Vice Climate Alert: “The Collapse of Civilization May Have Already Begun”

Thai shopkeepers sea level rise
Thai shopkeepers desperately trying to adapt to sea level rise. kallerna [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

As the photo above shows, it may already be too late to save our civilization from the horror of global warming induced hot weather and a rising sea level.

The Collapse of Civilization May Have Already Begun

Scientists disagree on the timeline of collapse and whether it’s imminent. But can we afford to be wrong? And what comes after?

By Nafeez AhmedNov 23 2019, 12:00am

“It is now too late to stop a future collapse of our societies because of climate change.” 

These are not the words of a tinfoil hat-donning survivalist. This is from a paper delivered by a senior sustainability academic at a leading business school to the European Commission in Brussels, earlier this year. Before that, he delivered a similar message to a UN conference: “Climate change is now a planetary emergency posing an existential threat to humanity.”

Jem Bendell, a former consultant to the United Nations and longtime Professor of Sustainability Leadership at the University of Cumbria’s Department of Business, delivered a paper in May 2019 explaining how people and communities might “adapt to climate-induced disruption.”

Bendell’s thesis is not only that societal collapse due to climate change is on its way, but that it is, in effect, already here. “Climate change will disrupt your way of life in your lifetimes,” he told the audience at a climate change conference organized by the European Commission.

Devastating consequences, like “the cascading effects of widespread and repeated harvest failures” are now unavoidable, Bendell’s paper says. 

He argues this is not so much a doom-and-gloom scenario as a case of waking up to reality, so that we can do as much as we can to save as many lives as possible. His recommended response is what he calls “Deep Adaptation,” which requires going beyond “mere adjustments to our existing economic system and infrastructure, in order to prepare us for the breakdown or collapse of normal societal functions.”

Science, gut, or a bit of both?

According to Penn State professor Michael Mann, one of the world’s most renowned climate scientists, Bendell’s grasp of the climate science is deeply flawed. 

“To me, this paper is a perfect storm of misguidedness and wrongheadedness,” he told me.

Dr. Gavin Schmidt, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who is also world-famous, was even more scathing.

“There are both valid points and unjustified statements throughout,” he told me about Bendell’s paper. “Model projections have not underestimated temperature changes, not everything that is non-linear is therefore ‘out of control.’ Blaming ‘increased volatility from more energy in the atmosphere’ for anything is silly. The evidence for ‘inevitable societal collapse’ is very weak to non-existent.”

Read more:

The following is a video of Jem Bendell discussing his work, in which he quotes our favourite arctic ice expert Professor Wadhams:

Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann might have been scathing of Bendell’s claims, but from reading the Vice article, a lot of people spoke up on Bendell’s behalf.

I suspect it is slowly dawning on the likes of Mann and Schmidt they are no longer part of the climate movement mainstream. They simply aren’t alarmist enough.

The future of the climate movement belongs to people like Bendell, or perhaps even Schmidt’s predecessor at NASA GISS James Hansen, who once famously predicted that runaway climate change would cause the oceans to boil.

125 thoughts on “Vice Climate Alert: “The Collapse of Civilization May Have Already Begun”

  1. Civilization is indeed collapsing, but because of self inflicted wounds like demonizing energy production for political and other ignorant reasons. It’s a suicide. No civilization or culture ever survives prosperity.

      • No, modern civilizations are degrading because of left-wing governance. Examples, California, Chicago, New York (in a few more years after leftists completely erase the tremendous efforts of Mayors Guiliani and Bloomberg).

        What the AGW agenda does is provide the EXCUSE for the degradation. Just look at the recent pronouncements of the likes of Governors Newsome and Coumo for examples.

        None of the resulting problems are blamed on their pathetic governance; they’re blamed on climate change, i.e., those nasty fossil fuel companies and their supporters.

    • If “civilization is indeed collapsing” then you’re right about the mode of death (suicide) but I don’t think the manner of death can be reckoned without factoring in the deliberate sabotage of science itself.

      Tracing the chain of causes from proximate to ultimate, all the way back to the root of all evil, we get:

      CO2 retention
      due to autoerotic asphyxiation of modern industrial metabolism
      on a background of “demonizing energy production”
      secondary to the mass climate-crisis delusion
      resulting from the belief in, misconstrual of, and misplaced respect for, the consensus of scientists
      made possible by the popular disunderstanding of the how science works
      promulgated by Naomi Oreskes.

