Not the Monthly Post

The Fire This Time

Over the last sixteen years I’ve spent blogging, one of my most reliable sources of amusement is the experience of being condemned as a hopeless pessimist by some readers and denounced as a clueless optimist by others.  What makes this even more interesting is that the two groups of critics are usually incensed by the same statements. Some subjects draw this bizarre reaction more than others. The one I plan on discussing this week—anthropogenic climate change—is one of the most reliable magnets for this sort of thing.

The spokesman for the right…

Partly, of course, that’s a function of the frankly weird claims being made by both sides in the public controversy over our changing climate. The standard right-wing set of claims about anthropogenic climate change, to begin with, have quite a bit in common with Bart Simpson’s famous utterance: “I didn’t do it, nobody saw me, you can’t prove anything.” To be more precise, most people in the conservative mainstream who discuss anthropogenic climate change like to insist that it isn’t happening, it’s not being caused by greenhouse gas emissions, and it’s a good thing anyway.  They have other claims worth noting:  in particular, they claim that the people on the left who disagree with them are lying in order to promote a political agenda.

…and the spokeschicken for the left.

Go to the leftward end of the political landscape and you exchange Bart Simpson’s company for that of Chicken Little. Most people in the liberal mainstream who discuss anthropogenic climate change like to insist that it’s the biggest crisis ever to threaten the globe—well, except for whatever they were going on about last week—and it will surely kill us all unless we surrender a long list of individual freedoms to the same corporate-bureaucratic system that got us into this mess in the first place. Like the conservatives, they have other claims worth noting:  in particular, they claim that the people on the right who disagree with them are lying in order to promote an economic agenda.

As it happens, I think both sides are quite correct in those latter statements. That is to say, the conservative mainstream is indeed pushing dubious claims to promote an economic agenda, and the liberal mainstream is doing the same thing to promote a political agenda. Watch how they respond to any less extreme claim and you can see this clearly enough in the way that they turn on the heretic from both sides. I’ve fielded that reaction often enough to be used to it, and I expect to see a good solid display of it this week, too.

I expect to see that because we’re going to talk this week about the realities of anthropogenic climate change, and what kind of world we can expect to take shape over the next few centuries as a result of our mismanagement of our relationship to the planet that supports our lives.

A Rhode Island landscape in 14,000 BC.

Let’s start with some basics. Climate change is a constant feature of the long history of the Earth. Sixteen thousand years ago—an eyeblink in geological time—the corner of Rhode Island where I live these days had the climate of central Greenland, complete with ice sheets and howling winds at subzero temperatures.  Eight thousand years ago, during the heat wave that followed the end of the ice age, this same corner of Rhode Island had a climate more like South Carolina’s. Sixteen thousand years ago, for that matter, Death Valley was green with grass and pine trees, with a clear blue lake in the midst; eight thousand years ago the western Great Plains resembled the Sahara, while the Sahara at that same time was a vast sweep of grassland dotted with trees, watered by annual monsoons and inhabited by lions, gazelles, and giraffes. This kind of change is normal.  Stable climates are not.

The same Rhode Island landscape in 6000 BC. Climate change? It happens.

Some of these changes are slow, but others are not. The end of the Younger Dryas climate period around 9600 BC, to judge by the evidence from dozens of ice core samples and proxy measures, saw global average temperatures shoot up between 13° and 15°F in less than a decade—a jolt much more sudden and extreme, that is, than anything predicted by even the most apocalyptic climate change theories. Paleoclimatologists are still trying to figure out exactly what caused that spectacular temperature spike; there are several plausible theories but nobody’s yet sure which of them is correct. The green Sahara that followed the ice age began and ended almost as suddenly—according to recent research, it went from desert to grassland in less than a century once shifting climate belts brought the monsoons, and then six millennia later plunged into a series of catastrophic droughts ending in its current condition over a few centuries.

Again, this sort of thing is normal. So is the role of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane in driving sudden upward shifts in temperature. One of the theories about the heat spike at the end of the Younger Dryas period focuses on the possible role of huge releases of trapped methane from undersea sediments.  Less speculative is the role of carbon dioxide from the  volcanic eruptions that triggered the Toarcian greenhouse event in the Jurassic period or the Turonian-Cenomanian greenhouse event in the Cretaceous.  If you’re thinking of Mt. St. Helens or Mount Pinatubo, think again; these were gargantuan eruptions from miles-long chasms in the earth, spilling hot lava over areas the size of entire European nations and blackening the skies over whole continents with ash clouds that mounted up halfway to space. (Yes, the Earth can do this any time she has a mind to.) Those caused centuries-long temperature spikes far more extreme than anything our smokestacks and tailpipes will ever be able to manage.

Look up the phrase “flood basalt event” sometime.

There are two takeaways from these bits of prehistory that I’d like you to grasp. The first is that the Earth’s climate is delicately balanced, and can lurch one way or the other with terrifying suddenness, driven by relatively modest shifts in atmospheric gas composition.  The second is that the consequences, traumatic as they can be, don’t add up to the end of life on earth. They don’t even add up to the end of humanity. Our species was already here in 9600 BC when the Younger Dryas period ended, after all. You know those flood legends found in practically every culture around the world?  The cataclysmic glacial melting and sea level rise that followed the 9600 BC temperature spike account for most of those—and that shows, in turn, that there were people who survived to tell those tales.

That is to say, both the mainstream conservative and mainstream liberal views discussed toward the beginning of this post are wrong. It’s in the middle ground between “it’s not a problem” and “we’re all going to die” that we can find the future toward which we’re headed.

I should probably stress at this point that it’s not a matter of getting that future if X or Y or Z isn’t done in time. We’re long past the point where that rhetoric means anything. For one thing, the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases already spilled into the atmosphere is more than enough to destabilize the planet’s climate and tip us over into drastic changes. For another, it’s not as though the people who insist we have to stop emitting carbon or we’re all going to die have shown the least willingness to stop emitting carbon themselves. I trust all my readers are aware of the annual clownfest at Davos, where rich people fly private planes from the far corners of the planet, belching CO2 into the skies all the way, to make earnest statements about how important it is to cut our CO2 releases. If you actually believed that the survival of humanity depended on cutting your CO2 output, would you do that?  Of course not.

1500 private jets parked at Davos, where their owners are busy telling you to use less carbon.

That same attitude extends far down the social pyramid from the oxygen-deprived heights of Davos. I was amused a little while ago to read a diatribe on a collapsitarian forum online, insisting that it was as wrong as wrong can be to claim that individual actions had anything to do with climate change. No, it was all the fault of those awful multinational corporations! The person who posted this either didn’t know, or didn’t want to admit, that the vast majority of the greenhouse gas pollution released by multinational corporations comes from producing and distributing goods and services for ordinary consumers. I don’t recommend mentioning this to climate activists, much less suggesting that they could help the planet no end by cutting their own indirect carbon footprints by, you know, buying fewer products and using less energy. If my experience is anything to go on, you’ll get a hysterical meltdown.

There’s a lot of this sort of doubletalk in climate change activism, even aside from the Davos crowd trying to use climate change as an excuse to impose their dream of corporate Stalinism on the rest of us, or the Marxists insisting that smokestacks magically stop emitting CO2 the moment they become the property of the proletariat. To judge by what we’ve seen so far, no matter how heated the rhetoric gets, there’s no great risk that the people who believe in climate change will give up their cozy carbon-intensive lifestyles. As long as they refuse to do so, in turn, nobody else is going to do it either—and that being the case, climate change, here we come!

So it’s important to take a clear-eyed look at what we’re facing. The evidence from earlier periods of rapid climate change is extremely useful here, since it gives us a good idea of what a period of sudden warming is like.  Current trends are already moving in directions sketched out in advance by the Hypsithermal (the post-glacial warm period) or the Eemian climate period, the warm interval between the last two ice ages. Those don’t justify the lurid claims made by climate activists in and out of white lab coats:  tropics too hot for human survival, runaway greenhouse effects, and the like. Nor, of course, do they justify the claim that nothing will happen or that it’ll all work out for the best.

As I’ve noted more than once on this blog, the main effect of adding extra heat-retention capacity to the atmosphere will be to increase the efficiency by which heat gets pumped from the equator to the poles.  That means the tropics will warm slightly and the poles will warm dramatically—and since that’s what’s been happening so far, it’s a safe bet that that’s what we’ll get as things proceed. That’s going to have dramatic effects, but they’ll be more complex and less simpleminded than your standard climate screed suggests.

A Las Vegas hotel room, circa 2070.

