Even More NTHE Questions

Now that it looks like methane from Siberia and the arctic is really picking up, what would happen if we had a large sudden release of methane a hypothetical extinction-level release, what would be the result in speeding up NTHE?


Integrating three different perspectives (individual human, all humans, and all other species), what really matters, and why?


McPherson’s latest essay for Shift magazine was published yesterday. It’s here.

Comments 60

  • Will the Earth still exist if humans are not around to witness it?

  • “Integrating three different perspectives (individual human, all humans, and all other species), what really matters, and why?”

    Nothing really matters. Meaning is entirely relative.
    This does not mean that nothing is important, but
    the differences between a human being a fruit fly and a oak tree
    are all grossly exaggerated. You have one lifetime. Use it well.

  • Is the radio show “toast” or not?


    Saturday, 20 September 2014
    Arctic Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly

    The warming Arctic Sea

    Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly 09 19 2014 12:57 pm CDT

    Arctic Sea Ice 09 19 2014 12:58 pm CDT

    [have a look]


    Biological Hazard in USA on Friday, 19 September, 2014 at 04:55 (04:55 AM) UTC.

    A massive toxic algae called red tide is killing sea turtles, sharks and fish in the northeast Gulf of Mexico and is threatening the waters and beaches that fuel Florida’s economy. Fishermen who make a living off Florida’s coast are reporting fish kills and reddish water. This particular strain of red tide, called Karenia brevis, is present nearly every year off Florida, but large blooms can be particularly devastating. Right now, the algae is collecting in an area about 60 miles wide and 100 miles long, about 5 to 15 miles off St. Petersburg in the south and stretching north to Florida’s Big Bend, where the peninsula ends and the Panhandle begins. Red tide kills fish, manatees and other marine life by releasing a toxin that paralyzes their central nervous system. The algae also foul beaches and can be harmful to people who inhale the algae’s toxins when winds blow onshore or by crashing waves, particularly those with asthma and other respiratory ailments. In 2005, a strong red tide killed reefs, made beaches stinky and caused millions in economic damage. A weaker red tide in 2013 killed 276 manatees, state records show, after infecting the grasses eaten by the endangered creatures. “This red tide … will likely cause considerable damage to our local fisheries and our tourist economy over the next few months,” said Heyward Mathews, an emeritus professor of oceanography at St. Petersburg College who has studied the issue for decades. Despite years of study, there is nothing anyone has been able to do about it. In the 1950s, wildlife officials tried killing the red tide algae by dumping copper sulfate on it, which made the problem worse in some ways. But some researchers are working to change that. Predicting when red tides are going to be especially bad can help fishermen and beach businesses prepare.

    Right now, much of the information comes from satellite images, which are often obscured by clouds. “In this particular red tide, we got a good image on July 23 — then we went weeks without another image,” said University of South Florida ocean scientist Robert Weisberg. Weisberg is one among a team of researchers developing a prediction model based on ocean currents data, rather than satellite images. The prediction model tracks the currents that bring natural nutrients like phytoplankton the red tide needs to gain a foothold. Unlike other red tide species, Karenia brevis is not believed to be caused by man-made pollution such as agricultural runoff, and historical accounts of what is believed to be the same red tide date back to the 1700s. Using his method, Weisberg in March predicted the current late summer bloom that is now causing so much worry. It allowed state officials to issue a warning July 25. While the project recently received “rapid response” money from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to send a data-collecting robotic glider into the bloom, future funding for this work is in doubt. Weisberg said the team is still trying to develop a model that can look further into the future. But the tides often start far offshore, where gathering data and images can be a time-consuming, expensive undertaking. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has tried to stem this data gap by giving fishermen sampling jars to take out to sea with them.

  • “what really matters, and why?”

    In what timeframe, and for whom. For the thirsty & hungry person, or for the extremophiles?

    Given a wide enough spatiotemporal perspective, nothing matters, ever.

  • To me-YES-on all levels.
    In the “scheme” of things-probably not.

  • The many different descriptions of the near future are fascinating-Everyone and Everything die, Everyone and Most Life die, Most people and Some Life die, Some Life die, No Life die.
    I like the: ‘Some life die’
    I believe the: ‘Everyone and Most Life die’

    Many thoughtful people believe: ‘Most/Some’
    I sure won’t be, don’t want to be and can’t imagine what would remain.

  • “Now that it looks like methane from Siberia and the arctic is really picking up, what would happen if we had a large sudden release of methane a hypothetical extinction-level release, what would be the result in speeding up NTHE?

    Well, I think a massive release is probably inevitable at this point. Those giant pockets of mantle methane, I believe I read, are capped with methane clathrates. So as soon as those destabilize enough, all the gaseous methane underneath comes out, and there are billions of tons in each pocket.

    I dont think we can know with certainty what exactly will happen, but we can know in relative terms, that there will be a massive acceleration towards ending most life on Earth, especially the “higher order” life.

