Emissions reductions and world energy demand growth

A major obstacle to cutting global CO2 emissions is growth in world energy demand. In this post I examine world energy growth projections from a number of different sources and compare them with the growth trends that will be necessary to meet emissions reductions goals. It goes without saying that there is an enormous gulf between the two. This leaves the world with a stark choice – cut fossil fuel consumption by 80% by 2050 or suffer the consequences of global warming, whatever they may be.

Demand Projections

Energy and electricity consumption projections are published by a number of different sources and expressed in different units, but they all show more or less the same thing – continued growth concentrated in the developing countries, no large increase in renewables and no significant decrease in fossil fuel consumption.

First the US Energy Information Agency. Figure 1 shows EIA’s projections of energy consumption growth in the OECD and non-OECD countries through 2040. The annualized growth rate is 1.2% (note that all growth rates are expressed as annual percentages because the projections cover different time periods). Growth is projected to occur dominantly in the developing countries:

Figure 1: EIA energy consumption projection by OECD/non-OECD country.

Figure 2 shows EIA’s projections of electricity generation growth through 2040 by fuel type (annualized growth rate = 2.0%). The contribution from renewables increases from about 6% to slightly over 10%, but overall the generation mix is not substantially different to what it is now.

Figure 2: EIA electricity consumption projection by fuel type

Figure 3 shows EIA’s annual projections of energy consumption by fuel type. By 2040 renewables still provide less than 5% of the world’s energy demand. Oil, coal and gas continue to dominate.

Figure 3: EIA energy consumption projection by fuel type

Now to the International Energy Agency. Figure 4 shows IEA’s projections of world energy consumption through 2030. The energy mix remains dominated by fossil fuels, with renewables contributing less than 10%. Annualized growth is 1.5%, similar to the 1.2% estimated by EIA, with 83% of it attributable to growth in fossil fuel consumption, as the caption states:

Figure 4: IEA primary energy demand projection by fuel type

Figure 5 shows IEA’s estimates of electricity growth by region. It assumes a small increase in demand in the EU and the US but a large increase in Asia. Annualized growth is 2.7%.

Figure 5: IEA electricity consumption projection by region

Next comes BP. Figure 6 shows BP’s projections of energy consumption through 2035 (BP doesn’t give an electricity projection). It shows substantially the same picture as the EIA (Figure 1), with demand growth concentrated in the non-OECD countries. The annualized growth rate of 1.4% is also comparable to the EIA and IEA estimates:

Figure 6: BP energy consumption projection by country/region

And next we have ExxonMobil, which projects data through 2040. The Exxon data are interesting because they show estimates of energy savings from such things as LED lights. Exxon points out that “demand could have more than doubled without efficiency gains”. Nevertheless, its energy consumption projections look much like everyone else’s (Figure 7), with a major increase in demand in the non-OECD countries, a slight decrease in the OECD countries and an annualized growth rate of 1.4%.

Figure 7: ExxonMobil energy demand projection by country/region

Figure 8 shows Exxon’s electricity growth projections. They are again comparable to everyone else’s, with annualized growth rate of 2.2%.

Figure 8: ExxonMobil electricity demand projection by country/region

Finally we have the European Environmental Agency, which predicts energy consumption by fuel source through 2030 (Figure 9). Again there is no large increase in the contribution of renewables – coal in fact shows the largest increase. The annualized growth rate is 1.4%, comparable to previous estimates.

Figure 9: EEA primary energy projection by fuel type.

In summary, all of the above sources agree:

That over the next few decades world energy consumption will grow at a rate of around 1.5%/year and that world electricity consumption will grow at a rate of between 2% and 3%/year.

• That almost all of the growth will occur in developing (non-OECD) nations, particularly China and India.

• That renewable energy will not expand fast enough to make a significant contribution to emissions reductions.

And none of the projections foresee any large expansion of nuclear generation.

CO2 Emissions Projections

What will be the impact of increased energy consumption on CO2 emissions? Here are two estimates. The first (Figure 10, EIA data) shows emissions staying flat in the OECD countries but increasing in the non-OECD countries through 2040. The combined annualized growth rate is 1.0%, slightly lower than the rate of growth in energy consumption:

Figure 10: EIA CO2 emissions projection by OECD/non-OECD countries

The second projects the quantities and percentages of fossil fuels in the generation mix with other generation sources ignored (Figure 11, again EIA data). The percentage of coal in the mix decreases, natural gas increases and oil stays the same, but the quantity of emissions from all three sources increases. (The annualized growth rate is 1.2%, but this number isn’t robust because other sources are not taken into account.)

Figure 11: EIA fossil fuel CO2 emissions projections by fossil fuel type

And where does this put us relative to the emissions reductions that the Paris Conference was aiming for? Figure 12 puts it in perspective (data from Nature ). Emissions have been tracking the red line and the projections through 2040 maybe fall slightly below it, but we need to be tracking below the yellow 2-2.4C line. Clearly we are nowhere close to the Paris target and have no realistic hope of getting there.

Figure 12: CO2 emissions growth and post-industrial warming projections for different IPCC emissions scenarios (data from Nature)


Figure 13 sums the situation up. It’s not, as one might assume, a “peak oil” plot; it’s based on a projection made by Gail Tverberg in a 2012 post at Our Finite World which shows what the world would have to do to cut its fossil fuel consumption by 80% by 2050, which is roughly what is needed to meet the 2C warming goal:

Figure 13: Gail Tverberg’s projections of energy consumption necessary to achieve an 80% cut in fossil fuel generation by 2050

Figure 14 shows the resulting per-capita energy use. As Gail Tverberg notes: “With the assumptions chosen, the world per capita energy consumption in 2050 is about equal to the world per capita energy consumption in 1905.”

Figure 14: Per-capita energy consumption from Figure 14 data

She goes on to say:

I applied regression analysis to create what I would consider a best-case estimate of future GDP if a decrease in energy supply of the magnitude shown were to take place. The reason I consider it a best-case scenario is because it assumes that the patterns we saw on the up-slope will continue on the down-slope. For example, it assumes that financial systems will continue to operate as today, international trade will continue as in the past, and that there will not be major problems with overthrown governments or interruptions to electrical power. It also assumes that we will continue to transition to a service economy, and that there will be continued growth in energy efficiency.

Based on the regression analysis:

• World economic growth would average a negative 0.59% per year between now and 2050, meaning that the world would be more or less in perpetual recession between now and 2050. Given past relationships, this would be especially the case for Europe and the United States.

• Per capita GDP would drop by 42% for the world between 2010 and 2050, on average. The decrease would likely be greater in higher income countries, such as the United States and Europe, because a more equitable sharing of resources between rich and poor nations would be needed, if the poor nations are to have enough of the basics.

Enough said, I think.