What we’re looking at, first of all, is significant shifts in rain and temperature belts. That’s already happening, of course. The Colorado River basin is the poster child here. Until recently it got enough rain and snow to keep one of the continent’s great river systems flowing, but that’s changing.  Water levels in Lake Mead, the main water source for Las Vegas, have fallen so low that people are finding bullet-riddled corpses in barrels in the mudflats, the legacy of Mafia rubouts whose targets were dumped in deep water so no one would ever find them. If this suggests that water levels are at record lows, why, yes, they are—and if things continue as they have been going for the last few decades, we’re not that many years from the point at which Las Vegas and quite a few other southwestern cities will have to be abandoned because there’s not enough water in the region to support human habitation.

The same thing is happening in other parts of the world, of course, and that’s gotten a certain amount of press. What doesn’t get a comparable amount of notice is that there are winners as well as losers in this process. Russia is expecting an all-time record harvest for its wheat crop this year, and improved climate conditions in Siberia are an important part of the reason.  The most recent movie in the Mad Max franchise couldn’t be filmed in the Australian outback—they had to move filming to Africa because rainfall in the outback has increased so much that it looks too green. Once we pass whatever threshold will be needed to bring the monsoons back to north Africa—as far as I know, nobody knows what that is yet—the people of parched countries such as Sudan and Chad will be staring openmouthed at miracle as water comes sluicing down from the skies for the first time in five thousand years.

Welcome to the future. Parts of it are very damp.

So there are upsides as well as downsides. That’s less true of the next impact of climate change I want to discuss, which is glacial melting and sea level rise. Like so many things in nature, this is a relatively slow process punctuated with sudden disasters. The melting of the arctic sea ice, the focus of so many media diatribes of late, isn’t the thing that matters most.  What matters most is Greenland and Antarctica. There’s enough ice in the Greenland ice cap to send sea level up 50 feet, and enough more in Antarctica to send it up another 250 feet beyond that.  Once those melt, and there’s no reason to think that they won’t, most of the world’s big cities will be underwater, and Tennessee will have a seacoast.

That won’t happen overnight. (If you’re thinking of that dreary Hollywood potboiler The Day After Tomorrow, relax; it’s roughly as realistic as Sharknado.) Really fast sea level rise in an era of global melting is around a foot a year. A more common pace is an inch or two a year. There are two things that can speed up the rising waters, admittedly, and those need to be kept in mind. The first is that meltwater from sheet glaciers like Greenland’s and Antarctica’s tends to pool in huge proglacial lakes, which dump into the sea at unpredictable intervals. There aren’t any of those yet, though they’ll likely make things fun for our descendants.

Northwestern Europe looked like this before the wave came.

The second is that melting ice sheets very often destabilize undersea sediments, which can cause gargantuan underwater landslides and equally huge tsunamis.  How huge?  One of them cut off Britain from Europe in a single hideous day around 6200 BC. There were people living on dry land in what’s now the North Sea at that time, quite a few of them.  They all died. A scattering of their artifacts have been found by archeologists who have sampled the sea floor:  silent witnesses to entire peoples and cultures that were scoured off the face of the planet by one of nature’s ordinary convulsions.

The risk of huge tsunamis from sediment collapse is localized, and depends entirely on being not too far from a melting ice sheet. I wouldn’t want to be close to sea level in western Europe or the southern parts of Africa, South America, or Australia, but outside of those areas the direct effects probably aren’t much of a problem. Equally, if you don’t happen to live in one of the areas that’s going to be hit by desertification from shifting climate belts, your exposure to climate change will be mostly indirect. That doesn’t mean that they’ll be nonexistent; it means that they’ll hit you and the rest of the world in that most vulnerable place, the pocketbook.

Consider what happens once serious glacial melting gets started in Greenland and Antarctica, and sea level begins its slow and inexorable rise.  There are thousands of cities around the world at or near sea level, with infrastructure worth trillions of dollars, and there are ports on which the flow of goods around the world depend. You can’t just pick those up and move them to higher ground.  You can’t move the port facilities too far, or ships won’t be able to reach them—but if you don’t, you’ll have to move them again in another decade or two, at more expense, or come up with some way for the port facilities to rise with the water, at still more expense.

Long before this happens, the market value of New York City real estate will have dropped to zero.  Consider the economic impact.

All those abandoned buildings with salt water sloshing in their basements and salt rust gnawing at their structural steel have to be replaced, too, and that costs more money, more resources, and more energy. Now factor in the infrastructure losses involved in the near-abandonment of the western half of the United States and a great many similar areas around the world, the new infrastructure needed in other areas that get rain again for the first time in millennia, and the need to retool and reorient our remaining agricultural acreage for completely different crops, in a situation when nobody knows for sure just how long the growing season will be and just how much rain to expect from one year to the next. Let’s just hope that the technology mavens don’t try to fix things, either—nobody knows enough about global climate to do this without a very high risk of making things much, much worse.

Keep on totting up the cost, and the real impact of anthropogenic climate change comes into sight:  a crippling economic burden dragging down national economies and standards of living across most of the warming world, with famines of varying severity thrown in at random intervals just to add spice to the mix. Population contraction is already a done deal—we will certainly see peak global population within a decade, given current demographic trends, and we may already be at the peak. Add in the impact of famines, economic depressions (which historically drive birth rates down), and the likelihood of wars over resources, farmland, and food supplies, and you’ve got a world in deep trouble for the next half millennium or so, with no way out.

In search of the ruins of fabled Las Vegas, circa 2350 AD

That being the case, dear reader, how do you prepare for it?  If you live in a region that’s starting to suffer from desertification, your options are very limited and you may want to get out now, before the mass migrations start. If you’re sure the place where you’re staying will become one of the oasis towns in the new desert, and you’re willing to cope with a great deal of turmoil and dislocation, buckle down and learn as much as you can about survival in very dry conditions. Elsewhere, consider the climate a few hundred miles closer to the equator and get ready for it. If you have acreage, or even a little garden space, consider finding out what grows well in your future climate and planting some.

That’s not limited to food plants, by the way. Animals can migrate, but plants have a harder time pulling up their roots and heading toward the poles; if you can get some plants well suited to the climate you’re going to have, and get them in the ground now, that’s going to help the local ecosystem shift. Yes, those will be invasive species. Invasive species are how the biosphere deals with environmental change, and the frantic hatred of invasive species shown by the clueless in recent years is another sign of just how detached most people are from the realities of nature.

Just one of the risks you run living on an unstable planet.

If you live within twenty feet of sea level, by the way, or within a hundred feet of sea level anywhere in a straight line from a soon-to-be-disintegrating ice cap, you might want to consider relocating. If your livelihood depends on access to the ocean or to products shipped from overseas, you might want to consider figuring out what you’re going to do if we get a burst of fast sea level rise and most of the world’s port facilities become inoperable. An inland port, such as the ports on the Great Lakes, might be an option worth considering.

The time frame?  That’s the wild card when it comes to climate change.  If things continue along their current track, expect problems really beginning to pile up around the time that the current energy crisis winds down—say, ten years from now.  If we get whatever abrupt amplification process triggered the end of the Younger Dryas period, it could be much sooner—or not.  We really, truly, just don’t know.


  1. Excellent post. Wish I’d written large chunks of it. Not as sanguine as you are, I expect the cumulative death toll to be in the billions, and I think there’s a small but not negligible chance of a runaway process which doesn’t settle at an acceptable equilibrium (2 to 3%, but that can happen), but your overall model is good. I do think that all of this is going to be amplified significantly by the damage we have done to our aquifers.

    Looking forward to a garden Sahara again, though.

  2. Thanks, JMG! For me, this is one of your best posts of all times, and surely the clearest post you have ever written on climate change. It seems to me that the question if and when North Africa becomes green again is the greatest unknown in all of this, and would have countless political and economical consequences.

    One question: why do you think the risk of a tsunami is bigger in Western Europe than Eastern North America? This is not a rhetorical question, since I live on high ground near the water.

  3. I appreciate your level headed discussion on the topic, but I do feel that there was an argument that you left out from the discussion as to the causes of climate change. While numerous models work on the chemical composition of the athmosphere as the driver of climate change, not all models do. Some look at the sun, and the solar cycles as the main driver of climate change, arguing that the climate change we are seeing is not only happening on earth, but also on Venus and Jupiter. Which to my simple mind seems very convincing. Have you looked into these solar models? Most of them predict a solar minima the coming decades and a so called “mini Ice age” for about 20 years before temperatures shoot up around 2050.

  4. Excellent as always, good sir. (I’ve been an avid reader since finding your peak oil blog a decade(ish) ago)

    One of my concerns is the number of Superfund cleanup sites and nuclear powerplants that are located below the future sea level line. Sanity seems to dictate removing these or risk many Fukushima style disasters and more. Sadly, if history says anything about this, the prognosis is not good.

    Thanks for all that you do!

  5. Excellent synopsis, thank you. Especially the last line.

    Another thing I really don’t know, but wonder about: Thinking of the next millenium, or next ten millenniums, could it be that all our CO2 winds up preventing the next glacial period? Could it actually turn out to be a good thing, in the long long run?

