Guesstimating Our Own Götterdämmerung
We humans are our own Gods, and advancing climate change is the prelude to our own Götterdämmerung. Here then is my speculation (wild ass guess) of a schedule for the possible catastrophic events leading to human (and other) extinction by the year listed, or of those events greatly accelerating its arrival after the years listed.
A nuclear war with Russia within the next 100 years, if such were to occur, could cause our (and others) extinction.
With no prior nuclear war having occurred and no new efforts to curtail CO2 emissions since 2015, the prominent “extinction force” would be runaway global-warming/climate-change leading to a “Hothouse Earth” without glaciers and permanent ice caps:
– which in turn would lead to vast continuous wildfires worldwide;
– shrinking agriculture (from droughts and fires);
– shrinking fishing/aquaculture (from ocean warming, acidification and plastic pollution);
– frequent category 5 hurricanes and typhoons in the tropics
— causing extreme wind and mudslide damage;
– massive eco-collapse refugee streams from tropical latitudes to the north and south;
– continuing anti-immigrant wars by First World Nations against 2nd and 3rd World populations
— (as during the Roman Empire against German tribes),
— on land (e.g., Africa, Mexico), like Israeli military strikes against Gaza;
— on sea (e.g., Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea), the outright sinking of refugee ships;
– the expansion to high latitudes of old and new disease pathogens and parasites,
– American oil war aggression (Venezuela, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia) to secure hydrocarbon fuel for its vastly expanded military at war continuously worldwide (to repel immigrants/invaders, and get the oil ahead of its other First World rivals doing the same);
– massive die-offs of 3rd World populations, because of inhabitability, starvation, disease and war;
– a “Fortress America,” “Fortress Europe,” etc. mentality, leading to abandoned 3rd World “outlands.”
There would still be humans left, but in a situation of “negative” feedback [where I mean “positive feedback” enhancing effects of negative desirability] as regards increasingly chaotic and deteriorating organized human life/society.
A nuclear war occurring late within this period would likely ensure complete extinction.
Humans surviving after 2300 would probably be “survivors” of the above, and looking forward to a steady slide into “caveman existence,” which is to say living off-the-land and entirely at the whim of environmental conditions, resource availability and climatic forces.
Also, the survivalist individuals in caveman existence would likely have to contend with the universal hostility from other members of their own species.
One possible climatic force could be a new Ice Age initiated by the stopping of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current, which would be caused by the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet, in turn further chilling and freshening – making less salty – the North Atlantic, which effect would stop the AMOC. (I’ve described this physics elsewhere.)
The stopping of the AMOC prior to 2300 would accelerate the schedule of catastrophes and the degradation of habitability for humans (and others).
Please note that humanity is not compelled to follow this schedule. It merely represents my estimate of the logical consequences of the collective attitudes we now hold, and the political, economic, militaristic, sociological, consumption and environmental choices we have made as of today.
As the Old Gypsy Fortune Teller said: “The stars foretell, they do not compel.”
ykes…i thought i was “pessimistic”. how this all unfolds …as you correctly end … is uncertain. dire consequences could open up possibilities. the collapse of weaker slave states might provide an opening for subsistence cultures…small scale agriculture, husbandry, perhaps nomadic. there is no guarantee that superior firepower will win the day for the nuclear armed slave states. prior to modern period…? not sure where to date this… slave states, empires were limited. folks seeking to escape enslavement, wars, drought, famine, pestilence could run out from under the slave states of all continents. even in the amerikkkas, slaves and indigenous people c’d hide in swamp or mountain areas. this idea forms central to James C. Scott’s “Seeing Like a State”. given the destructiveness of the modern slave states, few w’d …probably… survive.
From: Mariah In Maine
Date: 7 August 2018
Re: Guesstimating Our Own Götterdämmerung
Yes, and barring nuclear conflagration, I’m guessing that negative feedback loops of the warming climate will cause many of these effects much sooner — likely in this century. So sad to be observing (and being part of) this destruction.
Breathing slowly and deeply with gratitude for what has been and what is now.
“I want to stand by the river in my finest dress. I want to sing, strong and hard, and stomp my feet with a hundred others so that the waters hum with our happiness. I want to dance for the renewal of the world.” — Robin Wall Kimmerer
Ahhh, I meant “positive” feedback loops.
I did the same thing. Anyway, I understood what you meant. And, I appreciate your response to the article.
From: R. Gaylor
Date: 7 August 2018
Re: Too Optimistic?
OK, that is your theory …
It is, if anything, WAY TOO OPTIMISTIC! I’m not yelling … just used caps for emphasis … do not have italics available. 🙂
Two fundamental issues with the time scale: first, that the speed at which global warming is coming at us is accelerating … pedal to the metal … and the tipping point, though we were very much unaware, probably occurred as early as 1970 (if not before) … but definitely by 2000! Secondly, war may occur as a distraction when the climate situation finally convinces the current GW deniers … not that war doesn’t already exist … the latest flare-up of notice was the (more than likely/probable) CIA, et al effort to take out Maduro.
I understand both wanting to be optimistic, and the need for caution in estimating. Plus, I really do agree with you about what is heading toward us. Now in my 70’s, I suspect that based on family genetics I may live to my 90’s … and alas, may see what will be THE END. I also suspect that any survivors will either be unable to breed, or may produce something very unlike your own children?
Yeah, I am not an optimist … mostly a cynic. (Cynicism: the thick hard shell an idealist grows to protect the idealism from reality.)
Is looking to political leaders for meaningful change a hopeless endeavor?
In the United States there is no respect whatsoever for facts … the American people are digging their own graves as well as the grave of humanity.
Humans Are About to Unleash an Irreversible “Hothouse Earth”, Scientists Warn
The point of no return.
7 AUG 2018
See this blog’s earlier post:
“How Dangerous Is Climate Change? How Much Time Have We Got?”
5 December 2015
I think it anticipates much of what is said in the sciencealert.com article, and is not in the least “too optimistic.”
There is now no non-violent way to reverse climate change. Even with unrestrained action, it is probable that there is now no physical possibility of reversing climate change. The time for action was 1973-1979, the time of the two oil embargoes (the post 1973 Israeli War – against Egypt and Syria – Arab Oil Embargo of 1973; and the related-to-the-Iranian-Revolution vengeful price gouge oil embargo of 1979). This was the period of the Watergate-climax finale of the Nixon Administration, the Ford Administration, and the Carter “energy crisis” Administration. Politically, the election of Ronald Reagan killed the possibility of U.S. climate change action.
Hothouse Earth Is Merely the Beginning of the End
Not the end of the planet, but maybe the end of its human inhabitants
by: Jeff Goodell
9 August 2018
The Rolling Stone article was sobering and unfortunately, realistic. Wow — one more confirmation.
Don’t lose heart. The only thing we really ever have any control over is how we comport ourselves. We can just try being the best versions of ourselves we can manage, under the circumstances, and both help and enjoy those near and dear to us. Also, as long as we are individually alive, we might as well enjoy it. I’m reading, practicing my Chopin (I’m not very good), taking photographs, and feeding my bratty hummingbirds. Life is good. Also, I enjoy friends, like you.