Another Endangered Species?

Guest essay by Viv Forbes Washpool   Qld Australia

Earth is a dangerous place. Of all the species that have ever lived, over 95% have already been extinguished by natural disasters.

Ice, not global warming, is the big killer and this recurring calamity often strikes quickly. Thousands of mammoths and other animals were killed by ice storms and their snap-frozen bodies are still entombed in ice around the Arctic. Just 15,000 years ago great ice sheets smothered the northern hemisphere as far south as Chicago, Moscow and London and all life had migrated towards the equator. This deadly ice had gripped Earth for about 50,000 years.

Ice ages are also times of dry winds and drought as cold oceans and cold dry atmospheres produce little evaporation or precipitation. Great deserts like the Sahara and the Gobi expand, and wind-blown dust fills the skies and rivers.

Adding to Ice Age woes, cold oceans suck the gas of life (carbon dioxide) out of the atmosphere, thus making surviving plants less able to cope with cold and drought. One of the great serendipities of modern life is that man’s use of carbon-rich fuels like oil and coal not only provides energy but also adds carbon dioxide plant food to the severely depleted carbon stocks of the atmosphere. Satellites have detected the resultant greening of the Earth.

Earth also suffers cycles of volcanism where much life is extinguished by ash, lava, earthquakes and tsunamis, usually followed by more cold and starvation as dust blocks sunlight. Just one era of volcanism covered the Deccan in India with many lava flows in places more than 2 km thick and spewed hot lava into the oceans along the mid-ocean trenches. Earthquakes and resulting tsunamis swept all life from large areas of land and dumped and buried their fragmented remains in heaps of mud.

We also have evidence of massive destruction on Earth from collisions and near misses by comets and other bodies in the solar system.

Humans are not immune to the threat of extinction, but it will not come from today’s warm, moist, atmosphere or from the gas of life, carbon dioxide. It will probably come from the next glacial cycle in the Pleistocene Ice age, where long bitter glacial eras are separated by short warm periods such as the Holocene warm era in which we live.

In every short warm era like today’s Holocene, the warming oceans expel enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to terrify today’s global warming alarmists. And these times have always supported abundant plant and animal life. But never has “global warming” from this “greenhouse gas” prevented the cyclic return of the ice.

When blizzards blow and glaciers grow, the great ice sheets will spread again and mankind will be decimated by cold, drought, crop failures and starvation. A lucky few living in equatorial regions or clustered in shelters and hot houses around nuclear power stations will survive. Those still able to extract coal, oil or gas may manage to generate enough warmth and carbon dioxide plant food to offset the cold sun, the perma-frost and the barren atmosphere. And a few with appropriate skills and tools may become hunters and gatherers again (but the Neanderthals did not make it last time).

We should celebrate, not fear, the Modern Warm Era and give thanks for the many benefits gained from recycling those marvellous batteries of stored and buried carbon resources to our still-hungry biosphere.

When the ice returns, derelict and snow-bound wind turbines and solar panels will remain as stark evidence of the failed Green religion of yet another endangered species.

Further Reading:

“The Positive Impact of Human CO2 emissions on the Survival of life on Earth”.

“The Planet of Death: 10 of Earth’s Worst Extinction Events”:


No Evidence of Unusual Global Warming:

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March 28, 2018 7:58 pm

By the time the next ice ages comes round fossil fuels will all have run out and we will be using solar and wind power despite what this poster suggests.

Anthony Watts(@wattsupwiththat)
Reply to  Geronimo
March 28, 2018 7:59 pm

The poster’s name is Viv Forbes, unlike you he uses his real name.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
March 28, 2018 9:04 pm

yes but the great thing about the internet is that nobody knows if you are a dog.

Karl Baumgarten
Reply to  Anthony Watts
March 28, 2018 9:14 pm

To Geronimo – We know dogs when we read them.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
March 28, 2018 10:17 pm

Thank you Viv Forbes for this essay. I will keep a copy.

Pillage Idiot
Reply to  Anthony Watts
March 29, 2018 8:35 am

My climate alarmist friends constantly point out to me that the “science is settled”.
I then ask them, “When does the next ice age begin?”
After a few sentences of mindless sputtering, they eventually formulate a response similar to, “Well it’s not beginning anytime soon!”
I sleep much better at night reassured by their firm grasp of all aspects of planetary physics.

Reply to  Geronimo
March 28, 2018 8:09 pm

Thousands of years from now, if there still are people, they will probably have energy technologies far superior to windmills.

Reply to  Chimp
March 28, 2018 8:14 pm

…. that’s what they said 500 years ago.
They didn’t account for human genetics.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Chimp
March 28, 2018 9:04 pm

It speaks volumes about the grasp of science and the lack of imagination of alarmists that they would think that in the distant future we would rely on low technology to meet our energy needs.

Reply to  Chimp
March 28, 2018 9:09 pm

Hi Chimp,
Is there any physical basis for such an assertion or are you just hoping? There are only two possible
long term (>1000 years) sources of energy that we know of. One is solar and the other is deuterium – deuterium fusion. We know how to make solar power work on a global scale while nobody has any idea about getting DD fusion to work. Current fusion plans rely on deuterium – tritium fusion which can’t scale since tritium has a half life of 12 years and nobody knows how to make it in sufficient quantities for fusion based power to be a reality.

Reply to  Chimp
March 28, 2018 9:19 pm

There are more than that. Making solar useful for large scale industrial purposes is more of a challenge than fusion.
You neglect fission. We have sufficient fission fuel sources not just for 1000 years, but for millennia. Essentially forever, given breeder reactors.
And 3000 years ago the choices for energy production were even more limited. No one then thought about steam engines or electricity, let alone nuclear power. Innovation has been a constant in modern human cultural evolution. H. erectus grade humans used the same model of hand ax for about a million years, but H. sapiens sapiens has constantly innovated.

Reply to  Chimp
March 28, 2018 9:24 pm

FWIW, maybe not much, Lockheed Martin has been granted a patent for its Compact Fusion Reactor design:

Reply to  Chimp
March 28, 2018 9:26 pm

There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement. ~ Lord Kelvin, 1900 AD
There are only two possible long term (>1000 years) sources of energy that we know of. ~ Germinio, 2018 AD

Reply to  Chimp
March 28, 2018 9:31 pm

In 1895, Lord Kelvin also deemed “heavier-than-air flying machines…impossible”.

Reply to  Chimp
March 28, 2018 9:35 pm

To be fair, Kelvin was paraphrasing American experimental physicist Albert Michelson, who measured the speed of light:
“While it is never safe to affirm that the future of Physical Science has no marvels in store even more astonishing than those of the past, it seems probable that most of the grand underlying principles have been firmly established and that further advances are to be sought chiefly in the rigorous application of these principles to all the phenomena which come under our notice. It is here that the science of measurement shows its importance — where quantitative work is more to be desired than qualitative work. An eminent physicist remarked that the future truths of physical science are to be looked for in the sixth place of decimals.”

