Climate Change Alert: Life Is About To Get Much Worse

Yves here. In his book, The Peripheral, William Gibson envisaged that a forty or so year multifacted crisis starting just before 2030  (climate change, species dieoff, rapid rise of disease due to reduced efficacy of antibiotics) would kill off most of the human population. He optimistically still posits that civilization still survives due to a rapid rise in innovation, funded by the rich, natch, for their own survival. He called that period the Jackpot. Hence Lambert and I have taken to saying that the Jackpot in coming.

This post suggests that Gibson’s timing might not be all that wrong.

By David Zetland, assistant professor of economics at Leiden University College in the Netherlands and his blog Aguanomics

Climate change is hard for people to understand or take seriously because its FUTURE impacts will be so vast in scale and intensity. It would be easier for people to “believe in”face if its signs were more local and present (one reason I suggested rebranding it “local warming” years ago).

Sadly, it seems that we’re about the arrive in that moment of vast intensity a lot quicker than previously forecast.

Last week, James Hansen (one of the first scientists to bring CC to public attention) and many co-authors published an article (link in this summary) explaining how previous estimates of glacial melting in Antartica and Greenland need to be updated to consider positive feedback effects that are hastening the process. These effects are due to the slowing of ocean circulation that will simulataneously mean warmer seas near the Antarctic ice shelves (helping those glaciers slide into the water more quickly) as well as colder seas near Northern Europe (as the “conveyor” of warm water from the Caribbean shuts down).

The upshot of their estimates (which combine data from a past era that had similar GHG concentrations to today’s except that today’s have accumulated far faster) is that temperatures and storms will be getting much worse in the next 10-20 years (if not now), while sea levels will rise by at least 2m (6 feet) and as much as 6-7m (20 feet) by 2100 — far higher than current IPCC restimates of 1m.
Unleash the Kraken



At least it’s not an alien invasion.

These results are far more pessimistic than anything the IPCC has put out for three reasons. First, the IPCC operates by consensus, meaning that the most conservative estimates are used. Second, IPCC data and models are in “uncharted territory,” so it is not easy to decide if natural systems are going to retard or reinforce man-made trends. Finally, the law of averages means that hundreds of co-authors will tend to agree on a business as usual, linear path of change, rather than the new normal, exponential path that Hansen et al. predict.

What makes me so worried about Hansen et al.’s dire prediction is a separate paper that I was reading in advance of my upcoming class. Martin Weitzman has been heavily involved in CC economics for several decades, and his 2011 paper “Fat-Tailed Uncertainty in the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change” [pdf] explains how we (economists) have underestimated risk on 4-5 dimensions, meaning that our models are inaccurate. As an example, Weitzman explains how an average 10 degree increase in temperatures — a change that would mean “the earth was ice free, while palm trees and alligators lived near the North Pole” — shows up in models as a 0.1 percent drop in long run GDP growth (from 2.0 to 1.9%). Weitzman points out that such models are incompatible with results where “half of today’s human population would be living in places where, at least once a year, there would be periods when death from heat stress would ensue after about six hours of exposure… i.e., temperatures that would represent an extreme threat to human civilization and global ecology as we now know it.”

The upshot is that economic cost-benefit models may be radically understating the cost of climate change (in exactly the same way as they failed to predict the financial crisis), which means that most discussions are far too conservative about the need to act quickly to reduce GHG emissions.

What Will the Dutch Do?

These two papers put a fine point on the dangers that threaten human civilization, let alone “life as we know it”. Although I am sure that some humans will be around in 2100,  I am also pretty sure (given the total lack of meaningful action to reduce GHG emissions) that they will live in a different world. The Dutch, for example, will be forced to abandon two-thirds of their country. Americans will lose half of most coastal cities. San Franciscans will live in the hills, yes, but will they survive the hurricanes and ice storms? People in the developing world will face violence, famine and misery.

Back in 2006, James Lovelock (Mr. Gaia) predicted that 80 percent of humans would diefrom climate change. More recently, he says that he may have been too pessimistic, except that it’s also a good idea for humans to retreat to climate-controlled cities (reminds me ofThe Water Knife) — a prediction that many would still find alarming.