    “Integrating three different perspectives (individual human, all humans, and all other species), what really matters, and why?”

    Meaning is different from one person to the other, but in my personal opinion, what really matters is trying to minimize the damage that humanity is causing to the planet and its life forms. This counter-intuitively may actually mean not trying to stop IC, the destroyer of the planet, but to encourage it and send it faster towards its inevitable self-destruction.

    I dont think there is any possibility, within reason, of a “soft landing” so to speak. I have the imagining of a man falling off a cliff with rocks at the bottom, and he is in mid-fall. Sure, he could spread his arms and legs, and slow his descent towards his impending splattering, and there may even be 0.00000000000001% chance he may actually survive the fall, at least for a couple minutes afterward. But why bother? To increase the mental torment experienced while falling if the man has accepted his demise, or to increase the time in denial if he has not and give him a chance, though small, of immense suffering at the bottom for a short time?

    The man has already failed. He has already jumped off the cliff, and sealed his fate. His immutable destiny now is to die, one way or the other (and ironically, that was always his destiny regardless). His immediate choice now, is to spread his arms and legs and resist as much as possible and pretend its not happening; to die slow and in denial, or perhaps if he were wise, recognize the futility of that effort and go into a dive, meeting his fate head on upon the rocks below, who yield to no one.

    What really matters, in my opinion, is to just get it over with. Humanity will not stop in its fall, even if it wanted to (which it doesnt). It should not resist its impending demise; rather, it should meet it humbled… humbled in the knowledge that in all its vainglorious blusterings and pomp glorifying itself above all else throughout the ages, that it was all just a delusion of self-pride. And perhaps in those final moments, some clarity will present itself, and with whatever dignity and maturity it can muster, it will see and accept its true position in the world as its destroy, and accept its own destruction as both needed, and just.

    Thats the best way I think humanity can go out, and what really matters at this point; to face death with maturity, acceptance, and clarity.

    Of course much more likely, is that humanity will go out like a screaming little brat who hasnt gotten its way and has been denied ice cream after refusing to clean up their room.

  • “what’s your special today?

    solar steamers

    solar- you ALWAYS have solar steamers”

    well bring me a plate, and don’t be a space age ;)

  • One of the worst prime ministers in NZ history has just been re-elected. That matters in the short term because it means we will have to endure a somewhat greater level of looting-and-polluting and fascism than might otherwise have been the case. And it demonstrates the deplorable state of ignorance of most New Zealanders.

    On the other hand, since National policies are based on burning up everything as quickly as possible and transferring wealth from the bottom to the top, we can expect the inevitable implosion to occur somewhat faster under Key than might have occurred under a different ‘leader’, and for a larger portion of the population to be ‘wiped’ out sooner, which may well be a good thing in the grand scheme of things.

  • kevin, too bad about your country, man. I’m sure that when the methane bomb clears out the northern hemisphere and our elite fly down to make NZ into the Last Riviera, you’ll understand where this has been going all along. Maybe it’s time to get that catering or chauffeur’s license, there could be a place for you in, New New Zealand, yet. :)

    Into Destiny says, “What really matters, in my opinion, is to just get it over with.” Yes, an exponential megaton increase in methane escape would be of huge benefit to all mankind at this late date because it would speed up the day of our demise thus lessening the overall amount of human suffering.

    If there is some sort of Council of Celestial Overlords, somewhere, noting down the foibles of mankind, they will surely record that, “Mankind, from the planet known as Earth, should always be remembered for its willful creation of unnecessary suffering and used as a supreme example of how not to Be.”

    So bring on the methane! Gas this dump! How nice to see men cheated out of their chance to inflict another century of suffering.

  • I live in the Wilamette valley right in the middle of dozens of fires. The other day it was so smokey and I ended up in bed sick. Finally connected the dots. Smoke seems to really bother me. I might be the canary in the coal mine on this one. Then I read this article. Holy smoke? Not so much.


  • TIAA,

    Get better soon. I posted the link on the forum and to a local group. NM is wildfire country too!

    I appreciate this, especially:

    “…but what can we do in the short term? We can invest in fire-proofing measures. We can limit further development in wildfire-prone areas and manage our forests better. In a way it’s learning to live with fire a little bit because that’s where we are. That’s a part of our national policy conversation that’s very difficult.”

  • I didn’t get any response from Guy in the last thread on this data.

    It definitely supports geotectonic driven warming as opposed to atmospheric driven warming.

    From one of the Diner Engineers:

    “On the contrary, since the mid-1940s, the blue is strictly above the red.  That seems very hard to account for in a “atmosphere is heating the ocean” scenario, but makes perfect sense in a “ocean is heating the atmosphere” one.”-JDW

    Are we discussing the data and science here or not?



  • @Kirk Hamilton

    ‘make NZ into the Last Riviera, you’ll understand where this has been going all along.’