Reply to  Chimp
March 29, 2018 3:41 am

Paint the ice matt black, and acidify the occeans to eat carbonate and release CO2.
Or just geneticly-modify penguins to make the ice even browner.
Adapt, overcome, never give up, never surrender … we’ll thin-out the penguins later.

Reply to  Chimp
March 29, 2018 6:25 am

“They didn’t account for…. socialists.”

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Chimp
March 29, 2018 6:28 am

Chimp – March 28, 2018 at 8:09 pm

Thousands of years from now, if there still are people, they will probably have energy technologies far superior to windmills.

Yesterday, …. today, …. tomorrow ….. or 1,000 years from now, …. makes no never difference.
GEEEZUS, it is damn near impossible today, ….. and getting worse as each day goes by, …… to construct and activate technologically superior energy generating facilities because of the liberal “brainwashing” of the children by the public schools and colleges.
So, before any superior energy technologies can be deployed to replace windmills and solar panels the public school curriculum has to be changed and the past 3 generations of public school attendees will have to be re-nurtured and/or re-educated ……. or Civil War II has to be declared, fought and won by the believers in/of actual factual science.

Bryan A
Reply to  Chimp
March 29, 2018 10:16 am

Unfortunately Germinio, Solar isn’t utility scalable (Not that Topaz solar farm isn’t Utility Sized just highly inefficient regarding use of land space for energy produced) without expensive back-up systems like MW batteries and additional sources of power input into the grid. The solar output will only produce PV energy at nameplate capacity for around 4 hours per day due to incident angle. And while tilting the panels to follow the sun can gather more, it also requires more input of energy to run the tracking motors causing a less efficient system.
And for an average of 11-13 hours per day, Solar gathers ZERO energy and other sources are required.
Solar doesn’t work in High density areas like Ney York City.
Manhattan has a population density that would require covering an area 1/2 the size of Long Island just for daily use. The remainder of Long Island would also need to be covered to recharge the Night time Batteries to keep the island energized while the Sun doesn’t shine. Then, to electrify the islands transportation needs (to eliminate gasoline) would require another long island worth of panels.
To completely electrify little New York City (Housing, Business, Transportation, etc) and eliminate fossil fuels would require a solar installation roughly twice the size of Long Island or more than 3 Rhode Islands or 1 Connecticut.

Reply to  Chimp
March 30, 2018 12:58 pm

And I don’t think anyone has even mentioned anti-matter. Sure, it’s long way off, but not next-glacial-period long way off.

Reply to  Chimp
March 30, 2018 2:03 pm

Germinio March 28, 2018 at 9:09 pm
There are about 438 kg, of naturally occurring tritium (at three g per mole) in Earth’s 330 million cubic miles of salt and freshwater, not counting about 3100 cu mi in the air. The present stockpile of tritium, about 20 kg, would suffice to get fusion power going. After that, tritium would be bred during the reaction through contact with lithium.
Deuterium is far more abundant, at 33 milligrams per cubic meter of seawater. But if need be, tritium could be obtained from seawater as well.

Reply to  Geronimo
March 28, 2018 8:52 pm

Nonsense. We have enough uranium to last thousands of years. Fusion reactors will likely be functional within this century. Solar and wind are too diffuse to be of much use…especially when the sun goes down or the wind doesn’t blow.

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
March 28, 2018 9:13 pm

It would take us a really long time to use up all the tritium in seawater in fusion reactors. Plus, rather than waiting for cosmic rays to make more tritium in the atmosphere, we could make more fusion reactor fuel by irradiating rods containing lithium from fission reactors.
Essentially unlimited supplies of fuel for on demand, high quality, industrial grade energy.

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
March 28, 2018 9:18 pm

Thorium is feeling unloved right now

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
March 28, 2018 10:25 pm

there is nowhere near enough tritium in seawater to sustain fusion on a global scale. And making
enough tritium using lithium is so close to being impossible that it not worth considering. DT fusion
produces one extra neutron which then has to exit the reactor and hit a lithium nucleus with 100%
efficiency to produce tritium. You then need to extract 100% of those tritium atoms without losing a
single one and reinject them back into the reactor. If you lose a single tritium atom in any of those
steps then your fuel constantly decrease with each cycle and your reactor will not be viable. So
DT fusion is not a viable long term energy source.

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
March 28, 2018 10:55 pm

Fusion how? TOKAMAK?
Do you bet on ITER?

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
March 28, 2018 11:05 pm

Have a look at “sustainability without the hot air”. It is the best reference I know of for such figures about reserves. Uranium reserves are minimal unless there is a practical means to extract it from seawater. And even then you need working breeder reactors (which no ones knows how to build) to make it practical. Again the only energy source we know can provide enough energy over the next 1000 years is solar power. The other option is DT fusion which nobody knows how to get working.

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
March 29, 2018 7:44 am

Germino, what you believe and what is fact, rarely intersect.

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
March 29, 2018 7:44 am

The moon is an excellent source of Helium 3.

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
March 29, 2018 6:42 pm

“or the wind doesn’t blow.”
Or blows too hard.

Reply to  Geronimo
March 28, 2018 10:33 pm

“we will be using solar and wind power”
Fundamental, classical, egregious mistake here. We are already using solar power. Almost all food grows with the sun. That’s real solar power.

Reply to  s-t
March 29, 2018 4:02 am

Just build a tractor beam, pull Earth closer to the sun, too hot? … reverse the phase … sorted!
How hard can this be? They had tractor beams in 1976! It’s not exactly cutting-edge tech.
Why “go” to the moon … or mars … make it easy. Interstellar travel? … get a bigger tractor beam!
No brainer.

Reply to  s-t
March 29, 2018 8:09 am

There is a bigger problem than just the source of power – it is the danger of an energy monoculture.
If Puerto Rico had been dependent on 100% electricity, millions would have died within weeks. It was only the fact that fossil fuels survived in underground tanks and could be used immediately that kept civilization going at all.
This issue scales up and is a metaphor for life itself – carbon stored underground and in the oceans has to be made available to power life itself. Solar alone isn’t enough. Witness the problems during the ice ages.

Reply to  Geronimo
March 28, 2018 10:48 pm

Geromino, If you had any understanding of basic economics, you would understand that unless there are alternate sources of energy with costs similar or less than fossil fuels, (which seem a long way off at the moment), there won’t be very many people around to use this solar and wind power as you suggest.

