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. stephengn1 Says:

    Are you a double idiot or a triple idiot? I’ve lost count.

  2. (second attempt at posting w/ edits, links removed)

    A paper published not too long ago about the PETM and referenced in Think Progress concluded that following a doubling of atmospheric C02, global temperature rose 9degrees F over the course of 13 years.

    As far as Guy McPherson not being helpful, I don’t think this could be further from the truth. Firstly, if we realize the full implications of not simply environmental destabilization, but economic, social, genetic, legal, and national destabilization all taking place at the same time, I think it would be quite easy to conclude collapse is baked in.

    People get turned off by “doomers,” but in the last few years the US has, either through direct or proxy involvement, already exported post apocalyptic living conditions to Iraq, Syria, and Libya. A large cross section of the world is currently living in an end of the world state, fueled in part by a legacy of western imperialism and neoliberalism. It’s not an abstraction for babies born w/ birth defects in Iraq or Vietnam or farmers committing suicide in India.

    Not contemplating imminent doom from behind curtains of deniable covert operations and walls of sweatshop produced conveniences is a luxury for Westerners who still haven’t internalized what their culture is actually about. Climate change is another symptom of a patholgical root. Countless indigenous societies already experienced their doom thanks to this culture.

    Recognizing the doom that ALREADY has existed, CURRENTLY exists, and is spreading, and finding a way to act in unflinching accordance with your own principles or a sense of connection to a higher law, regardless of outcome, is the option you have not considered. Indeed this may be exactly what is needed right now.

    By truly accepting our own mortality and the mortality of everyone we love, there is also the potential to free up energies to unremittingly push back against individuals and systems that are bringing unimaginable and unnecessary suffering to this world for the brief time we have.

    Understanding collective doom fuels compassion and gives us the tools we need to overcome the often irrational compromises we make in the name of maintaining our socially constructed behavioral prison. It allows us to reach out in ways we have not done so in the past. Salvation may not look like the healthy planet that we wish for, but rather being able to look eachother in the eye knowing that in a manner of our own choosing we unflinchingly confronted this monstrosity. It deepens our heart.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Good thoughts, Luke. I took a small shot at Guy because he was laying “bullshit” accusations on Peter, but I have been watching this exchange of comments (many inane) for a while, and just want to say that I’m mostly a doomer too. Luke has made a moving and even spiritual set of comments here, but I have been studying man’s disastrous footprint on the Biosphere ever since I read Silent Spring and Sand County Almanac, and I see little hope. We ARE doomed by our own stupidity, it’s just a matter of time. And all the talk from uncounted numbers going in innumerable directions with “solutions” and “hope” is not going to help unless we have massive mobilization soon instead of talk. As I have said, we must hope that we have not exceeded tipping points and somehow deal with the fossil fuel problem soon. Bad things are going exponential, good things are not.

  3. fortranprog Says:

    Interesting recent article – methane not as bad as first thought

    I have seen quite a few methane doomer sites, but we should work progressively on clean energy and transport, and cutting down on coal and oil, instead of panicking about this shorter lived gas. A lot of work to do on aeroplane transportation in the future…

    here is an interesting encouraging video regarding China and a U.S joint effort to cleaning up the act there……..

  4. DGR Sonoran Says:

    But what if Guy is right? Shouldn’t we be preparing for the worst case? That doesn’t mean hopelessness, it means accepting the truth and then figuring out a plan. I’ve been to one of Guy’s talks and he doesn’t talk about giving up, he talks about resistance and says “Resistance is fertile”. If we love life and love our world, this means it is time to fight, to fight like a mother bear protecting her children. Maybe we should be talking now about the many different ways we can be resisting. Here is one suggestion from the Deep Green Resistance website:

    • stephengn1 Says:

      Some of his lectures are on YouTube. I have not heard Dr Mac Pherson call for action in them. The action he would call for – the immediate, complete dismantling of all human industry – is, at the very least, extremely unrealistic.

      • rpauli Says:

        Come on, there are PLENTY of things to do right now:

        Tax carbon, and tax it more. Hansen plan looks perfect.

        Separate all carbon from generating electricity. Set policy.

        True cost accounting for carbon energy – easy, do it now.

        Tax products according to carbon usage… fairly easy.

        Corporate Charter reform so that corporations must face the issue

        Allow carbon energy only for mfg and deploying clean energy.

        there are thousands of other policy changes to make.

        We first have to decide to move past our current situation.

        • omnologos Says:

          If the theater is burning there’s no point in ordering flame resistant seats.

