Once more: McPherson’s methane catastrophe

For better or worse, I want to briefly  return to Guy McPherson’s claims of human extinction within 20 years via a climate catastrophe. Guy is aware of my criticism of his argument, but has declined to consider the problems I pointed out (instead choosing to accuse me of being paid to disagree with him, which would be news to my bank account). Because I’ve seen him reduce his climate claims to the same two keys a few times now, I thought it might actually be worth singling them out for detailed inspection (even though both are mentioned in my previous post, which was a little overwhelming). I’ll try to keep this simple, but the desire to be thorough can make that a challenge…

(Runaway) Train to Siberia

The first claim is that there is an incontrovertible, rapidly accelerating release of methane from the Arctic. (Example here.) McPherson ascribes this to a destabilization of methane hydrates (also called clathrates) in the sediment beneath the Arctic seafloor. Ostensibly, this is based on the research of a team including Natalia Shakhova that has been studying methane release along the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, but McPherson’s claims about that research come from posts on the “Arctic News” blog. This blog, run by a retired petroleum geologist named Malcolm Light and someone writing under the name of Sam Carana, posts a great deal of strange and unscientific claims about earthquakes and methane in the Arctic.

Specifically, McPherson points to a post there interpreting the Shakhova et al. research as indicating an exponentially-growing release of methane from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. Apart from the fact that two data points can’t  tell you there’s an exponential trend (rather than, say, a straight line), this also makes the mistake of assuming that there are actually two data points! What really happened is that the Shakhova group tried to estimate the total annual emission of methane from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf after observing some plumes above focused release points. (It’s not yet known if these releases have increased recently— the submerged permafrost has been thawing for thousands of years, since sea level rose coming out of the last ice age.) A couple years later, they published a new estimate based on expanded observations. This was a revision of their earlier estimate, now that they had more data in hand. Sam Carana treated these two estimates as independent numbers representing a time series— asserting that the emission of methane had more than doubled in just a few years. From there, Carana extrapolated to predict that emissions would increase about 1,000 times over by 2040. As a result, he/she predicts a cartoonish increase in the global average temperature of 11 C by 2040. (Actual climate models, on the other hand, project a temperature increase of around 4 C by 2100 if we fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions— and that’s a deeply troubling scenario.)

Actual measurements of methane in the atmosphere don’t show any such sudden, accelerating spike, and climate scientists don’t believe anything like this “clathrate gun” scenario is underway. The Arctic News Blog obsesses over some satellite measurements of methane in the Arctic, believing that they support the claim of runaway methane emissions. (A researcher who worked on validating that satellite dataset confirmed to me that the raw data the blog is using hasn’t been through any quality control algorithm, and that the instrument hasn’t been validated for some of the kinds of conclusions Carana wants to draw.) By showing that some recent measurements of methane in the Arctic are above the global trend, they believe they are demonstrating a sudden increase. This is misguided, because the Arctic is always above the global average. That’s why we calculate averages. If you measure CO2 in the smokestack of a coal-burning power plant and find that it’s much higher than the global average from last week, you can’t conclude that is CO2 suddenly spiking globally. That sort of apples-to-plastic-oranges comparison is meaningless.

So when McPherson claims that “the clathrate gun has fired“, he does so without any evidence whatsoever. Rather, he relies on elementary mistakes made by a blogger who doesn’t appear to understand the science. Not data. And not published research. Not only do climate scientists not think that such a thing is underway, most don’t think it’s likely to be a worry this century.

Do the D-O

The second claim is that Paul Beckwith, a PhD student at the University of Ottawa, predicts 5 – 16 C of global warming within a decade— or, in a softer version, that Beckwith believes such a warming event could occur within a decade in the near future. McPherson continues to make this claim, despite the fact that it has repeatedly been shown to him to be inaccurate. To be fair, Beckwith has stated the second version of this— that such a thing could happen. However, Beckwith also appears to be confused. (I tried several times to get this straightened out with Beckwith, but haven’t had any luck.)

Beckwith has been referring to climatic swings called Dansgaard-Oeschger events identified in Greenland ice cores that occurred every 1,000-2,000 years during glacial periods (“ice ages”). During the abrupt warming phase of these events, the cores record 5-17 C warming in as little as a decade. Following that jump, temperatures gradually dropped over the following centuries. Dramatic as they are, they are not swings in global average temperature, but swings in local Greenland temperature. (This is what ice cores record.) Dansgaard-Oeschger events are terrifically interesting, and there has been a lot of research focused on understanding them. While there are still competing hypotheses for their cause, it’s generally agreed that they involve changes in the large-scale circulation of the Atlantic Ocean— what’s called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). In the North Atlantic, cooled, salty surface water from the south mixes downward and returns southward at depth. This movement has a large impact on temperatures around the North Atlantic, and the downward mixing that drives the circulation is relatively sensitive, meaning that it can be slowed or jammed up. One way to do that is by increasing the input of freshwater from melting glacial ice, decreasing the density of surface water.

It’s possible that messing with the AMOC could shrink the extent of sea ice off Greenland’s eastern coast, which would help explain the rapid and large temperature shift recorded in the ice cores there. Regardless, the shift would have been largest in Greenland, smaller around the rest of the North Atlantic, with only knock-on effects (mainly in precipitation) beyond that. (That said, CO2 did slowly rise about 10 ppm before some D-O warming events and drop after— a product of ocean circulation change— and methane did increase a couple hundred ppb over a few centuries around them— probably due to wetlands.) The point is that they are not instances of global warming, they are regional events. Noting that Greenland rapidly warmed 5-16 C over one or a few decades in the past does not imply that the entire globe could do the same thing today. In order to change the average global temperature so significantly, you have to alter the planetary balance of incoming and outgoing energy in a big way. That didn’t happen during the Dansgaard-Oeschger warming events. Given that these events seem to entail changes to the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, they’re really not analogous to the greenhouse-gas-induced global warming we’re currently experiencing. They’re certainly not analogous to the methane hydrate catastrophe scenario that McPherson is preaching. Beyond that, there’s likely a good reason they only occurred during glacial periods and aren’t likely to occur now. The latest IPCC report, for example, judges a sudden shutdown of the AMOC this century “very unlikely“.


McPherson seems to think that these two points are his strongest, but there’s really nothing there to support his eschatalogical message of imminent human extinction— and those who aren’t sure what to make of his dire claims should take that into consideration. If we listen to climate scientists, instead, we find more than enough justification for immediate action on climate change without resorting to sci-fi-like exaggeration. And action would be a lot more productive than sitting around waiting for an extinction that isn’t going to show up on the date circled on your calendar.


753 thoughts on “Once more: McPherson’s methane catastrophe

  1. Dr. Box did amend that first virally quoted comment about methane, to point out it’s not his area of expertise and he was talking about surface emission from melting permafrost.


    “The methane is like a hangover that you can get over if you stop drinking,” said Raymond T. Pierrehumbert, a climate scientist at the University of Chicago and the author of a textbook on planetary atmospheres. “CO2 is more like lead poisoning — it sticks around, you don’t get rid of it, and it causes irreversible harm.”
    Despite that difference, billions of dollars are being spent to control methane leaks, and some people argue for spending more. Dr. Pierrehumbert is a leading voice challenging that approach. He argues, essentially, that the world has yet to mount a serious effort to control carbon dioxide, which will be vastly more harmful in the long run, and that methane and other short-term pollutants should largely be ignored until that bigger problem is fixed.
    He summarizes his position by adapting St. Augustine’s plea for chastity: “Lord, give me methane control, but not yet.”


    • What a bunch of crap ! The science is valid , the methane is only 1000 times stronger a green house gas! you really think you can tell me to believe you when there is so many persons publishing scientific results that should not be denied the utmost scientific evaluation by the human species ! Website like this contribute to the pollution of good scientific reasoning and cloud the public mind solely for the enjoyment of the publisher! At a time when humanity needs the best information possible and needs to clearly make a decision soon you attempt to derail that progress is suicidal! Good grief! I could add a thousand links to deflate your crap but whats the point you will delete all this anyways ! freak !


        • Well said, SJ…

          I mean methane being 1,000 times worse than CO2… Yee-ha! And “so many persons” when Charlie Brown doesn’t cite a single source. Don’t know what crack that poster has been smoking… I think he’s well suited to post at Nature Bats Last!



        • Thank you so much for this article. It’s put so many of my fears to rest over this supposed clathrate gun scenario. Much appreciated.


      • Okay dum-dum, methane is 25-86 times more powerful than co2. Also, Shakhova’s latest work shows ESAS emissions are more likely to be steady, and Ed Dlugogencky of NASA’s satellite arm says hydrates are not really contributing anything to the rise in atmospheric methane. Certainly worth keeping an eye on, but no need to panic

        Liked by 1 person

  2. sj wrote:
    But the temperature projections have really changed very little since the first reports—

    But our interpretation of what the numbers mean has changed. IPCC was wrong in forecasting the impacts of temperature rise.

    Hansen quotes IPCC reports from 2001 and 2007:

    Assessments of dangerous climate change have focused on estimating a permissible level of global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [1,19] summarized broadbased assessments with a ‘‘burning embers’’ diagram, which indicated that major problems begin with global warming of 2–3uC. A probabilistic analysis [20], still partly subjective, found a median ‘‘dangerous’’ threshold of 2.8uC, with 95% confidence that the dangerous threshold was 1.5uC or higher. These assessments were relative to global temperature in year 1990, so add 0.6uC to these values to obtain the warming relative to 1880–1920, which is the base period we use in this paper for preindustrial time. The conclusion that humanity could tolerate global warming up to a few degrees Celsius meshed with common sense. After all, people readily tolerate much larger regional and seasonal climate variations.