Reply to  rogerthesurf
March 28, 2018 11:53 pm

I am not sure I understand what point you are trying to make. Will power be more expensive in the future?
Almost certainly. But that doesn’t mean that fossil fuels won’t run out. And if we don’t want the transition to renewable energy to be brutal as you appear to be suggesting then we should start planning well in advance – at least a couple of centuries.

Reply to  rogerthesurf
March 31, 2018 7:18 pm

What I am saying is :- if we are compelled by any means to adapt to “alternate sources of energy” – be it governments or lack of fossil fuels, unless, the alternate sources of energy are a similar or lesser cost than fossil fuels currently, the human race will starve – except perhaps for a few “elites”.
Currently, the worst thing a government can do with regards to moving off fossil fuels, is to subsidize and legislate that is to force the populace in this regard. This can only depress the economy and cause hardship for those at the bottom. Witness farmers dispossessed in order to allow the farming of subsidized palm oil or the subsidization of corn ethanol which moves the choice of crops away from what the market demands.
Should a complete move to expensive renewables be forced upon us, we will all experience hardship and the economy will collapse. This will very likely mean wide spread starvation.
In fact the market has already moved to fracking and therefore not only an inexpensive energy but it seems a huge resource that may last several hundred years.
Ironically this move, lead by the US, appears to be responsible for a current decrease in US carbon emissions, (for what its worth).
Both fracking and freeing of oil exploration seems to have moved peak oil from the forecast of “about now” to several hundred years into the future.
Therefore the lead time is definitely outside reason and there is a better chance to find cheaper energy which will make fossil fuels obsolete – WITHOUT government intervention. I would remind you that the enormous world wide wealth we have so far, was not caused by government decree or subsidy. In fact governments have enjoyed considerable net tax gains.
Historically governments do not have a great reputation in picking winners, it is far better to let the market find a winner. Wind mills and solar, are not winners and because of their nature it is hard to see whether that will change.
Of course, there is a lot of doubt whether the planet is actually warming and similar doubt whether human kind are or can be the cause of this. I can assure you that AGW does not meet the scientific criteria for an acceptable hypothesis, so once again, why are we talking about starving normal people for a scientific theory that is absolutely and completely un-baked?

Reply to  Geronimo
March 28, 2018 11:00 pm

You are assuming that man will not invent a better power source which is horribly typical of those that think man is going to stagnate.

Reply to  mikebartnz
March 28, 2018 11:16 pm

Inventing a new power source means inventing a new law of physics. And if there is a new energy source out there on earth then we probably would have noticed it by now even if by accident. So the question would
be what unknown effects are there that you can point to on earth that might be a power source? Fission for example was discovered by place a lump of rock on a photographic plate, fission by asking why does the sun shine? Point to something like that and then I might start to believe in a new power source.

Reply to  mikebartnz
March 29, 2018 7:56 am

Geronimo, the photoelectric effect in silicon wasn’t discovered until 1941, even though semiconductors were known since at least 1833. Up until 1941 people like you would have insisted that solar energy was theoretically impossible. It’s those pesky unknown unknowns that keep cropping up.

Bill Illis
Reply to  mikebartnz
March 29, 2018 8:46 am

You have changed your name 3 times in just 3 hours.

Reply to  mikebartnz
March 29, 2018 12:36 pm

The photovoltaic effect (or photoelectric effect) was known about since 1840. Doing it in a PN junction made it more efficient and useful but it was still known about for almost a century before then. It is also a way of converting a known power source (i.e. the sun) into a useable form. Again new power sources will require new physics and new discoveries. If there was a new power source out there then I am betting that we would have found hints of it by now. If you can point to an unexplained physical effect that takes place on this planet then I would love to hear of it.

Reply to  mikebartnz
March 29, 2018 5:19 pm

Yup, it’s definitely time to close the patent office.

Reply to  Geronimo
March 29, 2018 12:52 am

Where will all the carbon be?

Reply to  sexton16
March 29, 2018 4:15 am

Turned to foram seds and pete bogs.

Reply to  Geronimo
March 29, 2018 2:32 am

I am still flummoxed over the 40 acres of woods and grassland that are now covered in solar panels. In MN, solar is stupid.

F. Leghorn(@squiggy9000)
Reply to  Geronimo
March 29, 2018 3:05 am

In an ice age? They won’t do any better then than they do now.

Mark Breckenridge
Reply to  Geronimo
March 29, 2018 4:46 am

Ya.. wind will power 10 billion people.

Reply to  Geronimo
March 29, 2018 7:21 am

For much of my long life somebody keeps saying we are going to run out of fossil fuels. Governments has made really stupid and extremely costly decisions based on that mythology. Just like today governments want to make stupid and costly decisions based on the mythology, the religion, of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. I can think of a lot more important realities to use the trillions planned by idiot agreements like the Paris Climate accord. Of course Geronimo you certainly will not be around when whatever is going to happen in the future.

Reply to  Edwin
March 29, 2018 7:45 am

They have been predicting the demise of fossil fuels for longer than they have been predicting the advent of fusion power.

Reply to  Geronimo
March 29, 2018 7:41 am

We will never use wind and solar as anything other than boutique power sources.
In a thousand years or so, after the remaining coal has become too expensive, we will be using nuclear and/or whatever other sources are creative descendants are able to dream up.

Reply to  Geronimo
March 29, 2018 7:44 am

using solar and wind power
No. If we overcome brain-dead greenism & choose to survive, we’ll be using advanced nuclear.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Geronimo
March 29, 2018 9:26 am

If we are using solar and wind we will be dead.
Nuclear? well that has a chance.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Geronimo
March 29, 2018 9:42 pm

When you factor in all the costs of wind power it is by far and away the most expensive fuel.
1) because it is intermittent it always requires backup which essentially doubles the cost
2) Every wind project in the world has a government subsidy or else the project would never have got off the ground. That government subsidy has a a carrying cost all through its life cycle.
3) It takes 7 wind energy jobs to produce the same amount of MWH as 1 fossil fuel fuel worker.
4) Almost 100 bats a year are killed by every windmill. The bats are able to avoid the blades but as soon as they fly to the other side their lungs collapse from the pressure difference.
5) When you kill off bats you are affecting the whole ecosystem. A single brown bat can eat up to 1000 mosquito size insects per hour or one every 3.6 seconds.
6) Many other birds are also killed. In the US alone as many as 200000 birds die each year from windmills.
In Canada 8.2 birds per year per turbine
7) Windmills require significant upfront costs for transmission lines as they have to be built in pristine areas away from people and near high wind alleys
8) Wind power causes voltage transients costs, inverter costs, voltage variation costs, waveform distortion costs, frequency variation costs etc at the power plant. These costs are rarely factored in in windcost analysis
9) Humans that live within a couple hunred metres of windmills complain of the noise an eerie infrasound (below the threshold of human hearing). However that sound is sensed by the inner ear. The infrasound is hazardous if felt on a daily basis.
10) Wind is much less efficient for runtime availability
11) Rare earth metals are used in the wind generators.
12) Destruction of pristine environment to set up the windfarms
13) A typical 100 MW windfarm generates 280000 lbs of radioactive waste in its lifecycle of 25 years
14) When subsidies come off windfarms are left to die.
15) Wind farm owners are paid not to deliver the wind power when there is an overload.
16) Wind turbines in Germany put out only 18% of their rated capacity
17) Every where in the world where windfarms have been built have seen electricity prices double or triple
18) Danger from fling ice from the blades in wintertime
19) Wind turbines require 2 to 3 times more land area
20) Increased wear on base load equipment because of too frequent shutdown caused by wind powerup
Overall costs 10 times that of coal