        • stephengn1 Says:

          Those are things we might do if they would ensure our survival. Dr Mac Pherson has said that he thinks it’s too late for any of those actions. He believes instead, that we should live our lives as if we are in a hospice, caring for each other as we await the end.

          • omnologos Says:

            in other words, go travel instead of planting trees, forget about cleaning the rivers, spend your money away. Still unclear why not humanely kill the pandas now.

            I am also not sure if such a wholesale death wish is what environmentalism was meant to be about.

          • Dr. McPherson’s assessment of what other scientists say, who concur that we have most likely reached game over, leads him to embrace and encourage hospice,
            being here now,
            living lives of excellence and compassion,
            getting off the hamster wheel and avoiding unnecessary struggle like encouraging our kids to add a mortgage through a Master’s degree, or working for that promotion or raise (which one is highly unlikely to get anyway in this economy) or getting ahead in one’s career. McPherson says, “Do what you love.”

            If it makes us feel good to continue recycling and turning off the lights, driving our Priusi, building community, growing gardens, blah blah blah, do it.
            I do it, or I would go mad.
            But without a Manhattan Project type of effort being made by our schmucks in power, it is highly unlikely that anything we mere mortals do will stop the damage that the fossil fuel industry and military industrial complex are doing.
            The idea of a tax on energy use is actually comical. Don’t forget the golden rule: that the ones with the gold make rules.

            The theater is on fire, the Titanic is sinking. Pick a metaphor. You can grab a chair and watch the musicians play their last tune, oh so beautifully, and kiss your lover sweetly while listening,
            you can fight and scrabble in the belly of the ship screaming for someone to open the doors to let you drown outside rather than inside….
            you can pretend none of this is happening….Ships PROBABLY going to be fine, going to take a nap now…

            How one exits this comedy of errors is entirely up to that person. But Dr McPherson has made some excellent recommendations that actually work for any situation, extinction or no extinction.

            Live now, do what you love, love each other.
            How can anyone in their right mind argue with that?

          • stephengn1 Says:

            It’s simple: the Manhatten Project effort you talk about is a worthy goal that requires political action. The more momentum political movements have, the more likely they are to succeed. Such momentum requires motivation. People are simply not motivated to make or support Herculean efforts if they believe such efforts are futile.

            Dr McPherson’s philosophy makes it easy for people to give up

          • witsendnj Says:

            Actually, that is not what I have observed at all and I am one of the few who do accept (somewhat) NTHE. Certainly for myself and the others I know of, it is NEVER easy to come to the conclusion that it’s too late to avert complete collapse. It takes a very long time of reading the science, weighing conflicting opinions, and facing terrifying and soul-crushing emotions. Furthermore, I see very little evidence that having done so, only the tiniest minority choose to “do nothing” and in fact in most cases, the people who accept NTHE from climate change are generally doing FAR more – in terms of reducing their personal carbon footprint and being active agents for change – than most people whether they are deniers of AGW or not. Certainly, in his writings and presentations, Guy himself has never advocated inaction or acquiesence.

            If you have some evidence for your assertion I would like to see it. Otherwise, it’s like accusing a doctor who have given a patient a diagnosis of terminal cancer of having also advised their patient to smoke cigarettes.

          • stephengn1 Says:

            First you do not KNOW the future. No one can. It can not be known in terms that approach the absolute. The best you can do is make an argument that your scenario is the way the future will unfold.

            Two scenarios:

            1. A deeply addicted patient is given the diagnosis that his smoking has led to a terminal cancer now growing inside of him. Given this diagnosis, is the patient more or less likely than scenario #2 to try to give up his habit at this moment?

            2. A deeply addicted patient is told that his smoking habit WILL LEAD to a terminal cancer. Given this information, is the patient more or less likely than scenario #1 to try to give up his habit at this moment?

          • omnologos Says:

            We know the answer, stephengn1 – as told by the great Art Buchwald:


            I chose to spend my final days in a hospice because it sounded like the most painless way to go, and you don’t have to take a lot of stuff with you.

            For some reason my mind keeps turning to food. I know I have not eaten all the eclairs I always wanted. In recent months, I have found it hard to go past the Cheesecake Factory without at least having one profiterole and a banana split.

            I know it’s a rather silly thing at this stage of the game to spend so much time on food. But then again, as life went on and there were fewer and fewer things I could eat, I am now punishing myself for having passed up so many good things earlier in the trip.

            If the world is doomed, some will eat banana splits. Others will burn the sequoias.

          • stephengn1 Says:

            Your ego is so much bigger than your mind.

  5. rpauli Says:

    This isn’t about climate science. This is about communication styles.