    Hansen continues:

    The fallacy of this logic emerged recently as numerous impacts of ongoing global warming emerged and as paleoclimate implications for climate sensitivity became apparent. Arctic sea ice end-of-summer minimum area, although variable from year to year, has plummeted by more than a third in the past few decades, at a faster rate than in most models [21], with the sea ice thickness declining a factor of four faster than simulated in IPCC climate models [22]. The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets began to shed ice at a rate, now several hundred cubic kilometers per year, which is continuing to accelerate [23–25]. Mountain glaciers are receding rapidly all around the world [26–29] with effects on seasonal freshwater availability of major rivers [30–32]. The hot dry subtropical climate belts have expanded as the troposphere has warmed and the stratosphere cooled [33–36], contributing to
    increases in the area and intensity of drought [37] and wildfires [38]. The abundance of reef-building corals is decreasing at a rate of 0.5–2%/year, at least in part due to ocean warming and possibly ocean acidification caused by rising dissolved CO2 [39– 41]. More than half of all wild species have shown significant changes in where they live and in the timing of major life events [42–44]. Mega-heatwaves, such as those in Europe in 2003, the Moscow area in 2010, Texas and Oklahoma in 2011, Greenland in 2012, and Australia in 2013 have become more widespread with the increase demonstrably linked to global warming [45–47]. These growing climate impacts, many more rapid than anticipated and occurring while global warming is less than 1uC, imply that society should reassess what constitutes a ‘‘dangerous level’’ of global warming.Earth’s paleoclimate history provides a
    valuable tool for that purpose.

    And continues this part of his argument with sections on:
    Paleoclimate Temperature
    Earth’s Energy Imbalance
    Observed Energy Imbalance
    Energy Imbalance Implications for CO2 Target

    This all happens within the section titled

    Global Temperature and Earth’s Energy Balance

    which directly follows the Introduction, so he is basically framing his contra-IPCC paper around climate impacts, the forecasting of which, IPCC got wrong in 2001 and 2007.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. @Bill Shockley

    We talked about carbon sinks and carbon “budgets” some days ago (see above in this thread). Some new research found this:

    22.5.2015 – Findings cast doubt on plant benefits from rising CO2

    ” Our long-term results of declining grassland production contrast with the results of some models and short-term experiments,” said Jack Brookshire, a professor at Montana State University who co-authored the report, published last week in the journal Nature Communications.

    The debate over the fertilizing effects of carbon dioxide and, to a lesser extent, warmer temperatures, has fed a theory by those arguing against emissions reductions that human-driven climate change could be beneficial.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported last year, for instance, that more carbon could increase yields of wheat, rice and soybeans by up to 15 percent.
    But those studies often fail to consider other impacts, such as rainfall or extreme weather.
    That was the case in the Montana meadow, Brookshire said in a statement.
    “Dryness over the last several decades is outpacing any potential growth stimulation from increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide and nitrogen deposition
    ,” he said…


    There have been much speculation that CO2 would enhance plant growth and therefore increase theoretical “carbon sink budget”. Another baloon burst.


    • Curious wrote:
      There have been much speculation that CO2 would enhance plant growth and therefore increase theoretical “carbon sink budget”. Another baloon burst.

      And yet the carbon sink is growing! But it is poorly understood. The carbon cycle is central to the science of climate change. James Hansen spends 40 hours per week just keeping up with the science. And there is no one in the world with a better overall grasp. So, when he publishes a review paper intended to be as pertinent as the IPCC reports, and its conclusions regarding climate impacts more accurate, I think the science he references within that paper is a good place to start your own research. That’s what I intend to do someday if I get the chance. Meanwhile, he doesn’t use permafrost feedbacks in his calculations for carbon budget leading up to +2C, using only “fast feedbacks” and the ECS number for sensitivity. But he reserves the caveat that carbon feedbacks—“nominally slow feedbacks”—could be a factor sub-2C and that emissions reduction rate targets may have to be adjusted mid-course if sensitivity proves more than expected. Current forcing is unprecedented in Earh history, so pretty much anything can happen.

      Post-2C, he says carbon feedbacks will be substantial, and together with albedo feedbacks and heating in the pipeline at that point, will likely create a point-of-no-return scenario, pushing Earth to temperatures 3C to 4C above pre-industrial. As you note, a disaster. He doesn’t offer a time-frame other than the lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere.

      Spent the whole day looking for my dog. Found her and then she disappeared again.


      • Happy to meet your dog! I love cats and dogs, real personalities like humans.

        My friend, what shall I say… we have to change first, then the weather, the climate, the whole living and breathing planet will change. We have to change first, yes, I asked your dog and she said: Wooff, I don’t plan for the future, I don’t calculate ECS, energy supply or CO2 and first of all: I give a shit for money, I own nothing and I am free.

        … maybe we should listen to her :-)


  4. @Balan

    Frankly speaking, it seems to me that Curious is rather Spurious… I wonder if you have caught the ‘ideological’ bug that Shockley has… Do you, too, presume Scott to be a “Koch-funded blogger” without any evidence whatsoever?

    In no way do I think that Scott is a “Koch-funded blogger”. Why should I ?! As I said already, I find SJ really friendly and keen, he never censored any of my postings, he always answeres very keen and gives a lot of usefull informations. I do really appreciate his style. He didn’t give me the slightes reason to think that he might be a denier or “Koch-funded” !!

    Please, Balan, what have I done wrong ?! If SJ or you really think that I am “spurious”, then say it, and I will leave this blog instanly and never come back.

    Kind regards,


    • Hi, Curious.

      Thanks for your direct feedback. I strongly recommend moving forward in the interests of learning and open-exchange that we do our best to stick with the science as we understand it and post on-topic. I guess a strong motivation for most who visit this blog is to explore the science behind Guy McPherson’s climate claims, as well as climate science in general. I’m hopeful that you will post on-topic and keep you comments directed largely on the science and issues in the thread.

      Thanks….and I appreciate your presence here reading your last response.


      • After all, I can’t find much science in McPhersons climate predictions. I think that western politics is sick in nearly every way and that shurely could doom western civilization in the long run. For example, we here in Germany, in whole Europe are confronted with the ugly facts every single day. Germany is the doggie for USA, German intelligence BND together with american intelligence NSA spies on german economy, german business, german companies, BND spies for USA against their very own population, their very own country in the name of “the fight against terrorism” (they spied Merkels Handy and many other politicians as well, so, maybe Merkel is a terrorist?), hahaha, and BND together with NSA spied against all other european countries and their economy(!) as well. Now Germany is confronted with lawsuits from Belgium, Austria, Netherland and who knows else… politics is a dirty business, no doubt.

        So, yes, western civilization could doom itself in the long or short run when you add climate change, growing environmental destruction, growing injustice, growing resource demand, growing worldwide debts (more than 100 Trillion US $!), the global economy is a farce, a fata morgana, a game of illusions, 1% gets richer every day while 99% gets poorer every day, simply put, the world just gets privatized, that’s called “globalisation”. Why have all climate conferences failed so far? Because the rich countries want to go on with BAU while demanding harsh restrictions of the poor countries. And that kind of politics will go on ad infinitum I am quite shure. How then could there be any significant, urgently needed change in worldwide climate politics? So, in total that really might one day sum up in a doomsday scenario for western civilization, couldn’t it? Global injustice in a globalized world alone could one day doom western civilization. Well, a brakedown of western, industrialized civilization would slow down climate change, wouldn’t it?

        But anyway, I can’t see much science in McPhersons climate predictions for now. And his business makes no sense to me, if we are all doomed in 20 years anyway. If I’d be shure that humankind would be doomed in 20 years, I ‘d give up any fight, any discussion and just go silent.


  5. @Balan

    I really don’t think that Koch is interested in funding such a small blog like this one of SJ in any way, the Kochs do have much more effective ways to do their job, I am shure. So, to accuse SJ to be Koch-funded makes absolutely no sense to me.


    • Curious wrote:
      I really don’t think that Koch is interested in funding such a small blog like this one of SJ in any way, the Kochs do have much more effective ways to do their job, I am shure. So, to accuse SJ to be Koch-funded makes absolutely no sense to me.

      I would like you to leave and not come back. Do I get a say in this? LOL

      Scott, I believe, once said he had “done some work” or “had worked for” a FF company. So, it would make sense that he could have the right type of connections to get funded. I don’t see any difference, for the purpose of this debate, whether it’s Koch or Shell or whoever.

      And btw, Scott thinks the Koch’s are OK guys, if you discount the denialist funding part.


      • Scott, I believe, once said he had “done some work” or “had worked for” a FF company.

        False. I said my groundwater research in grad school got a small geology department grant to cover analyzing several water samples for human viruses (as a septic tracer) that I believe came from oil company money. But thanks.

        And if you think I argued “the Kochs are OK guys” in that post… well, your dodgy reading comprehension and inability to handle nuance is on display again.


      • Thanks for clarifying.

        Your old post:

        If I’m getting paid by them, my pitiful bank account hasn’t heard about it. So no.

        But if you want to get really rigorous, I received a very small grant through my (geology) department to support my master’s research (because I was way short of funding) from some oil company- I can’t remember which. That helped pay for some lab analyses of viruses in my groundwater samples. And I’m sure I ate food at department functions that had been paid for by BP on a few occasions. I don’t think that’s what you’re after, though.

        OK, so there’s no enhanced opportunity/access for someone who wants to do “one for the team”?

        Cue the eyeroll…


      • @Bill Schockley

        Think whatever you like to think, as I am doing the same. Scott does not deny climate change in any way nor does he deny the urgency of climate change. That’s what counts for me. So, I still don’t think he is Koch-funded, but if so, I don’t care :-)


        Just go on with you honest work, I appreciate it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • sj wrote:
        And if you think I argued “the Kochs are OK guys” in that post… well, your dodgy reading comprehension and inability to handle nuance is on display again.

        OK, how about if I change my paraphrase that to:

        Koch’s are OK guys, if you discount the denialist funding part.

        Would that be more acceptable?

        Oh, wait—that’s what I actually wrote!

        Well, so much for recall, let alone comprehension and nuance…


      • Curious wrote:

        Think whatever you like to think, as I am doing the same. Scott does not deny climate change in any way nor does he deny the urgency of climate change. That’s what counts for me. So, I still don’t think he is Koch-funded, but if so, I don’t care :-)

        Obama does not deny climate change not its urgency. Yet, he’s approved drilling in the arctic. Why? Lip service and follow through with actions are not the same thing.

        The enemy I see
        Wears a cloak of decency

        Slow Train
        Bob Dylan


        • @Bill Shockley

          Obama does not deny climate change not its urgency. Yet, he’s approved drilling in the arctic.

          Yes, Obama did that and I don’t like it. The problem for Obama is, that he is in a very uncomfortable situation, the tea party attacks just everything he does, I’d never like to have his chair, never. Would you like to be president of the USA?

          Well, it was Obama who approved drilling in the arctic, not Scott, right?


        • Curious wrote:

          The problem for Obama is, that he is in a very uncomfortable situation, the tea party attacks just everything he does

          He’s supposed to do his job. Do you think he knew that going in?