      If you prefer not to see civilization sabotaged, please complain to Harvard University, which pays Oreskes to sabotage it.

      Otherwise put on some popcorn and enjoy the show.

      • put on some popcorn and enjoy the show

        Good advice Brad.
        I’ve given up trying to “speak truth to power” with wild-eyed, spittle-flecked zealots who are totally invested in the agw mania.

        My new position is adoption of “absolute doomer”, where I get to trade apocalyptic scenarios with them to the extent that they stop and start to back away carefully, thinking – “this bloke is crazier than I am”

      • Complaining to Harvard University will be about as effectve as urniating in the Atlantic will be in accelerating sea level rise. The latter will be mor satisfying, however.

  2. When you see an article that begins with the sentence, “These are not the words of a tinfoil hat-donning survivalist” you know that these are the words of a tinfoil hat-donning survivalist.

  3. When you hear people like Bernie Sanders, Jem Bendell, Fauxcahontas and the rest of the Democrats talking, you begin to think that it could be true that there is a collapse of civilization beginning.

  4. The Extinction Rebellion should immediately prepare the Kool aid! For those non Americans in the group google Jonestown and Kool aid

  5. Thai shopkeepers desperately trying to adapt to sea level rise.

    I like the caption for the inset image.
    like rising sea levels will stop the “Shop Boat” from pulling ashore and selling their wares to gullible tourist crowds.
    Tourists will simply not know what buying food from a boat pulled up on the shore is anymore.
    The seas will be so high that they will be unable to reach the shoreline anymore…

    • Fortunately human evolution has already ensured those holidaymakers’ legs reach all the way from their pelvises to the ground. Biologists have a saying that a rising tide lifts all boats.

      • Oh I’ve got two legs from my hips to the ground, and
        When I move em the walk around, and
        When I lift em they climb the stairs, and
        When I shave em they ain’t got hairs!
        –M. Python

  6. May I have factual proof of raising seas please…

    Also, jem Bendell, a former consultant to the United Nations 😐 why doesn’t he work for the un any more, and how much grant money did he get for writing this report?

    • There are a dew places in the UK I would be happy to pay a few thousand for to help the “poor owners” who will have their homes washed away.

  7. Excuse me Dr. Hansen, but why don’t the clouds boil into outer space right now?

    Answer: They used to, but ever since Isaac Newton invented gravity, the system has been messed up. Stupid humans, it’s all their fault…

    • Calvin Rubisco: Go ahead and call me sarcastic, but… I love “real science”. Thank you for teaching me the “real truthththth”.

    • Then there is this from Hawking (looks like he caught a psychotic case of TDS):
      “We are close to the tipping point, where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees [Celsius], and raining sulfuric acid,” he told BBC News, referring to the president’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate deal.

    • ….. or alternatively, the good Dr. (and I use both those terms loosely), came up with the most wrong calculation ever in the history of science. I’ve thought about this a bit (not enough to get in the way of having a life), but I cannot think how it would be possible to be more wrong than calculating that “back radiation” from carbon dioxide could boil the oceans. I don’t think the universe is big enough to have a more moronically wrong calculation, but I’ll be open-minded if someone can identify a bigger, weapons-grade idiot.

  8. I like to replace the worlds “Climate Change” with “Weather”, whenever a person is speaking about the climate emergency.

    “Weather will disrupt your way of life in your lifetimes,” he told the audience at a climate change conference organized by the European Commission.

    It makes them sound crazy and paranoid.

  9. We are not at the mercy of so called climate change. The economy will adjust to rising temperatures. That is if in fact they do rise. Humans have faced many threats throughout their existence, climate change is no big deal. Many underestimate the power of human ingenuity and the powers of the free market. All these schemes to switch to renewable energy have massive trillion dollar costs that far exceed any cost that comes from rising temperature.

  10. It takes that many years of study, practice, hard work to reach a precarious stability and make ends meet.

    On the other hand, any con artist and climate charlatan gets there by just blowing hot air.

    Makes me wonder how long can we afford to feed these parasites before collapsing our own hard earned food chain. Wake-up folks !