    Yes Guy is doomeristic… it’s a style. And Peter, you do great information work in de-crocking. But I might find fault in how you promote hope. Hope is a kind of irrational emotion. When most people read it is “highly likely” that sea level rise will be over 6 feet in the lifetime of our children – well people just rely on “hope” to fuel inaction. “Gosh, I hope that doesn’t happen” We are deluded into thinking our hope will somehow deliver and effortless outcome.

    I HOPE the government saves our sorry asses, I HOPE that polar ice won’t melt, I hope that the heat doesn’t overwhelm. But the emotion of hope gets in the way of ruthless problem solving. Hopium is the habit-forming narcotic that feeds our denial.

    Firefighters won’t go into a burning building without knowing what’s burning. They go in with a plan to fight the fire. We don’t get into a car and hope there will be no traffic accident – we have airbags and we use a seatbelt. It lowers the risk. We need more discussion of how to reduce risk. Specific actions.

    • omnologos Says:

      What did they do when they realized the Titanic was doomed and there weren’t enough lifeboats? How many hearts were deepened? How much reaching out was achieved?

      Gullshit indeed (it happened at sea).

      Doom is a feeling that gets the worst out of the doomster. McPh’s words and attitude in this blog couldn’t be a clearer example.

      • rpauli Says:

        Perhaps it was just like the movie– Lots goes on when people know that death is nearer. – authentic high drama, and important words exchanged. It used to be that when a cancer patient got terminal cancer, doctors would just send them home without telling them the prognosis. As if it was a secret. Slowly by the 1960’s that attitude changed – a medical policy.

        I hope you are not saying that we withhold bad news from someone? Are you? Or if there is a real possibility that the patient might not survive – shouldn’t we be telling the world of the risks?

        Just to keep the metaphor afloat — the under-prepared Titanic deployed lifeboats that were half filled. So although 1175 people could have survived – only 705 survived. For some reason, early in the trip, the captain canceled the lifeboat drill. And nobody could quite get the boats filled.

        What should we be doing right now to train people to enter into lifeboats?

        The most certain thing we know about global warming is the predicted sea level rise — 6 feet in a hundred years,,,and it will continue rising. No matter what we do.

        I would think there could be a dozen ways to start preparing for that inevitability.

        What is it that you are hoping for?

        • omnologos Says:

          rpauli – apologies for not replying earlier. Your comment doesn’t fall in the “unwanted irony” category so I had to wait until there was enough time to allocate.

          I hope you are not saying that we withhold bad news from someone?

          Not at all. I am saying that we shouldn’t tell the person the worst possible news that in truth are just a remote possibility based on the work of a group of people who think we’re all doomed.

          This is because (a) it’s borderline criminal to tell people they are doomed when they aren’t – see “Harold Camping” and (b) people convinced that they are doomed en-masse are unlikely to contribute anything positive.

          If the world ended tomorrow, I doubt there’d be much police in the street. And nobody would care about polar bears.

          As for telling the risks, it is important to understand the additional risks caused by that action. You first need to educate the audience on the meaning of those risk figures you are going to provide, perhaps helping also by adding comparative percentages for other things in life. At the end of the day though, risk isn’t everything in life, otherwise everybody would travel by plane and few would venture into bathrooms. So “telling the risks” isn’t neither the start nor the end of any proactivity.

          What should we be doing right now to train people to enter into lifeboats?

          It’s difficult to answer positively, but it’s easy to answer negatively: it would have served no purpose to go around the pre-iceberg Titanic yelling “2 out of 3 will die”. Most likely, it would have increased the number of dead as the passengers would have rioted and the crew would have been very busy checking the crowds, and very depressed themselves.

          Likewise, to yell to everybody in reach that humanity risks living on a Venus twin in a few decades, can only make the situation worse, whatever that situation will be.

          ps since you ask, I would follow the example of Kotaku Wamura, who adapted the Japanese town he was Mayor of to cope with an event of a magnitude slightly worse than already experienced. There is little point in asking to protect the future when the present isn’t protected either.

          • “To yell to everybody in reach that humanity risks living on a Venus twin in a few decades, can only make the situation worse”

            How is that? Please explain how you come to this conclusion.

            I found that on the other end of the spectrum, Greenwashing and hopium have in practice, actually had little to no effect in motivating people to improve the situation.

            What alternatives do you recommend?
            I remind you that we are in a theater that is actually on fire….

          • omnologos Says:

            There is no future, there is only the present

            One wonders why you take the trouble of commenting here at all.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        rpauli makes some of the best comments on this thread and the village idiot appears to distract us from what rpauli says—go away O-Log!