          Curious wrote:
          I’d never like to have his chair, never. Would you like to be president of the USA?

          I didn’t run for office. I’m voting for Ventura/Hansen/Chomsky.


        • Curious wrote:
          Well, it was Obama who approved drilling in the arctic, not Scott, right?

          Obama speaks one way, acts another. That was the point.


          • Drop it, Bill, please. You are starting to look really foolish (at least to me). Sorry, I don’t have a citation for how you look to me, so if you ask for some validation, you’re whistling in the wind.


        • @Bill Shockley

          Obama speaks one way, acts another. That was the point

          YES, I agree. But that’s just the f…. job of politics, it is the same in “good” old Germany. Merkel isn’t any better, maybe even worse, she spies whole Europe together with BND and NSA, muhahaha, crazy, sick, isn’t it? A politician who does not double speak looses his job istantly (some even lost their lives). Politicians do always pay a high price, they mostly loose their integritiy on the way. That’s why I’d never like to be a politician.


        • Curious,
          you seem to have lost the thread of the argument. My point is that Scott speaks as though he believes climate change is an emergency, but but his actions speak otherwise.

          I don’t expect you or anyone to accept my premise, so I’m supporting it with examples, evidence and logic. Don’t tell me to stop it. Show me the flaws in my argument. If they are that obvious, it should be easy.


          you don’t need a citation, because I trust you, buddy!


    • And then there’s Chomsky’s Propaganda Model, which describes to a “T” Scott’s stated intention and actual execution in creating and writing his blog as the type of activity one particular organization targets for funding:

      “… An example is the US-based Global Climate Coalition (GCC) – comprising fossil fuel and automobile companies such as Exxon, Texaco and Ford. The GCC was started up by Burson-Marsteller, one of the world’s largest public relations companies, to attack the credibility of climate scientists and ‘scare stories’ about global warming.”

      – from Wikipedia entry for Propaganda Model, Flak filter.

      Hmmm. Seems vaguely relevant.


    • @Curious,

      I agree with you. I don’t care either. But I said something and now I am asked to support my claim, and that’s what I am doing. How can I expect Scott to support his claims if I refuse to do so? As Chomsky says, morality begins @Home.


      • @Bill Shockley

        Man, com on, you talked about the old guy who denied climate change and that you parted laughing, so why do you attack Scott now, who isn’t even a denier in away way? Calm down, old struggler, let’s work together 8-)


      • Curious wrote:
        Man, com on, you talked about the old guy who denied climate change and that you parted laughing, so why do you attack Scott now, who isn’t even a denier in away way? Calm down, old struggler, let’s work together 8-)

        Do I appear excited?

        I’m supporting my claim till Balan is satisfied.


      • PS @Curious,

        I also expect Balan to chime in here to show how my current posts are BS, as that is part of his claim. He’s up to here with it!


  6. After all, if McPhersons predictions are right and we are really doomed in 15 – 20 years, why all that rumbling and rolling? Why all that fighting and accusing against SJ and others? If I’d be absolutely shure that we are doomed in 20 years, I wouldn’t see any need to fight anymore, I’d spend my time otherwise for shure. I am beginning to get the impression that McPherson and his followers think, that they are much more important than they actually are. If a real, honest doctor diagnosed that I have cancer and will die in 1 – 2 years, he’d tell me the truth and that’s it, he wouldn’t fight with me about his prediction, If I’d answer that he is just a doomsayer, he’d maybe laugh at me, but never start a fight about his prediction.

    There is absolutely no reason to fight with any person who is already doomed anyway. But McPherson and his followers are fighting against others, they put so much strain into their message, so much fighting. I have been on the NBL blog for 2 – 3 days and then I really had enough, more than that, I was really scared of the tone at that blog, there is so much hate going on there, I can’t stand that tone on the NBL blog no way. There are even people on that blog WHO WISH THAT ALL HUMANKIND WILL DIE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, THEY JUST HATE HUMANITY, they say that every single human deserves to be doomed ! And there is also that extremly ugly rumour about “Zionism”, about “the” Isreals “ruling” the world also and I am really upset as a German about that. If I were McPherson I’d never allow such ugly hate- comments, never ever. There is no excuse for such hate, no excuse. They are CELEBRATING the doom of humanity. Why all that ugly fighting, if we are all doomed anyway? Makes absolutely no sense to me, no sense.


  7. And why does McPherson accuse SJ for earning money with his blog? I can’t see any “donations tab” at SJs blog, but there is a “donations tab” on every single blog post of McPherson^^ Donations for what? Donations for a 100% doomed species?! Makes no sense.


  8. I don’t get why everyone is focusing on the remuneration issue. Isn’t the important part of my claim that sj behaves like a denier? What does it matter if sj gets paid? Does it increase the damage he does to the world of information and understanding? I merely said it is likely he gets paid. If he is going to act like a denier, why not get paid for it? Everyone else does… I think you folks are simply attacking the weak part of my claim, which happens to also be the part I acknowledged is unprovable, and also happens to be the inconsequential part, and also the part that doesn’t make immediate sense until proof of denier behavior has been shown.

    Inhofe looks like a money-taker standing before Congress with a snowball in his hand, but looks respectable like any other Senator standing in front of a flag taking the oath of office.


    • @Bill Shockley

      What does it matter if sj gets paid? Does it increase the damage he does to the world of information and understanding?

      Why are you here if you don’t trust SJ? Why are you here if you think he does damage to the world of information? Why does SJ publish every bit of your posts of accusations if his business is to “damage the world of information” ?

      Why are McPherson and his followers preaching to a species that is 100% doomed, as they claim ?!

      We are running in circles for a doomed species, muhahaha, see? It is just a waste of time to discuss a 100% doomed species. Period.


    • Curious wrote:
      Why are you here if you don’t trust SJ? Why are you here if you think he does damage to the world of information? Why does SJ publish every bit of your posts of accusations if his business is to “damage the world of information” ?

      I like this comment section because I am able to address some themes that are dear to me. Conflict can create a productive environment just as congeniality can. It depends what suits you. I enjoy the challenge of debate and opposition (up to a point).

      Curious wrote:
      Why does SJ publish every bit of your posts of accusations if his business is to “damage the world of information” ?

      Cloak of decency? Why don’t you ask him?

      Curious wrote:
      Why are McPherson and his followers preaching to a species that is 100% doomed, as they claim ?!

      People like to express their beliefs. Also, they maybe think they are being helpful. At least, that is GM’s stated claim.

      Curious wrote:
      We are running in circles for a doomed species, muhahaha, see? It is just a waste of time to discuss a 100% doomed species. Period.

      Unless it interest you…


      • I like this comment section because I am able to address some themes that are dear to me. Conflict can create a productive environment just as congeniality can. It depends what suits you. I enjoy the challenge of debate and opposition (up to a point).

        I second that.


  9. Now, I am devasted about what I found a minute ago at McPhersons blog, totally devasted and shocked, really shocked and outraged. McPherson accepts Holocaust deniers and their evil propaganda on his blog, here the “comment” of a guy called “Gerald Spezio”:

    … Lawyerfish Obama, Israel’s retained lawyer, tells us that we must stand with murdering Zionist Israel for more murder of innocents.
    Most of the world believes the carefully crafted HOLOHOAX that 6 million Jewish people were gassed & burned by evil Nazis.
    We are told that the evil Nazis gassed 6 million innocent Jews because the Nazis were consumed by antisemitism.
    This all causative German antisemitism was generated SPONTANEOUSLY, as in the spontaneous generation of maggots.
    Absolutely NO scientific material or physical evidence of any kind exists to substantiate such massive physical events.
    The sacred Auschwitz gas chambers & ovens are “recreations” because the retreating German supposedly successfully destroyed every shred of the foul gas chambers that supposedly exterminated millions.
    Try to find it!
    Not even a piece of concrete remained – AN IMPOSSIBLE ASSERTION.
    Every trace of the dead bodies were supposedly & successfully completely burned & turned to ashes without any graves or bones to prove the massive crime.
    NOT ONLY is there no scientific or forensic examination of the Holohoax’s critical gas chamber & ovens horror – it has become a crime punishable with jail in France, Germany, & five other countries, including Canada, to even “DOUBT” that anybody was ever gassed or burned in these mythical gas chambers.
    Spielberg propaganda movies ARE THE EVIDENCE – distorting history & the brains of billions of innocent people worldwide.
    The academic establishment is nefariously complicit in the massive hoax, especially historians, who perpetuate it as gospel.
    A sinister & massive program now delivers Holohoax “speakers” into public schools throughout Europe & the U.S.
    The sacred Holohoax – complete with gas chambers & ovens has become the new religion of Western Civilization.
    There are more than 240 Holohoax museums in the world.
    The U.S. has a NATIONAL HOLOHOAX museum In Washington D.C. funded at public expense along with other museums in major cities.
    Innocent school children are taken to these religious Holohoax shrines to worship.
    So, what is really new about climate catastrophe denial?


    Ok now, McPherson accepts “comments” like that one above ?! He doesn’t even answer such sick propaganda ?! He accepts those kind of most evil propaganda without deleting or correcting it ? Without getting outraged ?! WITHOUT ANY COMMENT, ANY ATTEMPT TO CORRECT SUCH EVIL SHIT ?!

    Well, I am half spanish and half german, I spent hundreds and thousands of hours studying the f… past of Germany, because I feel responsible for the german past, because I had the fate to be born and live in Germany, I feel responsible for this past so that it might never happen again. And now I must read that most evil propaganda at McPhersons blog. I am absolutely outraged, I am done with McPherson and his followers, I am finnished with them. Now I know who they are.


  10. Very strange that he allows that.

    More than that, I find it completely unacceptable. Let me see what else is to be found…


  11. Interesting post from Orlov: http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-extinction-survey.html

    And comments like this one:

    Speaking of McPherson’s foolishness, I don’t respect those who cash in on people’s fears and lack of basic scientific knowledge.

    Dr. Chris Martenson of PeakProsperity.com:

    “I have a very big complaint against McPherson, and that is that he’s misusing science and abusing his self-proclaimed authority. I suspect that he does this because he has not processed his own grief and lacks the tools to do so, so he shares it instead.

    But that’s just some Psych 101 and it could be wrong.

    On the matter of science, I could not be more clear. We know some very important things about complex systems, but the most important of them all is that they cannot be predicted.