    • America in particular has a huge problem with corporations and universities free loading off the government. No longer do you have to actually innovate or provide a service in the free market to make money. All you need is the right connections in Washington DC and the money will pour in. It is sickening.

      • Oh, yes… Sadly not only universities.
        Not far from home, a bunch of bearded garage hippies desperately attempt to stuff 800kg of batteries & electric motor in a written-off Cessna 172S originally designed & certified for a MTOW of about 1’200kg.
        Close to 2 years in the process they still get funds despite the futility of their attempts.

    • …. studying Earth’s recent temperature using “the most sophisticated methods known”, but yet still managing to miss the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age, and then claiming to this day that he is not actually a scientific moron but is in fact a Nobel Prize-winning hero, except without a Nobel Prize.

      Could someone tap him on the shoulder and hand him a pistol and one bullet.

  11. “These are not the words of a tinfoil hat-donning survivalist. This is from a paper delivered by a senior sustainability academic at a leading business school to the European Commission in Brussels, earlier this year.”

    Aren’t these two the same thing?

  12. “More than 600,000 people have downloaded Bendell’s paper, called Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating our Climate Tragedy, published by the University of Cumbria’s Institute of Leadership and Sustainability (IFALS). And many of the key organizers behind the Extinction Rebellion (XR) campaign joined the protest movement after reading it.”

    “When I pressed Bendell on this issue, he pushed back against the idea that he was putting forward a hard, scientifically-valid forecast, describing it as a “guess”:… ”

    This paper was previously rejected, which could be a plus or minus or in between, but may be inciting what it concluded. The kindest thing we might say, with models all the way down, is that they look too much like turtles? Some post-graduate (non-simulation) education is in order, including not insulting turtles.

  13. Someone should remind them about the origins of 7th Day Adventists.
    Preparing for the end was their beginning, well over 100 years ago.
    In spite of prepping for the end of time, they’ve managed to be better contributors to society than many of these activists.

  14. Maybe the early evangelists of the agw conjecture (i.e. the climategate cadre) have reached the much vaunted “tipping point” where they now have to walk back their earlier alarmism, because their agw disciples are now turning the dial up to 11.

  15. I’m so sorry Thai shop boat owners are struggling to survive rising seas but in the spirit of all pulling together I am happy to volunteer to be sent to live near a Thai beach and rush down to the shore whenever a boat makes it to the beach to help things along with a purchase or two.

    Come to think of it I would also escape the deluded stupidity of shutting down power and gas in the U.K. which will end badly.

    I do notice that locally our bit of U.K. shoreline, despite being in a region which is very slowly subsiding, still shows no sign of the alleged acceleration of sea levels after 30 years.

  16. Wow.

    A guess from a “Senior sustainability academic ” – a Leading business school – to the European Commission.


    And a “similar message to a UN Conference”.


    And it turns out we’re considering Academia as represented by the “University of Cumbria”, no less.

    Well, that settles it. Gotta be right.


    If these were the words of wisdom from the lips of some moth-eaten tramp on a soap box at Hyde Park Corner, after consuming ten pints of cheap cider, it might have been a trifle more convincing.

    How much longer will my hard earned taxes be used to fund weapons-grade plonkers like this Bendall?

  17. Western civilization died in WW1. Everything since then is just the chicken with its head recently removed.

      • No. WWI was the death of the West, because it created a large intellectual caste who had disdain for Western culture and wanted peace at any cost. Everything since has followed from that.

        • I read a very convincing paper arguing that the instigators of WW1 were fighting against the rise of liberalism (in its original sense) and that it spelt the end of libertarianism. Our grandfathers thought they were fighting for freedom, but the opposite was true. The site it was on disappeared.

    • Since the 1WW? I think this started with the French Revolution and the rise of Marxism well before what u suggest.

  18. Bendell has a point. Climate change has caused a percentage of the population to go moderately mad. Making matters worse is that the craziest among them have gotten themselves into positions of powers where they are now a direct threat to stability in the US as well as in other nations because of their mad agenda.

  19. One need not look only to climate, and changes thereto, to reasonably conclude that “the collapse of civilization may have already begun.”

