Scientists and “Pipe Dreams”

by Alton C. Thompson

“ . . . 17 of the world’s leading climate scientists have worked out a simple but challenging solution: the world, they say, must turn by mid-century [i.e., by 2050 CE] into a zero-carbon society.”  So states Alex Kirby in this article.  The problem to which they were referring?:  “what we have to do to avoid catastrophic climate change,” of course.

I have two problems with this conclusion:

  1. Arctic climate scientist John B. Davies has stated (2013) that our species will be close to extinction by 2040—and Guy McPherson has stated that our species will be extinct by 2030! (Also see this videoMichael Ruppert.)   What reasons do these scientists to reject those conclusions?
  1. If there is good reason to believe that if, by 2050, all societies in the world—not just ours, as the statement suggests—what reason is there to believe that goal will be accomplished?

I regard this second question as of especial importance because scientists tend to live in an intellectual realm that is removed from political reality.  Insofar as they make projections into the future, those projections are based on a fundamental assumption—the assumption that if X occurs, Y will occur.

The problem here is that they may not even assign a probability to the occurrence of X, so that the probability of Y’s occurrence is unknown.  And without a probability being assigned to X (our becoming a zero-carbon society by 2050, in this case), the claim that we humans could be “safe” by 2050 is meaningless.  Worse than meaningless, in fact, because it induces a sense of complacency:  If one believes that something is conceivable, it’s a short step to believing that it is likely—in this case that we will become a zero-carbon society by 2050.

Our “leaders” are already complacent, and there’s no reason that this will “melt away” soon—or ever!  What, then, is the point in scientists declaring that “if . . . “?  Why are they so politically naïve?

Not that not being complacent will “save” us, though.  Even if the majority of our “leaders” were aware of the threat that faces us humans, it’s likely now too late to do anything to prevent our extinction within a few decades, if not years—and bursting into tears about possibility (probability?!) this won’t help anything!


Apparently I failed to mention I’m traveling, and therefore forgot to ask you to behave. Feel free to continue your ignorant disparagement of well-informed people when I’m back home in a couple weeks.

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8-29 April 2015, western Europe (please follow the tour at and also on Facebook)

Website for London event is embedded here. It will be held the evening of 29 April 2015.


McPherson’s latest book is co-authored by Carolyn Baker. Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind is available. Electronic copy is available here from Amazon.

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Comments 61

  • There is nothing i love more than ignorantly disparaging knowledgeable people. It’s like a hobby of mine.

    Scientists don’t live in an intellectual realm removed from political reality, they live in a realm removed from total reality. It’s like the so-called carbon budget, or the latest advancements in solar power that require minerals we will soon run out of. Whores prostitute their bodies for funds, much as scientists whore their minds for funds. Whores got one up on scientists because they are sometimes purported to have a heart of gold, whereas the best scientists can come up with is a brain of gold. My apologies to whores and prostitutes everywhere.

    Check out the related posts here, under Social Capitalists, Wall Streets Progressive Partners.

  • Thanks Robert,

    for the link.

    I love it: “A brain of gold”. You’re absolutely right!

  • Here’s Michael Klare’s green energy article in Sciam

    Here’s my reply as Shizel:

    Sciam declares human agriculture ends at the same time our energy transition approaches completion.
    Take a look at the periodic table of elements to see which shortages will fill our hi-tech green world.
    Species extinctions will hit runaway mode by this time.
    We have to grow more food in 50 years than in the last 500.
    We need 6 million hectares of new farmland every year to do this.
    We lose 12 million hectares of farmland every year due to soil degradation and loss.
    Crop and pasture lands caused 80% of land vertebrate species extinctions.
    All IPCC carbon mitigation, sequestration and adaptation strategies assume more farmland availability.
    Tropical mafia clear rainforests to grow soy and palm oil to feed livestock and burn in German cars.
    Free Use Collapse Data Cheat Sheet:

  • Yeah, “I’ve been a miner for a brain of gold.”
    Just doesn’t sound right.

  • Alton,
    Scientists are no different that the rest of society. If scientists are naïve, so is the rest of humanity. Leaders won’t do the job if the people who have elected them first don’t do their job. If people expect leaders to change the world of humanity, they are starting with the wrong dudes. Gandhi said it best ” Be the change you want to see in the world”, and the leaders will follow suit, not the other way around.

  • Thanks Alton for showing the absurdity of human intelligence led endeavors.
    [after a few comments i’ll continue with this]

    Robert Callaghan: you just keep ’em comin.’ Some of us really appreciate your point of view and the manner you use to convey your messages. Hilarious horror is about as oxymoronic as our species.

    Here’s one example of another problem with what Alton illustrates:

    Tiny robots climb walls carrying more than 100 times their weight

    Now on its face, this looks like ‘progress’ and the latest in tech/gear.
    College kids are supposed to turn their directed imaginations into physical objects via engineering the physics, electronics and chemistry they learn. Again, wonderful as far as it goes. Here’s the problem. The military has their hands in the funding or the proprietary use of it once discovered or created. Yeah, yeah the author, at the end suggests ‘life-saving,’ “good” uses for the newly made bots. What do you think these devices can be used for? Oh, come on – use your imagination colored by ‘military intelligence’ or a hegemonic worldview.

    Guy: i guess you’ve seen this – is this yet another feedback (and how did the last one turn out)?

    New Study Finds Clouds are Amplifying Human Warming

  • Don’t worry they do have a Plan.
    By them I mean the Puppet Masters already hiding in New Zealand, South Africa and Patagonia, who are desperately pulling every string trying to provoke a nuclear conflict between Russia and US.
    They think that would buy them some time in the Southern Hemisphere.