    Neither the timing nor the magnitude of state changes can be predicted. That’s a feature of complex systems, and as I wrote in my book, even the slump behavior of a simple, growing sand pile eludes our best supercomputers.

    How then shall we assess that Mr. McPherson seems to know both the timing and the severity of a climate system that is many, many orders of magnitude more complex than a single sand pile?

    He claims that human extinction by 2030 is already a done deal.

    This is such utter horsecrap that I don’t even know where to begin. It is irresponsible science at best, but I am open to the idea that it is actually worse than that. (Alas, there’s my own emotional system sneaking in…I hold very strong beliefs around the ideas that neither the scientific method nor authority should be abused.)

    I will close by noting that several current and former members of this site have spoken of being deeply impacted, and quite negatively, by McPherson’s views and he certainly knows of these impacts and presumably approves of them on some level because he keeps touring the world sharing his views.”

    Comment from Resilience.org:

    “McPherson is yet again practicing his version of the gift economy by asking for cash. According to him, after completing a grueling few days’ study for certification, he and his housewife friend are now qualified to lead fragile NTHE mourners ‘through the valley of the shadow of death.’ He is now soliciting business on his FB page. If I could overcome my contempt, I’d laugh.

    ‘Only Love Remains’ (for a monetary price, of course):


    McPherson’s Intensive Training:



    • Yes, again, this world is about money, money, money and it’s because of that colored paper and round metal that mother earth will kick arses :-)


  12. Paul Beckwith is back. The methane- graphs from NOAA he is showing represent a clear, nasty trend upwards over the last 10 – 20 years and, man, watch out for the temperature anomalies over asia, especially siberia… while the jet stream is ripped into pieces:


    • So, the blue smooth lines on those methane graphs appear to have been added by whichever AMEG person made the picture Paul is pointing to. Whoever added them did a lousy job. Here’s the Nunavut record, which looked the scariest of his four: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/dv/iadv/graph.php?code=ALT&program=ccgg&type=ts (Select methane from the drop down menu, and then click ‘Submit’.)
      Note the strong annual cycle, and note where the graph ends— at the peak in the annual cycle. The silly spike right at the end of the thick blue smooth line in the AMEG image is just a nonsensical fit clinging to the annual peak.

      If you look at the global average (http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/aggi/aggi.fig2.png), you see the pattern all of these graphs are showing: methane leveled off a bit in the early 2000s before resuming its rise around 2007. Unfortunately, the AMEG person also chose to start all the graphs at 2000, which makes it seem as if there’s a sudden acceleration coming out of nowhere. Together with the lousy smooths, it’s a pretty misleading image.

      I don’t know what Paul thought he was demonstrating by showing a weather map…


      • Note the strong annual cycle, and note where the graph ends— at the peak in the annual cycle. The silly spike right at the end of the thick blue smooth line in the AMEG image is just a nonsensical fit clinging to the annual peak.

        Mh, when I go to NOAA, I get that:

        And there’s a sharp spike at the end of that graph. The trend does not look comfortable, does it? We will hit the 2000ppb- mark in 2016, 2017 I bet (maybe even this year)…

        Do you think that Beckwith has any interest in forcing up the situation? Why all his dire comments in his video(s)? And yes, he showed a weather map, right, some kinda barbeque- weather map :-)

        Unfortunately, the AMEG person also chose to start all the graphs at 2000…

        Well, the global methane was at around 700ppb in 1750 and now we are roughly at 1970ppb.


        • The issue isn’t whether or not methane concentrations are rising, or whether that’s part of our greenhouse gas problem. They are, and it is. The issue for AMEG/Beckwith is claiming that this is currently (and suddenly) “skyrocketing”, which they want to blame on Arctic methane hydrates. Sloppy, misleading figures like this are unfortunately their habit. Last year’s measurements at Alert don’t look unusual— they just continue the trend going back to 2007. Using a crappy smooth that makes late-2014 look like a sudden spike in the trend is just unscientific.

          You might like to take a peek at the papers I linked here: https://fractalplanet.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/once-more-mcphersons-methane-catastrophe/comment-page-1/#comment-3785
          They’ve come up many times in the discussion here.


        • The issue isn’t whether or not methane concentrations are rising, or whether that’s part of our greenhouse gas problem. They are, and it is.

          Well, that’s exactly what I wanted to be noticed, nothing else^^ About the longterm trend we only can wait so far, yes.

          You might like to take a peek at the papers I linked here…

          You pointed me to links about methane leaks at methane gas extraction sites and leaking pipelines (highly underestimated until recently according to NASA ), if I got that right, but sorry, when I click the first link my browser says “Don’t trust that website!” (security issue) and when I click on the second link it says “404 – Page not found”…

          After all, we should keep a sharp eye on methane, that’s all I wanted to mention. Also, it does not matter if the methane comes from methane leaks or from permafrost etc, IMO, cause the climate effect is the same anyway.

          One more comment about the barbeque- weather map Beckwith showed: When you add the weather map to the longterm global temperatur trend, it all adds up to rather dire projections, doen’t it? For example, we here in Germany had no winter for the last two years in a row, I have never seen that before, so that’s a totally new climate regime for shure, it’s really kinda spooky 8-) … when the Alps get dry (melted like hell over the last two years), we will end up like California (like Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal ended up already).


          • That’s not what Paul Beckwith wants to be noticed, though… He’s all about a sudden change in the long-term trend.

            I forgot that first link scared a few other people’s browsers, too. I can’t guess why. I mean, it’s a pdf on a government website! Don’t fear clicking through to it.
            The second link appears to have died since I posted, but if you click the suggested link on the 404 page, the file is there! That’s the only place you can read it with a subscription to Science.
            Just useful resources to understand what methane has been doing and why.

            It’s incredibly easy to get yourself into trouble focusing on a weather map. The eastern US has had two particularly nasty winters in a row— while the West Coast has dealt with severe drought conditions. It could be that the jet stream is getting weird as a result of the loss of sea ice in the Arctic, or it could be that some oscillation bears more responsibility. Don’t forget that the Pacific changed big-time between the 1990s and 2000s…

            We know there will always be variability around the long-term warming trend. The climate system is chaotic. It’s dangerous to latch onto some short-term behavior without serious analysis for context.


        • This kind of leaping to conclusions is so tedious. If a recent series of data points looks scary then let’s write an article (or produce a video) about it showing that the catastrophe is upon is. I guess someone did it in 2003 and 2009 when there were apparent spikes. But the trend is all important and real scientists know that you can’t get a trend from a few months data or even a few years data. If the trend is unchanged by the end of this year, such articles will appear to have been irrationally premature. As usually happens. In addition, note the colour of the data points. Orange means that they are preliminary and could be revised or removed after proper validation. Years ago, Malcolm Light wrote an article on the basis of about 5 provisional data points at one station, which McPherson feasted upon for years and still only half-heartedly admits was probably wrong, since those data points were subsequently removed only a few weeks or months later (though I’ve heard him couch it in terms that imply the data points were removed only to reduce alarm). Lastly, can you find other stations up there that show the same spike? I can’t.


        • @SJ & mikeroberts2013

          Yeees, everything you say is correct, no doubt. I just wonder, why Beckwith is that nerveous. I post that kinda stuff here so somebody can proof it to be too alarmistic. As I said, I am no scientist. Do you think we should forget Beckwith? Maybe he just smoke the wrong dope, dunno^^


          Just “Weather” (heat) killed about 2000 people in India recently. Man is affected by weather, not longterm scientific climate projections, right? And man, I pray for California and Sao Paulo.

          Hey, thank you both for your informative reply, I am just trying to wrap my head around that strange thing called “climate change” and I am just a tiny bit afraid of Mother Earth’s revenge ( we should listen to the Kogi, younger brothers !)…


          • I’ll just say that Paul is not someone I go to for information.

            For sure, weather statistics shift along with climate trends, and nasty weather can hit hard. It’s just that weather is inherently so variable that it is great fodder for confirmation bias— whatever idea you want to support, you’ll notice events that will seem to back you up. It’s very, very easy to get yourself confused, especially since you’ll rarely run into an actual analysis that will correct or verify your judgment. If it’s hard to see that on your side of things, just think about the foolish statements climate “skeptics” make after a cold winter or large snow storm in their area…


          • Regarding weather, I agree with SJ about confirmation bias but climate is average weather over some period. We expect the changing climate to probably produce more extremes, and that seems to be happening, though we can’t really judge the over short periods, only say that such and such an event was made more likely by climate change.

            Regarding deaths in India, there have definitely been a lot of deaths related to the heat wave but we don’t know how many. Those 2000 plus stories are reporting all deaths over that period and some will not have been caused by the heat wave; people die all the time. Looks like the heat related deaths are in the hundreds, though.


        • @SJ

          I do appreciate everything you say.

          It’s just that weather is inherently so variable that it is great fodder for confirmation bias— whatever idea you want to support, you’ll notice events that will seem to back you up. It’s very, very easy to get yourself confused, especially since you’ll rarely run into an actual analysis that will correct or verify your judgment. If it’s hard to see that on your side of things, just think about the foolish statements climate “skeptics” make after a cold winter or large snow storm in their area…

          Right, therefore I do not only get my informations from extreme positions like Beckwith etc, but from your blog and many other, much more conservative sources and do a quite extensive research and have a conversation on a german conservative, scientific blog (Stefan Rahmstorf) also. I am always happy to learn. And I am shure that you know much more about weather and climate than I do. Actually, I did never say that “NTE” or the socalled “clathrate gun” will happen, did I? But I am a rather pessimistic person in general, because of my experience in life, as Heiner Müller said:

          Optimism is a lack of information.


        • “Preliminary”, yeah. So they haven’t gone through the quality control procedure, the main impact of which is, I think, excluding outliers (the little green crosses).


      • @mikeroberts2013

        … people die all the time.

        Right, Death is just naturally for shure, it is the natural effect of birth. Let’s see who will accept that without complaining, especially in the wealthy regions of the world. For the wealthy countries, the wealthy people Death is the greatest enemy, because Death is the perfect antithesis of eternal growth :-) The people in the wealthy countries are hoarding money for one reason: Fear of Death.



      • Curious wrote:
        The people in the wealthy countries are hoarding money for one reason: Fear of Death.

        If life is too sweet you never want to die. If life is mean, you can take it or leave it.

        Then there are those who know why they are here:

        Him I praise who thirsts for fire,
        Thirsts for death, and dies in gladness.