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108 Responses to Emissions reductions and world energy demand growth

  1. What is most remarkable is that, when you mention a given level of GDP (or growth thereof) requires this or that level of energy demand, and hence CO2 emissions, the emission cutters shoot back something like:
    ‘Doesn’t matter, we can just use renewables and/or energy efficiency’

    It doesn’t occur to them that plenty of countries have already tried that, they’ve been trying for two decades now, and they have overwhelmingly failed. The carbon intensity of GDP, meaning how much carbon is emitted per dollar, is of course declining – but it was declining since long before politicians set out to do anything about it. In fact, the slowest rate of decarbonization happened roughly in the 15 years after Kyoto – see how the red line, uhm, flatlines. Surely because of contrarian blogs and the GWPF lobbying the Chinese government to burn more coal…

    (Although not shown here, the red line has picked up the pace again in 2014-15. These years saw global GDP growth of about 3% with little or no emissions growth. Ludicrously, some media outlets interpret this two-year thing as a ‘success’ of climate policies; surely these policies are also to blame for the previous 15 years?)

    The same can be said in a cross-country comparison. Europe for instance has had little growth, or even declines in CO2 emissions in the last 20 years – because its economic growth has been anemic. ‘Climate policies’ cannot be thanked for the emissions decline, unless one wants to argue they caused the low GDP growth.

    The only way to meet those crazy ‘climate goals’ without a recession is to massively, massively increase the rate of decarbonization of GDP, which historically has been 1-2% a year; it would have to be about 5% a year. Since there is no way to do it, and the only way that comes close (a carbon tax) is despised in favor of regulations, well, there is not much more to say.

  2. Jan Steinman says:

    Gonna start a buggy-whip business! Ye ha!

  3. David Ellard says:

    The article throughout refers to CO2 emissions but is in fact I think referring only to the products of combustion (of hydrocarbons). But there is another process which puts CO2 in the atmosphere – respiration. Humans have caused increases in respiration rates not only because there are more of us around breathing out CO2, but there are also billions of our domestic animals doing the same plus lots of other respiring organisms that depend on our beneficience (rats, cockroaches, potato blight fungus…).

    The net total of anthropogenic respiration is very difficult to calculate but may well be comparable in size to combustion – my best guess is that it is about half. If that is correct then it implies that, even if tomorrow all hydrocarbon burning magically ceased, CO2 levels in the atmosphere would simply stabilise at their current levels.

    The only way to reduce these CO2 ‘emissions’ would be to (1) convert the whole of mankind to a vegetarian/vegan diet (thus wiping out farmed animals) and then (2) reduce human populations.

    • Willem Post says:


      I agree.

      Some biologists/ecologists, such as Watson, have been warming us for decades, but we are too busy listening. I made a prior comment regarding ruminant emissions.

      The ruminant emissions is a consequence of the world’s population being in out-of-control growth mode for at least 200 years. That growth and the abundant availability of fossil fuels since 1800, have greatly increased electricity and heat generation, agriculture, industry, transportation, etc., which in turn increased the world’s CO2 equivalent emissions.

      Since 1800, CO2 and methane emissions have increased from:

      – The human population. See below table.
      – Domestic animals; cows, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, pets, etc.
      – Rats, cockroaches, potato blight funguses, etc., which depend for their existence on mankind and its support systems.

      There is no solution to this trend, except to very significantly reduce the world’s population and have the remaining people reduce their energy consumption per capita by at least 4 times (the level of 1800) and consumption of other resources by at least 15 times (the level of 1800). This should not significantly affect living standards, because, at present, energy and other resources are used much more efficiently than in 1800.

      Those measures would enable maintaining at least 50% of the world in pristine condition, so the world’s fauna and flora could re-establish itself to a semblance of its former glory. The present, locust-type devouring of the world by humans, their animals and other support systems, is a major aberration, and clearly should not continue. See below table.

      1800 0.978 billion
      1900 1.650 billion
      2012 7.052 billion
      2016 7.400 billion
      2050 9.725 billion

      World Wild Area Destruction: Here is a recent article regarding the destruction of the world’s wild areas.

      Click on the dark blue in the first paragraph of the above article to obtain the full text in below URL.

      “By 2009, about 23% of Earth’s land remained as wilderness—about 30.1 million square kilometers spread mostly across North America, North Asia, North Africa, and Australia, they conclude today in Current Biology. That’s 3.3 million square kilometers less than in 1993, an area about twice the size of Alaska—Watson says.

      South America has lost almost 30% of its wilderness in that time and Africa has lost 14%. The losses included the total devastation of several large swaths of forest and swamp in the Congo and in New Guinea.”

      Very significant population reduction, much less consumption, and setting aside at least 50% of the world as pristine areas is required to preserve and protect the remaining fauna and flora. That should have a much greater priority than RE systems, such as wind turbine and solar panel build-outs, etc. By the time all those RE systems would be built, the world’s wild areas would be gone, and there would be 10 billion people.

      • Willem Post says:


        Population reduction has to come first.

        All else, such as transitioning to being vegans, and reducing energy/capita and other resources/capita, will follow.

        • Willem Post says:


          Here are some population numbers.

          Maintaining at least 50% – 80% of the world in pristine condition is needed, so the world’s fauna and flora could re-establish itself to a semblance of its former glory.

          The present, locust-type devouring of the world by humans, their animals and other support systems, is a major aberration, and clearly should not continue. See below table.

          8000 BC 0.005 billion
          4000 BC 0.007 billion
          2000 BC 0.027 billion
          1 0.200 billion
          1000 0.400 billion
          1800 1.000 billion
          1900 1.650 billion
          2000 6.127 billion
          2015 7.349 billion
          2050 9.725 billion

          World Wild Area Destruction: Here is a recent article regarding the destruction of the world’s wild areas.

          Click on the dark blue in the first paragraph of the above article to obtain the full text in below URL.

          “By 2009, about 23% of Earth’s land remained as wilderness—about 30.1 million square kilometers spread mostly across North America, North Asia, North Africa, and Australia, they conclude today in Current Biology. That’s 3.3 million square kilometers less than in 1993, an area about twice the size of Alaska—Watson says.

          South America has lost almost 30% of its wilderness in that time and Africa has lost 14%. The losses included the total devastation of several large swaths of forest and swamp in the Congo and in New Guinea.”

          Very significant population reduction, much less consumption, and setting aside at least 50% – 80% of the world as pristine areas is required to preserve and protect the remaining fauna and flora.

          That should have a much greater priority than RE systems, such as wind turbine and solar panel build-outs, etc. By the time all those RE systems would be built, the world’s wild areas would be gone, and there would be 10 billion people.

    • gweberbv says:


      could you support your estimate with some numbers? To be correct, the amount of CO2 emitting biomass must have increased over time. But to feed all this creatures, also the amount of plants must have increased, right?

    • Euan Mearns says:

      David respiration from human society is basically based on agriculture where we add a little fertliser and pesticide made from oil to the soil and harvest a vast amount of crops that have taken CO2 from the atmosphere and converted it to carbohydrate. We then take the carbohydrate and convert it back to CO2 and methane. Are you sure this is a large net contributor to atmospheric CO2?

  4. The problem with your analysis is that you rely on the UN study which is full of errors. CO2 has very little to do with Climate Change or so Called Global Warming. have studied this problem for two years and have built a good reference on this subject. t can be found on http://TheWorldEnergyDilemma.com. I think it is the biggest scientific hoax of all times.

    • Willem Post says:


      The real issue is the other fauna and flora.

      Is mankind going to further destroy their habitats, or let them have at least 50 – 80% of the world in pristine condition so they can survive and thrive?

      Once that decision is made, many things become obvious.

      This is not about saving the world.

      The world has been around about 4 BILLION years. Mankind has been around in significant numbers for about 5000 years.