  • @ Dredd. I was catching up on the previous thread this morning and read your question, “Anyone else here a peace radical?” Thanks for giving me the opportunity to shout from the mountain tops that, “YES! I am a radical peace activist!” It is the part of myself that I love the most. I believe that if there is any way to interface with universal spirit, peace must come first. It is the foundation of a good life. All this time, it has been radical peace that could have saved us, turned this mess around.

    Everyone wants to know how to save the world. But, what could have saved us was staring us in the face all along! All the Holy People, holy men and women cried out for peace, they taught peace. But each and every one of us, fucking losers that we are, thought themselves better and smarter than all the holy ones that ever lived.

    So, it’s too late! Voracious, unconscious greed and it’s lackey war-skut baby-killers have total victory over the world and have driven it to its grave. But, they can’t touch MY heart and they never will!

  • Callaghan says, “Whores prostitute their bodies for funds, much as scientists whore their minds for funds. Whores got one up on scientists because they are sometimes purported to have a heart of gold, whereas the best scientists can come up with is a brain of gold.” DUDE!!! YOU’RE THA DUDE!

    You reminded me of a thought I’ve had for a long time but never shared. Thanks, chalk it up as more gallows humor if you like:

    Pedophiles only have sex with children. Military men burn them alive then shoot their mothers! Therefore, pedophiles are NOT the worst thing on the planet! Have you ever seen a pedophile napalm a village of straw huts or carpet bomb a dilapidated pile of mud bricks called someones home? Me either!


  • Callaghan says, “Whores prostitute their bodies for funds, much as scientists whore their minds for funds. Whores got one up on scientists because they are sometimes purported to have a heart of gold, whereas the best scientists can come up with is a brain of gold.” DUDE!!! YOU’RE THA DUDE!

    You reminded me of a thought I’ve had for a long time but never shared. Thanks, chalk it up as more gallows humor if you like:

    Pedophiles only have sex with children. Military men burn them alive then shoot their mothers! Therefore, pedophiles are NOT the worst thing on the planet! Have you ever seen a pedophile napalm a village of straw huts or carpet bomb a dilapidated pile of mud bricks called someones home?


  • Someone said somewhere that a learned man crossing the river in a boat taxi asked if the driver had studied language and grammar. The river man said, no.
    They suddenly stopped in rough water and the river man asked if the learned man ever learned to swim. The learned man replied, no… I am immersed in knowledge. The river man said, you better learn to swim now because you’ll soon be immersed in water because we just hit a rock and we are sinking.

  • Yessir Alton, journalist Alex Kirby’s obscene propaganda piece emphasizing the “ONLY SOLUTION” insults our scientific intelligence.

    It is very probable that Kirby’s farcical “writing” came directly from his directing bankster masters.

    On the same page as Kirby’s pie-in-the-sky nonsense is THE DEAD GIVE-AWAY about how all this delicious salvation from heavenly central banksters will be delivered to the faithful flock.

    It is a true classic of outright in-your-face bankster bamboozle & control from the TOP by our credentialed & licensed betters.

    Kirby’s fellow journalist at Climate News Network, Kieran Cooke, a grown man & fellow human being in all sincerity gives us THE FINANCIAL SOLUTION.

    Believe it or not?


    “Money creation”

    “The central banks would, in essence, be enacting similar measures to those undertaken in the aftermath of the 2008/9 financial crisis. To avert money supply drying up and the whole financial system grinding to a halt, the central banks pushed vast amounts of cash onto the market – using reserves and printing money.

    The WFC points out that central banks cannot go bust in their own currency as they have monopolies on issuing legal tender – even if they purchase assets which give no returns.

    The Green Climate Bonds would, in effect, be another form of money creation similar in some respects to what’s called quantitative easing – increasing money supply to stimulate the economy. Only in the case of the climate bonds, this new money would be used to combat climate change.

    Under the WFC’s proposals, between US$100 bn and $300 bn would be raised through green bond purchases each year. The bonds would be valid for at least 100 years and become more or less enduring assets of the central banks, though they would give only a small or no rate of interest.

    Dr Matthias Kroll, a finance researcher at the WFC, told the Climate News Network that the bulk of green bond purchases would have to be made by central banks in the industrialised world, with the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank perhaps each purchasing $20 bn of climate bonds annually.”

    At least these lying manipulative bastards will die too.

    I know that I am in hospice & I’m doing the best that I can, but I cannot help despising these despicable monsters.

  • pipe dreams led to exhaust pipe realities…gee kirk…I wouldn’t even go there! touché! screw loose this morning? I think it’s the radiated pollen. give’m hell callaghan.

  • From the article:
    “If there is good reason to believe that if, by 2050, all societies in the world—not just ours, as the statement suggests—what reason is there to believe that goal will be accomplished?”

    is there a phrase missing, like after “…suggests-.” like “will be extinct.” ??????????

  • Here is a book review by Tommaso Toffoli, a very smaht Galilean scientist at Bahstin University.

    Toffoli succinctly reviews physicist E.T. Jaynes’s PROBABILITY THEORY; THE LOGIC OF SCIENCE – a true delight for science lovers.

    Don’t be intimidated by the logical notation.

    Although is not complicated, you can proceed with or w/o it.

    I proudly make a powerful claim; Toffoli’s short essay, HONESTY IN INFERENCE, is analogous to learning the science of evolution in order to try to understand what happens in the world.

    Even literary intellectuals could be seduced by Toffoli’s ebullient praise of Jaynes.

    Magnifico …

    search; Honesty in Inference » American Scientist

    E.T. Jaynes is a wonderful scientist, & his work is mandatory for understanding the probabilities of scientific logic applied to near term extinction.