        From “Holy Yearning”,
        jw von Goethe


    • Someone definitely screwed up. The moving average they’re showing is actually done backwards—it’s a “leading average” rather than a trailing average.

      Here’s a comparison of percent change between Mauna Loa and Alert, Nunavut from 2000:

      Not sure if it’s really telling you anything.


      • I’m actually suspicious that the blue lines were drawn on rather than calculated, especially given that the data obviously weren’t downloaded and re-plotted (it’s the exact figure the website spits out). There is a smooth line in those graphs if you look carefully, and the blue AMEG line only obviously deviates at the end. Zoom in on this pdf of the Alert record: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/webdata/iadv/ccgg/graphs/pdfs/ccgg.ALT.ch4.1.none.discrete.all.pdf
        I think whoever made the AMEG figure traced the smooth line more or less accurately most of the way, but then (accidentally, I assume, as it’s hard to see in the standard jpeg) jumped onto the simple point-connecting line at the end.



      • I’m not totally sure what the graph is even about. You said it is a comparison of the percent change between Mauna Loa and Alert. Do you mean the annual percentage change of methane at each location? If so, perhaps the only thing it is telling us is that Arctic emissions aren’t particularly large compared with global emissions, though some blogger could always say “look at the gap in the years up to 2013, it’s widening”.

        What happened to 2014 and 2015, so far?


        • I’m assuming he normalized the two based on percentage of methane concentration relative to the initial concentration, so those are basically scaled copies of the concentration time series.

          Most of the stations we were looking at don’t have 2015 data up yet. (I think Cold Bay, Alaska was updated to January.) The other Arctic ones cut out last fall/winter.


        • Yeah, those two curves are normalized to their respective beginning concentrations at the start of 2000. It’s simple: Say, ML is 1754 ppb on 1/6/2000, the first data point of the new year. You divide that point by itself to get “1” for that date. The next data point is also divided by 1754 to get the percentage change, and so on. 1754 is the normalizing factor.

          The close overall correspondence in percentage change between Alert and ML just means that methane is well-mixed in the atmosphere after about a year or a year and a half. If you did a whole bunch of the same type of comparisons with stations all over the world you would see pretty much the same thing, but if there was a station where emissions were extremely large, then you could probably see the lag between the local station and the Mauna Loa data and that would be strong evidence for/against ESAS dominating the 2007- rise (depending whether that station was close to the ESAS or not). For instance, the Alert graph shows a steep ramp around 2007, and ML seems to echo that ramp, but weaker, about a year and a half later. I think you could make an argument for a connection there–not for just Alert, but for the Arctic in general. It would just be a premise to follow up on with more comparisons.

          With Paul’s moving average, it captures that big dip the same way my curves do and the faint grey NOAA curves don’t, so I’m thinking there is some kind of statistical tool being used but I don’t know what and I don’t know how it was migrated over to the NOAA images. But it seems pretty consistent from graph to graph in Paul’s screenshot. Someone should ask Paul how one would go about reproducing his work.


        • I asked Paul about this stuff on Twitter but got no response. He did however favorite my suggestion that the lines had been traced, and incorrectly, so… interpret that as you will.

          “Scratching head”… strange world we’re living in, muhahaha… 8-) Hey, thanks for your effort!


        • bill shockley wrote:
          The close overall correspondence in percentage change between Alert and ML just means that methane is well-mixed in the atmosphere after about a year or a year and a half

          But that normalized comparison graph should be accompanied by another graph showing that Alert is consistently 100 or 200 ppb higher than Mauna Loa. I think what this says is that the up north the CH4 sink is less strong, meaning the hydroxyl sink. Either that or a consistent gradient of emissions rate favoring the north—or both. But I’m guessing it’s mostly the sink.


    • You’re right, it can’t be a download because the download data only goes up to 2013. I thought maybe they were patching the NOAA emblem on to their image and coloring the red data points. But I can’t get the same contours they get with the trendline, either. This is the difference between leading and trailing averages:

      I see what you’re talking about with the NOAA thin grey curves that you can barely see on your image. I don’t know how they get the moving average to go all the way to the end of the data. Excel only takes the curve so far… If it’s a 50-period average, the curve will stop 50 periods short. There’s also a dot-connecting grey curve, and it seems that Paul’s moving average curve merges with the dot-connecting curve.

      You can see in my image that the trailing average doesn’t veer up at the end, as it shouldn’t, if it’s averaging the trailing points.


      • There’s also a dot-connecting grey curve, and it seems that Paul’s moving average curve merges with the dot-connecting curve.

        the two curves seem to merge at the end where the fat blue curve veers up.

        My moving averages are 500-period curves.


        • That uses a model to fill in around and interpret observations, so it’s work that has to be done before you can see the results. Looks like they put it out in June 2012. Not sure if/when it will be revisited/updated.


        • That uses a model to fill in around and interpret observations, so it’s work that has to be done before you can see the results.

          Assumed that already. But, a 5 year delay (in the age of spaceflight) for interpreting observations?! Phew… dunno what to take away from that page…


          • Well, I meant that it’s not automated and takes significant effort, and it’s likely not an ongoing project. Lots that can be done, not so many people to do it…

            You can glean plenty of insights about the system from getting a helpful look at 2000-2010, I think.


        • You can glean plenty of insights about the system from getting a helpful look at 2000-2010, I think.

          Yeah… I see a big red bubble over India (it is not likely that it went away this year, is it? I remember about 2000 dead indians…), just a bit(?) yellow over Siberia and almost nothing(?) over Northamerica over the timespan you mention… mmhhh… thanks again…


        • There’s a 100+ year global temperature animation in this video:

          What if climate change is real? | Katharine Hayhoe | TEDxTexasTechUniversity

          starting at 3:57. Blue+White ==> Yellow+Orange. Pretty convincing. Bye-bye Holocene…


        • Curious wrote:
          Assumed that already. But, a 5 year delay (in the age of spaceflight) for interpreting observations?! Phew… dunno what to take away from that page…

          It’s just a day in the life of Earth. It’s illustrative. It shows what the bigger sources look like and how they breath out, stop, and breath out again. Look at all the green in the Norhtern hemisphere. And you can see some faint, wide-spread yellows in the northern mid-latitudes. A big source up in the Yamal region. The south and south-east asian sources could be rice paddies. See how the dense dark orange plumes emerge, fan out, tail off, turn deep yellow at the borders. If it’s trying to be realistic, I would say that it is saying that most of the methane does not come from big obvious sources, because you only see a few of those. Just guessing. Oh, and it’s saying Shakhova is liverworst because nothing is coming out of the ESAS.


        • @bill shockley

          A big source up in the Yamal region.

          Yeah, Yamal translates “Gate to Hell”. That’s where those several craters appeared last year.

          The south and south-east asian sources could be rice paddies

          The red bubble is far north of India, it’s exactly over the line of the Himalayas:


          The Himalayas had some vigorous melt over the last years:

          2 June, 2015 – Glacier loss raises high concern over water supplies

          Massively increased ice melt in the high Himalayas because of climate change could seriously jeopardise the flow of water for billions of people in Asia.

          The glaciers of the Everest region of the Himalayan massif – home to the highest peak of all – could lose between 70% and 99% of their volume as a result of global warming.
          Asia’s mountain ranges contain the greatest thickness of ice beyond the polar regions. But new research predicts that, by 2100, the world’s highest waters – on which billions of people depend for their water supply – could be at their lowest ebb because of the ice loss…


          Oh, and it’s saying Shakhova is liverworst because nothing is coming out of the ESAS.

          Yeah, liverworst just like those guys from Sweden:

          … overwhelming input from marine sources and river-carried debris from inland vegetation and soils, on this, the World’s largest coastal shelf sea.
          While the present rate of carbon release from the NE Siberian coast is not substantially affecting the CO2 levels in the global atmosphere, the study demonstrates that the process is firmly underway.
          This study adds to previous reports on extensive methane releases from collapsing subsea permafrost on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) published by the team…
          Thermal collapse and erosion of old permafrost masses along the 20–30 m steep and desolate Arctic coastline is an impressive phenomenon… :



          • Western Siberia is absolutely full of wetlands. The Indian sources are apparently agriculture and waste, which I didn’t realize. I’ll have to try to learn more about that… Nothing to do with the Himalayas, anyway.


      • The last few data points for Alert are all well down towards the “norm”. It was expected. As I say, bloggers do this all the time (cherry pick data) – they are no better than the deniers, IMHO, and just muddy the waters.


        • Scribbler just says whatever Beckwith said…

          And Beckwith said what the AMEG said… “scratching head”,,, btw, where do those AMEG guys get their information from?:

          Recent independent research, by scientists in AMEG and elsewhere, puts beyond reasonable doubt our assertion that…


          Mh, Beckwith, Wadhams and who else? The “Carana” team?


          • No, Carana is apparently no longer involved. I believe Beckwith and Wadhams are the only members who are involved in climate science.


          • I just don’t get how Wadhams can be so involved with Beckwith, et al. David Wasdell is soo not even a climate scientist, and Beckwith a non-published PhD student. I’ve noted to Wadhams in email correspondence the trouble with Wasdell’s work is that no other climate scientist will endorse it making it credibility-less.

            Go figure…



  13. What do you guys think, is there any relation between all those climate graphs and those kind of graphs ?:

    Well, I’d definite say, YES, there is a real obvious relation :-)

    When the Last Tree Is Cut Down, the Last Fish Eaten, and the Last Stream Poisoned, You Will Realize That You Cannot Eat Money.


  14. It has often been said and it is still beeing said (like it has been said related to the India heatwave eg):

    Well, that’s just a weather event.

    But isn’t that a kind of separating event from context? Weather is always related to climate, isn’t it? I mean, there is no weather event without climate conditions, climate context…


    • It can be. But you need actual analysis for the context so you know whether something was “just a weather event”, or a weather event indicative of a trend in weather events. You will get weather extremes no matter what the climate trend is. As I said before, you can find any kind of climate event you’re looking for. In order not to make mistakes that confuse you and others, or that damage your credibility for the future, you need to have that scientific analysis.


      • I second that. It’s the trend as you said. And the trend is upwards, like those nasty wildfires.

        Wildfires are climate killers, emitting CO2 and ice- darkening dustparticles, loosing trees as CO2 sinks, amplifying soil erosion… everything is connected…:

        1.6.2015 – N.W.T. fire season well above average already

        69,000 hectares burned so far, compared to average of 5,000 hectares for this time of year…


        Phew, that’s a multiplier of 14… is that just weather or is it climate (change)… is it a trend already?