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
March 29, 2018 11:00 pm

Re: “13) A typical 100 MW windfarm generates 280000 lbs of radioactive waste in its lifecycle of 25 years”
Say what? Explain, please.
Wind energy has many faults, but I can’t imagine how wind turbines can generate radioactive waste.

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
March 29, 2018 11:47 pm

17) Every where in the world where windfarms have been built have seen electricity prices double or triple
False. The US has lots of windfarms. Electricity prices in the US, over the last 10 years, have gone up at about the same rate as the inflation index.

NW sage
March 28, 2018 8:00 pm

An interesting observation that satellites in earth orbit have detected the recent ‘greening’ trend of more prolific plant life (presumably absorbing more CO2).
Question – as the earth turns more ‘green’ in color does the amount of energy reflected back into space increase, decrease, or stay the same? and why?

Reply to  NW sage
March 28, 2018 8:22 pm

That is an interesting and complex question. I believe that in most cases, greener = darker, which suggests more sunlight absorbed (and where evergreen trees spring up in boreal climates, it is especially warming, because the green trees are much darker than snow-covered ground would be). OTOH, more green plants may mean more transpiration, causing more cloud cover — which can cause either warming or cooling, depending on type of clouds and time of day. On the gripping hand, higher CO2 levels make plants more water-efficient, and studies indicate that the large increase in vegetation has been accompanied by little increase in transpiration. On the.. {uh, what comes after OTGH?}.. vegetation produces pollen and other atmospheric particulates, which may affect the amount of sunlight which reaches the ground, or affect clouds, or who knows what. On the… {something-hand}, increased vegetation cover may reduce dust in arid regions… etc., etc.

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  daveburton
March 28, 2018 9:16 pm

Hasn’t the central US shown cooling due to increased agriculture? i.e. more corn for biofuels?? In that case, greening doesn’t necessarily warm the earth.

Reply to  daveburton
March 29, 2018 7:46 am

In that case, it’s not greening. It’s swapping one type of vegetation for another.

March 28, 2018 8:06 pm

The great long-term problem of nuclear power is not nuclear waste or meltdowns, it is that it does not emit the precious air fertilizer. If nuclear power is too successful, and it replaces most fossil fuels, atmospheric CO2 levels will fall, and crop yields and temperatures are likely to fall, as well.
The danger is nearer than you probably realize. Already, natural feedbacks are removing over half of the CO2 that mankind adds to the atmosphere each year. If CO2 emissions were merely halved, CO2 levels would be falling, rather than rising.

Reply to  daveburton
March 29, 2018 7:48 am

Power from nuclear plants can be used to break down various stores of CO2. When we do start to run out of coal, we may need to do that.

Reply to  daveburton
March 29, 2018 7:49 am

daveburton, we’ll just need to use the nuke-power to “cook” limestone & release CO2. There’s alot of limestone.

Reply to  beng135
March 29, 2018 1:53 pm

That’s a good idea, beng135, except that it’s hard to get people to make large expenditures that are good for all mankind, but have little direct or immediate benefit for themselves. The tragedy of the commons, and all that.
The beauty of getting our CO2 from fossil fuels is that it is a fringe benefit of using them for other things.

March 28, 2018 8:08 pm

My cynical thought is that hardcore greens would take humans being a vastly reduced in population, nearly endangered species, as a good thing.

Reply to  Tom Halla
March 28, 2018 8:17 pm

…. when mouthing off for a paycheck yes. In reality they do fail to volunteer their leadership ….

Reply to  philincalifornia
March 28, 2018 11:54 pm

Not always, Phil. Francisco Lotero & Miriam Coletti shot themselves and their children, because of their despair over global warming, because they believed the alarmists’ apocalyptic lies. Miraculously, one of their children survived:

Reply to  Tom Halla
March 28, 2018 11:50 pm

You’re right. A disturbing number of climate alarmists think humanity is a blight on the planet, and wish that a large percentage of the Earth’s population would just “die and reduce the surplus population.” I see this sort of comment pretty regularly:
Anthony Cox and Jo Nova wrote about it way back in 2010:
Unsurprisingly, after this many years, a couple of the video links in that article have gone stale, but you can find them here:

Reply to  daveburton
March 29, 2018 7:53 am

It’s funny, daveburton. In the long run Earth is doomed from the sun getting slowly hotter. So humans are the only hope for Earth’s life — taking the life out among the stars w/us.

March 28, 2018 8:40 pm

offset the cold sun
The sun was not any colder. Glaciations are due to changes in the shape of the Earth’s orbit and orientation of the rotation axis.

Reply to  lsvalgaard
March 28, 2018 11:19 pm

That being the case, the southern hemisphere will face the sun at orbital perigee, we could all move to the Southern Hemisphere and avoid the ice. Or, spread some coal dust on the ice sheet margins.

Reply to  pochas94
March 29, 2018 1:00 am

Pochas94 – You are welcome to come down to Oz, Geronimo not so much.

Reply to  pochas94
March 29, 2018 4:29 am

Oz will resemble the Sahara at that point, only bigger and dustier, the interior of oz is a giant dune field and wind deflated giber plains. Right now many dunes look like hills, but take away the greenery, and oz hecomes instant Sahara. Hint, Frazer Island is not the world’s largest sand island for nothing, and Cape Flattery in NQ has the worlds largest deposit of pure silica for chips, for the same reason, namely, when the tide goes out for 100 k years, the great barrier reef lagoon becomes the Eastern Sahara desert. The oz dust ends up in South American mountain glaciers.
Don’t come to oz.

