’s like chain smoking after being diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.”

    As for:
    If folks in the post-industrial, urban world have to spend too much of their money on food, there won’t be enough digital cash in their implanted microchips for iPads and iBrains and then the applesauce will hit the fan … ”

    What can I say beside LOL?

  • Now, seriously, how can we raise the awareness of the imminent collapse of civilization? It may be too late, but I am not willing to go out without a fight. This should not be a right wing versus a left wing debate. The entire planet is at stake.
    We need to make drastic changes in our value system. We did so in major world wars. No reason we can’t do it again. Time is short, be it was when Hitler started invading Europe.

  • Also from the same article ulvfugl quotes, a worthwhile reminder:

    Kyoto-2 seemed at the threshold of approval in Copenhagen in December, 2009, we may recall, but newly-minted President Obama dropped in at the last moment to substitute a voluntary pledge program, snatching defeat from the jaws of a potential international victory. Hillary Clinton sealed the deal with a dollar diplomacy pledge of $100 billion per year, which bought off enough opponents of the pledge system to backburner Kyoto until now.

    http://peaksurfer.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/through-doha-gateway.html

  • Capitalism runs by two methods:

    1. The carrot–the next quarterly report.
    2. The stick–the last quarterly report.

    If you keep this in mind, you will know why no action on this issue will EVER happen while capitalism is in charge.

  • @ Gilles

    You stated:

    “Now, seriously, how can we raise the awareness of the imminent collapse of civilization? It may be too late, but I am not willing to go out without a fight. This should not be a right wing versus a left wing debate. The entire planet is at stake.
    We need to make drastic changes in our value system. We did so in major world wars. No reason we can’t do it again. Time is short, be it was when Hitler started invading Europe.”

    Sorry Gilles, but there is nothing I would love more than to be able to agree with you. But unfortunately, the questions you are asking, have been asked for a terribly long time.

    IMO,the problem is with your use of “we”. We here, are such a minority, that we’re several decimal points removed from even being 1%. We here, also possess ecological values, which means we’re powerless to reach those in power, who don’t share our values. And in the immortal words of Chomsky: “Do you think by speaking truth to power, you’re telling them anything they don’t already know”?

    We here, have been discussing the “collapse of civilization” for at least a decade. We’re not so concerned with the collapse of civilization as we once were, and have moved onto something several orders of magnitude larger than civilization: the earth’s habitability. And yes, it is too late. The only place where there is still time, is in our minds.

    The next problem is the word “should”. Many things “should” be something other than what they are if there is any hope of us surviving ourselves. Alas, they’re not, and we are, where we’re at, because the vast, vast majority of humanity, simply doesn’t give a shit. Lest we forget, only 15% of American’s believe in evolution.

    “The entire planet is at stake”.

    This was probably true at least a hundred and fifty years ago, it’s been at stake for generations, we’re just the unfortunate accomplices who get to live through the inevitability of how every exponential growth curve ends in nature.

    “We need to make drastic changes to our value systems”

    We know why this is needed, but what we don’t know, and never will, is who, where, when and how.

    The false analogy between world war efforts, and mitigating the entrenched negative impacts of industrial civilization is so overplayed, it’s hard to know where to begin. But, I think it might have something to do with capitalism.

    But if you’re truly serious about not going out without a fight. Here’s a suggestion: There are plenty of corporations on Wall Street who are very susceptible to bad press. Monsanto might be a good place to start. Measure how much your freedom is worth in context to fighting the good fight, and aim at creating as much bad press as humanly possible.

  • For those of you who still refuse to admit that the system we live under is called—CAPITALISM.

    Try this test. Go find your favorite socialist/ecologist and your favorite Fortune 500 CEO, have each of them call your congressman or senator, and see whose call gets put through. And please, get back to us with the results, won’t you.

    People on this blog are pretty good at pointing out that we’re all going to die. That’s obvious. But before you die, try living without delusion, you may find that it can be quite refreshing.

  • guy, i thought your talk was magnificent. also the camerawork, audio, and production were perhaps the best of any videos (of the ones i’ve seen) that have been made of your presentations up to this point.

    very minor suggestions: the ‘oil’ acronym u referred to i believe should have been for ‘operation iraqi liberation’, not ‘liberty’. also, in reference to the mass species extinction now underway, which u refer to as ‘genocide’, isn’t ‘ecocide’ more accurate? genocide, after all, is defined as the destruction of groups of humans, not non-human animals.