  15. I don’t consider Guy McPherson a reliable source, for a host of reasons. Basically he’s what Marxists might have called “a deviation of the left”. He behaves similarly to a denier, but with the opposite sign. He belongs to the “collapsnik” or “collapsitarian” posse, which also includes Dmitri Orlov and James Howard Kunstler. My issue with this posse is that regardless of whether civilization does or doesn’t collapse any time soon, they’re delusional about their own ability to survive it. All of them have gotten (relatively) rich by peddling a cocktail of doom and false hope to ordinary people who lack sufficient critical thinking skills to spot the hustle. They’re basically selling a type of neoliberalism–survival of the ruthless and self-aggrandizing–which goes a long way towards explaining their success, particularly in America. I wrote about this recently for an interview in “Planet Ivy”:

    “The whole enchilada is at risk: decent housing, cafes, indoor plumbing, schools, hospitals, art galleries, the internet, a decent way of life that doesn’t involve cowering in caves. Failure is a very real possibility. If we succeed it will be by cooperating on a vast scale, and exhibiting altruism not just towards friends and family but towards funny-looking people we don’t like, and towards future generations and non-humans. Individual survivalism absolutely won’t work. Collapsniks like Dmitry Orlov and Guy McPherson are dead wrong. Their business model is persuading people to prepare for a zombie movie. Buy some land far north (and their books of course), learn to farm and sew, stock up on canned food and ammunition, and you’ll be OK. They want collapse to happen, because they think they can survive it and be the noble savages that purify the human race. It’s total rubbish, because loss of civil society favors organized criminals, not intellectuals. If humanity loses control globally, Orlov and McPherson will be toast, along with anyone else with a shred of decency. If you want a model of that future, look at failed states: Sudan, Gaza, Iraq, Cambodia, Afghanistan, even the former Soviet Union. When it’s every man for himself, the sociopaths win. They’ll roll onto McPherson’s farm, rape the women, kill everyone, take whatever they want, and burn the place to the ground. It should sound familiar because it’s what passed for foreign policy for most of human history. Before civilization, people were bandits and pirates, controlled by bloodthirsty psychopaths. The Greek epic poems are pirate stories depicting the glorious pillage of hapless neighbors. Collaspniks romanticize collapse because they’ve never been pirates, and probably don’t even have contact with criminals–sensibly enough since it’s an easy way to wind up dead or worse.”

    Disclaimer: Having devoted a huge chunk of my adult life to science and engineering, I am of course biased towards prolonging civilization, without which my fields of study would be frustrating at best. I find knowledge work deeply rewarding and have no intention of giving it up. Mama didn’t raise me to be an agriculturalist! If the internet goes down, I’ll be first in line for the suicide machine, and they can pry my debit card out of my cold, dead fingers.

    PS: This blog has apparently attracted a cadre of die-hard McPherson shills. If it were up to me I would ban them since debating them is so unrewarding.


    • Well, Chris. Part of the problem with what you’ve written is that you appear to think that it’s actually possible to save civilisation. Many people who can’t imagine life without civilisation believe this but, guess what, I see no evidence that civilisation can be or will be saved. Whether its inevitable demise happens in 10 years or 100 years isn’t up to you or I, nor does any group appear to have that power. Civilisation destroys its environment so one could say “the sooner it goes the better” but that too is irrelevant. It will happen.

      By the way, I don’t think you characterise those you call collapsenicks correctly. I’m not aware that any of them think they are likely to survive the collapse but some will have tried to learn some of the skills that might give them a slightly better chance than others, given we don’t know how it will go (I’m not sure the states you give as examples are very relevant for what we’ll likely face, but that’s another subject). By the way, Guy Mcpherson is (apparently) convinced that humans will become extinct in 20-30 years, so he clearly doesn’t believe he’ll survive that.

      The consequences of our collective behaviour are becoming clearer by the day but anyone’s personal desires have no bearing on how the path we’re on will unfold.


      • Not only is civilization eminently savable (assuming we start seriously applying ourselves to the task), more importantly it’s the only aspect of humanity that’s WORTH saving. This is of course the ultimate heresy to doomers and neoprimitives. I’m uninterested in mere biological survival; this is aiming absurdly low. “Picking through the rubble” (c.f. Homer-Dixon’s quote in “Planet of Weeds”) is a dead end and simply not worth striving for.

        Regard your beliefs about what will or won’t happen, the key word here is “belief”. You aren’t providing so much as a shred of evidence to sustain your assertions, but that’s normal. When people say “I believe X” what they generally mean is that they’re hostile to rational discussion of X; something like “no matter how irrational X seems, it’s essential to my worldview so don’t challenge it or I’ll get really upset.” Beliefs are the antithesis of critical thinking, hence debating fanatics–religious or otherwise–is a waste of time.


        • Chris, the only belief I mentioned was to do with your beliefs and those who you label collapseniks. The evidence for concluding that this civilisation will end is that all prior civilisations have ended. If you think this one will somehow continue indefinitely, then that would clearly belong in the beliefs bucket, unless you can show that it can so continue. Apart from history, I also mentioned that there is no indication that, collectively, people conceive of a threat to their way of life, never mind doing anything significant to reduce or remove that threat. Indeed, there seems to be an increasing number of people who want to live like the developed nations. So to claim that civilisation can be saved, you would have to discount human behaviour. As humans are a species, they have a characteristic behaviour, which seems clear. How do you propose that the characteristic behaviour of our species can be quickly modified?

          So, again, it matters little what you or I want (though of course I’m open to rational discussion on the subject, contrary to what you think), because we will not be able to affect the course of this civilisation. If world “leaders” do manage to find some significant agreement at Paris in December, and follow it with action that is effective, then maybe this civilisation can drag out a little longer, but it will be many years before we’d be able to see that (as any agreement has been touted to start being implemented in 2020, if ratified by governments).


      • I never used the word “indefinitely,” that’s a straw man. Obviously bacteria will ultimately inherit earth, the interesting question is when. On paper humanity is committed to keeping earth habitable indefinitely (c.f. the United Nations charter) but a million years would be a fine start, and only about average for a mammal. Human behavior is already much too complex to be reduced to any single “characteristic behavior,” and gets more complex every day. Complexity creates problems, but it also creates solutions. You are of course perfectly entitled to your defeatism, though thankfully many people take a more constructive view, myself included. The biggest problem with defeatism is that it obstructs problem-solving, but it’s also exceedingly dull.


        • Chris, I used the word “indefinitely” to emphasise that it’s only a matter of time before civilisation goes away (again). However, we could, in principle, see the signs of how it’s going right now. And the signs aren’t good. Earlier, you wrote that civilisation is “eminently” savable, “assuming we start seriously applying ourselves to the task”. This last bit acknowledges that we aren’t seriously applying ourselves to the task at the moment. This is characteristic behaviour of the human species and history is littered with collapsed civilisations that either couldn’t see the end coming or couldn’t do anything about it. That’s probably because humans, collectively, have a distinct behaviour. Homo sapiens is, after all, just a species, like any other (though some people assign something magical to this one species). I’m not sure why one species can suddenly, consciously, change it’s characteristic behaviour. Environmental change could do it but that would be enforced, rather than being a conscious decision.

          This isn’t defeatism, it’s realism. When we see a conscious change of collective behaviour, I’ll bow to your superior wisdom.


    • Hi, Chris. Nice to have a new voice on this blog.

      I agree with much of what you’ve said… I once recall McPherson being asked about what if people came to his Doomstead and took everyone hostage, etc. He had no answer and deferred.

      Interesting to me that you put McPherson and Orlov in the same paragraph, as McPherson told me personally last year, and I’m paraphrasing, “Did you hear? Dimitri Orlov just took his sailboat out of Boston harbor and headed to Costa Rica. I think it means everything’s going to collapse now. You better get moving to New Zealand.” Well, guess what? I did go to New Zealand to research actually emigrating there with my family!

      I spent four weeks researching changing my career to becoming a farmer in NZ to help farmers reduce their methane emissions! Seriously! After my adventure there I realized it would cost me $100,000 USD to make it happen, and totally uproot my family. No guarantee that I’d do well there, either. New Zealand is a highly competitive place (as everyone knows everyone) with few jobs and high cost of living. Many NZers leave to work in the UK or Australia to actually save money. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not green and clean as the dairy industry has polluted most of the lake and rivers making them unfit for fishing or swimming these days. There’s an epic battle between the dairy industry and the general public about this. Fonterra, the largest dairy corporation in New Zealand, perhaps the biggest company as well, is seen as the Great Satan by many in the public. On top of that, property prices have soared into the stratosphere with a huge housing bubble, (mostly in Auckland) pricing out even NZers, which is supported in large part by Chinese investors, as well as Australian banks pumping their balance sheets with fees from mortgage originations with blessings from The National Party, NZ’s version of The Republicans, but not as extreme. According to some estimates, NZ is an economy just ripe to be popped, like we had happen in 2008 globally. I digress…


      • Yeah, you digress but I think you oversimplify the situation out here. I’m not sure why you think it would cost you $100,000 to relocate here ( I did it 10 years ago) but, yeah, it’s not really clean and green (nor is anywhere else other than a few remote locations), but it’s a pretty good place to be for the future, I think.


        • Mike,

          You’re in NZ!? Wow…

          Uh, the reason I think it’s that much is Lincoln University’s international tuition rate and cost of living for a family of three until I could land a job. Can you PM me at balanverse@gmail.com? I’d like to discuss more in detail and not take up this space with personal stuff. Cheers!


    • While I agree with some of what you’ve said above, GM doesn’t believe he or anyone else will survive, and I assure you, he’s not becoming rich on it. If anything, it’s continuing to impoverish him and his wife and other followers like Pauline, who invested $40,000, so she says, on making a short documentary video chronicling Guy’s book Going Dark. I think you’d be wiser to be more accurate in your statements and not just lump all together as the same.


  16. Hi, Scott.

    A student of GM just posted this on Bud Nye’s Emergency Support Group (ESG) which I’d appreciate you unpacking when you have the time. Cheers!

