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Home Truths about the Climate Emergency


Home Truths about the Climate Emergency

Adam Parsons

As 2016 draws to a close, we appear to be living in a world that is increasingly defined by its illusions, where the truth is a matter of subjective interpretation or argumentative debate. Indeed, following the United States election and Brexit referendum there is much talk of a new era of post-truth politics, in which appeals to emotion count more than verifiable facts. But there are some facts that cannot be ignored for much longer, however hard we may try.


"What remains central to achieving an effective programme of action, however, is a degree of international cooperation and economic sharing that is unprecedented in human history."
- from the article

OK - I'll be the first to comment.

Zero comments till me - strange heh ?

Too busy politicking - if there is such a word.

Yes - we'll figure out just how we managed to dispense with the real world last election.

Wait a minute, the real world.

Give me a break - maybe you can eat money, if you're hungry enough ?

But then - most of us don't have much money - even if you could eat it.

Maybe Trump will share ?

Ok - I'll try and regain some composure.

The United Nations seems the only way out. Being mostly poor, most of the world still retains a modicum of "real world" common sense.

They might even conceivably believe the unanimous consensus of every national academy of science on the planet about climate change and its human cause.


I trust that India and China are not being seen as developing nations. They are industrialised nations with overlarge populations many of whom live in poverty because that is convenient for those who enjoy the benefits of cheap sweated labour (and the ecological subsidy of claiming a low carbon footprint per head simply because they have large populations of poor people).


To George_III:

I am not sure what to make of your question ?

I find myself so extraordinarily angry as the fallout from the Trump fiasco rains down upon all our heads, that clear thinking is almost absent just now.

But I would like to address your point concerning developing nations.

One - I do consider India & China developing nations.

Two - I consider the United States & Canada to be also developing nations - and I am not being cute.

Three - same for all western democracies - developing nations.


Since we emerged from tribal societies, where according to Edward O. Wilson 'group selection' played a significant role along with individual 'survival of the fittest' evolutionary pressures, we have given up an essential egalitarian social structure of small communities who knew who their friends were, and considered most 'others' enemies - for a glaring social hierarchy where most are what you refer to as 'sweated labor', and that most emphatically includes the present day United States and Canada - and virtually all of the western 'first nations' - which I take it you think 'developed'. In these countries, or nation states, we have forgotten how to eat healthfully, how to raise children healthfully, because aside from physical size, mental and moral health are no less dependent on excellent natural nutrition than is physical health.

I do not consider this as either progress or development, although it is an emergent fact over the last five thousand years.

A summary might be - we are 'devolving'.

Our humanity has been stifled - and replaced by techo-toys and weapons - divorce from the natural world, and that most emphatically includes farmers 'on the land', as well as citizens of cities.

At the apex of this new social structure are diseased human beings, and Donald Trump is currently vying for title as chief psychopath.

There is no dealing with him or his odious appointees - they are now the enemy.

Be clear in your response, if you choose to respond.

I want to know who you are and where you stand.

PS: I note that this is only the fourth comment a day after the article was posted. The vast majority, even of so called progressives, are almost spectacularly ignorant of what a threat to our continued existence on this planet climate change entails.


I am quite clear as to how I regard China and India, two major contributors to Anthropogenic Global Heating. Which is most certainly an oncoming major disaster for our global civilisation. It is now unstoppable.

As for living "in harmony with nature" . We gave that up because none of us like its discomfort and boredom.


People know it's over. Their children have no prospects if articles like this are true.

As always, it' not 2100. It's now, since nobody wants to mention that the North Pole was 36 degrees above normal this year and there was no winter in November is the Northern hemisphere. The first winter snow is falling this week.

Massive fires all over the world. Israel, Tenn, Calif, Siberia, Austraia, Vietnam, Malaysia, etc,etc, etc. Get ready for all of Mexico to migrate just like Syria did when the water and the crops burn off.

Sorry, that's the truth as I know it to be. The Pentagon is bracing for 20 million climate refugees in short order. Get ready, if you can.


Both climate change and overpopulation are addressable - that is my considered opinion.