Reply to  pochas94
March 29, 2018 5:34 am

With the southern hemisphere receiving more solar radiation (facing the sun at solar perigee) I would expect more evaporation from a warmer ocean. Would this not serve to green up the continent? And be sure to emit more CO2, you will need more food for those being displaced by the ice sheets.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  pochas94
March 29, 2018 5:47 am

Pochas94, a technical but important point. Perigee is specific to things orbiting the Earth. You mean perihelion which is specific to things orbiting the Sun.
Current orbital conditions have the SH summer solstice when Earth is at or near perihelion.

Reply to  pochas94
March 29, 2018 6:35 am

You are correct. Bad grammar on my part.

Reply to  pochas94
March 29, 2018 9:26 am

The southern hemisphere doesn’t have much land mass… And dryer air means more difficult farming. If humans don’t figure out how to control the climate before the next ice age, the fact is billions will die.

Reply to  pochas94
March 29, 2018 10:02 pm

@ pochas94
No, it isn’t a theory, Oz actually is covered in giant dune fields that mobilise during glacials, and deflated giber deflates some more, and the GBR lagoon does actually come to more resemble a very cold dry Saudi Arabia, when the tide goes out 100 m. But at that time an equator straddling enlarged Papua New Guinea becomes part of Australia’s mainland, and that’s where the plants, animals, crocs and corals go.

Reply to  lsvalgaard
March 29, 2018 12:41 am

… the cold sun …

Even in the arctic, if it is CAVU, and you are in the lee of a building or cliff, the sun feels wonderful and warm.
On the other hand, under certain atmospheric conditions, the sun is visible but dim. It doesn’t feel warm. For me the cold sun is a bleak, evocative, visceral, image. It has nothing to do with what the sun is actually doing.

Reply to  commieBob
March 29, 2018 1:12 am

Large volcanic eruptions on earth can make the sun turn cold.

Reply to  lsvalgaard
March 29, 2018 4:09 am

Want to offer a predictive graph Leif?

Reply to  lsvalgaard
March 29, 2018 11:43 am

Orbitals changes and axial tilt changes cause the sun which reaches us here to be “colder”.

Reply to  JimG1
March 29, 2018 12:34 pm

no. The energy from the sun that reaches us during a year depends on the mean distance to the sun, which does not vary enough to have any variable influence.

Reply to  JimG1
March 29, 2018 1:35 pm

So, why do northern hemisphere Glaciers grow? Certainly when orbits and axial tilt change the NH gets less sun ie “colder sun”.

Reply to  JimG1
March 29, 2018 1:39 pm

They are on land [it is very cold in Northern Siberia and Canada]. Oceans in SH can’t support extensive ice sheets [Antarctica can’t grow]

Reply to  JimG1
March 29, 2018 1:38 pm

Plus precession, as in Milankovich cycles.

Reply to  JimG1
March 29, 2018 1:41 pm

Angular impact of sun’s rays must produce less heating effect.

Reply to  JimG1
March 29, 2018 1:43 pm

The ‘angular impact’ has nothing to do with whether the sun itself is colder or warmer.

Reply to  JimG1
March 29, 2018 1:46 pm

JimG1 asked, “So, why do northern hemisphere Glaciers grow? Certainly when orbits and axial tilt change the NH gets less sun ie “colder sun”.”
No, Leif is right, it’s not the amount of sunshine which varies, but, rather, the degree of seasonal variation. During glaciations the seasonal variations are smaller, and during deglaciations the seasonal variations are larger.
In periods of low obliquity, summers are cool and winters are mild, with the result that there is less ice melt in the summer, and more snowfall in the winter. That causes the great Laurentide, Fennoscandian & Cordilleran ice sheets to form and advance.
But in periods of high obliquity, summers are hotter and winters are colder, with the result that there’s more ice melt in the summer and less snowfall in the winter. That causes the ice sheets to retreat.

Reply to  JimG1
March 29, 2018 1:49 pm

Never said the sun itself was colder or hotter just that what we receive diminishes due to the axial, orbital and precession changes. We may get the same average energy but I suspect that the sharper angle at the poles along with changes in the distance to the sun diminish the effect substantially. Ie glaciers growing. Causing more albedo, etc.

Reply to  JimG1
March 29, 2018 1:52 pm

As well as Dave Burton’s point on the seasonal impacts.

Reply to  JimG1
March 29, 2018 2:02 pm

Well, it is true that a surface which has a temperature that fluctuates widely around its mean will radiate more heat (over a full seasonal cycle) than a surface which holds steady at that same mean temperature, since radiative emissions go up as the 4th power of temperature. So when & where seasonal extremes are greater, the mean temperature at which cumulative full-season emissions are in equilibrium with cumulative full-season incoming radiation will be colder.

March 28, 2018 8:44 pm

‘As the birth rate for intelligent people decreased and that for the less gifted increased it was hoped that medical science could have compensated but it was focused upon hair growth and prolonging erections.’ A paraphrase from the movie Idiocracy regarding why smart people went (are now going) extinct. That is what is going extinct. Just watch the news or look at how more than half of the population voted in the last US presidential election!

Reply to  JimG1
March 28, 2018 8:57 pm

We don’t know how more than half of the US population voted in the last election, since many voted more than once, and millions of members of the population in the country illegally voted.
But to get to more than half, you have to add minor party candidates to the vote totals for the two major party candidates, since neither the Republican nor Democrat candidate got a majority, let alone more than half the votes.
However, nominally, just over half of the legally eligible population voted, ie 55.7% turnout.
Trump: 46.09%
Clinton: 48.18%
Johnson: 3.27%
Stein: 1.06%
Others: 1.40%
Even combining Johnson with Trump doesn’t get to 50%. Nor does Clinton with Stein.

Reply to  Chimp
March 28, 2018 9:03 pm

But you could still be right. More than half the population, or at least votes as counted, went for Clinton, Johnson and Stein.

Reply to  Chimp
March 28, 2018 9:12 pm

Hi Chimp,
is there any evidence for voter fraud in the US on the scale that you are suggesting? And if so why
did Trump’s voter fraud commission disband before presenting any evidence for voting fraud?

Reply to  Chimp
March 28, 2018 9:36 pm

Probably a large enough sample to be statistically significant representation of my theory that smart people are going extinct. Almost 54%, by your numbers and my evaluation of ther smarts, are part of the growing idiocracy and then there are those that don’t vote. It doesn’t take much smarts to realize that you are always going to need to vote for the lesser of evils in politics so not voting is a really dumb option. I guess it’s worse than I thought.

Reply to  Chimp
March 28, 2018 9:38 pm

It was doomed to be worse, because we have reached the point feared by the Founders at which a majority could vote itself the property of a minority.

Reply to  Chimp
March 28, 2018 9:59 pm

Many feared the mob rule of democracy. That’s why we have a constitutional republic. But then it appears as if the constitution is regularly ignored and the actual laws as well. Sanctuary cities and states? Appointed bureaucrats making regulations for the EPA with the strength of law? And on and on.

