Cassandra has moved. Ugo Bardi publishes now on a new site called "The Seneca Effect."

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Human Extinction: An Idea Whose Time had to Come.

A few years ago, a political movement taking the name of "extinction rebellion" would have been wholly unthinkable. On the other hand, after more than forty years of warnings on climate change and ecosystem collapse from the world's best scientists, the message had to start going through, somehow. And it does.

One consequence is the appearance on the social media of a crowd of deranged, depressed, misanthropic, and generally nasty people who have decided that the extinction of humankind is what's going to happen, no matter what we do, and they even seem to like the idea. Others, fortunately, seem to think that we can still do something to avoid this manifest destiny and the consequence is the birth of the extinction rebellion movement. Can it accomplish anything? Hard to say, it sounds a little like an "asteroid rebellion" movement that dinosaurs could have created just before the end of the Cretaceous era.

These openly declared attitudes may be just the tip of the iceberg, others may well have decided that, if overpopulation is the problem, then there are quick and very dirty ways to solve it. They may be concocting dark and dire things and they won't care too much about who thinks exactly what about the likelyhood of a coming human extinction. Their only concern would be that THEY won't go extinct. But, as usual, we see the future darkly, as in a mirror, and the time when we'll see it face to face has not come, yet. 

Below, a text by "Reverse Engineer" of the Doomstead Diner who examines the question and, at the linked page, you'll find also a longer video. (U.B.)

Guest post by R.E. (Reverse Engineer).

Extinction has moved from the dark corners of the Collapse Blogosphere into the consciousness of the mainstream.  Just a few short years ago the discussion of human extinction was relegated to a few fringe websites, but not so anymore.  Now it has become Topic #1 in the discussions on many websites that concern themselves with topics of collapse.  Sometimes this comes to the exclusion of many other collapse related topics in economics, geopolitics, energy and social psychology that are impacting more directly right now.

Generally, my focus over the years has been on the economics and energy end of the spin down we are immersed in, and I don't dwell too much on the issues of extinction.  However, here on the Diner we have treated the subject to analysis on a few occasions, most notably the Human Extinction Survey, which we ran a couple of years ago.  It garnered the most respondents of any survey we have run at around 350 submissions until recently, when our Collapse Projections Survey brought in responses from over 600 Kollapsniks.  The extinction survey also inspired a month long email stream between various bloggers and pundits which was quite interesting.

I generally tend to avoid extinction discussions though for a few reasons.  First, I have discovered over the years that it attracts a certain type of reader/commenter who is often nihilistic, misanthropic and sometimes suicidally depressed.  The blog becomes consumed with the discussion of the topic while more proximal problems get ignored.  Who cares if the monetary system is going to crash if we're all gonna die anyhow, right?  It also sometimes inspires people toward counter-productive behaviors.  If we're all destined to inevitable death here no matter what, let's just Party like it's 1999!  It leads to inaction on problems we still can have an effect on as we move forward in collapse.

The timeline question becomes very important here, because if extinction is indeed going to happen, when will it actually occur?  If it's in the next 5 years say, that has one set of problems and responses, if it's going to happen in 50 there's another set.  Nobody can really finger this accurately, it's all speculation but some true believers hammer down on anyone who doesn't buy the whole ball of wax on Near Term Human Extinction (NTHE) is in denial and shooting up too much Hopium.  Amongst this crowd, hope is a bad thing to have.

Recent events however compelled me to discuss this subject in detail, which I do in today's Collapse Morning Wake-Up Call.  The first is the rise of the Extinction Rebellion movement, which recently held a week long series of often very theatrical demonstrations in London to raise consciousness and hopefully get some real ACTION out of governments to combat this problem, which looms larger each day as more climate related calamities strike in more places with incresing ferocity and frequency.all over the globe.  The second is a corollary issue of Population Overshoot, and the fact that many Millenials are now choosing to remain childless, for one reason or another.  What kind of difference will this make to our society as time marches on here?

All in all, Extinction is a difficult conundrum to deal with, a Wicked Problem.  Hopefully, I clarify some issues with this discussion, or at least lay out my position on where I stand on these issues.