      • omnologos-

        The difference here is that the destruction that is coming is not as immediate as a sinking ship. Even so, if the people on board had spent less time in their elitist fantasy realm and more contemplating the human condition (and then reaching out their hand), perhaps those last hours might have looked a little different (if they’d even been on that ship).

        We on the other hand have time to process what is going on if we let it in. And there are ways to recognize a terminal condition and not be thrown into despair. Calling that gullshit is little more than an attack on an experience I am having and am trying to share with others. In my acceptance of a great coming death, however, I am gaining strength, and am increasingly unaffected by the kind of nastiness you are employing.

        Your brand of smug and/ or obscure responses to myself and others is a wall that won’t help you or anyone. Self satisfied cleverness is what the Titanic emerged from.

        • omnologos Says:

          why would anybody need my help? McPh says we’re dead. You too.

        • I couldn’t have said it better Luke, the snug and “brush off” replies of olog is really just another scene playing out on the Titanic, only in this case its really about the future of all humanity and life on this planet. One cannot brush off something as significant as that. In the face of the serious consequences on not acting on CO2 emissions we really cant continue nilly-willying about with rhetoric like olog is constantly bringing to the table. Its really about risk-management and in a longer perspective than our noses. Like so many have said (with link to the climate science consensus), would you step on an airplane that had a 97% chance to crash?

          So its important to ignore people like olog and bring the discussion further on how to solve the problem, something I see Peter does as well as showing the clear signs that the climate scientists are right. We still dont have a real solution to this problem so its about time we all agreed that there is a problem so we can start working on the solutions.

  6. witsendnj Says:

    For anyone who suspects Thom Hartmann and Guy McPherson are on the right track, there is a group of people on facebook who discuss the topic of near(ish) human extinction due mainly to climate change as well as other ecological disasters. It’s a closed group but if you are interested you can request to join and will be welcomed by the members.

    • fortranprog Says:

      I checked the FB support group out – looks interesting but far, far too depressing for me, I err toward optimism, when I see the technological and scientific advances being made and when I consider the limited resources of fossil fuels. It will be tight, but I am sure that we can overcome this part of the industrial revolution with science, technology and politics. AGW and climate change apart, we do have other serious events to get through.

      next 50,000 years the interglacial ends, time to adjust to the new ice age

      during the next 100,000 a super-volcano will blow, causing massive destruction and climatic changes

      during the next 500,000 years a large asteroid will strike, causing mayhem and more climatic changes

      if we survive all that the sun will start getting dodgy in a billion years and eventually die in around 6 billion years

      On that cheerful note, if we get through AGW, it will be worth distributing our race as I’m sure similar natural dangers are present on other inhabitable planets. Support the space agencies now folks.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Cheerful note, indeed! And perhaps out of touch with potential realities.

        The present interglacial should be over soon, but it appears that AGW has pushed that event back, if not eliminated it from ever happening again. Depending on how “super” that volcano is, it might have a cooling effect for a while or it could accelerate the last days of life on Earth. Again, depending on how “large”, the asteroid is, it could end most life on Earth within months. And “distributing our race” to the non-existent inhabitable planets is the stuff of movies, not reality.

        The real main purpose of “space agencies” is to perpetuate themselves, keep “space” jobs alive, and preserve the profits of the “space” corporations. We should cut them back by 90% and spend the money instead on supporting the “explore and understand the oceans, atmosphere, and biosphere RIGHT NOW” agencies, as well as on supporting any schemes that will reduce our use of fossil fuels.

        And anyone who thinks that humans will still be around under ANY scenario in a billion years has never taken many biology courses (or has forgotten what they learned). I recommend the Wikipedia “History of The Earth” article for a quick overview—follow the links to subtopics.

        Modern humans appeared about 200,000 years ago, and human civilization is less than 10,000 years old. The Earth is 4,500,000,000 years old. Do the arithmetic—-humans are but an eye blink in time and are the ONLY species that will cause or greatly accelerate its own its own extinction by its stupidity and hubris.

        • fortranprog Says:

          Great reply and statistics, I left school aged 15 years of age to work in the freight business and I am sure I am much dumber than you, and all I remember from biology is tadpoles growing legs and turning into frogs, I’ve learnt a little bit more helping with my son’s revision. However I have always been a fan of Sci-Fi writers (Ray Bradbury, Authur C. Clarke, etc. etc.) and do see that space travel is a way of continuing our otherwise doomed species. Please don’t disillusion me or depress me anymore.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            You may have left school a lot earlier than I did, but you are not “dumb”, as evidenced by the quality of your comments on Crock. You are actually a lot “smarter” than some of the folks I went to school with who could debate the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle for hours but couldn’t find their rear ends with both hands.