Bottom Line: A few years ago, I wrote that my dad’s lifetime (roughly 1930-2030) was probably the best century we will ever live. Now I wonder if we’re more likely to regret than enjoy the next few decades.*

* I was thinking of adding some advice about pricing water or carbon, etc., but I’ve said this often enough, without seeing much change. There’s nothing new to add. Sorry.

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  1. James Levy

    This is my primary reason for not ever pulling the lever for Donald “Climate Change is a Hoax invented by the Chinese to destroy our industry” Trump. I’ll vote Green or Socialist but never Mr. Climate Change Denial.

    1. johnnygl

      I see this as a moment to ask whether you care about what politicians say or what they do. Because it is clear that neither clinton nor trump will DO anything about climate change. However, they do say different words on the matter. Is that important to you?

      1. Steven

        The lesser of two evils is still evil – or suicide. If this isn’t the time for a 3rd party, there will never be one. There has been lots of talk about how Sanders has been ignored by the MSM – when he and his chances haven’t been derided. What about Jill Stein and the Green Party? If the Democratic (sic!) Party nomination is stolen from Sanders by its ‘super delegates’, I’d say it is time for him to jump ship.

        Right up there with ‘the lesser of two evils’ is ‘be realistic, be practical’.

        Johnnygl – do you really believe that what politicians say means anything?

      2. James Levy

        I honestly don’t understand the question. Since I am not voting for Trump or Clinton, I obviously care about what they say and what they have done. What else could I possibly base my decision on, how they look in their swimsuits?

        1. JohnnyGL

          I somewhat misread the point you were making. I must have missed your 2nd sentence. I thought you were advocating for Clinton over Trump for climate change reasons. Sorry.

          Steven, sometimes it matters, yes. Other times it brazenly doesn’t.

          Clearly, most of what Trump and Clinton say is fungible. I don’t think Trump, if elected, could do nothing about trade after all his speeches. I don’t think Cruz could go soft on abortion if he were elected. He’d pay a political price for it. I don’t think Sanders could drop campaign finance reform or breaking up big banks. He’d pay a price for that.

          1. JohnnyGL

            Perhaps my mistake is evidence that Yves’ refusal to use a smart phone is the right approach? Much more mistake prone!

      3. TomD

        I don’t think it’s clear that Clinton will do nothing on climate change. She probably won’t do enough, but that’s different than nothing.

        The professional class the Democrats represent do want to see climate change addressed.

        1. Oguk

          Part of me wants to agree, but the other part thinks they want to be _seen_ to want climate change addressed more than they really want to address it. And to the extent they want it addressed, they want technological fixes. Gore’s 2008 TED talk featured a slide of wind and solar farms across North Africa – to power Europe. His recent talk played up how the actual capacity of solar and wind generration in 2015 is so much greater than was expected in 2008. Message: We can do it. We have the technology. He may mean well, but he thinks we can get there through capitalism.

      1. pretzelattack

        sigh. no matter what you think the political implications of agw, the science is solid.

  2. Synoia

    When infrastructure collapses, Sewage Plants, Ports, Oil Refineries, Power stations, transportation and oil (fertilizer) based crops will also fail, as will distribution (oil based trucking).

    It will not happen at first, but the accumulated failures will cause gradual abandonment of coastal areas, punctuated by local sudden retreats (Hurricane Sandy like).

    At some point the incremental failures will cause failure of society (martial law), and it will become every person for themselves (aka: Libertarian Paradise), and rule by warlords.

    Australia probably will die first. Northern Europe a new war zone, if not frozen after the halt of the Gulf stream.

    The African Plateau will probably become both the cradle of Man and the last refuge of man. Most of the rural people there have the necessary survival skills.

    Technology will save us? What technology? Earthen berms (as per Holland, 30 ft high) around the infrastructure? Those will fail on a scattered basis, leaving the plant damaged beyond repair, especially as it will have been submerged. Air conditioned cities – what nonsense. From where would the fuel come to drive the power plants?

