Gaius Publius: Climate Crisis: Why We’re on Track for 7°C Warming or Greater by 2100

By Gaius Pubius, a professional writer living on the West Coast. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius. Cross posted from AmericaBlog

This is the third part in our three-part series, Climate Crisis: The View from 10,000 Feet. The three parts are:

The climate crisis in three easy charts
A closer look at global temperature, both before and during the age of man
▪ Climate crisis: Why we’re on track for 7°C warming or greater by 2100 (this piece)

These three essays together form the opening chapter of a book I’m working on. They present the long view and put the discussion in historical context. There are no more important questions than these, especially given the nearness of the deadlines:

What’s the history of climate on earth, from the flowering of life through today?
What’s the history of climate during man’s time on earth?
Where are we headed and when?

The first half of this essay recaps the answers to the first two questions above. To jump to the new material — Where are we headed and when? — click here.

There’s a lot of detail in this discussion, but only one bottom line — what happens when? We now know enough to answer that question rather closely. If we don’t “stop now” — meaning, hit the carbon brake hard and stop the carbon car — we risk going over a cliff whose edge could be as near as five to ten years away.

What We’ve Learned So Far

In our overview to this series, “The climate crisis in three easy charts,” we looked at the beginning, middle and end of the history of life on earth — “end” means “where we are now” — and the climate during these periods.

We saw that, starting 540 million years ago, when life exploded in abundance on this planet — first in the sea, later on land — there have only been three geologic eras, each divided from the other by major mass extinction events that marked the shift from one dominant kind of life (group of species) to another. Those eras are:

The Paleozoic Era — the period of “old life,” or the pre-dinosaur era
The Mesozoic Era — the period of “middle life,” or the age of reptiles and dinosaurs
The Cenozoic Era (now) — the period of “new life,” or the age of mammals and man

The Paleozoic Era started with the explosion of life in the Cambrian, 540 million years ago (“mya”), and ended 250 million years ago with the “Great Dying,” the greatest mass extinction event in earth’s history. All large species (some were very large), and almost all species of any type, went extinct. This opened a niche for reptiles and soon, dinosaurs, to grow and flourish.

The Mesozoic Era ended 65 million years ago, with a mass extinction that wiped out all of the non-avian (non-bird) dinosaurs and most large species of any type. This opened a niche for mammals to develop and thrive in the Cenozoic Era, which is where we are now.

Mass Extinctions since the Cambrian Period (540 million years ago)

Mass extinctions since the Cambrian Period (540 million years ago)

First bottom line — Eras of life on earth end with significant mass extinction events. As the chart above also shows, mass extinctions mark other geological boundaries as well.

In the second piece in our series, “A closer look at global temperature, both before and during the age of man“, we examined a chart of temperatures across this 540-million-year time period and saw a remarkable story.

That temperature data is represented in the chart below (click to enlarge). As you see in the left half of the chart, there are considerable spikes in global temperature, mainly to the upside, from the Cambrian through about 15 million years ago, with the highest spike reaching almost +8°C from pre-Industrial norms. (Everywhere on this chart, the zero line — “0 ΔT (°C)” — means “difference in temperature from the pre-Industrial norm,” which can be seen as a solid black line during the “Holocene,” on the extreme right end.)

Global temperatures from the Cambrian through today

Global temperatures from the Cambrian through the present

(Note: For temperatures from the “15 mya” mark to the present — that is, for the last three time periods, known as the Pliocene, Pleistocene and Holocene — use the “Equivalent Vostok ΔT (°C)” scale for temperatures on this chart. I’ve circled it above and added a dotted horizontal line to show roughly where +2°C is.)

Starting at roughly 15 million years ago, however, things change and global temperature spikes never reach above +2°C or so from modern norms. Fifteen million years is a drop in the bucket compared to the time spanned by the previous 525 million, but it’s the period we’re most interested in, since it includes the time in which man appears and develops.

Keep that +2°C or so in mind, since if we don’t stop carbon use very soon, global warming is certainly headed above that.

All major spikes after about 15 mya are to the downside, producing a long period of intermittent glaciers and ice ages. Modern ice ages start around 3 million years ago, near the end of the Pliocene, and end when the Pleistocene ends, about 12,000 years ago. (The boundary between the Pliocene and the Pleistocene has been moved back recently, to about the 2.5 million-year mark, but this doesn’t affect our analysis. The chart above reflects the previous boundary.)

Life in the Holocene (“Today”)

This takes us to the present, called by geologists the Holocene Epoch. It’s the right-most division on the chart above. It’s also the age of agricultural man and civilized man. (Interesting naming fact — the names of the last three epochs, Pliocene, Pleistocene and Holocene, come from Greek roots that mean “more new,” most new” and “entirely new.”)

“Agricultural man” refers to human life during what scientists call the “neolithic revolution” — the “wide-scale transition of many human cultures from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement which supported an increasingly large population.” This begins around 12,000 years ago and spreads to encompass almost all cultures.

“Civilized man” refers to a way of life that generally includes a stable ceremonial center (a palace or temple), some form of writing, and something like a city, as opposed to just tribes and villages. Civilization in this sense started roughly 10,000 years ago and spread widely. “Civilized man” is the way most of us live today.

The “Holocene” and the “age of civilization” can therefore be considered identical. Here’s that same temperature chart again, but trimmed to focus on just the lower quadrant. Use the “Equivalent Vostok” scale (circled) for temperature readings.

Global temperatures, focusing on the ice ages and the age of civilized man

Average global temperatures, focusing on the ice ages and the age of civilized man

Note the remarkable flatness of average global temperature during the Holocene. Note that temperatures never rise much above +2°C for the period pictured, and in the Holocene, they never rise above (or fall below) ½°C (0.5°C for the math majors) — until the very end when the Industrial Revolution begins.

That’s an amazing consistency in temperature. While regional temperatures have varied more widely, the earth as a whole has stayed within a very narrow range — ±½°C — through the entire period until very near the end. As I wrote in the second piece in this series:

The flattening of global temperature in the last 10,000 years … coincides exactly with civilized man, man emerging from hunter-gatherer status to build villages and farm land. It would be nice to keep the earth in that range, right?

Again, from the chart above, “Modern age of glaciers” is the period of hunter-gatherer man; the Holocene, which immediately follows, is the time of “Agricultural & civilized man.” The correspondences could not be more clear.

Given all of this, we asked in that piece the critical questions — What temperature will trigger another mass extinction? Which temperature will drastically upset this balance? The most widely accepted answer — though certainly not the only one — is offered by James Hansen, NASA global warming expert. Hansen has written that keeping global warming below 3°C is critical for our survival.

In his words (pdf; my emphasis):

If global warming approaches 3°C by the end of the century, it is estimated that 21-52% of the species on Earth will be committed to extinction.

Since scientists are naturally conservative, and since everything about global warming is happening faster than anyone expected, I’d take the higher percentage of extinctions seriously.

Think about a 50%–mass extinction event. What kind of world would we be living in, if global warming were killing half of all species on earth and drastically shrinking the human-livable world? How would it change the age of man? Would it end the Cenozoic Era? This piece explores those questions.

What We Don’t Want to Lose — A Brief Review

Before we proceed further, let’s review what we’ve seen to this point:

▪ For a very long period, from the Cambrian until about 15 million years ago, global temperatures have swung widely, spiking up to +7°C or more, and down to –2°C, measured against modern (“age of man”) average temperature.

▪ More recently we entered a period of ice ages, in which global temperatures rarely exceeded 2°C above the modern norm. During this period, hominids evolved. Late in this period, man (homo sapiens) evolved.

▪ Then 12,000 years ago, we entered a time (the Holocene, “today”) in which average global temperatures stay within a very narrow range, ±½°C of the global average for the period. For the last 12,000 years, we’ve seen almost no global fluctuation.

During this period, man settles down, becomes a farmer and builds cities. Our lives today — civilized, settled, technological — are products of the Holocene and are entirely encompassed by it.

It’s quite a story, isn’t it? Here’s a closer look at temperatures during the Holocene, illustrating the third bullet above.

Average global temperatures during the Holocene, the last 12,000 years (updated through 2004)

Average global temperatures during the Holocene, the last 12,000 years

The solid black line shows global averages. The colored lines show eight records of local temperature variability used to produce this average. Life during the age of civilized man, all within about ±½°C.

The “Holocene Normal Temperature” and the “Pre-Industrial Normal Temperature”

A word about definitions before we go on. As noted, the Holocene is the epoch we’re in today. It starts about 12,000 years ago when earth emerged from its last ice age. The “Holocene normal temperature” — the global average of regional temperatures — is essentially zero on all graphs of the type we’ve been showing.

This norm holds more or less intact through the year 1800, at which point the Industrial Revolution, which started around 1760, began to have a warming effect. The Industrial Revolution was driven in no small part by the coal-powered steam engine invented by James Watt and patented in 1781. The Industrial Revolution is also the “first carbon era” in Michael Klare’s nomenclature.

Thus the “Holocene normal temperature” is also the “pre-Industrial normal temperature” — the temperature prior to the year 1800. Below is a global-average temperature chart created for an IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) publication released in 2000 and reprinted in an important 2009 publication, the Copenhagen Diagnosis.

Note the start of solid black line, observed temperature in the year 1800, is marked as “zero.”

The Holocene normal temperature is also the pre-Industrial normal temperature.

The Holocene normal temperature is also the pre-Industrial (pre-1800) normal temperature.
Source here, Figure 21.

As you can see from the reconstructed temperatures prior to 1800 (the fuzzy blue line), that “zero” at 1800 is pretty much the same as “zero” back through the year 500. An extended chart would show that the “zero” in 1800 is close enough to the Holocene norm as to be almost identical to it.

Unless otherwise noted, the “zero temperature change” mark — “0 ΔT (°C)” for example — on any of these charts should be read as “the Holocene norm” and also as “the pre-Industrial norm.”