      Mankind has been destroying the world in about 150 years, thanks to the fossil fuel inheritance.

      All else is BS.

    • singletonengineer says:

      Lou, the subject has been studied for 150 years.

      What distinguishes your two years of climate study from the many other, much longer climate studies?

      What superior resources and new knowledge have you drawn on? Surely, not just 58 years in the oil and gas extraction industry!

      • My studies of two years has been intense in that I’ve read many books and articles on the subject and arrived at is best supported by the facts as presented by reputable men and women who have been associated with the subject for decades.

        In reference to my comments about the UN’s latest report by Dr. Alan Carlin: Dr. Alan Carlin a 78 year old Analyst and economist who has his PHD in Economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and B.S. in Physics from the California Institute of Technology. He has written several articles and books. Including the latest “Environmentalism Gone Mad .”

        Carlin worked as an economist at the Rand Corporation from 1963 to 1971.[2] From 1971 to 1974, Carlin was Director of the Implementation Research Division of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He was a Senior Operations Research Analyst at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), from 1974 to 2010. During this period Carlin “carried out or supervised over a hundred policy-related studies on climate change, pollutant assessment, energy economics and development, environmental economics, transportation economics, benefit-cost analysis, and economic development.”[4] He lists 39 publications he personally prepared.[5] In 2010, Carlin retired from his work as a Senior Operations Research Analyst at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

        Dr. Carlin recently E mailed me the following “ Obviously, I am sympathetic to your views. There is no reason to regulate or tax the use of fossil fuels. And the CO2 reductions proposed are counterproductive and will have no measurable effects on global temperatures.” You can read what he says about The UN study by tapping on the following link:


        “New Report Definitively Shows UN CAGW Hypothesis and IPCC Reports Invalid and Thus CPP and Paris Treaty Total Wastes” by Dr. Alan Calin

    • Euan Mearns says:

      I think Roger might agree.

    • 1saveenergy says:

      Your book of work memoirs at $58.65 dates from 2012 ;
      I went on Amazon to read the rave reviews, there aren’t any…. in fact after 4 years there aren’t any reviews !

      Having scanned the index most of the technical / historical info it contains can probably be found with a quick Google search.

      You say “have studied this problem for two years and have built a good reference on this subject.”

      Many contributors on this & other sites have studied this problem for a lifetime & are happy to give any/all info, references & time freely; I understand as an ex-paid consultant that maybe a bit of a shock to you. (at $58.65 / copy you’ve got a neat pension plan).

      • Gene says:

        Dear tsaveenergy:

        I challenge you to produce a better publicly available geological/engieering technical description of the Saudi Arabian oil reservoirs and oil fields than contained in the relative secttions of Lou Powers book. Lou Power’s book is the book you were so quick to disparage. Yet your comments are so wrong and off the wall that it makes me doubt if you have ever read the book. I would like to ask you to tell me how I can acquire a publication on Saudi Arabian Oil Fields that describes the Saudi Oil Fields better than in Lou Powers book. Lou Power’s experience in Saudi Arabia as Chief Engineer for Aramco qualifies him as an expert on the subject.

  5. Aslangeo says:


    It does seem odd that all the forecasters, EIA, IEA, BP, Exxon have come up with essentially identical models, which are basically business as usual on the technology front, growth in Asia due to catching up with the west, stasis in the OECD and some growth in the middle east due to expanding populations

    however if we listen to the noise from the proponents of renewable energy, fossil fuels are on the way out and hydrocarbons are stranded assets.

    are there any other alternative forecasts , non mainstream but respected which show different scenarios. my feeling is that the energy system is so complex that replacing it would potentially take two generations, Shell are talking about the energy transition but realise that the issue is complex and at the moment non predictable

    for example I did a basic calculation as to how long it would take electric cars to replace the internal combustion engine. At a doubling of market share from the existing 1% (i,e 2% in year 2, 4% in year 3 etc) it would take 8 years for all new cars to be electric. The average British vehicle has a 14 year lifespan so it would take about 20 years for all cars to transition to being electric

    non hydrocarbons would only take the main energy burden with significant technical advances and people weather in the OECD or the developing world are not going to give up their hard won lifestyles

    • Jan Steinman says:

      are there any other alternative forecasts

      How about ASPO?

      I don’t know that they actually have “alternative forecasts,” but I would think they could point you at some!

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Note the post is by Roger not me. All the different agencies start off with a population growth assumption, an economic growth assumption and an energy intensity assumption. And all then reach the same conclusion. The realist economists doing this work know that we will still be using coal in 2040.

      The strange thing is that different branches of these agencies have such widely divergent views of the energy world. The reality that is presented here by Roger. And the fantasy presented by national governments and the IPCC.

      Where is the electricity to come from to power the global fleet of electric cars?

      • Aslangeo says:

        Euan – sorry did not notice the byline

        My main point is that all the agencies have virtually identical forecasts- I guess that if you start with the same assumptions on population, GDP growth, energy/GDP ratios (which are actually fairly constant) etc you will end up in the same place

        what I was really wondering was if any mainstream forecaster had produced an alternative model with either less energy or less fossil fuel usage

        I agree with you about the electric car extra demand satisfaction problem – It would be really great if you or Roger had a go at estimating this


        • Willem Post says:

          What you are hoping for is an authoritative fairy tale, which the RE folks are eager to provide.

          Two generations? More like 5, i.e.,100 years, because, the transition would need to be made with increasingly more expensive energy and other resources.

          Tar is a waste product of refineries. Add aggregate and you have asphalt. No fossil fuels, no asphalt.

          Back to concrete roads, as in the 40s and 50s? Making concrete is energy intensive. Making it with wind and solar energy makes it expensive.

          Back to dirt roads all over the world for 10 plus billion people, and about 2 billion vehicles?

          I predict, world economic growth soon will come to a grinding halt, and then it will gradually go negative.

          Refugees are plentiful now, but their number will rapidly increase in the near future.

          • Willem Post says:


            This Harvard Business School study shows, US productivity growth has steadily decreased from 4.0% in 1951 to 0.4% in 2016.

            US median household real incomes, steadily increasing from 1975 to 1999, have steadily decreased since about 1999.

            That means, various groups will be fighting to grab their piece of the increasingly smaller annual US GDP addition, due to still existing, but decreasing productivity growth.

            As a result, the lower 30% – 40% of US households have had DECREASING real incomes, while real prices of their goods and services, such as of education, healthcare, taxes, fees and surcharges, have been increasing, i.e., less and lower quality of almost everything.

            That means their standard of living has been decreasing, a reverse of the American Dream.

            That same process has happened in Europe, Japan, Africa, south and middle America, etc., and soon will be happening in East Asia.

            That means, WGP growth will level off, and start decreasing during this decade.

            That means more world strife, riots, wars, and more refugees, while the world’s population will still be increasing for decades.

            Saving the world with RE build-outs under such a scenario?

        • are there any other alternative forecasts , non mainstream but respected which show different scenarios?

          Here are the IPCC’s projections of future CO2 emissions – basically estimates of future fossil fuel consumption – for a range of different population growth, energy growth and technology growth scenarios through 2100. Take your pick:

          • Willem Post says:


            That graph deserves to be updated.