Reply to  Chimp
March 28, 2018 10:06 pm

Politicians come and go, but the bureaucracy is eternal. And too often a power unto itself. Quite apart from the Deep State.
Ranchers who stand up to land grabs by Bureau of Land Management goons get railroaded and sent to jail by federal judges who collude with bureaucrats.

dodgy geezer
Reply to  Chimp
March 28, 2018 10:45 pm

If you do not vote in an election, you are assumed to be happy with whoever wins. In other words, those who do not vote are assumed to support the final winner.
Logically, you can’t have any other choice. And that means that the winners invariably have more than 50% of the vote…

Reply to  Chimp
March 29, 2018 7:51 am

I remember a couple of precincts in Chicago that routinely vote more than 100% of the voter rolls.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Chimp
March 29, 2018 2:41 pm

MarkW, shouldn’t the transliving have rights also?

Bryan A
Reply to  Chimp
March 31, 2018 4:23 pm
March 28, 2018 8:59 pm

I always thought that governments should impose non-fossil fuel policies not because of “pollution” but for preserving the fossil fuels for when the next ice age will hit, and for the survival of the human species and civilization. I wonder what will the modern cave men will look like.

Reply to  RayBelanger
March 29, 2018 4:41 am

Deregulate the nuclear industry, allow radiation exposure at any reasonable level, and you might see a decrease of chemical fuels use.

Reply to  RayBelanger
March 29, 2018 7:54 am

Since we have no idea what options will be available to our decendents, (Just as our ancestors of even 100 years ago couldn’t have predicted the technology of today) it makes no sense to sacrifice our well being to provide them with resources they may not even need.
A better strategy is to increase our wealth now, so that our children will be richer, which will provide them with resources to pursue whatever option they do choose.
BTW, the power from a nuclear plant can be used to break down calcium carbonate, or any number of other stores for CO2.

Reply to  MarkW
April 1, 2018 8:01 pm

Petroleum is used for more than energy. It is used in so many things in our lives. Maybe in the future they will walk naked in the cold and not use any plastic or coating or whatever, no medicine, no care products, coatings, building materials, etc… look around you, chemistry from derived petroleum products are every where. Without petroleum derived products life won’t be much sustainable at our level of comfort. Good luck to them. And let’s leave replicators in the scify world.

March 28, 2018 10:05 pm

The gas of life, carbon dioxide.
Perfect just perfect, here is a chart of that..comment image..
And so now we have the entire ice age forcing and feedback mechanism, laid out and plain for all to see. It begins when a Great Summer turns into a Great Winter, which reduces the sun-strength in the northern hemisphere and allows ice sheets to grow. This is a slow process that takes tens of thousands of years, and appears destined to turn the world into a complete snowball. However, the high albedo polar ice sheets have an Achilles heel – dust. As the ice sheets grow and the seas cool, CO2 also reduces. The concentration finally reaches the critical 190 ppm level where world flora begins to die, especially at higher altitude, and the Gobi steppe-lands turn into a true sand desert. This turns northern China into the equivalent of 1930s Dust Bowl America, and the ensuing dust storms dump thousands of tonnes of dust onto the northern ice sheets each year. And so when the next Great Summer comes along, the dusty polar ice sheets can warm and melt and the next interglacial is born. So CO2 can indeed cause global warming but its effect is much more pronounced at low concentrations, rather than high concentrations.

Reply to  upcountrywater
March 28, 2018 10:10 pm

Cold air is dry air, so there is also less moisture for plant growth during glacial maxima. This affects C4 plants as well as C3, and even CAM to a lesser extent. But C4 and CAM are more drought-tolerant than standard C3 plants, since they can get all the CO2 they need much more rapidly, so their stomata need be open less time, conserving water.

Reply to  upcountrywater
March 29, 2018 4:45 am

Thing that gets me about that is, if it is orbital induced, why did it fade in 5 mya, and why did the periodicity of glacial to intergracials evolve and suddenly change periodicity, as observed?
Was the orhital geometry shoved about energetic?
Project the orbital cycles back 10 my.

Reply to  WXcycles
March 29, 2018 9:37 am

The closing up of the Isthmus of Panama over millennia and completed by 2.6 Million BP appears to have led to a major shift in Pacific/Atlantic oceanic currents which started the Pleistocene Ice Age at the same time which continues to this day, albeit we are currently in a short interglacial of maybe 15-20,000 years. Some say longer due to the present orbital mechanics, even though we are now in Precessional Winter. A half dozen VE 6-7 Stratovolcanoes back to back especially during a secular cooling trend like the LIA could trigger us back into the start of an ice age within a dozen years. The normal condition for the good Earth is an ice house condition now, 70%-75% of the total time. Interglacials are now the exception, not the rule.

Reply to  WXcycles
March 29, 2018 10:12 pm

The “normal condition” of Earth isbto have no ice sheet at all in antarctica.
It is only in the incredibly brief past 5 my that this changed to the very unusual situation of having polar circle permanant icesheets, that advance and retreat in extraordinaily unusual ‘glacials’ and ‘interglacials’.

Phillip Bratby
March 28, 2018 10:42 pm

An excellent article – well worth a bookmark.

March 28, 2018 11:54 pm

Humans will become almost extinct when the electrical grid is zapped. In the US and EU too. The poorest with no electricity will survive…

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
March 29, 2018 1:11 am

A good directed big solar flare could do the job. To repair or replace transformers etc would take years. No progressive snowflake would survive.

Reply to  Robertvd
March 29, 2018 8:02 am

The grid is protected against a solar flare.

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
March 29, 2018 4:48 am

This is why I use only long-life UHT milk.

March 29, 2018 1:01 am

Ever since Malthus, some folks have been worrying about population collapse as we over-extract the planet’s resources. That continues not to happen.
Buckminster Fuller pointed out that we continue to find ways to use material more efficiently and to substitute materials if one material becomes too expensive (ie. rare).

Between 1977 and 2001, the amount of material required to meet all needs of Americans fell from 1.18 trillion pounds to 1.08 trillion pounds, even though the country’s population increased by 55 million people. Al Gore similarly noted in 1999 that since 1949, while the economy tripled, the weight of goods produced did not change. link

For some reason, it amuses me that Al Gore made that observation. Another thing that amuses me is that the observation that the stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones.

Reply to  commieBob
March 29, 2018 8:03 am

Compare modern personal assistants to the desk top computers (and monitors) from 20 or 30 years ago.

