Presenting in Olympia, Washington

My tour along the coasts of Oregon and Washington was an unqualified success, and I was able to interact directly with several hundred people. Thanks to the eclectic combination of generous people who provided local transportation, housing, food, venues, interviews, and fiat currency for air fare, and especially to Holly for organizing the trip on my behalf.

I delivered a presentation at Traditions Cafe in Olympia, Washington on Friday, 28 February 2014. Video is embedded below.


From the ether comes a series of messages. I’ve summarized them into this single, short essay. My responses to the questions are shown in italics.

I’ve shared your presentations/material with a few people and it did not get through to them. This is what they told me:

1. He mentions studies but does not explain the studies or how they were conducted. How do we know the studies he quotes are more legitimate than other studies that show climate change is far in the future?

Please read my essay, “Picking cherries.” It’s here.

2. He mentions 3.5 C by the 2030’s means extinction but does not explain very well why or by what manner. People want to know exactly (and specifically) what events will cause extinction, not just that humans have not been around at those temperatures in the past. That is not sufficient explanation. They feel we’re more advanced so we could develop technologies to survive higher temperatures than our ancestors.

It’s about habitat for humans, not about temperature per se. As I’ve explained frequently, we need food. Our food comes from two sources: oceans and land. We’ve lost half the phytoplankton in the ocean at 0.85 C above baseline. At 3.5 C above baseline, we’ll lose all or nearly all the phytoplankton, the base of the marine food web. Also at 3.5 C, we’ll lose habitat for all or nearly all land plants because of temperature fluctuations and denaturing of proteins.

3. To most people 3.5 C (or even 6 C) does not sound like a big deal. They may live in the mountains or a place where average temperatures are 50 to 60 F. Something that could raise their temperatures to 70 or 80 F should be no big deal. They feel it could make it easier to grow food, not harder. I’ve heard people say Canada will thrive with climate change and become a wine growing region. You should adequately explain why this is not so.

See above, or starters. And then consider the particular combination of soils and climate required to grow food. When temperatures increase in non-linear fashion in Canada, there’ll be no opportunity for plants to migrate. And the soils that dominate Canada do not support growth of food crops for very many humans.

4. People who live on the coasts want to know when they will see significant sea level rise. They hear it could be 50 meters if Greenland goes but there has been major melting already and everyone on the coast is more or less fine. If the arctic and glaciers have melted so much why have no coastal cities been lost under the sea? On the 2030’s timeline you mention, when would major coastal cities need to be evacuated (not due to storms) but to actual overall sea level rise? Could it happen fast and if so, how fast?

I doubt sea-level rise will kill many people. Unless Greenland and the West Antarctic Ice Shelf collapse very quickly, we’ll run out of habitat for humans long before seas rise sufficiently to remove habitat. A few exceptions are already evident, particularly in small island nations and the coastal Arctic.

5. They were not convinced because they wanted the dots to be connected in a linear fashion. They wanted to know what the temperatures were before this started, what they are now, where they are going and why (and how fast). They want to know why it does not feel warmer and why just 1 C could set all this in motion. They want to know more about how the ocean is absorbing the heat because they’ve read that there has been no warming for the last 12-15 years.

Your acquaintances should get in touch with an internet search engine. Global-average temperature before the beginning of the Industrial Revolution was slightly greater than 14 C. We’re at about 15 C now, a rise in temperature that has triggered (1) methane release from the Arctic and permafrost, (2) rapid decomposition of peat, (3) death and decomposition of woody plants (i.e., trees and shrubs), and (4) numerous other self-reinforcing feedback loops about which I speak and write.

Contrary to the contrarian myth, which matches what people actually want to hear, warming has not paused. It’s paused on land, but the heat is still ratcheting up. Again, visit my oft-updated essay for details and links.

6. On a personal level, they want to know more about what the “powers that be” know. You mentioned all politicians know that extinction is near but that was hard for them to believe. They were dubious that a large group of people could keep a secret of that magnitude. You mentioned a rich and famous individual. If it’s true that billionaires are buying land in South America they want to know more about it so they could possibly make the move themselves if it buys another decade of life for their children.

I mention many politicians know, not all of them. Surely the Obama administration knows what I know. Ditto for the many people in the world who make a lot of money because they have access to information, and profit from that information. Please check out the following article: “According to Daniel Ellsburg, ‘Secrets … Can Be Kept Reliably … For Decades … Even Though They Are Known to THOUSANDS of Insiders.'”


I’m mentioned in this essay at Huffington Post.

Comments 138

  • I dropped your Video on as Feature Video on the Diner Homepage Guy.

    My latest is a Global Rant on Mass Stupidity, Doom All Around You,. :)


  • What is courage? Look at the people in the room at Traditions Cafe in Olympia. A bunch of clean, well-dressed, white people with perfect hair. The grandmother and her poem seem nice enough – but then she goes home in her car and takes a warm bath – and although I’m sure she is a big proponent of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” the Real Courage is to acknowledge our own participation – regardless of whether or not we are “trapped” and cannot live without participating – the truth is everyone in that room is consuming at a rate well beyond most other humans on the planet.

    Is it a question of degree?
    Guy makes the point that 85 people have more money than the combined wealth of half the population of the planet. But, the people in that room each have many orders of magnitude more than the poor kid in India sifting through the garbage trying to find something to eat.

    Irredeemably corrupt? Listen to the people laugh when Guy talks about Americans being hedonists. Then go out into the parking lot and look at the cars these people drove to this event.

    The only answer: strip naked and wander into the woods.

    The Voluntary Extinction Movement
    Thou shalt not procreate.

    The Church of Euthanasia
    Save the planet, kill yourself.

  • RE,
    Love the rant but you need to get over your shyness & learn to speak your mind. rofl

    I watch this to remember that I’m not responsible for anything.
    Warning! I think I heard a bad word in the video.

  • Regarding this point:
    “6. On a personal level, they want to know more about what the “powers that be” know. You mentioned all politicians know that extinction is near but that was hard for them to believe. They were dubious that a large group of people could keep a secret of that magnitude. You mentioned a rich and famous individual. If it’s true that billionaires are buying land in South America they want to know more about it so they could possibly make the move themselves if it buys another decade of life for their children.
    I mention many politicians know, not all of them. Surely the Obama administration knows what I know. Ditto for the many people in the world who make a lot of money because they have access to information, and profit from that information. Please check out the following article: “According to Daniel Ellsburg, ‘Secrets … Can Be Kept Reliably … For Decades … Even Though They Are Known to THOUSANDS of Insiders.’””

    Everything i have seen, particularly elite-oriented media such as CNN’s GPS program, hosted by Council on Foreign Relations bigwig Fareed Zakaria, editor of Time, convinces me that the elite believes in the ability of technological change to push off any reckoning into the infinitely distant future, including a new machine age, fracking, development of solar/wind/biofuel, nano-tech, bioengineering,……

  • Your finest hour Guy.

  • First, Canadian Defense Minister Paul Hellyer boldly announced to the world that the Earth is being visited by ET entities (multiple species), and these entities have issued dire warnings based on mankind’s current trajectory.

    Then Russian Prime Minister and former President Dmitry Medvedev on December 7 during a meeting with journalists made the startling revelation during a moment of uncensored candor that we are being visited by alien organisms and that some are even walking among us. Medvedev made these remarks at a point when he assumed that the microphones had been disabled but were instead turned on. He was then asked by one reporter if “the president is handed secret files on aliens when he receives the briefcase needed to activate Russia’s nuclear arsenal,” Medvedev responded:

    “Along with the briefcase with nuclear codes, the president of the country is given a special ‘top secret’ folder. This folder in its entirety contains information about aliens who visited our planet… Along with this, you are given a report of the absolutely secret special service that exercises control over aliens on the territory of our country. I will not tell you how many of them are among us because it may cause panic.”

    In an extraordinary television interview aired in May 2010, the Governor of the Russian Republic of Kalmykia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov who was also President of the World Chess Federation, revealed that in 1997 he was taken from his penthouse apartment on board an extraterrestrial vehicle. Ilyumzhinov claimed that the extraterrestrials he met were humanoid and gave him a tour of their ship, but refused to go into further details.

  • Sheesh, you got this close, and didn’t make it up to the People’s Republic of Canuckistan?

    Where we only use the very greenest Earth-destroying technologies? Where we produce 2% of the world’s oil while creating ten times as much CO2 as other oil production — and then feel really bad about it, every day? Where people are only a little politely upset when 61% of them vote against the guy who ends up leading the place?

    You missed a Real Good Time, Guy. :-)

  • “The Church of Euthanasia
    Save the planet, kill yourself.”-Pat

    You first.


  • “RE,
    Love the rant but you need to get over your shyness & learn to speak your mind. rof”-TR

    Would you believe that as a kid I was a stutterer and painfully shy?

    I hope not, because I wasn’t. I haven’t shut up since I learned to talk. :)


  • About ET´s, I firmly believe that they do exist, and probably walk in the cities of our IC. But I also believe that they are only watching, we are the experiment. As any scientist would do, do not intervene. We are the most capable creature (probably created by them) able to live with the available means on earth, and very limited energy.
    Our planet is the lab for the experiment, that has already taken a long time. We are the latest add. The most unpredictable. As all previous NTE, they can create new creatures, or evolve the design, with new solutions.
    Their visits seem logical to me. They want to know more about us from a closer point.
    This issue is open to an ample discussion, but in the end, I believe that it does not make sense to go deeper, they are not going to save us neither destroy us.
    We have more urgent issues to take care of. Ourselves.