    My advice? Move inland now, over 300 ft, preferably 2000 ft, above sea level, ahead of the rush.

    1. nippersdad

      I don’t know if this is on topic, but your mention of the African plateau reminded me of something.

      I read somewhere, a long time ago, that vast portions of central Africa actually lie beneath sea level and that there is an area in north eastern Africa that is only a few feet above sea level as well. Were this low point breached much of central Africa would flood, essentially making Africa a huge atoll.

      I don’t know where or how to look this up now, but seems like losing so much of a continent so quickly would cause weather problems for the rest of the planet that don’t appear in the models. So, addendum to your advice: Don’t buy real estate in central Africa (as many of our wealthy appear to be doing right now) unless you have entered potential central African sea levels into your calculations.

      It’s going to be a whole new world.

        1. nippersdad

          Thanks! I found something too that was kind of interesting. Nothing like the huge atoll I remembered, but fifty thousand or so square kilometers of Africa around one meter deep in water would make for some very hot lakes emitting massive amounts of evaporation into the air! So, less atmospheric heating from the increased albedo of aerosols but stormier climates as a result of them. Imagine the Hurricanes they would spawn! Not a good time to be in agriculture.

          1. Gio Bruno

            You’re generally correct about land below current sea levels in Africa. However, most of it is in Northern Africa (Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Egypt) and only a few meters below current sea level. Because of the desert climate in Northern Africa (Sahara) any flooding is likely to evaporate and leave the ground salt encrusted. (This phenomenon exists in Nevada (Great Basin) where the Humboldt River flows to the Carson Sink and then “disappears”.)

            That said, rising sea levels are definitely going to change demographics. (In numbers, as well as geography.)

  3. ambrit

    I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating; what about all the toxic sites soon to be beneath the waves? We run the risk of sterilizing large swathes of the ‘new’ continental shelf sea shallows. The place where much of the oceans biosphere should be frolicking.
    Already, there is an annual phenomenon off of the present coastline of Louisiana of a “Dead Zone.” In large areas, the old thriving sea biosphere is stunted or dead. The consensus is that fertilizer washing off of the inland farmland is carried down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. There it collects in floating plumes that feed explosive algae growths which have a negative impact on other life forms spawning and growth cycles.
    Add the effects of industrial mutagens to the mix and it will be no ‘Brave New World.’
    Philip Wylies’ “End of the Dream” will be considered an ignored prophecy by any human civilization that might be so unlucky as to survive the coming years.
    Mark my words; future generations will curse us.

    1. Skippy

      The one huge thing the market never prices is legacy externalities, as its an anathema to short term profit, as that would violate the prime directive of maximizing ones utility.

      Skippy… 30 years later Bhopal is still un-reconciled… but the profits are…

      1. ambrit

        The Market makes out like a bandit, (a too apt phrase that,) while the companies, and by extension, the latter stockholders and investors, often get hit with crippling bills for those “legacy externalities.” Either way, the government ends up footing the bill for remediation, which that governments taxpayers end up paying for. Otherwise, no remediation occurs, and ‘things’ “slouch towards Bethlehem.”
        The Markets’ prime Nemesis should be government. The word Government suggests control of some sort; a dampening of excesses.
        There are Bhopals here in America too. (I don’t know much about Australias’ ecological history, the Rabbit Proof Fence notwithstanding.) We looked into buying a house in Anniston, Alabama. The town had been a main producer of dioxin in America. The soil and groundwater there were so contaminated with that truly diabolical chemical that entire neighbhourhoods had to have the topsoil scraped off and sent to a treatment plant.
        There is a similar case involving asbestos in Oklahoma.
        Don’t forget mercury contamination from gold mine tailings in the American West.
        (I think I’ll stop here. I’m making myself depressed.)

    2. Gio Bruno

      For more on the issue of the explosion of algae blooms try:

      The Algal Bowl; David W. Schindler, Univ. Alberta Press, 2008.