    There is a massive amount of cumulative empirical & observational evidence indicating the increasing probability of an abrupt methane release from arctic stores leading to near term extinction.

    Guy McPherson’s running concise summary is prologue.

    A tight piece of scientific wisdom from Jaynes that would serve scientific observers full well at this perilous time;

    “It is not the absolute status of an hypothesis embedded in the universe of all conceivable theories (it was here that Karl Popper committed his fatal error), but the plausibility of an hypothesis relative to a definite set of specified alternatives, that Bayesian inference determines.”

    “The functional use of induction in science is not to tell us what predictions must be true, but rather what predictions are most strongly indicated by our present hypotheses & OUR PRESENT INFORMATION.”

    “As Harold Jefferys explained long ago, induction is most valuable to a scientist just when it turns out to be wrong; only then do we get new fundamental knowledge.”

    from PROBABILITY THEORY, The Logic of Science, Edwin T. Jaynes, 2003, Cambridge Univ. Press pp 310-311

  • …then again, a lot of those politicians ,along with their military men are pedophiles as well…a sociopath is a sociopath is a …and so it goes…it’s twisted at the top. every single pile…if it took ambition to get there…I know, I simplify things too much… but…please, just shoot me.

  • Zero net carbon societies will almost certainly be very commonplace by 2025 in countries where high fossil fuel consumption is currently regarded as normal and sustainable by the majority of the inhabitants.

    Take Japan, for instance, which is entirely dependent on the importation of oil, gas and coal to prop up its already failing (as defined by orthodox economics) economy.

    Dozens of countries with slightly smaller populations than Japan (126 million) are in a similar boat, Spain and Italy being a notable examples.

    Despite the narrative that ‘Peak Oil is dead’ which has been pushed hard by all kinds of uninformed fools and opportunists around the world, the science, going right back to the early 1970s, has clearly indicated that the global maximum net energy extraction for oil would occur between 2000 and 2015. It did.

    The peak of conventional oil extraction occurred between 2005 and 2008, and since then the global economic system and the global financial system and everything else orthodox have been propped up through the extraction of oil and gas at rather low EROEI. The lowest EROEI I know of is the processing of Athabasca tar sands -sand coated in bitumen- to extract oil at an EROEI of around 3.

    In the US, extraction of oil and gas through fracturing of rocks has resulted in a very short term surge in ‘production’ numbers but, as anyone with a brain knows, it is a road not just to nowhere in terms of energy but is also a road to environmental catastrophe, pushing geochemical systems ever further out of balance. Many fracked wells have had extraordinarily high fall-off in extraction rate, effectively ‘all over’ in 3 years; hence extraction is dependent on continuous drilling f new wells, which are frequently financed via high-yield ‘junk bonds’.

    The high-yield ‘junk bond’ market is starting to fall over.

    I’m sure we will have answers to numerous question by October [2015].

    I’ve said that several times, and somehow the Arctic ice has not melted down completely, the economy of California has kept going, the central banks have succeeded in holding global finances together via zero-interest money-printing etc. But this time it’s different

  • “Mayday, Mayday – We are sinking. We are sinking, over.”

  • Perhaps some of you are familiar with the TV game show: Let’s Make a Deal

    The show involves choosing from various deals offered to the contestants, who are selected out of the audience based on silly costumes they wear. It is a perfect metaphor for all of the hopium and make-believe deals being offered to our own commercially costumed citizenry as far as holding global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius; about which, in order to win this prize, we have to choose from among the following three carbon budget deals.

    Deal #1, as proposed by the authors of The Earth Statement (that Alton refers to), is that we have a “1 Trillion Tonnes” CO2 budget. Or maybe not. It’s hard to tell because while that is the bold figure they use in their “Eight Essentials” campaign, just below this big bold number is the finer print admission, “The remaining global carbon budget — the limit for what [sic] the carbon budget we can still emit — must be well below 1 trillion tone (1000 Gt CO2) to have a reasonable chance to hold the 2ºC line.”

    And our poor contestant might wonder: Well, which is it? If it’s “well below” 1,000, why can’t they say so up-front. But in actuality he is astonished at his good fortune. He’s thinking: Oh baby, I get to choose the 1,000 carbon budget.

    It really is the quintessential message of hopium and make-believe, and the audience cheers at his good fortune! For as the contestant himself thinks, “well below” could be a 750 carbon budget or in the 800’s; who knows for sure? Better than nothing and 1,000 is a lot.

    Deal #2, is that proposed by 350, whereby they more realistically explain how bad things are, but say “Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees.”

    Gee, the contestant realizes, 565 gigatons is like half of 1,000, and less than 750 even. That kinda sucks. But, still, if this *is* as real a problem as they say, maybe I should take their “reasonable hope” deal. The audience is divided, but yell out their preferences anyway.

    Lastly, Deal #1, is that offered by David Spratt in “Recount: It’s time to ‘Do the math’ again,” whereby our poor contestant is told there is no carbon budget left if staying below 2ºC is what he wants. And in truth, you need to return some of your already spent carbon money.

    And our contestant thinks: WTF?! That’s no fucking deal! That’s perverse, man. You expect me to leave here with nothing AND pay back what I already don’t have any more? No way; who do these scientists think I am! A fool?

    After revealing the 3 deals the contestant is now considering his options, and the clock is ticking, when — wait a minute, what’s this? — a lovely lady walks onto the stage and she is carrying an envelope. One that is offered to the contestant in exchange for the deals already before him.