  • “First, Canadian Defense Minister Paul Hellyer boldly announced to the world that the Earth is being visited by ET entities (multiple species), and these entities have issued dire warnings based on mankind’s current trajectory.”

    If I didn’t want people to wake up to how I was shafting them, I’d tell them stuff like this too. Then that becomes the new story for a few years.

  • @ Artleads

    For once, I agree with you about something.

    It doesn’t have to be for a few years, it can just be to grab the news headlines for that night to keep some other story from rising to the top.

    And NOW, on the internet. Stop people paying attention to Ukraine, flood the blogs and forums with stuff about fucking aliens, so everyone gets distracted. ‘Hey ! Look over there !’

  • ulvfugi

    Well this makes my evening! :-)

  • Holy shit!! Not only will global warming lead to mass extinction, it will ruin some pretty fancy and pricey bits of real estate!!

    “Famous global landmarks including the Statue of Liberty, Tower of London and Sydney Opera House will be lost to rising seas caused by climate change, scientists have warned.

    “Even with just a further 3C of warming – well within the range to which the UN climate science panel expects temperatures to rise by the end of the century – nearly one-fifth of the planet’s 720 world heritage sites will affected as ice sheets melt and warming oceans expand.”

    Crap! Not only will we all be dead, but there will be a major blow to the post card industry!! Read all the horrifying details:

  • RE,

    exceptional Rant!!


    Still going through the video lecture.


  • Guy: that was the best talk I’ve heard you give – astounding! You even got them to laugh! Your remarks about how to live in the face of the facts you present are the best part, but I wonder if that’s where the “disconnect” comes in – because of the way we’re wired. You know, “the collapse isn’t in my neighborhood yet so i’ll just keep doing what i’m doing until it gets here and then i’ll panic and probably die” kind of thinking that most Americans do daily. On another note, you aren’t the only one seeing academia for what it is now:

    Yes, Another Science Blog

    Goodbye Academia

    I have enjoyed research and teaching for the last twelve years. Yet, I have resigned from my postdoctoral position at MIT a week ago, giving up on the dream of an academic position. I feel liberated and happy, and this is a very bad sign for the future of life sciences in the United States.

    Michael Eisen, my co-advisor from graduate school at Berkeley recently wrote that it is a great time to do science but a terrible time to be a scientist. A few months ago I was discussing with my other co-adviser Jasper Rine the crisis in NIH research funding awards (better known as “lottery”). Jasper said that unless NIH wakes up and there is a major restructuring, we will lose an entire generation of scientists. I am a member of this generation, and I am out. [read the rest]

    In other news:

    Today it’s been revealed (by AG at Fairewinds, others) that the damage to unit 3 is MUCH worse than has been portrayed and that it’s practically impossible at this time to remove the fuel from the fuel pool because of the damage done by the explosion there (which has been downplayed by Tepco ever since). Gunderson states that this process ‘will challenge the best engineering minds on the planet for decades to come.’

    While Fukushima continues to astound, confound and leak into the ground, we have our own problems here in the U.S. with our corroding, decaying nuke sites.

    Piece of metal lodged in reactor at Palisades Nuclear Power Plant

    COVERT TOWNSHIP, MI — A piece of metal from a broken impeller blade has lodged in the reactor vessel at Palisades Nuclear Power Plant. Workers discovered the issue during the nuclear power plant’s scheduled refueling and maintenance shutdown, which began Jan. 19.

    The metal is 5 inches by 12 inches long, said Lindsay Rose, spokeswoman for Entergy Corp., which owns Palisades. The piece is wedged into the reactor vessel between the vessel wall and the flow skirt, inside the vessel.

    “It’s physically separated from the fuel,” Rose said in an interview with the Kalamazoo Gazette. “It’s not a loose piece floating around. It’s firmly wedged into place.”

    Efforts to remove the metal have proved unsuccessful. At this point, Entergy plans to leave it in place, saying it does not pose a safety risk.

    “We took steps to remove it. We’ve thoroughly analyzed it and we’ve determined that, based on the location of where it is, it’s not going to have any impact on safe operations. We do not believe it is going to move from its location,” Rose said. “It has not compromised safe operations and it is not expected to.”

    Rose said she did not have any information about when the metal piece might have broken off the impeller, which has been replaced. An impeller is a rotor that is used to pump water within the reactor.

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is aware of the issue and its on-site inspectors are monitoring the situation, NRC spokeswoman Viktoria Mitlyng said.

    “We are aware that there is a small piece of metal that is stuck in the reactor. The company has tried different methods for removing it and it is wedged really tightly,” said Viktoria Mitlyng, senior public affairs officer for the NRC, in a phone interview. “With some of the more intrusive methods that could be used, there’s a danger of actually damaging the vessel. We don’t know what the resolution is going to be, but we’re following this issue.”

    Entergy Corp. bought Palisades from Consumers Energy in 2007 for $380 million. The one-reactor plant, which is located along Lake Michigan in Covert Township, supplies about 20 percent of Consumers Energy’s power. The facility came online in 1971 and its license runs until 2031.

    The plant has shut down at least 10 times since 2011 for repairs, including a month-long shutdown in 2013 to replace the bottom of its safety injection refueling water tank. That shutdown came after approximately 80 gallons of highly diluted radioactive water leaked out and made its way into Lake Michigan in May. [read the rest]

    This isn’t the only plant having problems. Rarely, if ever, is any of this heard on the main-stream news.

    Finally, the discovery of that ‘large’ virus that was previously encased in ice has implications that we’re just beginning to realize.

    Giant 30,000-Year-Old Pithovirus Sibericum Virus Revived From Siberian Ice

    Deadly deseases thought to have been eradicated long ago may just be lying dormant, scientists said after they revived a giant virus buried in Siberian ice for 30,000 years and found it to be still infectious.


    Researchers suggested that although this particular virus does not pose a direct risk to human health as it only targets amoebae, the rise in global temperature and subsequent melting of the Earth’s ice could herald the return of other lost viruses.

    Speaking to LiveScience, Claverie said: “There is now a non-zero probability that the pathogenic microbes that bothered [ancient human populations] could be revived, and most likely infect us as well.”

    According to the BBC, ancient strains of the smallpox virus could be reactivated, although the disease was declared eradicated three decades ago.

    Claverie said: “If it is true that these viruses survive in the same way those amoeba viruses survive, then smallpox is not eradicated from the planet – only the surface. By going deeper we may reactivate the possibility that smallpox could again become a disease of humans in modern times.”

  • I watched the whole video from the Traditions Cafe in Olympia again. I had always wondered why Guy said the Mud Hut was a failure. I wouldn’t have guessed one of the reasons was because 5 people couldn’t get along.

    We are ill-prepared to walk away from empire. I can just imagine those fat and happy audience members from the Traditions Cafe in Olympia giving up their comfortable lives to scratch out a living in the wilderness. Ha!

    The agrarian anarchy idea is a step in the right direction – but, ultimately, the goal is to return to the wild – living as animals – no shelter, no fire, no tools.

  • Grant Schreiber (am I writing that right?), that’s a bit unfair.

    World heritage sites are not just “fancy real estate”; they are markers of everything noble and great that humanity’s managed to accomplished. The Sydney Opera House, for example, is a world heritage site because we get to listen to beautiful music there. The Statue of Liberty is a world heritage site because it was a gift from the French to celebrate the great “liberty project” American and France were “experimenting” with.

    These world heritage sites are humanity’s way of saying, “Well hey, we don’t have to be beasts, slaves to our worst instincts; we can make better choices, and here is the proof!”

    Don’t be so cavalier about all these places being washed away; it’ll hurt a lot more people than just real estate brokers to see them gone.

  • @ Librarian: And with everyone dead, think of how much money will be lost too. Heritage in a building in one thing, heritage in a dead planet is something else entirely isn’t it?

  • Maybe I didn’t express myself clearly. Obviously I am not siding with the real estate brokers. What I meant was that there is incalculable value to humanity in those world heritage site, markers of our best selves, the highest we can achieve when we decide not to act like savages. If those world heritage sites are washed away, we have nothing to aspire to but what we see in the mirror.

    Is that a bit more clear? I’m not concerned about the money, so I’m sorry if I gave off that impression.

  • And yet, it isn’t going to be Charlton Heston bellowing in rage at the sight of a destroyed Statue of Liberty because NO ONE will be around by the time these monuments to brief moments in human history are washed away. No one will be reading Shakespeare, or listening to Mozart or watching the latest tentacle porno online either. Appealing to sanity (hahaha) by announcing that major works of man are also in danger of being harmed by climate extremes doesn’t move me one bit. If we’re all dead, it doesn’t matter what Good or Great things Man did, does it?

  • there is incalculable value to humanity in those world heritage site, markers of our best selves, the highest we can achieve

    The markers of our best selves are not bricks and mortar, but flesh and blood. Markers – not the best selves.

  • In previous posts, pat says:
    “…so much BS….It’s spending your last minutes analyzing the Titanic engineering specs or the steering dynamics….”
    “Just sitting on this runaway train, staring out the window.”

    Watching the Speedometer

    Once acceptance reduces despair,
    Two things remain after we share:
    Check the speedometer
    Every kilometer,
    Or look out the window and stare.