  • Paul Chefurka Says:
    If you’d entertain one suggestion, I think the effects of extreme weather variability deserve more prominence. After all, droughts and floods are what’s going to pinch the global food supply.

    That’s a good suggestion, but tough to do because the effects just haven’t personally affected the only people who matter, the wealthy elites. When fires burn places like Beverly Hills or Monaco to the ground, or hurricanes wipe places like Martha’s Vineyard, Palm Beach or St. Kitts off the face of the earth, you’ll have something to talk about, until then, extreme weather does not exist.

  • Guy, a powerful presentation to be sure, but I am just wondering how those who don’t want to believe the awful truth would find some minor faults in it, and use that to dismiss it.

    As a mathematician, one glaring fault stands out. Predictions, based on historical data and algorithms that fit what has happened, always have a ‘most likely outcome’ and a range of outcomes associated with a percentage probability that the future will be in that range. So when you say so-and-so says we will reach such-and-such a figure by 2047.8, it doesn’t mean that precisely. It means that it is 95% likely that it will happen by 2045-2050, or 2040-2055, or whatever.

    This applies to all climate prediction figures, because there are known unknowns and unknown unknowns involved. The unknowns mean a wide range for a given probability, often so wide that the prediction becomes useless. Even though it still has a ‘most likely outcome’, it can’t be trusted.

    This point wouldn’t get past any student that has to produce statistics for a formal report, as to omit/forget to give confidence limits will earn the report a fail. I know you are only quoting someone else’s work, but if they didn’t give a range and probability, then their work is not worth quoting.

    The chart of oil discoveries over time is not right. It is so symmetrical that it must be an idealised Hubbert Curve – the best Hubbertian fit to the actual data, and actually it is not a very good fit to the data at all.

    Indeed the Hubbert Curve doesn’t fit actual oil production very well for a number of reasons. It assumes demand is exponentially growing in a smooth curve, whereas we know that recessions and price rises alter demand. Also it assumes that supply gets progressively harder to develop in proportion to the fraction of total oil remaining. But geology doesn’t promise that, and technology can change that (a bit). So even if Hubbert did say the US would peak in 1969-71 (with no confidence limits), that doesn’t make it an accurate prediction, just 90% theory and 10% luck.

    My money is on financial collapse (exacerbated by high oil prices) beating Peak Oil and Global Warming (in that order) to the punch (confidence limit 99%). Because there is no algorithm that satisfactorily explains capitalist economics, all predictions are just guesswork – which explains your long list of “experts” who were wrong. You are wise not to join them, but I think it is worth emphasising that it could be “tomorrow”.

    We have just had Bernanke’s latest fix, which comes only months after the last fix, more than doubling the monthly economic stimulus with more freshly printed confetti money. The bond markets didn’t miss a beat, but they could have done. Sooner or later confidence in fiat money is going to evaporate and a rush to the exits will occur. If you get your financial news on the nightly news, you will be left behind. Markets plunge in seconds in these days of computerised trading.

    Now I know I am being picky, but for someone still suffering from cognitive dissonance, that would be enough to start an interminable argument, and the whole philosophic point degenerates into confusion.

  • Why are elephants so big? Because during extreme weather events, like every year, the biggest elephant drinks from the watering hole while the other animals stand around and watch, including the smaller elephants. (Yes, there are other reasons too.)

    Guy, those longer pauses were very effective in your presentation. I suppose that dropping a rock on someones head requires a moment to recover…and to think about it. Folks want to change the subject and move on as fast as they can. There must be something more to buy. You didn’t let them move on. Well done.

  • Palloy, why not all 3 at once. High oil prices and dry weather make high food prices which hurt consumption of discretionary junk and pushes up digital debt. A perfect storm.

  • Looks like farmers in general aren’t paying much attention to climate change. Most of them don’t believe in it. “There have been dust bowls before”.

    http://www.porknetwork.com/e-newsletters/pork-daily/Iowa-farmland-prices-ignore-drought-set-record-high-in-2012-183052751.html#

    Over $21,000 an acre!

