Mass Extinction: Let’s Not

January 9, 2014

Thom Hartmann has produced a pretty scary, but rather accurate, piece here.

I’ve been thinking about the fine line between creating a sense of urgency vs a sense of hopelessness. There a natural urge among some folks to cut right to the “hopeless” phase, without actually wanting to do something about the problem.

There’s a lot of internet chatter about imminent doom for human civilization.  And yes, I’m talking about you, Guy MacPherson.
This is, first of all, incorrect. Secondly, not helpful.
Even the worst case scenarios in the fossil record played out over millennia, and  the experts I’ve talked to are pretty clear that no one, or at least very few, are expecting any kind of catastrophic single event in the coming few decades.
Important to remember that projected climate change impacts are a bell curve, as Stephen Schneider used to say, with “good for you” at one end, and “end of the world” on the other.  Both those extremes are the most unlikely scenarios – but there’s a whole lot of that curve on this side of “end of the world” that we would still very much not like to see happen.

Planet Earth is going to take a hit in the coming century. It falls mainly to the generation of human beings currently alive to decide if that’s going to be a 5 percent hit, a 50 percent hit, or a 90 percent hit.


219 Responses to “Mass Extinction: Let’s Not”

  1. Edward Kerr Says:

    @ Pauline Schneider,

    {On a personal note I think that we might have met at Four Quarter recently.} Like you I feel a bit helpless to do anything other than discuss the issue with anyone that will even humor me.

    On Hansen and nuclear energy: If you’re talking about high pressure Uranium reactors I agree. However, recently, I have been looking at a different type of reactor. It’s a molten salt low pressure Thorium reactor. A horse of a different color. It does use Uranium or Plutonium but completely (of nearly completely) burns those fissile materials. The reactors are “walk away safe” and could give us a chance to rid ourselves of the high grade nuclear waste that has been piling up for decades and has been a “storage” nightmare for as long.

    I’m about 97% convinced that we’re already cooked but as Guy says resistance is fertile. If we attempt nothing the worst case scenario will become a self fulfilling prophecy.

    Of course, there are a plethora of disasters waiting in the wings but I would rather go down fighting a good fight, while being true to the hospice concept toward my fellow man, than to do nothing. If the window of salvation is open even the slightest here are my recommendations.

    1/ Degrade the atmospheric Methane with radio waves. This might buy some time.
    2/ Pull as much CO2 out of the atmosphere as possible.
    3/ End fossil fuel use ASAP.
    4/ Move food production away from large energy intensive industrial agriculture toward green house (Hydroponic-Aquaponic) production. Eat less meat (I know..that sucks for most people)
    Obviously, it would take a miracle for that to happen in today’s political/economic climate but it is still a plan that MIGHT work. Who cares about the expense (resources used) if we all die. If we manage to avoid NTE then it would be money well spent. They could probably find enough cash in the “defense” budget and defending against the “E” word would have me at the recruiters office tomorrow morning.

    Best regards,

  2. […] think that the major driver (of the mass extinction) is not the humans,” Willerslev said, although he did not rule out that human hunters may […]

  3. […] posted before that I believe the cottage industry that has developed around catastrophic scenarios of methane […]

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