is the rule. Survival is the exception.”
mainstream scientist could talk about near-term human extinction and
remain supported in his or her job. Therefore, none do. None go the
distance in connecting the dots regarding our imminent demise.
Paradoxically, tenure is designed to protect academic freedom.
Administrators walk a tightrope as they promote the insanity of the
dominant paradigm in the name of money while simultaneously paying
lip service to academic freedom.
make it personal, while quoting Elisabeth Kübler-Ross from her
famous book, On
Death and Dying:
“Those patients who were told of their fatal diagnosis without a
chance, without a sense of hope, reacted the worst and never quite
reconciled themselves with the person who presented the news to them
in this cruel manner.” In the latter pages of her 1969 book,
Kübler-Ross warned me not to steal hope from my audience. The
outcome as I ignored her advice: most of the people previously part
of my life have failed to reconcile themselves with the person who
presented the news to them in this cruel honest
with my personal life, I took a radical approach in my classrooms for
a very long time. In return, I had an NSA-contracted spy in my
classroom no later than 2005 and my final department head was hired
specifically to make my life miserable enough that I’d leave. After
all, it’s nearly impossible to fire a tenured full professor with
the record I had established. To be clear to my detractors, for about
the thousandth time, I left active service voluntarily because I was
unwilling to continue my participation within an irredeemably corrupt
Cascadian speaking tour will
focus on the politics and science of abrupt climate change. I’ll
tell a few stories about the politics underlying the scientific
endeavor and then focus on Sam
Carana’s recent analysis.
The latter, in which Carana ponders a global-average temperature rise
of more than 10 C above baseline within a decade, is the focus of
this brief essay. Evidence underlying this essay can be found, as
usual, within the long, often-updated climate-change
summary and update.
evidence is real, regardless who uncovers it. Carana probably is at
least two anonymous people. S/he makes mistakes, like everybody else,
but his/her lack of credentials does not obviate his/her
I repeat myself.
analysis is good. S/he is able and willing to connect a few dots on
the topic within the arena of abrupt climate change. The resulting
analysis is generally quite conservative, although I believe s/he
errs on the side of overheating twice. In the first case, s/he
concludes global-average temperature has increased 1.92 C since 1750.
Although a recent paper indicates direct observations have missed
about 20% of global warming since the 1860s, I’ll low-ball the
scientific consensus in going with 1.6 C so far. The second error,
mentioned below, is more substantive and it matches one I made on a
recent speaking tour with respect to moistening of the upper
onto the current temperature the amount of global warming locked in
for the next decade adds 0.5 C to the current temperature of Earth.
In my case, that takes us to 2.1 C above baseline (i.e., about 1750).
of the aerosol masking effect, or “global dimming,” adds an
additional 2.5 C. It’s guaranteed by high, unstable temperatures
that preclude large-scale production of grains. The latest journal
literature concludes the addition will be about 3 C, but I’ll take
the ultra-conservative approach and side with Carana on this one.
changes in the Arctic, in light of rapidly diminishing ice, add 1.6 C
to the total. This addition results from Peter Wadhams’ work in
2012 concluding that energy absorption will increase by more than 2
Watts per square meter. Already, absorption has increased from 0.43
Watts per square meter during the period between 1970 and 1992 to
0.75 Watts per square meter since 1992. A near-term ice-free Arctic
thus increases global-average temperature by 1.6 C in the next ten
to Carana’s analysis, seafloor methane adds only 1.1 C between now
and 2026. This figure is stunningly conservative relative to
predictions by Natalia Shakhova and Paul Beckwith. Therefore, I’ll
use the conservative figure.
adds 2.1 C for extra water-vapor feedback. In doing so, s/he is
concluding that essentially all the rise in temperature between 1750
and 2016 is due to carbon dioxide and will be matched by a similar
rise in temperature because of water vapor in the near future. A more
conservative approach pins the carbon dioxide contribution to 0.8 C,
and therefore reduces the water-vapor feedback to 0.8 C. There will
be an additional 0.5 C added in a decade, as indicated above. Thus,
I’ll subtract 0.8 C off Carana’s projected water-vapor
Carana adds 0.3 C for other feedbacks. Considering the latest
information about terrestrial permafrost and more than five dozen
other self-reinforcing feedback loops, this figure seems startlingly
conservative. Therefore, I will use it.
for humans on Earth is rapidly diminishing. Wishful thinking aside,
cleverness aside, self-proclaimed intelligence aside, human animals
will not persist long without habitat. Abrupt climate change has
barely begun and the Sixth Mass Extinction is clearly under way.
Afflicted by the arrogance of humanism, many members of my species
believe the concept of habitat is applicable to other species, but
total, Carana ends up with 10.02 C above baseline by mid-2026, or
about 23.5 C. That’d be the highest global-average temperature on
this planet during the last 2,000,000,000 years. Taking a
conservative approach at every step, I conclude “only” an
8.71-degree rise in temperature by mid-2026. As a result, I conclude
global-average temperature at that time will be about 22.2 C (13.5 C
+ 8.71 C).
This is barely above 22 C, the temperature at which Earth
has most commonly found itself during the last 2,000,000,000 years. I
suspect it’s more likely, based on the conservative journal
literature, that Earth will hit about 23 C in a decade. There is no
reason to expect Earth to start cooling until the heat engine of
civilization is turned off and dozens of self-reinforcing feedback
loops are inexplicably reversed.
context, the Great Dying wiped out nearly all complex life on Earth.
It involved a global-average rise in temperature from about 12 C to
about 23 C during a span of several hundred or a few tens of
thousands of years. To conclude that humans will survive a similar
rise in temperature within only a couple hundred years, with the vast
majority of the heating occurring within a decade, is exceedingly —
and probably insanely — optimistic. ConsideringHomo
strongly dependent upon myriad other species for our own survival,
it’s difficult to imagine our favorite species will have the
habitat requisite for survival as we barrel into 2026, only a decade
perhaps we will survive. Perhaps the heat engine known as
civilization will be repaired by soon-to-be-developed “tools that
cool” created — of course — via the heat engine known as
civilization. Perhaps we can bomb the deserts and roam the ocean in
nuclear submarines while eating Soylent Green. And then, a few
million years later, assuming the planet cools, perhaps we will pop
out the other side of a substantial bottleneck in sufficient numbers
to do it all over again. Between now and then, I fully expect 10,000
trolls will emerge from beneath 10,000 bridges to claim I’m an
extremist making up the notion of near-term human extinction as a
means of generating income for myself.
and other miracles notwithstanding, our persistence would surprise
I’m preternaturally inclined toward reality instead of wishful
thinking. Perhaps that’s my problem: I simply don’t wish hard