  • “Middle class Americans who feel comfortable tossing in their lot on the stock market, or dropping a few dollars to the lottery, are much less likely to feel at home faced with a lavishly adorned corpse. (La Santisima Muerte) promises fecundity, while at the same time (forcing) devotees to reckon with their mortality and the real stakes behind the game of life.”(Source: Of Dice and Divinity—Gambling and the
    Western Tradition, The Immanence of Myth, Weaponized 2011)

  • “Maybe I didn’t express myself clearly. Obviously I am not siding with the real estate brokers. What I meant was that there is incalculable value to humanity in those world heritage site, markers of our best selves, the highest we can achieve when we decide not to act like savages. If those world heritage sites are washed away, we have nothing to aspire to but what we see in the mirror.”


    If I understand what you’ve written (and correct me if I haven’t) it appears you are taking the presence of these markers of evidence of our best selves.

    It strikes a similar cord in me when I hear how solar and electric cars can save the world. They stop at the marker and don’t trace back how that structure got put together. It’s like thinking an iPad, iPod, computer, or car are beautiful (and to many they are).

    I find many structures (or markers) ascetically pleasing to look at. Yet, I no longer think these ae “markers of our best selves.” As I look at each of these markers I trace it back to figure out how it got here.

    What was the cost of that marker (to the earth and to other species and to the human life bringing it about)?

    What was mined and left barrier and sterile?

    Whose life was left in tatters due to the abuse they took to extract the materials to make that marker?

    If savage behaviors were necessary to bring the marker to life is this our best self?

  • @ Librarian:

    Civilization killed us. The first humans that set up camp and decided to plant crops and build settlements killed us. Civilization begets hierarchy and social order and division of labor and all that is wrong with our way of life.

    Civilization is what set us apart from Nature. These monuments are all monuments to Civilization.

    It’s ironic that our stupid selves have set in motion the mechanisms that will ensure that these monuments will all be shadows and dust – just like us.

    @ BTD:

    Yes, just staring out the window, and I no longer care about what the speedometer reads or who sits in the engineer’s chair or what the other passengers think about all this. I have no luggage. Soon, someone will maybe walk past and give me a poke – only to realize my seat is filled with nothing more than shadows and dust.

  • PMB, I was thinking more along the lines of beautiful music, or the pleasure of reading books, or the ideal of liberty, etc. That’s why I called them markers. It’s not about the monuments, it’s what they REPRESENT whose loss would be incalculable.

  • @Guy

    During Q&A you made a remark about knowing all this for 40 years. Something about the guy who could face that would be stronger than you. Well now. Doesn’t work that way. Has nothing to do with strength or intelligence or bravery. The organism merely persists. Barring accident or disease it is simply a matter of putting one foot in front of the other. Suicide happens for psychological reasons, not because of intellectual knowledge.

    Forty years ago would have been 1974. At that point I merely regarded extinction in my lifespan as a good possibility. For those without memory Earth Day began in 1970. Marvin Gaye recorded Mercy Mercy Me (the ecology) in 1971. Popular culture mostly washes over people with little effect, for those who pay attention even a little, the knowledge was out there. And as Marvin had it “things ain’t like they used to be” which was already visibly apparent by 1971.

    For quite a while I have been recommending Doris Lessing’s 1969 novel, Four-Gated City. Much of the novel is about how an observer would come to know how bleak the future of the planet is. At the conclusion of the book most human population is in refugee camps. The next few novels were bleaker. Briefing For A Descent Into Hell is as chill as it sounds. Then Ms. Lessing moved her fiction to outer space, unwilling to live her imaginative life on a dead planet.

    Doris Lessing had a long and good life. No one read her. No matter how explicit and didactic her prose was she remained in a vise as Giant of English Letters, Ex-Communist, Feminist. If you want to read the work from ’69-’75 you will have to visit a library, while they still exist.

    By 1980 I was certain. By 1998 I knew it was near term. Anyone planning to have a catbird seat as late as AD2030 from which to view the final act is dreaming.

    Recently discovered an old box of family photos from the 1940s to the 1970s. The first visual impression is that the shade of the trees is so much deeper than now. Then you start to see how blue the sky was. No contrails for starters. There’s a sequence of photos my brother took of water meadows within the city limits of Wheaton, Illinois which is so dense, lush, verdant no one will believe it’s not Central America or maybe the Amazon. He was standing perhaps 20 yards from US Highway 30 when he took those pictures.

    By 1998 it was plain to me the trees were dying. I told a few people and they thought I was crazy. By 2009 the state of the trees was so dire I selected a few artists and technical people with really good visual apparatus and tried again. They thought I was crazy. Recently I spoke with a client who had a tree through her roof. The tree was completely rotten. The roots broke at ground level without pulling the slightest rootball. I pointed this out to her. I pointed out the desperate plight of the other large trees over her house. I was held to be crazy. No more trees could or would fall.

    Be grief-stricken as much as you like. Put one foot in front of the other. Life goes on. Until it doesn’t.

  • Tom,

    I am sorry to learn, from the perspective of society, that you have resigned your teaching position at MIT. You represent the type of decent and intelligent researcher we can ill afford to lose. Please remember to keep your options open and never burn a bridge in the event you choose to return one day.

    What do you plan on doing now?

  • @Librarian:
    If any of those grand ‘public’ buildings had once opened their doors to shelter the homeless and save them from dying of hypothermia, it might be worth lamenting their submersion. That would have been a noble and great accomplishment. If the time-honoured practice of building a palace of high culture while people die on the streets for want of a roof is about to have it’s karmic debt become due, then IMO it’s long past time.

  • @18000days: you have to be kind to Librarian. After all, a librarian is the custodian of the civilized culture, so you can’t exactly ask her to jettison all that training in an instant.

    @Friedrich, it’s not Tom who’s the MIT researcher, it’s some dude with a blog Tom linked to. MIT, and society, does not want “decent and intelligent” researchers. They want researchers who will bring them power, status, money and resources.

  • oldhippie, I’m not as old as you, nor have I been as wise. I moved to Italy where the vegetation was just “different”. After 10 years away, I am shocked at what I have come back to find. I came across Gail’s blog, Wit’s End in NJ, and knew instantly that the plight of the trees was being ignored, and that it wasn’t all about temperature. If it were about temperature, there shouldn’t be a big difference here in VT, where it’s actually been colder than normal.

    I live near a local rising star of permaculture, Ben Falk. I contacted him about a PCD for the house we bought, and I’ve been to several of his presentations. I have his book, and his new wife had been my naturopath for a while. He talks about his love for the outdoors, how he stays outdoors as much as he can, etc. He’s gotten a newer bigger property for his permaculture experimentations. He talks about his future kids and grandkids!

    I look around Central VT and I “see dead people” (dead trees). I guess he doesn’t see them, although that is his business: observation. I don’t see evergreens but ever-khakis. I see peeling, flayed, trunks everywhere. I see a baby Christmas tree plantation with, next to it, a range of barkless sticks and branches, middle-aged trees that have bit the dust.

    It makes one question one’s sanity, when no-one else seems to see what we see.

    I feel as though I want to communicate to him in some way, NOT to have kids, although it might be too late!

  • @18000days What a great and memorable rip of so called ‘high culture’! One of my favorite posts, ever!

    Guy, I sincerely hope that you’re still around to see some of natures early stages of recovery after the collapse. I live in a city where many of the streets are paved with brick. They have been around for 60-100 years, even paving streets four lanes wide, millions of them! Sometimes Imagine all the CO2 released from baking those suckers. I hope I’m around to see the plants that have been struggling all these years to grow from between the bricks finally have a chance to grow tall and flower without the damn cars squashing them flat!

    Here’s someone quite pleased with their vision of the future, watch!

  • Old Hippie:
    There are intellectual, knowledge based, suicides:
    1) The old folks that wander away from the tribe in Winter when they know their time has come – they can no longer add value to the tribe and they can only be a net burden.
    2) The warrior that falls on his sword so he cannot be captured and tortured to gain information – plus, they will eventually kill him once they have gotten all they can anyway so what’s the difference?
    These are reasonable, practical, suicides.

    If participating in IC is 1. killing EVERY living thing and 2. also killing ANY thing’s chance of ever living again, and there is no way to escape IC and survive, then there are two good options:
    1) Commit suicide rather than continue to participate, isn’t that logical based on intellectual knowledge? Sure, you can take the position that it doesn’t matter, one man’s suicide won’t change anything (although maybe one single cell organism somewhere might beg to differ), so might as well fill up the SUV with Cheetoes and Miller Lite and head to DisneyLand.
    2. Do everything you can to make an impact greater than your suicide might produce – such as ________ or ____________. I’ll let your imagination fill in the blanks.

    These monuments you speak of are GIVEN their meanings – they are not imbued with any meaning beyond the technological aspects of their having been built. I drive around and see ionic columns on the front of houses – is it a Greek Temple?, is it a bank? Should I sacrifice a goat on their front lawn or inquire about opening a checking account?

    180000 days:
    Downtown the homeless sleep in doorways of buildings that are completely empty at night – but with the heat on, the water running, the mainframes humming, and lots of lights on.

  • Just a note, Lidia, I’m a guy. An easy mistake to make, though; most people in my profession are women.

  • OOPs! Thanks for the consciousness-raising! :-)

  • oldhippie, thanks for reminding me of Doris Lessing! I’m putting Four Gated City on my reading list, thanks to you.