            I don’t mean to disillusion or depress you about the possibility of “space travel” being a means to preserve the existence of the human gene pool—-it is NOT impossible. But what depresses and disillusions me is that we 7+ billion humans are traveling on a perfectly good “spaceship” called Earth right now, yet seem hell-bent on making it uninhabitable for future humans (to say nothing of ALL other living things).

      • jimbills Says:

        Truthfully, this sort of response is WHY I have no hope, because you’re on the end of the spectrum that knows there’s a problem, and that something should be done, but you believe it will just be handled by “science, technology and politics”.

        I know there are a lot like you, and that towards the middle of the spectrum the vast majority simply don’t care or are too busy personally to think about it, and towards the end of other side of the spectrum there are those actively denying any problem exists at all.

        Believing that “science, technology and politics” is a recipe for simply sitting back and letting the “experts” handle it. It’s not very different to me from Bjorn Lomborg’s general message that “science, technology and free market economics” will solve it. Actually, it might be worse – because it’s terrifically naive to really think politics solves anything in today’s world except the continued maintenance of already existing power structures.

        What is the root cause of our problems? Really, the root root cause is humans themselves, but after that we face environmental issues BECAUSE of science, technology, politics, and free market economics. Why is more of it going to solve anything?

        I’ll keep harping on this, because I strongly believe it’s true. The only real way you stop or mitigate environmental damage is to ban those practices that harm it. Every major environmental accomplishment has come about from doing just that (whaling, CFCs, chemical dumping, deforestation, and on and on) – not hoping that some future technology will magically and deliciously solve the problem for us.

        I personally think there is a danger from the “golly gee” technology postings on this site and all the other “green” sites, because it encourages a fundamentally bogus premise – that technology will solve it. Because if that’s the case, then screw it. Why worry at all? Easy peasy, no prob. Lomborg was right – we can all get back to hoping we can afford an EV one day.

        Maybe it’s the above plus a little activism for solar panels or something that is being argued for, but this is a lost battle. Not only is Congress and every other governmental structure fundamentally corrupt, but it won’t work, anyway. We’ll still burn all the fossil fuels we can, because to build that green techno utopia we will have to burn them.

        So, why don’t I have hope? Because the concept of banning fossil fuel use is such a minority position that even those really worried about climate change don’t have it on the table.

      • I do believe that looking ahead for future problems to solve is a distraction. The interglacial will end some time (and might even with serious global warming if earth gets some 20000 years drawing that CO2 out) and give us its fair share of challenges. But until then our society today is really not created to get through a +3C warming of the planet during the next 50-100 years.

        No doubt there is a significant rise of methane emissions on the northern hemisphere that if it gets out of control can shove some sticks into anything we as a human race can do to “fix” this. Personally I think our only hope is if we both stop burning fossil fuels (during the next 10 years) and spend all our resources into inventing stuff that can capture CO2 from both the air and the sea (obviously planting lots of trees and perhaps even “fake” coral reefs or seaweed farms – which btw can be used for biofuel).

        Then when we have fixed this, we can start again with space exploration as you are right that some day we have to leave this planet if we want the human experience to continue. But I think we really need to solve a lot of our social issues with the population we have now before we even consider colonizing other planets. Getting rid of capitalism might be a good idea, but what to replace it with I am not so sure about… it could be anything as long as people are “aligned” to what our purpose in life should be (which for the moment is really just about grabbing as much as you can – monkey see, monkey do).

  7. fortranprog Says:

    I have seen a few comments on risk management, and see that the much maligned organisation (if you read J.C’s climate etc.much), the IPCC has published a comprehensive report on Climate Change Risk Management:

    Click to access SREX_Full_Report.pdf

  8. Hi there,
    interesting blog. I feel that the work that Dr McPherson does is as important as that of an oncologist working with terminal patients or patients that MIGHT have a glimmer of hope of surviving if they do the right thing.

    I remind readers here that McPherson’s work is analysis of other scientists’ work over several decades, even from a century ago. As an ecologist and biologist he has a unique perspective that takes habitat into consideration, something climate scientists and meteorologists don’t often do.

    He has been carefully researching and gathering data for nearly a dozen years and trying to inform the public.
    The conclusions he makes are constantly changing based on new data and is growing considerably more dire.

    I was a long time believer that our civilization could not survive Peak Oil, but I had never considered the dire effects of climate change until a climate scientist friend told me at dinner 15 years ago that we were already screwed.
    Still, I held out hope that we could turn this Titanic around.
    I became a McKibben devotee, and marched against the KXL pipeline and donated to the to get the word out about reducing CO2.