March 29, 2018 1:36 am

The reality of our predicament is clearly not apparent, with so many people believing in AGW, the thought of global cooling has never entered their heads.
My only critique is that the world cannot reach the depths of the LGM for at least 100,000 years, but we can look forward to a mini ice age some way down the track. Humans are now greatly adapted and will survive in situ, no mass migration.
If the Thames starts to freeze over in the NH winter, then obviously there will be more UK residents spending that time of year on the other side of the world.
Viv look to the 13th century for similarities, the process must surely be the same.

See - owe to Rich
Reply to  ironicman
March 29, 2018 3:06 am

Yes, this was my one criticism of Viv’s article, namely that even an ice age will not make man extinct, who has after all lived through the past ice ages with much less technology. Unless, of course, the cold and the technology combine to make us blow ourselves up. And even then there might be surivors…

Reply to  ironicman
March 29, 2018 4:37 am

Did large North Atlantic icebergs drift further south before the Lombok eruption of 1258 AD?

March 29, 2018 3:58 am

Man WILL go extinct. No one knows when or how. Civilization and its technology are both fragile and thin. It could vanish today, with the loss of most or all of the human population with little to no warning. Technology is, like global warming, global cooling ,and the eternity of man, a fantasy used to comfort ones self and hide from the reality that mankind WILL go extinct. NO ONE knows when or how. Today or 1 million years from now. It WILL happen. Death is the ONLY universal truth. Whether it is a Man, or a Star, or the Universe itself. The end IS coming. The rest is a fantasy you wrap your self up in like a child with a woobbie. It might help you sleep. But it is not truth.

Reply to  Ray
March 29, 2018 5:17 am

Ending is incompatible with infinity.
Any universe that contains an infinity, is by definition an infinite.
A finite thing can not contain an infinity.
Genuine randomness is literally infinite possible outcomes.
Otherwise the outcomes are 100% predictable, thus not genuinely random in any way.
If this cosmos is random it is by inescapable definition, incapable of ending.
The Uncertainty Principle implies the unpredictableness of existence.
Infinity is right now telling you, that not only will it not end, it can not end, and that life is an inseparable aspect of infinilty.
Deal with it.

Reply to  WXcycles
March 29, 2018 6:17 am

infinity didn’t help the dinosaurs or the mammoths. I don’t expect it will give humans any special favors.

Reply to  WXcycles
March 29, 2018 8:05 am

That the universe won’t end, is not evidence that any one thing within the universe won’t end.

Reply to  WXcycles
March 29, 2018 11:58 am

The Greeks called that Hubris. Given enough time. (I wish you could get the joke) every thing WILL end. In the end everything will be cold, black , vast and void. Nothing lasts forever, everything changes and everything has it’s end. “Infinity” is a concept that even people with 140+ IQ’s shun because it is impossible for the human mind to grasp. It is also irrelevant as every form of life will change and then die. Earth WILL die. Sol will die, The galaxy WILL die, and all of us and all of our posterity will be dead and recycled back into cosmic dust long before then.

Reply to  WXcycles
March 29, 2018 10:40 pm

Nope, it is a simple statement of fact, that an existence that contains even one infinity, means all is ifinite, and thus can not end.
If life exists in infinity, and it does, you ARE reading this, then life is an innate component of infinity, thetefore life per-sec, is innately infinite.
Whether a species snuffs, or actuallh morphs, is in birds
, is completely immaterial to the observationally based logicalbpoint, because life is integral to this infinite existence.
How can that equate to “hubris”? Nonsense.
How you seek to deny or characterise the observational infinite randomness and reality of life, and all existence being infinite, is just you NOT dealing with it.
That behaviour is about your preference bias, not the science behind the logicalQED conclusion that ultimate “Ending” is incompatible with an actual random infinity with life.
Deal with it … honestly … and scientifically … or not … whatever.
Real hubris is to respond so shallowly to data contrary to your preferred illogical meme, which is at odds with the observatlon that uncertainty principle is evidence of the infinite randomness of space that has an observed emergent property of generating life as a curious aspect of infinity.
I can deal with that honestly.

Reply to  WXcycles
April 3, 2018 6:59 pm

Infinite just means that there no upper bound.

March 29, 2018 4:33 am

“the cold sun is a bleak, evocative, visceral, image. It has nothing to do with what the sun is actually doing”. This is obviously what the author is trying to convey. His comment has nothing to do with the actual heat of the sun.

Peta of Newark
March 29, 2018 5:25 am

So many things to think about.
Why, in truly ancient times, did plants grow so vigorously and strongly that the decomposition process couldn’t keep up and the plants became coal, oil and natural gas.
Might I suggest that the dirt at the time was very fertile and the decomposition process was lacking a certain vital element?
Because and coming from the Eater Island discussion was one of THE most poignant and utterly ignored points about the islanders grinding up rocks to use as fertiliser for their crops.
Jared Diamond gave White Caucasians THE perfect buck-pass by saying the islanders destroyed themselves.
Has honestly prevailed? Did those White Caucasians destroy them with slave trading, Smallpox, Syphilis, rats, booze, guns, influenza – all the while laughing at how primitive they were for grinding up rock.
What do Native North Americans think about ploughs?
BTW. How are the buffalo keeping? I heard there was millions of them running across North A|merica.
I do hope no-one has hurt them – I will be really rather cross if they have.
What do people with no history of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancers, strokes or dementia eat?
People like Bushmen, Innuit and Nenet. What’s in their diet? How often do they eat?
Is it once every 2 days or once every 2 hours as currently recommended by White Caucasian Science?
(No connection)
Science time: Find some soft (playpit or ‘builders’) sand and bake it in your oven for an afternoon at 150 degC. Then its like what you find in sandy deserts. Let it cool.
Acquire some small baby potted plants, any sort. Springtime now, some baby vegeatables from any garden centre or supermarket even would be ideal.
Remove all the dirt/compost from them and re-pot them in the sand you’ve cooked.
(Think about what that black stuff is while you’re binning it)
Put them on a sunny windowsill in a room of your house that is normally used/occupied in the daytime.
That guarantees them warmth, light and anything between 800 and 1800 ppm of CO2
Water them as much as you like and apply as much simple NPK fertiliser (as farmers use – its called Growmore in the UK) as you like.
Come back in 6 months to tell us all how those plants are.
Reassure us all that enhanced CO2 + water + agro-technology really will make deserts and The Planet, green.

[The mods recommend watching Allan Savory’s talk, here: regarding desertification. -mod]

Reply to  Peta of Newark
March 29, 2018 8:08 am

Coal deposits were formed prior to the evolution of mold and fungus’s.
The lifestyle of primitive people (always on the go, never having enough to eat) explains why they had no diabetes, obesity or heart disease.
They did have cancer, though most of them didn’t live long enough to die from it.
Ditto strokes. Dementia doesn’t leave a record in the bones, so we can’t say whether they did or didn’t.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Peta of Newark
March 29, 2018 9:30 am

Oh dear. San is a perfectlty reasonable medium to grow plants in. as long as it has water.
Hint. Did you suppose all those palm laden oases were on account of the camel dung?