Save As Many As You Can



  1. Even Earth is under a strong climate change and mankind is in overpopulation status, I don't think mankind is risking the total mankind extinction on Earth.

    Because after 600years - 1000 years, the gas serra emissions will be re-absorbed by natural ways (sea, forests) and Earth climate will recover into a normal situation. The question is, how will be the world during this periodo of time?!

    Quite dystopian world.

    600years - 1000 years are very short time for geological era, nature counts time by millions of years or more.

    600years - 1000 years are long time form the mankind point of view.

    How many people on Earth will survive during the dystopian climate crisis during 600years - 1000years?!

    Quite hard to predict.

    Todays mankind are 7.3BILLION and before 2050s mankind will reach 9.7BILLION.

    For historic-statistical reasons, big wars usually detonate before the century.

    For climate reasons, after the tipping point North Pole ICE FREE on summer/fall (at least from 2020s or starting from the begining of 2030) a cascade of further CLIMATE TIPPING POINTS will turn the Earth climate from bad to worse. Earth will jump into Hot House Earth or something very near this dystopian climate.

    For sure, climate change damages, overpopulation, scarcity (of food, fresh water, fertile land, raw materials, energy...) will cause mass migration in NordEst Africa, and in Mediterranean area will detonate Punic Wars II, while in the world it will spread out finacial wars, cyber wars, and probably also WWIII in Siberia.

    How many of the 9.7BILLION of people will die for overpopulation and scarcity causes (wars, climate change deseases, famine and so on...) before 2050s?!

    Quite hard to calculate the exact numbers, but it's quite easy to predict that a lot, and when I say a lot, I really mean a lot of people will die before 2050s.

    Which continents may survive?!
    Well, for sure North America and most part of Europe, and some parts of Asia countries.

    Which continents will have a bad destiny?
    For sure Africa, larger part of Asia, and Australia, and probably also South America.

    How many people will survive on Earth during the climate change crisis for the next 600years-1000years?!

    I don't know, but I think that mankind will stay low on the demography numbers.

    Because into an earth plagued context, feeding essential needs for few nation's people of I°world countries, I think it will be possibile. Solve same essential needs for lots of people, I think it will be not possible (even making, or not making wars, for procuring meager resources)

    The problem for Italy it's quite hard, because there is no space for error. Italy is a nation without energy sources, for feeding own people the italian nation needs to import lots of foods and energy and raw materials. Italy is a nations without technology PUSH firms, the italian peninsula is right in front of the african demographic bomb, and this demographic bomb is already exploding on 1.2BILLION to 2.4BILLION. From my point of view, the problem is simple: italian people have to decide if they want to survive to XXI century, or instead italian people prefere to die into the joy of martyrdom, as a gift do God, for soothing the sores of african people.
    Nothing more, nothing less.

    1. Sorry, :-) on speaking about the italian future, I forgot the issue of the massive italian's Pubblic Debt.

      well, it doen't change much, the sense of my thoughts, but instead it adds another pretty damn issue. Without todays a fast italian Public Debt reduction, in the short future (since 2030) italian people will not be able to use leverage for financing and investing and mitigating own climate change damages. So italian gross domestic product will collapse quite fast.

    2. The import-export balance for agriculture and food industry in Italy is 7% negative, is it so huge?
      And if we just had sun wind and seacoasts as energy sources...Too bad. We'll ask the swiss for help.

    3. @ GetOutOfMyLawn

      +2 billion of tons of import of wheat and corn in 2018

      66Million of tons of crude oil imported in Italy in 2018: those stuffs mouve transport sector and it feeds intensive agricolture and canning industry

      67 billion of mc of methane gas in 2018: those stuff needs for making electric power to feed part of Italy's nation need

      42.9TeraWattH of electric power imported in Italy in 2018, this stuff feeds the other part of Italy's nation need

      All those stuffs and export reason too, will go away quite fast (if Italy returns to Lira).
      If Italy will do default on its Pubblic Debt, in any case all those stuffs from 2030 will fall down for climate change damages and financial/oil/cyber wars

      Well, at the end of the day, I don't think swiss people will give away their chocolate to italian people, for nothing.