This covers the first two questions above — What’s the history of life on earth and its evolution through periods of mass extinction? What’s the overview of earth climate through that period, including man’s time on earth? For more detail on each of these, see the first and second parts of this series.

Where are We Headed and When?

Now let’s look at the future. This is the heart of this piece, the last in our introduction to the global warming story. Where are we going and when will we get there? In the second essay in this series, I wrote (emphasis added):

If we go to 3°C warmer, we may go to 7°C or beyond

For a reason I’ll discuss next time, if global warming is man-made — and few unbought scientists think otherwise — then 3°C warming may well be just the halfway point to the full disaster. By that I mean, because of the way the socio-political process works, the “never stop burning carbon” scenario could easily take us right past 3°C to a 7°C (12½°F) warmer world — in the worst case, by 2100 — and perhaps beyond.

That’s double the compression of Hansen’s 3°C [by 2100] scenario — it means 3°C warmer by the mid-2050s and 7°C warmer by the end of the century. The discussion of that outcome is also in the IPCC literature, the same literature Hansen used to make his mass-extinction prediction. This is their own worst-case scenario. It’s not a prediction, but it’s one of the possibilities. …

For a look at times when the earth was as hot as 7°C above pre-Industrial norms, you have to look at the Mesozoic Era and earlier …

That’s an unusual symmetry, from a +7°C spike (or more) in the deep past to a +7°C spike (or more) in the very near future. What’s different about the modern spike is the time it will take to create it. Each of those spikes in the Paleozoic Era (in orange on the second chart) occurred across tens or even hundreds of millions of years.

The temperature spike we’re creating, at our end of the chart, could well occur within the next 100–200 years. In the most chaotic situation, if governments have almost no control of populations, +7°C by 2100 becomes much more likely. No one will be able to put the brakes on carbon emissions.

Hansen says that +3°C will trigger a 20–50% extinction scenario. Think what +7°C will do. We might survive as a species (we’re awfully smart), but the world will certainly see another Great Dying.

How Do We know We’re Headed for 7°C Global Warming?

Look back at the chart immediate above (click to jump there, then click on the chart to open it larger in another window). Notice at the extreme right end, the colored lines fanning out to the edge. Each of the colored bands is a temperature projection based on various (and different) assumptions, published by the IPCC in 2000. The chart shows three of them, labeled A1FI (red), A2 (yellow), B1 (green). The IPCC has produced others, but these three are shown here.

The scenario we’re going to look at closely is “A1FI” — the most extreme. Again, click to locate it.

The document containing all of the year-2000 IPCC scenarios is IPCC Special Report: Emissions Scenarios. Here’s a link to an HTML version of the full document. And here a link to a PDF of the “Summary for Policymakers” chapter. And this is the Wikipedia page on the document. The document is usually referred to as “SRES”.

IPCC SRES scenarios form a baseline set of projections for most of the later IPCC literature, so you’ll see them referred to a lot. SRES scenarios are grouped into four families, based on differing assumptions about global integration and cooperation (or not), world population increase (or not), and so on.

Keep scenario A1FI in mind, part of the “A1” family. (“FI” stands for “fossil intensive,” heavier reliance on carbon.) Here is a brief description of all four families. IPCC attempted to cover all the options with this set (but they missed two):

A1 storyline and scenario family: a future world of very rapid economic growth, global population that peaks in mid-century and declines thereafter, and rapid introduction of new and more efficient technologies.

A2 storyline and scenario family: a very heterogeneous world with continuously increasing global population and regionally oriented economic growth that is more fragmented and slower than in other storylines.

B1 storyline and scenario family: a convergent world with the same global population as in the A1 storyline but with rapid changes in economic structures toward a service and information economy, with reductions in material intensity, and the introduction of clean and resource-efficient technologies.

B2 storyline and scenario family: a world in which the emphasis is on local solutions to economic, social, and environmental sustainability, with continuously increasing population (lower than A2) and intermediate economic development.

More on these scenario families here. Do you notice what’s missing? All of there scenario families assume some carbon mitigation. No scenario is a “Do nothing; continue as before” scenario. And none is a “Use even more carbon” scenario.

Six scenarios from these families were used by the IPCC to make sample global warming predictions through 2100. The prediction data for these six scenarios is below (source).

Note that here the reference baseline (“zero”) is the “1980–1999 average.” To convert to “zero” = the pre-Industrial norm, add approximately 1°C to each number in the table. (The generally accepted global warming number for “today” is about +1°C above the pre-Industrial norm.)

Temperature increase ranges of all six IPCC scenarios. A1FI is the last scenario listed. (Add about 1°C to each number for the increase from the pre-Industrial norm.)

Temperature increase ranges (°C) for six IPCC scenarios. A1FI is the last scenario listed.
(Add slightly less than 1°C to each number to get the increase from pre-Industrial norms.)

A1FI, the least mitigated of the SRES scenarios, is the last one listed. After adding +0.8°C for the rise from 1800 through 1999, the A1FI probable increase above the pre-Industrial norm is between +3.2°C and +7.2°C. The best estimate (most likely) temperature increase from this scenario is almost +5°C. (The same information is shown graphically here (lower chart), with the baseline year moved back to 1800. Source is the IPCC Third Assessment Report, published in 2001.)

We’re Looking at the Most Extreme Scenario Because Nothing is Being Done About Carbon

As you can see from the chart and from the table:

▪ A1FI is the most extreme scenario developed by the IPCC.
▪ A1FI could get us to +7°C by 2100, even with its built-in carbon mitigations.
▪ A1FI assumes that the world will try to get off of carbon and onto alternatives, but more slowly than other scenarios. It assumes we’ll make a real attempt, one that actually reduces emissions.

Yet we’re not getting off of carbon. We’re not even trying to get off of carbon. We’re only appearing to try. Regarding Obama’s latest climate initiative, comments like this are easy to find:

Obama’s fracked-up climate strategy will guarantee global warming disaster
Fatally flawed energy policies and inadequate emissions pledges cannot prevent dangerous climate change

… [T]he new climate strategy remains fatally compromised by Obama’s unflinching commitment to the maximum possible exploitation of fossil fuels – a contradiction that has set the world on course to trigger unmitigated catastrophe in coming decades.

Again, we’re in the “third carbon era” per Michael Klare, the age of the exploitation of unconventional, hard-to-get-at carbon, and we show no desire to stop that exploitation.

Next bottom line — A1FI is the SRES scenario in which we get off of carbon, just slowly. But what if we never try? If we never even try and A1FI is a reasonable prediction, +7°C — and Hansen’s mass extinction — is a certainty.

What Climate Scenario are We Actually On?

Can we confirm that A1FI is the path we’re taking? The Emissions Scenarios report was written in 2000, which is why the solid black line, showing observed changes, stops there.

But we’ve had a number of years in which to add observations. So here’s an update, one of many we could offer. In 2009, information from previous IPCC assessment reports (the third, or “TAR”, in 2001; the fourth, or “AR4”, in 2007) was combined and updated for the Copenhagen climate conference of 2009. The resulting document, the Copenhagen Diagnosis, is both readable and informative — and beautifully produced; take a look if you get a chance. We’ve already referred to it here.

The chart below shows several of the IPCC scenarios, again projected out from year-2000, overlaid with observations of CO2 emissions predicted by the scenarios. Note that A1FI is one of them, the red line.

Figure 1 from the Copenhagen Diagnosis, showing that the path we're on is indeed A1FI

Figure 1 from the Copenhagen Diagnosis, showing that the path we’re on is indeed A1FI

We’re smack in the middle of the A1FI range by this measure as of summer 2008 readings. Since then we’ve had the summer of melting Arctic ice and recent news that this is the hottest decade on record.

2010 ended the hottest decade on record

2010 ended the hottest decade on record (source)

I don’t see a reason to assume that A1FI is unlikely. Do you?

Last bottom line — A1FI puts us on track for as much as +7°C by 2100. And we’re on track for A1FI based on most recent observations.

Is it Hopeless? Can We Stop? If We Don’t, Will Man Survive?

I’ll take up all of these questions in detail later, but for now, the answers are No, Yes and Yes.

It’s not hopeless if we act, especially if we act before the window of opportunity closes. If Hansen is correct (above), that window closes at +3°C. We’ re at +1°C (more or less), with another +1°C in the pipeline. (The coming IPCC assessment report, AR5, will tell us more about that.) I’m worried that when +1.5°C is present and the same is in the pipeline, we’re in trouble. But we’re not there yet. Stay tuned.

We can stop. It will take dislocations at this point, and we’ll have to counter the big money people (carbon criminals) and their enablers and defenders in politics and the press, but it can be done.

We have obvious urgency on our side and an exponentially growing public awareness. That public awareness — fear if you will, even panic — is one of our best friends. And the climate is making the case for us as well. I’m watching Arctic ice this summer; I’ll bet I’m not alone.

I think man will survive, even if the globe warms to near impossible temperatures. There will be a place for us, even if it’s far north or far south. And our big brains didn’t evolve for nothing. We’re very good at survival; I think we will again.

More in a bit. I want to see what IPCC AR5 says. In the meantime, Courage, as Alan Grayson, a fighter, always says. Or as I like to say, “Block to the whistle. Tackle to the ground. Play to the end of the game.” You never know when events will hand you the perfect opening, and victory can be yours.