            I think world gross product decline, from present levels, will start this decade.

            Various constraints will drive it that way.

            RE, as a percent, will continue to play its minor role, as the world will not have the resources to enable it to play a bigger role.

            Just track world RE investments, versus what would be required for a bigger RE role.

            The Paris ratification, if it occurs, will be a paper performance.

    • gweberbv says:


      it may well be that the growth of renewables is (again) underestimated in these projections. However, in the end (=year 2040) this will not make a big difference as only the electricity sector is affected.
      For the cars we are now in a situation that maybe in 2 to 3 years we will have decent electric cars with a price tag of roughly 35000 bucks. This will have a huge impact in the market for luxury cars. But on a global scale most people are not willing to spend more than 10000 to 20000 bucks on their car. And the private car market is only a portion of the total ICE vehicle sector. Quite severe things need to happen for development that is significantly different from what is presented above.

      • Leo Smith says:

        Obviously the world supply of good smokables has locally increased in your area.

      • Willem Post says:

        Make a simple spreadsheet with world production of past EV units/y, assume some growth rates, input existing world light duty vehicles, about 1 billion, and see how many years it would take for the EV population to be 10% of total population.

        Then make a comment.

  6. Phil Jones says:

    OK, accepting that we’re all doomed, what can I do for my family (and others) to protect them from the continuing effects of warming?

    Where should we live? What sort of accommodation should we construct? What should our lifestyle be?

    • Jan Steinman says:

      OK, accepting that we’re all doomed, what can I do for my family (and others) to protect them from the continuing effects of warming?

      Hoo boy, did you ever just open up a can of worms!

      Welcome to the neo-enlightenment.

      Where should we live?

      If asking the question means you have choices, congratulations! Many people have family, jobs, businesses, etc. that tie them to a sub-optimal location.

      That said, a strong community and social structure certainly will have increasing value in an uncertain, more-localized future. Sometimes, the best place to go is where you are.

      I’d stay away from deserts, which are going to expand. If a place “sometimes” has water problems now, it will “always” have water problems in the future. This means most of the southern US is probably not the best place to make a stand.

      The “isolation vs community” issue needs to be explored. To me, it’s a tough sell to want to surround yourself with millions of people, but I’m sure some city folk can’t comprehend why one might want to be away from all those people. Suffice to say that food will become more dear. Do you want to be where a lot of people are competing for food, or off someplace where you might be able to grow your own without too much security?

      (You can google for maps that show the expected impact of global warming.)

      We chose a medium-sized island in southwest Canada for a variety of reasons. First, the global warming models predict minimal impact here, with sea-influenced temperatures not going up too much and precipitation remaining fairly steady, albeit even more “season-shifted,” with dryer summers and wetter winters. We’re preparing with earthworks, and already have access to a 50 megalitre reservoir while we build an interlocked system of smaller ponds and swales.

      An island has certain other attractions. If the excrement is applied to the ventilator, it will be nice to have a moat to thwart the hoards of starving zombies. On the other hand, people currently have to add ~$40 to the price of anything they buy at Mall*Wart, due to the ferry, and so people tend to do business with each other, rather than shop big-box stores. Social bonds tend to be rich and deep on an island.

      An “island” is more of a concept than a body of land surrounded by water. A smallish community that is several hours from the nearest big-box store is very much like an island, whereas a true island with a bridge to a population centre is rather useless as an “enforced locality.”

      What sort of accommodation should we construct?

      Look for durability, ease of maintenance, and independence from services. We do “natural building,” using clay, straw, timber, and re-used windows, doors, and fixtures. If something pokes a hole in your wall, you don’t go to the lumber yard for something made in China, you go dig some clay and fix it!

      Shared-wall co-housing will make maximum heating and cooling efficiency. The “tiny home” revolution is clinging to the notion of independence, which must yield to inter-dependence soon.

      What should our lifestyle be?

      You mention “warming,” but not the other 800-pound guerilla in the room: resource depletion, notably fossil fuels. I think this will have a much greater near-term impact than global warming.

      So seek out a minimum-energy life-style, one in which you produce as much of your own food as you possibly can. Seek out an age-diverse community, and if you are getting up in years, make yourself invaluable to young people. Retirement systems, necessarily based on limitless growth, are going to start breaking down soon. If you’re young, seek out elders to hang out with — if you’re open, you might learn a lot! Also, the elders are the ones who can afford the farmland that young, strong backs need in order to eat.

      “Rugged individualism” is soon to be a thing of the past. Make life-style choices based on local inter-dependence.

      At least, this is what we’ve been working toward over the past 20 years or so — but we could use some help!

      • Javier says:

        On the other hand, as most predictions from AGW hypothesis have turned out to be wrong, and we are getting less temperature increase and less sea level rise than predicted, it may turn out that the future we have been described is false and climate is just fine and nice as it has been for many decades. In which case whatever you do you might be taking the wrong decision, and ignoring climate change as most people do is the smart thing.

        • Jan Steinman says:

          most predictions from AGW hypothesis have turned out to be wrong, and we are getting less temperature increase and less sea level rise than predicted

          You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

          • A C Osborn says:

            Yes and he has the Facts on his side.
            All you have is the opinions of Climate Scientists based on Computer models.

          • Jan Steinman says:

            he has the Facts on his side.

            Y’mean, like the past 15 months have all been the hottest on record?

            Or were you thinking more of the past two years have the lowest Arctic sea ice on record?

            My guess is that neither of you have actually researched the evidence of human-caused global warming.

            All you have is the opinions of Climate Scientists based on Computer models.

            Woa, I don’t even know how to respond to that.

            Rocket scientists use “computer models” to fire probes at distant planets. Immunologists use “computer models” to determine what precautions you should take to avoid certain diseases. Automotive scientists use “computer models” to figure out how best to keep you from dying should some drunk steer into your lane at high speed.

            Are these useful? Or is it “Climate Scientists” you distrust, rather than “computer models?”

          • Javier says:

            the past 15 months have all been the hottest on record

            Without El Niño we would probably still be in a 20 year long pause in warming despite 25% of all anthropogenic emissions for that period. Not exactly predicted by those models.

            the past two years have the lowest Arctic sea ice on record?

            The past 10 years have seen no decrease in Arctic sea ice. We are at 2007 levels or above. Not exactly predicted by those models.

            My guess is that neither of you have actually researched the evidence of human-caused global warming.

            I researched it quite thoroughly, thank you, and I found it lacking. Perhaps enough to convince you. I require evidence, not model outputs and scary stories.

          • Jan Steinman says:

            We must live on different planets. Or perhaps I just don’t pay attention to Faux News enough.

          • A C Osborn says:

            I would say that 13 years of researching the DATA is long enough.
            Whereas you appear to be just listening to Media Soundbytes. Your second link goes no where.
            The so called hottest 15 Months on record only applies to the much adjusted data and not the Satellite data.
            Do you honestly think the Arctic Sea Ice has not been lower than it is currently.
            Perhaps you would like to explain how Global Warming means more Sea Ice in the Antarctic.

          • Leo Smith says:

            You pay too MUCH attention to faux news.

            Lemme guess. You listen to the BBC and read the Guardian…

          • Jan Steinman says:

            You listen to the BBC and read the Guardian…

            Are these what they call “teevee shows?” I’ve never owned a TV.