    4. "The import-export balance for agriculture and food industry in Italy is 7% negative, is it so huge?"

      It depends on how you calculate it. If Italy imports huge quantities of cheap raw foods and offset it with export of smaller quantity of processed and expensive food, in financial terms it is good score. But it still doesn't mean that Italy is (almost) self sufficient in food production.

    5. @ Ivan Lukic

      You are right, this is the "economic" point of view, into a static world, thinkig as nobody in future will change.

      History learn us different stuffs. For example, what if input factors (energy, oil, food, raw materials) are not available for a nation like Italy (because those stuffs will be too expensive to buy for Italy, or simply those stuff will start do run off in the international market because most nations stop to export stuff because of scarcity) then italian nation's internal consumption and its own export, they will drop rapidly, and frankly the value of the percentage of italian's balance of trade in the future, it will be the last problem for Italy people to think about.

  2. PART I:

    To those (mostly mainstream drones) still entangled in their webs of delusional thoughts:

    I don't blame anyone. Blame is for the 99.99% who are unable to accept the evidence that humans ain't in charge of anything - thermodynamics is.

    Most, like yourself, prefer a morality tale. Morality is not actually real. Evolutionary trick/adaption mostly for humans.

    See below - if you don't/won't get it you will never understand. Most refuse deterministic arguments because there is no one to blame and the religious, political or any other sub tribe needs some other group to blame. How can one be superior (earth loving vegan) without inferiors(dirty meat eaters)?

    Here is a repost of OVERSHOOT & COLLAPSE IN 12 EASY STEPS.

    For those who have not seen it, here is my "collapse 101".

    TLDR; our impending climate catastrophe is just one aspect of a much larger thermodynamic problem of global ecological overshoot and, at this point, collapse of industrial civilization as the driver of a geologic extinction event is pretty much baked into the cake. Might as well get used to it.


    Step 1

    Anyone new to the concept of overshoot and collapse should start with thermodynamics, specifically the 2nd law or the idea that nothing happens in the universe without "using" energy.

    Or, in other words, converting energy from a state of high quality and low entropy to a state of low quality and high entropy, mostly in the form of diffuse "waste" heat.

    Step 2

    Once you understand that the laws of thermodynamics are universal, and that nothing happens without useful energy, then you can also understand that all complex systems everywhere in the universe, both living and non-living, will self organize to maximize available energy and resources.

    This is a key concept that forms the very foundation of ecology, or the study of complex "eco systems" such as the ones found on our own lovely little planet.

    Step 3

    Once you understand the concept of complex systems maximising available energy and resources then you can also understand that those flows of energy and resources can also be thought of as "stocks" and "sinks".

    Stocks are accumulations of resources, and sinks are accumulations of wastes. Sometimes these flows of energy and resources become organized in such a way that one system's sink becomes another system's stock.

    Step 4

    Once you understand that flows of energy and resources form stocks and sinks then you can also understand that any system can only grow to the extent that it does not exhaust it's "stocks" or accumulations of resources.

    Nor to extent that the system does not overwhelm the capacity of it's "sinks" or the ability to absorb wastes.

    These are key concepts that form the basis of what is known as "carrying capacity", or the ability of a given environment, or eco system, to support a species over the long term by providing stocks and flows of resources and by safely absorbing accumulations of wastes.

    Step 5

    Once you understand the concept of long term carrying capacity then you can also understand that the very definition of "sustainable", all questions of social justice aside, is to stay within the long term carrying capacity of your environment by not over-exploiting resources and by not over-accumulating wastes.

    Step 6

    Once you understand the fundamental definition of sustainable (all questions of social justice aside) then you can also understand that it is possible to "overshoot" the long term carrying capacity of your environment by over-exploiting large stocks of accumulated resources.


  3. PART II:

    This temporarily increases short term carrying capacity by enabling population growth above what would otherwise be sustainable by the long term carrying capacity.