    Oh yes, I started to work it all out back in 1999-2000, when the America’s Cup was held in Auckland, and it was all about international business interests and sprucing up the place so the ultra-rich could park their yachts for a few weeks while they had a merry time.

    Now it’s about selling everything to people in other countries, including the land.

    “We’re on a nice downward glide….circling the drain.”

  • For Climate Doom fans, dont miss the latest Podcast with Ugo Bardi of Resource Limits and Jim Laughter, author of Polar City Red.

    Narratives of TEOTWAWKI


  • Robert Atack has just sent me this:

    The Spirit in the Gene: Humanity’s Proud Illusion and the Laws of Nature

    «As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we might as well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we feel in response to any particular human behaviour is the precise measure of our ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.»

    – Reg Morrison

  • The (gigatons of) CO2 humanity has dumped into the atmosphere since even before the Industrial Revolution has largely been absorbed by the Oceans which might have lead to the geotectonic warming. No matter, we have both to contend with now and this too:


    9/20/2014 — Global Earthquake Update — Unrest showing across multiple regions

    Full Earthquake update video can be viewed here [14.5 min. then supporting graphics and explanations of effects]



    Southeast Louisiana is disappearing, washing away at a rate of a football field every hour, 16 square miles per year

    (Scientific American) – In just 80 years, some 2,000 square miles of its coastal landscape have turned to open water, wiping places off maps, bringing the Gulf of Mexico to the back door of New Orleans and posing a lethal threat to an energy and shipping corridor vital to the nation’s economy.

    And it’s going to get worse, even quicker.

    Scientists now say one of the greatest environmental and economic disasters in the nation’s history is rushing toward a catastrophic conclusion over the next 50 years, so far unabated and largely unnoticed.

    At the current rates that the sea is rising and land is sinking, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists say by 2100 the Gulf of Mexico could rise as much as 4.3 feet across this landscape, which has an average elevation of about 3 feet. If that happens, everything outside the protective levees — most of Southeast Louisiana — would be underwater.

    The effects would be felt far beyond bayou country. The region best known for its self-proclaimed motto “laissez les bons temps rouler” — let the good times roll — is one of the nation’s economic linchpins.

    This land being swallowed by the Gulf is home to half of the country’s oil refineries, a matrix of pipelines that serve 90 percent of the nation’s offshore energy production and 30 percent of its total oil and gas supply, a port vital to 31 states, and 2 million people who would need to find other places to live. [read the rest]

    further down, there’s this:

    Has the great climate change migration already begun? –‘It’s already like a weapon of mass destruction’

    The island paradise is under attack. Thanks to destabilizing forces of climate change – rising sea levels and strengthening storms, particularly – some of Earth’s most picturesque locations are being scrubbed from the map. And the residents of these postcard settings are being forced to consider relocating to avoid being swept away into the sea.

    In Tuvalu, a collection of reef islands and atolls midway between Hawaii and Australia, saltwater intrusion has already made it difficult to grow traditional crops, and the rainfall that provides much of the drinking water has become unreliable. Despite investments in freshwater storage systems and makeshift bulwarks to slow coastal erosion, much of the nation – where the average land height is a mere 2 meters (about 6.5 feet) above sea level – will likely be under water by the end of the century.

    “It’s already like a weapon of mass destruction,” Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga said last month of the impact climate change is having on his nation.

    In what has been called a landmark ruling, New Zealand’s immigration court in August granted a Tuvaluan family legal residency after the pair’s attorneys argued, in part, that climate change and overpopulation has made life untenable on their native island. The ruling in favor of Sigeo Alesana and his family came just three months after New Zealand rejected the world’s first climate refugee claim, that of Ioane Teitiota from Kiribati.

    Because the 1951 United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees still doesn’t recognize climate change as valid factor for refugee status, the New Zealand attorneys representing the Tuvaluan couple also relied on more traditional arguments – including the existence of established family relationships inside New Zealand – to make their clients’ claim.

    “To be successful, it need[ed] to be argued beyond the convention, which is what we did,” Carole Curtis wrote the Guardian by email.

    But the roughly 10,800 residents of Tuvalu are by no means the only ones at risk of losing their homes to climate change. While the estimates of future migrants vary widely, from tens of thousands to one billion, there’s little question that an increase in climate refugees is on the way.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported in a 2012 paper that forced migrations will likely grow in the years ahead. “For locations such as atolls,” the report reads, “in some cases it is possible that many residents will have to relocate.”

    A thousand miles due west of Tuvalu, a staged relocation effort has been underway for years, as hundreds of islanders from the Carteret atoll make their way to the larger island of Bougainville, 50 miles southwest.

