The point of no return:

Here are three stories and links too keep you up to speed on the latest scientific thoughts on Climate destabilization:

The point of no return: Climate change nightmares are already here.

Historians may look to 2015 as the year when shit really started hitting the fan. Some snapshots: In just the past few months, record-setting heat waves in Pakistan and India each killed more than 1,000 people. In Washington state’s Olympic National Park, the rainforest caught fire for the first time in living memory. London reached 98 degrees Fahrenheit during the hottest July day ever recorded in the U.K.; The Guardian briefly had to pause its live blog of the heat wave because its computer servers overheated. In California, suffering from its worst drought in a millennium, a 50-acre brush fire swelled seventyfold in a matter of hours, jumping across the I-15 freeway during rush-hour traffic. Then, a few days later, the region was pounded by intense, virtually unheard-of summer rains. Puerto Rico is under its strictest water rationing in history as a monster El Niño forms in the tropical Pacific Ocean, shifting weather patterns worldwide.

On July 20th, James Hansen, the former NASA climatologist who brought climate change to the public’s attention in the summer of 1988, issued a bombshell: He and a team of climate scientists had identified a newly important feedback mechanism off the coast of Antarctica that suggests mean sea levels could rise 10 times faster than previously predicted: 10 feet by 2065. The authors included this chilling warning: If emissions aren’t cut, “We conclude that multi-meter sea-level rise would become practically unavoidable. Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea-level rise could be devastating. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization.”


Read more:



ISIS vs. Climate Change

It’s the dog days of summer for U.S. presidential candidates, when Donald Trump is dominating the airwaves and candidates who seem to be losing their purchase at the polls are doing whatever they can to capture some attention—whether that’s taking a chainsaw to the tax code, like Rand Paul, or claiming there’s a connection between ISIS and climate change, like Martin O’Malley.

“One of the things that preceded the failure of the nation-state of Syria and the rise of ISIS was the effect of climate change and the mega-drought that affected that region, wiped out farmers, drove people to cities, created a humanitarian crisis that created the symptoms—or rather, the conditions—of extreme poverty that has led now to the rise of ISIL and this extreme violence,” the Democratic candidate told Bloomberg News.

But O’Malley’s comment isn’t as weird as it might initially seem. There’s an established body of work that draws a connection between drought, resource scarcity, and conflict in general. In a 2013 article for The Atlantic, William Polk, a historian and former adviser to President Kennedy, noted a possible relationship between Syria’s civil war and devastating 2006-2011 drought. “As they flocked into the cities and towns seeking work and food, the ‘economic’ or ‘climate’ refugees immediately found that they had to compete not only with one another for scarce food, water, and jobs, but also with the existing foreign refugee population,” he wrote. “Formerly prosperous farmers were lucky to get jobs as hawkers or street sweepers. And in the desperation of the times, hostilities erupted among groups that were competing just to survive.”

In addition, a paper published earlier this year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences specifically connects a severe drought across the Levant to the Syrian conflict.

The case isn’t a direct one. “Before the Syrian uprising that began in 2011, the greater Fertile Crescent experienced the most severe drought in the instrumental record,” the authors write, arguing that the drought is connected to a long-term change in the climate in the Eastern Mediterranean. “For Syria, a country marked by poor governance and unsustainable agricultural and environmental policies, the drought had a catalytic effect, contributing to political unrest.” ISIS existed in different form, as the Islamic State of Iraq, prior to the outbreak of the civil war, but the collapse of the Syrian state, combined with the fecklessness of the Iraqi armed forces and government, allowed the group to expand its reach and influence, and declare a caliphate.

Of course, scientists and security consultants get nervous when the media covers studies such as this one. They worry, in particular, about the impression that wars can be reduced to a single cause. (As one told The Guardian in May about the PNAS study, “I’ll put this in a crude way: No amount of climate change is going to cause civil violence in the state where I live (Massachusetts), or in Sweden or many other places around the world.”) Still, O’Malley did a pretty good job compressing the study’s findings into a short explanation and contextualizing it as creating the conditions for ISIS’s success, rather than drawing a direct causal link between climate change and the Islamic State.


It’s easy to see how the baldest summary of this claim—a presidential candidate says that global warming created a huge jihadist group!—comes across as silly. But the unfortunate reality is that climate change will likely produce more evidence in the years ahead of the connection between resource scarcity and war—whether it’s fodder for presidential campaigns or not.


Is Anywhere on Earth Safe From Climate Change?

Put simply: Climate change poses the threat of global catastrophe. The planet isn’t just getting hotter, it’s destabilizing. Entire ecosystems are at risk. The future of humanity is at stake.

Scientists warn that extreme weather will get worse and huge swaths of coastal cities will be submerged by ever-more-acidic oceans. All of which raises a question: If climate change continues at this pace, is anywhere going to be safe?

“Switzerland would be a good guess,” said James Hansen, the director of climate science at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. Hansen’s latest climate study warns that climate change is actually happening faster than computer models previously predicted. He and more than a dozen co-authors found that sea levels could rise at least 10 feet in the next 50 years. Slate points out that although the study isn’t yet peer-reviewed, Hansen is “known for being alarmist and also right.”



11 thoughts on “The point of no return:

  1. The Pentagon first warned back in the Bush Administration of the global destabilization and civil wars that would arise out of climate change. They called it the most serious national security threat we would face. Millions of displaced farmers with no hope of a decent future are very dangerous. Add to that the billions of people in cities around the world who will revolt when food shortages inevitably hit and you can get a glimpse of what is to come and is probably the reason for militarizing police forces across the country. We are spending trillions for military equipment we don’t need instead of rebuilding our infrastructure for the 21st century like a superior nationwide train system to move people and goods cheaper; cleaner and safer than cars and trucks; wind and solar power for everything possible, reserving the use of fossil fuels for other uses for which there is no substitute – yet like heavy equipment and big trucks. Can you imagine how much further along we would be in this struggle if we had had only Democratic administrations since President Carter?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Europeans used to sneer at the US’s response to illegal immigration. Now they are in the same boat we are in… millions of people fleeing gahd-awful conditions by trying to make their way to more stable and prosperous nations.

    And the Europeans haven’t a clue what to do about it.

    I have no doubt that much of that has to do with war and the silly things done in the Middle East and our evangelical approach toward Democracy. But it is inevitable that as the climate goes to hell (on top of and along with everything else) people will migrate from where they can’t stay alive to places where they have a hope they can.

    And this is just the polite phase. Eventually if the migrants become desperate enough (and every day it looks more and more like they are) the level of violence will increase.

    I have to think IS is more the creation of poor decisions made by the United States (that’s us, folks) but that doesn’t completely cover the motivation of every migrant trying to get somewhere, ANYWHERE but where they are now.

    If you don’t care about saving the Polar Bears… well… Then concentrate on saving the humans.

    Massachusetts and Sweden may look like paragons of stability now. But tighten the food supply and add millions of people fleeing starvation and they will very quickly (quicker than we think possible) become burning wrecks of civilization… along with the rest of us of course.

    All of the above is unfortunately very complex… some people hide in the perceived shelter of not bothering to wade through the complexities. Others use the complexity of the issues as camouflage to hide their “business as usual” activities.

    I just hope we overcome the unwillingness of the “Silent Majority” to grapple with understanding the problems before it is too late. Or in 50 years you’ll be able to take gondola rides down Second Street.

    If it doesn’t burn down first.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. see the diagram which was formerly published in Science Magazine 2005. It’s based on over 100 years of geological studies. Science Magazine is the outlet of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. They’re not a fly-by-night outfit.

    There is no direct linkage between CO2 and Earth temperature despite what the pundits claim. Notice also that temperature and CO2 was massively higher at about the time humans were evolving (it’s marked on the diagram).

    The current war-drum on climate is merely a way to transfer capital from one group to another.

    Both Google and Bill Gates agree that renewables are not saving our culture any – and in fact we could do better by improving power plant efficiency than transferring capital from the U.S. to mostly foreign investment companies. See from the Wall Street Journal – not a particularly fly-by-night outfit either.

    Please also see this fascinating article on solar input to global climate from

    I’ve long admired your independence of thought, please step outside the media barrage on global warming and apply your usually skeptical viewpoint on the situation: It’s a really big globe, there’s a giant star only 93 million miles away, we’ve had science for less than 200 years and we’re still learning.

    “Believing in Global Warming” might as well be “Believing in Santa Claus”. We don’t need to be Believers of every new trend or cultural icon. Science isn’t belief – it’s a process.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Open-minded:

      Thanks for the information. It will take me a while to digest it all.

      However, please keep in mind that no one (at least here, anyway) has said CO2 is the only contributor to Climate Change. Yes, the sun’s oscillations also contribute to climate change. The argument is how much of the change we are currently witnessing is the product of human activity.

      Just because there has been higher global temperatures with lower CO2 levels in the past does not take away from the human activity argument one iota.

      Your graph leaves off the correlation of rise between CO2, temperature and human activity in the past two hundred years or more.

      There is such a thing as an event being unprecedented. Also I am unaware of any science that denies CO2 (and other gases such as methane) produces a “Greenhouse Effect”.

      As for the claims of Climate Change being used as a con to divert money to different pockets… You may be right. That does not obviate the fact that something is happening to the earth’s climate.

      Beyond that… this falls into a debate between the power companies, the mine owners and those who seek alternative ways to produce the energy we need.

      And finally (at last!) I again do not argue that the sun’s activity has no impact on climate. I’ve even heard of a single study (I don’t know how credible it is) that the sun is due for a dramatic cool off in a generation or so.

      But as been stated by others… What we are doing now is a gigantic experiment on just how much heat and CO2 humanity can generate it takes to wreck the global environment.

      It’s time to call that experiment off.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Agreed Mola. Without getting into an argument of causation, wasting less energy and looking for alternatives to fossil fuels/nuclear energy seems like a good idea….no matter what one’s ideas regarding climate change are.

        Big government or little government should still be encouraging of utilizing the best sources of energy with the least amount of impact on people. I said it….people. Even if one discounts the little furry things all one needs to do is look at the smog of LA and understand that fossil fuels can’t be healthy for individuals, or societies, in the long run. All one needs to do is look at Fukushima or Chernobyl to know that the risks of nuclear are….horrific. Whether climate change is man made, or a natural progression, we still have sunlight, wind, waves, and many other untapped ways of harnessing energy with much more minimalistic impacts all around. Is that such a bad thing to promote?

        Liked by 2 people

    • sounds remarkably similar to the Koch industries paid for troll responses in the Times and the Post et al.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Nuts…

        And here I was thrilled to see a Climate Denier actually attempt to back his/her view with actual data. A real debate and everything…

        I get tired of the response of the Deniers boiling down to “just because.”

        But life is full of these little disappointments.

        Also, I totally screwed up any meaning of the second to last paragraph of my response. Please allow me a do-over:

        “But as has been stated by others… What we are doing now is a gigantic experiment on just how much humanity-generated heat and CO2 it takes to wreck the global environment.

        “It’s time to call that experiment off.”

        Liked by 3 people

    • Google AND Bill Gates?? Oh my! Shouldn’t you get Donald Trump’s opinion too?

      Liked by 2 people

  4. TE….you really think that the Koch brothers post in a piss ant town like Eureka? Really….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s