Interview with Professor Guy McPherson on Abrupt Climate Change and Near Term Human Extinction

I interviewed Guy McPherson today, and I asked him some questions about what lies ahead, what to do with hope, and what people can do to better themselves in what could very well be the end times for most of the planet. Guy McPherson is professor emeritus from the University of Arizona, specializing in conservation biology. Guy has been speaking about the topic of near term human extinction for many years now. Along his path he has been faced with unfair criticism, and many personal attacks. He is ringing alarms, and being the messenger. Sadly, most of the human race is not ready to understand, or even consider the possibility of our near term demise.

I care deeply about the planet, and I despise those that destroy it. That is why I write about these issues. I have been gifted the opportunity to interview Guy and below is our discussion. He has provided links to several points throughout the text. We have not given up, we have sought for the truth.

What is abrupt climate change, and how does it relate to the present?

According to Wikipedia: “An abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to transition to a new climate state at a rate that is determined by the climate system energy-balance, and which is more rapid than the rate of change of the external forcing. Past events include the end of the Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse, Younger Dryas, Dansgaard-Oeschger events, Heinrich events and possibly also the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. The term is also used within the context of global warming to describe sudden climate change that is detectable over the time-scale of a human lifetime. One proposed cause of such events is feedback loops within the climate system both enhance small perturbations and cause a variety of stable states.”

In other words, abrupt climate change involves a rapid transition from one geological state or condition to another. Instead of the transition occurring over thousands of years, it occurs over decades or even years. In the current case, as I mentioned in my recent writing, Earth is achieving not a new normal, but rather a new Cretaceous (https://guymcpherson.com/2018/12/ocean-deoxygenation-as-an-indicator-of-abrupt-climate-change/). The rapidity of change guarantees extinction of many species, including Homo sapiens, as I have described (https://guymcpherson.com/2018/11/extinction-foretold-extinction-ignored/).

Why is it bad to use more recent baselines when we talk about how much the planet has warmed?

Using recently invoked baselines gives the impression the climate-change situation is not as bad as it actually is. For example, the commonly used baseline of ca. 1980-2010 ignores the initial 230-260 years of the industrial revolution. A lot of planetary warming occurred between 1750 and 1980. Ignoring this earlier warming is lying by omission.

What kind of events in the near-term, could lead to large increases in temperature?

The most-rapid rate of change I can imagine would come from an asteroid striking Earth. The nearly immediate addition of particulates into the atmosphere would quickly cool the planet.

The second most-rapid rate of change I can imagine would come from the diminishment or loss of the aerosol masking effect (global dimming). A decline of industrial activity will produce an increase in global-average temperature within a few weeks. Such a transition will badly outstrip the ability of organisms to keep up with the temperature rise.

Besides climate change, what is the next most concerning threat to humanity?

There is no consensus on this question. My long-stated opinion is the combination of human-population overshoot and consumption. Too much demand for finite materials has taken us directly to the Sixth Mass Extinction on Earth.

Why is hope a bad idea?

Hope is, quite simply, wishful thinking. Hope induces paralysis rather than action. Hope assumes the future will be wonderful, and thus implies no action is warranted.

The messenger often gets shot. Is it really worth it?

Integrity is worth the price for few people. Ergo, integrity is rare.

Inspired by Giordano Bruno rather than the better-known Galileo Galilei, I believe the acquisition and promulgation of evidence is worthy. How worthy? Death is the guaranteed outcome of life. I have no interest in death with dishonor. I prefer integrity regardless of the cost.

What are some things a person could do to better themselves in the remaining time?

Complete relationships. Pay debts that matter (beyond monetary). Comfort the afflicted. Afflict the comfortable, if you are willing to pay the cost. Be kind (cf. being nice). Be honest. Demand justice. Seek inner peace. Smile.

Based off your research, how much temperature rise do you expect by 2026?