      The book takes you from the details to ultimate drama in about 300 pages.

    1. tim s

      Mother Earth bore us. Father? – that’s up for debate. They share plenty of responsibility. They should do a better job of disciplining….

      We should learn from the upcoming spankin’. 80% population loss? Eternity couldn’t care less. That would put us at a population level circa what, several hundred years ago? Probably “good riddance”.

      Wring hands, “eat, drink, be merry”, take your pick. Neither will change anything until our collective mind/soul evolves.

    2. RWood

      Um, yas, yas, virus:

      Even as the spread of another virus, Zika, commands the attention of global health officials, yellow fever could prove far more worrisome. The disease, which like Zika is transmitted by mosquitoes, kills an estimated 60,000 people a year.

      “I think we’re sitting on a time bomb,” Duane Gubler, one of the world’s leading experts on mosquito-spread viruses, told STAT.

      “You think SARS was bad? This would make it pale by comparison.”

  4. Code Name D

    The California Water Crisis might give us some insight into how things will collapse. Where the courts favored centuries old property rights over attempts to ration the remaining water supply. Towns went thirsty – but at least the Golfing Greens could stay watered and earning profits.

    1. James Levy

      This is the scariest thing for me: the fact that governments everywhere seem to have lost the capacity to manage emergencies or crises. Everything proceeds by inertia and every powerful interest can put the brakes on critical measures. World War II seems to have been the pinnacle of human collective organization (sad, but I think accurate). Nations were able to harness people, materials, and capital in extraordinary ways under incredible stress to get things done. Those capabilities seem to have atrophied beyond repair. And it will be the inability of governments to cope with disaster, more even than the mounting disasters themselves, that will take us over the brink. People in danger will tolerate almost anything, but never dithering.

      1. GWilliard

        A fine observation. I’d also note that that war was the final inflection point in the West marking the demise of the male group, before technology and total war (and its flipside, consumer society) made concepts such as sacrifice and bravery bygones in the rich West, helping open the floodgates to rule by sociopathy.

  5. bassackwards3

    the California “water crisis” was totally created by the Leftists in government.

    And of course they had nothing but contempt for property right. You have the whole thing backwards.

    If rational planning was done there would not have been any “crisis” at all.

  6. equote

    “It would be easier for people to “believe in” (or) face if its signs were more local and present”

    It is ‘local and present’ here but many, especially city folk, can’t see the ‘signs’. I live “out yonder” in rural central Texas and I see the signs!
    My fruit trees no longer bear fruit. They require a fixed number of ‘chilling hours (where the temperature is below X degrees) to form fruit. For the last 4 seasons no fruit.
    My stock tank (pond) goes dry every summer these days. When I bought the place it did not. A previous owner told me the tank NEVER went dry, and he owned it during the drought of record in the 1950s. Summers have alway been hot here, but these days there is more bright sunlight increasing evaporation.
    I bought two cords of wood 5 years ago to burn when It was cold in winter. I have one left, and count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I use the wood stove or turn on the central heat in winter, we stay warm enough without supplemental heat.
    Alligators are moving north on the local ‘river’ and will reach my latitude soon. Old locals and the wildlife biologist for the area say they aren’t here and never have been. Folk who fish the river say they see them regularly.
    Those that deny climate change would say this is BS, but mother nature doesn’t listen to them and I see what I see.

    1. ambrit

      We are seeing the alligator habitat expanding here in Central Mississippi too. The toothy critters have always been hereabouts, but never as widespread.

      1. Eric

        Atlanta too is beginning to get reports of alligator(S) on the Chattahoochee. Pictures have been posted recently on the local paper website, but people remain skeptical. They won’t be so skeptical when their dog gets eaten – or they get eaten.

        1. nippersdad

          I saw that too! I think it was up in Roswell. I’m surprised they lived long enough to get their pictures taken.