    Once the accumulated resources are exhausted then the excess population that was enabled by the consumption of the accumulated resources becomes redundant and dies off.

    Step 7

    Once you understand the concept of overshooting the long term carrying capacity of your habitat then you can also understand that the very definition of "collapse", all social and economic questions aside, is to experience a population die-off which returns the species to some level that can be supported by the (likely now eroded and reduced) long term carrying capacity.

    Step 8

    Once you understand the fundamental definition of overshoot and collapse then you can understand that our species, the human race, has grossly overshot the long term carrying capacity of our environment, mostly through the over-exploitation of extremely large accumulations of fossil sunlight in the form of long buried hydrocarbons from the Earth's crust.

    Step 9

    Those extremely large accumulations of fossil sunlight, namely "fossil fuels", have supplied such a bountiful one-time shot of high quality energy that it has enabled the rampant growth of both our population and the our over-exploitation of all the other once plentiful resources on this lovely little planet.

    Step 10

    Unfortunately this has also grossly overwhelmed the ability of our environment to safely absorb our wastes, mostly in the form of greenhouse gasses, and we are beginning to suffer the consequences of a badly destabilized climate as a result.

    Step 11

    Once you understand ALL of that then you can begin to understand that our global ecological overshoot is, by definition, unsustainable by an incredibly wide margin, has been for a long time, and that it will inevitably be followed by collapse as surely as night follows day.

    Step 12

    For most people collapse either already has or soon will manifest itself as extreme economic hardship, food and water insecurity, prolonged blackouts, social disruption, mass migration, pandemics, famines, and inevitably conflict.

    All of which will be made much worse by the currently dominant paradigm of "winner take all", specifically the economic system of unregulated and so-called "free market" capitalism.

    This is just an introduction and could probably go on for several more paragraphs, but in a nutshell that is OVERSHOOT & COLLAPSE IN 12 EASY STEPS.



  4. PART III:

    ** The purpose of life is to disperse energy**

    The truly dangerous ideas in science tend to be those that threaten the collective ego of humanity and knock us further off our pedestal of centrality. The Copernican Revolution abruptly dislodged humans from the center of the universe. The Darwinian Revolution yanked Homo sapiens from the pinnacle of life. Today another menacing revolution sits at the horizon of knowledge, patiently awaiting broad realization by the same egotistical species.

    The dangerous idea is this: the purpose of life is to disperse energy.
    Many of us are at least somewhat familiar with the second law of thermodynamics, the unwavering propensity of energy to disperse and, in doing so, transition from high quality to low quality forms. More generally, as stated by ecologist Eric Schneider, "nature abhors a gradient," where a gradient is simply a difference over a distance — for example, in temperature or pressure. Open physical systems — including those of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere — all embody this law, being driven by the dispersal of energy, particularly the flow of heat, continually attempting to achieve equilibrium. Phenomena as diverse as lithospheric plate motions, the northward flow of the Gulf Stream, and occurrence of deadly hurricanes are all examples of second law manifestations.

    There is growing evidence that life, the biosphere, is no different. It has often been said the life's complexity contravenes the second law, indicating the work either of a deity or some unknown natural process, depending on one's bias. Yet the evolution of life and the dynamics of ecosystems obey the second law mandate, functioning in large part to dissipate energy. They do so not by burning brightly and disappearing, like a fire torching a forest, but through stable metabolic cycles that store chemical energy and continually reduce the solar gradient. Photosynthetic plants, bacteria, and algae capture energy from the sun and form the core of all food webs.

    Virtually all organisms, including humans, are, in a real sense, sunlight transmogrified, temporary waypoints in the flow of energy. Ecological succession, viewed from a thermodynamic perspective, is a process that maximizes the capture and degradation of energy. Similarly, the tendency for life to become more complex over the past 3.5 billion years (as well as the overall increase in biomass and organismal diversity through time) is not due simply to natural selection, as most evolutionists still argue, but also to nature's "efforts" to grab more and more of the sun's flow. The slow burn that characterizes life enables ecological systems to persist over deep time, changing in response to external and internal perturbations.