DeLoss McKnight
March 29, 2018 5:33 am

A lot of Malthusian comments on this post today. The end is coming! Energy sources exhausted! Life is doomed. Death is certain. It may be certain for us living today. But I have a more optimistic view of our ingenuity. AI married with quantum computing will lead us in directions that we can hardly imagine today. What if we can succeed in building space elevators? Who knows what new source of energy such a creation could bring? What if the Grand Unified Theory is conquered and it leads to new sources of energy? What if we fail at conquering the Theory and it *still* leads to new sources of energy? We certainly don’t know what the future will bring. But we have just experienced a hockey stick century of progress in the history of the human race. If we don’t kill ourselves off first, there’s no telling where we will be in another century, but it will likely be a very strange place for us living today.

James Beaver
Reply to  DeLoss McKnight
March 29, 2018 7:18 am

Finally! A voice of sanity and perspective. Thanks for writing that.

Reply to  DeLoss McKnight
March 29, 2018 9:47 am

I like that… a ‘hockey stick century of progress in the history of the human race’. That is indisputable.

March 29, 2018 6:11 am

the high cost of winter heating is already killing the most vulnerable.

March 29, 2018 8:20 am

“Thousands of mammoths and other animals were killed by ice storms and their snap-frozen bodies are still entombed in ice around the Arctic.”
Nonsense, they weren’t “snap-frozen”. They died for a variety of reasons (usually indeterminable) and the bodies were later buried by gelifluction (=mudslides) and frozen. The cadavers are almost always partially decomposed showing that there was some delay, and mild temperatures, between death and burial.

Reply to  tty
March 29, 2018 2:33 pm

Just out of curiosity, please define “almost always” as used in your comment.
I grew up with stories of flowers found in the stomachs of the mammoths, experts determined the only way the flowers could have been preserved, was if they were in fact, “flash frozen”.
So much for pretty stories, eh ?

Reply to  u.k.(us)
March 30, 2018 2:24 pm
Preserved stomach contents don’t indicate “flash freezing”. Stomach contents can even be preserved without cold mud. Preservation in an anaerobic environment will do it, as with the mastodon found in the 1989 during excavation of a pond on an Ohio golf course.

lowercase fred
March 29, 2018 8:22 am

“We also have evidence of massive destruction on Earth from collisions and near misses by comets and other bodies in the solar system.”
New study show’s Sholz’s star disturbed the Oort cloud. More reason to give credence to the theories that prehistoric and early civilizations were affected by encounters with comets and asteroids.

Bill Illis
Reply to  lowercase fred
March 29, 2018 8:53 am

We haven’t really been hit by a comet.
The largest impact craters are from ordinary 10 km asteroids (just 3 of them and they are moving at lower speeds than comets). A big comet would melt the whole crust. Lucky planet. Maybe during the late heavy bombardment ending about 3.9 billion years ago.

Reply to  Bill Illis
March 29, 2018 10:52 am

It is extremely unlikely that no comet has ever hit the Earth (a small one possibly did as recently as 1908). And no, it would hardly melt the crust. It moves faster than an asteroid, correct, but it has much lower density and is so fragile that it might break up gravitationally even before hitting the atmosphere.
And we don’t really know how many asteroids/comets have hit the Earth. Remember that no part of the ocean floor is older than 200 mya, so for 70% of the Earth’s surface we have no data at all for >95% of Earth’s history.

March 29, 2018 8:32 am

Intelligence on steroids!!!
Nicely done!!!

March 29, 2018 9:10 am

I would add that mass extinction events pave the way for explosions of new species as vast swaths of niches open up.

March 29, 2018 11:27 am

“By the time the next ice ages comes round fossil fuels will all have run out and we will be using solar and wind power despite what this poster suggests.”
Why do you care? I expect to be completely dead. You have a plan to be around?

Reply to  Gamecock
March 29, 2018 2:50 pm

It would be interesting/unbearably painful, to watch the future unfold, no matter what happens.
No thanks.

March 29, 2018 7:54 pm

markopanama March 29, 2018 at 8:09 am wrote:
“There is a bigger problem than just the source of power – it is the danger of an energy monoculture.
If Puerto Rico had been dependent on 100% electricity, millions would have died within weeks. ”
In fact we do already have an energy monoculture. Our day to day to day survival depends on not only electricity, but also on electronics. If something were to fry those electronics, all the fossil fuel in the world wouldn’t help us. For one thing, we couldn’t get it to where it’s needed in time, even if we could find a way to use it to heat, light, and run our complicated machines. A few years ago, living in a remote community without gas supply lines, and in a house with a condensing gas furnace, I found the minimum cost for a minimal backup electrical power supply was well over a thousand dollars. It consisted of a bank of 4 100AHr batteries, a charger/inverter, and an automatic switch. I needed all that just to run the 3/4 hp fan for the propane furnace. At the most conservative setting, it might have kept my house from freezing at -30C ambient for a day – just guessing. A more expensive generator running on propane itself, would have cost $3,000+, but I couldn’t find any data anywhere to allow me to calculate how long my 500 gallon propane tank would run both the generator and the furnace fan at -30C. Buying or renting a bigger tank gets much more expensive.
I also looked at geothermal, and particularly at the electrical requirements of that. I learned that, at least in Canada, no one is even marketing any geothermal installations that don’t need grid power to run. So it appears that your best bet for keeping warm when our electrical power is out of commission is a pellet stove, a mountain of pellets, and some means of keeping your neighbours from appropriating them.
Puerto Ricans didn’t die by the millions because they live in a relatively mild climate, they were hit by a wind/rain storm, not EMP or a CME, many of them were already accustomed to living in primitive conditions, and law and order was maintained because the disaster was localized, so equipment and expert help eventually arrived.
Most people in North America, especially in the Northern regions, wouldn’t be so lucky. How long would New York City last without electrical service? How many would die just trying to get out? How long before people started dying of hypothermia or heat stroke, thirst and hunger?
It bothers me when some posters here bandy the word “alarmist” about. Is it alarmist to note that you’re on the seventh floor of a hospital, that there are no fire alarms, and the nearest door to the stairs and the elevator are locked for renovations? The present world situation is far worse than that scenario. And dismissing any complaints about it as “alarmist” is playing the pied piper to human lemmings. “Don’t worry, be happy”, “things have never been this good, and it will only get better”, or as Alred E. Neuman said, “What? Me worry?”

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