At least 8.7 C above the 1750 baseline, about 22 C global-average temperature (https://guymcpherson.com/2016/08/the-politics-and-science-of-our-demise/). The current global-average temperature is the highest in Earth with our species present, according to James Hansen and colleagues (2017).

How do you expect civilization to collapse? what will be the main cause?

I believe one of two causes will cause a near-term collapse of civilization: (1) inability to produce, store, and distribute grains at scale, or (2) financial collapse leading to economic, governmental, societal, and cultural collapse. The two sources might interact, of course.

Collapse will transpire differently in different locales, as we have been observing for decades. Privileges will disappear, to the great surprise of many people. Eventually, privileges will be joined by necessities such as shelter, food, and water.

What is the best and worst case scenario for the humans species?


Best: An astonishing combination of heretofore unimaginable miracles appears just in time to protect human habitat on Earth for another two decades.
Worst: Financial markets collapse this week, along with an exponential temperature rise.

Ocean Deoxygenation as an Indicator of Abrupt Climate Change
The true Renaissance person is endowed with panoramic attention …. The habit of noticing the ensemble of everything and its constituent parts is a matter of will, not of innate aptitude. It involves the conscious noticing of things and the gaps that separate and connect them. ~ Christy Wampole…
guymcpherson.com
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Planet Earth: 2050

Screenshot 2018-10-09 at 6.13.37 PM

By Anson Nash

October 10th, 2018

I am often told that I am alarmist. I am also frequently attacked for my views on the world. I am to pessimistic, offering little to no hope. My response to people who say that is this…. I’m sorry, but the privileged way of living you have cannot and won’t last forever. The people who accuse me of being alarmist have always been (and probably always will be) those that inhabit western society.

I have never gotten such attacks from people fleeing the middle east due to ongoing turmoil or the people in the South Pacific who are leaving their islands due to sea level rise, or the native tribes in Alaska who have been forced to move due to a combination of sea level rise, and erosion. I have never been called alarmist from people in India who have greatly suffered from massive floods, or the firefighters fighting the ever-growing amount of wildfires in the western U.S, and Canada. I certainly wouldn’t be called alarmist by the 150-200 species that go extinct every day (as if they could talk).

The list goes on and on, I could make a whole paper just on how the world is already struggling, but that is not what I am going to tackle here. I am going to give you a view into the future. 32 years from now….2050. I will give you a brief insight of where we are headed.

Whats Coming will Test the Limits of Humanity

The amount of change coming is unbelievable. I was once in denial of just how bad the situation has become, but now the evidence is overwhelming. The planet is about to experience possibly the worse mass extinction in its history. Those that think the asteroid hasn’t hit yet are wrong, due to the fact that we have already entered the 6th mass extinction. Even more concerning is the fact that extinction rates are as high as 10,000 times higher than the back round rate.

How many species will we lose by 2050? Well part of the answer can be found here. The IPCC which is startlingly conservative concludes that a 3.5 C rise in temperature could cause “40-70% of species to go extinct”. So if we lose possibly up to 70% of species due to a 3.5 C rise. The question that remains is, how much will the world warm by 2050? Well BP and Shell are planning for 5 C rise by 2050. The International Energy Agency projects a rise of 6 C by 2050 with BAU.   This study sounds the alarm. Sam Carana concludes that temperatures could be 20 C warmer by 2050, wait what?!? The world is already 1.7 C warmer than pre-industrial, so the Paris agreement is literally a hoax at this point. It is too late to avoid a a 2 C rise in temperature.

If 3.5 C wipes out 40-70% of species, what would 5 C, 8 C, 20 C do?! Well the answer is, make life almost impossible for humanity. We depend on the living planet for our survival. Take it away, and you can almost guarantee our demise. Many people focus only on the Panda bears, Lions, Tigers and Bears oh my! When in reality the most vital members of the worlds ecosystems are phytoplankton (which are down at least 40%), Insects (dropping dead like flies), and other small things. So not only will we have to deal with extremes in the weather, we will also have to face the extinction of most life. The planet we know now could be a completely different place in 2050. In fact if things go right, it could be free of humans.