    The increasing infertility of the atoll soils, a consequence of increasing saltwater intrusion, has been a major factor in the decision to relocate, said Ursula Rakova, who is helping lead the Carteret islanders to the “big island”. [there’s more]

  • You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but I’m going to try. Radiant heat from the sun travels 93 million miles through space which is close to absolute 0 degrees until it hits and is absorbed by a particle. The Earth is a large particle in space. From “Answers”:

    The temperature in space is close to “absolute zero” because any object there will radiate heat until it cools to that point. This is for objects not exposed to direct sunlight. In Earth orbit, the temperature of objects in sunlight can rise to 120°C/ 250°F. The actual temperature in space is about 3°K (-270°C or three degrees Celsius above Absolute Zero). There are still molecules in space, just very few of them, and this is their temperature.

    Absolute zero is a theoretical temperature where the thermal kinetic energy of the molecules in a body goes to zero. This cannot be achieved through artificial or natural means, because there is no way to remove the last small amount of thermal energy. The coldest temperature in space is about 3°K above absolute zero. This is defined as the Cosmic Background (or Microwave Background) Radiation that was first detected by Penzias and Wilson using the Holmdel Horn Antenna in New Jersey, USA in 1965. This radiation quite literally is the echo of the Big Bang.

    Assuming you’re measuring the temperature of pure space, or an area in which there is no matter that could absorb the sun’s radiation and thereby heat up, the temperature would be -459° Fahrenheit, -273° Celsius, or 0 on the Kelvin scale. Cosmic Background Radiation. The temperature is not absolute zero because there is a pervasive background radiation, with an equivalent temperature of 2.7 K.

    Alternate view: This is an amateur opinion. When measuring, for example, the heat of a distant star, one is not measuring the heat of the intervening space, even though the radiation we are detecting passes through it. It is possible that the same thing can be argued for the background radiation. An analogy might be that if a photon of light reaches earth, it is because that photon was not absorbed by anything during its trip, not even the tiniest particle of matter. Clearly, photons that are absorbed along the way never reach us. It might even be possible in a weird quantum sense that the photon may just be a probability greater than 0 and less than 1 until and unless it is absorbed by something.

    So it may be that completely empty space has no temperature at all (not even absolute zero), because there is nothing in it to either absorb or be void of heat. Empty space is not capable of absorbing or radiating heat. If a thermometer were placed in absolutely empty intergalactic space, it would probably eventually register the background radiation, but this would be because the thermometer itself has absorbed radiation that would otherwise not have been absorbed and that would have continued to propagate through space.

    Here is another way to consider the same question. Say that a perfect or near perfect vacuum could be created here on earth, in a lab at ordinary room temperature. What would you claim to be the temperature of this vacuum, and what information would you use to support your claim? Temperature is a characteristic of matter, and not of vacuum.

    Correction to the above: The question does not ask the temperature OF space, but rather IN space. Radiation from anything in space will cool it without any need for a conducting medium. The loss of heat will continue until the object reaches very nearly absolute zero. If an object receives sufficient radiation from the Sun, it will heat only the surface exposed to the Sun, and cool from the others. So spacecraft that are designed to reflect the Sun’s heat will need another heat source to keep the interior warm.

  • @ reverse engineer

    Today we’ll look at two more of the (supposedly) bullet-proof points in Joanne Nova’s “The Skeptics Handbook.”

    “Professional Speaker” turned climate expert Nova rehashes two of the more common skeptic talking points, that: the world is no longer warming and the Vostok ice core record proves that rising CO2 emissions are not the cause of warmer temperatures.

    Dr. Dessler lays out the case thusly:

    “If we look at the warming of the last few decades, we can immediately rule out tectonic activity and orbital variations – they are much much too slow to account for warming over mere decades. We can rule out volcanic eruptions for a similar reason – they affect the climate for only a few years. Thus, volcanic eruptions are also likely unrelated to the several-decades-long temperature increase we are experiencing.”


  • You are laughable in your contortions to try and hide the following:

    You know nothing about science.

    You obviously have a vested interest in claiming that AGW does not exist.

    You are typical of AGW deniers in that you keep on spreading your nonsense even though you are shown to be wrong again and again. In more progressive blogs this is referred to as spamming and is discouraged in a variety of ways.

    You continue to use the term ad hominem when you have been told that the remarks you are calling ad hominem are not so but accurately reflect your behaviour as shown by what you post and your interpretation of climate science.

    We are “not amazed” at your continuing blustering and issuing of nonsense and untruths. It is typical denier behaviour.


    Hey, my electrician told me that the wiring in my house is dangerous and poses a 90 percent risk of setting my house on fire. And so said the next 20 electricians that looked at it … Then I found found one guy who hadn’t actually wired a house, but who said that everyone was OK.

    I told the rest of them to get lost until everyone agreed that the risk was 0 percent.

  • Molecules and Fate

    Is there anything you can still trust?
    Yes: molecules move as they must;
    That’s always been true
    And it’s what they’ll still do
    Even after all humans go bust.

  • Philosophy is dead except for Nihilism. All the rest is for nought. Just causes dizziness.

    Philosophy is much like wine. It is nothing more than a liquid to get food to go down, like water.

    Those that spend large amounts of money on the stuff, even over $5-10, are wearers of powered wigs and show-offs.