  7. Paul Tioxon

    The natural gas industry is trying with all of its might to promote the Marcellus Shale fracking bonanza as a real bonanza for the Philadelphia region. The dream is to use all of that cheap and high quality wet natgas for plastics, various local utilities to buy instead of gas from down South, and expansion of other factories that could use this gas for whatever. And amazingly enough, this bonanza may require public money to finance this build out of the massive pipeline network from Western Pa Eastward to the Delaware River port facilities, including going through the city of Philadelphia.

    All the while, the largest municipal owned public utiltity, The Philadlephia Gas Works, PGW, has not been seen as a possible energy company platform to enter into solar power, but was almost sold by the previous mayor to raise cash to fund the pensions of city employees. Of course this would have helped. As soon as it was sold off, there would be less municipal employees as well as cash for the retired yet to come. But I digress. The bold action that is being taken here by the proponents of the proposed Philadelphia Energy Hub, is go all in on natgas by taking on the local governments and the state political establishment as partners in the dream of a massive economic development engine built on natgas from the Macellus Shale.

    San Antonio Texas also has a large municipal utility. But instead of cashing in on its big time Texas oil connection, it seems to going on a different path of solar energy. You would think that Philadelphia instead of doubling down on doom would heed all of the local university scientists who have mapped out the local watershed and shown the loss of land along the rivers due to waters rising. But, the story is not written, organized opposition is in place and who knows, a catastrophic hurricane or blizzard from hell may well make the political establishment think twice about expanding the useless existing energy network in exchange for hardened micro grid that can take people through super-storms, super-heat waves and the super misallocation of capital by super-sized hedge funds like the Carlyle Group, which is heading up this hell bound energy hub.

    If only the city would follow the city’s own plans, released just one year ago, regarding the impact and necessary preparations for rising waters as result of climate change.

  8. DJG

    Yep, the articles about Hansen and his latest study are alarming. But I do not expect the U S of A to exert itself, except to bomb the hell out of other countries in a war for resources. The current presidential campaign is a symptom of remarkable dysfunction–DWS and cheating, HRC and dynasty, Trump and spewing, Cruz and self-anointed divinity. The Obama administration already actively ignored the consequences of fracking.

    Be prepared for more wars in the Middle East and the sinking of Miami. That’s about it for innovation during U.S. stagnation.

    1. Skippy

      Climatic models are not based on rational actors seeking to maximize their utility in a binary transaction.

      1. makedoanmend


        Aw shucks. One of my favourite models – almost on a par with the Star Trek model I built when I was 8 (mind you, I was a pretty crappy model builder).

    2. pretzelattack

      some of us haven’t learned that models do projections pretty well, and that the science behind global warming has been accepted for over 100 years.

  9. Jef

    Some NCers might think this post as off topic on an economics blog but it is spot on. There are three legs to this predicament we so innocently find ourselves in.

    1 – Exploitable finite resources of a finite planet reaching limits.

    2 – The effects of the Biosphere reaching its limits of absorbing the waste stream of said resource exploitation.

    3 – Money which unnaturally/artificially facilitates the exploitation of resources and also demands that the biosphere not be calculated as a factor in the economy.

    Limits to growth already talked about this but IMO they hugely under valued #2 and #3 in their model.

  10. JEHR

    Yes, indeed, when we start toting up all the horrors we have brought into the natural world, we should be alarmed (dead areas in the ocean, spread of desertification, GHG causing depletion of Arctic and Antarctic ice, spewing radiation into the Pacific, runoff of fertilizer and other toxins such as oil into water, fishing to extinction, destroying the land areas which animals and plants need, depleting and not replacing trees, large amounts of garbage in the ocean and on land, e.g., Japan’s garbage bags full of contaminated soil from Fukushima, tar sands “scrapings” off the landscape that pollute fresh water and soil, the mining and use of asbestos, other mines that use toxins and spill them into rivers, GMO experimentation, overused antibiotics and hence superbugs, etc.) I’m sure there are more to add.