Civilization is guaranteed to Collapse

The way global industrial civilization operates and thrives is unsustainable. The only way for it to grow is by getting bigger, faster and stronger. It’s clear that we don’t have much time to prevent this coming disaster. The ultra conservative IPCC says we have 12 years to fix climate change. The UN chief says we only have till 2020. I would argue its to late, due to the fact that when we use the 1750 baseline we are already at least 1.5 C warmer (likely more).  If the world warms 4-6 degrees C, civilization will not exist, and humans may go extinct. That is the sad truth of the situation we are in. Another problem is just how unpredictable the situation has become. We could be extinct by 2026 as pointed out by Guy McPherson,  or maybe it won’t happen till 2100.

I strongly suspect it will be closer to Guy McPherson’s date due to just how bad things are getting. Collapse of civilization will happen, as will human extinction, based off my research I think its very likely that both those things happen this century. I argue that by 2050, the world will be so much different, that the possibility for human life will be very low. Perhaps we need to adapt as pointed out here. But even adaption leads nowhere if the living planet becomes dead. It’s the sad truth, many have come to realize the situation we are in, but 99% of the world population still (2018) is in the dark.

What will the world be like in 2050? I don’t know. What I do know is it will be a world we don’t want to live in. It will be a struggle every day, everywhere, if were not extinct already.

 

Much thanks to Guy McPherson, and Kevin Hester who have ignited the reality inside my heart

“At the edge of extinction, only love remains”

The 6th Mass Extinction will be Far Worse than any Mass Extinction Ever

The climate here on earth has experienced changes before, some more extreme than others. There has been times of rapid warming, as well as cooling. Out of the 5 major mass extinctions in the past 500 Million years, it is believed that all except one were caused by climatic changes. The exception is the End Cretaceous extinction, which was caused by an asteroid striking earth, some 66 million years ago, leading to the demise of the dinosaurs. The Earth’s climate is full of natural cycles, and the planet warms and cools on a pretty constant basis. It’s when we leave the cycle and enter uncharted waters, that’s when things get ugly. As of 2018, we are in the most uncharted waters, in perhaps the history of Planet Earth, due to the speed in which things are changing. Below is a brief summary of Earth’s worst extinction, so far….

The End Permian Extinction~ 252 Million Years ago

This extinction event is the worst extinction ever experienced on Earth. Upwards of 90% of all life on Earth went extinct. Massive amounts of Carbon Dioxide and Methane were released into the atmosphere over a period of 60,000 years, leading to a temperature rise of 10 degrees celsius, or 50 degrees fahrenheit. The most likely cause scientists think is a massive release of greenhouse gases from a large increase in volcanic activity. The volcanic zone which erupted is called the “Siberian Traps”.  “This is what makes it so interesting,” Foster told me, “Because you have this huge volcanic eruption that releases all these gases, and then you look at what’s happening today [with climate change] and they’re all the same gases. They’re causing the same effects. So we can say, ‘This is what it did in the past and this is what we might be looking at for the future.’”

So Why Should You Care about all this?

The reason every person alive on this planet should be worried is because we are heading for similar conditions to “The Great Dying”. During the great dying, 90%+ of life on earth went extinct, due to a 10 degree C rise in global average temperature, and that took about 60,000 years. Imagine what that kind of rise would do to Earth in a matter of only several hundred years! Heres the problem… We have used up our several hundred years. We started messing with the climate significantly around 1750, and since then have brought temperatures up between 1.5-1.7 degrees Celsius. Forget the Paris agreement, we will pass 2 degrees Celsius in a matter of years.