  • @ Shep

    Philosophy is FREE, when did you get the idea you had to pay for it ?
    During one of your dizzy spells, I suppose.

    All it needs is to be able to think clearly, logically, precisely, in a coherent manner.

    You think that people don’t need water ? All that it does is lubricate food ?

    You are so incredibly dumb that you don’t understand that your comment IS philosophy, only of the most crude, vestigial and vulgar form. But it is a start.

    Do you even understand what nihilism is ? Can you explain it to us ? can you define it ? Can you clarify why you believe it is the only position to hold ?

    If not, why should anybody pay any attention to you ? You’re no different to a fucking lump of smelly manure that has nothing worth saying at all.

  • And wtf is a ‘powered wig’ ? Where can I see one ? I’m getting bald, might be just what I need.

  • RE.

    The extinction of the dinosaurs was not, as you say, caused by the PETM 55 million years ago and exceptionally high temperature that occurred at that time, but was caused by the massive dust cloud generated 65 million years ago when a large body impacted the Earth, and the drop in sunlight and temperature that followed -rather like the conditions that prevail every six months in very northerly or very southerly latitudes.

    We have cone to expect you to get scientific facts very confused or completely wrong. Until such time as you do get scientific facts right your efforts at raising awareness have little or not credibility.

  • Typing error:

    …no credibility.

  • Breaking news

    Synlait Milk reduces 2014-15 milk payout price to $5.00 kgMS from $8.31 in 2013-14

  • Hay, I’ve found fugl’s evil twin. They are just alike!

  • Us, Them, and Happiness

    We evolved for living in tribes,
    But civilization prescribes
    Confusions which stem
    From who’s us and who’s them,
    Reducing internal good vibes.

  • @ Shep

    What do you think I have in common with Inhofe ? I cannot think of anything.

  • My goodness, fugl, u don’t know do u? How ordinary!

  • “Will the Earth still exist if humans are not around to witness it?”

    yes. but do humans talk anthropocentric crap when the earth is not there to support it.

  • No, Shep. I think you are confused. Inhofe is an example of someone who is the opposite of me in just about every way I can think of.

    As a copious source of gamma-rays, a nearby Galactic Gamma-Ray Burst (GRB) can be a threat to life. Using recent determinations of the rate of GRBs, their luminosity function and properties of their host galaxies, we estimate the probability that a life-threatening (lethal) GRB would take place. Amongst the different kinds of GRBs, long ones are most dangerous. There is a very good chance (but no certainty) that at least one lethal GRB took place during the past 5 Gyr close enough to Earth as to significantly damage life. There is a 50% chance that such a lethal GRB took place during the last 500 Myr causing one of the major mass extinction events. Assuming that a similar level of radiation would be lethal to life on other exoplanets hosting life, we explore the potential effects of GRBs to life elsewhere in the Galaxy and the Universe. We find that the probability of a lethal GRB is much larger in the inner Milky Way (95% within a radius of 4 kpc from the galactic center), making it inhospitable to life. Only at the outskirts of the Milky Way, at more than 10 kpc from the galactic center, this probability drops below 50%. When considering the Universe as a whole, the safest environments for life (similar to the one on Earth) are the lowest density regions in the outskirts of large galaxies and life can exist in only ~ 10% of galaxies. Remarkably, a cosmological constant is essential for such systems to exist. Furthermore, because of both the higher GRB rate and galaxies being smaller, life as it exists on Earth could not take place at z>0.5. Early life forms must have been much more resilient to radiation.


  • Question:
    “Integrating three different perspectives (individual human, all humans, and all other species), what really matters, and why?”

    You can’t separate what ‘really matters’ between human and ‘other’.
    What really matters to all life on earth is having an intact functioning ecosystem.
    All else springs from that – health, happiness, love, philosophy, everything.
    Our web of life on this planet is dying, and beyond all hope.
    So now what matters? Be kind and loving to the innocent, to the best of your ability.
    As for the guilty, I would at the very least like them to realize what they’ve done.
    That’s why it’s important (to me) for Guy’s message to get out.

    @Shep- Your posts make me wonder why you’re here using up space…. I now scroll right on past when I see your name.


    “The extinction of the dinosaurs was not, as you say, caused by the PETM 55 million years ago and exceptionally high temperature that occurred at that time, but was caused by the massive dust cloud generated 65 million years ago when a large body impacted the Earth, and the drop in sunlight and temperature that followed -rather like the conditions that prevail every six months in very northerly or very southerly latitudes.”- KM

    That was a later Extinction Level Event.  The ELE of the PETM is well documented and includes the rise of mammalian life forms.  Bold here is mine in this snippet from Wiki:

    “The onset of the PETM has been linked to an initial 5 °C temperature rise, within 13 years.[5] However, a subsequent examination suggest it took several millennia, excluding an impact event (comet) as origin of the onset.[6] The PETM is characterized by extreme changes in Earth’s carbon cycle, and possibly accompanied by methane hydrate dissociation.[7] The PETM is marked by a prominent negative excursion in carbon stable isotope (δ13C) records from around the globe; more specifically, there was a large decrease in 13C/12C ratio of marine and terrestrial carbonates and of organic carbon deposited on ocean basins, possibly responsible for the largest extinctions of deep-sea benthic in the past 90 million years, and associated with the warming of Antarctic surface waters by ~5 °C.[7][8][9]

    Numerous other changes can be observed in stratigraphic sections containing the PETM.[7] Fossil records for many organisms show major turnovers. For example, in the marine realm, a mass extinction of benthic foraminifera, a global expansion of subtropical dinoflagellates, and an appearance of excursion, planktic foraminifera and calcareous nannofossils all occurred during the beginning stages of PETM. On land, there was a sudden appearance of modern mammal orders (including primates) in Europe and North America. Sediment deposition changed significantly at many outcrops and in many drill cores spanning this time interval.”

    From CI

    Dr. Dessler lays out the case thusly:

    “If we look at the warming of the last few decades, we can immediately rule out tectonic activity and orbital variations – they are much much too slow to account for warming over mere decades. We can rule out volcanic eruptions for a similar reason – they affect the climate for only a few years. Thus, volcanic eruptions are also likely unrelated to the several-decades-long temperature increase we are experiencing.”-CI

    Dessler is looking at climatic changes from the particulates in the atmosphere, not from direct energy release into the oceans.  As with most Climate Scientists, the bias here is to show that the warming comes from the top down rather than the bottom up.  There are likely synergistic effects  and both positive and negative feedback loops that impact on the total system.


  • I’ve been busy preparing placards for the next ‘Stop climate change ‘ march.I’ve only got 2 done so far.
    ‘Let’s stop the use of fossil fuels NOW (and die within months)’
    ‘Support human sacrifice: Have a baby to express hope’
    I’ m sure they’ll go down a treat with the locals.

  • Alex Wise and KMO rip Guy a new one here:

    Human Extinction? Not So Much

  • Here in New Zealand, the public decided to continue along the path over the cliff. I share Kevin’s frustration with the political parties, including the Green Party. It is just as stuck in the current paradigm but was probably the least worst option in this years election. Sadly, our populace is doing a great impression of being brain-washed. Not even a revelation that everyone is under mass surveillance seemed to faze anyone – indeed, they basically said “yeah, bring it on”. One of my most depressing days.

  • [audio src="http://www.againstthegrain.org/files/files/atg/atg_2014.09.15_gupta_on_social_movements.mp3" /]

    Arun Gupta explains in this interview with Against The Grain, that all the primary offices and most residences for the actual real corporations and their directors are in downtown Manhattan. There was just a gigantic march, and none of these businesses were touched. Nobody felt any heat. Everything was completely polite and considerate. Lovely as this may be, it’s already 10 years too late, and all this respectful parading is probably just going to get everyone killed. Which, amazingly, is fine with the police, the law, the judges, the powers that be, and packs of feel good liberalistas who are obviously all in on the species suicide death cult.

    I was just have a waking nightmare about how all the systems are now failing in real time right in front of everybody. All of them. Political, Economic, Monetary, Ecological, Food, Biology, Energy, Environment, Media, Social, Psychological. Everything. It’s all going. Kaboom. Kaput. Everything is imploding and collapsing. Even the concept of Time seems to be breaking down as the future now is obviously dwindling away to nothing. I often consider the late professor Rick Rodderick’s thesis from his presentations on The Self Under Seige: that it’s really questionable anymore what it is to be human. It’s all hanging by a thread now.

    But hey, off in suburban North America, Europe, and the first world things aren’t really so bad today, and will probably be OK tomorrow. So WTF, eh?

  • Mass surveillance will not restore the progressive loss of energy flows due to depleting fossil fuels, nor will it restore the global biospheric, atmospheric and hydrospheric commons being lost to the twin depredations of despoliation and pollution. Nor will any other measure to regiment the human livestock.

  • If 300,000 folks march for climate action – who is suppose to do the *acting*?

  • It seems to me that Naomi Klein having a child to ‘express hope ‘ is a clear indication that she doesn’t really understand climate disruption and it’s implications for our species.
    Why would one willingly subject a child to the future that is coming and inescapable?

  • Uh-oh, Shep – looks like you are being voted off the island. Don’t fight, it’ll only get worse for you!

  • U…wonder,

    veeeeeery interesting. i was noticing.

  • http://shift-magazine.org/ has returned a blank page for the past 12+ hours. You may want to announce if their site comes back up or get permission to paste your article into a blog post.

  • The latest essay in this space is offered by a long-time reader. It’s here.

  • Dear Artleads,

    Thank you, better already :-)

    I thought that section of the article was very well stated as well.