  6. I’m much more worried about he health impacts of cancer causing pollution and huge mountains of solid waste.If WEF was putting their money down to fix that instead of dreaming up a bureaucratic carbon taxation scheme, I would get behind them.

  7. “Like so many things in nature, this is a relatively slow process punctuated with sudden disasters.”

    I was thinking about this the other day in relation to civilisational collapse. It feels like a grace that it all shifts slow enough that clear-eyeds can see the signs and react and prepare accordingly.

    A shame there’s so many billionaire buffoons in the way messing with our ability to do so.

    The photos here are great. I really love your panorama takes; there’s something so comforting about them. I trust you. This is what the media we need looks like 🙂

  8. Hello, did you check Martin Armstrong’s theory ? His computer says we’re entering a period of cooling for the next 50 years. I think it’s about a “solar minimum” or something.

    The problem is that there are too much contradicting theories, all based on science btw, so we don’t know what to believe.

    Time will tell, I guess.

  9. I’ve been noticing lately how the “progressive” plan resembles that of the WEF and WHO globalists, while the conservative plan is business as usual, cyclical crises, dollar destruction and ever greater transfer of wealth to the oligarchs. Either way it seems to me, to paraphrase Davos Man, “We will own everything and you will like it.” At least the conservatives claim care for individual freedoms. The globalist/progressive plan is circumstantially looking ever more like a controlled eugenecist de-population scheme in the name of saving the earth.

    I’m leaving the city for a forgotten, marginally agricultural place with a shallow water table, to transform 80 acres to be climate change resilient.

  10. Hi John,

    Superb post, as always.

    What is your prognosis for myself, who lives in the island of Guernsey? It is in the channel between France and the UK.

    The good news is we live high up and quite far from the ocean so shouldn’t need to worry about flooding. Also, my understanding is we will have a warmer climate, in a few decades, but will avoid the desertification of southern Europe (e.g. Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal and southern France etc).

    Also, you state the tropics will warm, a bit, but what does that mean, factoring in other issues like water, energy etc. Do you still see mass migrations from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe or will the climatic changes mitigate those dire scenarios you have discussed before on this blog.

    Also, practically speaking, what type of climate should I be preparing for? If I had to guess, it would be something similar to southern Spain right now, but would appreciate your feedback.

    On a final note, whilst I know your views on investments, obviously the investment implications of this is enormous. There must be niche opportunities (Russian farmland?) to explore down the line that could at least preserve some real wealth in the coming decades of depression, famines and so on.

    Presumably, we would need to identify winners of this transformation and look, down the line, into investing in those areas.

  11. John–

    I’ve concluded that living in the Midwest (lakeshore Wisconsin, in my case) is going to have distinct advantages as we move forward. While not able to do much in the way of food production or self-sufficient homesteading, a very modest, small-town lifestyle makes a significant difference in how I interact with the world and view events unfolding around me.

    Working with what we’ve got, where we are.

  12. One concept that has been making rounds in the world of natural history interpretation and education relating to the tendency to either ignore or overstate anthropogenic impacts on the environment is ecophobia. (The Ecophobia Hypothesis by Simon C. Estok and Beyond Ecophobia by David Sobel are the main books that are getting referenced and passed around in interpretive circles these days). The idea, which will be familiar with readers here is that the tendency to apply hopeless doom and gloom language to the difficult future we’ve built for ourself is directly related to a tendency to see the nonhuman world as innately hostile and threatening. That’s an idea that has been discussed at length here as a mindset that has to be pushed past in order to move from doom and gloom thoughtstoppers to individual action. What’s interesting in this is that this understanding and this goal of pushing past gloom and doom into meaningful individual and community action is currently at the heart of how conservation messaging is being developed in parks and museums which reach generations of children. So the quest for that middle ground between doom and gloom and pretending nothing is wrong where people are encouraged to take what actions they can in the face of the future we’re facing is at least beginning to make traction somewhere other than the far fringes.

  13. Hola JMG,

    Thanks for this post. Quite clear and sincere.

    For anyone who want to read more on the subject (in spanish) you may try look up for the blog “Usted no se lo cree”

    Thanks again. Read you again soon.


  14. Mr. Greer, Thanks for the well balanced perspective on the Earth’s cyclic weather patterns caused by natural means intensified by our industrialized product crazed populace choice to keep on keeping on. Most likely the use of fossil fuels for anything except balancing acceptable economies to support stabile governance and building infrastructure, changing local laws to regulate NIMBY attitudes so that projects that protect citizens and increase renewables for as long as possible, won’t happen, due to the ambivalence of our current populace who are politically deadlocked in questionable opinionated rationales. The current and next 10 generations of humans will live in interesting times. The politics of killing off democracy and substituting it with dictatorship and oligarchy is an example of the choices we face in the near future, during the next elections, or delayed maybe to the next generation. The population slowly migrating from hostile environments to less hostile offer more choices. I think it has been you, perhaps not, that has pointed out that knowledge of how to do things to survive have disappeared in the past. And, pointed out that these tomes of how to articles and literature are written on very fragile media and will not survive, leaving those living a thousand years from now with nothing but fragments of paper, maybe religion of some sort, and oral traditions to guide them. Very few individuals talk about the major cause of this dilemma: Overpopulation. Many millions, perhaps billions of people will meet tragic and painful deaths over the next centuries, and we can see the beginnings of this tragic loss today. Again, thanks for putting this into perspective, and pointing out that there is a lot to be gained from what lies between the extremes of the liberal and conservative viewpoints. Luckily, and intentionally, some of us are insulated from the extremes, and have made choices to ignore the rhetoric in favor of pursuing a life where we are the carriers for oral traditions, knowhow to pass along by physically teaching young people skills of our ancestors and pointing the way to compromise.

  15. An interesting read as usual John, thanks. Another spanner in the works is the potential for the Atlantic ocean circulation system collapsing which I think you have mentioned in a previous post, it could get a lot colder. With a lack of fuel I’ll be heading down the goose down clothing route if I’m still about by that point. I’m hoping Leeds in the north of England where I live will be okay from sea level rise and at least its still got good canal network connections. Gods know how its going to work out when the mass migrations increase though.

  16. Good essay! I’m somewhat surprised that I agree with the general outlines you present here. While I often disagree with your political stance “between” extremes of Left and Right in the US (you seem to fall into conservatism more often than not), this ecological position makes a lot of sense to me. Climate change isn’t quite as imminently catastrophic as it is made to sound sometimes, but it certainly is going to be a dramatic restructuring of the earth’s surface and our human existance thereon.

  17. JMG:

    I appreciate what I consider to be your qualified optimism on the issue of climate change. That is, yes their will be difficult changes in store, but no not everything is going to go all Mad Max at once. Humanity will muddle through though in less numbers and with less shiny, electric toys. (And really, the latter part will in large part be a good thing). It is like your book “Dark Ages America” which I took as a call to (1) realize our current configuration is going down, but also (2) to maintain the hope necessary to do the work to build a new configuration that works with the changes. It’s very Stoic – understand your situation, accept your situation, understand what you can do in your situation.

    At any rate, that’s what I’ve gotten out of your writing and I thank you for it. I am also currently enjoying your Pluto book.

  18. William Hunter Duncan at #12

    I am less sanguine about conservatives. My experience is that they tend to support rights only when they are out of power. The same thing goes for the traditional liberals and left. The woke left though is just bat guano nuts.

  19. Well, I’m delighted to say that I’ve already fielded and deleted posts by trolls from both sides of the spectrum accusing me of “false equivalence” for pointing out that both sides are equally wrong, and equally agenda-driven. Fun times! Unsurprisingly, the conservative troll was sullen and bullying and the liberal troll was shrill and guilt-tripping. I’ll be interested to see how many other rhetorical strategies get deployed by the olog-hai as we continue.

    Ian, if we didn’t get a runaway greenhouse syndrome as a result of the Toarcian and Turonian-Cenomanian events, which were much worse and took place when the planet was much hotter to begin with, the chance of having one now is orders of magnitude smaller than you’ve suggested. Mind you, you’re right about the aquifers — quite a few places are going to be clobbered much worse than they would have.

    Markus, you’re most welcome.

    Aldarion, the most likely site for a really big tsunami in the northern hemisphere in a postglacial world is on the east coast of Greenland, where the continental shelf plunges into the deep water of the Irminger Sea — the same undersea topography that produced the Storegga slide that separated Britain from Europe. If that happens, the western coasts of Europe will get a direct hit from the resulting tsunami, while most of the North American seaboard will get an indirect surge, since the wave will have to wrap around the Grand Banks, losing energy as it goes. Mind you, I wouldn’t want to be on Newfoundland! Further south, it’ll be a smaller though still destructive wave, something closer to an ordinary tsunami.

    Trustycanteen, nope. There would be a brief cold spike, maybe a year in length, followed by warming made even worse by all the extra CO2 emitted by burning cities.