  11. susan the other

    The more critical something is the more it is censored. There has been no discussion allowed, no debate, no grilling, about the urgency of mitigating climate change. So that’s how we know not just our government, but the rest of the world, is frantic about this new reality. COP21 was also revealing. China’s shutting down coal, we are shutting down coal; the war in the ME some say it to prevent oil from being extracted and sold (GregPalast); we are doing an enormous industrial switch to natural gas as the lesser danger; our infrastructure is a disaster as is that of the rest of the world’s even tho’ it is newer and shinier than ours – new and shiney is not the point even – the point is that to change our energy infra to renewables requires changing our entire way of life. I think the reason we have a housing market at all is because the govt is quietly subsidizing multi family apt buildings away from coastal cities and deltas. Unless our govt is brain dead they are already taking action. Doing groundwork. They do not tell us about it because chaos. The climate change deniers are also not brain dead – they are there like traveling preachers doing their circuit (think Cruz and Trump) giving the faithful new hope, etc. When what we really need is the truth.

  12. steelhead23

    It isn’t just oceanic circulation that is at risk. The jet stream, strong high altitude winds that push tropospheric weather around, is also weakening, leading to larger, more lingering storms . Global climate change is not a risk for the future – it is here now, and will only get worse.

  13. two beers

    San Franciscans will live in the hills, yes,

    Uh, no. And, what, take gondolas to work? Don scuba gear for a quick commute down the dive lanes to the submerged Financial/SOMA business/tech districts? Forbes Island and the USS Popmpanito will lead the way..

  14. ItAlwaysHappensHere

    “A few years ago, I wrote that my dad’s lifetime (roughly 1930-2030) was probably the best century we will ever live.”

    If by “we” you mean a relatively small number of people living well by exploiting the majority of people (and the biosphere), then yes, it was the “best” century.

    The myth of progress reigns supreme.

    The so called “developed” world maintains (and always has maintained) its delusion of progressive modernity by ruthlessly exploiting the so called “developing” world (robbing Peter to pay Paul). Keeping in mind that it’s always been the case that large segments of the domestic population are subjected to crushing, dehumanizing poverty as well.

    This Ponzi scheme is nothing to be proud of or sentimental about.

    Chickens come home to roost.

  15. Tenney Naumer

    Before sea level rise will work its destruction, the ongoing and rapidly intensifying changes in atmospheric circulation will put a huge dent in agricultural food production.

  16. Gaylord

    We are in the midst of the Sixth Great Extinction caused by industrial civilization which is a heat engine, and by the folly of human exceptionalism and our ignorance of / separation from nature. Vast stores of methane gas have begun to be released from permafrost and seabeds in the Arctic. The effects of climate change will be exponential and it is unlikely that any humans will survive beyond the middle of this century. Not only because of climate change impacts resulting in loss of habitat and food/water, but also because we will all get fried by ionizing radiation from over 400 nuclear power plants and fuel storage pools that will “go gamma” when the power grid goes down. There is no technological panacea: don’t count on the elites being able to save themselves, since that would take an enormous input of energy that would only further accelerate climate change (same as with vaunted “renewable energy” sources). Prepare for chaos and death, but enjoy the limited time we have left and be kind to one another and the other living creatures.

  17. Obereit

    Fukushima was 5 years ago and radiation is still so hot that robots melt. Systems collapse that provides the coup de grâce to advanced civilization will be the uncontrollable melt down of nuclear power plants. Sandy to the third power strikes NYC, breaches Indian Point nuclear power plant and infrastructure resources can’t handle the challenge of keeping the rods cool. Over a few decades pattern repeats along coastlines and elsewhere.

  18. TheCatSaid

    Rediscovering our ability for a two-way equal partnership with the intelligence in nature will is our only hope to make it through the challenging times ahead. Findhorn led the way in its day, but unfortunately the founders didn’t develop ways for others to repeat what they did. The nature research center at Perelandra (in Jeffersonton, VA) has developed effective tools if one wants to learn about balance from nature’s perspective. I’ve used this with success in relation to balance for land/agriculture, health (including microbes!) and projects. Nature never sends a bill.

    The latest version of Machaelle Wright’s “Garden Workbook” is an excellent starting point, and there are enough free excerpts available on the website to determine whether or not it is of interest.

