A New Climate Frontier

Yves here. Thomas Neuburger discusses a new report by James Hansen on the fact that global warming is accelerating. Not a pretty picture.

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at God’s Spies

Fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Source: http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/Documents/PipelinePaper.2023.07.05.pdf

We anticipate acceleration of the long-term global warming rate by at least 50%, i.e., to at least 0.27°C/decade.
—James Hansen, “Oh-Oh. Now What?

Did I say overlords? I meant protectors.
—Jonathan Coulton, here

James Hansen has a new piece called “Oh-Oh. Now What?” I’d like to bring you some of its highlights, or lowlights, since there’s not much highness in it. The whole thing is fairly short, but I want to summarize its key points (all emphasis below is mine).

Three metrics are mentioned in the piece:

  • The rate of increase in global warming
  • EEI (Earth’s energy imbalance) — the difference between energy in and energy out of the Earth climate system
  • Equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) — a measure of Earth’s responsiveness to change in atmospheric CO2

Accelerating Temperature Increase

About global temperature itself, Hansen writes:

[T]he 12-month mean global temperature likely will pierce the 1.5°C warming level before this time next year.

About the rate of increase in global temperature, he says this:

Global warming between 1970 and 2010 was 0.18°C/decade (Fig. 2), but the rate increased to 0.24°C/decade between [1997 and 2016]. … We anticipate acceleration of the long-term global warming rate by at least 50%, i.e., to at least 0.27°C/decade.


    1. marcel

      There are solutions, many. The IPCC reports has hundreds of pages about them. The issue is implementation.
      Let’s consider one (my preference): make the individual car obsolete. While I, as an individual, in my particular circumstances, may consider giving up driving, that idea is, generally speaking, not applicable to others.
      So one would expect government to step in, and build things like a public transport infrastructure (trains, buses, bicycle paths, …), and nudging people to adapt behavior (taxing urban sprawl, providing free/cheap housing in higher density areas), whatever.
      You spend ten seconds thinking about it, and you see immediately that a/ this will be a huge up-front investment with no short-term benefits and b/ this will take more than one generation to be implemented. As Yves keeps on saying, this would take a war-time effort, but over a very long time frame.
      So nothing of this will come to pass in our neoliberal societies.

      So there is no fix.

      [species die-off, ocean acidification and sea-level rise create other problems, but human civilisation will cease to exist due to climate change first]

        1. SufferinSuccotash

          Two rules regarding effective climate change policies.
          If they aren’t global they won’t work.
          If they aren’t fair–not only among nations but within nations–they won’t work.
          The next few decades will tell us whether there really is intelligent life on this planet.

          1. Jabura Basaidai

            seems each month another report comes out that tells us they underestimated the time line – and you are correct, if not global and fair the solutions won’t work – geez, i think you are optimistic stating the next few decades – this ain’t a battleship in a bathtub, it could turn on a dime – i give it a decade at best – damn it, the glass is half empty again –

      1. Tom

        There is a fix, and the fix is spending money on the adaption of our societies to the new climate. In the case of the UK, should the Gulf Stream break down in 25 years that would mean adapting to -6 degree fall in average temperatures!

        Biosphere Earth will be fine – it has seen extinctions and higher temperatures before and life will continue. I believe this is principally a problem for humans.

        1. thoughtful person

          Not principally. Most other species presently on earth now will go extinct. The sooner we get our act together the less will be gone.

          I agree some form of life will likely survive, though is there life on Venus?

          1. Tom

            Dear Thoughtful Person, you are right that many species will go extinct. I understand that maximum biodiversity was around 15,000 years ago and species have been going extinct ever since (obviously this correlates with expansion of human populations rather than climatic change).

            However, extinction events happen periodically and are a ‘normal’ part of the history of life on Earth. They are only sad from a human perspective as we see our world change around us. So it is ultimately a human problem!

            The Nautilus shell fish survived in more acid seas than today. The dinosaurs lived in temperatures 5-10 degrees higher than today. The Netherlands has been under sea level for centuries. Perhaps I am too cavalier, but really the earth will be fine!

            1. Urdsama


              But to the best of our knowledge there is no life on Venus. And that is a possible outcome for the Earth.

          2. some guy

            Faux-philosophical dismissalism is the newest flavor of new improved denialism.

            ” It doesn’t matter. Nothing matters. Let’s all go Full Metal Joker and watch the world burn.”

            The India and China governments are not staffed by that kind of faux-philosophical dismissalist nihilists. They will institute Hard Geoengineering rather than laugh along with the Full Metal Jokerists.

            1. Jeff Allen

              China is still building out coal plants and it is facing major economic problems. They need a democratic and efficient government ASAP.