    Humans are temporary dissapatives. A tiny blink in an uncaring universe. POOF! and were gone.


    1. "The irreversibility problem. we have become dependent on industrial infrastructure to support 7.5 billion and we can't just get off of it" We must balance the carbon energy seed corn that we have left to wisely build out as many wise ideas as possible to maintain social cohesion while we bend back down to lifestyles that can exist on real time solar flows.

  5. Reading the comments to this interesting post, makes me think of seventeenth century paintings of Arcadia.

    Lovely, beautiful sheep, and not a word about how you go about milking them, cutting their wool...

    I have spent these last six years struggling every day with municipal authorities, and fighting against a never-ending series of minute legal and administrative obstacles against the slightest improvement.

    I have learned not to accuse the "bureaucrats", because most of these obstacles really exist, there are thousands and thousands of inviolable rules.

    However, there are also ways around these rules, but they take time, patience, courage...

    And this is what really interests me, how to find a few, limited, practical solutions that they cannot say "no" to.

    It means improvising... pretending you are a scientist, a lawyer, a politician, altogether, finding a rebuttal to every objection.

    But you have to dirty your hands, get involved, BE there, and not just punditise on a keyboard.

    1. @ Miguel Martinez
      IMHO people of I°world countries don't want to reduce their lifestyle: things like what if you get a car for going to the city to work, then you can't warm/refresh your house in the day same day. What if you turn on your refrigerator then you can't ligh up your home after the sunset.

      Consider that people of II°,III°world countries want to burn fossil fuel for reaching the lifestyle of I°world countries. On one hand into the fossil fuel paradigm is just like as if Earth gets smaller, and for climate change damages Earth will get really smaller for 9.7 billion of people. On the other hand into che solar thermodynamic hydrogen paradigm, is just like the Earth gets bigger, buf even thermodynamic hydrogen paradigm has limit.

      In any case, there's no more time, and there are no more the right geopolitical context on Europe, Sahara and in the Mediterranean areas, for reaching the EFFICIENT TECHNOLOGICAL SHARING OF AUSTERITY SCENARIO. 7 years ago or 10 years, or 20 years ago, there were still lot of changes for reaching it. Since 27/6/2013 all paths to reach the EFFICIENT TECHNOLOGICAL SHARING OF AUSTERITY SCENARIO are gone!.


      In the future, mankind can remain here, or mankind will shift away into ULTRAVIOLET CATASTROPHE SCENARIO, or EXPLOSIVE INERTIAL SURROGATION SCENARIO.

      The key variables for shifting away are

      1-level abandon of fossil fuels for mankind
      2-melting rate of methane hydrate bomb in Siberia.

      The first variable is partially controllable by I°world countries, second variable are uncontrollable by mankind.

  6. @ Aeolus
    I read your long interesting comment, but I think you are not quite informed about the real situation on climate change.

    The risk of mankind extinction on Earth, is correlated to the melting of all methane hydrate bomb in Siberia. If a full chain reaction of methane hydrate bomb in Siberia melts rapidly, then Earth climate will drop into a full hot house Earth. Yes, deep into this case, the mankind extinction could be a possible event.

    Thanks to God, nowadays only a small fraction of the biggest potential methane hydrate bomb usually melting during summer/fall on Siberia. The net impact is worst then in the past in terms of gas serra emission, so it is true that Siberia's methane hydrate bomb is slightly shifting out into a melting cycle.

    By the way, nowadays the most important part of gas serra emissions come from mankind, for burning fossil fuels.

    For sure Siberia is slowly slowly melting, and things can quickly turn from bad to worse, especially when North Pole will be ICE FREE on summer/fall, because it is possible Siberia's methane hydrate bomb will start melting faster and faster for autofeedback reactions, but in any case it won't be instantaneous melting of Siberia's bomb.

    Sorry, I think you are wrong.

  7. Thanks to Ugo for dropping on this article and bringing a few more Europeans into the discussion. The Diner gets most of its readership from the FSoA, Canada & Oz, not so much from Europe.

    This remains a most difficult problem, both to discuss and to do something constructive about. No real EZ solutions present themselves, thus it is a Wicked Problem.

