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"May you live in interesting times."

Peak Oil, Peak Water, Peak Everything

The supply of cheap, easy energy; the ability to utilize and transport resources; the ability to produce large amounts of food and consumer goods: all dependant on abundant, and easily extracted oil.

Anthropogenic Global Warming

We, the people, are causing an accelerated increase of energy (heat storage) in Earth's atmosphere. That extra energy manifests as more atmospheric activity, more extreme variation in weather patterns, and higher average temperatures.

This is a brilliant summary of the situation I found on the response forums at


  The problem with anthropogenic global warming (AGW) isn't its magnitude, but is the rapidity with which it is occuring. Milankovitch scale climate change occurs over intervals of 10^4 - 10^5 yrs whereas AGW is taking place on the orders of 10^1 - 10^2 yrs. Natural selection and range shifts can't keep pace with the rapidity of climate change. The result is extinction of species.

  The Ocean Planet is currently in the grip of a great mass extinction episode that has a wholly anthropogenic etiology. This 6th great die-off began in Plio-/Pleistocene Africa with the ascendency of the Homini and picked up pace as hominins dispersed around the world, impacting flora and fauna that hadn't coevolved with the ecocidal ape. The impact was especially extreme on islands but even on continental landmasses has been severe. As genetic innovations to staple food crops and massive inputs of fossil fuels and nitrogenous fertilizers to agriculture have allowed the cannibal ape to inflate its population over an order of magnitude above the carrying capacity (K) of the biosphere, the Quaternary extinction pulse has picked up pace. Biodiversity is now in free-fall worldwide.

  As species become extinct, the integrity of ecosystems becomes compromised. There is some resiliency built into ecosystem structure, but this resiliency is limited. When ecosystems are stressed by loss of component species, they tend to function somewhat for a time, then suddenly collapse. The collapse of ecosystems results in the loss of ecosystem services upon which life utterly depends. This is just the simple fact of life on the Ocean Planet.

  Some would hold out hope that decline in petroleum production ("peak oil") will mitigate AGW and stave off precipitant ecosystem collapse. But there is plenty of coal left and even if fossil fuel consumption were to decline significantly in the next few decades, positive feedback mechanisms have already been set into motion which will increase AGW for centuries to come. These feedback effects include reduced albedo due to the loss of polar ice, the thawing and decomposition of permafrost, and an UV induced decline in global primary production due to stratospheric O3 reduction.

  With a population over a full order of magnitude in excess of K, ecosystem collapse due to the mass extinction of species will impact human societies hard. Quite likely, many hundreds of millions of people will starve outright. Mass starvation will cause social unrest and resource wars that will likely result in at least regional nuclear exchanges between nations. War, pollution, and famine will facilitate further extinction and ecosystem collapse in an ever widening spiral of decline. Relict populations of the ecocidal ape will likely persist in the Southern Hemisphere for decades or perhaps centuries. One by one these isolated population, beset by unpresidented environmental problems, will wink out until Anthropus ecocidus is completely extinct.

  Is this a "doomer" scenario? Not to me it isn't. Only those locked into some repudiated early 20th century group selectionist mindset care about the fate of their own species. The wellbeing of one's children and grandchildren warrant concern, to the extent they share one's genes, but offspring must fare for themselves as each generation must. In any case, when one's life is over the world ceases to exist so far as one is concerned. Perhaps it's illogical, but my own allegiance and concern transcends my own family, species, nation and times. Biodiversity typically recovers within 10^7 yrs. Once the ecocidal ape is extinct biodiversity will slowly begin to recover, ecosystems will become reestablished and oxidized carbon will gradually become resequestered in reduced form. So there's nothing to worry about, folks.

- darwin's dog, on