        I disagree that there’s no fix.

        The fix is our removal. Climate change is humanity’s “Great Filter” – evolution discovered a local maxima in our selfish primate brain, and was rewarded for it until now.

        Good riddance to us; a bunch of hairless apes two steps removed from feces throwing. Unfortunately, we had to take (most) everything down with us.

        1. Randall Flagg

          Mr. Permaculture War Now,
          So you’ll take the lead by removing yourself from among the living to set the example of doing your part? Just asking for a friend…

          1. Bsn

            Randall, fairly rude here. Just asking for a friend? Speak for yourself because your “friend” has nothing to add, other than insults. Such a simplistic comment.

            1. EY

              Bsn Agree entirely. A little frustrated anger is appropriate here – this beautiful earth burning because of us. Also, “two steps removed from feces throwing” is pretty funny, calls to mind many public figures.

      3. some guy

        Some desperate people might decide that the first step in implementing a fix would be physically rounding up and physically eliminating from physical existence all those classes of people which currently obstruct and prevent achieving a fix.

        To actually become one of those desperate people supporting such a desperate measure would be neither politically nor morally correct. Which means that if that is indeed the necessary first step without which no further step is possible, then we have to face the fact that for us in the non-rich majority, there is nothing for it anymore but to “lie back and think of England.” And take five minutes to go stick our head in the freezer and kiss our ice goodbye.

        1. NoFreeWill

          it’s really only one class that needs eliminating, the rich, and any functional moral system would determine that faced with the choice of total extinction (at minimum billions dead) vs. elimination of those most responsible for the problem in the first place, you choose the latter. I wonder what moral system you subscribe to that would be so passive in the face of existential threats. march orderly into the oven…

          1. some guy

            Ah! we are making progress. Accepting that the physical elimination of the rich from physical existence is in fact a moral position is a first step towards advocating for carrying it out and making it so. So that we can then start solving the problems which their physical existence prevents us from solving.

            If enough non-rich people come to agree, then I can set aside my hopeless defeatism as expressed in my comment above.

            ( And if this whole thread ends up getting yanked out and deleted, you will know the other reason why I wrote my first comment of this sub-thread the way I wrote it. )

    2. chris

      There are options. Lots of options. But there is no way for us to maintain the current standard of living and flexibility down to an individual level without a series of near miraculous tech innovations.

      If we had a way to get near limitless energy, and we had a way to eliminate waste due to near perfect recycling, and we had instantaneous transportation of goods and people where ever desired, we’d be living in Star Trek. Of course, they went through years of devastating war and an encounter with an intelligent alien species to get there, but that just goes back to my first point. Absent space driven sorcery we’re not going to see this level of living be maintained with the current population on this planet.

      I think the most likely outcome we will see is a series of events that drastically reduce the population of the planet. More plague. More wildfire. More war. Coupled with earthquakes and floods. Famine will no doubt rear up too. I’m not sure a warming planet will be so much of a problem when enough of us die off. Unfortunately, I am certain that the current masters of this planet will ensure that their hands will be on the controls when the last stalk of wheat shrivels in a fire and the last healthy child dies of hunger. Bezos may have to pilot his mega yacht in an underground lake but he won’t give up the yacht and no one in our government will ever ask him to do it.

    3. ArvidMartensen

      We have passed all the points where a change in direction could have made a difference.
      Trying to change course now is like trying to change course on the Titanic when they were 50 metres from the iceberg.
      We have gone from a virtuous cycle ( warming benefits human thriving and the natural environment) to a vicious cycle ( warming is destroying many parts of the natural environment and there are feedback effects).

      The immutability of our situation is caused by hard-to-change factors.

      Human characteristics (greed, denial, cultural heritage (eg Christians think we have dominion), large and stable hierarchies etc).

      Large complex systems (financial, political, military, business, industrial, transport etc )

      Laws of physics – the Earth stored millions of years of sunlight energy in oil, coal and gas, underground where it was inert. Now we are releasing it, so that we have a huge overburden of energy entering the physical environment every day of every year for over a couple of centuries, and accelerating.

      Jem Bendell’s latest book has a fairly comprehensive explanation, which I am gradually working through.

      And just as I foresaw the outlawing of discussion of Ivermectin as a Covid-19 treatment, so I foresee an outlawing of discussion on the futility at this stage of changing to ‘renewable energy’ or any of of the other snake oil. What will be the epithet? Doomers? Anti-????