  • Daniel “And yes, it is too late. The only place where there is still time, is in our minds.”

    Well put. Yes in fact per Craig Dilworth (Too Smart for Our Own Good) it was probably too late when we became Homo sapiens sapiens and initiated vicious circles which accelerated once we started farming and got “civilized” and we are now in the last end of the last round.

    But more immediately we were too late when Limits to Growth came out and was trashed by distortion. Or when Herman Daly proposed a Steady State Economy that he thought might give us 1,000 more years that was ignored (he boldly including limiting children worldwide as in China) “He was Senior Economist in the Environment Department of the World Bank, where he helped to develop policy guidelines related to sustainable development. While there, he was engaged in environmental operations work in Latin America. He is closely associated with theories of a Steady state economy.”
    Lets see that was 30 to 40 years ago. We are well past too late.

  • Yes, plenty of people have devoted their lives to trying to avoid this horrible outcome.
    Now we will be told we did not shout loud enough, as I have been told, that I am ‘a pessimist’ and ‘hate people’. I’ve been shouting and being positive for thirty plus years trying to awaken people to the desperate urgency of our predicament. It didn’t work. Now it is too late. How the f***k do you get CO2 out of the ocean, once it’s in ? How do you stop the Chinese and Australians digging up coal and burning it, if it makes them a lot of money ? How do you stop people wanting nice things for their kids even if it means kids just like theirs in other countries must starve and die ? How do you get the plastic rubbish out of the oceans ? How do you stop USA wanting to take the resources of Central Asia away from Russia and China ? How do you close down Monsanto ? How do you stop China logging the last of the world’s virgin forests ? and on and on and on and on and on…. change just about everything, start by changing yourself, keep in changing everything… but we still hit NTE, IMHO.

    Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered 

  • Palloy: When multiple factors indicate that something is occuring, examining the minutia isn’t necessary. For example, in Guy’s presentation he talks about how the flowers (and now we see it in trees too) are ACTUALLY ahead of what our models say is going on in that they are effected and react to the changes without regard to numbers and data or statistics. Our models say that 350 parts per million (CO2)is about all that the atmosphere can “safely” handle, but we’re well past that figure and it’s still rising. The temperature (or global average temp.) will follow suit LATER because there’s a delay that our models don’t show. Another fact pointed out is that NONE of the models are sophisticated enough (or used) to include feedbacks – of which there are now 8 – that have a positive or self-reinforcing effect.

    So you can play with the numbers all you want, but our situation is only going to get worse in the short term. Whether we’re looking at 50 years left for mankind or (my prediction) less than 10 before we reach the collapse of civilization is really immaterial, since we can’t or won’t do anything about it anyway (except perhaps to make things even worse by meddling some more and calling it geo-engineering).

    All:
    In this week’s New Scientist mag there’s an article regarding the creation of “negative” fuel – fuel that takes more CO2 out of the atmosphere than it produces in combustion. Though it sounds like a “good idea” it’s still too late and of course this, like the electric car (from the 1970s) will go nowhere.

    As BC Nurse Prof and others have pointed out there are confounding factors (hey Palloy, there’s another thing i forgot to mention) like diseases, ocean acidification, sea level rise, economic troubles, droughts, floods, storms of great destructive magnitude and many other interconnected variables (two biggies being volcanic action and earthquakes, both of which are occuring much more frequently than in the recent past) that affect the outcome of continued life (of any kind) on Earth.

    No one relishes “being right” about this dilemma we find ourselves confronting. In fact i’d bet that most if not all of us would GLADLY be called a fool and see some pleasant “downsizing” outcome instead, but it’s not very likely at this point (and especially since we do nothing different than what we’re doing every day).

  • Oh, one more thing – the magnetic field of the planet is getting weaker, making us more susceptible to “cosmic rays” of destruction that we’re currently shielded from.

    Just when you think you’ve covered all your bases MORE problems crop up.

  • Ripley, When fires burn places like Beverly Hills or Monaco to the ground, or hurricanes wipe places like Martha’s Vineyard, Palm Beach or St. Kitts off the face of the earth, you’ll have something to talk about, until then, extreme weather does not exist.