            My information comes primarily from peer-reviewed scientific papers, and books by and personal correspondence with atmospheric scientists, a near-consensus of whom agree on such matters.

            That’s not to say outliers should be ignored. But if 1% of physicists say gravity doesn’t exist, it behooves one to not personally test that theory by jumping out a 30th floor window.

            That is what humanity is doing with AGW. 99% of the people who know the most about the topic agree, but humanity insists on jumping out that window to see for itself.

            Anyway, it’s been fun, the same way that poking a bug with a stick and watching it react exactly the same way every time is fun for a bit, but then becomes boring. So I’m outa here.

            “Never argue with an idiot. A bystander can’t tell the difference.” — Mark Twain

          • A C Osborn says:

            He is correct WE couldn’t tell the difference.

    • Temperatures in temperate zones in the Northern Hemisphere decrease by about 0.7C per degree of latitude as we go north, meaning that you can offset two degrees of warming simply by moving three degrees north. So if we get two degrees of global warming and you live in Los Angeles you can enjoy the temperatures you have become accustomed to by relocating to San Francisco; in Canada you can do it by relocating from Toronto to Montreal and in UK by relocating from London to the Scottish Border. And if we get four degrees of global warming you could always consider Aberdeen.

  7. keith harrison says:

    Oh Phil, take a pill!

  8. Rob Slightam says:

    insulate your house to the max, live on a bus route, eat less meat and hope your kids make a better fist of it than we have

  9. Gaznotprom says:

    Really is about the implementation of Agenda 21, 2030 et all.

    Negative growth, de-industrialisation, energy & food rationing, re-wilding of the wilderness, connecting ‘smart’ (meaning ‘controlled’ cities) via High Speed (HS…) trains, control, control, control… Absolute no autonomy for the general public to run their lives…

    The climate change racket – (tend to agree with Louis) that co2 is the mythical monster that suits the powers that be to implement ALL the above – pick something that intertwines with all aspects of human existance and aim to control it…

    Thank Roger & esp Euan for your great site – love it!

    • Willem Post says:


      Anything high speed, i.e., energy intensive, likely will become obsolete in the future.

      Walk and bicycle.

      Live in a small northern community where you can walk to things.

      Have about 2 acres to grow most of your food.

      Recycle. Make your own compost.

      Barter with others to prevent giving it away in taxes so the government can support the yo-yos.

      • Jan Steinman says:

        YAY! The WordPress comments section seriously needs a “thumbs up” button.

        There will be three types of people in the future: 1) the super-wealthy, who will command others to grow food for them, 2) those who can supply a lot of their own food, and 3) the hungry.

        Feeling lucky enough to be behind Door Number One? If not, you’d better start working to not being behind Door Number Three.

    • Simon cove says:

      We live on a finite planet. Something has to give regardless of the CO2 question. Eventually it has to give. You either control this via economic markets that must take into account the contribution of the natural world or control via regulation (right or left wing solutions). These are political choices and come secondary to the laws of physics ref the finiteness.

      • Javier says:

        Perhaps that something has already given and we haven’t noticed. We seem to live in a post-normal world with a post-normal economy since 2008.

        • Simon cove says:

          Extinction rate at the highest level it had been for millions or hundreds of thousands of years. Biodiversity is priceless. Various agencies like Kew gardens are saving a hundred thousand seeds just in case one of our major crops gets hit by a virus eg wheat. The plant likely will increase from 7 billion to 10 billion by 2050. Likely major fauna eg elephants will get driven out. Blue fin tuna and many shark species vastly reduced etc etc.

          There is only so much previous metals and fossil fuels limited by energy required to obtain them even if not co2 emissions. In certain areas of China they used so much pesticide this year they had to pollinate by hand!? 15 billion people at western levels of consumption I doubt would leave much left for anything else.

          1 billion people have barely access to running water – the 2008 thing is small beer to them…

          • Euan Mearns says:

            Global population is following a logistic curve, will peak around 2050 and then decline. This will cause serious problems for human society, but you seem to be oblivious to any of these.

            Since extinction rate is so high, can you please provide a list of the last 100 well known species to go extinct?


          • Simon cove says:

            Euan, why bother challenging me on this one? It is obvious that big fauna are under threat and anecdotally everyone knows there are less butterflies and insects about in the UK. Non anecdotally


            Yes population likely will peak at 2050 and I imagine you are referring to the economic issues of an aging population will cause problems but a zika wheat infection may cause more trouble than that and sooner although I doubt it. Eroding the biodiversity banks via extinction makes the whole world poorer. You can get that diversity back or not for millions of years.

            I can give you the answer you crave as many species are not even known about so if they have gone extinct none will ever know. However the rate is measured to be very high.

            PS I don’t disagree that after 2050 there may be population issues but this is also an issue.

          • Javier says:


            Since 1500 we have lost 61 mammal species, 3 of them in continents and 58 in islands and Australia. And we have lost 129 bird species, 6 of them in continents and 126 in islands and Australia.

            The main cause of extinction appears to have been introduction of invasive species (including man) within island (or isolated Australia) ecosystems after millions of years of separation. It is thus unlikely to take place again in the foreseeable future.

            These extinctions took place with the expansion of Europeans in several rounds, peaking in 1900 and going down since.

            On the continents we have lost 3 mammal species out of 4,428, and 6 bird species out of 8,971.

            Rates of species loss is 0.2/year for mammals plus birds.

            Regarding fish, according to IUCN Redlist query:

            It lists 65 fish (actinopterygii) as extinct in the last 500 years.
            They list several orders with more than one species:

            24 cypriniformes (freshwater)
            14 Cyprinodontiformes (freshwater)
            8 Perciformes (all aquatic ecosystems)
            13 salmoniformes (all spawn in fresh water)
            3 siluriformes (freshwater)

            Do you start to see a theme? Let’s zoom into the 8 Perciformes species:

            Ctenochromis pectoralis (freshwater, not extinct according to Wikipedia)
            Etheostoma sellare (freshwater)
            Ptychochromis onilahy (freshwater)
            Ptychochromoides itasy (freshwater, not extinct according to Wikipedia)
            Tristramella intermedia (freshwater)
            Tristramella magdelainae (freshwater)
            Tristramella sacra (freshwater)
            Xystichromis bayoni (freshwater)

            Of the 65 fish species listed as extinct, 65 are freshwater species (or freshwater spawn). That’s a 100%

            Our biggest problem is habitat destruction, resource appropriation, and contamination. All of them related to excess population. Climate change if anything is a small factor, but several studies where they have looked at entire ecosystems indicate that climate change is helping more species than it is harming. Most birds for example appear to be doing better in Europe with the notable exception of long range migratory birds, because there is no conservation in many places in Asia and Africa.

            Perhaps the 6th mass extinction refers to microorganisms. Nobody is keeping lists of those.

          • Euan Mearns says:

            Simon, you’re right. I guess I may have taken your comment out of context thinking you were talking about CO2, CC and extinction. I’m much more concerned by Man’s other activities leading to degradation of eco systems. And I do, for example, believe it is folly to close down a coal fired power station if this leads to deforestation else where. Overall I think CC has far too high prominence in environmental concern where some much more pressing issues are simply being ignored.

            Thank you Javier for the informative post.