  1. UserFriendlyyy

    Not in time to do anything about it they won’t. What he is talking about is already baked in, we could end CO2 tomorrow and unless it came with some geoengineering and ccs than I’d say get ready for hothouse earth. Remember 350.oirg? 350ppm Co2 was what would have kept us reasonably sure we would be staying in this ball park temperature range. We’re closer to 450ppm now. I’d be surprised if we can keep I under 550 tough since thanks to covid, I’ve seen at least a dozen people go from worried about climate change to: “Experts lied about covid, experts must lie about climate change” However, while I’m very sympathetic to experts are largely morons argument; covid did still happen. They may have gotten a ton of details about it wrong, but it happened. Climate change has had extremely well resourced people throw tons of money a disproving it and they all failed, So many many many more experts with much more time and much more data and highly motivated adversaries should give people much more confidence that climate change is way more of a problem, But now, less people care.

  2. Ignacio

    With our “target driven” policymakers: (They set targets, expect markets to react, and when these are no met the populace is found guilty) little will be done. I wouldn’t call those policymakers as “leaders” of anything.

    So, how to change that. How to expel the frivolous PMC from power positions, force them to save on emissions drastically as a first approach (they are the low hanging fruit that would result in noticeable emission reduction) and install climate dictators who, bringing pain to all, could organize a war-time mobilization to curve emissions. The PMC have already destroyed democracy in almost every aspect save meaningless elections.

    Those who think climate change is a scare story don’t matter anymore. We have to look upwards.

    1. KLG

      “The PMC have already destroyed democracy in almost every aspect save meaningless elections.” No! That was Donald Trump! Or so I hear from my performative PMC peeps. Constantly.

      Emma Goldmann (or Maureen Stapleton as Emma Goldman in the movie Reds) was right: If voting made any difference, it would be illegal.

    2. chris

      I’ve had a number of encounters with highly compensated people lately who make astronomically bad decisions in other parts of their life even though in their vocation they’re regarded as geniuses. I wonder if some of the things I’ve seen there translate here. For example, the idea of setting targets with respect to systems that they don’t control and can’t adjust.

      A rational target in this context would be to convert X% of energy consumption to renewables. Or to shift Y% of people to permanent work from home. Or to future proof the manufacturing process for critical commodities so that we could ensure supplies when the climate and our access to inputs change.

      Instead, we’re told that “reducing carbon” or targeting global warming increases is a rational concept. It’s as if there was a meeting and all the smart people got up and said, “what we need to do first is define the problem, and then work towards solving it.” And there was much applause! And the UN members rejoiced! And there were special sessions at Davos! But the rest of the world looks on and says, “No $hit, but how?” And then when the options are presented from on high, they’re of the “you’ll eat bugs and other highly processed crap – and you’ll like it!” variety. To which the rest of the world says, “You first!” So round and round we go.

      Because these supposedly smart people think that if they can define and monitor a metric in the right way, they’re doing enough of something without it affecting them. They will never apply those smarts in a way where they sacrifice anything. Which is why you run into issues with people who own multi million $ properties in amazing locations who ruin them because they’re trying to save a few bucks on simple maintenance. They think they’re too smart for anything bad to happen if they choose the lowest quality bidder. Or use day laborers to do something complicated. But we’re not allowed to call them fools because they’re obviously smart and good. Otherwise they wouldn’t be so wealthy, right?

    3. undercurrent

      I agree with most of what you write, and it’s a real pleasure saying so. But, it occurs to me that we already have “climate dictators,” and they are those same fossil fuel corporations that rule the world, and the politicians who don’t give a damn about any of us, and who are murderously intent only on their next fix-their next donation.

      What to do? Ignore “those who think climate change is a scare story,” and take to the streets, and see how that shakes out. Young people should be in the forefront of such a movement. They have nothing to lose, a comatose future? They have everything to lose, this beautiful world. And, Ignacio, how will their parents, and grandparents, and sisters and brothers, and friends, react when they witness the abject brutality inflicted on their own families?

      Let’s see how this might shake out.

  3. Barnes

    Put in other terms, those who have the power to make and enforce the rules to change human societies, to raise the chances of reasonably orderly survival, stand the most to suffer, precisely because they are the ones standing to lose the most (from their pov). The resulting suffering due to their perceived loss will be real and thus will trigger each and every avoidance strategy in the book. After all, we’re only human, no?

    1. mrsyk

      Methane is the current climate change wildcard. It is quite literally the toothpaste that can’t be put back in the tube.

        1. Steve H.

          They made an assumption they matter:

          > Anthropogenic sources currently account for 50-60% of all methane emissions

          That’s from April 16, 2021. The current paper is from 14 July 2023 and says

          >> Feng et al. (2022) used satellite observations to infer that over 80% of the observed growth in the global methane burden between 2010 and 2019 came from tropical emissions. Separately, Feng et al. (2023) estimated that 66% of methane’s global increase in 2020 was due to increased emissions, particularly from the tropics.