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  1. gepay

    This article is hard to take seriously. What these temperature charts tell is that the last 12,ooo years are an anomaly – compared to close to 15million years of on and off again ice ages with temperature fluctuating 7 or 8 degrees. Are there really believable explanations for ice ages and why they happen and why they end? Is it really possible that doubling (which has not even happened yet) of CO2 which is a trace gas in the atmosphere is going to set off some feedback cycle(s) that will send the global temperature soaring? Can any honest scientist really claim that they know to a degree of certainty all the feedback mechanisms that affect the chaotic system of climate so that they can make accurate predictions. The science of CO2 warming says doubling will raise the global temperature 1 degree. It will take another doubling for CO2 by itself to raise the global temperature another degree by itself. All this other predicted warming is from feedback mechanisms of which many are not understood.
    We have many real problems that that we know should be dealt with. The ongoing Fukushima catastrophe – the runamok military security industrial complex of the US – corporate destruction of eco systems – a billion hungry malnourished humans – malaria – an economic system with the paradigm of cancer (ever expanding growth) just to name a few real problems that we can be sure about.

    1. Alex Hanin

      “The science of CO2 warming says doubling will raise the global temperature 1 degree.”

      This claim shows that you are not qualified to judge whether or not this article is to be taken seriously. Have a look at Knutti and Hegerl 2008, for example.

      1. kimyo

        gepay’s statement is correct, there’s no need to attack him/her.

        The CO2 no feedback sensitivity is an idealized concept; we cannot observe it or conduct such an experiment in the atmosphere. Hence, the CO2 no feedback sensitivity can only be calculated using models.

        The IPCC TAR adopted the value of 3.7 W/m2 for the direct CO2 forcing, and I could not find an updated value from the AR4. This forcing translates into 1C of surface temperature change.

        1. Alex Hanin

          Yes, the value of 3,7 W/m2 (radiative forcing) is widely used. It translate into a direct warming of 1,2 C.

          However, this climate sensibility to radiative forcing (CO2, but also sunlight) is too low to explain past temperature changes.

          A climate sensitivity of 1 C to the kind of radiative forcing caused by a doubling of CO2 simply doesn’t fit the data. It doesn’t make sense.

        2. Brindle

          Judith Curry:

          —“The plausible worst-case scenario could be worse than anything we’re looking at right now,” Curry says. The rise in temperature from a doubling of CO2 “could be one degree. It could be 10 degrees.
          Let’s just put it out there and develop policy options for all the scenarios and do a cost-benefit analysis for all of them, and then you start to get the things that make sense.”—

            1. GusFarmer

              The problem is that Curry’s conservative numbers are often cited by deniers as an excuse to do nothing. But they ignore her statements like the one above — “The plausible worst-case scenario could be worse than anything we’re looking at right now” — and the clear need to accept they COULD happen. She’s right about that, but, unfortunately, “cost-benefit analysis” is usually crafted so narrowly and so short-term as to be meaningless in a climate context, esp since half of the things involved in such a huge change can’t be calculated economically.

    2. Banger

      You bring up the critical point: how can we predict what a complex/chaotic system will do several years down the line? This of course is the climate-“skeptics” ultimate argument. Here is my counter: we deal with complex and creative systems all the time and we us something called “risk assessment” to gauge various probabilities if we act one way or another way. This idea appears to be utterly foreign to so-called skeptics. Using current data most scientists believe we are in danger of catastrophe–not that catastrophe will happen but that it is a risk. Skeptics believe it is worth using wasteful and inefficient carbon fuels to maintain the status-quo–which is the ultimate aim of the pro-carbon lobby.

      The idea that we can actually better our situation in all ways by moving a way from carbon never seems to enter the heads of those who favor the “do next to nothing” about climate change. A massive move towards truly intelligent design of everything including transportation, manufacturing, building, and so on is now possible which could radically lower energy use as well as provide renewables through the economy of scale. We went to the Moon, we fought WWII (a look at what it took to fight WWII is worth looking at). The effect of this would begin to remove power from the oligarchy that is strangling our country and the world and start to distribute it elsehwere, perhaps to a new oligarchy but one which is focused on design elegance and opposed to the crudity that still dominates our culture.

      Finally, I take the word of most scientists over yours on the likelihood of various scenarios–if you and your skeptic comrades wanted to become more believable then support a project to massively fund research in this area headed by scientists both sides can trust instead of sniping away at whether this virtual asteroid will hit us or not. Preparation for the worst scenario is worth looking into isn’t it?

      1. mikkel

        Banger, you might be interested in what I wrote here

        As you can see, I am having an issue even getting a climate modeller oriented person to grasp the implications.

        One thing to remember is that “risk assessment” models won’t work for climate for the same reason they didn’t work for CDOs: long tails and log-normal distribution of risk. As such, there is no way to actually calculate expected costs.

        I wish I could find it again, but the author of the most commonly cited risk assessment (which said to be conservative) actually realized the impossibility a couple of years ago and said the only thing that makes sense is rapid decarbonization. Of course, that’s not nearly as touted as his original work.

        To me, it’s not about proving AGW that will win the day, but a full socioeconomic revolution. Unfortunately, as I comment on that thread, the movement does not understand how to create lasting structures. MLK’s “Pilgrimage to nonviolence” helped me understand why humanist liberals are terrible at effecting social change in a meaningful way.

        1. Banger

          Missing, usually, from the conversation about climate and environmental issues is the advantages and unintended good consequences of moving towards a very different and more intelligent way of life and this needs to go into any risk assessment matrix.

          In the end we are faced with a devolution project on the part of the power elite. First they try to emphasize the development of the lower brain without the attendant also promoting real violence that could result (i.e., video games etc.). Second they want us all to run away from the positive and dynamics\ aspects of Western civilization that got us to where we are today, i.e., science, reason, dialogue (dialectic) and the Golden Rule and centuries of positive moral development. In other words, the group Devo were prophets.

      2. Anarcissie

        I believe it’s a mistake to assume one’s opponents are acting or speaking in bad faith. This is underestimating them, and underestimating one’s opponent makes victory less likely. And victory is all that matters, isn’t it? That’s certainly the way our Great Leaders behave, and it’s hardly surprising to find even critics and dissidents imitating them.

        1. Banger

          First, I was generalizing about “climate-change skeptics” not the writer of the post. Second, this is very serious business that has to do with the most important moral issue of our time. It’s hard to remain indifferent.

    3. Gaius Publius

      I’ll look at this more closely in a bit, but the following can’t be true, and I’d love to see a source for it:

      The science of CO2 warming says doubling will raise the global temperature 1 degree. It will take another doubling for CO2 by itself to raise the global temperature another degree by itself.

      IPCC AR4 says that pre-Industrial atmospheric CO2 was 280 ppm. Call that the zero mark for temperature.

      We’re at 400 ppm today per Mauna Loa observatory. Global warming is roughly +1°C. Even if the 280 ppm number is high, it’s not that high. The lowest number I’ve seen was 225 ppm for pre-industrial times, but I’d trust AR4.

      Now add in all the accelerators, like loss of reflectivity of polar ice, plus the melting of the glaciers, plus the new releases of methane (huge plumes of them, half-kilometer across) from the under-Arctic sea bed AND the on-land permafrost, and this process looks like a runaway process to me.

      Thanks for your response, but … where is your urgent denial coming from? Do you really want to take the chance of being wrong, or worse, very very wrong?

      Serious question; what are you upset about? I’d love to know.


      1. Walter Map

        Very nice analysis. Well done.

        I just think your predictions are too optimistic due to some issues that still seem to need to be addressed, or at least refined:

        – Changes in planetary albedo due to polar melting are somewhat accounted for, but albedo will also change as cloud cover changes when the planet heats. More clouds will decrease dayside heating but decrease nightside radiative cooling, and vice versa.

        – The increased greenhouse effect due to the release of methane clathrates seems too lightly treated.

        – Carbon dioxide concentrations are not only still increasing but are accelerating. I may have missed where this was discussed.

        I quite agree that it’s a runaway process, but not an open-ended one. Still, I really don’t project that there will be many survivors by 2100, and any unlucky remainders are likely to be a bit miserable.

        Fortunatos amice.

        1. MRW

          Carbon dioxide concentrations are not only still increasing but are accelerating.

          Check the Moana Loa data. You’re wrong. Just flat out wrong. It is not accelerating. It’s been rising at a steady 2 PPM per year for decades.

          1. Walter Map

            The data clearly show acceleration. Not that a climate-change denial troll is about to admit that when he’s up for his annual review.

            I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the increase is likely to be closer to 12° C and not 7° C. The good news is that this is likely to wipe out your descendants.

      2. MRW


        Global warming is roughly +1°C.

        This is sloppy. You blithely add 25% warming since 1880 when measurements are in 1/10ths of a degree in all temp charts everywhere, and have been for two decades. There is no “roughly” about it. I am blockquoting NASA-GISS’s #, which is the highest. (The generally accepted number is 0.7°C since 1880.)

        The average global temperature has increased 0.8°C (1.4°F) since 1880

        Why you, or anyone, would assume that based on a temperature rise of 0.8°C in the last 132 years, the global temperature would increase 875% to 7°C in the next 87 years, is beyond me.

        What I don’t like is the disdain with which those of us who a little more circumspect are held, as if we’re idiots to doubt a 875% rise based on models that do not capture all the climate variables when the current observable data shows the global temp is below any IPCC AR report to date.

        1. Gaius Publius

          Look, you want to do apples-to-apples here, unless the goal is just to confuse. I measure from year-1800 temperatures (which = year-1900 temperatures; check the fourth chart in my piece).

          The chart you linked to measures from 1880, which is warmer than either 1800 or 1900. Check your own chart again. Measure from its low temperature (at roughly 1904) to its peak. I get –0.55 or so to +0.60 by eyeball. That’s warming of 1.15°C, easily greater than +1.0°C.


          Now please, tell me why it’s so important to you that people like me be wrong.

          In fairness (’cause fair is fair) I’ll tell you why it matters to me. Because if people like me are right, and action is delayed by people who say “prove it prove it prove it” constantly and forever, the prove-it people will be the perp when it all goes down.

          Do you really want to be the perp? After all, the greatest argument on the denialist side is “uncertainty” or “not proved”. “Outcome unknown” is also a major argument for action.

          Feeling lucky? I’m not.


