We are still screwed: the coming climate disaster


It will be fitting that Trump will be our president when things really go to shit. Where do they spend the money they robbed when money means nothing?


They are, and they are not. One of the foresters that I mentioned is pretty high up in Cal Fire. Besides really souring the mood with his take on the environmental impact of mega fires, he also indicated that there is finally some change in the way California sees fires. There is finally non-trivial money starting to be allocated to prevention and control (rather than nearly all of the budget going to fighting). This will mean more controlled burns, fuel reduction, and adjustments to post-fire seeding to help slow down and reverse the mistakes that 100 years fire fighting has entrenched. It is rather counter-intuitive, but I have been listening to both foresters lamenting for years about how wrong it has been to fight fires-- or at least fight them the way we do. We make bigger problems doing it the way we have been.


I get that. We have our fires here as well. I’m more worried about my neighborhood becoming seaside property until the power goes out and I die from the heat. To each their own. :)


The ocean will put out the fire.


Heat from the sun causing 100 degree plus spikes without AC. But thanks for playing. :)


Just remember, when all seems lost, intellectuals have predicted the end of humanity on multiple occasions. I’m not just talking about men and women standing on the corner proclaiming the end of the world with signs and prophecies. I’m talking about math, starvation, disease, war… We gotta do the best we can as soon as we can, no matter what, but it is not exactly rare for people to believe this is it.


Virtually nothing could destroy the human race entirely.


Although if we are to achieve this, Step 1 would certainly be withdrawing from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty.


I don’t care about the human race, just my kids.

I want them to live and have happy lives.


That’s an… interesting perspective. Usually people who say this stuff are on the other side of the climate change ‘debate’!


No if the planet is fucked up, my kids will probably suffer. I’m not a man that can live off the land. I’m a city guy. If society collapses, my family is fucked. Super fucked.

Now, my wife’s cousins are all a bunch of handy men that are hunters and plumbers and builders. They’ll do okay.

So, selfishly, I need humanity to make it through this.


If the oceans die, we all die. And that’s only one possible event that could leads to extinction. We’re looking at a cascade of failing ecosystems. With all our modern technology, we’ve all forgotten that we are part of those ecosystems.

The last time we saw temperatures as high as what’s coming was the end of the Permian Era. That happened over a much, much longer time line and it resulted in the extinction of 70% of all terrestrial vertebrates. We like to think that we have the technology to overcome just about anything that would normally result in extinction but here’s the thing – That technology depends on functioning economies and civilizations and those are going to collapse well before we reach the extinction phase. Societal collapse within a decade may be pessimistic but societal collapse is an inevitability at this point.

You can’t launch humans into space, or create giant underwater/subterranean cities without an economic model to support those endeavors. War, disease and famine will take a huge bite and those that survive won’t have the resources to adapt to a planet that is incompatible with human life at a physiological level.


There might be a lot of Campbell’s soup cans left over, though.


Kinda makes planning for some far-off “retirement” seem rather pointless. I’m only half-joking when I tell my friends I want to cash out all my investments and just have a blast for the next 10 or 15 years before everything totally collapses.

Anyone ever used to read Wait But Why when Urban used to actually post stuff? Particularly his (excellent) blog on the Fermi Paradox, where he posited that one of the possible reasons we haven’t encountered extra-terrestrial life is because of The Great Filter. IIRC, the idea is it is impossible for any civilization to get to the technological level required for FTL travel, because they end up self-destructing before they reach that point of development.

I always felt humanity was doomed. In fact, I believe we aren’t the first iteration of sentient life/society on this rock, nor will we be the last.

I just always hoped the end would come far after mine own.


What were they like? Where did they live? What evidence is there of their existence? When did they exist? Where did they go?


I know it’s been brought up as a thought experiment, and it’s certainly an evocative one. But I still feel pretty skeptical that it ever actually happened, kneejerk or not…


I’m sure you’re all enjoying the anticipation of catastrophe that’s been rolling along in this thread for the last few days. On the off chance anyone thinks we’ll survive a few more years, maybe some seagrass can help.


Great questions all. And answers we likely will never get.

Look, we’re still uncovering archaeological remains from the Romans. And that was 2000 years ago. This planet has been around for billions of years. Who knows what’s buried deeper beneath the crust, or in the ocean depths? If we’re talking about a civilization that predated dinosaurs, it’s possible that all detectible signs of that civilization have been erased by eons of time, and who knows what else.


I don’t buy this theory. This wasn’t inevitable, even for us. It is inevitable now but things could have gone a different way. Even before scientists started discovering exo-planets, if you just looked at the mechanisms that formed our solar system, it seemed pretty obvious that the same would apply to most stars which that there are likely a billion trillion solar systems out there. It’s a mathematical certainty that there are tons of other civilizations and it seems mathematically probable that a bunch of them found sustainable ways to reach the space age.

(On the flip side, I think the mathematical probability that any civilization possessing sufficiently advanced technology for intergalactic travel would decided to come to this particular point in space and time approaches zero. There’s the old saw about putting a pot of water in your front hall, opening the door for a minute, then shutting it and declaring that there is obviously no such thing as lobsters. I think a lobster coming to the pot n that situation is more likely.)

[quote]I always felt humanity was doomed.

It’s funny, I thought that when I was a kid but it was an irrational belief/fear. I only came back to it based on evidence ;)

[quote]In fact, I believe we aren’t the first iteration of sentient life/society on this rock, nor will we be the last.

Define sentient; Define society. Crows, whales, elephants and countless other species on the planet have sentience, language and society. Civilization on a human scale seems unlikely just based on what we know about evolution and geology.


How long can you really survive in your bunker on that though?