          For years I have been linking to the Barrow site, concerned about methane from frozen hydrates. While I was looking at the egg, the Queen was rising behind me. Drunk looking under a lamppost.

        1. some guy

          Maybe there is a problem with beavers just lately making lakes in parts of the arctic in particular. Maybe that is a symptom of the deeper problem, which is that the permafrosted arctic is just lately getting warm enough to where beavers can show up and start making lakes there.

  4. KLG

    The graph of CO2 level in the atmosphere explains it all. An exponential increase in anything in the ecosphere, including human cupidity and its attendant stupidity, is followed inevitably of a crash of some kind. In this case, the crashes will be many and permanent, in biological time relevant to current life on Earth. Deep time? That, too, but we will all be dead and other animals, plants, fungi, and microorganisms will thrive. This is not a hard concept, except that Upton Sinclair was right 100 years ago: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

    1. Jams O'Donnell

      Looking on the bright side, if a new ‘intelligent’ species arises, they may be able to work out what happened to us, and learn the lesson. Perhaps we should be putting an effort into inventing a language which can be deciphered in some sort of universal way, and making time capsules. Of course, there would be nothing in it for us, so another non-starter.

      Or maybe they will be able to work it out anyway from the layer of rubbish and old weapons littered all over the planet, plus I suppose the mass extinction and fast and steep rise in temperature will give them a clue.

  5. John

    Michael Hudson wrote a book titled Killing the Host. Don’t think he had quite this in mind. The earth will survive and stabilize. Maybe the human race will survive. Other animals and plant will survive … maybe not the cute cuddly ones or the noble majestic ones. Civilization will not. What good all the money?

  6. Troutcreek

    There’s no way to get the Green House Gases (GHGs) out of the air.
    There’s no way to get the heat out of the oceans.
    There’s no way to stop the ice sheets melting.
    Sea level rise on its own is an apocalypse.
    There’s 1,100 Trillion tons of CO2 already in the atmosphere
    and the physics alone drive the heat ramp to 10 degrees C,
    68% will occur within 100 years.

  7. Eclair

    In the USA, the Amish may survive. Their social structure is communitarian. They are ‘off the grid’ by choice: no electricity, no gas lines, no tap water or sewer lines. No radio, TV, cell phone, internet. They read and talk to each other.
    They can ‘do stuff.’ And ‘make stuff.’ From building a house from scratch (a young man is doing just that on a tract of land he has purchased, a few miles from us: cutting down trees, sawing, milling them into beams, shingles, fence posts.) They raise food: grains, veggies, fruits and berries, milk cows, sheep, chickens. And they are really into manure for fertilizer. They hunt. With a bow and arrow. They can butcher a deer. And can the meat.
    They are used to working cooperatively, from cooking a full meal for a hundred people, to raising a barn in one day, to harvesting and preparing and canning green beans. Their transportation is by horse and buggy, or very cool little pony carts. They farm with draft horses.
    One worry: they are committed pacifists. No violence, even in speech. Around here, in western New York and Pennsylvania, there are a lot of ‘English’ with guns. Push comes to shove ….

    1. Bsn

      I’ve thought about wild bands of people running around shooting and killing people. Trouble is, you can’t eat bullets. Survivors will be farmers and hunters, not killers and rapers. And of course the farmers will die too, it’ll just take longer.

      1. Eclair

        Another group that may survive, at least longer, are those who can brew a good beer, produce a decent. wine (from whatever local fruits are available, and distill a decent, or rather, potent, alcohol. The Amish, bless their hearts, eschew alcohol. Although some of the older people prescribe a strong mixture of brandy soaked garlic for high blood pressure. I tried a few drops, one morning and evening, and breathed a cloud of garlic for two days!

      1. Eclair

        Unfortunately, Kouros.
        When humans lose the power that fossil fuels give them … to dig, to plow, to heat, to move, it seems to me we have two choices: to become an egalitarian, communitarian society, where everyone works, or to become a deeply unequal society where a master class live luxurious lives, thanks to the blood and sweat of a slave class. Our choice.

  8. Ghost in the Machine

    I am starting to think the complex systems of society will come apart before climate change forces the collapse. I have seen numerous links now decrying doomerism and citing the large percentages of doomer youth and depression. This leads to the ‘lying down’ type phenomenon we see in China or ‘throwing your body on the gears of the machine.’
    There is also the low birth rates and falling sperm
    counts, especially in the ‘developed’ world. It gives me hope, although scientists studying it like Shanna Swan castigate those like me who say so. It is sad when people who want kids can’t have them, but that is a much kinder feedback than other feedbacks. Not just plague, war, and famine either. Check out RFK Jrs comments about his trip to the border. You also get desperate migrants getting their life savings stolen, raped, and their children kidnapped and presumably raped and sold into slavery. I will take falling fertility

  9. Henry Moon Pie

    Nicely and clearly presented. There’s just one graph missing that should be alongside Global Energy Consumption and Global CO2 Emissions, and that is Global GDP. You cannot have growth and cut carbon emissions. The Ecomodernists’ decoupling is a lie.