    One aspect I didn't cover in this first discussion is the issue of Scientists and other Activists who fly on Airplanes to get to conferences and discuss these problems. Such people are often ridiculed by the True Believers as Hypocrites who don't do what they say should be done, namely to stop burning such vast quantities of fossil fuels. I cover this topic in the follow-up discussion

    Are Climate Activists who Fly on airplanes HYPOCRITES?

    The discussion will likely continue, until we all go extinct anyhow.


  8. I think you write about very interesting topics but you use to be way over pessimistic. Don´t know if its to attract more traffic or so but you don´t need this kind of headlines at all.

    Humanity (specially in Europe) has been under much much more stress than now several times in the last 2000 years and here we are, alive and kicking.

    Its not a matter of extinction but about quality of life. At some point many people may find extinction more attractive than continue living in some technological / cultural dystopia.

    1. You know, Luis? There are lots of people out there angry at me because they say I am too optimistic! I think it is not question of being optimistic or pessimistic. We recognize the difficulties ahead and we fight. It will be a hard fight but, who knows? We may still win.

  9. Ugo,

    Is it just me that makes a direct comparison with the way people behaved towards the end of the roman empire? All the apocalyptic crazes, people refusing to have children (see Paul's writings) some going as far as castrating themselves. There are also stoics trying to hold on to the achievements of the antiquity, the other philosophies that encourage living in the moment (what was the name?).

    On the other side you have the internal and external proletariat that are just trying to survive. They continue to have kids and farm (or pillage and burn if that's what it takes).

    Guess who are our ancestors?

    I don't see how a bunch of rich kids with IPhones mean anything to the future. People must be really desperate for some kind of religious salvation.
    Greta is not the first rich spoiled kid thinking they can force those deplorables to do what's best for them:

  10. Blessed are those who breed, and who make others bleed: for they shall inherit the earth.....

  11. This description of Themists (doomers) is unnecessarily hostile, juvenile, cruel and inaccurate: "...deranged, depressed, misanthropic, and generally nasty." Just because someone has reached a different conclusion than you about the outcome of overshoot, you attack their personalities of which you can know nothing? None of your other insults - such as people who believe extinction is inevitable consequently decide to party like cocaine addicts - are borne out by facts, including the insinuation that people who believe overpopulation is a root cause of ecosystem collapse have hidden nefarious plots to commit genocide. Really, shame on you. Those are vicious accusations so divorced from the pain and empathy that most doomers feel I can only surmise you are terrified we are right.

    1. A comment that, I think, confirms my impression.

    2. I'd love to see some of the comments you DIDN'T approve. lol.


    3. Not a single one for this post, so far!

    4. In a comment I didn't see post, I asked Ugo what "winning" would look like. How can the existing set of circumstances lead to a "win" by any stretch of the imagination?

      I see Ugo and RE as being pretty normal in that they are wedded to Human Agency. They want to imagine a situation in which "We" can be "Saved"... whether that is them personally doing the Saving, or whether they merely feel as though they can contribute to it.

      But all of their Heroic Nostrums: ferro-cement domes in the desert (RE) or electric cars (Ugo) are just as silly and futile as giving 80-y.o. granny an artificial heart.. you can do it, sure, but only at a cost ultimately greater than anything you might "save".

      Electric cars and ferro-cement domes will merely consume the last consumables faster than would have otherwise occurred. All technologies allow for energy consumption (and thus increased pollution) faster than would otherwise have occurred. What will have been "saved"? This, to me, is the real Doomerism: to double-down on the same tech that is already killing us.

    5. You're not going to save everybody with ferro-cement domes, you couldn't possibly build enough of them. Forget the energy requirements, there's not enough sand and portland cement left to do it!

      Similarly, EVs aren't going to replace the current ICE transportation system, for reasons too numerous to mention. It's not just the vehicles you need here, it's the whole infrastructure surrounding them, from roads to miles of upgraded wiring capable of handling much larger transmission loads.