    Seeing Dr McPherson’s lecture last May changed all this and saved me countless of hours of worry about what the future would bring. Also learned that McKibben was lying to thousands about being able to reduce CO2 to 350ppm. We are locked in at 400ppm for a thousand years. That alone spells out G-A-M-E O-V-E-R for living creatures on the planet, let alone humans.

    Now I know. There is no future, there is only the present, which includes grieving, anger, playing, sorrow, music, dancing, traveling, more music, celebrating what was and is great about humans, feeling betrayed by the powers that be who knew, and being grateful every day for McPherson’s honesty.
    At last someone is telling the truth, no matter how brutal and painful.
    That’s huge in an empire of lies.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      saying that the earth will be venus this century is not truth.

      • Either do your own analysis or point out the flaws of the research I’ve cited. If you choose the latter route, please contact the researcher directly. I’m the messenger.

        • omnologos Says:

          Peter – you’ve obviously met an end-of-day cult in McPh.

          Please make up your mind: say it so, or join them. Tertium non datur.

          • omnologos Says:


          • MorinMoss Says:

            It should be very clear to anyone who’s been reading this blog for more than a week that Peter does not fall into the EndTimes camp.

            And why does he have to justify his position to you?
            After all, he’s allowed you to post uncensored all this time without justifying it to any of us.

      • witsendnj Says:

        I don’t see Guy saying that (earth will be venue this century) – although it may be! What Guy is saying, if I may give my reading, is that earth will be uninhabitable for humans within this century…and the reason is that temperatures will become intolerable to large mammals, and also to most plants (so there will be nothing to eat). This seems to be based on very sound, accepted science regarding the projected temperature increases.

        • witsendnj Says:

          sorry, autocorrect took venus to be venue!

        • omnologos Says:

          I know this. Basically anybody can concoct any silly scare story, and then add the words “based on sound science”. When the obvious questions are raised, the answer goes from “misinformed” to “ignorant” to “liar” to the inevitable “denier”.

          Never misunderestimate the power of sciency-dressed cultism.

      • rpauli Says:

        This is such an interesting blog – and this is the essential discussion.

        Now it appears we are quibbling about the speed of the unfolding of predicted events.

        I recall Dr. Hansen warning that if we combusted of all our carbon fuel this century then runaway Venus would be inevitable.

        Agreed? Plenty of room for positive reaction in there.

        • omnologos Says:

          no you are not “quibbling”, you’re walking on the edge of complete madness.

          Next stop Jonestown!!

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Peter said it was a lie to say that we would “go Venus” in this century. Perhaps he’s correct, and we won’t, but isn’t it looking ever more likely in this millenium? Or within the next five millenia? Is there really a realistic hope of turning it around in time? Runamok predatory capitalism still rules the planet, and the thread about what’s going on in Canada inspires little confidence.

          Ignoring climate change, are we not “using up” the biosphere in many other ways? May not our only hope be a series of catastrophes beginning before the end of this century that will drastically reduce the human population (and with it our carbon footprint) over a span of just a few decades?

          I have read Hansen—-take a look at Storms of My Grandchildren. Hansen may just be trying to get our attention and stating worst cases, but I see little solace if it takes 500 or 5000 years instead. Human history and likely the history of life on earth will be over. Those tipping points are out there and we don’t understand them or know if we have already passed them.

          Why are so many of us “whistling past the graveyard”? It doesn’t mean we can’t continue to work against AGW and hold out some hope, but attacking “doomers” achieves nothing except self-reinforcing self-delusion.

          (Have we forgotten our old buddy Cognitive Dissonance? Not only Conservatives and Climate Change Deniers suffer from it—it is part of the human condition, even for the most rational among us).

          • Thanks for reminding of James Hansen who has recently expressed how deeply terrified he is and crapping his pants over climate change that he endorsed nuclear energy.

            We all know nuclear energy is ludicrous, dirty, untenable, and in a collapsing world all 400+ nuclear plants in the northern hemisphere WILL melt down due to a variety of causes. Pick one.

            So here’s the scenario of actual events taking place right now:
            Methane vents 150 km wide
            fires burning across the planet, spontaneously combusting peat, forests, etc.
            water drying up or being contaminated for fossil fuel use (not human use)
            economic collapse spiraling ever downward
            Polar and Ant Arctic ice caps melting
            more drilling deeper and wider for oil and gas cause more venting of methane and earthquakes
            rising oceans
            Fukushima et al poisoning the oceans
            400ppm CO2 and rising

            If these multiple and self reinforcing scenarios are not contributing to our temps going up to 900 fahrenheit in this century, I’d be surprised.
            But even if temps ONLY go up by 2 degrees C, people and animals and plants will not make it out alive… We are at .8 C rise and the planet has been devastated by that.
            5 million people die every year now from climate change. 200 species go extinct each day.