          1. MRW


            The instrument temperature record started in 1880. Why would you pick 1800? Why not go back further to the Met’s records, then? From wiki, altho’ I’m loathe to use it.

            The Hadley Centre maintains the HadCRUT4, a monthly-mean global surface temperature analysis,[2] and NASA maintains GISTEMP, another monthly-mean global surface temperature analysis, for the period since 1880.[3] The two analyses differ in the details of how they obtain temperature values on a regular grid from the network of irregularly spaced observation sites; thus, their results for global and regional temperature differ slightly. The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) maintains the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN-Monthly) data base contains historical temperature, precipitation, and pressure data for thousands of land stations worldwide.[4] Also, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), which has “the world’s largest active archive”[5] of surface temperature measurements, maintains a global temperature record since 1880.[6]


          2. gepay

            I have a problem with calling CO2 a pollutant and all the misguided energy and projects that would be a total waste if you AGW believers are wrong. There are too many real problems in the world today that need fixing. Especially as most of the predictions are based on computer models which can’t possibly have all the variables correct with today’s level of knowledge of the climate.
            Then there are the powers that be who would love to have the control mechanisms in place so that we the people would have to control our carbon footprints. In the US we can’t even get the military and security budget under control yet youall seem to think that lowering the CO2 output of the world would be done in a sane and equitable way. Even scarier is the thought that Bill Gates types would be funding geoengineering projects to change the climate to what they think it should be.
            Even though the US goverment doesn’t implement any of the necessary changes if AGW was true it still funds the climate change science that is done (all of it agreeing with AGW or it wouldn’t get funded) to the tune of billions of dollars. This dwarfs anything the oil companies and the Koch brothers (none of the above my favorite people) are giving out for climate skeptic research.
            But mostly I just don’t believe climate science today knows enough about why the climate behaves as it does today or has in the past to make believable predictions about what it will do in the future. I am old enough to have seen too many of these beliefs like the AGW bandwagon. As recently as the 1970s most climate scientists seemed to be worried about the possibility of another ice age. I do know that many of the people in the climate skeptic camps are out to lunch. I haven’t seen or read the science that will change my mind and I read alot.

        2. gamma sigma phoo to the x faptorial

          It’s beyond you because you know jack shit about the nonlinear differential equations underlying thermodynamics or the numerical methods used to solve them, Right, MRW, B.A. Communications Management, U. of Phoenix?

          Look how he italicizes ‘models.’ He’s trying to make it a pejorative term. This is PR hackwork. Note the meaningless percentages: 875%! Ooh, it’s math! The models scare Kochs and frackers shitless because they can’t rebut them. So they sniff in the air at ‘models’ and hope enough deficiently-educated GOP petit bourgeois ape the attitude.

          This is rehashed cigarette shit.

      3. MRW


        I’ll look at this more closely in a bit, but the following can’t be true, and I’d love to see a source for it:

        The science of CO2 warming says doubling will raise the global temperature 1 degree. It will take another doubling for CO2 by itself to raise the global temperature another degree by itself.

        An increase in CO2 does not produce a linear rise in temperature. It is logarithmic. gepay is correct.

        Would you accept the word of Ferenc Miskolczi, former NASA Langley Research Center senior principal scientist, as to why?

        These are Miskolczi’s 2011 slides:

        Ferenc Miskolczi, “The Stable Stationary Value to the Earth’s Global Averge Atmospheric Planck-Weighted Greenhouse-Gas Optical Thickness”, Energy & Environment, Vol. 21 No. 4, 2010.

        This new Miskolczi theory describes this missing greenhouse equilibrium mechanism. He shows that the classical theory does not include all the necessary energy constraints. When these constraints are included in a new theory, the strength of the GHE is determined analytically. The result shows that the Earth’s atmosphere is maintained at a nearly saturated greenhouse effect. Allowing for changes to outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) but without allowing for water vapour feedback, detailed calculations show that the greenhouse sensitivity to doubling CO2 is about 0.24 Celsius. In the long run, the Earth will obtain an energy balance were the OLR is equal to in net incoming solar radiation . Considering all energy constraints, the actual sensitivity to doubling CO2 is 0 Celsius.

        This greenhouse equilibrium mechanism doesn’t care if an initial increase of greenhouse gases was water vapor [95% of all GHGs] or CO2. If somehow we suddenly released an amount of CO2 to the atmosphere equal in GHG effect of the 1998 El Nino water vapor, the temperature effect would be the same. Temperatures would increase by 0.6 Celsius, but would fall within a year to the original temperature, as the greenhouse equilibrium mechanism restores the greenhouse strength to the equilibrium value by raining out the excess greenhouse gases. Adding man-made CO2 to the atmosphere just rains out almost an equivalent amount of water vapor.

        Current theory is based on the energy balance assumption that the total out-going long wave-length radiation is equal to the net incoming short wave radiation (net of albedo).
        The most important of Miskolczi’s innovations are:

        There is an energy balance between the emission from the ground that is absorbed by the atmosphere and the downward radiation from the atmosphere. He uses Kirchhoff’s law, which is a law concerning thermal equilibrium, not to be confused with radiative equilibrium.

        In this paper, Miskolczi shows that the atmosphere maintains a “saturated” greenhouse effect, controlled by water vapor content.
        Ferenc M. Miskolczi, “Greenhouse Effect in Semi-Transparent Planetary Atmospheres”, Quarterly Journal of the Hungarian Meteorological Journal, Vol. 111, No. 1, January – March 2007.

        1. Fiver

          As IPCC reviews any and all serious challenges to its position, please advise as to what that body had to say about this chap’s work – or your own.

          Then tell me how 9 billion people are going to sustain themselves on what’s left of the natural world by 2100 if we do not stop poisoning/consuming every single nook and cranny of this biosphere with the products and processes provided by the fossil fuel industry as a whole. Banger was quite correct – what we need to do to avert catastrophic climate change is precisely those things we need to do to survive the rest of the list of horrors coming our way.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      Your observation that the last 12,000 years look anomalous compared to the rest of the data is indeed apt. This era was termed the Holocene — something of a ‘sweet spot’ in the choatic system we call climate. Now, all the evidence points to our departure from the Holocene into a new era. You should also note that humankind, not greatly different from us, had been knocking around for quite a while (in human — not geologic time) prior to the Holocene without accomplishing anything as notable as the civilizations arising in these last 12,000 years.

      The second of two posts I referred to below, “Paleoclimate: The End of the Holocene”, at, describes the evidence for our departure from the Holocene heading for regions of ‘interesting’ climate change and perhaps a new unkinder age for humankind.

  2. tulsatime

    Pretty grim, but then we all know nothing guarantees we finish this solar orbit before a rock of size impacts. Humans could co-operate and pull back from this fatal expansionism, but that would require some transformational work on society.

  3. psychohistorian

    Seems very clear to me. Very well done and slam dunk persuasive to all but those in charge of our world.

    You would think that this information presented to the leaders of the world would cause them to move us in a better direction until you remember that similar puppets of the global inherited plutocrats thought it was safe to build Fukushima and all others like it, created and SOLD a consumptive society with no respect for the environment and engage in ongoing war with everyone to maintain empire, fear and control.

    To further complicate matters, faith breathers are now saying that climatic examples of global warming are signs of the “End Times” and all the good and righteous will be saved in the Rapture../..and the rest of us will go to their hell…..which is true in a sick sense.

    Can we laugh these sociopaths out of control? I can see no other way, they are deluded and killing humanity with their delusions.

    1. Walter Map

      The current crop of TPTB believe the havoc will not ensue until after they’re gone, and in the meantime there’s plenty of money to be made. It’s a problem for future generations of TPTB, but why should the present generation care? You’re lucky they don’t simply arrange to trash the place once they’re gone out of sheer spite.

  4. Maju

    I’m very pessimistic and global warming is only part of the global ecological problem after all: sea depletion, deforestation, uncontrolled demographic growth, nuclear catastrophes, etc. All them can be addressed in good judgement: development of solar and other renewable energy sources, global ban on bottom trawling, global ban on wild forest destruction products (just as it was done with ivory), free condoms and women empowering… and more solar power.

    But the economic conditions of globalized uncontrolled markets do not allow for that but exactly for the opposite (barring partial exceptions like Germany or Cuba). So the only hope for the environment is a radical change in political and economic reality. Sadly revolutions only happen (at least most of them) when things are already desperate, so it’s hard to imagine the much needed change in the time-frame demanded by the article.

    As for human survival, in principle seems almost certain: 7 degrees hotter will not directly kill us (some may even welcome them) and humans are a bit like rats and seagulls: flexible opportunists able to survive almost every situation (at least some of us should survive, barring nuclear holocaust) but what will those survivors eat, on what natural resources will their economy rely on if most wildlife has been destroyed in just few decades? Maybe most critically: how will nuclear holocaust be avoided when Humankind is set to desperately fight for the last available resources for lack of any rational planning whatsoever?

    The future looks starkly dark. Radical change is urgently needed indeed – and at global level. But I have no idea on how to precipitate it.

  5. AmirS

    Will Man Survive?

    7 billion people will not survive. A small fraction of us might in this scenario. The Earth can just about produce enough food to feed all people alive today, in what are almost certainly optimum global conditions for food production. When wheat, rice and corn cannot be grown on the majority of the Earth’s surface due to climate change then most people will die.

    People need to become self-interested enough to realise that they and their descendants will probably not be in the small fraction of the human race that does survive in this scenario, and therefore we should be doing something to avert climate change now.

    1. craazyboy

      There is extensive literature on this subject!

      many scenarios, but here are a few:

      1) Zardoz (movie) – a small elite build a force field dome over their exclusive city – then give an endless supply of guns to the savages roaming in the wild.

      2) Mad Max style – War Lords take over and cannibalize existing resources. The rest of us don’t do so well.

      3) My favorite new, unique scenario – Terminal City by Allistar Reynolds.