    I read and was enthralled by her outer space, Canopus in Argos series a few years back. I remember how chilling George Sherban’s ‘Indightment of Mankind’ was! And the short piece in Shakasta, the first novel of the series, ‘Satan’s Ode to Earth’…one of the absolute darkest pieces of writing I ever came across. I looked for ‘Ode’ on line but am disappointed. I cant believe it’s not available!

    Anyway, though Doris Lessing was never popular, she did win the Nobel prize for Literature shortly before she died.

    And YES, oldhippie, anyone with two eyes should have seen what’s coming! Imagine, being a PROPHET OF DOOM! Well, there were lots of us but not enough. To everyone else, we were simply losers.

  • @ Kirk Hamilton

    Believe I’m right in saying that ‘Russian dude’ is an American living in Georgia, USA. I read a report some time back, he was visited by some authorities asking him to sort of moderate his tone a little..


    Here comes the Mass Extinction Event

  • DinerLogo


    In this new Podcast, I cover the agenda of the CERA Energy Conference, and it’s similarity to the Bilderberg Conference on Monetary Policy held in Switzerland,

    Join us on the Doomstead Diner for further discussion on the CERA Conference, Bilderberg and Global Policy Making.


  • IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates or IHS CERA
    (Information Handling Services)
    – it’s Daniel Yergin’s company.

  • coupla items today

    Korea’s Premier Poultry Research Center Decimated

    A new, deadly H5N8 strain of avian influenza penetrated the biosecurity defenses of a National Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) campus near Seoul, prompting authorities to cull all of the facility’s 11,000 hens and 5000 ducks.

    The devastating loss could set back poultry experiments at the NIAS lab for 2 years. “It will likely to take up to 95 weeks to fully rebuild [the flocks] and resume normal research,” says Kim Sung-Il, head of the contingency team at the Rural Development Administration, which oversees NIAS. Kim adds that the institute, which studies breed improvement and animal husbandry techniques, will reconstitute its flocks from birds kept at other facilities.

    A wild goose that died of the virus was found 10 kilometers from NIAS’s Suwon campus, near Seoul, on 1 February. The entire NIAS staff went to work disinfecting and shoeing away wild birds. Despite those efforts, 30 ducks were found dead on 2 March. The next day, authorities confirmed the cause of death as H5N8 avian influenza. NIAS immediately initiated culling, which was completed on 4 March.

    The incident highlights the difficulty of protecting poultry farms from circulating avian influenza viruses. “We are taking this situation very seriously,” said Lee Jun-Won, deputy agriculture minister, at a press conference yesterday in Seoul. He noted that NIAS has the country’s most secure facilities and most vigilant staff. Lee said they were looking at three possible routes the virus could have taken onto campus: wild birds, NIAS vehicles, and supply deliveries. “We will determine the reason for the infection, and we are going to hold those responsible accountable,” he said.

    The culprit H5N8 strain had never before been seen in such a deadly form when it surfaced on farms in central South Korea on 17 January. Despite control efforts that have included culling millions of chickens and ducks, the virus has spread virtually nationwide and outbreaks are still being reported. It has also killed hundreds of Baikal teal and other migratory birds. There have been no reports of human infections.

    and, real close to my home

    Thursday, 6 March 2014

    Nuclear plant closed down

    Philadelphia nuclear reactor closed down

    Operators shut down one of the reactors at a suburban Philadelphia nuclear plant due to a problem with the system that controls the flow of steam to the turbine.

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Neil Sheehan said that the Unit 1 control room at Exelon Nuclear’s Limerick Generating Station began lowering reactor power following alarms late Tuesday.

    They later “manually scrammed” the reactor, inserting all control rods to shut it down, the first time that has happened since July 2012 at the plant about 20 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

    Plant spokeswoman Dana Melia said there is no threat to the public and service to customers will be unaffected. She said the valves will be repaired and tested before the unit is put back into service.

    Reactor shut down unexpectedly at Limerick nuclear plant

    Operators of the Limerick Nuclear Generating Station shut down one of the reactors at the plant unexpectedly late Tuesday night due to a problem with the system that controls the flow of steam to the turbine.

    According to a statement issued Wednesday morning by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the first alarm sounded at 11:24 p.m.

    “At 11:24 p.m. Tuesday, the Limerick Unit 1 control room received alarms involving reactor feedwater heaters and the turbine. The operators in turn began lowering reactor power,” NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan wrote in a statement emailed to The Mercury, a sister paper of The Times Herald, at 9:38 a.m. Wednesday.

    “When the level was at about 87 percent, at about 11:45 p.m., the operators manually scrammed the reactor, which means they inserted all control rods to halt the fissioning process and shut down the reactor,” Sheehan wrote.

    The NRC’s on-site inspector was summoned and reviewed the actions taken by the Exelon Nuclear employees.

    Sheehan said initial information indicates the problem was with the “turbine electro-hydraulic control system,” which regulates the flow of steam from the reactor to the turbine. The steam spins the turbine to generate electricity.

    “This event presents no threat to public health and safety and will not affect electrical service to customers. Limerick Unit 2 remains at full power,” plant spokeswoman Dana Melia said in a press release sent to The Mercury at 10:07 a.m. Wednesday.

    “Our initial assessment is that operator response to the condition and the event appears to have been appropriate, but our reviews are continuing,” Sheehan wrote.

    He also noted that the control system where the problem occurred “is due to be replaced with a digital EHC system during an upcoming refueling and maintenance outage.”

    “Plant personnel will repair and test the valves before placing the unit back in service,” Melia said in the statement.

    However, Melia said plant management could not yet say how long it will take to repair the problem, nor when Unit 1 will be back on online.

    She was unable, before deadline, to answer subsequent questions posed by The Mercury.

    This is the first scram, or unscheduled reactor shutdown, of 2014 for the plant and the first since July 2012.

    Exelon is seeking to renew the license for the nuclear plant, hoping to continue operations there for 20 more years. The plant’s operating licenses for its two reactors expire Oct. 26, 2024 (Unit 1) and June 22, 2029 (Unit 2).

    [oh, joy]


    Thursday, 6 March 2014
    Thermohaline circulation

    The Antarctic Half of the Global Thermohaline Circulation is Collapsing

    The largest source of the coldest water in the world’s oceans ceased producing Antarctic Bottom Water in 1976. The surface water around Antarctica, which has been freshening since the 1950’s, formed a lid of low-density water stopping the overturning process in the Weddell sea near the coast of Antarctica. The Weddell Sea polynya, an area of open water the size of New Zealand, was the most productive source of cold Antarctic bottom water in the 1970s. Relatively warm salty water is pushed upwards by ocean currents moving over a ridge in the Weddell sea. Before 1980 this salty water reached the surface releasing large amounts of heat, then cooled and sank to the bottom of the ocean. The heat kept the huge hole in the ice pack called a polynya open, and a massive oceanic convection cell formed in the Antarctic winter. This convection cell cooled the global oceans while warming the air around Antarctica. Antarctic Bottom Water, the most voluminous water mass in the oceans, is now being replaced by warmer, less dense water masses as the deep oceans warm. [read the rest]

  • Guy McPherson, February 2014, Traditions Cafe, Olympia WA: 341.75 MB downloadable mp4 file: (That way you can play it on your laptop / tablet / phablet / smartphone for others in the absence of an Internet connection). Otherwise it could be 7% of the usual 5 GB monthly wireless data allowance.

    320p mp4 file

  • A couple of videos. My band Fast Heart Mart singing about the end of civilization

    And my son’s archival footage video of our friend’s band “Pee Pee” about the US love affair with oil.


  • Folks here may find this of interest.:

    How Guy McPherson Gets It Wrong

    by Scott K. Johnson

    Scott is a geoscience educator, hydrogeologist, and freelance science writer contributing at Ars Technica.

  • “How Guy McPherson Gets It Wrong”

    It seems like the entire comment thread was comprised of around 50% of the posts originating from the original author, and 10% each from about 5 different commenters.

    As one poster noted, it appears a number of people are hitching their wagon to GM, if only to define themselves as being opposed to the message. I know this is a pitiful genuflection to authority, but I can’t figure out why a grad student/lecturer would decide to go mano y mano with a former professor. Unless, of course, you’re just posting click bait to generate hits.

    That being said, for those who believe GM is the titular head of a crisis cult, I for one don’t necessarily embrace NTE. Of course, humanity doesn’t really need NTE to ruin its day, now does it? There’s plenty on deck to create quite a number of crises, not the least of which at some point a portion of the electrical grid will be devoted to keeping nukes from going critical.

    Just to be clear, I’m more in the Kunstler/Heinberg sector, which basically says “the party’s over, pal”. Whether H Sapiens survives in small groups, or even if some semblance of civilization remains (albeit on a much smaller scale), the fun & games are coming to an end.

  • B9K9,

    I have no doubt that we’ve got some tough times ahead, though it’s not entirely clear just how tough it must necessarily be, regardless as to how we respond to our situation.

    Whenever I have pushed back against McPherson’s directional push, it has only been because I’m hoping humanity (a) has a shot and averting certain worst case scenarios such as extinction, and (b) if we do have such a (probably somewhat slim) chance of averting such scenarios we’re going to need to just about pull a rabbit out of a hat. By which I mean we’d have to at least radically, dramatically reduce emissions — and swiftly too.