            And yet our global sociopathic leaders act as if it’s business as usual, drilling, warring, bombing, hoarding.
            Interestingly, the US has armed all of our nation’s police forces to the teeth.
            Almost as if they are expecting a great famine and drought to take place.
            Some kind of great unrest….

            McPherson sees it coming, many of us see it coming. I am terrified by what is about to happen. It’s out of my control.

          • vierotchka Says:

            My erstwhile hero, James Lovelock, recommends nuclear power and fracking. In this, he has profoundly disappointed me and I have knocked him straight off my “hero shelf” into the trash can.



          • dumboldguy Says:

            Don’t be so hasty. His new stand on nuclear power has actually elevated him in my eyes. He and Hansen et al are merely trying to issue a wakeup call rather than support nuclear power. They are really saying “we must do something about CO2 VERY soon”. And if it looks a little like they are the bank robber holding a gun to his head and threatening to shoot himself if he doesn’t get the money, so be it—people WILL notice.

          • vierotchka Says:

            That is certainly not what I got from reading Lovelock’s recent interviews and other articles, and his book “The Revenge of Gaia”.



            Dr. James Lovelock’s Conclusion on Nuclear Energy.

            How does James Lovelock feel about nuclear energy? “I believe nuclear power is the only source of energy that will satisfy our demands and yet not be a hazard to Gaia and interfere with its capacity to sustain a comfortable climate and atmospheric composition. This is mainly because nuclear reactions are millions of times more energetic than chemical reactions. The most energy available from a chemical reaction, such as burning carbon in oxygen, is about nine kilowatt hours per kilogram. The nuclear fusion of hydrogen atoms to form helium gives several million times as much, and the energy from splitting uranium is greater still.”





          • dumboldguy Says:

            You’ve missed my point.

            I’ve read the Revenge of Gaia and much of Lovelock’s past work also. I DO think that he would have been content if the only “nuclear power” impacting the Earth was the radiation from the nuclear fusion processes going on in the sun, since that was “normal and natural” and what Gaia and life on earth developed under.

            I think that his swing to being an advocate for nuclear power is due to the oncoming disaster he sees from fossil fuel use and the outpouring of CO2 that Gaia can’t deal with, and that he (and Hansen et al) ARE trying to get us all to see that we must do something about CO2 right now. No true environmentalist would advocate for nuclear power except as a last resort, and if the human population hadn’t grown so big and its need for energy hadn’t gotten so large, there probably never would have been nuclear power plants in the first place (or very few).

          • witsendnj Says:

            “He and Hansen et al are merely trying to issue a wakeup call rather than support nuclear power.” Not really.

            Hansen at least is very explicit and is making a point that is extremely unpopular among climate activists. The very anthropocentric point he makes is, that so-called clean, renewable energy will NEVER come close to filling the gap of what is required to support modern industrial civilization. And Lovelock and Hansen are all about finding ways to maintain (indeed, expand, given our growing population) industrial civilization without incinerating the planet from climate change. They are under no illusions that collapsing the world economy by removing cheap enery will lead to catastrophic disasters such as resource wars and famine. They are under the illusion that climate change is the major threat to humanity.

            In this they ignore the myriad other threats to our existence (over-consumption and pollution chief among them). Thus they are fantasists of a particular variety.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Well put. And as the cynics might ask,

      “What have future generations done for us anyway?”

      • omnologos Says:

        if the theatre is on fire, we might as well kill all tigers and polar bears now and save them from the painful deaths awaiting them shortly.

        Wait, the same applies to any other living being. Has anybody got a cobalt bomb to spare?

        • dumboldguy Says:

          I will feed the troll only this once. O-Log, you are intruding on a conversation among adults by speaking at the level of an attention-seeking 10 or 12 year old. You embarrass yourself and get in our way, and you have been “noticed”. Now go away.

          • omnologos Says:

            dumboldguy- your words are completely meaningless, because as usual you have said nothing of relevance for the topic.

            try for once – if people respond to McPh’s we-are-all-doomed message by organizing massacres, would they be justified in doing so? What about killing off humanity for good, perhaps that will leave some hope to the rest of nature?

            my point, since you missed it, is that McPh’s cult binds people to an early death: his believers, and/or the rest of us as well.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            To respond at a juvenile level that you might understand, the only point you have is on the top of your head, and what brain you possess occupies only the tip of the point. Go away.