    Yorkshire, sure, but factor in the costs.

    Quift, yes, I’ve looked at the solar models. According to the ones I’ve seen, we were supposed to be in a Maunder minimum by now — and of course we aren’t. Since climate change due to changes in atmospheric composition are well documented in paleoclimatic records and proxy measurements, I think it makes a lot more sense to pay attention to the mess we’re in on its own terms, and not hypothesize a solar minimum popping up just in time to save us from ourselves.

  20. I have had the benefit ( from a climate observation perspective) of living in the same specific climatic area most of my life. We recently moved to a house that is less than 10 miles from the farm where I grew up in the center of the same watershed. This is an area that for many years was known for its ability to grow the best soft fruit ( Strawberries, Blueberries, Logan Berries etc. due to the warm days and cool nights along with just the right amount of rain and mild winters ( Willamette Valley in Oregon). One of my best memories has always been the wonderful local strawberries that are ready on my birthday ( near Memorial Day). As a kid all of our neighbors were strawberry farmers, the town I went to high school in had a world renowned strawberry jam factory and everybody I knew earned money starting in 4th ( yes 4th) grade picking Strawberries through the month of June. Much of this industry disappeared for reasons of labor costs, urban growth etc. but there have always been strawberry farms to feed the short but intense market for “real” strawberries. In the last decade the harvest of these local strawberries has been very iffy. Last year was the first time we had decent berries in the store in over 5 years. This year looks like a total loss with late rains and not enough harvest time sun. This never happened back in the 60’s. 70’s or 80’s. Some harvests would be bigger than others, or last a week or so longer or shorter but we always had at least 3 weeks of these delicate and delicious fruits ( nothing like the white cored Franken Berries that fill grocery store shelves most of the year in. most places). It seems like strawberries are the canary in the coalmine for climate change. I guess I should get adjusted to almonds or avocados on my birthday.

  21. I find it fitting that the same day you write this, a rather slick presentation on you and your Catabolic Theory of Collapse was put onto YouTube by Keith Woods (a member the fringe right). A very good primer and summation of your thought for those who haven’t come across your blog.

    Based on your current climactic model, we’re looking at California to the Mississippi River system being plagued by drought, coastal regions being moved inward as a result of ice melt, and a general northward shift of crops to handle the changing weather patterns. Based on that, Northern Canada, Greenland, and Alaska will gain more arable land in the farther future while the Great Lakes will be a major bastion for the near term. Have any thoughts on how Mexico comes out of this? Would these climact changes result in tropical conditions pushing northward into central mexico while the North becomes more desolate?


  22. John–

    Out of curiosity, what underlies your assessment that the current energy crisis will run for ten years or so?

  23. Let me point out to a handful of folks, please, who seem to have not yet noticed, that even an extended solar minimum does not last forever, or even very long in human terms, and a blink of the eye in geological terms. That is to say, if the solar scientists are right and we do get an extended minimum, that simply shifts the timeline out.

    We really do not know all that much about how all these parts will come together. Climate is too complex to accurately model on computers, and there’s always the possibility that volcanos and space objects will throw a wildcard in the mix. Yes, something could happen that triggers runaway reglaciation, but if you don’t view the lottery as your best investment you shouldn’t bet very much on reglaciation in your lifetime, either.

    ForecastingInteligence and anyone else wanting local details, look for paleobotany research on your location set in the times JMG mentioned, if any, and compare current elevation versus past elevation. Fossilized pollen and seeds are great indicators of what climate was.

    At this point I don’t personally consider anyone who claims to be an environmentalist as worthy of attention if they target the poor for short or long term harm with their policies. That is, if you claim you want to help the environment by reducing the supply of cheap old cars, I consider you full of manure. If you claim you want to help the environment by changing zoning regulations so poor folks can live where they work, I’m interested.

  24. JM
    Would you mind posting a few links to further learning about climate history? I’m fascinated to dig into it more, and I suspect you could save me a lot of browsing time with some book or website references.

  25. There are a lot of scenarios and unknowns. I often go to the Polar Science Center and view their graphs. The first one depicts a decreasing Arctic Ocean ice volume over time:
    Since around 2012, the actual volumes have gone **roughly** sideways and are about to cross over the next sigma value to the upside of the general trend line..

    The other graph of interest is this one depicting an early 2017 potential plunge toward an ice free Arctic Ocean:
    If the 2017 line had been projected to September of that year, the Arctic Ocean would have been essentially ice free.

    I have yet to hear anyone explain why; especially through oceanic and meteorological thermodynamic modeling as opposed to parameterizational modeling. Is there some sort of Maunder Minimum process occurring? is the Arctic area becoming more cloud free in the winter and therefore being subjected to more radiational cooling? Is this part of natural cycles that caused the Anasazi to “disappear” in a similar fashion that might cause Las Vegas to “disappear”. (e.g., Is this a repeat of the 1130+ Great Drought?)

    I understand the physics of increasing CO2 and other GHGs on ambient temperatures. I have yet to read in the MSM press any details that would provide clarity instead of echo chambers for both sides.

    For those wishing to curb fossil fuel usage, this graph from Exxon Mobil depicts the peaking of World Crude Oil Supply somewhere in the 2030’s to 2040’s range:
    It’s one of the driving forces behind the vehicle manufacturers switching to EV productions.

  26. I’m a frequent visitor to your blog, and first-time commentor. I’ve also listened to you on podcasts. Love your work; your balanced and highly informed perspective is refreshing and reassuring in a time of panic and paranoia. That said, you mentioned ports on the Great Lakes, but if sea level rises 300 feet or so, won’t that also inundate that region? Since they’re fed by the St. Lawrence Seaway, which connects to the Atlantic? I ask because it seems you mentioned those ports in the present tense.

  27. I wonder if you could provide actual examples of your “straw person” positions on the left and right? I have been participating in the “climate action” movement for a long time, and I don’t know anyone or any group that is considered credible that would espouse the “we’re all going to die” view that you say characterizes the left. On the other hand I have heard from countless people and groups on the right who adamantly espouse and defend the rightist view you characterize as “It’s not a problem.”

    In the scenarios that you point to, it is clear that the most likely case is very similar to what might called “collaspism.” That is, that civilization as we have come to know it will not continue. The climate chaos will be a proximate cause for, and exacerbation to, social chaos. And, unless I misread you somehow, the potential for actual species extinction for us humans is not out of the question.

    In your view, Is there any chance of avoiding this chaotic (disaster-filled) future? Certainly not the path recommended by the Davos crowd, but an actual shift in our collective mind-set?

  28. Hi John,
    What do you think will be the climate of the Great Lakes area in the centuries ahead? As I recall, you’ve identified the Great Lakes/Ohio Valley as the locus of one of the next great civilizations.

  29. I’ve always thought that a development of Fields Point in Providence with a nod to Venice, canals for streets and building designed to be useful for at least the first 30ft of ocean rise. Looking more broadly the development of Hudson Bay, with a high-speed railroad connecting thousands of new towns may be good for a couple of generations.

  30. I have read some of the author’s writing and I would say he tends to lean towards the pragmatic side. Growing up as a youth in NYC in the 70’s, the Hudson River was known as a cesspool for waste that flowed into the river. As time passed and the pollution stopped, the Hudson River made a remarkable turnaround all on its own with fish reappearing in the river.

    Since the subject has to do with climate change, I would like to ask the author, what his thoughts are on Geoengineering? There is a website that is solely based on the subject matter with documents, pictures and videos. Is Geoengineering being used today to monkey with the global weather?

  31. Hi JMG,

    Excellent post! I admit I, as an inhabitant of Western Europe, was alarmed for a moment at your mention of a tsunami, which I’ve never heard of before in reading about sea level rise. At least I’m above 20 feet at my elevation, so there’s that?

    I wanted to ask you an unrelated question (I missed last week’s open post): my sister and her partner recently announced a pregnancy, and as someone who is slightly more aware than they appear to be about the trials of the next decade (and thereafter), I’m wondering what I can do for their future offspring. Psychologically, I think they’ll probably have an easier time of it than their parents, since they’ll grow up in a time of decline, so they’ll have less trouble adjusting to that reality than their parents who grew up in a time of prosperity (and one of whom still believes we’re going to Mars). But I can’t imagine growing up in a time of crisis can’t be easy either, and as one of the few in the family who seems to believe there’s serious trouble ahead, I’ve been wondering how I can help them get through these tumultuous few decades ahead. Thank you!

  32. Were there really 1500 private jets at Davos?

    I feel moved to say that Kim Stanley Robinson’s “The Ministry of the Future” was, in my opinion, one of his weakest efforts. It’s heavy on geo-engineering, supportive of terrorism (to discourage flying) and comes across as Chataqua more than as fiction. The one thing I did like about it was the opening sequence about a deadly heat wave in India. That was nicely done, I thought.