      I don't think 7.5B people walking the earth at one time can be supported, no idea what Ugo's opinion is on that one. I DO think the earth can support probably 10M Homo Saps, even in its currently degraded state.

      It doesn't take many survivors to maintain the spark of sentience and sapience that this species managed to achieve through millions of years of evolution. In fact, just 10,000 survivor could do it. How do I know that? Because it was done before, 75,000 years ago.

      Done once, it can be done again.


    6. This post explains why PV and WT are hardly the right solutions, at least not for this many earth inhabitants:

      But the part that is offered as solution is questionable:

      "Our aim is to achieve a rapid turn towards a 100% Solar Sustainable World, in less than 20 years, at lower cost than anything else, by shifting from the current 88% wastage to over 80% productive uses of primary energy, thus retrieving most of the corresponding $5 trillion/year in wasted funds globally, accessing the direct solar influx at the point-of-use in intelligently networked fashion, carrying out mass direct atmospheric CO2 capture, and benefiting all participating stakeholders by providing them with affordable, safe, secure, energy while combatting effectively global warming as well as other ecological and socioeconomic challenges."

      What is it "direct solar influx at the point of use"? If there is such solution it is solution only for a very few people.

    7. Dearest Lidia, they say that everyone is allowed to have their personal opinions but not their personal facts. Hence, allow me to keep my personal opinion that the followers of the NHTE cult are a bunch of deranged, depressed, misanthropic, and generally nasty people. I would add also "evil" but that characteristic has not manifested itself so far, although there are plenty of chances it will.

    8. Ivan, the concept of "Point of Use" (POU) is fundamental. It means you use your solar plant in the same way as you use your vegetable garden: locally. It is energy for everyone if we are willing to invest in the idea. (and stop bickering about the evil powers behind Greta Thunberg)

    9. Ugo,

      In places that have enough sunny days solar plants have some justification. But most places don't have enough sunny days. Also, in summer, when there is enough solar radiation, the need for electricity is reduced. We need huge quantities of energy in winter when there is not enough sun radiation. If you need to accumulate solar energy in batteries, use of solar energy becomes unpractical at best, and unsustainable at worst. The problem is in demography. As long as there is too many people on the planet, problem of energy and pollution can not be solved. It's impossible to provide enough clean energy for overpopulated planet. The reduction of population will be automatically performed by nature itself but the solution will not be pleasant for the humans. If I say that it doesn't make me misanthropic individual.

      As far as Greta is concerned I absolutely support any effort to alarm the society about urgent energy and pollution issues. I know that some corporate opportunist will try to misuse such honest efforts for their own personal gain. But, frankly, most people don't want to hear bad news and that includes leaders.

    10. Gotta agree with Gail here. The wholesale lumping of those aware of our lousy prospects vis a vis climate change and industrial collapse is a gross mischaracterization and just plain dumb. Nor does her comment confirm that mistake. I blog about these topics quite a bit (commenting here on occasion) and am not at all nasty or deranged. As a result of quite a lot of misinformation, unwarranted political spinning of narratives, and refusal to face facts, very little gets done to address our plight while conditions worsen visibly and measurably. There are many reasons we're stalled, just as there are many individual responses to the recognition that, having passed multiple tipping points, solutions are now largely excluded. A few undoubtedly celebrate our approaching doom. They are as hostile and inhumane as those who celebrate war and destruction. That's certainly not all of us and not me.

    11. From BM:

      "Gotta agree with Gail here. The wholesale lumping of those aware of our lousy prospects vis a vis climate change and industrial collapse is a gross mischaracterization and just plain dumb."

      There was no "wholesale dumping" characterizing ALL NTHE Tru Believers as nihilists and misanthropes, its just a very significant portion of the cohort. If you ever spent time in the commentariat of Nature Bats Last or on r/collapse, you would know that, but obviously you have not. I not only spent quite a bit of time in the commentariat of NBL, I also hosted and Admined the site for Dr. McStinksion for 2 years before I finally got him off as he got ever more intolerant of any attitude that didn't conform to his message of hopelessness.