      Set in the very far future, post civilization fall, but the author doesn’t say which one. The current inhabitants of earth lost most historical records, tho they know something really big happened 5000 years ago (on their timeline).

      They live in a world where genetic engineering, at the peak of civilization, resulted in “angel” overlords – ultra high intelligence humans with wings that could fly – and some other offshoots of the standard model human being.

      The other odd part (from our perspective) is that space-time properties change from location to location. Depending on the “zone” you are in, certain technology will work, some will not. There is a Neon City, Steam Town, and Horse Town (get it?). It’s generally fatal for humans to cross zones, because your cells get all bent out of shape and chemistry works different. But there is a drug that counters the effects, so some people travel.

      The main characters in the plot begin to try to piece together what little bits of history are known, and slowly come to believe that, at peak civilization, humans (or post humans) controlled space-time for the purposes of space travel. The mechanism broke, then the whole world went “pear shaped”, to say the least.

      So that just goes to show. If it’s not one thing, then it’s another…

    2. F. Beard

      Man will do doubt survive and woman too.

      You should be concerned with your own survival and guess what? It won’t be concern over CO2 that decides whether you do or not.

      Question? You walk in a room and see 1,000,000 pencils balanced on their tips. What do you do? Walk softly so as not to disturb that delicate situation or assume that SOMETHING or SOMEONE is keeping them there?

      That’s the situation with the Earth. We are delicately balanced between a runaway greenhouse effect and runaway glaciation.

      Despair folks, of your own adequacy, because you have none wrt physical survival, much less spiritual.

  6. Banger

    Whether or not greenhouse gas emissions are a catastrophic or minor threat is not the critical issue here. We are talking about a seriously complex system and we also should know that these systems can alter in drastic ways whenever an equilibrium point is reached and passed.

    We are, it seems to me, playing Russian Roulette here. The sad part is that we don’t have to do it. The reason we are doing it and not making preparations for the worst-case scenarios as we would if a asteroid had some chance of hitting us, is political and ideological.

    The political reason is that the oligarchy that dominates the U.S. depends on carbon fuels for everything as does U.S. power in the world. Our military is dominated by the need for stunningly large amounts of carbon inputs–the military has sought, since the oil shock, to militarily dominate the ME region in order to maintain control of the major source of oil in the world ensuring that no other power can question U.S. military and political dominance of the world.

    The globalization project itself is based on massive use of carbon fuels and completely ignoring externalities, i.e., passing on any environmental costs to both the poor nations of the world and future generation.

    Ladies and gents, this system stinks. While morality, compassion, honor and, indeed, reason and science are ignored the rich and powerful march on with ever greater and more numerous mansions and lavish apartments in the world’s capital, the largest boats, the finest airplanes and mistresses and boy-toys the earth and civil society are paying a price.

    If we were to change course and adopt a path towards alternative energy and, more importantly, elegantly designed systems it would not only minimize catastrophic risk but enhance our lives. We would be spending less time consuming mass quantities of junk and more time going to parties and celebrating life rather than toiling like serfs on the big Plantation that is the globalization project.

    Think about this: we are close to developing not just better 3-D printers but small scale robotic factories that can produce much of what we need locally. We have techniques that can help us grow our own food locally without lavish spending on fuel and oil-based chemicals and that’s with just a few lone nuts designing and thinking up of ways of doing things that are being consistently repressed by a system that does everything it can do to discourage these new techniques and has since many of these design ideas came to the fore up to a half-century ago.

    1. EmilianoZ

      You’ve said many times elsewhere that the elites governing us were for the most part rational and successful in their goals of global domination. How do you square that with their inaction as regards GW?

      Sure, as you say, they rely heavily on carbon fuels. But, on the other hand, GW will create enormous disruption and instability. Surely they must have carefully weighed the two.

      Do they think they can insulate themselves from millions of truly desperate people?

      1. the Heretic

        Cognittive dissonance, confirmation bias, truth denial, comfortable complacency, narrow mindedness; these are diseases of the human mind that can inflict all persons, even the power elite, who in other matters are able to manipulate passive population to do their will.

        Our elites worship the Beast, which we now call the global financial system. Just like the story of ‘Bel and the Dragon’, it is a man-made Diety, which, if we had the will, we could easily over come. But the real monster that we face will be the coming climate and pollution disaster over the next century, the true Leviathan of our time; and IT will not be satisfied with money.

        God forgive for our complacency.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          When you say, if we had the will, do you mean ‘if we believed in ourselves?’

          Also, is it heretical to say that gematria is all about confirmation bias?

          1. The Heretic

            “When you say, if we had the will, do you mean ‘if we believed in ourselves?’

            Also, is it heretical to say that gematria is all about confirmation bias?”

            What do I mean by ‘if we had the will’. I mean that if we had the will to expend the effort, to suffer the pain and sacrifice for the goal, yet knowing that we still might not succeed, but we lay a foundation for others. I know I am not there yet, but when I look at little children, I know that change must occur for their sake.

            I would be more comfortable undertaking a cause, knowing that there would be success. i.e.’ I believed in myself’. But the change required of the Western world is truly massive. It is a false narrative to believe that change can occur for so many, so quickly. When have the people of an empire ever had a massive change of heart and saved themselves? I do not recall any. Many a good prophet was burned for speaking out on much less.

            Please explain gematria please.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Very nice put. Let’s believe in ourselves that we have the will to achieve the goal.

              This is from Wiki:

              Gematria or gimatria (Hebrew: גימטריא/גימטריה‎ gēmaṭriyā) is a traditional Jewish system of assigning numerical value to a word or phrase, in the belief that words or phrases with identical numerical values bear some relation to each other, or bear some relation to the number itself as it may apply to a person’s age, the calendar year, or the like

        2. F. Beard

          God forgive for our complacency. the Heretic

          Yes indeed. Complacency about a money system that is based on usury and theft.

          But about CO2? Plant food? The stuff that keeps us from being as cold as the Moon?

          Just what God are you asking forgiveness from? A God who expects us to fret over our daily bread and thermostat setting? Or the God who commands that we be just?

      2. Banger

        Yes, the elites are successful and, on the whole, they are no that concerned with climate change because they have the resources to weather all but the most catastrophic scenarios. From their way of thinking being in power and in control trumps all other considerations.

        As an aside, my experience of the rich is that they are increasingly alienated from the rest of humanity and are insulated by grovelling employees and hangers-on who serve as an echo chamber–you have to see it to believe it. Many appear to have absolute confidence in their infallibility as a result.

        The other thing to not forget is the people who are active and in power are so in love with the game they would play it even as an asteroid were about to hit the earth.

        1. EmilianoZ

          Sounds like they’re successful but not that rational or intelligent. Or only intelligent in a narrow sense (cunning?).

          With people like these at the helm, we’re toast!

          1. Banger

            That has been my direct observation. Also, those that serve these people from the “best” universities show an almost stunning amount of ignorance–they are experts not of intellectual analysis (outside their narrow specialties) but blind conformity and group-think.

        2. Crazy Horse

          I think there is more to the psychology of the ruling class elite than unadulterated greed or belief that wealth will enable them to survive and prosper in any foreseeable circumstance.

          I’d argue that the ability to function in a state of cognitive dissonance is a Pre-Condition to being a member of the ruling class. The process of socialization into a family of wealth or the experience of climbing to a position of power from humble beginnings like our President Obomber did requires that the individual psychologically suppress any knowledge of the implications of their actions upon the underclass and the greater planetary exosphere. If they are unsuccessful in sociopathologically managing cognitive dissonance they may turn to drugs or suicide, but they will not become a Master of the Universe or an Imperial President.

    2. Gaius Publius

      I think Banger gets it right, with this one addition. The bigs not only need the carbon for fuel, they need it for monster future income.

      Nearly 3000 gigatons are in the ground as “proven reserves” and those assets are on somebody’s books. But they’re unmonetized. Plus add all new assets due from the exploration of the (ahem) newly explorable Arctic, and you’re looking at a huge wad of dough. These guys live for huge wads of dough.

      Is Barack Obama (or any 1st world leader of a large and important country) going to tell Rex Tillerson (Exxon CEO) to write off his assets. How’s that phone call to David Koch going to go? (My guess: “You want your library? Back off.”)

      Those unmonetized assets must be kept out of the air totally, which means, in an ideal world, written down to zero. Any compromise with that — in which any of those carbon assets that get monetized — means more carbon ends up in the air. Zero emissions is what we need to get to ASAP.

      My short addition to what was said above. Thanks, Banger.


      1. Banger

        Well, I would go a little further–yes, the library and speaking fees are important but the oligarchs are no different from any similar group throughout human history and failing the carrot they will make the offer that cannot be refused. Americans, being hopelessly stuck on American Exceptionalism (both on the left and right) believe that there was history and there is history after the USA. Oligarchs and heavy-duty guys don’t f!ck around. They don’t on the small local gang-level and they don’t on the larger scale power stage. Almost always players know the inherent threat that goes largely unspoken which explains, IMHO, the incredible cowardice in politics and in the mainstream media.

  7. Eleanor

    I agree with Maju and Amir. The future does not look good. If it turns out as badly as I fear, most humans will die. James Lovelock has said the human population will be one billion by the end of this century. I assume the rich think they will survive, most likely in armored enclaves in Antarctica.

    However, I believe we have the resources to mostly save the world. The problems are political, not technological.

    1. Banger

      The future is still unpredictable–we can only look at the risks as best we can. Emotionally, believing things look bad can be bad and make us sick. Paridigm changes can happen very suddenly–and “something” is going on at this time in human society. Could be a turn for the better or worse but something is shifting. To be simple, large numbers of people no longer trust the authorities for reasons they can, at best, half-articulate.

    2. Ignacio

      “I assume the rich think they will survive, most likely in armored enclaves in Antarctica”

      I think that this sense of “not too long to catastrophe” migth be having a role in the recent political drift that supports anti-egalitarian policies, increasing inequality and social darwinism. Why tea partiers shamelessly trim the food stamp program?