    There’s a recent video of an Al Gore TED talk in which he excoriates Big Oil for their lies and ridicules direct air carbon capture as a solution. But he still fails to talk about GDP growth. The elites just cannot give it up, and as KLG notes, the Sinclair Lewis maxim is in full force.

    As Ignacio notes, the low hanging fruit is elite overconsumption. Their love of ever escalating luxury and conspicuous consumption is producing 50% of carbon emissions. Take a look at this article from the International Energy Agency. The graphs and other data make it clear where we can at least “bend the curve” when it comes to CO2 emissions. A few generations ago, the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and Carnegies lived like kings. Now the Gateses, Bezoses and Musks live like the pharaohs, considered and treated as divine. And their PMC retinue contribute just as much because of their greater numbers.

    Here’s one factoid from Oxfam that pinpoints the responsibility:

    Annual emissions grew by 60 percent between 1990 and 2015. The richest 5 percent were responsible for over a third (37 percent) of this growth. The total increase in emissions of the richest one percent was three times more than that of the poorest 50 percent.

    There are others just as infuriating.

    Direct action aficionados, playing Sabocat to this conspicuous waste will bring the most bang for the buck. Maybe the first step is just to get mad.

    1. Rod

      “Maybe the first step is just to get mad.”

      The second step—to get connected together is harder. Maybe, because of all the PMC efforts to make what should be our second nature seem obscure. Eclair’s comment is insightful on this.

      Broadcasting and Addressing Elite Consumption, Consumption in General, and Embracing Radical Conservation could bend that curve.
      The vast majority of Earth’s population’s Ox would not be gored by those measures—from what I’ve seen.

    2. Susan the other

      I don’t want to write DAC off yet. China is working on industrial photosynthesis, we should too. And more dangerous is methane which crowds out oxygen close to the ground and higher up it becomes a volatile mix which magnifies wildfires which we are beginning to see all over the place. If the oil industry can build its giant elaborate distilleries-cracking plants, to make gasoline, it seems at least plausible that we can make some equally giant distilleries to precipitate both CO and CO2 out of the air in oil fields and maybe ocean vents. And every point of emissions of CO2 could be fitted with a capture device. Every smokestack and chimney. How implausible would modern oil refineries have seemed to the 1890s? One of the ways to sequester CO is to turn it into CO2. Clearly, we can’t just go out and fly kites. We have to retrofit our industry at the point of emission. a world-wide mobilization. The reason for this is bedrock logic: We cannot just quit petroleum; we are going to need it to fix it.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        The energy and materials requirements are just too great. This article in Nature summarizes some studies under the title, “Unrealistic energy and materials requirement for direct air capture in deep mitigation pathways.” The energy requirements are so great that it would be crazy to deploy carbon-free energy sources to recover carbon from fossil fuel use. It would be better to just replace the fossil fuel power with carbon-free sources of energy.

        The linked study analyzes what are considered the two most promising DACC technologies. Here’s the energy requirements of DACI to remove 30 Gt CO2 per year:

        For DAC1, 5.1–8.7 Gt/yr of NaOH is required, and the production will need 2.15–3.67 TWe-yr (electrical energy for electrolysis = 13.3 GJe/tNaOH)9 (Fig. 2a, b). This will account for about 12–20% of total global energy supply (TGES; 18.55 TW-yr for 2017, but likely greater than the global electricity generation capacity of 2.92 TWe-yr)

        It would take all the electricity currently generated worldwide to remove what is now about 80% of CO2 emissions. Clearly, that’s ridiculous. To expect substantial improvement in that number is about the same as wishing for fusion or the perpetual motion machine.

        The oil companies are the ones pushing this technology. For one thing, it helps them preserve the illusion that we can keep on using fossil fuels when we can’t. They are also lobbying for tax breaks which would help them remove this CO2 only to use it in tertiary recovery to pull more oil out of the ground.

        1. Ghost in the Machine

          I tried to post about this paper last week but it didn’t go through. It is an excellent paper to look at for energy and materials requirements and energy to make the materials for DAC. In my opinion it crushes the rationale for this approach. It requires too much

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            This is just as true for electrifying American transportation. The material requirements are monumental, and the carbon emitted to do the extraction and manufacturing will make things that much worse in the short term, and we’re at the point we have to think about the short term.