    So it is the moral/ethical consideration that I’m concerned with. If all hope of recovery and healing is “hopium,” as McPherson so often says, no such moral dilemma exists. But even if the only the slimmest possibility exists for averting worst case scenarios I’d say we have a moral obligation to attempt the feat.

  • Martin:

    Right around an increase of 2.5C, agriculture breaks down. Cereal grains (corn, wheat, rice, oats) are terribly fussy and need Goldilocks treatment for them to grow. They aren’t getting Goldilocks treatment anymore and you might have noticed that buying food is getting more and more expensive. The so-called Arab Spring was caused in no small part to high food prices and a lack of water. A good deal of “Muslim extremism” appears to be directly linked to food prices and the Somali pirates tend to be desperate fisherman pissed off their waters are being plundered without any recourse.

    Cold waves, unexpected in the lower 48 have killed pigs, cows, and caused a strain on state budgets. The Central Valley of California grows something like 75% of all US vegetables (an idea the Egyptians figured out was bad some 5000 years and recorded by Aesop in the fable of keeping all your eggs in the same basket) and is currently under a crippling drought.
    Lima, Peru might run out of water as soon as next year.

    All this, and we’re not yet at a full 1C of warming. Yet, somehow we’re expected to believe that human beings, hungry, thirsty and pissed off, will figure out some clever way to avoid extinction. If anything, McPherson isn’t dire enough. We’re one crappy growing season away from a major global upheaval and no one is going to be having a good time. What takes place ten or twenty years down the road is minor compared to what is happening right now and there’s every indication that things are going to become worse, not better.

    You can’t assume things will work out because you want them to. McPherson above and beyond all the other things he says always closes with the notion that you should “live as though the day is here.” To choose a life of excellence, doing what you love –not what pays the most, or brings you the blue ribbon of meek obedience. But to go forth and be happy knowing that you’re alive. Why would anyone want to dispute that?

  • @James R. Martin,

    Welcome back. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you post. You’re kind of late to the party about Scott’s piece though as a number of references have been made to it here. I even went so far as to compose a response to him based on a response he made to a comment only I never submitted it. Seems now might be the right time. You can let Scott know it’s here if you chose.

    From his blog:
    SJ 02/20/2014 at 4:12 pm
    “Hansen is certainly right. I do think we’ll see a significant carbon emissions reduction over the next several decades. Renewables are booming, population is stabilizing, efficiency keeps increasing, natural gas is bumping coal in the US (which gets us started in the right direction), and I think public opinion is near critical mass in the US and past it elsewhere. China and India are very important, and China recognizes the problem and is already wrestling with the growth/pollution dilemma. I honestly see positive signs in many places. It’s not ideal, but it’s not nothing.”
    “However, to be clear, that’s not what this post is about. I’m just trying to straighten out some factual claims about what the science says. To answer your other question, the vague definition of “flourish” may be hampering this exchange. I’m not talking roses and sunshine, I’m talking getting on with life as we have been. From the species perspective, +2C isn’t as good as +0C, but we’ll get through it fine. Some regions and communities will be hit harder, though, and we should be pushing to avoid these things. I just want to push back on this eschatological “4C is coming now and it’s the end times” notion. It’s not helpful to anyone.”
    And how is it helpful to fill adults with fairy tales. We’re a culture more concerned with entertainment than with reality.

    That last sentence in the first paragraph above provides us with insight regarding how Scott’s mind processes the world. Even situations where we have consistently taken the wrong path he manages to twist into claiming we’re moving in a positive direction. Now that takes skill or denial. He sees positive signs where they don’t exist and projects positive futures based on wishful thinking, not on facts.

    Unfortunately for Scott the opposite of all he stated is true. We’ve gone backwards over the last 40 years. Shifting baselines have made near impossible for most people to even know what has so radically changed around them. Things have gotten worse.

    Scott seems to have forgotten what path we’ve been on for so long, but just in the past 60 years there have been so many instances of being told we’re moving in a positive direction when in reality we were being lied to.

    – Nuclear energy would be free.
    – That dropping the atomic bomb on Japan saved American lives (a number that has grown ever larger with the passage of time).
    – The number of deaths from Chernobyl was minimal.
    – That cigarette smoking is good for us (have we forgotten those commercials featuring physicians touting the health benefits brands provided).
    – That GMO crops are safe for humans even though all we have to go on is a 90 day Monsanto trial approved by the FDA.
    – That the Green Revolution was successful. Yet, in 1972 when population was 3.5 Billion around 500 Million were in some form of food insecurity. Now with population at 7.2 Billion, 1 Billion are food insecure, so there’s been no change in the percentage of people who are food insecure. Rarely in MSM are the consequences of this revolution mentioned: that a larger numbers of people suffer from food insecurity, the ever increasing number of dead zones in the ocean due to run off, rapidly depleting top soil creating Dust Bowl like conditions, and having to use ever increasing amounts of chemicals to produce food.

    Let’s look at some of the areas Scott claims we’re making positive movement in:

    – Renewables are booming. If they are what does it mean. Can we run a civilization needing infinite growth on them? Aren’t renewables are nothing more than a fossil fuel extenders? Don’t we barely discuss the damage done in the mining, extraction, and processing to build these renewable?

    -Population is stabilizing. How can it be stabilizing with an ever increasing number (that we are going to have to feed while massive droughts are occurring) being report? Was John stating that the percentage of increase is dropping? So what? A lower percentage on an ever increasing base number does not indicate a stable population. We continue to use diminishing or severely damaged resources (soil, water, etc, etc) for those alive on the planet.

    Doesn’t Scott understand how the exponential function that Albert Bartlett talks about at work here? We’re in overshoot. There ate too many of us while crowding out all the non-humans. How many earths would we need if we all lived as we do in the USA (5% of the world using 25% of the resources)?

    – Efficiency is increasing – Is Scott familiar with Jevon’s Paradox? With our increasing efficiency we’ve only been using more resources.

    – Natural Gas – How are we heading in the right direction with natural gas? Is that the right direction when Natural Gas falls off a cliff without much notice? Have you read Richard Heindberg and do you think he’s reporting facts?

    – Public Opinion – Which opinion of the public are we talking about here? Is this the same public opinion that was against the war in Iraq? Has public opinion had much influence in punishing anyone for the economic debacle of 2008?

    Public opinion from a culture where 1 out of 4 think the sun revolves around the earth and are more interested in the Super Bowl than Edward Snowden doesn’t provide me with much confidence. A recent article in LA Times indicates American’s have low and declining reading proficiency which gives me pause as to what the opinions you refer to are even based on.

    What good is the public opinion if the public doesn’t understand that we live on a planet with limited resources? That despite all the constant talk about growth, growth and more growth it isn’t possible to have infinite growth. What exactly does the public want and what are they willing to do to address these issues?

    Historically we’ve had campaigns that manipulate our understanding. In years past we’ve had Hearst, today we have the Koch brothers. They’ve all used techniques and methods espoused by Edward Bernays and others. BBC documentary film maker Adam Curtis has produced a series focusing on the impact these campaigns have had over the course of the 20th century.

    I support that Scott is asking questions; that he is looking through the Climate Summary so thoroughly. We all should be critical thinkers.

    However, if Scott is claiming we are moving in a positive direction in areas where we clearly are not then what does this say about his analytic skills or ability to be objective.
    Scott seems to have a predilection for being too optimistic and looking at the positive whether there is supporting evidence or not. This sounds like “The Secret” to me. There are numerous pieces on the dangers of positive thinking by such authors as Chris Hedges, Karen Armstrong, Barbara Ehrenreich, and this piece on the Naked Capitialism Blog called “Positive Thinking is Bad for You.” Perhaps those who are rushing to support Scott should reacquaint themselves for this phenomenon.

  • Report: Burying, Cremating Baby Boomers To Generate $200 Trillion In GDP

    NEW YORK—Describing it as a burgeoning growth sector that will drive the American economy for decades to come, an encouraging new report out Thursday estimates that burying and cremating the baby boomer generation will add some $200 trillion to the nation’s gross domestic product over the next 30 years.

    The report from research firm Moody’s Analytics claimed the impending deaths of the 76 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 would spur a long, robust period of expansion, single-handedly pulling the country out of its current economic malaise and fueling a dramatic increase in wages and standards of living as the nation mobilizes its workforce to dispose of the age group’s remains.

    “With so many people dying at once, the funeral industry is poised to surpass the technology and biomedical sectors and become the engine that propels our economy forward,” said economist Gerald Lang, explaining that as more and more boomers die, casket and urn manufacturers will rapidly scale up production and open scores of vast new facilities to meet the surge in demand for their goods. “We can expect job creation to skyrocket as millions are put to work building the mortuaries, mausoleums, and high-powered furnaces we’ll so desperately need. And with every single baby boomer eventually needing to be transported to a morgue, autopsied, and properly discarded, we’ll see unemployment drop to near record lows.”

    “In short, the unprecedented baby boom that followed World War II is about to provide us with an equally valuable corpse boom,” he added. “And that’s welcome news for the average American’s wallet.”

    Forecasts suggest that the expansion in mortuary services will be akin to the growth of tech startups in recent decades, and that coastal Florida is well positioned to become an industrial hub on par with Silicon Valley, likely serving as the chief headquarters for major Fortune 500 body bag manufacturers and headstone companies. Already, profit-minded speculators are reportedly driving up land prices to record levels in Fort Lauderdale, where thousands of condominiums will need to be razed to make room for enough cemetery plots for millions of soon-to-be dead baby boomers.

