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What is your opinion on this paper? They envision a coal peak by 2011. I'm sure you've seen this before.

Here is a link to the full PDF in case you're interested:


"there's likely a slim but significant chance that so-called positive feedbacks in the climate system and the Earth's carbon cycle could cause such a change absent huge increases in our fossil fuel consumption."

Actually, it is almost a certainty that "so-called" positive (amplifying) feedbacks already in place are sufficient to bring about unstoppable, catastrophic climate change. The question is, how much should we do to buy time and slow this runaway train wreck down? Oh, the other question is, why won't most scientists say so?

The IPCC, being a consensus agreement, is extremely conservative and highlights uncertainties. When I first started looking into all this, I wrote to every scientist I could find asking the same questions - one: if you change a substantial aspect of the environment (like average global temp or ocean water PH) won't that, based on the complex web of interrelationship developed over millions of years of evolution, inevitably cause species to go extinct?; and two, what is to stop the climate from getting warmer and warmer given that CO2 persists in the atmosphere for 1,000 years (see Susan Solomon's research).

Finally I got some brutally succinct answers, the first from a paleoclimatologist:

"Climate change is always followed by mass extinctions"

and the second from Jim at Desdemona Despair who responded acerbically:

"Can you spell 'albedo effect'?"

Did Dr. New have a sort of startled deer trapped in the headlamps look or is that just me?


Of course there is no comprehensive survey of coal reserves. We are too busy doing surveys of military personnel to learn whether or not gay people freak them out. Then we have to resolve the pressing issues of marginal tax rates for rich people, how to round up 13 million undocumented inhabitants, and how fast we can download movies on the internet. First things first, my friend.

Morocco Bama

I have to agree with Gail that the feedbacks are not only present and accounted for but much more robust than expected. At current rates, I wouldn't be surprised if that 4°C isn't attained by 2030-40. And I was so looking forward to being a grandpa then.

This is one of the best presentations I have seen on the issue, and I've researched and followed this quite extensively. After watching the presentation, you can't help but feel despair. There is so much momentum behind this trajectory, that nothing short of a miracle can mitigate a calamity...and I'm not sure I believe in miracles. Here's a link to Part 1 and also a link to the Power Point Presentation.

Oh, and I have no faith in any of the solutions proffered thus far. As far as I can see, it's being used as just another way to generate income streams. The problem cannot be solved using the same system that caused the problem.



Morocco Bama

And in regards to Peak Coal or Peak Oil...fugeddaboudit. There's new and improved Nuclear.


"In early March, European media outlets picked up a shocking story about nuclear power - a story so horrifying, it seemed as if Halloween had come early this year. This news, in fact, stands to jeopardize the health and safety - the very lives - of Europeans and others throughout the world... including, quite sadly, those living in the US.

The mainstream media, long considered the mouthpiece for corporate and government interests, has failed to cover this macabre-yet-real life news. As such, few Americans seem to have any clue about the catastrophic danger now being cooked up from coast to coast - and many points in between. And even though we may not know it yet, Europeans are keenly aware of this clear and undeniable danger. And by danger, we're talking about nothing less than the next Chernobyl-in-the making."


Here is a nice essay:


The only mitigating aspect of which is it completely ignores the interconnectivity of the global environment.


Chris in Chicago

I'm with Dan. How come you guys are'nt watching Dancing with the stars or monday night football?

79% of Americans earn less then 50k a year and 48% less then 25.
The majority of people are just trying to survive,so there is no grand thinking on climate change or when fossil fuel will end.

The majority of outhers who actually make a decent living, could
care less. One drive thru a more affluent area with its much bigger
houses and large suvs parked in the driveway will bare this out.

Morocco Bama

Screw Dancing with the Stars and Monday Night Football, I wants me some Shaun The Sheep....it's much more entertaining and appropriate, wouldn't you say?



I am somewhat surprised by your conclusions here given that you have studied and written on the work of Tim Garrett. My understanding of Garrett's conclusions is that 4 degrees is a certainty regardless of what we do because emissions are proportional to total global wealth (not GDP) and thus have a lot of momentum and will persist even in an economic collapse scenario.

My understanding of coal, based on the work of James Hansen, is that we must stop all use of coal yesterday to maintain a livable planet, which of course is impossible, but regardless makes any discussion of peak coal moot.

Morocco Bama

Wait, wait, wait, various news sources report that China is working diligently on cutting carbon emissions, particularly as it relates to their substantial reliance on coal. Also, many claims are made that China is leading the way in implementing Clean Coal Technology. I bet you didn't think coal could be cleaned, but it can, and pigs can be beautiful if lipstick is applied properly.


Here's a startling graphic. Any wagers on the probability of all those planned in the future coming on line?


Of course, the capitulators at NPR don't even mention the negative affects of extracting Natural Gas using so-called modern technology. Here's a taste of what's in store if we go the route of Natural Gas, which we are doing here in America. T. Boone Pickens has a love affair with Natural Gas. Yet another nightmare scenario on the horizon.

Here's Part 1 of 7 parts from the documentary entitled Gasland in case you haven't seen it. This will effect you, Gail, since I believe you are in that watershed.


Morocco Bama

So many ways for this to end, and they're all bad, so it seems. It's as though we have our head in a noose, and any move we make just makes the noose tighter. Our hands are tied and we can't get the noose off. Kind of like this:


Chris in Chicago


Great article by Alfred McCoy. Thanks for posting it.


Gail - palaeoclimatologists are exactly the people who give us some idea of what can happen. You might like to google 'Russell Coope'. His work at Birmingham University (England not Ala) since the 1950s is very revealing.

Greg Pinelli

What makes anyone think Obama is a political force for 2012??? Interesting that Dave gets bypassed for other articles...hmmmmm

Morocco Bama

Why is it great, Chris? Can you be more specific?

Chris in Chicago

Great probably was'nt quite correct,more like good.

In saying what is painfully clear to readers of this blog,but not to the general public.That we are an empire and have been in decline
for sometime and history always repeats itself.

As a person who loves history,this has been obvious to me for years and i am just an average joe. I assume are political elites know this,because,lets face it. No matter what you think of them,they are highly educated and intelligent. They just have a vested interest in keeping the public thinking everything is splendid while they pillage the sinking ship.

Can't say i agree with his future predictions,because nobody has a crystil ball to look into the future.

Closing note. I only recently learned that George Bush majored in history in college.If this is true it is surely mind boggling that he would invade the graveyard of empires known as Afganistan.

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