Extreme Heat Events, Fewer Humans Will Die, Animal Extinctions, AMOC, How to Reflect the Sun, Ocean Fertilization, Seaweed Farming, and more.
Presenting only the extinction rates underestimates the severity of the global defaunation. Many animals are not actually extinct yet, but many of their populations disappeared and shrunk so much that they do not fulfill their roles in ecosystems (ecologically extinct) or have so low population sizes that they cannot be exploited by humans anymore. (https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.1400253)
It's not ok to present Arizona deaths from extreme heat without adjusting for crazy population growth over those same years and the age of all the snowbirds.
The sulphur pollution debacle is fascinating, it would be interesting to know what percentage of climate scientists were warning that removing it from the fuel would have this dramatic side effect. Hopefully they all were, I don’t remember reading about it anywhere though.
Most worrying for me is the possibility of tipping points and feedback loops. In particular, increased temperatures resulting in the release of methane from tropical wetlands and tundra.
The article mentions geoengineering and the benefits of iron to life in the oceans. Is anyone reading this aware of what has become of the Iron Salt Aerosol (ISA) idea as promoted by UK former chief scientific advisor, Sir David King? (See link). Most geoengineering solutions have potential serious side-effects but Iron Salt Aerosol mimicks a natural phenomenon to remove a significant amount of methane from the atmosphere whilst having the beneficial side-effect of fertilising the ocean. https://climategamechangers.org/game-changers/iron-salt-aerosol
Interesting analysis, as always. As a biologist I am not complacent that "only" 50% of species face extinction! That is catastrophic for biodiversity. Unlike the earlier mass extinctions, of course, this one is caused by human activity. It is an odd form of hubris to think that we are entitled to eliminate half of the planet's species for the convenience of using fossil fuels created by the decompsition of their ancestors' bodies. Other species will adapt and diversify, but the loss of half of extent species will have impacts that we don't and can't yet understand.
I have been careful reader of yours since you began to publish and a grateful one, but the conclusions of this post seem unsupported by evidence. 9 billion ppl plus or minus depend on the regular course of seasonal agriculture, farm raised protein sources, and oceans for calories necessary to survive. The rapidity of extreme, man-made climate change is breathtaking. Crop failures in mid latitudes have already occurred. In the southern hemisphere, this winter high temperature events are unprecedented. The oceans are changing silently and rapidly. Scientists point to evidence we are in the early stages of the 6th Great Extinction. There is a great economic shock within sight: what evidence can you point to that human ingenuity can vault 9 billion over dire consequences and that species adaptation can change quickly enough to surmount a climate unknown at any point in the evolution of civilization?
In response to the claim made in the article, I find it to be characterized by a refurbished, reductive analysis that fails to consider critical tipping points or accurately account for the complexity of the biosphere. This oversight undermines the validity of the conclusions reached.
Furthermore, the article’s perspective seems steeped in an anthropocentric view, focusing solely on human interests and neglecting the broader ecological context. This stance stands in stark contrast to a body of peer-reviewed literature that recognizes the interconnectedness of human and environmental systems.
For instance, recent research in journals such as “Science” and “Nature” emphasizes the necessity of considering tipping points like ice melt and forest dieback, as they have cascading effects on global ecosystems. Ignoring these factors results in an overly simplistic and flawed understanding of our relationship with the environment.
The dismissal of such complex interactions constitutes a fundamental weakness in the article, leading it to present premises that are not only at odds with well-established scientific findings but also risk perpetuating misunderstandings about the intricate and delicate balance that sustains our planet.
What do you thing about Hunga Tonga volcano erruption in January 2022?
Very interesting analysis - but condensed of course. I suggest that comparing deaths from cold to deaths from heat misses vast amounts of nuance. For want of my time I quote a science journalist, Gaia Vince, in an article in 2019 "From 2030, more than half the population will live in the tropics, an area that makes up a third of the planet and already struggles with climate impacts. Yet by 2100, most of the low and mid latitudes will be uninhabitable because of heat stress or drought; despite stronger precipitation, the hotter soils will lead to faster evaporation and most populations will struggle for fresh water. We will have to live on a smaller land surface with a larger population.
Indeed, the consequences of a 4C warmer world are so terrifying that most scientists would rather not contemplate them, let alone work out a survival strategy." (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/18/climate-crisis-heat-is-on-global-heating-four-degrees-2100-change-way-we-live)
People project their own fear of mortality on the demise of the earth.
Hi, about crops: here is an interesting article in today’s Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/aug/12/global-heating-likely-to-hit-world-food-supply-faster-than-expected-says-united-nations-desertification-expert?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
Food shortage will lead to huge armed conflicts and more migration. That will be a bigger challenge than the higher temperatures by themselves. (I think)
Hi. Please can someone help me? I have a subscription to the premium articles but cannot find the link/button to access them! I keep going epind in circles!
I'm curious what you think of Kevin Drum's argument that it's unlikely the changes in sulphur pollution had a significant impact, just based on calculation of solar energy involved: https://jabberwocking.com/update-sulphur-limits-still-arent-responsible-for-the-unprecedented-heat-this-year/
"On average, solar radiation amounts to about 1000 watts per square meter. According to a study quoted in the article, this compares to an increase of 0.1 w/m² due to the sulphur limits. That's not a lot.
The 1991 Pinatubo volcano, for example, reduced solar radiation by about 4 w/m², which led to a global temperature drop of 0.5°C. This suggests that a change of 0.1 w/m² would produce a global increase of about 0.012°C, a very small amount."
A superb and well written article with excellent supporting graphics and videos.
Thank you for the research and compilation of the data and for your insights.
Cheers from Montreal.
"Fewer Humans Will Die".
You cannot possibly know that.
As for "I believe . . . ", try writing to what you know, not what you believe, T.P.
As I do . . . https://les7eb.substack.com The Decline of The West.
And as it goes down, there will be more wars and more humans will die, until The West collapses completely.
I read the Guardian article again and I agree it is lacks substance.
As for the yields, I am not so sure. Yields have increased over the decades, but now variants are needed the are heat resistant, drought resistant, and flooding resistant. According to prof. Viola Willemsen at the Wageningen University, involved in this kind of research, it takes decades to develop a crop that meets one of these requirements, and to have all three properties is almost impossible.
I am not a specialist in this field and I don’t have the time to figure it all out, but it seems to me that some caution about future crop yields is advisable.