But will we address them ?

A friend just sent me this - maybe the word is getting around to other than the minuscule number of human beings aware of the problem ?

200,000 Years of Staggering Human Population Growth Shown in an Animated Map



To Thomas_Jefferson:

As I replied to "George_III" - both climate change and overpopulation are technically addressable. That's important to realize, even if one thinks politically neither is being addressed.

We can build enough machines to direct air capture enough CO2 to bring down CO2 to James Hansen's 350 ppmv. While we are doing this, we will refine the target CO2 mark.

If human beings spaced their children out three and a half years apart, as we have done for millions of years, we would flatten the population curve enormously - giving us time to think about just what is the carrying capacity of the Earth, given our current state, i.e., soil being washed into the sea (by some estimates, only sixty years of soil left if we continue business as usual).

I could go on - but that's not important right now.

What is important is to understand that we can avert catastrophe - extinction, with a lot of work & a bit of luck.

I think, obviously now, no soft landing is possible at this point. But some landings, the pilots will tell you, are better than others, i.e., if you can walk away from it - it was a 'good' landing.


Look Thomas - in a war, you follow your best war leader - consensus doesn't work - nor is it necessary.

Wallace Broecker, Klaus Lackner, James Hansen, Richard Alley, Lee Kump, Edward O. Wilson, and on and on - these are pretty smart guys - war leaders.


The unifying theme is this:

Greenhouse Mass Extinction Events

This is in fact what we are manufacturing right now - often referred to as the "Sixth Extinction".

The proximal cause is CO2 injected into the atmosphere and absorbed by the oceans at what I will call an 'extinction rate'.

Is anyone interested in me posting the scientific articles illuminating this ?


War makes heat. Making machines makes heat. Everything makes heat. This fantasy of a magic-bullet time machine on a scale of millions of square miles that doesn't use materials that cause heat is "technically" impossible, given the knowledge of thermodynamics.

Even if your magic scrubbing machine could instantly stop all greenhouse gasses from increasing, we are still going to suffer a Venus thermal runaway since the oceans in 2016 are red hot from 100 years of massive emissions. The oceans do two things: They transfer heat energy if the atmosphere is a different temperature from them, and they chemically absorb CO2 and, in 1000 years time, convert it to limestone at the bottom.

They can't do either anymore, not in the decades we need them to. That is why we are seeing massive "Heat Domes" forming on top of whole Continents, since the heat humans made can no longer be passed off to the oceans (or radiated back into space.)

Never get into a war you cannot win. At best all your conservation can do at this point, is slightly delay the inevitable since the heat energy from past millennia that was locked up in the ground has already been released again. But in the theory of Abrupt Climate Change, that delay in extinction might be less than a year.

We see in the geologic record, non-survivable temp rises happened in time spans as short as five years leading to global extinction events right after that. The PETA is one such event. 90 percent of all life died. But there were no cars and no power plants back then. And no wars. And no 7 billion people all causing massive heat release every day.

James Hansen, a government man, was only off by 80 years in his temperature predictions, claiming for years that 2100 was going to see a one degree temp rise and half inch of sea level rise. We've already passed both of those milestones in the 2010's.

The hour is much later than we think it is. 65 known feedback loops are all kicking in, as predicted. Any one of them (e.g. methane) could tip us back into Jurassic "Hothouse Earth" of 22 degrees global average (where the Earth has been for most of it's 4.5 billion years.) But calculations by some scientists show it not stopping at 22 degrees C. They show 57 degrees C average global temps. Lethal.

I am telling you, that at this point in the train wreck, it's too late to take measures that have any hope of averting it. We are deep into the Sixth Great Extinction of Earth and nothing we do can stop that, imho. We might try for a month, to shut everything down and see what happens to the global temperature average. We did this on 911, grounding all air traffic over the US and the temp went up half a degree that month, since, apparently, jet contrails, made mostly of ice crystals, reflect heat back into space. McFEARson thinks the temp will soar 3-4 degrees (in four days the coal dust will fall out of the atmosphere) if we shut off the coal plants, because apparently that particulate reflects heat energy also.