  33. Some data points on the East Antarctic glacier – there appears to be evidence that it grew during the Hypisthermal:

    And there is also evidence of this process repeating:

    With this in mind, do you think that this period of warming might stabilise with some glaciers intact? It seems that some glaciers survived the Hypisthermal, but one might counter that there was so much ice to melt left over from the last glacial maximum that it would have taken considerably more warming to melt it all.

  34. Hi JMG,

    Excellent essay as always, and a good reminder.

    1. I’m sure I could look this up from paleoclimatology, but do you have any guess as to where the northern edge of the great western desert might be, and whether it is likely to encompass the Pacific Northwest west of the Cascade Mountains?

    2. Thinking about a historical temperature change of 13-15 degrees in a decade, and all of the dramatic fluctuations you describe in the recent past, makes me wonder whether atmospheric chemistry really is the primary driver of climate. That’s not to question the fact that CO2 is warming/changing the climate in predictable ways that can help to determine what is immediately ahead of us; clearly there is at least some connection and atmospheric chemistry is almost certainly the most significant driving factor that humans are monkeying with.

    I guess this is more of a metaphysical question, in the sense that climate doom is rooted in a mechanistic materialist worldview that posits that by the luckiest of happenstance the Earth has maintained a habitable climate for most of 400 million years, and that our manipulations run the risk of permanently upsetting that balance.

    I would argue, as you do, that our estimation of our destructive potential is just as overblown as our estimation of our capacity for technological transcendence. But for me that leaves room for Earth to have Her own plans that will defy all of our models and understandings. She could modulate the heat flux from the core to the deep oceans, or fire off a supervolcano, or make any number of other adjustments. Historically speaking these are rare events, but if we accept that Earth is a conscious being then we need to accept that She might activate homeostatic mechanisms *in response to* our manipulation of atmospheric chemistry, in which case a statistical approach loses validity.

    I’m curious to what degree you perceive that the Earth will have the final word here, and that it may differ wildly from what we might expect based on atmospheric chemistry alone. For me, my sense is that we can extrapolate trends and look to paleoclimatology for guidance, but that – like weather forecasting – confidence drops to zero beyond a certain timeframe (100 years or so) after which we are simply going to be surprised by whatever our living planet has in mind.

  35. Thanks for another insightful, thought-provoking article. I live in Indiana, in a town that is well over 800 feet above sea level. I’m assuming that I don’t need to worry about my home being at the bottom of an expanded ocean in the next few decades. Assuming some of the potential severe changes mentioned in your recent “A Climate Hypothesis” post at the other blog do not come to pass and/or do not turn Indiana into a dry desert during my lifetime, I think I might be in a decent location to weather (no pun intended) the coming climatic changes.

    One of my current projects is learning what crops might grow best in a significantly warmer, though still wet(ish), Indiana. But I’m also working on different contingency plans. Namely, how to survive in a desert or other arid location. Although I was originally keen on fleeing to some optimal refuge, I now think the coming changes will be too unpredictable for me to pick a greener pasture. I’m going to try to survive in place, no matter the changes that come. Is that foolish? I don’t know.

    I’m not especially afraid of the coming changes, though I realize they could easily enough kill me before I grow old. That said, I now really empathize with those folks in antiquity who, sensing the coming of the dark ages and the hard future ahead, simply wanted to exit the material world for some spiritual paradise. I hope to live a long life, but I can also say that I want this to be my last incarnation. Some potential Magic Monday questions are forming, and I might ask them at the next MM.

    At any rate, thanks for an oasis of sanity and reason in a world that is increasingly polarized and very, very unhelpful for practical planning.

  36. “This kind of change is normal. Stable climates are not.”

    This is a very important point. A lot of research points to the fact that agriculture spread out only because the climate of the Holocene was stable. There were failed attempts at agriculture for tens of thousands of years before it became widespread, probably because the fluctuating climate just did not allow for artificial selection and enough production.

    So the question is: do we have enough know-how to keep agriculture going during the very unstable of the transition to a new climate state?
    My guess is that people are spread out everywhere and there are enough low-tech ways to keep at least some production going so, like you mentioned, people can move the plants in step with the changing weather.

    One point that you also mentioned is that the percentage of the population that can survive is bound to be quite low. If normal collapses bring population down to 5%, I would not be surprised if this time the number is closer to 1%.

    It’s interesting to consider how the world would look like with these numbers. Last time the population was less than 100 millions was during the times of Homer’s Iliad or even the golden ages of Egypt and Babylon. So it’s not the end of the world. Combine that with the huge ruins left behind and the huge uninhabited spaces (due to pollution, radiation or simply lack of people) and we have the setting for great fantasy or sci-fi novels…

  37. While reading through the paleoclimate data, by any chance did you get an idea of what the great lakes region can expect in this scenario?

    For example, would Wisconsin end up with a climate something like present day Missouri, or do you think the desert conditions would extend east of the Mississippi river?

  38. Hi JMG, your view of the likely impacts is pretty much as I feel. I would, however, be interested in how you feel the migration / refugee impact will look. We are already getting climate refugees in the UK (although they probably don’t realise that yet) and we have a very toxic attitude to refugees generally. I am quite concerned that it will rapidly become unmanageable.

  39. Hi John

    One aspect of climate-change prognostication that routinely gets missed is the role of plate tectonics. It is very tempting to think of Planet Earth as a solid ball, but it isn’t. We get the ‘solid ball’ impression from the fact that we live on – and only ever see – its thin hard outer shell. At the core is a pool of liquid, and in between a thick layer of rubbery stuff called ‘The Mantle’ – so it’s more like a soft-boiled egg than the golf ball we’re used to thinking of it as. And that egg has a broken shell: the only thing holding it all together is its own weight. This is why we have earthquakes: weight on the plates shifts as a result of changes in atmospheric and hydrospheric conditions, so then the plates shift to restore the balance.

    So what does this have to do with climate change? Ice is not nearly as heavy as metals or stones, but at one ton per cubic meter it’s not exactly light and fluffy either. And in the Antarctic ice cap, there’s a 2000-meter thickness of it. So that adds up to about 4,000,000 pounds on an area the size of a small shower stall – and there are a couple of million square miles of it! Melt all that, and what happens? The weight shifts, causing the Antarctic tectonic plate to lift, drawing other plates down underneath it. (Because of where Antarctica is, you’ll probably have to get a globe and tip it upside down to visualize this properly.) That may happen gradually, as a series of small shifts; or it may happen suddenly, as a huge monster quake flooding coastlines all over the world. But either way, it will happen. And that could provide opportunity for huge trenches to open in the sea floor, swallowing a significant proportion of the extra water.

    Please don’t get me wrong here: climate change is real, and it will affect us. I am just disappointed that in four and a half decades of rhetoric and scientific studies – publicly funded and otherwise – on the topic, nobody but nobody seems interested in measuring the effect of what I see as very obviously a very significant factor in the equation.

  40. Hi JMG,

    My understanding is that when “the point of no return” was looked into with regards to tipping points in climate change models, a 1 degree Celsius rise in temperature was the trigger that would cause that. Unfortunately that was an feasible goal, so they doubled it to 2 degrees, which is what we have been fighting about since.

    Also, my understanding is that we needed to stay under 350 ppm of CO2 in order to avoid that 2 degree temperature rise, but are far above that and have been for over a decade. Currently we are at almost 422 ppm, so we have committed ourselves to considerably more. And this will be the case for, I believe, at least a thousand years, even if we stopped polluting completely today.

    I went along to a Bill McKibben talk once and was really bummed out by it. Him bragging about living in a pristine forest, or something, and showing all these pictures of village women around the world holding up 350 signs.

    There is no point trying to “avoid climate change”, hoping that we can redirect it, but there is still a point to lessen the impact to whatever degree we can, as you rightly point out, at an individual level. The higher the level we try to manage it from, the harder it will be to effect meaningful change, and can lead to incredibly counter productive things – like jet-setting climate activists. Collapsing Now, positions this material loss as personal gain – endure them now, when it’s easier, and be far better off in the long term.

    I also share your concern about Geo-Engineering.


  41. “our mismanagement of our relationship to the planet that supports our lives.” What a felicitous phrase! It does a great job of stomping on Man, Conqueror of Nature, and points out that, while Nature is not the enemy, she’s definitely the leader in the relationship. Thank you!

  42. @JMG

    I’ve always been attracted to homes up on hillsides. I’m a few miles inland but 40m above sea level on the south coast of the UK. I hope that will be enough. If there’s any warning there’s a quick retreat a further 40m up but I suspect there will be little enough advance notice. I’m trying to imagine how the current government would cope with a catastrophe with several hours warning but no hope of evacuation for a substantial proportion of the population. My guess is that they would quietly melt away to high ground and hope to pass unnoticed in the ensuing chaos.

    If there’s any chance to get something a bit higher over the next few years I’ll try and get it. Not much point in trying to set up slightly less fragile living arrangements if it all gets washed away.