    “While climate modeler David Archer, maintains that deep ocean clathrates, are still thousands of years from destabilizing (Archer, 2009), we turn our eyes to Natalia Shakhova observing the ESAS where 75% of the seafloor is 50 meters deep or less and will be exposed to far warmer temperatures than the deep ocean clathrates. Shakhova (2010) documented observations of 80% of the ESAS seabed acting as a methane source to the water column, with methane plumes 1000 kilometers across. Methane release from the seabed has now been confirmed off the coast of Washington state, the East Coast of the United States, and New Zealand (Hauta et al., 2014; Skark, NOAA, 2013; Mountjoy, 2014). Vaks et al 2013 calculated the temperature of the Arctic during the last permafrost melt and it was 1.5 degrees C warmer which is far less than the 20-30 degree anomalies of today’s Arctic.”


    • Oh, it’s in response someone saying that Bud Nye’s prediction for human extinction by 2050 is bunk.

      My guess from above is that neither of Shakova’s 2010 papers proved methane gas has gone exponential, just that, as has been discussed before, that yes, there is some methane being released, more than before, but as yet, it doesn’t constitute human extinction by 2050. Haven’t had time for all papers yet… Your detailed thoughts appreciated. Thanks!


    • Scott, this should make commenting easier for you.

      The two Shakova papers in 2010 follow, of which I can get access to the first but not the second; I’ll try to get access (to Vaks, et al. 2013 too) from my library. I believe that these two papers have already been discussed thoroughly, but I can’t seem to find where on the blog they were discussed, and my memory a little distant. Can you send me a link to that discussion. Thanks!

      Geochemical and geophysical evidence of methane release over the East Siberian Arctic Shelf


      Extensive Methane Venting to the Atmosphere from Sediments of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf

      Also, on the Hauta et al., 2014; Skark, NOAA, 2013; Mountjoy, 2014, I believe that yes, methane was indeed detected, and levels were measured, etc, but actual rate of increase was unknown, and they didn’t even know how long those methane plumes had been there, meaning they could’ve possibly been there for hundreds or thousands of years. Thus, this research pointed to more research needing to be done in this area to get clear answers about rate of increase over some time scale, if any.

      As for Vaks, et al., 2013, I think the paper is here, but it’s behind a pay wall too. Just because permafrost melts doesn’t necessarily follow that methane will be released into atmosphere, for example, being eaten by microbes, or what not. I once saw an interview by Peter Sinclair at climatecrocks.org of Vaks say something to the effect that permafrost would begin to melt a lot (exponentially? runaway? destabilize? – can’t remember exactly) at 1.5 C.

      Speleothems Reveal 500,000-Year History of Siberian Permafrost


      Soils in permafrost regions contain twice as much carbon as the atmosphere, and permafrost has an important influence on the natural and built environment at high northern latitudes. The response of permafrost to warming climate is uncertain and occurs on time scales longer than those assessed by direct observation. We dated periods of speleothem growth in a north-south transect of caves in Siberia to reconstruct the history of permafrost in past climate states. Speleothem growth is restricted to full interglacial conditions in all studied caves. In the northernmost cave (at 60°N), no growth has occurred since Marine Isotopic Stage (MIS) 11. Growth at that time indicates that global climates only slightly warmer than today are sufficient to thaw extensive regions of permafrost.


        1. I hope “1000 kilometers across” is some kind of typo. That would reach a third of the way from Siberia to Canada. The entire area the Shakhova team has studied is a few hundred kilometers of coastline.

        2. Yes, there’s nothing to tell us that the other plume sites are new or increasing. I think the US Atlantic coast folks explicitly mentioned finding carbonate deposits at at least some of the plumes— those form slowly over time due to microbial activity. As a reminder, one of these deposits in the plumes offshore from Svalbard were recently dated, and showed that plume activity was thousands of years old. http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/01/methane-release-around-arctic-islands-predates-recent-climate-change/

        3. The Shakhova team hasn’t shown an increase.

        4. “20-30 degree anomalies” is a red herring. That person is talking about weather systems.

        5. “It was 1.5 C warmer during the last permafrost melt” is a meaningless muddle of that study. That was a cave study, and the northernmost cave they looked at was on the very southern edge of the modern continuous permafrost zone. (They looked at a transect of caves stretching from there to the Gobi Desert.) In that northernmost cave, the stalactites/stalagmites were last growing (implying liquid water) during the interglacial about 400,000 years ago. Our best estimate of global average temperature at that time is about 1.5C warmer than today. That’s the southern edge of the continuous permafrost zone, not all of Siberia. That part of the cave was about 20 meters below the surface, while hydrates would only exist much deeper, so it would be wise not to conflate the two.

        6. Edit to add: I can’t fish out a good discussion from the comments, either. Waay too many hits for the relevant keywords…


  17. Of interest,

    Peter Wadhams –

    May 12, 2015 – FEEM Lecture: “Arctic Amplification, Climate Change, Global Warming”


    • Hello, everyone.

      Below is my synopsis of Dr. Peter Wadhams’ lastest talk here made to save anyone watching lots of time and make your review more deep and penetrating. It follows, somewhat predictably, in the conclusions that have been arrived at already on Fractal Planet in copious discussions on Wadhams in the past. Nonetheless, I encourage all here to check it out.

      Nothing much new for me, but lots of clarification and he doesn’t say all arctic ice will melt by 2015. :) The most interesting part on methane starts at 00:54:00 and ends at 1:04:37…lot’s of interesting pictures of methane bubbles and a sonar image.

      “…we might [my emphasis] have a great outburst of methane…”

      WADHAMS: “So, it’s a really frightening picture…and each year that they go out there, there’s more of this, there’s more methane bubbles, there is a bigger area where this is happening.”

      Wadhams acknowledges methane ppm are increasing, but there is no connection between bubbles and increase in ppm. He discusses AIRS methane satellite data, but there’s no direct link between bubbles and ppm increases. It’s clear to me that he suspects that bubbles are connected to methane increase, but offers no evidence. He does not address the methane that is leaking from fracking sites across the USA and in other nations, or from other sources.

      Wadhams makes the point that a possible 50GT methane outburst would create an increase in global temperature of .6C “within a few years”. He discusses this possibility, and compares with IPCC projections. Then he estimates costs using STERN Review economist, but then says “you can’t believe anything economists say”.

      Next, he offers some research that Norwegians are doing in Kara Sea and Swedes in Laptev Sea, demonstrating methane plumes are being found in those areas.

      Then, he moves on to permafrost on land. He shows increases of temperature in Deadhorse, Alaska, but shows no evidence of increasing methane from it.

      WADHAMS: “So, methane is a real threat and it’s an immediate threat. We have to keep going up there every year to see how much the methane plumes are increasing, see whether this increase is disastrous or not disastrous.”

      To me, the above quote sums up Wadhams and Shakova’s research thus far. To summarize, we don’t know what kind of a threat the methane is until we do more research in the coming years. Stay tuned until 2018.

      He then moves on to food and jet stream amplifying extreme weather events.

      Hope you enjoyed this synopsis of Dr. Peter Wadhams talk.


      • Thanks for that, Balan. I’d actually started watching the talk but got fed up early on when he mentioned something about (surface) temperatures not having risen for 15 years, which is something I wouldn’t expect to hear from a climate scientist, as it isn’t true. His characterisation of Shakhova’s trips showing increasing methane is also wrong, since she doesn’t visit the same areas, instead expanding the area of research. So we don’t have time series data for this stuff. Wadhams has dropped a bit, in my estimation, recently.


  18. Dear All,

    Apparently, at least today, Guy McPherson has disabled comments section on all blog posts at guymcpherson.com (Nature Bats Last) making it impossible to comment on any posts he has made. Additionally, I have posted multiple times to get GM to comment on a critique an atmospheric scientist made of GM’s presentation, and GM would not only not approve my posts for publication, but slandered another poster who was asking honest questions calling him a “troll” and accusing him of “wasting [his] time”. I’ll post more in detail on this soon, as I’m away from my computer screenshots which documented it.


      • Ah, Mike… Thanks for explaining that. Why do they shutdown comments after a certain amount of time on posts? Any guesses?


        • Mike, shutting down posts like that prevents anyone from going back to review the discussion record. One thing I love about Fractal Planet that makes it so damn good is that Scott never has deleted anything and anyone wanting to check all conversations from the very beginning could do so. All SJ’s insights and oops are all on display for the world to see. This to me is yet another major aspect that differentiates Fractal Planet from Guymcpherson.com. This is accurate, yes Scott? Have you ever deleted anything on FP?


          • Not after the fact. I’ve moderated a few posts before they’ve gone up (mainly a few drive-bys by folks who actual reject climate science).

            I haven’t seen Guy delete anything on his site, it’s just that you can’t add to those threads (much like I just did with the old #1 and #2 general threads). It’s just a way to keep the discussion in one or two threads at a time, so you can actually find new comments.


          • Oh, I thought GM had actually either deleted one of your posts or refused to post your comment, or something to that effect. So I’m mistaken, yes?


  19. Hi, Everyone.

    Below I present and debunk two false assertions (there are many more) that Guy McPherson claims in this video presentation at The Institute for the Humanities at San Francisco University (SFU) on June 15th, 2015, that I think best illustrates his lack of professionalism and persistent ideological extremist orientation, which is most probably the major reason The University of Arizona wanted him to leave.

    1) At 00:43:00 GM claims that when Michael E. Mann was asked about NTHE by one of GM’s colleagues, he replied, “I can’t go there, Kevin.” (No citation provided.) Then, GM speculates on as to why he said that. I find this outrageous that he would enter into massive speculation, much of it conspiratorial, but I’m not surprised at GM’s audacity. Who knows why he said that…the only way to find out is to ask him. I wonder if GM can do that? Does Mann want to stay focused and get side-tracked by something he views as a fringe conspiracy theory? Only way to know is ask him…

    2) At 00:44:30 GM is now claiming that Michael E. Mann said on the Thom Hartmann shown below (see 00:03:06) that “first of all, we have to keep burning coal,” totally distorting Mann’s actual comments. Listen for yourself; it’s also a great interview. Hartmann actually agrees with Mann, saying, “Yeah. Absolutely, it makes perfect sense.” If GM is against Mann in this instance, he’s also against Hartmann.

    Both of these examples above, I believe, demonstrate just how sloppy and aggressive GM can be despite his friendly and warm appearance.


  20. Dear All,

    Looks like Dahr Jamail just came out with a piece July 6th, 2015, titled, Mass Extinction: It’s the End of the World as We Know It in Truthout featuring Guy McPherson as a central part of it. I personally wrote to Dahr Jamail some months ago and told him that Guy McPherson is not a climate scientist, but a conservation biologist, and apparently he took the hint and reworded it in this article to make it more accurate, but it still doesn’t feel write to me. Anyway, lots of unpacking here to do.