    Case in point: February of 2009, a massive ice storm hit our area. Hundreds of thousands were without power while temperatures were in the low 20s. Some were without power for more than two months. People died as trees snapped and crushed them and their homes. Others froze to death with no heat in their homes. Some businesses were closed for weeks. Entire electrical infrastructure had to be rebuilt completely in some areas. It was a massive hit against the local economy. Even today there is occasional damage as old dead trees killed by the storm fall into a house or across a roadway causing traffic accidents.

    To my knowledge, no one outside the local area knew anything about it. It may have been mentioned once or twice on the national news, but how would I know? We didn’t have electricity. :-)

    Sandy hit New York and the northeast and caused widespread destruction. Coincidentally, it hit the home of the major news networks and the center of the financial world. For weeks, it was all anyone could talk about. A big reason that Sandy was more destructive than our ice storm was because that area is so much more populated. The reason it was talked about more was because of WHO was affected.

  • https://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/12/12/1320221/climate-change-is-killing-the-worlds-oldest-trees/

    i had to laugh when i entered the thinkprogress site today as their headline article said:

    Breaking: Wind Takes Lead In Reducing Red Ink; Will Big Oil & Other Fossil Fuels Abandon Their Special Tax Breaks?

    and i left out the “:” (juvenile, aren’t i?)

  • Ripley

    The bit about the wood was intended as sarcasm, and some tragic stupid idea that to blame the trees was in order.
    Poor humour perhaps on my part.

  • Tom, my prediction for the collapse is next year, so I am much more extreme than you apparently. I am more concerned that there be good reasoning behind our predictions, so that we convince more people.

    The flowers blooming earlier is another example of Guy not telling it like it should be told. If have read the original paper that that comment was based on, and it points out that only a few (40 from memory) species are on both the original list and today’s list. The study only refers to one location, not many locations around the globe, like a good study requires. The temperature difference is arrived at by comparing flowering times, but there are many other factors apart from temperature that affect flowering times – rain, how cold the winter was, etc. So the 2.4°C change is only a guess, the papers authors admit as much, and this should be made clear, but wasn’t.

    The melting of the permafrost, is another example. Guy said that 30% of Russia’s permafrost would melt by 2050, releasing X gazillions of tonnes of methane. If fact the original article said 15-30% by area. But in some places the permafrost is only 1 metre deep, and in others it is 5,000 , so there is no way 30% of the total volume of permafrost will melt by 2050.

    There are definitely feedback loops built in to the IPCC model, and the only reason there aren’t more is because the climate scientists can’t agree on what other feedbacks should be in there. So if they can’t agree, how does Guy know more about methane feedbacks than them ? I assume he is quoting someone else, but how do we know that they know what they are talking about – after all they haven’t convinced the climate science community. But instead we are told that the IPCC model is no good, and it should be predicting something worse.

    Are you beginning to see a pattern here ? Every time Guy gets it a little bit wrong, and every time it is on the scary side. The resulting effect is to turn a scary story into a very scary story with holes in. This sort of thing won’t convince climate scientists, or scientists of any sort. It would be much more convincing if it was presented in an unslanted way, and it makes it harder for everyone else who is trying to convince people based on the facts alone.

  • BC nurse – thanks for the article on Egypt. I knew they were having such problems but not that it was that bad. Think –
    Meat is less efficient because we eat the animal that eats the grain instead of eating the grain ourselves. It takes about 15 pounds of feed to make 1 pound of beef, 6 pounds of feed for 1 pound of pork and 5 pounds of feed for 1 pound of chicken, the Department of Agriculture estimates. For catfish, it’s about 2 pounds of feed per pound of fish.
    So each time they have to cull an animal that they can’t eat they are throwing away grain – a 4 lb chicken means about 20 lbs of grain lost – and culls of chickens worldwide for H5N1 are often in the millions. And grain will be tight this year.

    But what the article doesn’t mention is that Egypt became and oil importer instead of an oil exporter about the time of the Arab spring. Suddenly what was revenue becomes a cost. So no doubt cuts are occuring all over in Egypt including health care.

  • Ulvfugl – “Now it is too late. How the f***k do you get CO2 out of the ocean, once it’s in ? …” Yeah exactly. I may print your comment and put it on the refrigerator to show to all the people who never listened.