  43. Dear JMG and all,

    Somewhat off-topic (sorry) I recently read a lengthy article describing of the current state of hot-fusion research at the link below by a senior physicist. If you have a little ‘ghost of progress’ lurking at the back of your mind, as I do, it reads like the casualty reports from a series of losing battles in a desperate war. Many moons ago I was a physics researcher (albeit not a plasma physicist) and the technical details read dead right to me.

    More on topic I can strongly recommend the book ‘Hot Earth Dreams’ by Frank Landis (available in the usual places) which raspberries at the idea that we’re not going to burn all the fossil fuels and proceeds to a multi-century exploration of the likely consequences. Disturbing as the material is, _not_ having to have the screeching will-we-won’t-we conversation is oddly liberating.

  44. Again, big thanks to the community here for inspiring me to get the heck out of the west coast coastal city I was living in. I really appreciate your writing on this topic JMG, as it is similar to my thoughts, I definitely “believe in” climate change, but just cannot follow a bunch of people peddling in fear porn while clearly not walking the walk. I just don’t believe them!

    So, I try to live a conservative lifestyle, do as much as I can for myself, and moved to a smaller town in an agricultural region, which happens to be right near the most inland port on the west coast of the United States. I feel like that’s really the best we can all do.

    Unfortunately I didn’t end up with the small acreage I had hoped for. It seems many, many others have the same idea and I couldn’t afford to battle those with nearly a million in cash buying up all those properties 🙁

  45. I found reading Graham Hancock’s book America before: The key to earths lost civilization really helped giving me some perspective regarding climate change. The book is about all the evidence that humans came to america much earlier than just 12 000 years ago, maybe as far back as 100 000 years. And its also about the Younger dryas impact theory which was must have been a truly apocalyptic experience if the theory is true. For one thing the impact started massive fires and one estimate in the book is that 10 million square kilometers burned down.
    Thats twice the area of the amazon rainforest, or all of China burning down. And yet here we are, the planet is still full of trees and animals. We lost most of the North american megafauna though since the theory is that the impact hit the glaciers/ice cap in North America.

    A climate scientist on Joe Rogan explained it very simply that if the sun was the cause of global warming the outer atmosphere would warm faster since the extra energy is coming from the outside. But if Co2 is the cause if warming the lower parts of the atmosphere will warm more than the outer since Co2 is like adding more insulation to the earth. And what they are seeing is that the lower parts of the atmosphere is warming more than the higher parts of the atmosphere just like you would expect if CO2 was the cause and not the sun.

  46. Thanks to your answer, I learned the name of a new sea! Though on the bathymetric maps I have now looked at, it seems the sea floor on the southwest coast of Greenland drops just as steeply or even more so than in the Irminger sea.I hope 93 m above normal is high enough, and I will keep this in mind next time we move.

  47. An actual Liberal (in that word’s non-Orwellian sense) acknowledges the inevitability of change, and plans accordingly. An actual Conservative (in that word’s non-Orwellian sense) has valid concerns about the rate of change. That climate changes on the scale of 10,000 years does not affect most people; but climate – and oceanography! – changing on the scale of 100 years is 100 times faster, and might affect many people. For instance, I’m sure that the Mafia didn’t want its Lake Mead rubouts to surface just yet.

    We humans are fine ones to complain about invasive species. Cats and dogs are also invasive, because they come along with us. So are all the pests and weeds. Personally, I respect pests and weeds; they survive next to us, despite our persistent war on them. So I am for invasive species, and I recommend moving endangered native species to new habitats that they can invade. This will happen with or without our help.

    Industrial civilization is designed to thrive on the chaos that it creates. Those terabux of investment in all of the coastal cities will be written off as obsolete: the rich will consign it to the sea-bottom, for its fossils be dug up by intelligent raccoons ten million years from now. Think of how much money will be spent, to retool industrial civilization from the ground up. That’s a growth sector!

  48. Hello JMG,

    I am in the mountains at a mid altitude, and at a tropical latitude in Latin America.
    The vegetation is tropical.

    It seems the climate will heat up less here, than in Canada for example, although the locals say that there are signs already of random typhoons and changing length of the rainy season.

    Any thoughts on how to adapt here?

  49. Geologically speaking, we are due for another ice age. More likely that the sea levels are much lower 1000 years form now.

  50. Hi John,

    This puts everything in perspective. Climate change is a slow process and we don’t know what is going to happen because it is also a very complex process with many variables at play. I agree that climate change is not going to end life on earth ( like a Permian extinction) Even that didn’t, we wouldn’t be pecking at a keyboard right now if it did. Like that quote from Jurassic Park, “life finds a way.”

    That being said, our modern, globalized society might not make it through. One example is the Akkadian civilization about 4,200 years ago where there is archaeological and paleo climatic evidence which shows that it collapsed due to the climate becoming drier. People fled the fields of northern Mesopotamia to the irrigated fields of southern Mesopotamia and they even built a wall to keep people out (the Repeller of the Amorites).

    As for invasive species, I’m in the Hudson River Valley in New York and invasive species can certainly harm an ecosystem. The latest scare is the Round Goby (originally from the Black and Caspian seas in Eurasia) which found its way vía cargo ships from Europe. It’s already infested the Great Lakes. It loves eating fish eggs and many are worried that they will eat the sturgeon eggs and other species’ eggs. The unknown is maybe the sturgeon will feed on it and balance things out but I guess nothing stays the same, like the climate, it’s a constant evolution.

  51. Another thought provoking post. I am reminded of a class I took in complex systems thinking. We spent some time analyzing and categorizing systems, the Earth’s climate system being one of them. It is an open, non linear, complex, highly nested, chaotic system. Chaotic systems by their very nature make them inherently unpredictable. This does not mean that with better data or better models that they will be predictable, it means, simply that they are unpredictable. We are just as likely to get a very nasty surprise as not. One could be the emergent characteristics of the current system destabilizing the Arctic Oscillation pattern. This gives rise to more rapid temperature swings in the temperate zone. 90 degree days in May, followed by a hard frost. Gardening, apple trees in bloom, etc. don’t do well with this. This has my attention Now as it is our current lived experience here in Maine, what will it be like in another 10 years??

  52. JMG,

    Great post and a very balanced look at what we are facing. And thank you for mentioning my greatest concern… “Let’s just hope that the technology mavens don’t try to fix things ….a very high risk of making things much, much worse.”. Something about children playing with matches and dynamite come to mind. First do no harm…


  53. You cover a lot of ground: I hope you’ll permit me to touch briefly on three points.
    First, it’s important to get the political analysis right, because politics is about power, and who has the power will determine how the world reacts. The kind of outcomes you describe are not foreordained in their gravity or consequences, and much will depend on how they are managed. To begin with, not all the world is like America. Those you refer to as “mainstream liberals” are from the global political class, the global PMC, Davos Man, if you like, which now dominates most political systems and most international organisations, under a variety of formal labels. Their ideology ultimately derives from traditional liberalism’s antipathy to government and worship of personal freedom, especially the freedom to make lots of money, linked with a technocratic, techno-fetishising worldview. These are the people with the power in most of the world, and they represent an integrated political class, including media and business elements. They have successfully hollowed out government capability over four decades (I’ve experienced that first hand) thus not only frustrating any attempts to preserve the environment, but also ensuring that when the crisis does happen, governments will be unable to cope with it properly. But hey, Elon will invent a technology that will save us. By contrast, what you describe as “conservatives” don’t exist in any numbers outside the United States. Outright denial of the climate problem is a fringe position in nearly every other country, and shouldn’t be confused with large companies trying to avoid having to spend money. So for most of the world, it’s not a “debate”, or at least it’s a wildly unbalanced one. The problem is that the global PMC has it all sewn up, yes it’s a problem, but the markets and technology will sort it out, and well, this tech and that tech, and we can continue to use our private jets. There are few alternatives available. The Greens, who are actually in government in some European states, are a waste of space, and the only other political tendency that has any traction is traditional nationalist conservatism, which isn’t really interested in climate change anyway. I make these points because politics is itself a kind of technology, and the global balance of political power helps to explain why we got here, and what is likely to happen next. If things continue as they have been, then the big actors will be the Gates’s, Soroi, Musks and co, the neoliberal international organisations, and weakened national governments dominated by financial and business interests. All in all, not a system where you can expect responses that would benefit you or me, our our descendants.

    Very briefly to add, one of the things we don’t know is what happens when very complex, tightly-coupled systems are put under stress by the kind of events you describe. The effect of Covid, now supplemented by the effects of Ukraine, suggest that much of the world economy is now so tightly coupled that even small changes can throw it out of equilibrium, with results that cannot be foreseen. Lagos, for example, is one of the largest ports in Africa, and mainly built on islands. The city and its suburbs have a population of something like 20 million. It will be an early casualty, and the wider consequences are unknowable. So I’d be more worried about the political and social consequences of some of these climate changes than of the changes themselves. And linked to that, a last point is that we’re already seeing some of these consequences in Europe: climate refugees coming from African countries that were already pretty arid to start with.