    Our poor contestant is now beginning to sweat, the audience is roaring its preferences in his ears, “Take Deal #1” or “Take 2!” or “The Envelope! Take the envelope!!!”

    He is feverishly trying to make up his mind, while checking out the smiling lady and her envelope. And deep within his mind where his emotions lurk, he thinks to himself (or so he thinks he is thinking): Gee, whatever she’s got has to be better than any of these other deals.

    Finally, he blurts out: “I’ll take the envelope!”

    The lovely lady in her gossamer gown steps off her stage and hands over the envelope to our contestant, who rips its open.

    It reads:

    Dear Human Species,
    You are hereby notified of eviction from earth.
    You’ve run up bills on my account that are no longer recoverable; You’ve trashed every nook and cranny of the earth offered you; You’ve ignored symptoms of my growing wrath to no avail; Truthfully, the mess you’ve made is so great I have no recourse but to push the reset button.

    P.S: Thanks for playing! Watch out for the door on your way out.

    As pandemonium breaks out the host thanks everyone for participating, the lovely lady disappears in a swirl of smoke, the TV zooms in as our poor contestant breaks down in dis-belief and tears, and the audience does what stupid TV audiences addicted to hopium and make-believe do at this point, they go bananas!

    Like i say, it’s a perfect metaphor…

  • Alton, among other things, wrote “scientists tend to live in an intellectual realm that is removed from political reality … it induces a sense of complacency …”

    That is part of the recipe “how civilizations commit murder-suicide”:

    In other words, a society does not ever die ‘from natural causes’, but always dies from suicide or murder — and nearly always from the former, as this chapter has shown.”

    (Comparing a Group-Mind Trance to a Cultural Amygdala).

  • Kirk Hamilton Says:
    April 26th, 2015 at 8:09 am

    @ Dredd. I was catching up on the previous thread this morning and read your question, “Anyone else here a peace radical?” Thanks for giving me the opportunity to shout from the mountain tops that, “YES! I am a radical peace activist!”

    They tried inside the joint, then once as I was leaving that joint, to take me out.

    I mean the serious business end of an AR-15 type of take out … not pizza take out … if you know what I mean.

    I am still waiting to die as a peace radical.

    I know I will not be disappointed.

    Peace and love Captain Kirk! ;)

  • I ran across a man named Eric Mann on u-tube that had this to say:

    “If you are not a member of an organization that is anti-fascist, anti-racist, anti imperialist, then your life is meaningless.”

    Listen to 9:25 to 12:05 in the following video:

  • We are all careerists, I’m building a concrete outdoor kitchen about 200 meters from high tide at the moment,with a hard wood bench top that weighs about 600 kg (rain forest), my client 100% does not want to talk about climate change, as long as I get paid WTF ? …. and that goes for most of us, we aren’t going to stop till we can’t go on.
    Personally I don’t give a rats arse what they get me to build, the only thing that makes me a little sad is their 3 new grandchildren.
    Also just finished an out door fire place – 2 meters wide x 1.5 meters high.

    By Chris Hedges

    The greatest crimes of human history are made possible by the most colorless human beings. They are the careerists. The bureaucrats. The cynics. They do the little chores that make vast, complicated systems of exploitation and death a reality. They collect and read the personal data gathered on tens of millions of us by

  • Do these 17 ‘Earth League’ scientists truly believe it’s still possible to avert NTE – both in terms of the physics and the politics? Or do they secretly know that it’s already too late, that humans will be extinct by 2050 – NO MATTER WHAT WE DO – and are thus lying to us because they don’t think we can handle the truth? Either way the ‘Earth Statement’ as a dubious document.

    Hopium springs eternal.

  • @Mike k
    I think that if you might look a little deeper beneath any possible emotional reaction you may find Robin’s response to be extremely helpful. The truth is being pointed towards – inasmuch as anything can be said about the ‘truth’ directly. The ‘truth’/reality/you when it is looked at/tasted directly is undeniable and not really open to discussion.

    If one is to be of any real help to other human beings (and not create any further mischief) one needs to solve the fundamental problem of being a human being for oneself. There is no authority in this regard. The fundamental problem being this sense of being at stake or in danger in this life- the sense that there is something missing that I still have to find – the searching/seeking for truth itself.

    I have offered you the ‘how’ as regards settling this issue not out of any dogma or authority or fundamentalist perspective. I have seen the effects of this ‘looking’ in my life and the lives of others. It infallibly brings the seeking/searching for truth to an end and lets you settle into your life with an ease and intimacy that is unimaginable. From this side it is very clear what is being referred to in Robin’s utterances and the spiritual texts – which is not at all like what I thought they were saying when I was driven by the fear and the search for a solution.

    When the fear is gone the boundaries between ‘self and other’ become even more porous. Thus the suffering of others is felt even more intensely. There is no shelter. This is the nature of compassion- which is ‘to suffer with’. There is no individual realisation- if you suffer-i suffer. None are free- until all are free. We are all in this together- we always have been- and we each know this (but live in denial).

    I am not a guru or a master- I am your servant really- I come here to be of use – to share this magnificent good news about this infallible method of ‘looking at yourself’

    Try it and see- as an experiment :)
    If you are not happy with the results I will give you your money back ;)

  • Even if you can make that deep sea fish understand that its nose is wet, there ain’t any towels down there to wipe its nose dry. Ain’t “no one” to die, “no one” to live.

  • Thanks, Guy, for the reference; and thanks to all who commented.

    I’m pretty much on the same (cynical) side. When the Limits to Growth study was published, it was possible to hope that a solid case, backed by solid science, would be listened to and acted upon. The reception that document received should have extinguished any such hope.