    And if that indeed be the case, our “leaders” and “educators” have failed us miserably, but what the heck . . . laissez les bons temps rouler!

  20. These ARE the words of a tinfoil hat-donning senior sustainability academic…The survivalists would be greatly insulted by the comparison- at least their ideas have some basis in reality and are not aimed at defrauding the gullible general public.

  21. The conclusion from Bendells talk is that it is too late to do anything to stop climate change /global warming from happening. The clear implication is that it is therefore crucial that we don’t waste our resources trying to stop it but use those resources if and when it happens to adapt. It may mean that we have to give every poor person a free air conditioner and bring back coal fired electricity so those poor people ( and everyone else) can actually afford to run those air conditioners. Decommission all renewables as we just cannot waste any more money trying to stop global warming. Futility is a great demotivater in trying to stop something happening and tends to force people to consider what to do if it does happen. So doing nothing is the best action to take now followed by doing nothing when in the future nothing happens. Thank God for everyone that we’ve reached the point of no return so we can get on with living.

  22. As I watched this stupid video it occurred to me that Bendell could have delivered his speech any time over the last 30 or so years. The message never changes. The Arctic is going to melt. The seas are going to rise and drown costal cities. Our way of life is going to be forever altered. And it’s going to happen REAL SOON if we don’t tame the demon CO2! It’s already too late!

    Well, I’ll just stay in my living room this evening, heated by my natural gas stove. Outside it’s rainy with the temps in the low forties. Even my dog doesn’t want to stay outside more than five minutes. At least I’m not dealing with snow outside right now.

    I wonder how long it will take this genius to understand that he is correct about crop failures? Except it’s failure caused by cold and snow. As the GSM deepens and winter comes earlier and stays later maybe he’ll realize he was asking people to prepare for the wrong climate change event.

  23. I am more worried about an impending cooling from an extended lack of solar activity (see sunspot minimum) than I am of rising waters from melting glaciers. Crop failures are more likely during extended cold periods.

  24. Are the Chinese mad to build artificial islands in the South China Sea? Maybe the idiots in the liberal democracies are missing something?

  25. ‘Devastating consequences, like “the cascading effects of widespread and repeated harvest failures” are now unavoidable, Bendell’s paper says.’

    The only thing that would make widespread harvest failures unavoidable is if we listen to people like Bendell and ban the use of fossil fuels. That would bring down civilization faster than anything climate change is likely to throw at us. And if we allow them to destroy civilization with the extreme measures outlined in the Green New Deal, there won’t be any question about whether the collapse of civilization “may” have already begun. It will be blindingly obvious.

    When are we going to wake up and realize that the “cure” for climate change is far worse than the disease? Adapting to climate change, when and if it occurs, is the only course of action that makes any sense.

    • A few years ago Wadhams defined “ice free” as any thing under 1 million sq. km.
      Expect him, or some other activist, to change the goal post to 2 million, then 3, and so on.
      Before 2030 rolls around there will be an “ice free” ocean up there from March to September.

  26. “…a senior sustainability academic…” That’s code for alarmist and it doesn’t have to be about AGW. Has anyone ever heard anyone spouting sustainability rhetoric that said something was OK? We’re living longer and at a better standard than ever. Doesn’t that say human life is becoming more sustainable?

  27. University of Cumbria
    country rank (UK) 123
    world rank 3121

    Not exactly a leading academic institution

    • David Chappell
      I must confess that I was blissfully unaware that there was an “University of Cumbria”.

      No doubt it is another one of the turgid and disappointing jumped up Polytechnics that Tony Blair initiated, in a bid to have 50% of Britain’s kids go to “university”.

      Of course, as many kids can’t, or don’t want to go to university, it is obviously the case that a significant cohort of students are not only childish and self entitled, but have lower than average intelligence.

      This is exacerbated by the insistence on politically correct’diversity’.

      And “Professor” Bendall in his “Sustainability” post is a perfect example of the sludge that is produced.

  28. Yeah, Gavin was so scathing…”There are both valid points and unjustified statements throughout…”

    And…”Model projections have not underestimated temperature changes…” yeah but Gavin won’t admit they’ve overestimated them, either. So they must be juuuuuuust right.

  29. For a discourse on a real, documented sea-level rise, “Noah’s Flood” by William Ryan and Walter Pitman is definitely worth reading.

