Climate change: "You are among the last people that will ever walk the Earth."

That’s just one sentence of a rather… cheerful post on this blog made partly (IIRC) in response to reports that we’re apparently really close to unleashing a now-frozen carbon bomb in Russia. It argues that we’re less than 40 years away from extremely dire, exponential climate change that will mostly/entirely wipe out humanity before the current generation of children even reach middle age.

There’s a lot of argument against this blog’s arguments in the comments… and just as much support as well.

Obviously, those who don’t believe in manmade climate change will dismiss this, but I’m wondering what those who believe in it (apparently a majority in most polls I’ve seen) think. Should we even be having kids at this point?

I doubt anybody except maybe a couple Exxon-Mobil press flacks don’t believe in at least *some *man-made climate change at this point.

But the answer is, of course have kids. The world will not truly “end,” and whatever damaged world we bequeath them will be theirs and not inferior to ours.

It might even be a better world. For one thing, they won’t have advertising.

Well, that gets into the question of whether life in a post-civilization world would be worth it, but that’s a little far afield for this thread. :slight_smile:

Sure, if you have a pimped-out armor-plated ride and a goalie mask.

I can’t get to the magazine article, but the blog post is an example of hysteria that turns off many people from environmental causes. It says that a 5-degree © temperature rise is “is more than enough for the oceans to swallow our cities, stop all food from growing, and doom to extinction every species short of the cockroach.” Actually it won’t. The place I live in Virginia averages a certain temperature in the summer. There are many places on earth where the summer temperatures of 5 degrees higher. People, animals, and plants survive there just fine.

Those who live on a low-lying island or in some of the world’s hottest places may want to consider moving, if they haven’t done so already.

The Thom Gardner comment near the bottom addresses this, pointing out, among other things, that the five degree thing is just an average; on the poles it could be more like 20.

ETA: Not to mention the whole explanation in the main post about exponential growth.

Actually, you’ve just revealed you don’t understand how the whole average temperature thing works. The Average temperature in Virginia Beach goes from 20 C to 25 C - no big deal. But at the same time, the temperature at the Arctic Circle goes from -3 C to 2 C - melting millions of tons of ice, raising the sea level, and flooding Virginia Beach - wiping it off the map.

Sure, it’s a tolerable 25 C - if you’re a fish.

I can’t access the source article either, but 90% - even 99% - of humans could die and human civilisation would endure, even thrive. On the macro scale it’s completely alarmist bollocks - it really doesn’t matter until CO2 levels get to the point that they’re actually toxic. Humanity will survive. On the micro scale, OTOH… the thought that I and mine could die is most certainly worthy of consideration!

But really, what can we do about it? What are we willing to do about it? The big present contributors to global pollution are not in the West but in the East: China and India. The quick and dirty and nasty solution would be to obliterate them. Nuke them from the face of the Earth. What? Not acceptable? The blog entry says we’re facing extinction, so why not kill 2 Bn to save the other 5 Bn? So why not excise the danger? Oh right, the alternative would involve promoting and popularising the evil that is nuclear power.

What you say makes, sense, if all of humanity was benevolent, as it is the price of not doing something will lead to mayor displacements of humans to other regions, at last check, there is no way that I see for some of the nations that will get the benefits of better climate to willingly accept that huge influx of people that will be displaced, so it is indeed famine and warfare what it is coming.

As pointed before, they will suffer the consequences of their inaction by their own population rising if nothing is done, maybe the only good thing in the case of China as it will lead to the end of the Communist Party.

Incidentally, I agree with nuclear power, and as it is, the article in the OP is indeed alarmist. Humanity will survive, it is just at what levels what the discussion is all about.

I got to the source article with no problem, but I work for a university. I had already seen that paper.

All this stuff makes me very, very sad. I worry about myself to a small extent, but most likely this struggle will be bequeathed to my children. I don’t know what is going to happen, but I would not be surprised if 50% of humanity died off in the next 100 years or so due to food shortages and wars over resources. The pentagon has realized for years that climate change is going to drive the majority our national security challenges over the next century. I think that my children have a good chance to survive being who they are (intelligent, educated Americans), but sometimes my worry is overwhelming.

In Lord Keynes’ long run, the one where we’re all dead, climate change will be self-correcting. It’s hard to see that a world 4°C warmer than the one we’re in can support as many people as we have now, let alone the 2-3 billion more we’re expecting by later this century. If the effects of climate change on agriculture cut the world’s population substantially, the remaining billions would probably be putting less carbon into the atmosphere than we’re doing now, and eventually either things would cool down again, or we’d come to some sort of population/climate stasis at a higher global mean temperature than now.

Humanity will survive. If we as a race were able to survive ice ages, mastodons, and saber-tooth tigers, we’ll be able to survive global warming.

I just don’t expect the journey to be pretty: maybe in 40 years, Canada will be the world’s breadbasket, but that doesn’t mean that new sources of food will come online as fast as old ones become untenable. And as various heavily populated locales become uninhabitable for anything like the numbers of people currently living there, it’s not like the newly hospitable lands to the north that were formerly frozen tundra are going to be putting out the welcome mat to refugees from India, central Africa, and other such places.

There is some stuff in here that is clearly bullshit. We could do a lot. How about we invest a billion dollars in algae based fuels. That could do a lot. Why don’t we invest more money in sequestration methods. Nuclear power too, but I think the returns form nuclear are not nearly enough. We need a paradigm shift.

I am not denier or minimizer of man-made climate change. My past posts on this board will show that, if you need to see them. I already said that some islands will need to be evacuated, and obviously the same is true for some low-lying areas. However, the article is alarmist, and so is anything else that predicts human extinction or the collapse of civilization. The people who write these things miss the point about human civilizations.

In the old days, or in third-world countries, hurricanes could kill tens or hundreds of thousands of people. Last year the largest hurricane in history the most populous area of the US and only 72 people were killed. Civilization adapts the possible disasters and the more advanced science and technology we have, the better we adapt. Whatever disasters hit due to climate change, we will deal with them and survive.

Are we dealing with it?

Have you seen what the Republicans are doing in government regarding this issue?

On what do you base the bolded claim? If 99 out of 100 people dropped dead (even if over an extended time) civilization would grind to a halt. Some new civilization may arise from the ruins, but it would knock us back centuries in technology, governance, and infrastructure.

So there will be fish? Again, the claim is that climate change will stop “All food from growing” and will “Doom to extinction every species short of the cockroach.”

Just another doomsday prophet. The date will come and go and nothing will happen, again. /shrug

I think you forget how quickly people breed. A 90% population loss would put Britain (for example) back to a level pre-industrial revolution. Only a bit over 200 years ago. 99% loss would push us down to ~600K. That’s still a lot of people. Now double it every 25 years. It doesn’t take long for population levels to recover. And we don’t have to rediscover everything. Remember that I’m talking on the macro level.

And humans are sort of like cockroaches. We seem to overcome and survive some pretty dire happenings.

Certainly if we lose the current civilization, something will grow in its place - it may look nothing like what we currently have, and future archeologists may be aghast at what our civilization was like from examining our relics and comparing them to their old wives tales and myths and legends. But something will develop.

Yeah, the blogger is a bit of an idiot (“among the last people to ever walk the earth” :rolleyes:), no scientist is claiming that the end of the human race is coming. But the evidence that we will have extreme challenges maintaining our economy and feeding the global population is pretty substantial.