    See ya around? :-)


  • .
    Integrating three different perspectives (individual human, all humans, and all other species), what really matters, and why?
    Well, as everyone knows, I don’t think anything matters. What is the nature of “matters” anyway? Does it really “matter” to me if thousands of children have suffered because I must have a new pair of shoes? What goes through my mind when I purchase a plastic toy made in China for 99 cents? Do I marvel at how this rubber duck come to made, and how is it possible for it to cost only 99 cents?
    Disconnect from all things and Nothing Matters.
    Nothingness is how we began, and nothingness is how we end.

  • On the semantic soapbox:

    Matter matters.

    So, in a literal sense, every”thing” “matters”…. excluding dreams, fantasies, abstractions and suchlike. In a literal sense, they don’t matter.. at all.

    “Nothing matters” is an oxymoron.


  • I missed my shot at the NTHE questions, but this issue of methane release is as good a jumping off spot as any:

    The real question, for humans, is, “When will the majority of humankind get it.” I remember being 10, in 1973, and hearing about the Greenhouse Effect and thinking ‘oh, well thank goodness they discovered this in time.’ can you die laughing? no? ok well maybe just die, then.

    The point is, most people still don’t get it. And while that’s infuriating and outrageous, it’s also sort of … safe. It’s too late to fix it, but once Joe Schmoe realizes his goose is cooked, can you imagine what a mess it’s going to be? I believe an enormous methane release would prod a drastic temperature rise and all the accompanying dramatic climate disasters that have been predicted. What is scary is not so much this mess, which we knew was coming, but the human response I imagine which, if our heritage is anything to go by, will probably speed up human extinction by a good 40%.

  • .
    I don’t think that is the context of “matter” in this case. The idea of something as “mattering” is not physical per se, although, clean air, water, etc., certainly “matter” to most living things on Earth (“living” being strictly defined as the obvious “living”).
    Does it “matter” if I live or die? No. Does it “matter” if ANYthing lives or dies? No. Why? Because it ultimately makes no difference.
    We can live despite knowing that nothing matters – we don’t NEED meaning or purpose in order to live…
    We are only renting this particular collection of subatomic particles for a short time… Live as you can, while you can.

  • @ karenishere

    The real question, for humans, is, “When will the majority of humankind get it.” I remember being 10, in 1973, and hearing about the Greenhouse Effect and thinking ‘oh, well thank goodness they discovered this in time.’ can you die laughing? no? ok well maybe just die, then.


    Way back then, I was still under the illusion that something could be done.

    In retrospect, it looks different.

    First, most people do not have the intelligence, education, to understand the problem, even if they cared, because the problem is quite complicated, and on top, there’s been constant disinfo and confusion caused by the vested interests who wanted to prevent any action.

    Second, even if that were not the case, what could have been done ?

    Understanding the solutions is even more complicated and difficult, beyond most people’s grasp and ability.

    What could a person have done then – or now, for that matter ?

    Everybody needs money. Money is closely tied to energy, energy is closely tied to power.

    Most people’s ‘world’ is not a biological, physical, chemical, system. It’s cultural and social, national. It’s about business and raising children, about standards of living, transport and education and housing and access to consumer goods and healthcare and recreation and all that stuff.

    To reduce emissions of CO2 and damage to the global ecology would have meant a complete transformation of how people thought, their aims and objectives, the way soceities were organised and the systems they used to satisfy human needs.

    That would have had to start with money. So long as people are competing in the market, to get an advantage, to make profits, under the capitalist system, then civilisation is inherently destructive of the biosphere, because it has to keep expanding and consuming, at ever increasing rates. All the businesses, corporations, and countries, are competing for resources, just to stay alive.

    If you don’t gobble up that oil or cut down that forest now, then I will, and the quicker I can turn it into dollars or pounds to invest somewhere else, the more efficient I am, and the more power I will have tomorrow, to fend off competitors, by bribery or purchasing assets or whatever I need to do.

    This is a mechanism that is designed to destroy the whole world in the fastest possible time to maximise profits for the banks. And almost everyone participates in it, to some degree. Because that’s where our income comes from every day, to buy whatever it is that we need.

    In theory, this could be changed. Maybe for a small country of a few millions, over a couple of generations. But, for that to happen, people would need to understand, and to agree to do it. That has never really happened, except very rarely, maybe Cuba, and the main power, the USA, has forced the whole world to go in the opposite direction, neoconservative and neoliberal policies, which mean grab and loot and pollute, because the future does not matter.

    Other people on this blog e.g. Gail, will dismiss this analysis, and say that we would have wrecked the planet and gone extinct anyway, because of our genetic make up, because we are destructive predatory animals by nature, as demonstrated by the archaeological record.

    Well, if you look at the archaeological record, and the anthropology, it seems clear to me, that we are, or were, all sorts of things. Immensely variable. And that we did have the potential to make a steady state sustainable system that would have supplied all of our needs, for at least another few millennia, if we had got our act together.