    Yet scientists continue to emit the same blather, year after year, in a classic display of collective insanity – continually doing the same thing and expecting a different effect.

    So now when I hear some eminent brain insist “The only way to avoid total yadda yadda is to do X NOW!” – when the world and its dog knows that X will not be done – not now, not next week, not ever – my immediate response is to say “And what’s your Plan B?” And if they don’t have a Plan B, they can STFU; they have become part of the predicament.

  • Great stuff Monkey on the Game Show Theory.
    Great stuff Spezio on the Kirby butt kick.
    Firth x – x = 0.

  • @Diarmuid – I mistakenly put my response to your recent post to me on the previous thread. Thanks for your concern…

  • Thanks, Dredd, for the kind comment. Our choice to serve peace and love is the choice of the suffering servant. When pain and rejection is the only reward for following our hearts, it must suffice. Our closest comrades, nuns, poets, students, anyone brave enough to shout, “This is not fair, this is not right!”, lie already in mass graves. Those graves are the most sacred places on the face of this earth. It is worthy to place your heart there.


    New Study Confirms Climate Engineering Is Contributing To The Planetary Meltdown

    Methane levels as high as 2845 ppb

    This is an extremely high peak. The average daily peak in 2015 until now was 2372 ppb, while the highest daily mean ranged from 1807 ppb (January 10) to 1829 ppb (April 22).

  • @mike k
    You’re very welcome.
    Yes- what I am suggesting is the essence of Ramana’s self enquiry- albeit stripped of all its confusion. Personally I would steer clear of ‘who am I?’. It is a legitimate inquiry but too confusing for most.. What ‘who’ points too is this knot of suffering: the one that gets and doesn’t want- that wants and doesn’t get. If this knot is looked at directly it will vanish in your gaze (it is insubstantial) and in the moment of it vanishing you will be left looking at ‘you’.

    What I am suggesting is actually even simpler: to look directly at this presence that you are- and which you are intimately familiar with. There is nothing spiritual about any of this. It is a psychological movement of attention that is eminently practical. It gives you nothing- no bliss, rapture or oceanic consciousness- it simply and infallibly eradicates the context of fear which spoils the life.

    If I was to look back on my life I would say that I was always doing self enquiry- every last stinking thing was done in service of knowing what I am. The only difference in moving ones attention to your actual nature (you are ‘here’-are you not?) is that now self enquiry is in a direction that will bear fruit.

    There is only ‘you’-there is nothing but you to be found anywhere-no higher self or lower self. All roads lead to this place- where each one has to walk alone. My suggestion is for just a moment to put aside all your previous understandings (you can have them all back :) ) and just stop for one second and ‘taste’ this reality that you are- this simple ever present ‘here-ness’ that you are.

    In reality whether you do this or not is beside the point-you remain unharmed and unhelped by anything that occurs.. but oh the sweetness of actually ‘knowing’ this..

    I tell you from my heart it is not hard. If you try you will succeed.

    Be well.

  • All you spiritualists, postmodernists, & linguistic/determinists may consider taking note.

    Sam Carana posted these alarming numbers on Sunday April, 26.

    Arctic methane has spiked to a daily peak of 2845.

    For scientific quantifiers; 2845. ppb equals 2.845 ppm

    Multiply 2.845ppm by 100, & we are in the fatal throes of runaway abrupt Arctic methane release.

    CO2e becomes … 1136.20 – THE METHANE MONSTER.

    Kevin Moore made such a claim within the last 2 days, & these numbers substaniate his claim

    Can any rational observer plead that it will be lower in May/June?


  • I’m trying to visualize the process and results of massive methane release. Will it result in explosions or degrade into CO2? Will it result in a massive and immediate die-off, or will it just amp up the ‘death by a thousand cuts’ situation that we are already currently enduring?

    Can anyone explain the Process And Timeline of how a massive methane release will present, and the step by step results thereof?

  • In the meantime there seems to be little awareness of the need to leave the rest of the hydrocarbons that are in still in the ground, in the ground. And there seems to be even less willingness to do so. At what point will the majority of the earth’s consumers be willing to COMPLETELY give up our carbon-based lifestyle? I don’t see it happening but then I have become a tad cynical.

  • Alton,

    Scientists and “Pipe Dreams”

    Here is a story about a pipe nightmare (FERC Plan To Limit Overpopulation?).

  • Gerald Spezio Says:
    April 27th, 2015 at 7:20 am

    All you spiritualists, postmodernists, & linguistic/determinists may consider taking note.

    Sam Carana posted these alarming numbers on Sunday April, 26.

    Arctic methane has spiked to a daily peak of 2845.

    For scientific quantifiers; 2845. ppb equals 2.845 ppm
    We are still alive, so that must be ppb (b billion) eh?

    ppm is not ppb … right?

  • Wren Says:
    April 27th, 2015 at 7:28 am

    I’m trying to visualize the process and results of massive methane release. Will it result in explosions or degrade into CO2? Will it result in a massive and immediate die-off, or will it just amp up the ‘death by a thousand cuts’ situation that we are already currently enduring?

    Can anyone explain the Process And Timeline of how a massive methane release will present, and the step by step results thereof?
    For starters, I think that Gerald Spezio meant ppb-parts per billion, rather than ppm-parts per million.

  • When I posted above, I inadvertently deleted three sentences as I edited.

    Adding 284 ppm to 404 = 684 CO2e w/o other gases

    Multiplying 284 X 200 = 972. CO2e w/o other gases

    Adding other greenhouse gases = 1136 CO2e

    The numbers do not lie or distort.

    We are doomed.