    According to the report, today’s younger generations are set to enjoy marked increases in economic opportunity and annual income as their parents and grandparents die off. Hundreds of billions of dollars are set to be infused into local economies, experts stated, as a wave of prosperity flows across the country from sympathy card producers, to candlemakers, all the way down to manufacturers of easels that hold large portraits at memorial services.

    The report also affirmed that the entire U.S. economy must recalibrate to meet the challenges of the death-industry-based economy of tomorrow. In particular, the report’s authors noted that chemical companies will need to repurpose their facilities to generate the 200 million gallons of embalming fluid baby boomers are expected to absorb by 2035, while the engraving industry would have to add an estimated 4 million workers to ensure the required amount of granite grave markers are properly buffed and inscribed with the names and death dates of the deceased masses.

    Additionally, economists stated that ailing U.S. automakers would see a huge boost in business, with the Big Three car manufacturers reactivating dozens of long-idled plants to keep pace with the explosion in demand for hearses.

    “Investors should definitely keep an eye on crematory futures­—that’s where the smart money is,” said market analyst Margaret Hughes, who predicted that facilities for the incineration of human remains will soon be on every block in urban shopping districts. “And young people would be well advised to pursue careers as coroners or undertakers. When baby boomers depart, they’re going to leave behind an entire generation of mortician millionaires.”

    “Frankly, anyone who knows a thing or two about floral arrangements will be vaulted into the upper class in this new economy,” she added.

    Explaining that the sooner they die, the sooner the “golden age of economic prosperity” will arrive, the report pointed to encouraging data on baby boomers’ high rates of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, all of which are expected to help accelerate economic growth to levels unseen since the digital revolution.

    While many observers have said the new era of affluence can’t arrive fast enough, others remain more cautious, asking what will happen a few decades from now when most of the boomers have been buried, and the so-called casket towns expected to pop up all across the country see their single source of revenue dry up.

    “Sure, it’ll be a huge windfall at first, whether you’re churning out coffins, dark-colored suits, floral wreaths, statues of grieving angels, tiny American flags, or those black pillbox hats with netted veils,” said James Keeley, 37, a small business owner in Cleveland. “But after my parents die, and all their friends die, and we complete the monumental task of getting rid of all the bodies and ashes, what happens then?”

    “As much of an economic boon as the baby boomers’ deaths will be, we can’t depend on their dead bodies always being there for us,” he added. “If we’re prudent, we should already start preparing for a future without their mortal remains.”

    Hahaha I love the Onion

  • “Renewables are booming, population is stabilizing, efficiency keeps increasing, natural gas is bumping coal in the US (which gets us started in the right direction), and I think public opinion is near critical mass in the US and past it elsewhere. China and India are very important, and China recognizes the problem and is already wrestling with the growth/pollution dilemma”


    DAEGU, South Korea, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Coal will surpass oil as the key fuel for the global economy by 2020 despite government efforts to reduce carbon emissions, energy consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie said on Monday.

    Rising demand in China and India will push coal past oil as the two Asian powerhouses will need to rely on the comparatively cheaper fuel to power their economies. Coal demand in the United States, Europe and the rest of Asia will hold steady.

    Global coal consumption is expected to rise by 25 percent by the end of the decade to 4,500 million tonnes of oil equivalent, overtaking oil at 4,400 million tonnes, according to Woodmac in a presentation on Monday at the World Energy Congress.

    Chinese officials have pledged to reduce the country’s voracious coal consumption. But at the same Beijing has approved the building of 15 new mines capable of producing a little over 100 million tonnes (110 million tons) of coal a year—about 10% of America’s annual usage, and 3% of China’s current production.

    The incredible amount of coal China produces and consumes—in 2012, it accounted for almost half the global total—is one of the largest contributors to urban air pollution and global warming. Officials have tried to improve the air quality in cities like Beijing Shanghai by imposing local coal production quotas and reducing the country’s reliance on coal, including a possible game-changing natural gas deal with Russia. But growing energy needs—demand is expected to reach twice that of the US by 2040 (pdf, p.26)—means that coal, the cheapest way to fuel China’s economy, is still king.

    The government’s solution is to continue coal production but move it to more remote areas of the country

  • @ James Martin



    The Churchill – Greer Connection ! Who KNEW ??

  • pat,
    you wrote:

    ‘We are ill-prepared to walk away from empire.’

    My view is that those that want to and can adapt, if it is actually possible will.

    Those that for whatever reason(s) are not going to, or unable to will simply not survive.

    Surely it is ‘just’ a big, big, big selection going down. Affecting a great many, if not all species. Regarding humans, we will adapt or/and die.

    Compassion will play a key role as it has up till now. Share what you can, and be prepared to take a few ‘hits’ along the way. Emotional as well as physical.

    Good fortune all.

  • I agree this is one of Guys better talks, and the Q and A too. I have not see all of them, however.

    The audience is a key factor, and it would seem the refinement of the thinking and ‘informed acceptance’ matters.

    Lots of great discussion.

  • What You Should Do

    Don’t give folks advice and brochures
    Which insist on your personal cures:
    We all, it’s cliche,
    Must find our own way,
    And the best way for them isn’t yours.

  • if we do have such a (probably somewhat slim) chance of averting such scenarios we’re going to need to just about pull a rabbit out of a hat.

    Better still, pull a whole ecosystem of dinosaurs, other vertebrates and invertebrates, and the plants they ate out of a sombrero. In the latter part of the dinosaur era atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were around 1000 ppm. Of course the plants they ate were adapted to those conditions.

    Geologic Global Climate Changes

    If all hope of recovery and healing is “hopium,” as McPherson so often says, no such moral dilemma exists. But even if the only the slimmest possibility exists for averting worst case scenarios I’d say we have a moral obligation to attempt the feat.

    Those stuck in the paradigm of expectation & hope will see nothing beyond elation and dejection. They will never know the invincibility of hopelessness, nor will they ever understand that hopelessness is not despair. Acting without expectations will remain unknown to them.

    The report from research firm Moody’s Analytics claimed the impending deaths of the 76 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 would spur a long, robust period of expansion, single-handedly pulling the country out of its current economic malaise and fueling a dramatic increase in wages and standards of living as the nation mobilizes its workforce to dispose of the age group’s remains.

    What generally usable products will it produce? Soylent Green?

    today’s younger generations are set to enjoy marked increases in economic opportunity and annual income

    Again, what will be available to buy with that annual income? Soylent Green?

  • None of us truly know how we will react until we are forced into a no escape situation. Many tough guys have froze at their first exposure to battle, while some of the quite and meek became ferocious.

  • Can’t say much at this moment.

  • James R. Martin: I responded to Scott on his fractal planet blog, but he simply denies any evidence I provide and makes ridiculous statements like

    SJ 02/23/2014 at 8:59 am

    There’s absolutely no scientific analysis supporting the AMEG claims of skyrocketing Arctic methane emissions. Showing me a large measurement from one spot in the Arctic with no context is completely meaningless. It is precisely akin to discovering a coal-burning power plant in your neighborhood, measuring 4,000 ppm CO2 above its stack, comparing this to last week’s global number of 398 ppm, and declaring that the end is upon us.


    My note about Arctic methane is not “an assertion”. I pointed to a recent study showing the plumes off Svalbard are millennia old and noted that you can’t establish something is accelerating when you only have one data point in time. Your claim that the current extent is much greater cannot be supported by evidence, because there isn’t any.

    He’s not worth my time. I see it and he doesn’t – it’s that simple.
    In my final comment I expressed that we wish we were wrong about all this and that nobody WANTS extinction to be the case, but the evidence is clear at this point and we continue to make it worse by the day. I brought up Fukushima and a lot of other factors to which he has no reply. I’ve moved on.


    Drought sends beef prices soaring, with no relief in sight – U.S. cattle herd the smallest since 1951

    Next time you bite into a big, juicy hamburger, don’t be surprised if it bites back — at your bank account.

    Unrelenting drought across large swaths of the Great Plains, Texas and California has led to the smallest U.S. cattle herd since 1951, shrinking the supply of beef. That has sent prices higher for everything from rump roasts to rib-eyes.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the average retail price per pound for fresh beef in January was $5.04, the highest price ever on records that date back to 1987.

    From grocers to meat markets to restaurants, a whole lot of folks are watching the situation carefully.

    “Everybody’s kind of worried about it,” said Matthew Bayer, president of the Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors and owner of Country Fresh Meats in Weston, near Wausau. “I don’t see them (beef prices) going down.”

    The situation is on the radar of Milwaukee-based grocer Roundy’s Inc.

    “We are watching the situation very closely,” said James Hyland, vice president of investor relations for Roundy’s. “If beef prices become a sticker shock to the customer, there will be a transfer to other proteins like chicken or pork,” and that will further complicate the market.

    “It can become a difficult balancing act,” Hyland said. Roundy’s Pick ‘n Save brand is the grocery market share leader in the Milwaukee area.

    This time of the year, beef prices often fall during what amounts to a lull between the holidays and the beginning of outdoor grilling season, said Chip Bunzel, third-generation co-owner of Bunzel’s Old-Fashioned Meat Market in Milwaukee.

    But this year, “Beef really didn’t drop much since the holidays,” Bunzel said, and that sent the price of everything from beef short ribs to ground chuck higher.

    “Even the (beef) dog bones, those have gone up quite a bit,” he said. “We used to give those away.”