  30. Wow.
    You know you have definitely left the reservation when Mickey Dripp AND Schmidt-for-brains want to distance themselves from you.

  31. “These are not the words of a tinfoil hat-donning survivalist. This is from a paper delivered by a senior sustainability academic at a leading business school to the European Commission in Brussels, earlier this year.”

    Pardon me, but a sustain ability academic and a tinfoil-hat donning anything is a distinction without a difference.

  32. The oceans boil???

    As Shakespeare wrote:

    “Double, double, toil and trouble;
    Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
    Fillet of a fenny snake,
    In the cauldron boil and bake;
    Eye of newt and toe of frog,
    Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
    Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
    Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing,
    For a charm of powerful trouble,
    Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.”

    The environmental witches have really done did it this time.

  33. With trillions of clean, renewable, socially-inoculated greenbacks at stake, and a large green demographic to sustain its viability, Green is not so green to abort the progress of this sociopolitical myth.

  34. Of course Mann and Schmidt are not going to agree with this bellend (thanks Brad Keyes for reminding me of one of my favorite terms from my youth). If he did s right then they will be out of a job..

    I’d like him to be right though so maybe everyone can STFU and let us get on with our lives in peace..

  35. Well first this is another prophesy from the Cult of Calamitous Climate so is 99.99% guaranteed to be wrong,as they currently score a perfect rate of failure.
    But religions have swept civilization away before.
    And we are awash in extremely gullible scientifically illiterate citizens.
    We have protected the useless and clueless from their own actions for decades,why are we surprised that there are so many of them?
    And in the era of “everyone gets a prize” delusions of adequacy are the order of the day.
    Cheap reliable energy is the life blood of our luxurious live.
    When 60% of voters, vote to shut it off,leave in the ground,what can you say?
    Suicide by choice?

  36. Civilization collapsed a long time ago, and we’re all dead…as is the entire planet Earth. Haven’t you people been paying attention?

  37. Professor Bugs Bunny, who is also world famous, was quoted as saying “aaawwwww, what’s up doc?”

  38. “Jem Bellend … Professor … at the University of Cucumbria … delivered a paper in May 2019 explaining how people … might “adapt to climate-induced disruption.””

    Planting cucumbers ?

  39. How did any Thai shop boat owners, if they existed, cope with the end of the Ice Age 20,000ish years ago facing a 130 metre rise? No Swedish school girls to the rescue as Sweden was under kilometres of ice.
    What did Prehistoric Mann say about that?

  40. I’ll take the Warren Buffet approach. As more people move more toward the poles to beat the heat. I’ll buy up land that wouldn’t be cover by the next ice age.

  41. I very much doubt that either Czar Putin or Emperor Xi pay any attention to these idiots. They just sit back and enjoy the show.

  42. I had to take a break after listening to Jem Bendell stating than the SLR is delayed because the heat is absorbed in the oceans.
    In 6th grade you learn about thermal expansion and the there is no delay in thermal expansion.
    But, maybe Jem Bendell skipped 6th grade.
    After another cup of Irish coffee, I will listen to the rest of this low-pan video.

  43. sorry 5mins had me hitting stop.
    and he earns a living peddling this crap?
    and people pay to hear him?
    sad bloody world innit?

  44. Quoting as reliable the views of Peter Wadhams is what did it for me. Peter Wadhams a man who is so laughably wrong in every prediction he has ever made and then tops it up with a ludicrous conspiracy theory claiming climate scientist friends of his have been murdered by “big oil interests”, one of whom was struck by lightning (presumably the lightning was fossil fuel powered)!

  45. HEY GRETA!

    John Podesta
    Nov 15
    Just about to take off on a long transatlantic flight in a middle coach seat. I think I will just sit back, relax, and enjoy it:

  46. The sale of bikinis needs to be restricted worldwide, like the sale of handguns in Canada.
    You can’t unsee that.

  47. i have never heard such a load of desperation and I would like to personally say that I refuse to even give them a second thought as to the reality of this hoax. Let’s just turn the world upside down shake it out and start all over again. Never let children listen to this pissy jazz of lies. This person should be banned, he is one of many loons who make up this socialist play for world dominance . I think that cover it. Have a great day and stay warm

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