    As Guy says, George Perkins Marsh saw the climate thing coming a very long time ago. People could have listened to people like that. Instead, they allowed greedy maniacs to take power, which has lead everyone into this catastrophe. I do believe there was a choice, an option, although nobody really noticed at the time.

  • @ pat

    We can live despite knowing that nothing matters – we don’t NEED meaning or purpose in order to live…
    We are only renting this particular collection of subatomic particles for a short time…

    This renter, of whom you speak, who does the renting.

    As far as I know, according to the science, there is no established boundary between the renter and the subatomic particles. Everything is made of the subatomic particles, including the renter.

    The only ‘renter’ is some mental concept, conceived in consciousness (Sorry to go all Robin Datta on you).

    So, if there is a boundary, it is a boundary between the subatomic particles and a something called consciousness, that knows that there are subatomic particles.

    There is no agreement at all, as to what consciousness is, how it arises or emanates or is produced, or even where it is located.

    Conferences are held with many thousands of the most learned men and women where they present their papers and debate their ideas, annually, and yet there is no conclusion.

    But, what we can say, without any dispute, is that the Universe has produced us, and has produced the enigma called consciousness. Thus, we are aware of our own existence, and the existence of the Universe.

    In effect, the Universe writes this comment.

    How you, and others, can claim that this makes existence ‘meaningless’, confounds me.

  • Hey Kevin Moore, there’s a person over @ Gail T’s blog suggesting that she (a) doesn’t understand chemistry; and (b) we don’t need fossil fuels to continue the human project. Since you’re knowledgeable about chemistry and seem to enjoy debunking certain theories, would you like to pay a visit and perhaps comment?



    You haven’t understood quite enough chemistry and engineering though. Growth and prosperity depends on innovation and cheap ENERGY, if what you call growth is physical low entropy stuff, like food and manufactured goods. That energy doesn’t HAVE to come from fossil fuels.


    i.,le what is REALLY going on when we turn metallic salt minerals and ores into metals, is that we are lowering their entropy by reversing a naturally stable reaction.

    Hydrogen carbon and so on are just means to this end, not essentials.
    So aluminium is generally made by electrolysis from hydro or nuclear electric power. Titanium can be made by molten salt electrolysis, and although iron and steel are made by carbon monoxide reduction they don’t have to be, We can in principle use hydrogen from nuclear or other sources of electricity via the electrolysis of water.

    That is, people remember their high school chemistry and think that because FeO2+2CO=Fe+2CO2,

    .. that is the only ingredient on the left hand side that can be used.,
    It is not so, the real equation is:

    FeO2+ENERGY=Fe + O2.

    The carbon appears on both sides and can be replaced with whatever low atomic weight element you like with suitable chemical properties.

    This is why Hubbert is right.

    Carbon based fuel is merely a convenience, In principle any fuel will do that has free energy, (low entropy) that can be tapped cheaply in capital and EROI terms. When we can synthesise hydrocarbons cheaper than we can get them out of the ground they will stay there forever.

    When you have nothing else, nuclear power looks very attractive, and its already way below the real undistorted-by-politics cost of any non-fossil alternative.

    Yea, even unto coal, if you can keep the reactors running flat out to maximise return on capital cost.

    And there is enough fissile and fertile material economically extractable to supply a world population of the current size for a couple of thousand years, which may even be long enough to develop a viable fusion power plant..;-)

  • @B9K9

    The world is full of people who think they understand things but actually do not. you have demonstrated you do not understand the basics of chemistry.

    I suggest you do several months (years) study of electronegativity, bond energies, activation energy, enthalpy and entropy; you may then not put your foot in it.

    There is a term -the Dunning-Kruger effect- for people who overrate themselves and underrate others with considerably more knowledge/skill.


    We witness the dismal results of the Dunning-Kruger effect every day, as incompetent fools imagine themselves to be experts and proceed to make a mess of everything they touch, never listening to anyone who does know what they are talking about.

    Interestingly, the Dunning-Kruger effect was brought to my attention by the one district councillor (out of 14) who does have some clues; he used it to describe the majority of the councillors and council officers who set policy and make the decisions that affect everyone’s future.

    I have spent too many years arguing with ignorant fools, and wasted a lot of time without generating any worthwhile outcomes. Therefore, I do not seek opportunities to discuss crucial issues; most people are still wandering around with plugs in the ears and wearing blindfolds.

    The future, one of economic and environmental collapse which I described as Peak Mayhem several years ago, has been ‘set in stone’ -it is only the timing of the various aspects of collapse we are not sure about- and right now the fascists in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and NZ etc. are consolidating their positions of power, in preparation for the ‘free-for-all’ that will characterise the death of the present economic-political system.

    For the moment, frantic money printing, fracking, house-building, falsification of economic indicators and keeping people employed building boondoggles (plus lying about everything) are keeping the system going around here. I strongly suspect the moment the government funds dry up (i.e. the money-printing stops) the NZ sector of the global Ponzi scheme will collapse in a matter of weeks.

    Therefore, they will keep doing it till they can’t.