  8. Andrea

    These summaries by G. P. are pretty good and very informative. The long view is great.

    However, one of my pet beefs, such ‘average’ ‘world’ measurements don’t take regional variability, particular cases, and different rubrics or measurements into account.

    Many in the world welcome global warming – they will be able to grow wheat and other crops. Or even open up beaches and the like!

    Others don’t care as they will adapt (they think, varied terrain.)

    The rich or the 1% count on their power to move anything endlessly about. Themselves, their support industries, their servants.

    Generally, regions not exposed to drought (they think) and water rich (or Fossil Fuel rich which permits them to buy or organize water to some degree) tend to snub neighbors in less favorable conditions. And so on.

    Denying global warming is not at first call denying ‘Science’ but signals sections of the PTB feeling immune to the threat and trusting their clout will protect them. (As well as certain industries who don’t want to be curbed.)

    As for the measures, the melting of Arctic ice / other glaciers (wildly underestimated by projections), the rise in of ocean sea-levels (ditto), and temp. rises (somewhat overestimated for now) all play varying roles in different places. Other events such as wildfires, collapsing mountains, rockslides, landslides, coast erosion, storms, avalanches, tsumanis, invasive species, crop failure, drought, water loss, bio diversity down, etc. which vary from place to place are kind of left aside in the big picture. (I know J. Hansen made an appeal in this direction. It was clumsy.)

    So I do feel this overall, averaging, approach can’t have much impact, if only because we don’t have a World Gvmt, but have World Temperatures.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Most of the places that have arable land are being farmed. Climate change is making a lot of them less productive. Given our highly mechanized Big Ag and dependence on existing waterways and other transportation infrastructure, even if the areas that were warming did provide arable land comparable to what is being lost or compromised (big if) it’s a BIG effort to reorganize resources to get comparable yields.

      So poor people are gonna starve. That is pretty much baked in.

      1. Crazy Horse

        The belief that we’ll simply move our Iowa corn production to northern Alberta if the climate warms up is as delusional as many other denialist fantasies. The soil that allows high yields in Iowa took many thousands of years for natural processes to develop. Current petrochemical agriculture is on pace to mine it to death in a few decades, or it can become nothing more than dust storms blowing in the wind if the rains that sustain plant growth cease to fall and desertification takes place. And the soil left behind by a dying northern boreal forest may well be entirely unsuited for any form of food crop cultivation much as the laetrile soils of the Brazilian rain forest have proven to have evolved along with their forest cover.

  9. Massinissa

    Lets be honest, global warming cannot be stopped if we remain in the logic of the world capitalist system. For humanity to survive, global capitalism must either be replaced, or mutated so significantly it evolves into a completely different system entirely.

    And I see neither of those things happen, at least not before at least a few hundred million people start dying.

    The capitalist system benefits too many, especially in the west (dont pretend the middle class is not still benefiting from capitalism, albeit far less than a few decades ago), for it to collapse with a whimper like the Soviet Union did. The most powerful social forces, i.e. the 1%, will expend the lives of millions of others if they believe it will lead to the continuation of their socioeconomic privileges. They are more than willing to fiddle while rome burns if it means they can prop up the global capitalist empire for a few more hours.

    This train is heading off an unfinished bridge and the emergency brake is broken. Tighten your seat belts… This wont be pleasant for anyone, even the economic elites.

  10. Publius Democritus

    Is this statement from your otherwise amazingly informative and alarming essay a joke: “We might survive as a species (we’re awfully smart)…”

    Awfully smart?

    Unless you were being ironic, that is simply not true, or you are using a very narrow measure of intelligence and wisdom.

    1. Gaius Publius

      No, I’m actually being serious. I’ve given a lot of thought to the survival of our species. In a worst case scenario, our population numbers will obviously be greatly reduced.

      But in small numbers we’re very good opportunists. It’s why we’re the last hominid on the planet — and our primary characteristic. If there are habitable parts of the globe, and something like a food supply, we may well make it after all (well, not us individually, but … you know).

      Or not. Thanks for the question though.


  11. Publius Democritus

    As far as the elite’s ability to survive, I think they greatly overestime their chances.

    The idea that modern, high-tech industry will survive the coming catastrophe is laughable.

    The author of this article makes the cardinal mistake of other techno-optimists – and yes, I put him in the camp of a techno-optimist. He deifies human ingenuity, as though it places us in a whole new category of creature that is almost immaterial, and can magically “survive” the destruction of the environment to which it is adapted.

    At the very least, industrial civilization will collapse. Good riddance. It has been on a genocidal, omnicidal rampage. It no longer produces art worth reading, listening to, or viewing.

    The miracle solution, which is unlikely but possible: the industrial world kills itself off with war, economic collapse, and starvation, leaving a remnant to live a pre-industrial but civilized lifestyle, where people are not alienated from the land, each other, and their labor.

    There really is nothing worth saving in the current paradigm, unless mere quantity itself is a quality worth saving. That’s a value judgment that few wise humans who have been alive at other times in our history would make.

    1. Gaius Publius

      See my reply to you just above. I don’t think technology will save us:

      What will save us, meaning us today, is zero carbon into the air as fast as we can do it. One way to get there — if the panic happens before the window closes, we’ll have critical mass to help us force the issue. There are other ways as well.

      We’ll never know if we don’t try. As I said above: “Block to the whistle. Tackle to the ground. Play to the end of the game.” So far, game’s not over.

      This isn’t a complaint, just a clarification of my own position. Thanks for the thoughts.


  12. zephyrum

    Years ago I had a series of episodes of dizziness, numbness, and tinitus. After some initial tests failed to lead to a diagnosis, both my internist and the ENT specialist recommended a whole day of somewhat uncomfortable tests to nail down the cause. I was about to pursue this but then thought to ask how the test results would affect the recommended therapy. After some hemming and hawing it turned out that there was no difference. The day of testing would–at best–determine a name for the pathology. To their annoyance I refused the tests, but I did take some corrective measures to my lifestyle. Eventually the episodes tapered off and ended.

    These cliamate discussions seem to be the same kind of thing. You have 97% or whatever of the experts saying cause “X”, but still an amazing 3% willing to risk their careers by disagreeing. And yet what does it matter? How many angels can sit on the head of a pin?

    Seems to me we need to address our collective human behavior regardless. There is much that is wasteful today. Let’s correct that, live more lightly upon the earth, and then take life as it comes.

    1. anon y'mouse

      aside: how did you relieve these symptoms?

      I know someone who has been experiencing the same, after a whiplash type injury. constantly on the lookout for something that could help them live day-to-day.

    2. pretzelattack

      risking their career? got any examples? lindzen and michaels seem to be doing just fine. and the “therapy” isn’t the same; immediately taking whatever steps are necessary to reduce carbon emissions is specific to the theory that co2 and other greenhouse gasses are causing the temperature to rise.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      This is really faulty logic.

      In medicine, there is $ in overtreating people. The “who stands to profit” runs the exact opposite direction on the climate question. The big money is funding the opposition, but you obscure that fact in your tender story.

      Here big oil is funding the opposition. Exxon and others have advertised they’d pay for people to write papers against global warming.

      Read the book Agnotology. The techniques being used are exactly like those used to try to undermine the science that showed that smoking caused lung cancer. The fought a 30 year battle. How many people died as a result????

    4. zephyrum

      anon y’mouse says: aside: how did you relieve these symptoms?
      I was fortunate that after a couple years the attacks tapered off on their own. I still get a small one every few years. It’s a difficult and complex area of medicine.

      Yves Smith says:This is really faulty logic.

      Yves, with great respect, I think you miss my point so please allow me to state it more directly, without the “tender” story.

      Most people participating in discussions involving climate seem consumed by a desire to everyone agree to a consensus conclusion, a single point of view, regarding the direction of climate change and human involvement in same. I’m saying that this effort is wasted when we should persue the same course of action regardless–i.e. minimize waste and minimize human impact on the environment.

      (The point of my story is that the scientific analysis doesn’t matter when it does not change your action.)

      Yves, that you immediately raise the “follow the money” issue here seems more about the waters in which you swim than my comment, which had nothing to do with money or motivations.

  13. steve from virginia

    Climate change is indeed worrisome, what has occurred to date is the result of climate gases put into the atmosphere prior to World War Two … before the ‘Great Automobile Era’ and the industrialization of the developing world. More warming is baked into the cake (or baked into something else) regardless of what is done.

    None of the above takes into account ‘Peak Oil’ which over time will reduce the ability to access fossil fuels including oil, itself. Most folks consider Peak Oil as reference to the maximum measure physical production but this is not correct. Instead it is the point where people cease becoming rich by burning more petroleum but start becoming poor by doing so; by the need to become poor in order to gain fuel. Becoming poor is an ongoing process and self-evident: if people were becoming richer there would be no Naked Capitalism in its current form: burning more petroleum = less whining.

    The ‘poverty peak oil’ occurred in 1998, we’re almost twenty years into the down-side!

    The outcome looks to be more poverty, more extreme poverty overlaid with the consequences of the past fuel consumption with little in the way of future fuel consumption to ameliorate conditions.

    There are alternatives but nobody cares so you are on your own …

      1. Lambert Strether

        “The plan”? Yes, and I would bet it’s actually Dick Cheny’s plan, the one the public was never allowed to see because the Bush administration went to court to prevent that. Naturally, the “most transparent administration in history” released it immediately. Oh, wait…

      2. steve from virginia

        There may be plenty of carbon fuels in the ground but what matters is what we do with the carbon after it’s out of the ground, what we have access to now.

        We burn what we have and use the burning process as collateral for our money (loans). Some of the loans are used to gain more fuel to burn … an increased percentage of these funds is hived off to pay debt service and retirement of maturing loans. The burning of fuel by itself does not offer a return, it is universally a loss-making enterprise. Any returns are ‘fake’ (really more loans).