    I was trying to explain some stuff to a disbelieving friend one time and I told her that I knew the housing collapse was coming before it did to try to back up my credentials. She said in a very irritated smug way “how could you know that” I said “the loans had reset dates and the dates were known”. Heck I learned that on the Jim Lehr show on public TV. Anyone could have learned that even if they didn’t know the rest of the crap going on behind that. Anyone with any thought could have said, oh gee low income people’s mortgage premiums are going to shoot up, that is going to mean trouble. I didn’t know how big it would be, but I knew it was coming. Ah well, she still won’t listen to me so I don’t try anymore. And when I used to try explain I didn’t know how big this was going to be until I found Guy’s site, Fukushima let us know about spent fuel pool problems, and the damn arctic ice almost went away.

  • Palloy: i see, but it looks like a matter of degree here, with not much wiggle room (in fact, it looks like the models are all off, to the conservative, less dire side). So it’s a legitimate (i guess, i’ll have to see how Guy responds to your) point, but i think the fact that your prediction is even more dire than mine indicates that you GET it, and the point becomes pedantic (as you, upon rereading your original comment i see, suggest with “Now I know I am being picky,”).

    To further our discussion however, let’s talk about statistics itself. Apparently it’s widely done wrong in papers, at presentations and in, oh say insurance industry or FDA models as an example. i’ve read where scientists routinely get it wrong and miscalculate (possibly because it’s not their field, or outside agencies crunch the numbers and misinterpret, or we start looking at who funded the research . .) drug trials, biological or botanical results. After all, it’s just another human endeavor that gets misused, misapplied and at best only approximates to some degree of probability but doesn’t have much to do with the actual outcome far too often. i’d appreciate hearing your opinion. (by the way: Have you ever seen the movie Brazil?)

  • Palloy writes, “Guy said that 30% of Russia’s permafrost would melt by 2050.” Do you have a citation for that? I don’t believe I’ve ever made this prediction.

    Also, Hubbert’s curve and the attendant predictions are presented verbatim. That reality doesn’t precisely match his curve, except when smoothed (e.g., the discovery curve, effectively smoothed by using decadal data), is irrelevant.

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

  • Palloy wrote: I assume he is quoting someone else, but how do we know that they know what they are talking about – after all they haven’t convinced the climate science community. But instead we are told that the IPCC model is no good, and it should be predicting something worse.

    It’s pretty clear by now that the climate science community is influenced by very powerful economic and political interests which skew the projections that are publicly reported. They are not just a bunch of researchers in a dispassionate search for the “truth”, they have careers, grants and reputations that most are unwilling to sacrifice. Last month, Kevin Anderson accused climate scientists of intentionally reporting unrealistic climate change assessments. The most recent example is the IPCC’s refusal to incorporate permafrost methane in their upcoming report when there are very credible individuals who have been conducting empirical research in the Arctic and have observed (measured) the increase in methane release over the last few years; e.g. AMEG. Are AMEG’s assessments of the critical nature of the situation wrong? Why would their findings (and those of others, like the Russians) be ignored?

  • Indeed. Does anybody still think the IPPC is ‘good’ ? I don’t.

    Seems to me it’s lowest common denominator, shaped by political expediency.

    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/report-ipcc-underestimate-assessing-climate-risks-15338

    Btw, does anybody have a handy list of the eight feedbacks ?

  • If I remember rightly, what Kevin Anderson said was, kinda sins of omission, that they remained silent when they saw data going into the public domain that they knewwas incorrect.

  • Yes, Anderson claimed it was a conspiracy of silence … but omission becomes disinformation when the same scientists know that the reported assessments are unrealistically optimistic and they play “see no evil, hear no evil …”

  • Yeah, grossly irresponsible, IMO, and the intention to leave out permafrost and methane from next IPPC modelling an outrage, and Gavin Schmidt’s justification that they can’t put everything in just seemed a very lame feeble excuse to me.