          • omnologos Says:

            the only juvenile character of this discussion is your silly attempt at resolving your inability to put together an argument by trying to attach arbitrary labels to other people.

            I know you won’t get any understanding out of the above. That’s life (until we boil off).

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Peter, are you paying attention to this thread? O-Log has made more comments than any other five people on this thread and said almost nothing of consequence. PLEASE apply your new “troll control” policy and relieve us of the burden of having to delete everything he says.

          • DOn’t EVER feed the troll. Not even once.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Good advice, but it’s hard for too many of us to adhere to that all the time.
            It’s like trying not to swat the mosquito that’s buzzing around your ear.

  9. witsendnj Says:

    Catch that, in the video? NOTHING LESS THAN A GLOBAL WIPEOUT.

    • omnologos Says:

      witsendnj – please explain why you’re spending your time remaining until the total wipeout commenting on a blog?

      • witsendnj Says:

        Sure. First of all, I’m by no means spending ALL my time remaining commenting on a blog. I do many other things that are personally rewarding.

        So, the reason I spend SOME of my time commenting on a blog (this and others – as I mentioned above, at the facebook page Near Term Human Extinction Support Group)…and also, my own blog, Wit’s End – is our of compassion. That FB group and my blog certainly aren’t for everyone, and don’t pretend to be. They are for people who are interested, curious, suspcious, fearful, convinced but lonely – about the perception that it is already to late to avert catastrophic (as in, extinction level event) ecocide. Actually, climate change in my opinion is just one symptom of overshoot – in population and consumption, in extraction and pollution.

        But to be more specific as to your question, I don’t think there is any political or activist or revolutionary or economic sollution to the intractable problem which could be characterized as the tragedy of the commons. What I do think it that as people (a small minority, but not zero) become enlightened, they will seek solace and commiseration and answers about the meaning of lilfe. Guy’s website and the FB page (and there are others) and my blog are sanctuaries for refuge for the awakened.

        All are welcome.

        • omnologos Says:

          what of people who will respond by unleashing death and destruction? After all, if there’s nothing to do but die, what’s there to stop them?

          • witsendnj Says:

            Haaaaa! Is that some kind of stupid joke?? People are ALREADY unleashing death and destruction! I don’t know where the hell you live, but try checking in with the people in Columbia, Pakistan, Iraq, Equador, Kenya, Somalia, Brazil, Detroit, Camden, and Palestine…to name just a few…

          • omnologos Says:

            interesting. you’re saying that people kill each other because of climate change, or overshoot, or something like that, right?

          • witsendnj Says:

            No. I think people are programmed to fight (evolutionary instincts towards competitiveness). Well, maybe I should say men are probrammed to fight. In times when there is no scarcity, they still fight, over women. We are pack animals like wolves, and status seeking, with fighting is part of our DNA. Ugly, but it’s us.

          • omnologos Says:

            no, no, go back to the have not responded to my original question, diverted the discussion to contemporary problems, but now refuse to link those contemporary problems to your doom cult.

            if only out of compassion, have the courage of your ideas…

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Witsend, please stop feeding the troll. He hasn’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about. He reasons at the “fart joke” level of a pre-adolescent boy.

          • omnologos Says:

            what other evidence do you need, dumboldguy? I talk of death and destruction, and witsendnj has a laugh or two about that. QED again.

      • MorinMoss Says:

        I’m sure I’m not alone in enjoying watching you, of all people, asking others to justify why they’re posting on ClimateCrocks.

  10. vierotchka Says:

    None of us posting here will be around at the end of the century, so we won’t know who was right and who was wrong.

    Ah well, anyway,

    • witsendnj Says:

      Still, what might happen in the future matters so much to us today. Whether to have children, is a rather important consideration. Whether to plant a tree, or instead travel. Yes, it is as momentous as can be, maybe not for the planet, or the universe, but for us humans.

      • vierotchka Says:

        No argument there, especially as I am a grandmother and probably will be a great-grandmother in a few short years. Also, I do all I can as an individual to do my part – recycling glass, aluminium, paper, cardboard, PET bottles and organics for compost, have been using economic light bulbs since they first came out and am now switching to LED, walk or use public transportation, etc. My point was with regard to the many posts above debating what will or will not happen by the end of the century.

      • MorinMoss Says:

        Worrying about that legacy is why Hansen stepped back into the limelight and wrote Storms of My Grandchildren. He said he didn’t want to be remembered as the “Opa” who knew what was coming and did nothing.

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