It's catch 22 for us, I'm afraid.


Fascinating video. Thanks. I hadn't realised that the UK's population was so small historically when compared with Europe. As for India and China! We Brits must have been very effective pirates in our hey-day!

When the USA ended its war against Vietnam, the Vietnamese population was 30-40 million (1975). In 1993 it was 75 million. Now it it 96 million and could well hit 120million in around another 20 years. A 1 metre rise in sea-level will flood 67% of the Mekong Delta and 46% of the Red River Delta the two places where most Vietnamese live and which provide the bulk of the rice crop and good farmland.Vietnam has the land areas of roughly the same areas as the UK (66 million), or New Zealand (3 million). There will be a lot of VIetnamese migrants (among a very many others) heading somewhere in a few years time.


I think you are being overly pessimistic about a Venus-style runaway. As long as there is water, we have plate tectonics and there is still hope for bacteria. After which we have another few billion years before the sun becomes a red giant. Take a long-term view and cheer up! I am sure that in 500 million years time another kind of species will study palaontology and wonder what the hell kind of animal lived in the ubiquitous Coca Cola bottle or made those strange round discs with a hole in the middle. Trusting that I will get reincarnated as a fly on the wall then, to see what they will be doing.


Carl Sagen, director of NASA wrote a book about it, called "Cosmos". He felt, that we could indeed repeat the Greenhouse warming runaway that occurred on Venus. I took his college course in the 80's, and although we didn't know as much about Venus back then, the risk of us becoming Venus was understood since we live on the extreme hot-edge of what is termed "the Goldilocks Zone" of habitable planets. Until I can find the data, this will have to do:

The graphic of the Goldilocks Zone: (sorry, some info is repeated from what you saw the other day.)

Because we are so damned close to the sun, compared to Mars, it won't take much to catapult us into "Hothouse Earth" the Jurrassic, 22 degrees C average, where the Earth Average temp was for most of the past 4.5 billion years.

Hey, Read this 2013 article from Scientific American, it sheds some interesting details on it:


Here's how close we are to a runaway prior to the industrial revolution:

Please scroll down to the third graphic (figure 2). There you will find a yellow line showing a runaway climate position for planet Earth not counting millions of tailpipes and smokestacks.

My advice? Take out a loan and build a pool!


Thanks for that. My understanding is that Venus either lost its water or never had any. Therefore plate tectonics could not operate to cool Venus' interior, so the planet produced vast volcanoes churning out SO2 and CO2 etc which triggered a runaway and thus Venus is a nasty vitriolic lady behind her elegant and shining robes.

Looking through a chart of geological time put out by a reputable university, it seems that we are in an almost abnormally cool, low-CO2 period compared with much of the last 600 million years when seas, corals, sharks, trees and dinosaurs of various sorts flourished. Assuming the sun's temperature now is not all that hotter than then, whatever happens to H sapiens sapiens is of little event long-term geologically as a 10degree C rise in global temperature will not cause us to lose water from the oceans, though we might become a bit sweaty ourselves. If we don't lose the oceans then life will go on, leaving us as an interesting collection of fossils datable by the radioactivity left in our bones. Of course, if we do lose the oceans then the good old Earth becomes Venus Mark 2.

Our problem is that we are going raise global temperature by enough to have everyone reaching for their AK-47s to stop our neighbours nicking our food and water. And of course our neighbours will have AK-47s as well.So civilisation as we would like it to be is futterly ucked unless Batman sucks CO2 out of the atmosphere and reduces it to around 300-320ppm. However, I have it on good authority that Batman is a Russian stooge hell-bent on destroying Ms Clinton's credibility and thereby destroying the USA.

If there were only around 500 million of us, then maybe we could migrate to pastures new up north and down south without too serious a squabbling and could survive happily, evolving into two different species during time (unless our sailors are brave enough to cross the torrid zone of uninhabitability and the fiery demons therein to mix genes between north and south). But 7000 million is just a few too many to prevent all-out scraps over morsels of bread and water.

But if there were only 500 million us, maybe we wouldn't have screwed the place in the first instance; we are victims of our evolutionary success.