          • Simon cove says:

            Hi Euan

            No worries. I’m very concerned about man’s activities. I mean the biodiversity stuff is frightening – just the fact we have obtained many medicines from plant products and proteins. Computer simulation of drugs is improving but computers still tend to (as I understand it) alter what is there. Plants have bizarre molecular structures that are difficult to just make up. I guess the planet and millions of years are a pretty big laboratory. Shame to be losing swathes of it! They have been trying to make spider silk for years as it’s a miracle material but can’t do it yet.

            I’m not as sure about CC. I mean I read these posts and agree that the models are not accurate enough and there is less warning than predicted… Then I think back to the 70’s and 80’s and remember cold frosty winters and spring and other seasons. You know something weird is is in the air when the fashion industry have stopped making seasonal clothes…? Spring coming earlier every year biologically. 10 degrees centigrade mid January this year or last!?. Are insects (which used to plaster my parents car windscreen on a daily basis as a boy and now hardly ever) declining due to pesticides, habitat loss or CC? I honestly don’t know.

            I applaud all who are trying to work this stuff out – you guys and the IPCC and all else. I meant to reply to robero06 that while I am not sure that I totally believe the barrier reef is in as much trouble as the papers say…I am also unsure whether these huge bleaching episodes are 100% natural phenomena either. The Australian tourist board seem to insist all is fine. I suspect that it is somewhere in between ie the reef can take a hammering but if you hit it too hard and too often… However I must try to find time to research this last aspect properly as opposed to speculating – this site is too well read for that!!

          • Euan Mearns says:

            We had frost in Scotland this August. It is all down to the configuration of the polar Jet Stream and what controls that.

          • Simon cove says:

            Well I cannot at all disagree with what you post. How on earth is one to make any sense of it when either the papers or the scientists are making it up? It’s good news and I agree that the length of timescale is important 5% in an el mini may or may not be normal range etc. There are so many alleged incidents that occur it is very difficult to find the truth. Apologies for alarmism

          • A C Osborn says:

            There have always been extinctions in the past.
            Man has brought about or nearly brought about some based on beliefs in mystic powers of “animal bits” or just plain old ground clearance, like for instance Palm Oil & Bio Ethanol etc ie so called Green initiatives that are anything but Green..
            However what you don’t here anyone talking about is all the new species still being found.
            So bio diversitylosses are not happening as quickly as some like to make out.

          • Ed says:

            Euan, a logistic curve does not go down; ever. A logistic curve is basically “s” shaped. I’m sure I have corrected you on the difference between a logistic curve and a Gaussian curve before.

            Population will follow a Gaussian curve (bell shaped) and could very well touch the x-axis (population=0 line)

          • Euan Mearns says:

            OK, thanks Ed. I checked on the internet and you seem to be correct. But somehow my son wrote me an equation for resource depletion that is a logistic bell curve. But its no big deal. The important observation at present is that the rate of growth of human population is slowing and on current trajectory is due to peak some time mid-century. This is going to cause all sorts of problems to pensions, welfare and the economy.

          • Jan Steinman says:

            Perhaps confused with the “logistics equation,” which can create graphs with phase reversals and even dip to origin.

            It is used for modelling predator-prey relationships, famously used for describing Snowshoe Hare and Canada Lynx populations. In my senior Ecology class many years ago, I used it for modelling human (predator) and petroleum (prey) relationships, and besides showing periods of steadiness punctuated by periods of chaos, it did eventually drop to zero, with both the predator and prey “extinct.”

            Of course, that was a vastly simplified model, and it could never happen in the “real world,” right? Right?

        • Willem Post says:


          Combined creation of phantom money by central banks has been well over $6 trillion, and the world economy is no longer growing as before.

          No new phantom efforts will not be made, because the present ones did not work as expected.

          That means other factors are headwinds to growth, which, IMHO, will cause future GWP to shrink this decade, while world population is still increasing.

          Those trends will produce more strife, and more refugees.

          The Middle East, with decades of grossly excessive population growth, is just one affected area

  10. 1saveenergy says:

    “a stark choice – cut fossil fuel consumption by 80% by 2050 or suffer the consequences of global warming,”

    Only if you are assuming Human CO2 is the main driving force of global warming.
    Where’s the empirical (not muddled model) data to support that ??

    We have an average temperature rise 1659 – 2015 = 0.028°C/Decade
    1966 – 2015 = 0.197°C/Decade slope …. ‘Attributed to rising CO2’ [310 to 400ppm ]

    Now, please explain the cause of the 1690 – 1735 = 0.402°C/Decade slope (~ twice the present rise), when CO2 was only a steady 275ppm.

    The Warming trends, °C/Decade temperature graph –

    The CO2 levels 1700 – 2014 : https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/wp-content/plugins/sio-bluemoon/graphs/co2_800k_zoom.png

  11. Pingback: Emissions reductions and world energy demand growth – Olduvai.ca

  12. Simon cove says:

    Ac osbourne. We are allegedly losing species at 1000 times faster than’natural’ background. Think of all those penicillin’s being lost… It’s not a great legacy at all. Superbugs on the increase. It’s not great and also a conscious decision


    • A C Osborn says:

      I have a simple question for you.
      How do you think they established the “natural background” you mention and over how long a period?
      There have mass extinctions in the past, thousands of times higher than today.
      The world is still here though.
      There have been posts on here about it before and as Roger said then “show us the bodies”.
      Have you looked at those posts?
      ps the GBR bleaching was a complete and utter fabrication, it was not bleached 93%, more like 5%.

      • Willem Post says:


        “Fossil Fuels & later Nuclear have helped to reverse that situation”

        No, they made it far worse.

        Look at GWP and population growth before and after 1800.

        The difference is night and day.

        Before 1800, it was a biomass-for-energy world, after it became a fossil fuel-for-energy world.

        Worldwide fossil is still 78% of total energy consumption, almost unchanged for the past FOUR years.

        The latter has been orders of magnitude greater and MORE DAMAGING to the environment and to the flora and fauna.

        • Jan Steinman says:
          Fossil Fuels & later Nuclear have helped to reverse that situation

          No, they made it far worse.

          There is a bit of truth to AC’s assertion, William.

          The switch to fossil sunlight allowed North American forests to recover and to be protected, between ~1850 and ~2000. If it weren’t for fossil sunlight, our burgeoning population would have left North America like Scotland, the Peloponnesian Peninsula, or the Tigres/Euphates delta.

          “Civilization is preceded by forests, and followed by desert.” — David Holmgren

          But the trend has been reversing, with fossil sunlight now being used to destroy forests faster than ever before. The two-man buck saw is more than adequately replaced with the chain saw. Fossil sunlight first supplanted biomass energy from forests, but then became the vehicle for its destruction as forest products became more valuable than biomass energy. This can’t continue!

          Another case in point: the invention of kerosene probably kept humans from extirpating wales, whose oil was used to light our cities prior to widespread use of fossil sunlight.

          But with any admission that fossil sunlight has been occasionally useful for limiting our impact on the rest of the world comes the realization that it won’t be so for very much longer.

          • Willem Post says:

            About 5 AC, the Romans arrived in the Netherlands, which was almost entirely covered with trees and swamps.

            The trees were mostly gone and the swamps were mostly drained by around 1700.