    Like consumers, Bunzel said he feels the squeeze.

    “It’s hard because your income isn’t going up as fast as the products are going up,” he said. “Everybody complains about it. It’s like gasoline. Gas goes up and everybody complains about it, but they still use it. You have to still put gas in your car, and you still have to eat.”

    So do cattle — and there’s the rub.

    When a calf is born on a ranch, it is usually put out to graze on grass and pastureland. When it doesn’t rain, those pastures dry up. Without grass, the animals have to be fed something else.

    “They can’t eat wind, water and scenery,” said John Freitag, executive director of the Wisconsin Beef Council in Madison.

    But other feed types of late have been extremely expensive, as prices of feed grains — primarily corn — soared because of reduced supplies brought on by drought.

    “Hay prices are just going through the roof,” said Kevin Kester, a fifth-generation rancher whose operation covers 22,000 acres in central California.

    As a result, cattle producers have been selling off their animals because they can’t afford to feed them. In Texas and Oklahoma alone, “There’s a million-plus head of cattle that aren’t here anymore,” Freitag said. “Some guys just decided it was easier to plant corn than it was to raise or feed cattle.”

    All the beef that hit the market when those herds were culled theoretically should have driven prices lower. Yet that didn’t happen, USDA data show, as demand for beef and sources of protein around the world has soared.

    “The growth of the middle class in developing countries probably has more to do with the increase in demand and related prices than anything else,” said Jeff Sindelar, an associate professor who studies the meat industry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    In other words, more people around the world can now afford to have a steak or burger while there are fewer animals to meet that demand. The result has been predictable.

    “The cost of meat has gone up significantly — 30-40% and in some cases 50% — in the past five to seven years,” Sindelar said.

    There are signs that the beef cattle herd may be coming back, Freitag said, and heavy rain fell Friday in California.

    “I’m scratching and clawing and trying to hang on and see what Mother Nature brings us over the next 60 days,” Kester said. “It might be a very short-term relief for three or four weeks.”

    The U.S. Drought Monitor project at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln said Thursday that dry conditions have intensified in the Great Plains, from Nebraska to Texas.

    According to the USDA, more than half the total value of U.S. sales of cattle comes from five states: Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, California and Oklahoma. Portions of each of those states are still experiencing severe to exceptional drought conditions.

    “Roughly the southern half of the Great Plains region is facing a potential fourth consecutive summer of drought,” according to the Drought Monitor report.

    In Texas, more than half the state’s range land and pastures were rated very poor to poor as of Feb. 23.

    Complicating the situation: Even when conditions improve, it will take time to replenish beef cattle supplies. “From conception to plate is three years,” Freitag said.

    Folks who want to keep their beef and still save some money might want to think about investing in a hind quarter or side or half side of beef, said Brian Pernat, owner of Pernat-Hasse Meats in Juneau, Johnson Creek and Ixonia.

    “The retail prices have really shot up on us,” Pernat said. “Right now, if you’ve got a freezer, you would definitely be able to save some money over the full retail right-out-of-the-case rate.”

    Then again, it takes about $500 to get a quarter of beef, and $1,000 for a half or side.

    Bunzel said his store is seeing customers who are spending their tax refunds on bulk beef purchases.

    “People right around tax time will want to buy a hind quarter or side of beef,” he said. “We’re still busy with those.”

    So with beef prices still elevated, when can they reasonably be expected to level off?

    “The main driver of what happens in the future,” Kester said, “will be what Mother Nature does.”

  • @James Martin

    Denial ain’t a river in Egypt. ;-)

  • Tom,

    Scott has done what Michael Tobis said he would do, which is “fisk” Guy; that is, deliver a point-by-point rebuttal of Guy’s position.

    I have read through Scott’s account of Guy’s errors, and if even one of them is a valid criticism, then Guy is being sloppy or is deliberately fudging the data.

    Example: –GM writes “And never mind that warming in the interior of large continents in the northern hemisphere has outstripped model predictions in racing to 6-7 C already, according to a paper that tallies temperature rise in China’s interior in the 15 May 2013 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.” What does that study really say? “Here, we show central China is a region that experienced a much larger temperature change since the Last Glacial Maximum than typically simulated by climate models… We find a summertime temperature change of 6–7 °C that is reproduced by climate model simulations presented here.” The Last Glacial Maximum, remember, is the peak of the last “ice age” around 20,000 years ago. Why is GM pretending that parts of China have experienced 6-7C of anthropogenic warming, and that this shows projections of future warming to be too conservative?

    It’s perfectly clear to me what the error is here: Guy is arguing, falsely, that the last glacial maximum is when anthropogenic warming commenced.

    If you listen to Guy’s presentation in Olympia, you can hear infants crying in the background. I think we can all agree that Guy owes it to his audience to be standing on solid ground, given the import of his message.

    A robust point-by-point rebuttal of Scott’s critique is needed here. Not pompous statements about having “moved on” or 12-step crap about the river Nile.

  • @Tom
    It feels good to have a cry ever now and again, and that video you shared certainly has had that effect on me. Thanks for sharing.

  • Apocalypse, Man

  • It’s perfectly clear to me what the error is here:

    Conflating a statement about magnification of a temperature change observed in the interior of a land mass with presumption as to the cause of the change suggests a blessed paucity of synapses.

    A robust point-by-point rebuttal of Scott’s critique is needed here.

    Not here, nor anywhere. If the NBL stuff scares the stuffing out of someone, and the person finds solace elsewhere, good for that person. If that person likes to bolster that solace by flaunting it here, that’s also jolly good: the person thenceforth doesn’t have to accept even one word of NBL anymore.

    Think of NBL as a Nice Big Load, and leave it to the dung beetles. Pursue your highest ideals instead. After all, that is the message of NBL, assiduously followed by some of the dung beetles on this site.

  • @ Data

    Doctors are not scientists. But they supposed to be quite good at yes/no/if/then algorithms.

  • @Robin


  • Doctors are not scientists.

    Most aren’t, such as those specialising in the Arts. Some undoubtedly were / are such as Doctor Albert Einstein, Doctor Alexander Fleming, Doctor Frederick Banting, Doctor Richard Feynmann, etc.

    Although it may be debatable to what extent the social “sciences” such as political science or economics are sciences, few will contend that biology or the aspect of ecology called Conservation Biology is not science. Doctor McPherson had an academic / faculty position in it.

  • Accepting Extinction

    Extinction is hard to accept
    ‘Cause it takes you where horror is kept;
    We’ll still be expired,
    But yet, it’s required
    For being more thoroughly prepped.

    H/T: Kathy Cassandra

  • Any question just how thoroughly managed the news is? Propaganda is us.

    There were weeks of “protests” in Kiev, actually a coup in the making, and then, once accomplished the focus turns completely to another region — the one where there was no coup — but the one most essential to Russian security, the Crimea, where a strong majority prefer Russian citizenship to subservience to a hostile (and illegal) regime in Kiev.

    But no, the USA falls all over itself to acknowledge and “assist” the new rulers, who are possibly mostly neo-Nazis, some of whom would like to get back the nukes they sold off in ’94. They sure didn’t look like the normal protestors we’ve been used to seeing over the years past. All that fire and shooting the cops just to “join Europe”? Right.

    (Wouldn’t you think that anyone following this news over those weeks would be curious for just a smidgen more news out of good ol’ Kiev this week? But no, not a drop. It’s probably not even safe for any reporters to be there, as they clean out their old political enemies. Counterpunch has some riveting articles on just who has come to power there.)

    Just as the USA swung right from fighting Nazis in 1944 to hiring them in 1945, the destructive course today is unchanged. Where is the oil? hmmmmmm…. Russia, Iran, (don’t know quite yet how they sold off those Iraqi contracts, but probably US contractors doing the drilling — these neo-cons just never give up. And why should they? A docile populace backing their every plot and the cash register rings every time they do.)

    Any doubt how they’ll manage the “Climate Crisis”? They’ll dribble out just enough small news to pretend they’re on it, priority is keeping the public out of the panic zone. Keep ’em working & consuming, dazed on TV and Prozac. Keep those pumps drilling.

    The officially-sanctioned “news” will always be years behind the reality, thus irrelevant, and so that is why a guy like Guy is persona non grata, threatening to puncture the media fog.

    I kinda don’t want to see ’em panic, either, at least not until Dodge is a distant dot in my life’s rearview mirror…


    Sunday, 9 March 2014


    ALERT! New Mexico Nuclear Waste Is Sitting Above Huge Pressurized Pocket of Brine!

    They drilled just 1 mile north and hit brine. It flowed for 4 DAYS! This is as Nuclear Cocktail Bomb waiting to explode under earth!

  • @ D

    But Data’s comment isn’t brilliant. Where it could shed light it generates heat. It obfuscates rather than enlightens. It is tendentious when it could be even-handed. It is laboured instead of inspired. Its metaphors are unoriginal and strained. It is ambiguous instead of clear. Who is the subject? Is it me? Is it Scott?

    Worst of all, it is a work of violence.

  • Martin, you crack me up! :-) (not getting into the discussion so much–just the way you write)

  • You stink.
    No, you do.
    No you.
    No you.
    No you.

    Nothing like a robust point by point rebuttal to make it all clear.

  • I’ve posted a new essay, along with links to my recent work. It’s all here.

  • @ Grant,

    Well, provide a rebuttal then and stop pretending to be above it all. This always happens. Whenever there is what is euphemistically called a frank exchange of views, someone has to go and parade with their nose in the air. Usually it’s a girl. This time it’s you.