  • Wren,

    Like so many things the answer is “it depends”. Abrupt in jaded western society or geologic terms? Possible effects will be anoxia of surrounding waters, rapid regional and global warming (already happening), increased atmospheric burden of methane due to decline of OH radicals, abrupt weather pattern change (already happening), abrupt loss of marine productivity (already happening), loss of Arctic ice into the winter months. The loss of winter Arctic ice will happen within a few years of loss of summer ice. This is due to the warmer, denser layer below will mix with the cooler, fresher layer above as it warms.

  • kevin: there’s an interesting chart at Desdemona Despair today you might be interested in.

    How to misinterpret climate change research – Research into the cooling impact of aerosols sends climate contrarians into a tailspin

    [the y-axis, radiative forcing, is in Watts/m^2, so i don’t know how that translates to CO2e]

    The crux of the article is that this scientist’s paper on aerosol effects on warming was immediately misinterpreted by climate “skeptics” to show that the 2 degrees C of global warming won’t be “as bad” as once thought. Try explaining that to plants, animals and sea-life that can’t adapt fast enough NOW. Here’s a quote from the article:

    The misinterpretation of Stevens’ paper began with Nic Lewis, an independent climate scientist. In a blog post for Climate Audit, a prominent climate skeptic blog, he used Stevens’ study to suggest that as CO2 levels double in the atmosphere, global temperatures would rise by only 1.2 to 1.8 degrees Celsius. The measure is called “climate sensitivity.” [He clearly doesn’t see that where we are now at < 1 C is a problem.]

    That's less than the assumed 2 C threshold for catastrophic climatic change in parts of the world. It's also lower than an IPCC estimate that a doubling of CO2 will raise global temperatures by 1.5 to 4.5 C.

  • @Diarmuid – After some consideration I have decided to give a brief response to your suggestions. I hesitated to do so because I am aware that several posters consider all talk of spiritual or transcendent matters to be worse than useless; more that it is a significant cause of our problems. And I agree that a huge amount of religious or spiritual material is bogus and deluding. As to the rest, which I have spent many years sorting through for things of real value, their role in helping us solve our pressing problems is very minimal. This is very unfortunate, but the record of all stripes of spiritual endeavor is frankly an abject failure in leading us to a better life. The present world situation should make that clear.

    Your own approach Diarmuid is reminiscent of Krishnamurti who spent his life teaching while denying being a teacher and asserting that no teaching was of any value. His method of no method was of course actually a method. He entranced many including wealthy benefactors who dreamed of somehow grasping his elusive truth of no truth.

    My own experiences on the seeker’s path have taught me that there is no one simple method, no special teacher, no all encompassing truth that can free us from the long and difficult work of achieving a better person and a better world. All pretensions to the contrary are glamorous romantic delusions. The Real Way is unclear, dangerous, difficult, and lengthy – with no end in sight. We are much earlier in our challenge to become the possible humans than we like to think; but the realities gained from patient work are much more solid than the fantasies of the ego.

    If you have found something that satisfies you – good. Go your way in peace. I shared in the interest of being open and honest, without any intention to correct you or your ideas. I am not a teacher either – only an ordinary seeker of truth. Thanks for taking time to share your ideas.

  • The situation in the Arctic is so complicated no one knows how it will pan out.

    Let’s look at the methane first: we can round off the latest methane ‘spike’ concentration to 3000ppm or 3ppb.

    Taking the ultra-conservative figure of 86 [over 20 years] as the multiplier we get 258 CO2e; taking Guy’s play-it-safe figure of more than 100 we get 300+ CO2e; taking Paul Beckwith’s 250 we get 750 CO2e; taking the ‘Kevin Moore’ multiplier of 300 we get 900 CO2e; and taking the unverified very short term figure of 1000 suggested in one obscure article which may have been Malcolm Light (but I would not like to be quoted on that because it is dependent on my not-always-perfect memory) we get CO2e of 3000.

    The point about any of these numbers is that they apply only to the atmosphere in the vicinity where large amounts of methane are being released. Across most of the globe methane concentrations are in the range 1.5ppm to 2ppm, so globally the methane contribution to total CO2e would be half to two-thirds of the numbers I have outlined above.

    Water has many unusual properties (compared to hydrides of chemically related elements and other substances) one of which is that the solid form is less dense than the liquid form and another is that the maximum density is not at the transition temperature but is at 4oC.

    When large amounts of non-saline water runs into the Arctic Sea it tend to sit on top of the saline Arctic Sea water.

    Now another complicating factor is the fact that presence of salt depresses the freezing point of water.

    The effect of all this is that we can witness counter-intuitive events; ice cover can increase in the short term because of the presence of a freshwater layer at the surface.

    As has been noted on many previous occasions, during the meltdown phase, much of the heat energy arriving in the Arctic region on a daily basis is ‘consumed’ in the breaking of bonds that hold water molecules together in ice: the temperature of the local region does not rise significantly if there is appreciable still ice present. Once all the ice has melted in any particular location the energy arriving at that location raises the temperature. And since sea water is rather mobile, that warm water tends to deliver heat energy to places that may still have ice. Once all the sea ice has gone all the heat energy will cause warming.

    ‘Acting against’ all of the above is the radiation of heat into space. In regions away from the poles this occurs continuously but is most apparent at night. Near the North Pole there is no night. And then there is no day.

    Other factors that make it impossible to predict just how quickly ice cover will disappear include the presence or absence of clouds and storms, i.e. the weather.

    We do know for certain that most of the current ice cover in the Arctic Sea is ‘new’ ice (less than 4 years old) and is weak and ‘spongey’ compared to old ice and likely to melt ‘faster that expected’ -to use the term the mob over at orthodoxy tend to use when their inaccurate or defunct models give the wrong predictions.