      You may be one of those who is not quite so intolerant of others who don't buy the message you sell hook line and sinker, I don't know. I haven't read your blog or the commentariat there. However, if you agree with anything Gail ZaWACKY keyboards out, that is not a good sign.


    12. You have leapt to a series of unwarranted conclusions based entirely on conjecture and projection. Nice job! FYI, I was an active participant at NBL before comments were closed and wrote several guest posts. I'm quite knowledgeable about what went on there, which was quite diverse. Sure, there were some extremists, which only goes to demonstrate that there is a wide range of response to the gathering evidence. There were plenty of detractors, too, but almost no credible counter-evidence to the conclusions many of us drew.

      BTW, I'm not selling anything. Nor do I read Reddit. Like you, I tend to discount true believers of any sort, preferring to view most knowledge and belief as provisional and subject to change. So far, very little evidence has appeared to suggest that we're not accelerating our own demise on a global scale. If you know of something, please provide it.

    13. From BM:

      "Sure, there were some extremists"

      Including the site owner, lol. I mean really, up until just recently he was pegging complete extinction of Homo Saps by 2020! That's not extreme? Now of course he has backtracked on this, not putting a date on it just that it will happen "soon".

      An extremist running ablog attracts other extremists into the commentariat. Also notable are whose posts get deleted and whose are left up. Since you in fact did appear on the pages of that commentariat (though I don't remember seing you there), surely you remember Pat who closed his posts with "Save the Planet. Kill Yourself"? While exhorting others to this solution of course, Pat himself never ate a bullet.

      The problem got so bad that Dr. McStinksion had to drop on sidebar links to suicide prevention websites, because there were so many depressed individuals haunting the commentariat.

      Not a lot different on r/collase, the mods there ALSO had to drop on suicide prevention links. They have over 100K subscribers now, so it's not exactly a tiny minority of the people who will post up on this topic. Nowadays the mods are whacking a lot more posting, so it's not quite so bad, but the subtext is still there.


    14. Let me tell you this. I have a friend who is physicist and works at the Physics Institute in Belgrade. I know him from my early childhood. He is a person who does not want to hear absolutely anything about peak oil, scarcity, collapse, etc. He refuses to talk about these topics. You would think that physicist is a rational person but he does not want to hear anything about these things. How much less is general population interested in these topics? People that are agitated by these topics are tiny minority of the general population. The Cult of Progress is so dominant that general population is insulted if you warn them that nature has limits. In some dark corner of their mind they know that nature has limits but they want to suppress that fact. And leaders are in business of selling optimism, not pessimism.

  12. The doomers must accept St. Greta into their hearts. Then they can sow silicon and sing the body electric.

    1. XR Business:

      The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg:

    In Antarctica, the South Pole in 2019 is close to the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM of 2017, a sign that the South Pole also slowly melted.
    However, the North Pole is the star of the climate catastrophe:
    It is true that since the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM of 2012 it has not been further broken through, in the coldest winter / winter months the ice level at the North Pole has always been far below its minimum, marking new records made just in winter / autumn 2018. A clear sign that the North Pole is melting even in winter !.
    This site is interesting (it is a pity that the historical datas have been reduced, before they were available in 10 and 20 years old, today you can select only a few months) for observing the AMOC. Although website have considerably reduced the free data over available to the public (for animations, for maps, for areas) to make fast comparisons on the AMOC, for observing its salinity and temperature, even with the few data available, it is easy to show that salinity in the north drops (even up to -1000mt) for the cold freshwater falling down from Greenland!

    Prof. P. Wadhams expects the north free ice pole in the decade 2020s
    Certainly from 2030 the north ice free pole in summer / autumn will be consolidated.

    I wonder if this tipping point will impact on a further seasonal slowdown of the AMOC due to the further weakening of the THC-AMOC mechanisms!.

    Lets wait and see, after all 10 years only, are a blnk of a eye for nature!

  14. A friend just send me this link where renewables are received with scepticism. Of course this is from Forbes and one must always be cautious when some views come from the elite but still interesting:

  15. Greta is a capitalist cypher:

    If something is good for a capital, is it good for me?



Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)