    I can’t provide a rebuttal because I am not interested in the science. My interest in NBL lies elsewhere. Michael Tobis threatened to “fisk” Guy, but he also alluded to what he called the ethics of abandonment of responsibility concerning our predicament. Giving up, and whether it can be ethically justified. I’m more interested in that.

    I’ve read your exchanges with Scott. He bested you every time. I’m sorry about that, but there it is.

  • @ Martin

    When the evidence of a “thing” reaches the point of becoming self-evident, but there are those who continue to refuse to see, it usually tends to have nothing to do with the evidence. Hence, Hopium is a semantic nightmare most everyone. We’re dealing with patterned behavior that stretches back millennia, which isn’t going to suddenly disappear because someone provides you with a rebuttal that satisfies your lack of interest in science. Your “……usually it’s a girl.” comment, is an example of other ill fated patterned behavior that stretches back even further. Explaining the absence of human agency in context to abrupt climate change, now being on the wrong side of non-linear climatic feedback loops, has all the personal reward of explaining the subtleties of a dirty joke to someone who hasn’t a dark sense of dung beetle humor. Clearly, you can find more proactive ways of spending your time other than attempting to argue against what you have little understanding of, and even less interest in.

  • D

    Interesting that you take me for a hopium-addict living in denial. In fact, I am a long-term commenter on this blog and a supporter of Guy and his work. This misunderstanding has come about because I posted a comment expressing concern that Guy’s science might not be as rigorous as it needs to be.

    Then I am instantly excommunicated by NBL’s self-appointed Witchfinder-General, Robin Datta.

    It’s funny, because such behaviour has all the hallmarks of NBL being some kind of cult. David Cohen thinks as much, anyway. It’s not the cult thing, though, an accusation that has been aired here repeatedly. Cohen characterised NBL denizens as typical humans, imagining that they have been afforded special insight, but in practice behaving like any other in-group, with its attendant status-seeking, arse-licking and ruthless hunting down of heretics and dissidents.

    Scott Johnson graciously refrained from calling the people who comment here followers (of Guy) in the religious sense, but you can sense that he considered saying so.

    Thanks for talking down to me about patterned behaviour. I knew the “girl” thing would grate. Political correctness is a campaign against noticing. I notice what girls are inclined to do, and I say what I see.

    Way to prove that David Cohen is right.

    And where the fuck is ulvfugl when you need him?

  • Martin

    You are the rebuttal you’re looking for.

  • Where’s your humanity?

  • Martin: If only climate change was some kind of contest where one could be “bested” and then it would go away. Arguing against facts you don’t agree with and then claiming that the facts themselves are wrong is a senseless activity for people with nothing better to do. It’s a game, not a discussion, and clinging to myopic projections for comfort may work for you and Scott, but not for me.
    “Where’s your humanity?” sounds like a hollow echo of false concern and empty gestures. Where’s your humanity that would rather bask in ignorance and fear instead of understanding and compassion? At what point does McPherson tell people to kill themselves, to give up, to surrender to the inevitable end of the human race? Nowhere. Why don’t you stop pretending this concern of yours is important. It’s not. None of us matter. It’s the end of the world, get it?

  • @ Martin

    And where the fuck is ulvfugl when you need him?

    I am sick of humans.

    Do you need my support Martin ? I always fight on the assumption that I will receive no support from any quarter, and when I do receive some support it’s always a pleasant surprise.

    I’m not sure what the thrust of your argument is here because I have not followed it closely. I have, as you are aware, quote ‘what may be the most painful condition known to medical science’ which attacks me relentlessly. Impossible for anyone to comprehend.

    Maybe I shall say more later, but if I speak it will be on behalf of such as these, not the humans.

    I probably do support your position. I understand the science. Most of the scientists are shills who dare not bite the beast that feeds them.
    But most of the people here will not look critically at Guy’s statements. Gavin Schmidt I despise. He says Guy is talking nonsense.
    But 3.5 deg C if the global average. He doesn’t deny we reach it ! And it means we can get 10 deg C inland mid continent. And in the Jurassic the increase probably – I don’t know – took tens, hundreds of thousands of years, the vegetations adjusted, now it’s 30 years, it’s like coming along with a blow torch… Schmidt hides behind ‘logic’ but really it’s rhetoric.

    Logic, too, also rests on assumptions that do not correspond to anything in the real world
    ~ Nietzsche

    Science transcends mere politics. As recent history demonstrates, scientists are as willing to work for a Tojo, a Hitler, or a Stalin as for the free nations of the West.
    ~ Ed Abbey

  • Why do you think I cling to myopic projections for comfort? Don’t you read my comments? I know this blog is a false community, but still.

    Arguing against facts you don’t agree with and then claiming that the facts themselves are wrong is a senseless activity for people with nothing better to do.

    Do you mean me? Or do you mean Scott? Or perhaps yourself?

    Do you honestly think I’m basking in ignorance and fear? You don’t read my comments, do you?

    “Where’s your humanity?” means please acknowledge what I’ve just said and engage with it like a human being rather than come up with a dismissive one-liner that sounds clever but doesn’t make sense.

    This antipathy towards me is plain nuts.

  • @ ulv

    I see. Get well soon.

    There’s no thrust to my argument. I don’t have an argument. I am in no end of trouble for polluting this blog with stuff about Scott.

  • Well, aren’t you proud of yourself, Martin!

    “what girls are inclined to do” What is that, exactly?

    Indeed, the boyz have run off most of the girlz. Yay! You win: you get to have the clubhouse all to yourselves where you can compare the length of your willies relatively undisturbed.

    You’ve run off Erin, KathyC, Rita, Michelle, wildwoman, Gail, and you would no doubt love to run me off, too, just to make things tidier.

    Grant, please tell Martin that you would like to kick him down the stairs and down the road and dunk him in the pond, if you want to maintain your manhood here! ;-)

  • Is it too late to say I enjoyed your one-to-one with JMG?

  • Some people, male, female, bisexual, trannie, gay, whatever, think that men and women are the same, or should be the same, or are confused about the difference(s)… it is, no doubt, a disputed, contentious, and controversial area.

    You’ve run off Erin, KathyC, Rita, Michelle, wildwoman, Gail,…

    I think that’s quite an offensive remark. People here come and go all the time, and leave for all sort of reasons. Lidia, you seem to want to provoke a fight, just as you wanted to provoke a fight on the forum.

  • @ulvfugl

    WOW! Reading that made my day. Or, maybe my year or decade.

  • Lidia

    You wrote:

    “Indeed, the boyz have run off most of the girlz. Yay!….You’ve run off Erin, KathyC, Rita, Michelle, wildwoman, Gail..?”

    Count me out of the Boyz club please.
    Some guys have a history of head butting to be socialised within their gender, but they have little time to actually respect and listen to women- barring the necessities of lower end servicing aka- get the car, the clothes, the bling, the career and the real estate and that buys the trophy. I would not know what proportion are in this camp, but it is prevalent.
    Other men, get along with both genders in some rather egalitarian ethical relations, being related to others as individuals, not just gendered persons. The alphas, or aspirationals to such tend to see these men as weak, and not cut out to go ‘into the ring’ with the ‘big’ guys.
    That said, can I be thought of here as an hermaphrodite?(not the physical kind, just the kind that likes everyone?)
    I miss the contributions of the Girlz, but one never knows the gender of an online poster do we – there could be many girlz lurking and presenting as guyz, :)

  • The “debate” is a false front. It does not matter.

    Suppose Guy is 100% wrong about it all. Not only is he wrong about global warming, but we’re not in the sixth extinction and that living under the concept of infinite growth on a finite planet is actually healthy for all.

    Then what does that leave of his message? Only this:

    Live a life of excellence. Do what you love. Not in a hedonistic orgy, but in an appreciative, welcoming manner. Connect with people as well as with nature.

    Clearly this seems to be a sticking point for some because they only hear the doomsday speech and not the conclusion. This is a way to live NO MATTER what’s going on. This is not religious, it is practical and sound. It’s also hard work. It would be much easier to kick back and watch TV and let the world fall apart around you. Living a life of excellence requires a fair amount of effort. But it is infinitely rewarding. Stop seeing the doomsday clock and see the course of proactive living being suggested. Stop worrying if the numbers add up correctly in every single column and row and relax. Uncomplicate your life and fucking live for a change.

  • Martin — your barrage of trollish behavior, i.e, unrestrained cluttering of this thread (please, if your posts were really only 2 per day, forgive me, I didn’t bother to count) undermines your stated wish to make a serious critique.

    Indeed, in all scientific (and other) debates, I think each contender should be asked to make his opponent’s argument as best he can, as well as offer the salient weaknesses in his own. Proof of good faith perhaps, or just helping move the discussion along.

    After all, besides the two arguers, there is a roomful of ears listening, and minds trying to puzzle out the truth. Who do you serve if you do not serve these?

    You’re right, groupthink is a normal accretion of any collection of people, and we ought to always be alert. We ought to re-examine our premises, our data, and our conclusions regularly. I’ll take this as your best effort at helping us do that. Or could you do better?

    @ Grant, yes, Guy’s is a message for all seasons. In my imagination, the people remaining after the first mass die-offs are going to have to practice “living in excellence” under the most strenuous conditions. Having a philosophical base may give them an edge. Or will it be all “Predation”?