Screenshot 2018-08-10 at 2.22.02 AM

This Isn’t Made Up Either

A lot of scientists are coming out, and basically calling for the apocalypse, although the vast majority still says everything is ok, probably for political and personal reasons. I will now create a list of different research groups and organizations, and their research based predictions on when we will see certain temperature rises. Note how as time has progressed we have come to realize a lot more warming is coming than originally thought.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (late 2007): ~1.8 C by 2100 (up to 4.5 C, depending upon emissions scenarios)

Hadley Centre for Meteorological Research (late 2008): ~2 C by 2100

United Nations Environment Programme (mid 2009): ~3.5 C by 2100

Hadley Centre for Meteorological Research (October 2009): ~4 C by 2060

Global Carbon Project, Copenhagen Diagnosis (November 2009): ~6 C, 7 C by 2100

United Nations Environment Programme (December 2010): ~up to 5 C by 2050

IEA (November 2013): ~3.5 C by 2035

International Energy Agency (May 2014): ~up to 6 C by 2050 with business as usual

All of those agencies are very conservative, and they also don’t factor in some 70 feedback loops we have triggered that only make the problem worse .

 

What Will Happen Degree by Degree?

1 degree C- Bad

2 degrees C- Really, really bad

3 degrees C- Like something you would read out of the Bible, Biblical.

4 degrees C- Collapse of civilization, Mass extinction becomes visible everywhere

5 degrees C- Hey let’s talk to Elon Musk and go to mars, cause Earth won’t be anything nice.

6 degrees C and up- Look lets not go there, this info is already hard enough on the mind.

The News Story Little People See about Global Warming

Take a Deep Breath, Relax, Remain Calm

Nothing is under control, and even I take all this information with a grain of salt. I am not even talking about other environmental problems such as ocean acidification, pollution, biodiversity loss, the list goes on and on. The warning signs are clear. Things are getting worse and worse, AND YET, we continue. 2017 we burned more fossil fuels than ever before, as well as consuming the most plastic ever, and this and that, and that…. I have given you a possible look into the future, so at least I can sleep knowing I warned everyone.

Good Luck to All, and I suggest loving everyone and everything now. Live in the now, enjoy the benefits of being on Planet Earth! Treat people right, treat Earth right!

 

Collapse of the Human Race

“If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.” – E. O. Wilson

 Preparing for the End

Earth is about to experience the worst mass extinction event that it has ever faced. Abrupt changes in the climate as well as the looming collapse of the biosphere will likely kill off most life, as we know it. One can not expect the rest of the world to die off and humans not become extinct as well. This information is on the internet, but no one talks about it, maybe because it’s the conversation nobody wants to have.

How do you go up to someone and tell them our world is gonna die as well as the entire human race? Simple answer…. you can’t. Most of the worlds rapidly growing population are living in the illusion we call industrial civilization. We pretend that everything we do is fine, and won’t matter much in the big picture. It’s that way of thinking which has played a big role in the mess we have gotten into. The simple fact is this….individual efforts to help the environment won’t change anything, except make people think they are really helping. Not long ago I realized that my personal changes did nothing. The only way to make real change happen is by pressing the worlds governments into action.

Sadly, the world powers didn’t act, and they still aren’t acting. We could have turned this problem around if we had acted 20, even 10 years ago, but now we have little to no time. Serious actions must be took before the Arctic ice goes blue. The Arctic will be ice-free sometime in the next 1-10 years, based off trends, leading to an abrupt rise in global average temperature. So we may only have as little as one year to save the world, or as much as 10.

This is probably the only plan that will save us.

Our world will crumble and many people will die, unless we can do the impossible. This is Mission Impossible: Extinction, except Tom Cruise won’t save us. As impossible as it all seems, it is possible. Evidence for the disbelievers can be found here; Nature Bats Last , Arctic News , Kevin Hester . This is all i’ll share for I am trying to use my time the right way, good luck to all. I still can’t believe the government or media is not talking about this, but ignorance is bliss these days.

I recommend anyone who cares to find out the impending doom on Planet Earth looks at all the evidence provided in the articles.