        Detroit is an example of this dynamic at work. The city has become impoverished because of the prior success of the auto industry which enriched itself at the expense of its own customers (not its workers)! Autos provided fun … there was never any value return for users. Cars have been — and are — platforms for more loans and more waste. The public has been bankrupted by the aggregate cost of decades of $20 crude + debt service; what will the $100 variety do?

        HINT: it won’t take decades to find out.

    1. Crazy Horse

      Peak Oil has already passed in case you didn’t notice. The date was 2005. We are on the Peak Plateau at the moment, but no amount of fracking will change the shape of the downward curve over even as short a period as a couple of decades.

      From the standpoint of the geo-sphere, the remaining coal deposits are much more crucial. There is more than enough mineable coal on the planet to tilt the atmospheric balance toward a non-equilibrium warming– perhaps even a runaway feedback that creates a new uninhabitable planet. The natural gas fracking bubble is but a diversion— as long as the Great God Growth is worshiped that coal will be burned to fire the engine of Growth until runaway climate change puts a stop to it and to the Weed Species (human) era.

  14. susan the other

    War has always been our agent of change. Destruction is also the capitalist paradigm. What do we need to destroy to maintain the planet now: war and capitalism and all our shiny trinkets? Cars. Plastics. Chemicals. Coal. Nuclear. Heat. Air conditioning. Industrial agriculture. Packaging. Investments. All finance which once supported the carbon era. Etc. So then what do we keep? That’s a much harder question. We begin to keep a balance. We begin to practice conservation. Instead of a consumer society, we create a world where we can live without disrupting the natural energy cycle. We share. But keeping a balance is such an intangible. We are conditioned to think that only material, man-made objects have value. Those of us who do not have material possessions become homeless, mal-nutritioned and diseased. And our money is even based on this material assumption. Buying and selling carbon “credits” was based on this assumption. We have to change our entire way of thinking. The worst sentence GP just gave us was “Governments have no control over populations.”

    1. Chris Rogers

      @Susan the other,

      As a dystopian, something of a British trait so I’m led to believe, I’m not as pessimistic on population control as perhaps yourself and GP are – although I get mighty rattled when I keep hearing economists talk bullshite about ageing populations and requirements to replenish the stock shall we say if nations are to remain competitive with each other.

      However, I digress, the fact remains governments can intervene to crack down on on unrestricted population growth – the kind of growth that is presently underway in much of Asia and Africa, and that this need not be of the more fascist variety of control that many accuse the Greens of wishing to utilise.

      One nation that has managed to keep a lid on its population is Bangladesh, and all I can say is this is a good thing, because if its population were 50-100 million more its poverty levels would be higher than they are today, which are huge indeed.

      That said, many are opposed to population control, and we won’t even start with wealth-redistribution, which would affect said population control.

      The sad thing is as it presently stands, without a global revolution we seem doomed, and our masters are doing everything in their power to prevent said revolution – perhaps they’ll wake up when Wall Street and the City of London are six feet underwater, regrettably, I doubt this very much.

  15. BondsOfSteel

    7C is not gonna happen. All of the scenarios sets A and B assume that population either grows or stays the same.

    Once we get past 3C, population will probably decline… rapidly.

  16. Jeremy Grimm

    The two most recent posts at RealClimate [] further buttress a compelling case for global warming. The details presented in “What ocean heating reveals about global warming” and some of the comments related to that post should address most of the concerns about the origin and import of the recent ‘flattening’ of warming [a flattening for land temperatures] reportedly noted in the new IPCC report.

    As for the ongoing global warming deniers and victims of cognitive disonnance — the recent book by Phillip Mirowski, “Never Let a Serious Crisis Go To Waste”, relates the activities and organizations obsfucating the causes and redress to the ongoing economic crisis to those similarly obsfucating the causes, impact, and possible redress of global warming. Mirowski builds a case that both campaigns exemplify a new kind of propaganda that’s been termed agnotology.

  17. F. Beard

    Of course it’s the money system (usury for stolen purchasing power) that drives the need for insane growth.

    I’d bet our money system was designed in Hell because it gives us only two options:

    1) Be a victim
    2) Be a victimizer.

    Good luck with making that work properly! /sarc

    1. Gaius Publius

      Thanks, Tenney. I haven’t written much about this, but job one to scrub carbon is reforestation, and that can have a significant effect. There’s a lot in the literature about it.


    2. F. Beard

      So sure, aren’t yall? Not at all concerned that the CO2 may be preventing an ice age? Not at all concerned that the increased CO2 may be necessary to feed the world’s growing population?

      Not at all concerned that God may hold you responsible if it backfires?

      I once dreamed I was in Hell. It was dreary, hot and humid but not really that much worse than a dark, humid day in Houston in the summer (However, the people in Houston are generally nice or at least they are down in Clear Lake). But I wanted out of that place so I started digging! I got maybe 6 feet down and then the bottom fell out and I gazed at a blazing lake of fire as far as I could see in all directions.

      The lesson learned? That there is no PRACTICAL way to escaped deserved punishment from God.

      1. Walter Map

        There’s no PRACTICAL way to determine if there has ever been ANY deserved punishment from your deity.

        You’ve wandered into the wrong room again, Mr. Beard. This is a blog about Political Economy. Hellfire and Brimstone is down the hall.

        1. F. Beard

          I suggest you read Deuteronomy 28 and then the history of the Hebrews (starting with the Bible) including the Babylonian Captivity, the Destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, their treatment in Medieval Europe, in Spain, and under Hitler. It is indeed a Miracle that they survive and always shall (at least a remnant shall).

          The Jews are a prototype of Man’s relationship with God and the Bible is a record of that relationship. The wise will read and learn thereby.

          1. Walter Map

            You worship a genocidal maniac with a pathologically weak ego who’s into ritual cannibalism and human sacrifice. It’s distorted your personality, and we can only hope you don’t plan to imitate him.

            1. F. Beard

              In order:

              right (I hope!)
              right (for the better, I hope!)

              My only plans are to get ready to die and to do so soon afterwards (I hope), assuming I have no outstanding obligations.

      1. Walter Map

        Recreating the Carboniferous Era would probably take too long and be too late. Same for turning a few hundred square km of the Pacific into an algal bloom CO2 removal industry. It would help to have a technology that would minimize cloud cover to maximize nightside radiative cooling, but no such technology has yet been developed. Given the scale of the problem several such approaches would probably be needed at the same time.

        You could confiscate the assets of the fossil fuel industry to pay for it all, but since civilization would have to give up fossil fuels those assets wouldn’t actually be worth anything.

  18. david gesek

    No discussion here of the impact on the very thin atmosphere that makes our Sun a ‘giver-of-life’ and not the ultimate killing machine. I suggest that the author take an entry-level course in astronomy. I also strongly reccomend an old BBC special called “Heart of the World” about the Cogi tribe that lives in the Sierra Madre in Columbia.
    Homo Saipian is not seperate from nature. Narcissism allows the mentally ill to believe that 40,000 (or 1 million, whatever the tiny number)years down from the trees is somehow ‘significant’. To quote the Cogi Priests “EVERYTHING will go BLACK”!

  19. allcoppedout

    I’m not really interested in disagreeing with GP – I’d just welcome wider debate and more of the science. What we need to improve is public scrutiny. This runs up against Banger’s first rule that the bastards in charge are holding the guns and default authority difficult to challenge. We face the instruments of torture as surely as previous victims of mad, religious control frauds.
    Try to make your mind up on almost any issue of significance and you find yourself with a mass of misinformation, trivia and conflicting reports mostly produced without scientific method from all sides. I’m pretty convinced now that authority lies to us more often than not. On GW I can’t remember a single decent programme full of informed scientists without media jerks getting in the way, or wheeling in establishment buffoons.

    I’d put the beginning of the argument as this – we don’t have to fully believe GW to stop using fossil fuels. We could just agree stopping FF use is a good idea and set up a modular economics to do it. What scares which people off this? If we all go green, who loses out?

    1. Walter Map

      If we all go green the fossil fuel industry loses out on more than $500 billion a year in profits and a trillion per year in subsidies.

      That’s a lot of incentive to reject reality and hire professional liars. It’s also a lot of incentive to get wars started up that kill and destroy the lives of millions.

      They’ll risk the planet before giving up that kind of money.

      The love of money may not be the root of all evil, but it certainly accounts for most of it.

  20. John

    Schooled by Jay Hanson of more than Jay Hansen of NASA, I expect we are on track for the +7 deg warming you speak of.
    However, I also realize that our reptilian brains might save us after a fashion.
    If the extreme economic dislocation of oil decline were to be brought on quickly, that might just save the day. That day won’t be a lot of fun.
    I come to this conclusion after reading the William Polk article on sarin gas and the Syrian civil war. The point was made that this is a global warming war. Syria has had extreme drought since 2006, which has driven conservative rural farmers off the land to rub elbows in the Syrian cities with Iraqi and Palestinian refugees. Assad approached us for assistance, but USAID had “other priorities”. Presto, magico, a good civil war several years later.
    This may not be the one, but there probably is one out there that will shut down Ghawar. It could happen in oh so many ways.
    When that comes, it will be about pricing and all the oil in Texas and North Dakota won’t fix that. And there will be a lot less carbon being spewed into the air.
    Until that happens, I expect most Americans (excluding NC readers) would agree with Stephen Colbert in wishing that we could burn the innocence of children to run our cars.
    I would prefer rational chosen solutions, but the reptile might also get the job done.

  21. Walter Map

    There are so many threats of tremendous seriousness to civilization that one has to wonder how it manages to survive. Catastrophic climate change is only one of those threats.

    One day I added up all the risks in the complicated risk-analysis way, and guess what? Civilization doesn’t survive. By all rights civilization should have reduced itself to a whopping crappy mess years ago. For half the global population it’s already a whopping crappy mess. The rest gets by largely on hard work and sheer luck.