    The aspect of ruination of the thermal gradient that drives much of the wind system has been discussed at length by Jennifer Francis and others. The warmer the Arctic region becomes, the lower the equatorial-polar thermal gradient the more likely wild swings in temperature of northern land masses.

    The situation in the Southern Hemisphere is very different, due to the presence of Antarctica. That said, a few weeks ago NZ was subjected to a blast of freezing air that originated in Antarctica, causing winter-like conditions across much of the country.

    All we know for certain is that human activity is ruining everything that matters. That aspect is the focus of my current ‘attack’ on NPDC. The local council (in conjunction with central government) is the prime agent for ruination of he district and the ruination of the global systems that make life-as-we-know-it possible.

  • Dredd & Wren, It is a rudimentary point, but critical.

    Parts per billion (ppb)is the standard for atmospheric methane.

    Parts per million (ppm) is the standard for CO2.

    Translating ppb into ppm is necessary to quantify CO2e (equivalent).

    So, 2845 ppb (billion 10^9) methane becomes 2.845 parts per million CO2e (equivalent) – by dividing by 10^3.

    Some scientific observers put the cliff edge at 2 ppm CO2e methane for cascading/runaway methane release.

  • Giant Waves Quickly Destroy Arctic Ocean Ice and Ecosystems
    The biggest waves seen in northern sea ice show how this vital cover can be crushed much faster than expected

  • Damn. That ain’t right. Just got up and must be half asleep.

    3000ppb = 3ppm

  • Kevin, you are always wide awake, but maybe, as is happening to me, you are just plain disgusted & losing enthusiasm.

    As Kiwi Kevin advises, until the Arctic sea ice is completely gone, we will not see a spike in the radiant heating of the Arctic sea water.

    If the Arctic sea ice is completely gone by the end of this summer or next, we will then observe a dramatic spike in the temperature of the exposed dark sea water.

    Abrupt melting of the methane clathrates in the shallow sea bed(s), especially in the Laptev Sea, must necessarily follow – as the night the day.

    Just as Semiletov & Shakhova have predicted with increasing urgency in for the last several years.

    The confirming data comes in daily now, as we plainly see with the 2845 ppb or 2.845 ppm methane spike.

    I repeat;

    “It is not the absolute status of an hypothesis embedded in the universe of all conceivable theories (it was here that Karl Popper committed his fatal error), but the plausibility of an hypothesis relative to a definite set of specified alternatives, that Bayesian inference determines.”

    “The functional use of induction in science is not to tell us what predictions must be true, but rather what predictions are most strongly indicated by our present hypotheses & OUR PRESENT INFORMATION.”

    The horror may very well be on us much sooner than later.

  • mike k- +1!

    Kevin – thanks for all that you do, both here and locally.

    Gerald –
    “So, 2845 ppb (billion 10^9) methane becomes 2.845 parts per million CO2e (equivalent) – by dividing by 10^3.”
    I understand the ppm to ppb conversion of course, but are you implying that the factor for converting methane to CO2 equivalent is 1:1 ?? I know the figure has been mentioned here more than once, my apologies for playing catchup at this point.
    Btw, nice writing style you have. :)

  • A reply to Dahr Jamail’s latest.

    Because of the fact we are adding 1 million people ever 4½ days, we will have to grow more food over the next 50 years than we did in the last 500 years, while in ten years 4 billion people will periodically be without water. To grow this much food, we need 6 million hectares of new farmland each and every year while, in reality, we lose 12 million hectares of farmland every single year due to soil degradation and loss. Mechanized monocultures are extremely soil degrading. We only have 60 years of human agriculture on earth, at current soil degradation rates, which doesn’t account for new water shortages. Our crop and pastures have caused 80% of land vertebrate species extinctions. Our livestock and us consume over 40% of earth’s annual land chlorophyll production. Our livestock and us occupy 97% of the weight of all land vertebrate species on earth. All IPCC carbon mitigation, sequestration and adaptation strategies assume we will have m-o-r-e farmland available to help us avoid runaway heating and mass extinction. We are losing ocean plankton at 1% per year, which means 50% gone in 70 years, but, only if the rate does not increase dramatically. We could carbon char soil to enhance it and reduce atmospheric carbon, but we’re collectively like deer standing in the headlights. We are a madding mob watching crisis pile upon crisis knowing it’s not going to go well.

  • @Gerald et al,

    Don’t forget to multiply the atmospheric concentration of methane by its Global Warming Potential to get the CO2e. 2000 ppb = 2.0 ppm CH4. 2.0*86 (the 20 year GWP of methane) = 192 ppm CO2e of CH4. Add that to 400 ppm CO2 and you get a total CO2e value of 592 ppm.

    That’s why the debate over the instantaneous GWP of CH4 is so utterly crucial.

  • Paul, thanks. 86 was the number I was looking for.

    Also, how does the global warming potential of methane degraded over time (your 20 year x86 CO2e factor) into the atmosphere compare with that of methane that is combusted as or before it enters the atmosphere?

  • If methane is burned as or before it enters the atmosphere, all the methane disappears, and is replaced by carbon dioxide and water. One methane molecule combines with 2 oxygen molecules (O₂) to give one molecule of CO₂ and one molecule of water.

    CH₄ + 2O₂ -> CO₂ + 2H₂0

    So you end up with carbon dioxide which has a GWP of 1 instead of the 86 (or whatever) of methane but a much (much, much…) longer atmospheric dwell time.

  • Wren, since we are counting the total number of molecules of CH4 & CO2 to arrive at the total parts per MILLION of both, or the CO2e.