            I noticed this re-reading my comment:

            about 80% of CO2 emissions

            should be:

            about 80% of annual CO2 emissions

            1. Jams O'Donnell

              So, looks like it’s the Mohenjo-Daro scenario for all of us, then the dinosaur one – so maybe we should start the process of turning into birds now?

            2. Susan the other

              Just now this morning on NPR is a story on “carbon farming” in California. Very encouraging as it addresses both methane and CO2 using compost widely spread across the ground where it voluntarily goes to work sequestering carbon at a “scale that can change the world” aka photosynthesis farming. Wondering if the micro biome also produces oxygen as a byproduct. Kinda cool. So we can, as you suggest, dispense with some big ghastly construction project and simply go industrial-organic.

              1. thousand points of green

                Here’s a bunch of images about carbon farming.

                And here’s a book about carbon farming, called The Carbon Farming Solution, by Toensmeier. I note that while it is normally a $75 book, Chelsea Green is selling it for $35 for their end-of-summer sale.

    3. Cristobal

      It may be time to go full on Ministry of the Future. To keep on whining about it won’t get anyone anywhere.

      1. c_heale

        Ministery of the Future is a complete fantasy in my opinion. It’s not going to happen. We’re done.

  10. mrsyk

    IDK. I very much appreciate Hansen’s work on this, but I’m convinced that Guy McPherson has a better grip on the big picture. It’s not pretty. Climate change is not linear after all. Here is McPherson on the UTube. It’s not for the faint of heart. Nature Bats Last

        1. Wukchumni

          It could have been so different for me, if Mars Air didn’t go b/k and my return trip to the red planet had happened back in 1978, oh well.

        1. Jams O'Donnell

          If the Indian religions are right, you’re just going to come back anyway. Karma wins.

  11. ScottB

    The powers that be will try all sorts of technical solutions. I’m becoming more of a mind that for humans to have any chance of survival, we have to go back to (or adopt a new version of) a pre-industrial lifestyle.

  12. Jade Bones

    Once again an acceptable perspective in the “deck chairs arrangement” discussion on climate change is published ignoring one of the elephants in the room.
    The Hunga-Tonga Volcano eruption in January 2022 added 10%(+?) water vapor into the atmosphere according to an easily accessed NASA report.
    Water vapor is a most effective green house gas; more so than CO2 and is predicted to effect the climate for five years, or approximately 4 more. That is Science, ignored by the MSM.
    I bring it up because it was pointed out to me by a conservative, climate change questioner/denier, that its absence from the media is indicative of the whole climate change issue being another aspect of the control agenda by ?????

    1. mrsyk

      I would point out that abrupt catastrophic climate change happening and narrative control regarding climate change are not mutually exclusive. I firmly believe in both. In late July English language articles began appearing covering a study issued by the Chinese Academy of Sciences stating that Canadian wildfires had so far released a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (example “Canadian fires have released a billion tons of carbon dioxide”, earth.com, July 28). There was an immediate flood of MSM stories emphasizing the EU’s Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service, claiming this service showed 290 million tonnes CO2 emissions (example “Canadian wildfire emissions double previous record as flames rage on”, Reuters, August 3). (Interestingly, I’ve examined the Copernicus site and cannot find this 290 mm number.) And, of course, the “fact checkers” have to chime in. On August 1 Polygraph.info would like us to know “China’s Misuse of Wildfire Emission Data Doesn’t Clean Up Its Image as the World’s Top Polluter”, labeling the Chinese numbers as misleading and directing our attention at China “Worlds Top Polluter”. See my point?

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      To which my response would be, yeah, shit happens. Wouldn’t it therefore be a wise idea–remember that word wise?–to not fill the atmosphere to the brim with CO2 so that when shit happens, you’re not immediately spiking all the temperature charts?

      The fact that a lot is beyond our control should be apparent to all but the most stubbornly optimistic Ecomodernist. That’s why it’s so stupid to bring things to the brink with things we can control.

      But if the only goal is profit, this is what you get.

      As for the media, they’re lying in two different ways depending on their payors. One is still claiming nothing is real. That’s getting pretty laughable. The other side is saying, “We got this,” when they don’t have a clue. All they really care about is keeping the hamster wheels turning for as along as they can.

  13. Bazarov

    The 420ppm CO2 reading is bad enough, but the measure of CO2ppm equivalent is even worse. If you include the CH4, N2O, with all the other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and represent their heating potential in terms of CO2, then you get over 520ppm CO2 eq. as of 2022!

    That number is apocalyptic–and growing fast. Take a look at the CH4 graph on the link above, for example. Bone chilling.

