The Dying Earth and The Future Of Mankind

A 17 second video showing what’s happening during the summer heat shift, from 1958 to now. Worth watching several times:

This summer (2015) has seen a huge shift in summer temperatures. Madrid, Spain broke summer temperature records in June and July, Germany did too, England, Netherlands, Japan, Hong Kong, Egypt and Washington state (and many more, I’m not going to bother trying to list them all, just know, “it’s too damned hot”).

During the period from 1951-1980, extremely hot summers covered just 1% of the Earth’s surface, but this had risen to 10% by 1981-2010, and higher still during the years between 2006 and 2010.

This is what we’re (all) going to get – and keep in mind, current temperature projections ahead are actually far higher then this:


Siberian fires have tripled in the past 24 hours in a ‘Apocalyptic’ scenario from Dante’s Inferno.

Thousands of people in Japan have been hospitalized (over 45,000) from the intense heat, averaging over 10,000 hospitalization per week now. Los Angeles is expected to hit triple-digits later this week.

On the other end of the spectrum, Chile and Pakistan suffered through extreme rain events with hundreds dead. Flash floods in Arizona rolled gigantic truck-sized boulders across Highway 89A.

Too bad a few of these rocks didn’t land on the climate denier crowd still smoking their oil-saturated hopium filled pipes of fantasy future, we could use the space.

Every day there are dozens to hundreds of climate-related disasters being reported around the world. Increased temperatures increase evaporation rates, speeding up the hydrological cycle worldwide. All that atmospheric moisture will come down somewhere, and now with a stalled Jet Stream, with devastating results.

Nice documentary on Greenland and how all the extra heat is going to melt the remaining ice and raise sea levels:

Humanity is not ready for this. Not even slightly. Over one billion people will be displaced by rising seas alone. The search for unpolluted fresh water will see hundreds of millions displaced. The refugee crisis will be the largest in human history. It’s beginning right now.

Some years back, I blogged often about “die-off”, the population decline that would follow the collapse of civilization. While this is still true, the environmental die-off is already happening. A “dead Earth” is the prediction of some thinkers who are projecting the extinction of every living thing. Up to 7% of the world’s species are already now extinct. While this number may not seem very high to us “higher mammals” who continue to rapidly expand our numbers, it’s over 130,000 species in just a few years.

But wait, there’s more: Research shows catastrophic invertebrate extinction in Hawaii and globally

And the real kicker for all you upright folks: Humans could be among the victims of sixth ‘mass extinction’, scientists warn

It’s well known now that we expect to lose virtually all of the fish in the world’s oceans by 2050. We’ve rapidly consumed our way down the food chain, consuming everything possible in our quest for calories and sustenance.  Net catches that were once loaded with vibrant loads of healthy fish are now coming up empty, or with so few tiny fish that the calories expended by village fisherman nearly exceed the calories caught. Foreign trawlers are often to blame, illegally encroaching fishing areas near land, using gigantic nets and literally scraping the ocean clean of all life. The undersea ‘tracks’ left behind by these trawlers can be seen here.

One of my children has decided to not have kids. Contributing to the human over-population problem is a decision every young person needs to make. I’m afraid however, that even this won’t help much.

In this paper (important read), the authors point out the obvious – the Earth’s battery is running low. Humans have extracted far too much energy from the biosphere, collapsing ecosystems and draining the Earth’s resources (full research paper here).

The earth is in serious energetic imbalance due to human energy use. This imbalance defines our most dominant conflict with nature. It really is a conflict in the sense that
the current energy imbalance, a crisis unprecedented in Earth history, is a direct consequence of technological innovation. The detrimental effects of discharging the organic chemical energy stored in the battery extend far beyond the depletion of stored living phytomass and fossil fuel energy.

Nice summary of how stupid humans have been. Ruining an entire planet for the fleeting pleasures of convenience.

What can we do about it? Here’s the long version:

First, there is no reason to expect a different trajectory in the near future. Something like the present level of biomass energy destruction will be required to sustain the present global population with its fossil fuel subsidized food production and economy. Second, as the earth space battery is being discharged ever faster (Fig. 3) to support an ever larger population, the capacity to buffer changes will diminish and the remaining energy gradients will experience increasing perturbations. As more people depend on fewer available energy options, their standard of living and very survival will become increasingly vulnerable to fluctuations, such as droughts, disease epidemics, social unrest, and warfare. Third, there is considerable uncertainty in how the biosphere will function as Ω decreases from the present Ω = Ω 1,029 y into an uncharted thermodynamic operating region. The global biosphere, human population, and economy will obviously crash long before Ω = 1y.

If H. sapiens does not go extinct, the human population will decline drastically as we will be forced to return to making a living as hunter-gatherers or simple horticulturalists.

We’re not going to be able to continue this civilization at all.


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