Have a cold beer and enjoy the sunset of the human race.


To Thomas_Jefferson:

I'm afraid your numbers are off on many of your declarations.

The oceans absorb, according to NOAA and like scientific institutions, some 93 or 94 % of the heat produced by the Earth's energy imbalance, which is still being constrained, i.e., imperfectly understood.

And the amount of heat is not massive until recently.

I must conclude that your imagination is running away with you.

However, if we do continue on a business as usual path, and burn all fossil fuels - then we will indeed be in the mass extinction game - and we will lose - big !

As we speak - with Trump soon to be president, and Exxon his Secretary of State - we are definitely on this path to extinction.

But we are not there yet - and people can change their minds.


I very well wish that were the case. I'm talking about hard met data. Hot water is now going almost all the way down the ocean water column, according to hurricane experts who use it to predict the fuel for cyclonic weather disasters. Two things super typhoons need to develop are moisture and hot SST's (Sea Surface Temperatures). This is why we now are going to have a new Category Six Hurricane, which never existed until this decade.


Very Interesting. This factoid verifies what I am saying. Without a cool ocean (much cooler than the overhead air mass) as much heat energy cannot be transferred, leaving the atmosphere in a heat dome situation. There's no way to give you 20 years of weather education on a comment board, but you can rest assured that what I am telling you is not imagination. It is hard surface analysis data from dozens of weather services around the world. The ocean used to be very cool for boaters in Florida. My motor yacht suddenly could no longer cool at full power, since the engines were designed to have an 80 degree F ocean to exchange heat with. The Atlantic was 90 friggin degrees! My ocean probes indicated it!

That never happened in the history of Florida boating. A 90 degree Atlantic Ocean!


Yes - I thought so too.

The Pentagon appears entirely on-side and aware of the threat of global warming, and you point out one of the reasons.

I am increasingly interested in Joseph Tainter's take on things. I post the title of an article I just read, which ties in with some other thoughts of mine regarding our future in space, which may be the key to our future on Earth.

Energy, complexity, and sustainability: A historical
Joseph A. Tainter

The link is available with a search on the internet - I haven't posted the link directly as it seems unnecessarily long.

If I may attempt a brief summary:

Tainter's idea, which appears awfully strong to me, is that problem solving needs require increased complexity, and hence costs, and conservation, simplification, even less people, is just a stop gap temporary postponing of the inevitable.

John Lewis' book "Mining the Sky", provides a way out, convincingly portrayed by this pioneer in planetary research. If one does nothing else, may I suggest a read of Lewis' Introduction to this book - it is an unforgettable piece of writing and illuminates human nature.


Well, everyone is going to get wet feet. You can't duck it whilst we continue to swan around in aeroplanes, SUVs and power-boats and soon we are going have to realise that that sort of behaviour is just for the birds. Birds will probably outlast humans as they can migrate quickly and will be the laugh on us as they are true descendents of the dinosaurs, at which we sneer for being stupid and going extinct (not that a meteorite the size of Mt Everest helped their survival).

Must remember that when I leave for Antarctica with my AK-47 and thousands of rounds of ammunition I will need to have a motor in my stolen (being British, I know how to steal boats; Sir Francis Drake set us an excellent cultural example) 50-foot yacht that can cope with high-temperature cooling-water.

Ah, crocodile humour, as our Russian friends call it (maybe that's why the Russians all voted en masse via the internet for Donald Trump; they thought it would be funny), keep laughing, have a cold beer and enjoy the sunset of the human race whilst you can. Alas, but I can offer nothing constructive; I am from the country that elected Margaret Thatcher several times in a row and which gave rise to Tony Bliar and the current Thatcher clone. But among our comedians we can also claim Charlie Chaplin, The Goons and Monty Python.


All, my favorites, by the way. And all I listen to is British New Wave from the 80's. Great stuff with hidden political messages! Don't forget to fill the boat up with that before you pick me up! And bring some Johnny Walker and Bombay Gin, I think it'll take the chill off until the Big Melt sets in! :wink: