Mass Extinction

BAMCorp 12:45pm, 20 April 2007

Unknown to most humans, we are currently undergoing the largest mass extinction of species since the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

The current mass extinction is occuring at a faster rate than any of the previous 5 mass extinctions in the earth’s history.

Mass extinction is not as simple a problem as “There won’t be any wild animals left.” The earth is an interconnected system in which each species and ecosystem depends on many others. Climate, atmosphere, land, and agriculture are also highly dependent on living organisms.

While some may see global warming as a “future problem,” there is no denying that we are already well into the phenomenon of mass extinction. This tragic situation may not be breaking through into the media or general consciousness because most people do not have direct experience of nature and animal life.

What “mass extinction” means to you depends on your perspective. We see it as proof that humans have blindly gone too far in pursuit of growth and consumption. It is also a wake up call to realize that we have essentially already “gone off the cliff.”

By initiating the fastest mass extinction in global history, we have already altered sensitive and interdependent ecosystems to an essentially “apocalyptic” degree. There is no real “going back” when it comes to extinction and once you have destroyed enough environments, ecosystems and species, many interrelated ones are sure to follow.

A shift towards conservation is the only option, but even the most aggressive efforts may not stop the tragic events that we have set in motion.

From food cycles to oxygen producing algae and the climate, the earth is a very sensitive and interdependent system. Humans have ignorantly and massively disturbed this system and the results are likely to be devastating within our own lifetimes.

* E. O. Wilson of Harvard, the world’s most esteemed biologist, estimates that one half of all species on earth will be extinct by the end of this century.
* Seven out of ten biologists believe the world is now in the midst of the fastest mass extinction of species in the 4.5-billion-year history of the planet, according to a poll conducted by the American Museum of Natural History.
* One quarter of the world’s mammals face extinction within 30 years, according to a 2002 United Nations report.
* A global study in 2003 found that only 10% of big ocean fish remain.
* More than a quarter of the world’s coral reefs have been destroyed by pollution and global warming. Scientists warn that the remaining reefs could be dead in 20 years.
* Lion populations have fallen by 90% in the last 20 years.

Had people taken the alert signals seriously, as intelligent people must, this 1992 book [The Diversity of Life] would have set the basis for a new level of discussions on the environment and the current ongoing worldwide biotic holocaust exterminating species at the rate of one every 20 minutes. People might be working on solutions by now instead of still wallowing in ignorance. The facts are clearly and well laid out. The evidence is presented, the theories and data explained at length, at a reasonable cost in paperback (or free from the public lending library). Eight years later people are still presenting in public flawed paradigms (perhaps deliberately) to excuse their gluttonous behaviour which is crushing the planetary life-support systems. – E. O. Wilson 2000
SoulButterfly 10 years ago
I think it's also that people don't want to believe there is a possiblity of things getting so bad and them getting extinct. Like how people tell me I'm over worried or over reacting.
ecowarriors 10 years ago
soul, it begs the question: at what point will people GET worried? Do millions have to die first? maybe so. as a population we didnt get worked up about rwanda, cambodia, uganda, or now even darfur. and millions are dying there.
RickC PRO 10 years ago
Some people think that all we need are cows, pigs and chickens, cats and dogs as far as animals. Really sad the way God's miracle is disrespected.

The mass extinction will only grow worse as climate change forces mass starvation and all birds, fish, mammals and reptiles are consumed for food. The earth will finally achieve balance again but with just a few humans and insects.

I converse with some people here locally that are so addicted to consumption that they are perfectly willing to sacrifice their supposed "super-patriotism" (i.e: a desire for the USA to continue to prosper in the future) for cheaper gas now. Unbelievable.
Lee Jordan Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Lee Jordan (member) 10 years ago
I don't buy the extinction caused by climate change, because this has happened before and life still flourishes.

The ice has melted in the past and today we still have polar bears, on the theory given to us that melting ice means polar bears will die out there should be no polar bears in existence today to wipe out, because this period of global warming happens roughly every 1500 years going back through history what is happening is nothing new!

There is a paradox, and there are lots of paradoxes because the planet has seen far worse climate change in the past and life survived.
BAMCorp 10 years ago
yes the article posted does not talk about the impact of climate change on species extinction. I would say the biggest cause of extinction at this point is habitat destruction. This is the fastest extinction in the planets history. The problem with climate change is that the small pockets of intact ecosystems will not be able to move to a new more suitable climate, either because they are simply blocked by human developments or because plants take a lot longer to move to new habitats and the current rate of climate change happening now (fastest in the planets history) is far to fast for them.
ecowarriors Posted 10 years ago. Edited by ecowarriors (member) 10 years ago
lee, the issue with our current climate changes is the RATE of change. This, coupled with the RATE of biodiversity loss over the last several decades due to habitat destruction and human population competition with natural animal/plant populations, means that organisms do not have the TIME to adjust to these rapid climate changes.

yes, climate change has occurred in the past. yes, life adjusted... and that which couldnt didnt survive. but today, the change is occurring in so rapid a timeframe that evolution doesnt have a chance to keep up, especially since variability has declined due to population declines in organisms the world over.

this time around, some will certainly survive, and a few will actually do better as a result. but most will suffer.

including humans, btw. we havent left ourselves a lot of room for dealing with such adversity. when the displaced masses of low lying areas move into everyone else's backyard, we'll have a major fiasco on our hands.
Lee Jordan 10 years ago
Life finds a way, if it didn't we wouldn't be here today.
BAMCorp 10 years ago

Some of the most immediate effects of recent climate change are becoming apparent through impacts on biodiversity. The life cycles of many wild plants and animals are closely linked to the passing of the seasons; climatic changes can lead to interdependent pairs of species (e.g. a wild flower and its pollinating insect) losing synchronisation, if, for example, one has a cycle dependent on day length and the other on temperature or precipitation. In principle, at least, this could lead to extinctions or changes in the distribution and abundance of species. One phenomenon is the movement of species northwards in Europe. A recent study by Butterfly Conservation in the UK, [[10]], has shown that relative common species with a southerly distribution have moved north, whilst scarce upland species have become rarer and lost territory towards the south. This picture has been mirrored across several invertebrate groups. Drier summers could lead to more periods of drought[10], potentially affecting many species of animal and plant. For example, in the UK during the drought year of 2006 signficant numbers of trees dies or showed dieback on light sandy soils. Wetter, milder winters might impact on temperate mammals or insects by preventing them hibernating or entering torpor during periods when food is scarce. One predicted change is the ascendance of 'weedy' or opportunistic species at the expense of scarcer species with narrower or more specialised ecological requirements. One example could be the expanses of bluebell seen in many woodlands in the UK. These have an early growing and flowering season before competing weeds can develop and the tree canopy closes. Milder winters can allow weeds to overwinter as adult plants or germinate sooner, whilst trees leaf earlier, reducing the length of the window for bluebells to complete their life cycle. Organisations such as Wildlife Trust, World Wide Fund for Nature, Birdlife International and the Audubon Society are actively monitoring and research the effects of climate change on biodiversity. They also advance policies in areas such as landscape scale conservation to promote adaptation to climate change. A more detailed review of these issues can be found here [[11]]
Lee Jordan Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Lee Jordan (member) 10 years ago
I believe we may record one of our wettest summers in the UK for many years, this year, indeed a warmer world is a good thing because despite what is reported a colder world with more ice would be a less diverse and a much harder world to survive in. Vineyards are popping up in england because our climate can now support that, but guess what it's nothing new, it's happened before.

I think things like this with extinction are supposed to happen and there are un-emotional arguments as to why the climate should be changing and why certain species are having a hard time and it's this; It's part of the deal of living here, change is what you sign up to and it drives adaptation. Part of the reason we can support life is because of how active the world is. Dead worlds don't change, alive worlds do change, therefore it is illogical to suggest change should not happen that there should be no urge on life to adapt to change.

Is it nice that certain life has it hard sometimes, no, of course it's not would we like to see eternal survival of species, yes, would we like to see natural selection eliminated, yes would we like to save the Panda's yes, however there is a limit to expectations and as natural selection does occur and should occur I see no reason why we should suppose life should be eternal, I see no reason to expect that humans will live forever, however the planet will tick on as it has always done.

Life finds a way, the planet will find a way, the sky will not fall.
ecowarriors Posted 10 years ago. Edited by ecowarriors (member) 10 years ago
lee, you keep saying "life finds a way, we are still here." but you fail to qualify your statements. who is "we"?

if, by "we" you refer to the people of north america, consider that inuit tribal peoples in the northern corners of this continent are facing a future berefit of ancestral hunting options and loss of tundra and firm earth to support their housing.

if by "we" you refer to the people of warmer, temperate to tropical zones, consider the fact that many people in island nations across the south pacific risk losing their very country, swamped by water.

if by "we" you refer to the inhabitants of this planet as a whole, i refer you to my earlier statements about biodiversity loss.

certainly, "we" can all sit back and deny that such change is our problem, that it is the natual order of things, that the earth will find a new set point by which all life will either live or die. but dont "we", as a primary influence in the magnitude and direction of current climate change, have a responsibility to our fellow man and to other inhabitants of this planet to do something to mitigate the harm that "we" have created?

if "we" are going to be so complacent and selfish as to sit back and wash our hands of this, and conveniently fall back on the premise that it is out of our hands ("life will find a way"), then i hope and pray you dont have children, lee. because "they" will simply inherit the problems that this generation doesnt want to tackle.
Lee Jordan Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Lee Jordan (member) 10 years ago
That's why we migrate, adapt and change, the only thing which seems to be wrong with the current view of things is we are trying to stop things from changing which in the end will always lead to failure. Trying to force a system which should change to not change, is virtually impossible and very improbable that we would be able to achieve what we want to.

However rather than trying to stop climate change we should be trying to adapt to it, we are denying that change should ever happen and that's wrong.

Plus, we aren't the main driving force behind climate change. Our children are going to inherit green taxes.
sunweb 10 years ago
A major animal that should be at the top of the endangered species list is best at both destruction of the environment and deception especially of itself. Without denial, most would shrivel up into a fetal position. We are in overshoot (see Catton's book of that title). We are in overshoot because a super sugar (petroleum) was put into the petri dish (the earth) giving a shot of food (industrial agriculture) that has allowed the yeast (us) to generate the waste and overpopulate leading to its endangerment if not its demise.
Suggestions for adapting to our hubris has been commented on millenium ago - the solution is the problem. Global warming, environmental degradation, fossil fuel peaking and depletion, serious overpopulation (overshoot), and our own nature make for an interesting future for what our children will truly inherit. The only true "enemy" of humanity are ourselves and some microbes. We will nuke to get the resources. It is our history. We invite the four horsemen. So let's hear it for denial and arrogance.
Only humility and an honoring of gifts as both boon and bane will give our children a real inheritance.
Stop carbon pollution PRO 10 years ago
Lee Jordan said:
That's why we migrate, adapt and change

Once again your arrogance is astounding, Lee.

A few hundred million coastal dwellers who don't even have enough money for adequate food shelter and clothing are supposed to simply pick up and leave behind their communities and livelihoods to move someplace far away? Where do they get the money for that move? Where is the space to put all these people? Where are the jobs to support these people?

And don't forget all those millions of beleaguered rich people. After investing years of income in building mountain chalets and waterfront getaways, they won't be too keen to migrate or at least suffer substantial loss of property/value. While I won't shed a tear for their loss I fear they will divert substantial resources from helping those who don't already have enough money to adapt successfully.
Lee Jordan 10 years ago
Well that's exactly how we migrated before, rich or poor, on camels and on makeshift vehicles, we have always migrated. It's not arrogance, it's stating pure facts. In fact it's the reverse it's having the want to research how we've dealt with climate change before in the past. One of the worst cases of climate change in the past is when Britain got cut off from mainland Europe and it's quite interesting how the new islanders had to adapt to that.

The climate change we are seeing at the moment really doesn't compare to previous examples in terms of seriousness.
BAMCorp 10 years ago
Unfortunately trees can't uproot themselves and walk to a better climate. Many animals will have the same problem as there are no corridors between ecosystems.

'The climate change we are seeing at the moment really doesn't compare to previous examples in terms of seriousness.'
-Of course this is your opinion but most climate scientists would disagree with you.

I remember seeing a clearfelled forest for the first time in 1997 in tasmania. It was like looking at a corpse with it's limbs severed and it's head decapited. it was a tour organised by the 'native forest network'. first we saw 'forest' that had grown back and then we were taken to old growth forest and finally to a clearfell sight. Actually forest never grows back the same after a clearfell (well at least not for thousands of years). there is always a great deal of species loss.

Most people in australia are not even aware of what is happening in their own country. clearfelling is happening there as fast as in any other country and most of this top quality paper is being woodchipped for shit quality paper. paper from woodchipping which has only been reletively recently produced woodchips would be lucky to last a few hundred years.

Europeans clearfelled most of the forests in australia very quickly when they first invaded. when people see treeless hills perhaps most don't think that there was only until quite recently a forest on it. This is true for europe as it is for australia. Ireland for instance was covered in forest before it's invasion.

Globally clearfelling is happening at a mindboggling rate and so too with it is the species extinction rate. a conservative estimate is 20,000 species per year which comes to something like 50 per day or 4 to 5 per hour. Actually it is impossible to give an accurate estimate as there is a huge amount of species not documented. Some species inhabit only particular vallies or micro systems.

If we make the whole worlds ecosystem like europe then we are in a dire situation, especially with the onslaught of climate change.
Lee Jordan 10 years ago
And even more deforestation will have to happen to get enough land to grow crops to produce biofuels and if you deforested half of what's remaining you still wouldn't even be close to replacing oil with biofuel .... but they are pushing this form of energy as a solution to climate change, which will lead to the need for more land for farming, meaning even less trees. Plus the planet didn't have rainforest's at one time and that was when the climate was very cold, not very hot.

Climate science ignores the the climate of the past and roughly makes out that co2 drives climate change and that's false, that's not an opinion, Co2 doesn't drive climate change water does.
Stop carbon pollution PRO 10 years ago
Biofuels are indeed a very dangerous energy strategy. They can provide a limited amount of future needs but they should not be seen as a replacement for fossil fuels. We must aggressively pursue efficiency as more important. You will actually find that many/most environmentalists are very leery of biofuels and recognize the problems of land use and food supply. It is mostly politicians and business people pushing for massive biofuel production.

Water does not drive climate change. It is a feedback, not a forcing. CO2 is both a feedback and a forcing.
Lee Jordan Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Lee Jordan (member) 10 years ago
Agreed, handing 95% of climate change over to water vapor is nuts, however what is being presented to us is that climate change is driven 100% by Co2 and is not natural and should not be happening, which is not the case of course climate change should be happening (to deny it should be happening is like living in cuckoo land) .Water vapor isn't communicated to the public has having an impact on climate. In fact much of the communication on climate change to the public is that we are to blame and this should not be happening and we should stop it from happening, all three statement are misleading and false.

This leads ordinary folk (like policy makers) thinking that reducing Co2 will in fact halt climate change, because on first glance what is presented to us is only Co2 as a factor. This is simply misleading, just as it is misleading to say that all climate change is down to water vapor. However on balance let's say Co2 is responsible for 30% climate change, that's less than half of the input and of that regardless of what is said human (industrial) output of Co2 when compared with nature is actually quite low. The reason I think we are blaming ourselves is because we can control ourselves, we can't go corking up the volcanoes, so it makes no sense to hand of blame to natural causes, because then there is nothing we can do about it (which is a more realistic look at climate change).

If you like we are being led down a path of action which will in fact make little difference to the rate of global warming and I know for a fact in 2004 this was the overall majority opinion from climate science, that we aren't the majority forcing factor of climate change (if much change is actually happening) and I say that because we are not seeing global warming right now we are seeing regional warming and it's not in a linear upwards trend either there are falls and global cooling events too.

However The IPCC has come along and categorically ruled an iron fist and put forward a misleading case on Co2, human Co2 of that Co2 content in the air a small percentage of 0.3% belongs to humans. It will all trigger action such as a massive rise in the biofuel sector and the climate will still change because we've drastically miscalculated the fact that the climate should be changing all the time, and money which could have been spent on migrating villages instead is spent trying to stop the unstoppable.

All in in quite a messy situation where we are painted as the gods, more powerful than nature and that slant on things never used to be like that.

The sky will not fall and there won't be a mass extinction, unless cold war 2 breaks out, which from a European perspective is looking more likely by the day.
BAMCorp Posted 10 years ago. Edited by BAMCorp (member) 10 years ago
Lee, it's great to have a protagonist but your arguments are making less and less sense and just me feel like why bother? Can't you see the floors in your own arguments. As well i find the way you slant your arguements totally misleading 'climate change is natural' - well of course there is a natural component of climate change but there is a critical amount of change from the massive amount of co2 pumped into the atmosphere from humans. reducing the amount of carbon cannot do us harm if we do it through the right ways i.e. not nuclear (which will barely make a difference anyway) and not through massive biofuel projects.

and then you fall back on faith based arguements like 'we have survived in the past so therefore we will survive in the future. what crap. Plenty of human civilisations have wiped themselves out to environmental factors and there is no reason why we can't wipe out life on this planet if we don't pay attention to it. in many ways it's a miricle that we haven't already done so...there is no doubt we have the power.

and then you say 'I know for a fact in 2004 this was the overall majority opinion from climate science.' how do you know this? certainly sounds like crap to me. and it is not only the ipcc that agree with Co2 effecting climate change, it is scientists from all over the world, from many well known institutions. the ipcc didn't spring from nothing it took a lot of hard work of concered scientist.

Then you call climate change scientists 'zealots'. this can hardly do your cause any good. I know some climate scientists that support climate change theory and they are hardly zealots. i find these comments offensive. maybe some are 'zealots' and maybe you have met one or two and perhaps even been hurt by them. but that doesn't mean the whole community of climate change scientists (which are many), are.

and what is this about 'migrating villages' it is just wierd like your not living on the same planet. Like you don't have a real concept of what this means.

I originally thought that you just had a different view of things but i have to wonder if you are somekind of paid troll, especially with the way you twist language.

Let me ask of you one more question which may sound a little wierd. Are you in your body right now as you read this? Do you feel you belong to your own body?
ecowarriors Posted 10 years ago. Edited by ecowarriors (member) 10 years ago
lee, you keep talking like what we are to experience is something the human race has experienced in the past and adapted to. but the most recent dramatic shift in climate came during the tertiary epoch, some 1.8 MYA

homo sapiens have only been on the planet 250000 ybp. we have not experienced dramatic climate shift. therefore we cannot say we could sruvive it when it comes.

how likely is the current climate change to be dramatic? most would agree that it is risky to make such a prediction. but the concensus among climate change modelers is that we will at minimum achieve a climate change equivalent to one experienced about 18000 years ago, in the homo sapiens timeframe. the major difference, which i continue to return to, is the rate of change:

"That (projected) amount of change in global-mean temperature is similar, although opposite in sign, to what is now projected due to increases in greenhouse gases. But the rate of change is not. The last Ice Age developed over thousands of years, while global greenhouse warming is projected to occur within a span of less than a century. And within the lifetime of people now living."

this rapid timescale for change DOES NOT ALLOW FOR ADAPTATION. this is why such change can be so catastrophic. and why we must act to stem the tide.

and as for

"If you like we are being led down a path of action which will in fact make little difference to the rate of global warming and I know for a fact in 2004 this was the overall majority opinion from climate science"

i think you are wrong about this statement. as far back as the 1970's scientists were ringing alarm bells and beginning to speculate about the connection between human activity and climate change. however, little evidence existed to confirm it. as a scientist myself i can only add that, hey, times change. technology improves, breakthroughs are made, and information is shared.

and now the overwhelming majority, as evidenced by the IPCC reports, states that humans are a primary factor in the magnitude and direction of current climate trends. if so many experts the world over agree, why are you so stubborn to absorb their expertise and hard earned research conclusions?
Lee Jordan Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Lee Jordan (member) 10 years ago
No in 2004 I specifically remember news reports in the UK about action to tackle climate change will make little difference to the rate of global warming (that doesn't make sense if you think humans are causing it) I don't think humans are causing climate change and place much more importance on the role of nature.

From a photography point of view, one of the most iconic images of human induced climate change is a silhouette of pollution against the backdrop of a massive sun, for me the cause is not in the foreground, it's in the background of this debate.

We never used to be gods, but now we are the gods we are to blame we can be the solution and in the history of this planet we can see the error of placing ourselves as the gods, it's just not gonna work and thinking we can halt climate change is about as mad as me thinking I'm gonna get to Mars next year.
ecowarriors Posted 10 years ago. Edited by ecowarriors (member) 10 years ago
"in the history of this planet we can see the error of placing ourselves as the gods"

you are so right about that. in a sense, it is this arrogance that has put us in this place. we strip away all that mother nature has developed... trees, grassland, forest, swampland, coral reef... things that act as gas transformers, co2 sinks, oxygen releasers, cleansers of our air and water. we dump trash, chemicals, fuel residue, sewage and other harmful substances into our oceans, landfills and open spaces... introducing toxins and killing off beneficial microbes which strive to maintain a balance in our soils and waters. we remove nature and replace it with cement, high rises, paved roads of every kind, things that act as heat sinks and contrast sharply with the properties of the natural envornment they replace.

yes, indeed, we have acted like gods, and now we may well pay for it. mother nature is in fact a complex system of natural processes, all of which we have been largely successful in highjacking to greater or lesser degrees.

can you quote any of the articles you "specifically remember"? i find it hardly credible that such comments would have been a concencus postion of credible scientists in a country such as the UK which was a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol before 1999. The Protocol specifically states

"The goal is to lower overall emissions of six greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, HFCs, and PFCs - calculated as an average over the five-year period of 2008-12. "

for the purpose of

"stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system"

seems pretty clear to me that the Kyoto signatories believed as early as 1998 that changes in human activity could impact climate change in a manner favorable to human life.

even if you might have heard a lone wolf postulate in 2004 a retrospectively radical position such as the one you mention... how, given the overwhelming reponse of international scientists as demonstrated by the reports of the IPCC, can you not say that today this concencus is a clearly valid one?
Lee Jordan 10 years ago
Yeah you are right, those things are bad, however the assumption many times is that the planet simply has not seen this before. That's wrong, we haven''t seen this before and it coped, it's us who can't cope ;)

We don't have the magic thermostat we can't make bad things go away and we can't halt climate change. Deal with it!
ecowarriors 10 years ago
"deal with it?"

it took you two weeks to reply, and thats the best you can do?
Old Man Under the Sea [deleted] 10 years ago
How many new species are discovered each year?

As to the IPCCs report, it depends too heavily on the assumption CO2 is one of the main factors. At comprising a mere 0.04% of our atmosphere and a poor holder of heat I have trouble with this approach. If one assumes CO2 is the cause and look back at ice core data then for every 100 ppm increase in CO2 the temperature should increase ~11C . Thus in the last 150 yrs with 100 ppm increase in CO2 (due to anthro influences) we should have seen an 11 C increase in temperatures.....we have only seen a 0.9C increase. Something is missing.
For some reason no one talks about water vapor. Water vapor is also a byproduct of burning fossil fuels ( also hydrogen fuel cells) and water vapor levels have been going up. Water vapor is an excellent holder of heat. What about paved surfaces and city centers? "Urban Heat islands"...I think there is a combination of many factors that is leading to anthro environmental impact.

Are we really seeing an "out of the ordinary" environmental change?
If you look over the entire 4.5 billion years, we are cooling. If you look at the last 160,000 years you will see that we are still several degrees C cooler than the high for that period. Putting climate change as radical, in human terms, is silly since the planet is massively older than human existance. Its all relative.

I do believe we need to get off petroleum, more for the other pollution factors and human/environmental suffering (think war and conflict) it causes. Pollution (nitrogen loading, chemical spills, solid waste), over fishing, over population, massive agriculture, creation of mass non-pourous surfaces are our and the planet's biggest threat via humans.

It seems hype and a scramble to prove who is right blinds many and dillutes good science. The diffuculty of obtaining funding for non-biased studies is monumental. Agendas of funders, whether governmental or private has caused many I believe to drop good science in the name of keeping a job (quite a motivator).

Ultimately, nature may trump all the arguements and do something radical such as a magnetic field reversal or the good old massive meteor that will be a mass extinction event....if fossil records are any indication, we are overdue.
fusion_prog_guy [deleted] 10 years ago
Hi everyone,

Let me introduce myself. I am Steve, and its my first day here on Flickr. This group is interesting, and I'd like to send out some information via email to everyone who is interested in various topics I have been researching. I have put together a collection of articles and graphs and pictures from the internet on the topics of "Climate Change, Peak Oil, and Limits to Growth".

It has graphs from ice cores with temp and C02 relationships among others, sea level relationships with temperature, some history of the climate on earth including when coal was born. It has graphs on different forcings, growing GHG levels, Milankovich cycles, carbon cycles, feedbacks, carbon sinks. It explains the relevance of several degrees warming and compares it with the past climate over millions of years. It also has info on previous abrubt climate change in the earths history, stabilisation paths, response times of the climate, various tipping points, species extinction and various models....

I also go into questioning the benefits of looking just at GDP, and thinking in the short term. I look at the self-destructive nature of a fossil fuel, growth based, auto-focused, throw-away economy. I look at the problem of exponential population growth, meat-based food, unsustainable growth in non-renewable energy....

And more! I've just been collecting a lot of facts, science articles, and things from the internet relating to Climate Change, Peak Oil, and Limits to Growth. They are all related.

If anyone is interested just email me at
stevie 69 _ m @ hotmail . com
fusion_prog_guy [deleted] 10 years ago
Old Man Under the Sea - Climate takes a while to fully respond to our emissions. It can take centuries and even longer, depending on what part of the system you are looking at. For instance, first temperature changes, then ice sheets melt, then sea levels rise. If you look at it from the perspective of 100s of years, they happen in parallel. A proportional rise in Co2, relates to a proportional rise in temp, which relates to a proportional rise in sea level, although it takes time for the different system to respond. Even if we stopped all Co2 emissions now, the earth would continue to warm up due to past emissions that the planet has not yet responded to.

Here are some info bits for you:

James Hansen says “The temperature change between full glacial and interglacial conditions is about 10ºC in Antarctica, about 3ºC at the Pacific Warm Pool on the equator, and 5±1ºC on global average.

Consider that 100 ppm is what separated the ice age from the warm, stable climate of the past several thousand years, and that the temperature transition from ice age to a warm climate took about a thousand years. By comparison, over the past 30 years nearly half the energy used in the history of the industrial revolution has been consumed, and global average temperatures are rising about 100 times faster than during transitions out of ice ages.

"During the exit from glacial periods (for example the transition from the last cold period, between about 18000 and 11000 years ago), both temperature and CO2 increased slowly and in parallel. Close analysis of the relationship between the two curves shows that, within the uncertainties of matching their timescales, the temperature led by a few centuries. This is expected, since it was changes in the Earth’s orbital parameters (including the shape of its orbit around the Sun, and the tilt of Earth’s axis) that caused the small initial temperature rise. This then raised atmospheric CO2 levels, in part by outgassing from the oceans, causing the temperature to rise further. By amplifying each other’s response, this “positive feedback” can turn a small initial perturbation into a large climate change. There is therefore no surprise that the temperature and CO2 rose in parallel, with the temperature initially in advance. In the current case, the situation is different, because human actions are raising the CO2 level, and we are starting to observe the temperature response. “

Now, if you look at what James Hansen says
(1) In the last interglacial period (100-120,000 years ago), temperatures were around 1 degree higher than now and sea levels 5-6 m higher
(2) Therefore, just 1 degree warming is dangerous climate change; 2-3 degrees warming is a different planet as at that temperature sea level were 25±10 m higher. To find our planet at 2 or 3°C warmer than now, as it will be this century in “business-as-usual” scenarios, we must go back to the middle Pliocene, about 3 million years ago.

(3) 1 degree warming will be caused by 450 ppm CO2
(4) The last time icesheets collapsed was during melt water pulse 1A. The last 7000 years were relatively stable, however 14,000 years ago, sea level rose by about 25 m in some parts of the northern hemisphere, over a period of less than 500 years, in an event called meltwater pulse 1A. In other words the world has experienced abrupt sea level rise of the order of 1 m every 20 years! We may trigger such an event again.
(5) We still have to expect another 0.5 degree warming from past emissions because planet Earth is presently out of energy balance with space. It will come to a new equilibrium at that higher temperature, provided we do not enter a positive feed back loop with a run-away climate

The target is therefore to stay under the 450 ppm CO2 limit. It can be achieved by the Stern Review's stabilization path for 450 ppm CO2e (including other GHG emissions). In this path, emissions must be made to peak by 2010 and then be reduced by 60% by 2030 (not 2050).

We are not cooling! No spikes in warming in the last 2,000 years matched the warming since 1990. It is important to recognize that natural influences on climate could either amplify or mask human-caused warming in years to come.

James Hansen says "The natural tendency today, absent humans, would be toward the next ice age, albeit the tendency would not be very strong because the eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit is rather small (~0.017). However, another ice age will never occur, unless humans go extinct. Although orbital changes are the ‘pacemaker’ of the ice ages, the two mechanisms by which the Earth becomes colder in an ice age are reduction of the long-lived GHGs and increase of ice sheet area. But these natural mechanisms are now overwhelmed by human-made emissions, so GHGs are skyrocketing and ice is melting all over the planet. Humans are now in control of global climate, for better or worse. An ice age will never be allowed to occur if humans exist, because it can be prevented by even a ‘thimbleful’ of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), which are easily produced."
Old Man Under the Sea [deleted] 10 years ago
I don't disagree that human activity could be impacting climate change. I just disagree with the CO2 'root cause' theory. There are so many factors in climate/environment and we are just now scratching the surface. Assuming everything is linked to a gas that comprises a mere 0.04% of our atmosphere and a very poor holder of heat seems a bit flawed. Sure, it could be a contributor, but the main cause?

Everyone likes to point at CO2 because it is an easily measurable factor, and that's what groups, governments are paying for. What about the other GHG's we barely hear about those (also better holders of heat).

Why isn't city center heating one of the causes? Why isn't ocean rise also due to redirected runoff from non-pourous surfaces. As we pave/build, water runs directly into gutters, streams, rivers and the ocean instead of the ground (hence the continuing shortage of fresh water). What is the impact on the oceans, mixing, currents etc. due to this influence?

Why is no one mentioning the increase in water vapor? It comprises as much as 4% of the atmosphere (increasing every year) and holds heat far better. Doesn't it seem logical then that something 100 times greater in volume, holds heat far better than CO2, might be a larger influence? No one is talking about it because there is no funding to study itsimpacts. Water vapor has only been tracked for the last 40 yrs.

Could we have unbalanced the system? Obsolutely! most likely we have. My concern is while we are busy jumping up and down about CO2 all the other contributing factors are being ignored thus we are not pursuing technologies and/or changing our lifestyles to compensate.

Time is extremely short. Countries such as China and India are now hitting their industrial revolution with populations many times higher than the US. The US needs to radically shift to clean technology, and lifestyles within the next 5-10 yrs. That technology needs to be inexpensive and readily availible for other countries. If China and India get up to full industrial capacity the past/present environmental blunders of the US will seem miniscule.

Fortunately there are countries out there taking action. Iceland plans to be petroleum free by 2030 and Sweden taking a more aggressive 2021 goal.

Here in the US politicians give plenty of lip service but no real action. It doesn't seem to matter which side of the isle...both are equally guilty in their inaction. Republicans are too busy trying to save their butts and Democrats, though talk a good game only continue to contribute to the problem. In the US its time for a third party. Unfortunately, this will not happen until a massive collapse of some natural system. My money is on ocean systems, but I'm biased, of course then it may be too late.

Remember it all ultimately comes down to politics...doesn't really matter what science says.
ecowarriors 10 years ago
"I think there is a combination of many factors that is leading to anthro environmental impact"

i would agree with this statement whole heartedly. the increase in co2 is but one aspect of the change to our earth environs. heating due to the loss of our carbon sinks in the lungs of the world (the amazon) and other rainforest areas has an impact, the pavement you mention adding to our heat index, the inability of the ecosystem to respond fully due to our erosion of the natural order of things via alteration in topography, water table, plant mass... all of these things are part of the picture.

and while it may be well and true that the heating and cooling cycle is, to a degree, part of the history of the planet, it is important that the human race, if it wants to survive a rapid heating that our planet is not as eqipped to mitigate thanks to our destructive influence, should get involved in trying to right the ship. if the planet is involved in a natural heating cycle, there is nothing to be done about that... but the rate of change now is a huge issue. that rate is accelerated by atmospheric carbon, which is currently emitted by people at an alarming and unprecedented rate. computer modeling by the union of concerned scientists ( demonstrates that human influences on climate factors better describes our current climate trends than considering natural processes alone.

human impact on warming

clearly, if we are part of the problem, then we can be part of the solution
ecowarriors 10 years ago
"Here in the US politicians give plenty of lip service but no real action. It doesn't seem to matter which side of the isle...both are equally guilty in their inaction. Republicans are too busy trying to save their butts and Democrats, though talk a good game only continue to contribute to the problem."

"Remember it all ultimately comes down to politics...doesn't really matter what science says. "

unfortuantely, i have to agree with this too. no matter how clear the issue may be on the scientific end, there will always be political spin doctors, and in the end, its what the people think (and how they vote) that will make the difference.

so viva al gore! one man who is trying to make a difference now by reaching the people directly, bypassing the govenrmental structure to educate and motivate. and as i struggle to find even more ways to eek out a few more pounds of carbon savings with my ecological footprint, i can only hope that my neighbors are waking up to the idea too.
Stop carbon pollution PRO Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Stop carbon pollution (member) 10 years ago
Old Man Under the Sea,

I strongly urge you to start reading the Real Climate blog. It's written by real climateologists who get published in peer-reviewed journals and they do discuss water vapour and other non-CO2 GHGs.

CO2 emissions are the largest anthropogenic GHG and also the most difficult to control without radical change and that is why so much emphasis is put on them.
ecowarriors 10 years ago
thanks for that link, kata. hadnt seen that one before and it looks like its chock full of good info
Old Man Under the Sea [deleted] Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Old Man Under the Sea (member) 10 years ago
Sorry the CO2's radiative holding factor is minimal compared to other GHG's...pitifully so. The environmental groups need to address the real dangers the real problems. But it won't happen. Politicians and private interest have delt the funding cards and those are the only reports you will hear. Goverment labs have been shut down, studies have had the all the scientists completely replaced to get the results they want. This is not some conspiracy theory...I worked for USGS...I've seen it in action...I've seen the labs shut down, the reports changed, the teams replaced due to the administration not liking the results.

It is a classic magic trick....they wave the CO2 card over you miss the switch over there.
Lee Jordan Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Lee Jordan (member) 10 years ago
The big question is why are they spending so much time and effort on Co2 (which is a small factor in climate) when they could be making it illegal to build property on flood plains or areas prone to flooding. I think that's what we are blind to at the moment, the recent flooding in England was only as bad as it was because developers were allowed to build on land which naturally floods, the houses which were ruined and the damaged caused was to houses less than 4 years old, all that expense could have been spared if it was illegal to build on flood plains, but it's not.

Except the authorities turn around and blame humans for these floods so we must drive less and cut down on our carbon because a river did what it was supposed to do naturally? No we must stop building on flood plains and spend less time on carbon, more time on looking at where we live and trying not to live in danger areas.

It's not an angle to this which gets much focus, but why are we so focused on the answer being reduction in CO2, because most of the problems aren't attributed to CO2. Fix the CO2 there will still be severe weather events but your communities are still living in flood plains, meaning nothing gets better ..... surely, not rocket science is it?
ecowarriors Posted 10 years ago. Edited by ecowarriors (member) 10 years ago
"Water vapor doesn't overwhelm the effects of CO2 because there's little water vapor in the high, cold regions from which infrared escapes, and at the low pressures there water vapor absorption is like a leaky sieve, which would let a lot more radiation through were it not for CO2"

why are scientists focussed on greenhouse gasses like CO2? consult the following:

it is flatly false to say that "most of the problems aren't attributed to CO2." consider this graph as a place to start:

the fact of the matter is that the vast body of evidence in the scientific community points to greenhouse gasses as being the culprit here. many of them are not govenrment emplyees who may have been subject to retroactive report writing. a few naysayers do exist, but they are a small voice by comparison.

to deny that CO2 is the major factor is to go against the grain of the body of scientific evidence to date. to deny that it is any factor at all is simply ridiculous, akin to sticking one's head in the sand.
Lee Jordan 10 years ago
I doubt anyone who lessens the focus on Co2 simply says it has nothing to do with climate change, however it's not the full story, but that is how it is being presented. Clean up the Co2 and things will be ok, but it's not like that, it never was and never will be.
ecowarriors 10 years ago
"I doubt anyone who lessens the focus on Co2 simply says it has nothing to do with climate change"

well, you did!

"but why are we so focused on the answer being reduction in CO2, because most of the problems aren't attributed to CO2"
speshul41 10 years ago
Aloha all,

I just joined this group and to be quite honest I have not read the last 2/3 of this thread. I don't think I have to, since I've seen this "same thread" repeated before: Lee spouts some uninformed gibberish, Ecowarriors replys with some common sense science, and on and on.

Lee: What is your educational / professional background? Obviuosly not science. I took a look at your photos. There is remarkably little in your collection of nature or natural subjects. Seems like the collection of a city dweller with not much experience in the real world(read natural world).

You said that CO2 doesn't drive climate. Well not to burst your bubble, but it does. CO2 can be traced in lock step with climate change for the last 100,000+ years (in ice cores) and much further with other scientific methods.

You also have said that this current bout of climate change is not as serious as previous ones. This truly shows your ignorance. It is an indisputable fact that CO2 levels are rising faster than ever recorded and species are going extinct at a greater rate than previously documented (the dinosaur die off at the KT boundary being the only real rival). Perhaps it is difficult for you to see the reality of this situation from your city-dwelling perspective devoid of significant natural influence. But don't worry, the next ten years will make the situation blindingly clear for you.

As a scientist, I can tell you that about the only point you made that holds any water what so ever is the fact that this living system is subject to change. Beyond that, you fail enitrely to comrehend the difference between change and rate of change. A simple study of calculus might help you get a clue here.

Let me break it down for you: Lets say you are traveling in an air plane at 50 mph and wish to accelerate to 5000mph. Well if you accelerated slowly (slow rate of change), there won't be any problem. Now if you are on this same plane at 50mph and accelerate to 5000mph quickly, lets say in 3 seconds, (fast rate of change), then instead what you'd experience is a cruching force that would rupture your internal organs, press the air from your lungs, and in a very real way, kill you.

This super fast rate of climate change is what will wipe out half the planets species, displace (and probably kill) billions of people, destroy or seriously disrupt every ecosystem on the planet, and make it quite difficult for you to find the time to take pictures of rock concerts and city scapes since you'll be struggling to survive and wondering how you could have been so dense. Make no mistake, it is attitudes like yours that are killing us and the planet.

Life will find a way, but not much of it and certainly not humans who don't have any clue how to exist in the natural world.


speshul41 10 years ago
Ok so I went ahead and read the rest of the thread. Heres the deal:

The main forcers of natural climate change (almost always) operate on very long timescales. The orbital parameters of earth are 3 big ones. The arrangement of continents and oceans and the resulting ocean circulations patterns are another. Volcanic activity is about the only natural forcer that can impact global climate in the short term (and when it does it cools things down due to all the particulates in the atmosphere). The burning of fossil fuels has taken CO2 (sorry man under sea, it is a pretty effective GHG regardless of its small %age of total atmospheric gases) from a place where it wasn't interacting with the atmosphere and has dumped it into the system. This warms the atmosphere and the ocean, increases the CO2 level in the ocean (ocean gets more acidic), helps increase water evaporation (H2O is a GHG but is not as well mixed in the atmosphere and has a very short residence time there), melts glaciers and sea ice, and on and on.

These cause and effect relationsships are well known, and getting easier and easier for climate scientists to calcualte. One of the real kickers is positive feedback mechanisms: less sea ice means less heat reflected which means more ice melted; or warmer weather in the permafrost regions leads to melting of permafrost which leads to further release of CO2 and other GHGs which leads to further warming.

There is NO WAY to account for the observed warming during the last 50 years by natural variation or trends. The ONLY WAY to explain these changes and their rates of change is GHG's. Period. The wholesale destruction of our ecosystems is not a propoganda tool used by environmental nuts, it is the direct result of our tampering with Earth's climate, destroying habitat, and releasing compounds into the environment that never existed in nature before the industrial revolution.

Don't believe it? tough. If you jump off of a building and believe that gravity isn't real, or that the pavement isn't really THAT hard, it won't save you from the truth. You'll still go splat.

Old Man Under the Sea [deleted] 10 years ago
With all the ice core data, making the assumption that an increase in CO2 causes warming doesn't make sense. It seems rather warming would cause an increase in CO2 (or the lack of the ocean to hold more CO2).

There absolutely have been huge temperature changes in the past far more dramatic than in the last 50 yrs. 50yrs does not make a is way too short a time period. Ice core data shows a 6degC rise in just a decade. We have had a .8degC rise in the last 150yrs.

I just feel we are looking at CO2 jumping up and down and missing looking at the whole picture.

Greenland was named Greenland because someone was color blind. It was a good 2-3 degC warmer than today....go figure.
ecowarriors 10 years ago
"50yrs does not make a trend"...

i know what you are getting at there OMUTS, but i think the carbon emissions data coupled with the temp, and how the trends map so well, makes the "trend" so interesting/scary.
Old Man Under the Sea [deleted] 10 years ago
It is very possible I'm way off, but I worry we are looking too closely at just a few things and missing a much larger picture.
speshul41 10 years ago
The larger picture is pretty clear: temps are going up, low lying pacific atolls are being inundated, arctic sea ice is dwindling, glaciers are melting, organisms are changing their range (often this means contracting range), CO2 levels continue to rise (and rise at greater and greater rates), and our esteemed leaders (here in the US anyhow) still make believe it isn't the biggest issue out there.

50 years certainily does make a trend, and I think the temp rise is more like 1.2-1.8 C since the early 1900s. Though I can't be sure, I don't seem to recall reading anything about 6 degC rise in a decade, what ice cores and when?

The CO2 level and emmissions matter so much because CO2 has such a long residence time in the atmosphere (~100yrs) and works well (especially at high altitudes) as a GHG. true Methane is way more potent, but it is also has a shorter residence time and is not dumped into the atmosphere on the same scale as CO2.

All that aside though, we know that CO2 is a major contributor to the GHG make up and waiting to find out what else MIGHT be causing problems is silly. Lets get our butts in gear and do something about a problem we KNOW is real.

If your house is on fire you don't do a full blown investigation about what caused it first; you see flames, you put out the fire.
farlane PRO 10 years ago
Lee will find a way.
Lee Jordan Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Lee Jordan (member) 10 years ago
Life finds a way.

I don't think I've ever said that Co2 has nothing to do with climate change. Science tells us Co2 is the least quantitative greenhouse gas and in a list of three baddies comes in at number three behind water (water can be a gas and actually is a very important greenhouse gas, more important than Co2) and methane, sorry to burst your bubble.

ANY item of of science writing which says Co2 is the most important gas to climate change is quite frankly supporting a flawed theory. ANY item of science which states Co2 has more warming effect than water is misleading the reader.

My background is in the media and so I know how the most effective propaganda tool on the planet works. I'm really very sorry to say but a lot of what is going on with reference to climate change isn't the full picture and what would we rather do fund more science reviews which come out with the same flawed conclusions or, fund programmes to help us deal with climate change.

I'll set a date in my diary for us to meet for a chat in 2017 and you can tell me why the climate is still changing in a future where fossil fuel is no longer being burned and you can talk of tipping points etc, but if the planet was going to be destroyed it would have already been destroyed long before we got here. Life finds a way.

As for "halting climate change" what planet are these zoinks from?
Lee Jordan Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Lee Jordan (member) 10 years ago
speshul41: we know that CO2 is a major contributor to the GHG make up and waiting to find out what else MIGHT be causing problems is silly

But it's not a major cause of the greenhouse effect, it's partly a contributing factor, but water vapor is the drive of climate and it makes sense and there is more water than carbon. seriously I will explain how global warming theory started if you want me to? As for temperature rise and Co2 it's a correlation, there is no direct evidence to support this, don't you ever get the feeling the rise in temperature was going to happen anyway and has been happening long before we invented cars? Don't you think the temperature would rise if we were not here?

And what makes everyone so sure it's human Co2 doing it and even then what makes you all think only we produce Co2 and how much Co2 is human in nature? and Carbon is the stuff of life .... please stop demonising the carbon cycle. Carbon doesn't drive climate, please stop ignoring the sun.
BAMCorp 10 years ago
yes i would love to hear your history of how global warming theory started.
Old Man Under the Sea [deleted] 10 years ago
Again, water vapor, far more prevalent than CO2 (water vaper 4% of atmosphere vs. CO2 0.04% of atmosphere) a far better holder of thermal than CO2.... is ignored...oh and it is rising in %. Yes it is a component of burning fossil just doesn't sound as nortorious as CO2 does it?...perhaps why it isn't mentioned.....
Lee Jordan 10 years ago
Oh ok, global warming theory started as a theory of how the world could be less cold, at the time the world was gripped by severe winters and it was thought that Co2 could warm things up and stop the winters being so harsh. It still remains a theory with very little evidence other than a correlation with slightly warmer temperatures which might not be anything to do with trapped heat from the sun. From every single angle the current theory is flawed and will be proven to be flawed when the climate is still changing after all the fossil fuel has gone.

Unfortunately it then got hijacked as a way to push nuclear technology. The issue with energy we now have is you are saying no to fossil fuels and no to nuclear so what are we supposed to do other than not have electricity for a while? You see the quandary being put forward on energy? Climate shouldn't be a factor in considering energy concerns.
BAMCorp Posted 10 years ago. Edited by BAMCorp (member) 10 years ago
old man under the sea....i can see why water is so important to you. your question on water vapor was answered earlier in the thread by ecowarriors. maybe you should reply to this rather than repeating things that have already been talked about. i'll cut and paste it here;

"Water vapor doesn't overwhelm the effects of CO2 because there's little water vapor in the high, cold regions from which infrared escapes, and at the low pressures there water vapor absorption is like a leaky sieve, which would let a lot more radiation through were it not for CO2"

why are scientists focussed on greenhouse gasses like CO2? consult the following:

'it is flatly false to say that "most of the problems aren't attributed to CO2."

do you really think that climate scientists are so stupid as to leave water vapor out of their climate models?

Lee your history of climate change is quite vague. would you like to site any references? and when exactly is 'the time the world was gripped by severe winters'?
sillydog 10 years ago
Oh, I love a good debate -- let's keep those good links and references coming.
speshul41 10 years ago
On water vapor:

Water vapor makes up a greater percentage of the atmosphere than CO2, but it is less well mixed and has a shorter residence time in the atmosphere (like days, weeks or months maybe). CO2 has a residence time in the atmosphere of about 100 years (which, Lee, is why we will continue to see warming even after we've burned all the fossil fuels).
Lee Jordan 10 years ago
Actually I used to work for the environment department for the UK government.
ecowarriors 10 years ago
then why cant you name or cite any specific sources for any of your arguements?
Groups Beta