    Sooner or later the luck, the resources, and the conditions that support civilization will all run too thin. The power to destroy civilization continues to increase and the rich and powerful do you no favours. Generally speaking, people need to stop taking so very much for granted.

    Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
    Old Time is still a-flying;
    And this same flower that smiles today
    Tomorrow will be dying.

    Good night, and good luck.

    1. F. Beard

      What? You think the West’s relative survival ability is unrelated to the fact that the West is or at least was mostly Christian?

      The Rapture will allow you to test that hypothesis since the pesky Christians will be gone.

      Hint: Be kind to the Jews, ye that remain, since whether you go to Heaven or Hell will depend on that:

      “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Matthew 25:34-36 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

      1. Walter Map

        Sorry to always be the one to harsh your mellow, Mr. Beard, but the Rapture occurred in 1426 and you missed it by several hundred years.

        Your god isn’t going to save you. He doesn’t save anybody. He never has, and has had loads of missed opportunities. He’s the cultural product of fear and wishful thinking and exists only in the way a fictional person exists. You wish your god exists because self-deception is limitless, but all the wishes in all the world in all of history cannot conjure up a deity, and never will.

        Then star nor sun shall waken
        Nor any change of light,
        Nor sound of waters shaken
        Nor any sound or sight.
        Nor wintry leaves nor vernal,
        Nor days nor things diurnal.
        Only the sleep eternal
        In an eternal night.

        1. F. Beard

          You wish your god exists because self-deception is limitless, … Walter Map

          No, I KNOW He exists but that’s no accomplishment since even the demons know that and SHUDDER.

          When I’ve gone AWOL it wasn’t to seek God but to indulge my own wicked (perhaps only selfish when my true love was the object and that’s why God was lenient in those cases) imagination with the powerful aid of a prescription drug. During those times I happily turned my back on God while the good times rolled but only to turn back to Him afterwards BECAUSE WHO ELSE WOULD EVEN CARE much less be able to save such a wretch as me?

      2. skippy

        “What? You think the West’s relative survival ability is unrelated to the fact that the West is or at least was mostly Christian?” – beardo

        If you mean the death – subjugation of indigenous populations and theft of their resources… we might agree.

        skippy… what happens when they can’t play that game anymore?

        1. F. Beard

          what happens when they can’t play that game anymore? skippy

          Indeed! That’s why I strongly suggest we abandon our money system for an ethical one and aim for the Biblical ideal of family farms, orchards, vineyards, family businesses, etc. in the hope that the Lord will spare us and allow us another 1000 years or so to appreciate His wisdom.

          But why should I? Do you think it’s spiritually safe of me to recommend such? When the Anti-Christ and the False Prophet might easily recommend something similar? When John warns that friendship with the world is enmity with God?

          Shouldn’t I just fold my hands wrt public policy, wait for the Rapture, and watch the smiting from a balcony in Heaven?

          Maybe but then there this:

          Alas, you who are longing for the day of the Lord,
          For what purpose will the day of the Lord be to you?

          It will be darkness and not light;
          As when a man flees from a lion
          And a bear meets him,
          Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall
          And a snake bites him.
          Will not the day of the Lord be darkness instead of light,
          Even gloom with no brightness in it?

          “I hate, I reject your festivals,
          Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies.
          “Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings,
          I will not accept them;
          And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings.
          “Take away from Me the noise of your songs;
          I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.
          “But let justice roll down like waters
          And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
          Amos 5:18-24 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

          THAT’S the God you hate and wouldn’t give an even break if your life depended on it?!

          1. skippy

            What you don’t respond too, is more informative of your position… than what you do.

            Simply put… I care about continuity of – all life (potential) – and how this can be achieved… in the face of so much ignorance – false positives…. where some only envisage more of the same rubbish that got us here in the first place.

            Whats the definition of insanity again?

            Anywho your romantic – one size fits all solution – has zero relativity wrt what lays down the road.

            skippy… hating a void is impossible

            1. F. Beard

              where some only envisage more of the same rubbish that got us here in the first place. skippy

              We’ve been over that. The money system is UN-BIBLICAL or at least is Christian-vs-Christian or Jew-vs-Jew. Otoh, you [Yiddish accent] I should charge interest!

              Void? Isn’t that what you’ll be in a few decades according to your own reckoning?

              Look. You’re not even as smart as a good bridge player since if the only way to win is for the cards to lay a certain way then one should ASSUME they lay that way and play accordingly.

              I suggest you really try hard to see things the Lord’s way. He is Most High, Almighty, Holy etc BUT He isn’t infinite so cut Him some slack.

              Also you’d better up your game since you’re beginning to bore me and I have the option of wiping my feet of your dust and filing you with whats-his-name as a waste of time.

              1. skippy

                You are not a – tool – of “divinity” unless the conversation – ongoing in *your head* – determines it… too be so~

                skippy…. look around you and apply that optic, see a pattern.

                1. F. Beard

                  Why on Earth would I take advice from you? If I’m wrong, I’ll die and never know it. But if you’re wrong?!!!

                  Ezra 8:22
                  For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to protect us from the enemy on the way, because we had said to the king, “The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him.”

      3. Optimader

        The concept of the soul’s supposed immortality was first taught in ancient Egypt and Babylon. “The belief that the soul continues in existence after the dissolution of the body is…speculation…nowhere expressly taught in Holy Scripture…The belief in the immortality of the soul came to the Jews from contact with Greek thought and chiefly through the philosophy of Plato, its principal exponent, who was led to it through Orphic and Eleusinian mysteries in which Babylonian and Egyptian views were strangely blended” ( Jewish Encyclopedia, 1941, Vol. 6, “Immortality of the Soul,” pp. 564, 566).

      4. Optimader

        Dont hold your breath on heaven beard
        Jesus did not tell His disciples they should expect to dwell in heaven. He spoke instead of a kingdom belonging to God in heaven that is to be established on the earth at Christ’s second coming. Notice Jesus’ explanation that He would come to join His followers on earth at His return rather than have them come to live with Him in heaven where He currently resides.
        After Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, He spent 40 days teaching His disciples, instructing them about the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3
        ). After this He joined His Father in heaven. Notice the instruction His disciples received after He rose into the sky:
        “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven'” (Acts 1:9-11).
        Jesus speaks repeatedly of His return to establish the Kingdom of God on earth (Matthew 25:31-34; Luke 21:27-31). He will return to earth and establish His Kingdom here —not in heaven. In what is commonly called the Lord’s Prayer, He instructs His followers to pray to their heavenly Father, “Your kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10; Luke 11:2). That kingdom is the true goal of every Christian (Matthew 6:33); we are to pray for its arrival.

        1. F. Beard

          Yes, there will be a 1000 year Earthy Kingdom of God but it will be co-ruled by worthy Christians in their new, eternal bodies. Meanwhile those Christians who have passed away are in Heaven. And after the 1000 years, Satan will be released for one final temptation of mankind, many will follow him and be summarily destroyed and then God will create a new Heaven and a new Earth.

          Even the Old Testament points out the resurrection of the dead in Daniel:

          “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.” Daniel 12:1-4 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

          Please, do your own homework. I can’t be expected to correct obvious errors and you’ve little chance of being saved on my testimony alone anyway. Nor will I accept the responsibility.

      5. Crazy Horse

        Seems to me that the Prime Directive from your God (at least the Protestant version) has been to go forth into the Wilderness and conquer it for the “betterment” of Mankind. You know, take off that mountain top to get at the coal, drill that oil well in the Gulf, burn that rainforest to plant soy beans, start a child labor sweat shop and get rich off their efforts—.

        The Catholic version seems to have been “go forth and bugger all the young choir boys.”

        At least the Mormon version advocated gathering a large enough harem to allow the Elder to spread his seed and live off the labor of his wives.

        Sorry Beardo, I choose to not bow down to the God who stands aside while Crusaders stretch people on the rack or drop atomic bombs on cities. As a matter of fact I believe that I, as a mere human, have a more highly developed sense of morality than He does.

        Of course there is the little matter of complete lack of any shred of evidence that the One you continually refer to exists.

        1. F. Beard

          Of course there is the little matter of complete lack of any shred of evidence that the One you continually refer to exists. Crazy Horse

          The evidence is MORE that sufficient. Or do you want the evidence SO COMPELLING that even Jack the Ripper can’t deny it? That sorta defeats the purpose of life being a test, doesn’t it?

          Look. Lucifer was created PERFECT with every advantage and even he went bad. Can you therefore blame God if He insists we all be rigorously tested? So He can turn His back on those who pass without risking a knife in it?

  22. Jim

    Okay, but, I see global warming is/as good. More CO2, help plants grow, feeds more people, and related to this is more rain to sustain the plants. To tend plants you need more “planters”, and therefore agriculture, good.
    Now, tell me why is it bad? Fewer glaciers, more plantable land. More plantable land, more room for people. Now we just have to stop the bad things, like pollution, like war, the things that we can control.

    1. Benjamin

      Putting aside the fact that the ‘it will be great for the plants’ argument has been completely disproven, even if it were true, it wouldn’t make any difference to us. While the plants are enjoying a feast we’ll all be dead.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      What about “species dieoff” don’t you understand?

      A 7 degree Celsuis change an a lot of species are toast. And man is already wiping them out at unheard of rates due to habitat destruction.

    3. Optimader

      Your questions imply contoversy about the scientific basis for the answers to these question. The science that is thebasis for the answers have been kicked to death, treated as a political debate rather than science, misrepresented and otherwise obfuscated by special interests and their mouth breathing ignorant minion.

      Stated more succinctly, if you actually had a curiosity on the answers to these questions you would more sensibly be at a site that is focused on climate science. The answers to these and more nuanced climate questions are posted ad naseum ( hint: not difficult to find)

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