    Scott, would you like to have a crack at it before I do?



    • Of course, anyone else who wants to unpack this besides Scott is more than welcome… It can be a community effort. All are welcome.


    • This is a comment I left at Truthout under Dahr Jamail’s article above. It was comment 253. If he actually reads it I will be amazed, therefore, I will send it via Truthout’s contact info, as I did the last time. Sorry, Scott, I just couldn’t wait to write it and post it. Please add anything you think I missed out on including.

      Dear Dahr Jamail,

      Hello there. I’ve read your writing on Iraq and other topics for years now and have really appreciated your writing. However, I cannot help but reassess this in reading your pieces on climate change with regard to Guy McPherson, Paul Beckwith, John Nissen, and company.

      Now, to be clear, I consider climate change to be very much a life threatening event for not only humanity but most other species as well, I agree that we are in a possible Sixth Extinction event, and I am devoting much of my life energy to getting clear on the dangers and the possible solutions available right now to do something about it.

      To continue, it’s clear to me that you have yet to do your homework and I’ve been delving deep into this single issue for nearly 1.5 years now at Scott Johnson’s Fractal Planet and NBL, and I challenge your assertion that Guy McPherson has been a climate change expert for 30 years. Self-professed for sure, but just what makes him a climate change expert? Have you looked at McPherson’s publications in Google Scholar? He’s got nothing on atmospheric science, and just a little on ecology, and his publications are not actually that much on climate science at all. For him to be a genuine expert with credibility, seriously considered by a supposedly talented investigative reporter such as yourself, he would need I suppose 1,000+ citations in his areas of specialization, and he lacks this, or even close. There are many other very highly qualified climate scientists, thousands actually, that do not claim what McPherson is claiming, and none, I repeat none, that would agree with his predictions of near-term human extinction in 18 months to two decades. You do them a dis-service by focusing on McPherson in this way.

      Secondly, I challenge your assertion that, “[Guy McPherson] has also become a controversial figure, due to the fact that he does not shy away from talking about the possibility of near-term human extinction.” This is not why McPherson is considered controversial, from my investigation and analysis. He is considered highly controversial because he is fast and loose with the data, cherry picking it to accord with his extremist environmental agenda to bring down industrial civilization. McPherson is to climate science on the left as the Koch Brothers are on the right – extremists with no little factual basis in the areas that count. His sources on methane – the crux of his arguments for Near-Term Human Extinction (NTHE) are founded primarily on Shakova and Semiletov’s research which does not show an increase in methane release, which concludes that more work needs to be done. His other source was Paul Beckwith, a lecturing PhD student, yes student, at the University of Ottawa who is without any (yes, you heard that right…zero) publications in his area of specialization. Another source was Sam Carana, a mysterious figure who has yet to be uncovered, and Malcolm Light, a retired oil engineer…all very sketchy, indeed. Dr. Peter Wadhams, while an authoritative specialist in arctic sea ice, he predicted last year that all the sea ice would have melted, but it did not happen and he had to revise his estimates. Most arctic sea ice researchers, and he’s not the only one, and there are dozens of others, have differing opinions about when the arctic will become ice-free. The consensus is more like by 2022. Still, that’s deeply disturbing and frightening, yes – for it will accelerate positive feedback loops. Wadhams is a big supporter of David Wasdell’s work about which not a single climate scientist will support.

      Additionally, McPherson’s so-called list of self-reinforcing feedback loops can be roughly distilled and grouped into twelve categories; see for yourself as there are multiple issues that overlap. McPherson attempts to hype the positive feedbacks reminds me of the same way is is presently doing it with methane despite having been told otherwise multiple times.

      As an aside, in your March 2014 piece in Truthout, you haven’t updated yourself on NASA’s CARVE Project by reading their November 2014 article titled, NASA: Alaska Shows No Signs of Rising Arctic Methane. Hmmm. The project is ongoing.
      See here: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?CFID=cc682124-8695-4226-a47c-3845570658f5&CFTOKEN=0&feature=4376

      Anyway, to make a long story short, it would appear to me that you have not done sufficient research to merit much praise here, and you would be best to revise your adoration for McPherson and crew, and re-establish your legitimacy by using sources that are genuine climate science experts, as well as not just taking single studies and hyping them, but looking at the fuller body of data and research, such as the IPCC report and its deserved criticism for not including the cryosphere or methane, of example.

      In closing, I think you might do yourself a favor by listening to this interview by Alex Smith on Radio EcoShock with Scott Johnson about Guy McPherson’s claims for NTHE in our lifetimes.





    • I think I’ll leave this one in your capable hands. I’m in the middle of moving, and pretty exhausted. If I shake my head too hard at Dahr’s post, it might well fall off.

      I tried to engage him on Twitter at some point after he wrote one of these. Crickets.


      • Dahr Jamail only has 135 Tweets on Twitter… I think he posts somewhat infrequently compared to someone like Bill McKibben who has 12.5 thousand tweets. However, he does seem to be using it semi-regularly, having posted once July 6, twice June 29, and once June 16. I still think it would be a good opportunity when you settle down to reach out to him about his piece. You can link to my comment, if you so choose.


    • Where did Jamail get the idea that current extinction rates are exponentially faster than any past mass extinction event, Permian included? It doesn’t say that anywhere in that Ehrlich et al paper he linked to, nor was it mentioned in any other link he gave.


      • Great question… Why don’t you try to ask him? He doesn’t list his email publically as far as I can tell, and I’ve attempted my best effort to communicate with him via comments and truth-out contact link. I’d be curious to know if he ever responds. That being said, I agree that human development in general is drastically accelerating extinction rates, but just what exponential means in this context needs clarification.


  21. Pingback: Not even David Suzuki knows for sure | gayle mavor | writer

  22. Scott and Balan,
    I just wanted to make sure that this receives the proper scrutiny for what it is. This is a presentation done by one of those extinction nut cases on the methane situation. There are slides that are supposed to go with it, but I dont think they’re necessary to get the gist of it. It’s pretty obvious from the start when a person lists their sources as arctic news, Paul Beckwith, and Dahr Jamail that facts will be somewhat in short supply. I mean, am I wrong in thinking the parts on methane in this are overstated?:


    • Not worth my time or anyone’s who is even cursorily familiar with this blog…

      Better…focus your attention on Jeff Master’s Weather Underground, Bill McKibben’s and Michael Mann’s Twitter feed, and Peter Sinclair’s Climatecrocks.com. And there’s much more than the above. Don’t waste your time!


    • A little learning is a dangerous thing. But I did like the statement that NTHE is “usually relegated to works like the Rolling Stones”. Did they drop a new album?
      It is somewhat troubling, though, when you see the clear embracing of a belief in NTHE, complete with, at the end, “live a live (sic) of excellence”, but not a single mention of Guy McPherson. To some extent, as she says, NTHE has gone mainstream.


  23. Scott and Balan,
    Thanks for looking that and confirming my thoughts on it. Anyway, one last quick question: Is James Hansen more on the extreme side of predictions?


    • I think it’s fair to say he’s out on that limb of the continuum of climate scientists these days. (I’ll emphasize climate scientists, because I’m not talking about any of the crazies.)


      • I’m of the opinion that most likely the course of the next century will be one of reducing emissions combined with a bit of geoengineering to keep the climate somwhat stable. I wonder if scientist such as yourself consider that a reasonable possibility? I tend to think think a deal will get done in Paris.
        Also, all this talk of impacts happening faster than expected. I’m not sure I agree with that in an overall sense. So far I think scientists have been pretty accurate as to forecasting the events happening now.


        • All that you say happening next century will happen this century, and within the next 35 years, in our own lifetimes. Yes, the IPCC and even Exxon Mobil are damn good at predicting climate temp, but they aren’t good at predicting positive feedback loops such as shutdown of the AMOC, permafrost melt and CH4 emissions, and more – though they are getting better with time and more research.


    • I wouldn’t say “extreme”, but instead liberal… Eric Rignot is saying, as is Hansen I think, that West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is going to melt no matter what we do at this point, and that’s 3-5 meter rise in sea levels, though the melt rate is not thoroughly known yet.


  24. Any thoughts on the recent die-offs of marine creatures? Proving GM right or not?
    I do not know about this resource so feel rather helpless in evaluating – but it is not aa study anyways, just reports of facts. I am wondering if there are studies that could link this up and suggest whether it is the first signs of something larger scale unfolding, with a potential massive impact on humans?


    • I thought that website seemed familiar… If you look around, they only post wild tabloid-like stories, usually claiming some kind of disaster linked to the Fukushima accident. If you click on the individual links here, you’ll only see people talking about the oceanic conditions off the coast over there, related to the El Nino that built up this year, and the patch of warm water north of that (that people have been calling “The Blob”). That’s an upwelling area, which brings nutrients to surface waters. When you get warm conditions that block that upwelling, the food web is going to feel it, unfortunately.


  25. People’s minds are simple. People that are unsuccesful in life or outright losers seek addictively and constantly new doomsaying hogwash. Why ? Because they wish for a catastrophic event to happen, this way the mean social status would be leveled to theirs, even if it would be just for an instant.
    GM posture somewhat reeks of lysenkoism. Lysenko was keen to keep himself surrounded by illiterate peasants instead of actual academic pairs, just like in any GM video, you can just watch and read the stupidity on the face of the people hearing him… Mostly aging people, or gullible young ones. The comparison is relevant also because most neo-environmentalists, the target audience, are known as “watermelons”, green outside, red inside.

    Thanks for bringing actual content and quick reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Thought I’d offer a NOAA scientist’s take on CH4 budget in a webinar on September 2016. Take away: no arctic methane emergency (yet). Enjoy.

    Published on YouTube – Dec 8, 2016

    Dr Lori Bruhwiler (NOAA), elaborates briefly on new methane estimates, with the focus on the Arctic.

    Methane emissions from fossil fuel development around the world are up to 60 percent greater than estimated by previous studies, according to new research led by scientists from NOAA and CIRES. The study found that fossil fuel activities contribute between 132 million and 165 million tons of the 623 million tons of methane emitted by all sources every year. That’s about 20 to 25 percent of total global methane emissions, and 20 to 60 percent more than previous studies estimated.


    • Thanks, Balan. She isn’t talking about potential releases from ocean methane hydrates, but at least she makes that clear at the outset.


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