  54. Excellent post. I was just wondering why you did not mention solar flares and coronal mass ejections in the history of climate changes. There’s enough evidence to show that some of the warm and cold In the last six to seven hundred years were caused by the sun waxing and waning in strength.

  55. When I asked the question Geoengineering, the website I linked to says that geoengineering has been in operation since the late 40’s. The author of the website says the US Gov’t was involved in Operation Popeye which caused supply disruptions for the Vietnamese during the war in the 1960’s. He also has Congressional reports from the 70’s on his website which shows the US Gov’t admited those programs were in full effect back then. To be clear, I don’t know who to believe, just throwing the info out there.

  56. Hello JMG,

    I know Canada, and other country are talking about carbonizing the economy within the next few years. Having seen the seemingly close correlation between fossil fuel consumption and population growth, would voluntarily reducing fossil fuels consumption faster, than its “natural” decline, make our predicament even worse and more painful than it needs to be?

  57. JMG,

    Living on the northwest coast of England, and looking at the geography on google maps… has anyone modelled how a Greenland megatsunami would behave after hitting Ireland and the west coast of Scotland? There’s quite a narrow gap that it would have to be channelled through, so a lot of the energy should be lost in the process, even before it hits the Isle of Man. And who knows, if it’s a threat maybe someone will try building a wave breaker or two between Scotland and Ireland…

  58. @Green Fedora #29,

    Check out this link, , which explains how much the elevation changes between the ocean and the Great Lakes. All the Great Lakes except Lake Ontario are well over 500 feet above current sea level. Ships “step up” the St. Laurence Seaway and from one lake to another through a series of locks. I live near Minnesota’s north shore of Lake Superior, its current elevation is a smidge over 600’ above sea level.

  59. @Jason P #41; I think a lot depends on how much of the water in the Great Lakes gets diverted to the parched west. The big lakes have considerable effect on our weather and the high water table we enjoy generally has a big effect on what can grow here. The replenishment rate in the Great Lakes is only about 1% per year, from what I’ve read. The west is greedy for water, wherever they can grab it. Think Mono Lake, the Owens valley, and farther afield, look what happened to the Aral Sea. The west will even try to grab water from Great Slave Lake in Canada if they can. And I foresee them getting really desperate!

  60. Kirk, yes, there’s going to be a lot of pollution in the expanding oceans. A hundred million years from now, geologists from some future intelligent species will be able to identify the rock layer laid down at this time very easily — it’ll be a paper-thin layer very high in exotic carbon compounds and the decay products of nuclear isotopes. That will very likely be humanity’s longest-lasting legacy on this planet.

    Phil, if it follows the usual pattern, the excess CO2 will be absorbed over the next millennium or so, and then we’ll begin the descent into the next ice age.

    Candace, if WEF claimed to be into getting rid of cancer causing pollutants and solid waste, you know as well as I do that it would just be another gimmick to make themselves richer and more influential at our expense.

    Sues, fortunately, no billionaire can keep you from seeing with your own eyes and making your own preparations!

    JMN, computer models say whatever their programmers want them to say. (Watch the Fed make economic predictions sometimes if you want conclusive proof of that.) That’s why I rely on economic history as a guide to what the market’s going to do, and on paleoclimatology as a guide to what the climate’s going to do.

    William, delighted to hear it! Thrive in your new home.

    Forecasting, in the long term, yes, you can probably expect a Spanish climate, but it’s the interval between now and then that’s the difficulty. If we knew what threshold would bring rains back to the Sahara, I’d be better able to predict how the upcoming age of migrations will go; as it is, stay nimble and be ready to work with whatever weird events the world throws at you.

    David BTL, that strikes me as an excellent plan.

    Eric, hmm! I’ve seen some of the ecophobia reaction, but I’ve seen much more of a different and even more toxic notion — the idea that nature is essentially passive and will just sit there waiting for human beings to do something. I wonder how those two relate to one another.

    Seni, thanks for this. My Spanish isn’t up to that, but I have plenty of readers much more literate in Spanish than I am.

    Lawrence, and thanks for this also!

    George, the shutdown of the oceanic currents is a normal part of how the Earth responds to excess atmospheric carbon, so I’d expect to see it; exactly where the climate of northwestern Europe balances out between rapidly warming poles and an end to the Gulf Stream is a fascinating question. Leeds should be in good shape — you’re, what, around 200 feet above sea level, and on the western side of the island too? Of course migrations will be an issue, but that’s true pretty much everywhere.

    Drew, okay, I’m chuckling. Thank you for your qualified approval.

    Chris, thank you.

    Clay, I wish I could say this surprises me.

    Tamanous, hmm! I don’t think I’ve ever had any contact with Keith Woods; interesting that he’s following my ideas, As for Mexico, my guess is that what you’re going to see is increased rains over the middle of the country as the desert belt shifts northwards, and tropical vegetation spreading up the east coast all the way past the US border.

    David BTL, I figure it’ll take about that much blustering, flailing, and missing the point before people get used to the necessity of conservation and figure out that we really do still have enough energy so long as we don’t waste it as extravagantly as we do now.

    Jerry, I’ve been reading about it in books, mostly, for the last thirty years, and I didn’t keep a book list until quite recently. You might start with Richard Alley’s The Two-Mile Time Machine and Stephen Mithen’s After the Ice, though.

    PeterEV, of course. Complex interactions between unstable feedback loops are standard any time you put pressure on a complex system, and so it’s necessary to use historical analogues to gauge how things are likely to turn out, since linear projections from current trends usually end up producing nonsense.

    Green Fedora, fortunately there’s a significant height differential:

    Yes, that’s Niagara Falls. Ships going from the Great Lakes to the St. Lawrence Seaway have to descend through a whole series of locks on a canal around the falls to get down to the seaway. Chicago, and all the other ports on the Great Lakes, are 578 feet above sea level.

    Jonathan, funny. I’d encourage you to read this article, this one, and this one — the latter, of course, from that utterly fringe periodical Scientific American. These were on the first page of search results, btw. There are hundreds more if you want to go looking for them. As for avoiding that future, er, did you read my post? I specifically addressed that point. “An actual shift in our collective mind-set” won’t do a blessed thing, so long as the people who claim to be concerned about this won’t let go of their carbon-intensive lifestyles.

    Greg, I expect it to be roughly equivalent to the climate that the lower Mississippi valley has now.

    John, it’s a great idea — but where are you going to get the money and resources?

    Rod, not yet, as far as I know.

    TestUser5, you need to talk to someone who’s raised children and knows the first thing about that subject. I haven’t and don’t!

    Phutatorius, that’s the figure I’ve heard quoted.

    Luke, that’s an intriguing question which I don’t yet have the knowledge to answer. My guess is that the survival of glaciers during the Hypsithermal was entirely a factor of its short duration — but of course we don’t know how long the current warm spell will last.

    Mark, the northern edge should be well up into Canada, and the Pacific Northwest west of the Cascade crest will likely end up with a climate comparable to northern California’s. As for Gaian interventions, no doubt the planet could cool things off in a hurry if she wanted to. I’ve suspected for some time, though, that the entire reason our species evolved was that she wanted a species good at digging to get some fossil carbon back in circulation, and the climatic convulsions ahead are her way of saying, “Okay, that’s enough.”

    Brian, I can’t get them to display on my browser, so I can’t tell you.

    Brenainn, my guess is that your area will have, at the peak of the coming warm period, a climate fairly close to the inland regions of the American South, so you should be fine.

    NomadicBeer, why do you think I like deindustrial SF? 😉

    Jason, you’re the third person from the region to ask that, which is promising! Yes, Wisconsin might well end up with a Missouri climate.

    Stuart, I expect mass migrations like those that happened during and after the collapse of Rome, bringing down governments and erasing nations and languages. Sorry.

    Old Steve, this is one of the places where it’s really useful to check the evidence from prehistory. When the great ice sheets of the northern hemisphere melted, did anything of the kind take place? No. For that reason, it’s probably not a factor we have to deal with in our predictions.

    Still, funny! Thanks for this.

    Johnny, exactly. The point at which we could have changed course is way back there in the dust. Now it’s just a matter of living with the impacts.

    RPC, thank you. Please spread it around!