    Our present number of methane molecules in the recent daily April spike is 2845 pp billion or a tiny 2.845 pp million.

    Yes, that ratio of molecules is one to one – hence the number 2.845 molecules of methane compared to 403.85 molecules of CO2.

    But, we need to multiply the small number of methane molecules, only 2.845, by a minimum of 86 to account for methane’s potency to cause/increase/accelerate greenhouse heating.

    So, 2.845 x 86 = 244.67

    Adding 244. to 403. = 647 CO2e & rapidly RISING.

    … 647 CO2e is far greater (167 ppm greater) than the 480 ppm CO2e number routinely spouted by abrupt methane release deniers.

    The difference between 480 ppm & 647 ppm for heating the Arctic & almost certain subsequent methane release are … fatal.

    Never mind the crazies, who still spout

    Robert Scribbler take note.

  • Thanks Paul….
    So it sounds like we should all be lighting our farts!
    And perhaps the farts of others, and most importantly, cows too!

  • Ram Dass Fierce Grace 2001
    93:48 h/t Carolyn Baker’s Lifeboat Hour

  • Dredd, sir. This item may be of interest, though sea based and not land based: Mark Lynas Book 6 degrees, Chapter 6 Degrees, “The end-Permian wipeout”:

    “With warm water rapidly reaching the ocean depths, a now-familiar monster was stirring on the continental shelves-methane hydrates. Runaway global warming had begun.

    “Much of the initial methane release would have dissolved in the water column, accumulating gradually over time. As the stream of bubbles kept rising, however, each successive layer of water would have gradually reached saturation point. Once this explosive was primed, all that would be needed was a detonator.

    “This is how events unfold: First, a small disturbance on the sea floor drives the methane-gas-saturated parcel of water upwards. As it rises, bubbles begin to appear, as dissolved gas fizzes out with the reducing hydrostatic pressure-just as a bottle of fizzy lemonade overflows if the top is taken off too quickly. These bubbles make the parcel of water still more buoyant, accelerating its rise through the water column. As the water surges upwards, reaching explosive force, it drags surrounding water up with it, spreading the process. At the sea surface, water is shot hundreds of metres into the air as the released gas blasts into the atmosphere. Shockwaves propagate in all directions, triggering follow-up eruptions nearby.

    “None of this is theoretical conjecture-a similar process in miniature took place as recently as 1986 in Cameroon’s Lake Nyos, where volcanic outgassing under the lake bed is continually releasing carbon dioxide. On the late evening of 12 August 1986, this gas erupted, creating a gas-water fountain up to 120 metres in height and releasing a lethal carbon dioxide cloud which asphyxiated 1,700 people in the surrounding area. Being heavier than air, the CO2 cloud hugged the ground, suffocating many of the victims in their beds.

    “A methane cloud might behave in very much the same way. Loaded with water droplets, it spreads out over the land surface like a toxic blanket. Moreover, unlike CO2, methane is flammable. Even in air-methane concentrations as low as 5 per cent, the mixture could ignite from lightning or some other source of sparks, sending fearsome fireballs tearing across the sky. A modern comparison might be the fuel-air explosives used by the US and Russian armies, whose destructive power is comparable with tactical nuclear weapons. These so-called ‘vacuum bombs’ spray a cloud of fuel droplets above a target (ideally an enclosed space like a cave) and then ignite it, sucking out the air and sending a blast wave strong enough to kill and injure over large areas.

    “The methane-air clouds produced by oceanic eruptions would dwarf even the most severe modern battlefield weapons, however, and explosions in the largest clouds could generate explosive blast waves able to travel faster than the speed of sound. With a supersonic blast, it is the pressure from the shockwave itself which ignites the mixture, pushing out an explosive front at speeds of 2 kilometres per second and vaporising everything in its path.

    “The likely effects on the animals and plants that inhabited the Permian world are scarcely imaginable. A comparatively small eruption of oceanic methane could therefore quickly become a very effective agent of mass extinction. As the chemical engineer Gregory Ryskin writes, in a paper specifically addressing ‘kill mechanisms’ at the end-Permian, this methane ‘could destroy terrestrial life almost entirely’. A major oceanic methane eruption, he estimates, ‘would liberate energy equivalent to 108 megatonnes of TNT, around 10,000 times greater than the world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons’. This global conflagration might even cause short-term cooling akin to a nuclear winter, before boosting global warming further with the CO2 produced by the combusted methane. (And any uncombusted methane would have an even more serious warming effect.)

    “Just as importantly, the sulphurous brew in the oceans would also have been a very effective agent of extinction in the marine realm, killing all oxygen-breathing life forms. As if this somehow weren’t enough, the hydrogen sulphide cloud would also have attacked and destroyed the ozone layer, letting in dangerous ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. Disfigured spores have recently been discovered in the same Permian rocks of eastern Greenland, indicating that surviving land plants may indeed have been suffering from DNA mutations caused by prolonged UV exposure.”

  • Anyone else find this suicide fishy? I think someone wanted him to shut up.

  • I’ve posted a new episode of Edge of Extinction. Catch it here.

  • Methane is also coming from millions of plumbing vents. Every building with a modern sewage system has pipes that vent air into the system to help sinks and tubs drain faster. You can see them on every roof and they are all venting methane into the atmosphere continuously.

    I’m afraid that simply lighting the occasional fart isn’t going to help us much. Anyway, the energy wasted transporting people with serious injuries resulting from tiny explosions in close proximity to delicate areas will more than off set any advantage gained.

  • Too bad fart lighting is so dangerous. We could all be fitted with tiny electronic pilot lights to make sure that, no fart is left behind!