    I believe that having this kind of direct partnership is our birthright as human beings. We’ve lost our way over the last centuries. We’ve dumbed down our sensory systems through lack of use, and the planet no longer has time/room for error for us to figure out balance on our own. I’m grateful to have contemporary ways to find out directly from nature how to restore balance to those areas of my environment and life that matter to me..

  19. Russell Scott Day

    When attempting to point North Carolina towards energy for the legacy grid from the Gulf Stream my representative scheduled the briefing from the Engineers for after the vote. All Tax Credits for renewables were withdrawal. Corporations got more power. No competition is too small to crush. I forget the good plan NY has for the legacy grid upkeep.
    Great leaders call on their engineers to fix their most dramatic problems. I felt that the engineers at the University had a “Place” and had to wait for a legislator to call. Otherwise they keep their mouths shut.
    Churchill wasn’t great for the Dardanelles, or the Soft Underbelly, but for Tanks and Mulberry modular docks.
    In some tweets I have encouraged university engineers to offer without being asked.
    Too bad overpopulation is just that, over population.

  20. DocG

    “The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulafft, at Bergen, Norway.

    Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.

    Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds. Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coastal cities uninhabitable.” From an AP article published in the Washington Post, November 2, 1922 — as quoted in “The Unsettled Science of Climate Change: A Primer for Critical Thinkers” (Kindle Locations 594-595).

    As for Hansen’s predictions, see

    1. makedoanmend

      That’s interesting. 1922. 1 data point presented.

      What was the world population in 1922? How much useless production of pure (excuse the language) crap was produced in 1922 to feed the mantra of growth at any cost? How many nuclear power plants needed to be decommissioned? How many autos were polluting the air? How much over fishing occurred?

      The list just keeps growing.

      It is interesting that many people who responded to this post brought up a host of problems that impact our one and only Earth. Many people, myself included, are beginning to re-explore the entire context of relationships that impact on all the earth’s systems, not just the climate.

      Many societies learned to respect aspects of the natural environment. We use it as a big toilet after grossly extracting as much concentrated resources as possible. Because.

      We seek to put a price tag on every resource – including humans. We thinks that’s cool and efficient. We continually create new problems by solving old problems. Hell, we take pride in ourselves by solving some such problem whilst creating the next set of problems. We call it opportunity. And we pretend to know the costs. Or we just say technology will save us. Hal e luia.

      By all means, we need to see the problems from every angle possible. A degree of scepticism is to be cherished. I see scepticism as a way of stopping panic modes so that a more “relaxed” dialogue can emerge.

      However, others, many others, would use scepticism as a thought and dialogue stopper. The human world didn’t end in 1922, so it won’t in 2016 or 2022. Who knows?

      However, I’m just as sure you’re bringing up this timely reminder of the past in order to cool fevered brows so that a more profound dialogue will ensue.

      I thank you for that.

    2. pretzelattack

      ex tv weatherdude is consistently wrong about the science, not surprising since he has no qualifications.

  21. Chicken

    What’s that, my oceanfront mega-mansion is at risk? So one one hand we don’t trust the media and paid-for establishment and on the other hand we do. Okay, I’ve got it now.

    1. pretzelattack

      every major science organization on the planet thinks the science is good. that’s not the us establishment. that’s all over the world. got it?

  22. Fiver

    What to do about sea levels rising is going to be the least of our worries. It is vital that we understand that ‘Climate Change’ is just one facet of the problem presented by 7 (heading for 9) billion humans’ total impacts on the biosphere. In other words, we cannot just substitute ‘clean’ energy, we can’t just replace the entire fossil fuel cycle, we can’t even just stop expansion/encroachment on the remaining natural world – we have done so much damage already what we really need to do is to shrink by design in a revolution that involves adoption of an entirely new common aesthetic that places life and living systems at the centre of our civilization. We need to recover that lost sense of being part of a sacred natural world we abandoned thousands of years ago in favour of the pursuit of ends we only imagine we have, all else consigned to the heap as ‘worthless’.

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