  14. Trisha

    The maximum power principle (aka the 4th law of thermodynamics) applies to complex biological systems (including humans) as follows:

    “During self-organization, system designs (human species) develop and prevail that maximize power intake, energy transformation, and those uses that reinforce production and efficiency. Under competitive conditions systems (human species) are selected which use their energies in various structural-developing actions so as to maximize their use of available energies.”

    Humans are maximizing their consumption of every accessible resource driving other species to extinction, degrading those resources, and leading ultimately to their own extinction.

    To put it another way, are humans smarter than yeast?

  15. Some Guy

    The graph of the energy imbalance cuts off in Feb 2023, with the value of the imbalance around 1.5.

    Since then, it has shot up to 1.97 (i.e. literally off the chart).

    See this tweet from Leon Simons for the updated chart.

    Insert ‘Not Great, Bob!’ meme here…

  16. David in Friday Harbor

    Nowhere do I see mentioned the simple fact that when my own pathetic life began in the mid-1950’s there were about 2.5 billion lives in simultaneous being; today we have crossed the threshold of 8 billion lives in simultaneous being. We wring our hands about patterns of consumption, when it is the mere fact of consumption itself that is the problem.

    There is no moral or ethical solution to the fact that humans have over-populated the planet. Like me, our “leaders” are unlikely to live much past 2050, so their response will continue to be: IBG/YBG. My own grown children express no desire for children of their own; I’m gratified that they do seem to want to care for the children abandoned by others.

    As SoCalJimObjects posits above, What we are facing is not a problem with a solution, rather a predicament. It’s high time that we started thinking about what the predicament of our extinction event looks like. I posit Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Myanmar, and Manipur as the models of what daily life will look like in the second half of this century. There will be plenty of orphans for our children to care for. Acceptance and compassion are the answer to anthropogenic climate change.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      There’s no question the planet would be better off with 2 billion of us rather than 8. But when it comes to carbon–and that’s a rather myopic but especially salient factor given current circumstances–this is just not true:

      We wring our hands about patterns of consumption, when it is the mere fact of consumption itself that is the problem.

      If you’re saying that our numbers are our biggest problem, that just isn’t the case. Consider this factoid drawn from this very useful International Energy Agency report:

      The poorest 4 billion among us are “responsible for” 15% of carbon emissions. The richest 10% are responsible for 50% of carbon emissions. The poorest are managing to eat and survive on that level of energy consumption. For instance, I heard a young man from Pakistan talking the other day about 90% of the country having no access to air conditioning, while power was on maybe 12 hours a day if you did have it. There aren’t a lot of frills in Pakistan beyond a narrow band of rich and middle classes.

      Meanwhile, what hardship would be imposed on the richest 10% to end non-essential flying, ban private jets entirely, ban vehicles beyond a certain size with exceptions for necessity, etc. We’re talking giving up luxuries and conspicuous consumption so that others can continue living both now and in the future.

      It is this pattern of consumption that is the core of the problem, even more than the size of the population, because fully half of us use so little energy that they don’t contribute much carbon.

      1. David in Friday Harbor

        The fallacy of this argument lies in the fact that while the nearly 4 billion who are claimed to emit a mere 15 percent of current carbon emissions live a disappearing rural subsistence lifestyle, the more than 4 billion responsible for 70 percent of carbon emissions make up a growing urban population who are completely dependent upon a carbon intensive infrastructure for their very existence. They cannot simply turn to a subsistence lifestyle and survive. https://ourworldindata.org/urbanization

        The “Lucky Billion” might be convinced to cut back on a few luxuries — but this can’t possibly overcome the massive run-up in carbon emissions necessary to sustain the lives of the urbanized half of the world’s population.

        This is a numbers problem — carbon-intensive urbanization has facilitated the population explosion.

  17. Jeremy Grimm

    I believe climate scientists, including Hansen, have made a fine hash of their explanations of climate change to the public — though I do not believe Hansen’s most recent paper, a source for “UhOh…”, is intended for consumption by the public. Juxtapose these sentences from the Abstract and Introduction of “Global warming in the pipeline”, Hansen et al. 2023:
    “Improved knowledge of glacial-to-interglacial global temperature change implies that fast-feedback equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) is 1.2 ± 0.3°C (2σ) per W/m2.”
    “Equilibrium global warming including slow feedbacks for today’s human-made greenhouse gas (GHG) climate forcing (4.1 W/m2) is 10°C, reduced to 8°C by today’s aerosols.”
    “The critical problem is that the environmental impacts of the CO2 buildup may be so long delayed.”
    I am confused but if I am not mistaken all the hoopla at the IPCC has focused attention on the CO2 sensitivity coefficient and the fast-feedback mechanisms of climate, and as Hansen complains in a previous newsletter the IPCC focuses on the predictions of climate models with less regard for the measurements of global temperature increases which suggest an increase in the rate of global warming compared with that predicted by the models, which in turn suggests the models need some ‘adjustment’.