            The Dutch had to import wood to build ships, etc.

            Sure, fossil fuels interrupted further deforestation and whale killing, but population growth erased those benefits.

            At present, the population is devouring the world like a horde of locusts. At some point that plague will subside.

        • A C Osborn says:

          If it had carried on without fossil fuels there would be no Forests in Europe or the USA and no Whales in the seas.
          Life expectancy would still be around 45-50 years.
          We have had these discussions before, you just want to reduce the population of humans to “save Gaia”.
          I want to bring every human’s living standard up to ours, because wealth stabalises the population growth.
          We will never agree.

          • Willem Post says:

            What you want is irrelevant.

            The present population is devouring the world and its flora and fauna, like a horde of locusts.

            Empowering more of that population to get involved with the devouring is completely impossible, and still have a flora and fauna that is surviving and thriving.

            God commanded us to be stewards, not destroyers.

    • Javier says:

      Simon Cove,

      You say well, allegedly, because nobody has a clue about the rate of species lost, not the present one, nor the past ones. When you ask to see the body count for such 1000 times rate of extinction the answer is a blank stare. You just have to trust what they say because they do not have a list of species lost that justifies such rates.

      Another problem is that species are not clearly visible in the fossil record, so extinctions are measured in rate of genre lost, and then we have a problem because nobody knows that we have lost any genre in the past 500 years.

      Some scientists are making calls to have some common sense, but their calls are falling on deaf ears as the media is all over the mass extinction meme and some scientists love attention.

      Nature 516, 158–161 2014
      Biodiversity: Life ­– a status report
      Species are disappearing quickly — but researchers are struggling to assess how bad the problem is.
      Richard Monastersky
      “Nature pulled together the most reliable available data to provide a graphic status report of life on Earth…
      One simple way to project into the future would be to assume that the rate of extinction will be constant; it is currently estimated to range from 0.01% to 0.7% of all existing species a year…
      At the upper rate, thousands of species are disappearing each year. If that trend continues, it could lead to a mass extinction — defined as a loss of 75% of species — over the next few centuries…
      At the low end of the estimated range, a mass extinction would not happen for thousands of years.”

      Do not believe what you read in the newspapers. Go to the scientific papers.

      We track almost every mammal and bird species and their rate of extinction is only about 0.2 per year. Most years no mammal or bird species go extinct. So it does not feel at all as a mass extinction. That is why most scientists don’t believe a mass extinction is taking place.

      What is really shocking is the disconnect between science and the general public due to the negative influence of the MSM, even of things that anybody can check. Both the IUCN Red list and the CREO list can be queried by anybody. Go there and check by yourself how many mammal and bird species are we losing every year, and see if that rate can sustain a mass extinction.

      I can do the calculations for you:
      0.2/year = 20/century
      Number of mammals + birds species = 15372
      Time to extinct 75% at current rate 15372 x 0.75 / 20 = 576 centuries
      It would take 57 thousand years to cause a mass extinction of mammals and birds at current rates. Obviously in that time you get new species.

      • Simon cove says:

        Javier, I’m all in favour of what you say. Go to the scientific papers etc. However, in your heart of hearts do you really believe that the world flora and fauna is flourishing? I Know it is tough to measure and vital that we do so in order to make informed judgements but surely you can’t believe that this is a period of increasing biodiversity? I mean most UK people are paving their gardens to park their cars. Habitat is being destroyed. If not decreased biodiversity then there must be reduced biomass of species compared to 200 years ago? I read your posts and respect your opinions and you know more than me no doubt… But, I find it hard to believe the world biodiversity is in a purple patch and improving. Surely, the mega fauna are not improving unless you know something i don’t? Also as you likely know, the complexity of the trophic chains is important and deserves respect? By this I mean it does not take much to upset the equilibrium.

        • Javier says:

          do you really believe that the world flora and fauna is flourishing?

          Obviously not. Don’t be silly, nobody believes that. I am a biologist and I am perfectly aware of the sorry state of ecosystems and wildlife in general.

          Since the 70-80s in Western countries there has been a big effort at conservation and it has been a very successful one. It has not solved the problems, but it has improved the situation, slowed the decay and in some cases even revert it. The rivers of Spain have been cleaned and populated with fish and the otter has returned to them. The Iberian lynx is being pampered and through great expense it is increasing its numbers.

          So we are talking different things here. We are not in a mass extinction. We could be in one in the future if we don’t do things right. We are going to lose some species but we can save most if we dedicate the necessary effort and stop encroaching.

          But ecosystems and most species are not in great danger from global warming. The lengthening of the growing season and the increase in CO2 means that ecosystems are more productive, not less. Some species will lose but a bigger pie means most are winning. In Europe the number of wild birds is increasing in almost every country as it is the forest mass. The data is available.

          Nature is giving us a hand through better temperatures and increased CO2 and instead of taking advantage we are channeling most of the funds towards an ineffectual climate fight to the point of starving other conservation efforts that would produce a much better result. I am not the only conservationist that thinks this way, but we are not heard and speaking against the climate change consensus can have serious consequences.

          The main problems are:
          – Exploitation (over fishing, over hunting)
          – Resource appropriation (we take over their land, food, water, and make them disappear)
          – Contamination (including pesticides and fertilizers)

          Global warming is not even in the radar, but it is the only one that gets discussed. And it is a problem because control of the others gets relaxed as they stop being an issue in the agenda.

          I think we have lost our collective senses.

          • Willem Post says:


            As a child, in the Netherlands, during WW2, and shortly thereafter, we always were in awe, when we saw very large clouds of migrating birds darkening the sky.

            Those clouds thinned, as the European economy started to usurp the environment with industrial development, urbanization, etc.

            The two just do not go together. To-day’s children will have to grow up without those clouds.

            The US used to have tens of millions of wild bisons. Mass killing took place. Now, there are may be up to 10,000 wild bisons.

            Indians used to stand in the New England rivers with a wooden spear, and catch that night’s dinner.

            To-day, it is difficult to catch a few rainbow trout, that started their life in government fish hatcheries. The breeding areas for fish eggs are so messed up, nothing will hatch.

            Mankind’s prosperity came entirely at the expense of the environment and the fauna and flora. It was made possible by the fossil fuel inheritance.

          • Euan Mearns says:

            I am 100% with Javier here. And 100% with Willem too. For me it has something to do with landscape change and my age. The landscape in Scotland is about 100% artificial and has not changed much in my lifetime. But salmon have been wiped out in west coast rivers due to disease spread from salmon farms. And the east coast rivers have much reduced populations, and no one can work out why. It could be the environmental savages of Europe (the Danes) hoovering all the sand eels out of the N Sea to feed their pigs.

            And we have too many red dear cos we have no big predator and some environmentalists don’t like them to be shot. And we have a new invasive plant species – some stinking purple weed that is taking over habitats along river courses.

            Man really has well and truly f*d up the natural environment. But little to none of this is down to CO2 and it has led to remarkably few extinctions in the mammalian world to date.

          • Jan Steinman says:

            some stinking purple weed that is taking over habitats along river courses.

            Purple loosestrife?

          • Jan Steinman says:

            remarkably few extinctions in the mammalian world to date

            Megafauna. They disappeared in North America contemporaneously with the arrival of humans across the Bering land bridge.