  • ulvfugl
    Yes, I do happen to have a list of the eight feedbacks handy:

    Arctic Ocean Methane Hydrates(Science, March 2010)

    Science: Arctic defrosting–Atlantic water–> Fram strait (Science, January 2011)

    Siberian Methane (Tellus, Feb 2011)

    Amazonian Drought (Science, February 2011)

    Boreal Peat (Nature Communications, November 2011)

    Antarctic Methane 10x carbon in Northern Hemisphere (Nature, August 2012)

    Russian Forest and Bog fires (NASA, August 2012)

    Arctic drilling.

    as copied from slide in lecture.

  • Thankyou so much, Tamsen Miller, very helpful ! :-)

  • Guy, http://transitionvoice.com/2011/11/three-paths-to-near-term-human-extinction “Russia is headed directly for loss of 30% of its permafrost by 2050.” Whereas the AFP article http://tinyurl.com/3ezk88u says 15-30%. The additional bit about the tonnes of methane released was from the lecture.

    This discovery chart was published by Colin Campbell in ASPO newsletter Feb 2006 (no longer on-line), http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4189/1379/1600/GGap1.jpg is an extract from the PDF. There is clearly something more going on than Hubbertian analysis would suggest. Yes, it is somewhat irrelevant, but it is an unnecessary weakness in the presentation. I’ve been arguing the case about Peak Oil since 2003 and I know it doesn’t help to leave these slight inaccuracies in when you have the likes of Daniel Yergin sowing doubt by picking holes in what you say. The people who don’t want to believe can sit back and say “Well, I don’t understand the details, but Yergin says that chart is not right, so that’s good enough for me”.

    If you believe in Peak Oil, the forecast fossil fuels burnt under IPCC’s 40 scenarios are all too high. Even the lowest one, B1-miniCAM, is well above the peakists’ line. IPCC don’t really have much choice but to go along with the IEA forecasts, because IEA are the government-recognised experts on that. There is no doubt they understand about Peak Oil, but their forecasts are still driven by wishful thinking rather than realistic peakist thinking.

    I have run the model using Campbell’s oil and gas data, and Rutledges coal data, and it gives peak temperature of +1.4°C in 2045, getting cooler thereafter due to ocean absorption. To do the job properly, I would need to run it many times more with incrementally larger and smaller figures to get a meaningful range and probability. I haven’t done that because its a lot of work and I couldn’t get it published in a journal anyway. But Aleklett’s team at Upsala have done something similar, also someone (Miller?) at Adelaide Uni, and they have published similar results. They remain voices crying in the wilderness because it is more important to TPTB that Peak Oil is covered up despite it making Global Warming look worse than it really is.

    For me, Global Warming is scary, but not as imminent as the financial collapse. Today’s news is that Greek has received its next bail-out, which means now everybody can start to worry about the NEXT bail-out. It won’t take much to collapse the financial system now, and that will take the urgency out of Peak Oil and Global Warming.

  • Just to be clear. The “exponential” methane bomb from melting clathrates has not been seen in any monitoring station in or near the Arctic. There were some preliminary readings at Svalbard, about a year ago I think, that showed a huge increase but these subsided and those data points were subsequently removed after examination. If the chart that Guy showed were extended to today, there would be no spike, though there would be a renewed upward trend, following a plateau in the early/mid 2000s. Of course, there still remains the possibility, even likelihood, of a rapid methane release due to warming but it doesn’t appear to have happened yet, despite the kilometre wide plumes that were observed.

  • Guy: Late to the party (first time I’ve read of you) and since I love the truth above all else, thought your presentation was polished and truthful and insightful and devastating and brilliant.

    Another truthful read for you:

    http://www.author-me.com/nonfiction/renewableenergy2.html

  • Wow. Not since reading Ishmael in 2002 have I been so stunned. I could see it coming but not in my potential lifetime.
    Thank you Guy for your work for the excellent and unarguable detail which i feel able to share widely, and to everyone else for the discussion.
    I’ve gone with permaculture and transition as the only feasible responses in my mind ever since but when change is not yet a need its been likepushing s… up hill.
    I’m left wondering if you are on that kill list, and how to speak of this to my 12 year old daughter – weve been looking forward to the end of capitalism but this is a bit more intense.

  • I actually consider this blog , “The twin sides of the fossil-fuel
    coin: presenting in Massachusetts – Nature Bats Last”, highly compelling not to mention the blog post was a superb read.
    Thanks a lot,Leila

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