    As I recall, at one point the IPCC determined through political compromise that 2°C global warming was ‘safe’, and later Hansen and others came in to say “no it’s not! 1.5°C is ‘safe'”. After that instead of limiting global warming to 2°C we must limit global warming to 1.5°C. But wait!, when we talk about global warming of 1.5°C we are only talking about the fast feedback response of the climate to the present CO2 forcing of the climate’s global temperature. There are slow response feedbacks also that will bring the global temperature to how many degrees C? 10°C or 8°C? I thought things were dangerous over 2°C. How much global warming will there be at equilibrium — using that term in the ordinary sense of the word without all the fast and slow feedback gibberish? What amount of global warming is ‘safe’? So far as I can see the present amount of global warming, whatever it is has proven anything but ‘safe’ for people living in many parts of the world, and that ignores the potential impacts on the future food supply as the weather chaos continues. Keynes’ quip about the long-term starts to make too much sense.

    I took a quick look at some of the detail in “Global warming in the pipeline”. It multiplies acronyms like rabbits and buries details on the bottom line number equilibrium global warming including slow feedbacks deep in symbolic equations, leaving it as an exercise for the reader to walk the dog through all the computations and chase down the right data to insert. At least the abstract provided a pair of bottom line numbers to work with for the lazy who have no desire to walk that dog. I do appreciate the discussion of climate system response times and what Charney’s equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) represents:
    “Charney defined ECS as the eventual global temperature change caused by doubled CO2 if ice sheets, vegetation and long-lived GHGs [Green House Gases] are fixed (except the specified CO2 doubling). … Thus, Charney’s ECS is also called the “fast feedback” climate sensitivity.”
    although I cannot credit the discussion with any brevity in coming to its point.

    Now, it grows clear why the IPCC and most climate papers keep their model predictions within the time domain of the 21st century and why so little is discussed about further into the future. It grows clear why so much emphasis is placed on the Charney equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) number. Although there is little concern for the world our children will inherit and less concern for the world our grandchildren might inherit, I begin to realize there is little or no concern at all for the future generations of Humankind in the centuries to follow the 21st century. I hope the discussion about the climate models in “Global warming in the pipeline” should raise more than enough questions about the Wisdom of playing with some clever scheme for doing geoengineering.

  18. Kouros

    I wonder how the revised bible and the 10 commandments will look like after the collapse.

    David Graeber and David W. in their The Dawn of Everything describe a paleolithic engraving on stone depicting a group of hunters spearing another one on the ground as representing the collective killing the one that had different ideas, as in “I killed the elk, it is mine, I won’t share”…

  19. Glen

    Well the only serious effort I see by our elites to deal with the climate disaster is a potential nuclear war.

    So at least we’ve got that to look forward to…

    1. some guy

      The elites of India and China may still be enough “India’s” and “China’s” elites that they may still think in terms of preserving India and China as countries and societies and civilizations.

      If that is so, then they will eventually begin far-reaching geo-engineering projects to keep themselves from cooking under a runaway condition-Venus future. They might begin with an earth-surround shroud of high altitude sulfate particles, placed and then maintained with enough rocket flights to get it placed and keep it maintained.

      So there is that to look forward to as well, or even instead.

      1. Glen

        Yes, “our elites” is “Western elites”. Certainly the rest of the world can formula a better plan.

  20. Brooklin Bridge

    Do what we can (little though it may be) to try to help others, be as ready -which may mean at peace with- as able and possible for the worst andA don’t scold yourself or others for failure. From the description in this piece of what happening and going to happen, the inevitability of it all, it’s simply not going to end well.

    A point not emphasized in the article, It seems reasonable to assume the ruling classes, already more or less beyond hope for making constructive, never mind intelligent, decisions beyond ‘sauve qui peut’ in the face of such complexity, combined with their own cupidity and lust for power, etc., will increasingly be subject to panic that will only exacerbate their already hopeless, stupid, and self defeating decisions. Even engineers, scientists, economists, and the more generally rational and analytical, who have been systematically forced to the sidelines and made to agree with nonsense just to get along over the last two decades+ may well be hamstrung by and subject to the grip of panic as things get hopelessly worse.

  21. Craig Dempsey

    Well, one thing we do not need to do is to write a new anthem for this disaster. Bob Dylan got there first, many years ago. Remember his song about “the fear to bring children into the world” and “is your money that good?” Perhaps Vietnam really was “Apocalypse Now,” we just did not know back in the 60s where apocalypse was heading. Here is Dylan, singing “Come You Masters of War.”

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