            If you reply, please don’t use the word “prove” or “proof.” To even have a strong suspicion that humans were wiping out large, apex predator species some 14,000 years ago should invoke the “precautionary principle” in our dealings today, when our technology is so much more powerful than the atlatl.

          • Euan Mearns says:

            Jan, I have not been following your commentary in detail. You are absolutely correct about the mega faunas and Man. I’m not sure, but I think you may be missing the point here, which is that I am certainly concerned about the impact Man is having on the planet and ecosystems, but am objecting to the alarmist claims that we are in the middle of a mass extinction event, where in the sub-text it is implied that this was caused by climate change.

            If you read ACs worthy contributions you’ll see that we are pretty pissed off with so called Green energy policies that are both wrecking our society and the planet.

          • Jan Steinman says:

            we are pretty pissed off with so called Green energy policies that are both wrecking our society and the planet

            Yea, “greenwashing” is a real problem. My favourite is “sustainable growth.”

            But my using a proper noun, are you specifically targeting the Green Party, or was that a slip of the keyboard? If neither, what do you mean when you type “Green?”

          • A C Osborn says:

            Some of what you speak about is recent, but man killed the Bison nearly 200 years ago, the UK & European Forests were decimated around the same time for building Houses & Ships and burning for cooking & heating.
            Whales were killed for blubber around the same time as well and almost wiped out.

            Fossil Fuels & later Nuclear have helped to reverse that situation.

            However the evil done for “Green” initiatives is disgraceful in this day and age of supposed conservation.
            Those very organisations that were supposed to prevent or slow those losses now support the very things that are causing a lot of it.
            Slash & burn for Palm Oil, the waste of agricultural land and food for Bio Ethanol a terrible waste and loss of both Flora & Fauna.
            Birds & Bats killed by Wind Turbines & large Solar plants a further disgrace.

            And don’t get me started on Cats for pets that are allowed to roam fre and kill millions of birds and small mammals.

  13. A C Osborn says:

    Jan, are you seriously suggesting that 14,000 years ago some Nomadic Tribes on foot “were wiping out large, apex predator species” across the whole of the USA?
    There were no or very few horses in the US before their introduction by the Europeans, so how did these tribes criss cross America killing all these predators while feeding themselves and their families quicker than the the predators could breed?

    It took Horses and Steam Engines and hundreds of powerful guns to practically wipe out the millions of stupid Bison in the 1800.
    How were still so many of them, but not your “apex predator species”?

    • Willem Post says:

      Those stupid bison likely were performing important functions in the ecosystem, otherwise the other fauna and flora would have objected and done something about it.

      In addition, a few million Indians killed some of them to feed themselves.

      The US army, available after the Civil War, did the mass killing to deprive the Indians of food, herded the Indians into reservations, to make available those areas to hordes of settlers from Europe.

    • Jan Steinman says:

      Jan, are you seriously suggesting that 14,000 years ago some Nomadic Tribes on foot “were wiping out large, apex predator species” across the whole of the USA?

      From Wikipedia:

      Outside the mainland of Afro-Eurasia, these megafaunal extinctions followed a highly distinctive landmass-by-landmass pattern that closely parallels the spread of humans into previously uninhabited regions of the world, and which shows no overall correlation with climatic history

      Now, I realize Wikipedia is not without its problems, but there are at least as many paleozoologists who hold this theory as there are atmospheric scientists who doubt anthropogenic global warming, and you seem to have no trouble believing those outliers… 🙂

      • A C Osborn says:

        I agree about Wiki, very unreliable.
        But evn that quote exactly proves my point, No proof.
        Even Correlation does not prove Causation and they only have “patterns”.
        No thousnads or millions of bodies with wounds consistent with death by spears etc.

        Ask yourself how it could be done by nomadic tribes on foot.

        • Jan Steinman says:

          No proof.

          Ah, yes. The old “proof” canard.

          Scientists never “prove” anything. That is not how they work. They work on a “preponderance of evidence.”

          Consider there is no “proof” of gravity; anything you might cite as “proof” is circumstantial, and I can refute it by doing the same experiment on the International Space Station. Yet, we tend to accept gravity as “proven.”

          (Too bad! I repeatedly invite climate change deniers to hold gravity to the same standards they cite for AGW, by stepping out a 30th floor window. For some strange reason, none of them are willing to, even though they are willing to condemn their descendants to a hellishly hot planet.)

          “Proof” is for mathematicians. Scientists do not deal in “proof.”

        • wtpr says:

          I just wanted to add a few things. This is quite a high-brow blog and I have learned quite a lot just reading it.
          Euan the pink weed is likely Himalayan Balsam which outcompetes natives and reduces biodiversity. The EA are actually trialling biological controls at the moment on sites in the UK (https://himalayanbalsam.cabi.org/tag/defra/). Javier likely knows better than me but invasion is damaging but also some say it increases species in the long term so is no bad thing as adds biodiversity. I suspect that invasive species from mainland Europe tend to overlap predator-wise more so than eg Balsam which is from further away climes (In this case India). Purple Loosetrife mentioned in the comments is native and I doubt could cause anything as Euan describes.
          I tip my hat to Javier ref extinction rate (CO2 – tree foliage increasing and birds, not so sure about insects though?) and glad things are improving in the 70’s and 80’s at least in Europe. A few thoughts/questions. The UK has no wolves and Norway has 63 which they are talking about culling at least in part – point being humans kill (or want to) the competition even in Norway where they are financially loaded and are compensated for sheep loss. In poor countries, it is obviously even worse than this simply due to human needs. Maslow. As to the bison 14 000 years ago – no idea but I bet humans have wiped out loads of species.
          Another way to look at this would be that if you look at biomass, there are more humans and increasing although as Euan rightly points out post 2050 human pop will decrease causing financial issues. However, at some point human population must level out/fluctuate/decrease – it cannot infinitely grow (at least on this planet) so we have to cross that bridge sometime? However, more human biomass likely means less biomass of other things and I’d hypothesise that this probably loosely correlates with species numbers(?) although Javier likely knows more than I. In addition, whilst the 80/90s may have improved in Europe, I doubt that things are better in China and other places. In addition I would think that although things may have improved since the 1980s, I imagine that the eg 1930s were healthier than now and the 1830s healthier again? Certainly the seas must have been! I agree with Euan and others that we humans with our large brains stand on the shoulders of nature.
          I think that it does make a difference that humans are causing this (or it does matter to me). Leaving aside the question of how much extinction, I don’t think anyone doubts that the ecosystems are affected and that we as humans are responsible. I understand totally that a large proportion of the world’s population have not got two sixpenses to rub together but as rich Westerners are we really doing enough?
          Interesting other points in the discussions that fossil fuels have decreased deforestation. Seems reasonable and new high density energy sources with small geographical footprints are highly desirable. The decreasing EROEI of fossil fuels and the lower EROEI of other energy sources is not going to help the world economy and possibly thus the environment. Roll on 4th gen nuclear, fusion and next gen solar. Climate change – I just don’t know. I was sure there was a huge CO2 issue reading other blogs and less sure since reading this blog but the weather seems different etc etc.
          Overall, there are an awful lot of poorly looking canaries in the mine (called Planet Earth), it’s almost too difficult to keep track.

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