  61. I can’t get over how the trolls show up when you have your troll slaying sword and plus 5 ring of troll slaying handy w the sun coming up. Some people must really really be bored or desperate….okay so this is helpful post. As a gardener I have to ask…how exactly to manage the pre species planting? When I lived in texarkana I tried that w a beautiful tropical plant. I’ve tried it w Turkish figs living in nw ark. Our cold snaps and swings are brutal. Do you select species that tolerate cold but thrive in tropical? I’m thinking vines are going to be a thing. Or cold hardy citrus and figs. The old timers in south Arkansas used to hang meat up in the winter…it would keep. So things have changed but we still get brutal cold snaps that the mountains can’t keep out. Another thing I’m worried a out is if it dries out here. There are enormous stands of trees all over half the state. Fire management could be an issue soon. Right now it is not. Fires are easily contained due to how wet we stay. It’s funny you bring up because I’ve been thinking out xeroforms lately…like prickly pear and other stuff we have in small amounts.

  62. Well, one good thing about the climate change scenario you present here (and I’m sure there are more), is that if the current crazies do manage to set up a “reset” of technocratic/one world/totalitarian governance, it seems like it may not last long!

  63. I see that a town in northwesren Italy just got 740mm (39in) of rain in about 12 hours, which is a record for Europe, also that Oman just got 3 years worth of rain in a few hours.Here in Mexico we just got the most destructive hurricane ever to hit in May JMG ,I agree with you that the NW 1/3 of the county, more or less, will probably get the same drying as the SW US, while the rest gets wetter.

  64. Great post! Up here in Central NY I’m focusing on starting lots of seedlings from useful trees that are just hardy here- we’re on the Northern tip of the range for pawpaws, persimmons, northern pecans, bitternut hickory, and many others… their ranges go all the way down to Mississippi and Florida, so I think they and their geandchildren will be doing well in 50 years when I’m in my 80s (and the gods grant me a long life.) But we’ll see! What happened to your 2 cell model hypothesis?

  65. I live in the far west suburbs of Chicago. I have lived here all my life and I’m approximately 50. It is already warming here. When I was a kid, there was a series of infamously brutal winters. The blizzard of 1979 dumped 20 inches of snow. My parents tell tales of the blizzard of ’67 that dumped 23 inches. The early 80s features horrifically cold winters with wind chill factors of minus 75 (actual temperatures of minus 40 and 50). The late 80s, not so much. Winter was still winter, however summers were awful, with wet heat and 90+ temperatures from mid-May until late September. Each year, spring comes a little earlier. When I was a kid, snow often lasted until April and periodically made intrusions into May. Nowadays snow is usually gone by March 1 at the latest. Winter used to begin in October with sub-zero temperatures by November. In the last decade, true winter often doesn’t truly occur until January. We have the most beautiful Indian summers.

    Mississippi’s climate could very well arrive in 70 or so years. We are well on track to get Missouri’s climate in 30.

    As far as planting, some people are light years ahead of the rest of us. There’s a woman up in Traverse City, Michigan with a tea (camellia sinensis) farm. I have never been to it but from what I hear, she uses farming techniques invented by Rudolf Steiner and has something called a Demeter certification.

  66. Andy, keep in mind also that we have no idea when the danger zone for megatsunamis begins, so it might not happen in a thousand years.

    Smc, thanks for this. I wonder how much longer they’ll keep pretending that there’s any hope for fusion power in the lifespan of our species.

    Tude, you do what you can. It’ll be interesting to see if the current real estate bubble stays inflated for long.

    Heian, I haven’t checked out what Hancock is up to for a while now — he’s an interesting mix of reasonable claims and really entertaining fringe stuff — so I’ll see about reading that when time permits.

    Aldarion, remind me where you’re located.

    Paradoctor, funny. I’m sure they’ll be talking in those terms in the minutes before the bottom falls out of the market for plutocrats.

    Tony, see if anyone knows what the climate was like there 8000 years ago, and prepare for that.

    Michael, now go do some actual research. We’ll get another ice age eventually, but it’s still millennia off.

    Sean, of course climate change could bring industrial civilization down — though it’s going to have to take a number and wait its turn, because there are plenty of other things already at work on that. As for invasive species, when you say “harm an ecosystem,” don’t you really mean “change an ecosystem” — and isn’t change essential to allow ecosystems to adapt to a changing world?

    Tom, good. You’re paying attention. As for what the weather in Maine is going to be like in ten years, that’s just it. We don’t know. Nobody does.

    BobinOK, exactly. They could certainly make things worse. Better? Probably not.

    Aurelien, I’m well aware that I speak from, and to, the US experience; I’ve never lived anywhere else, and since the last thing the world needs is another clueless American telling the rest of the world what to do, I focus my discussions on what I know. One thing, though — the leadership of the world is much less integrated than you seem to think. I’d point out that governments ruling 88% of our species shrugged and turned their back when the Euro-American political class tried to get them to boycott Russia, and right now the situation in the Ukraine is not exactly going the way the Davos set wants! Rulership of Europe does not equal rulership of the world — a point that may be made rather more forcefully in the years immediately ahead.

    Mark, solar flares and coronal ejections are short term phenomena, and the case for solar influence on longer-term climate change is far from solid.

    Rod, it’s one thing for the US government to try cloud seeding over Vietnam — with very equivocal results, by the way. It’s quite another for any more sustained form of geoengineering to be in process.

    Druidovik, no, because so much of current fossil fuel use is sheer waste. The entire tourism industry, for example, could go away tomorrow with minimal trouble — that already happened during the recent virus panic, you know. The US and Canada could easily thrive on less than half their current energy usage given a willingness to use energy a little less stupidly — and that would give us a cushion of readily available spare energy that could be very useful in times of crisis.

    Alice, I don’t know if anyone’s modeled that. It would be interesting, certainly.

    Mr. House, I’m holding out for a giant space walrus with photon flippers.

    Celadon, I have no idea what motivates trolls. I try to surround this blog with signs written in Old Trollish saying “High Intensity Sunlight Ahead,” but it does no good. 😉 As for gardening, I wish I had a simple answer. We’re all flying half blind at this point.

    Lydia, my guess is that the Lame Reset is never going to happen, because the ruling class that’s demanding it is hopelessly out of touch with the real world. But you’re right that energy depletion, climate change, and half a dozen other burly individuals with knives, lead pipes, and other implements of destruction are lounging around just outside the exit from Davos, waiting to clobber our would-be lords and masters…

    Stephen, yep. Expect extreme weather conditions as the climate shift picks up intensity.

    Isaac, I’m still exploring the hypothesis. What I wanted to talk about here is more general.

    Kimberly, that’s excellent news about the tea plantation! Somebody’s thinking ahead.

  67. While it’s beyond dispute that climate can does regularly change over time, the supposition that it’s primarily carbon dioxide that’s causing the changes we’re experiencing seems to me to be, at least to some degree, an expression of human hubris. Thare are innumerable factors that can cause climate change . . . we shouldn’t pretend that we totally know or understand them all, or how these factors interact with each other. I find any proposals to “control” climate change through technological means (e.g. – reflective mirrors) absolutely terrifying for that reason.

    In ice core samples, increases in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere often lag BEHIND rising temperatures. Scientists explain this by suggesting that an initial increase in temperature (caused by a factor other than carbon dioxide) became amplified by the carbon dioxide as its solubility in the oceans decreased. This explanation seems less than satifying to me. It strikes me as a desperate attempt to keep the narrative alive that carbon dioxide will be the main factor driving climate change in our immediate future, a narrative that can help the powers-that-be consolidate their power and control over the populace.

  68. Another great teal deer essay summarizing where we’ve been and where we are going. Feels like you are doing a lot of these now.

    One of the strangest sudden change in climate events I’ve come across is the Year Without a Summer. We don’t really have any decent records of it, just some newspaper mentions and diary entries. Wikipedia did put together a thorough accounting of it and if the same happened today I shudder what to think would happen.

  69. Hi John Michael,

    Well this will be interesting for sure. I agree with your sentiment in that if you are offending both the left and the right with their deeply held sacred cows, well you’re probably onto a winner. 😉 I got that memo years ago with the Greenpeace mad cash (chugger) collector who said he ‘felt sorry for me’ when I suggested none of this stuff is sustainable (taking in the city street with a dramatic sweep of the arm) and that individuals could take some responsibility and action. Yes, of course…

    A strange claim I hear made all the time is that the bush fires (wildfires) are getting bigger due to climate change. The facts simply don’t support this claim, after all the 1851 Black Thursday bushfire burnt through almost a quarter of this state (and the state has the landmass of the UK but with 15x less people) and that was the biggest of the big in terms of fires. Incidentally that particular fire was only 17 years after settlement by European folks. You would have imagined that someone at that time would have asked the Indigenous folks how to manage the environment better so as to reduce this risk in the future, but apparently not and here we are 170 years later making the same errors.

    For your interest, last year during winter we had a huge wind storm originating from the south east (The Tasman Sea). The wind never blows from that direction, like never. And the trees in the forest were braced for winds from all other directions, and of course many of the trees toppled over. Well here’s where it gets weird. The local Dja Dja Warrrung mob apparently wanted to work with the government agency Vic Forest to clean up the mess. To my mind it is a monster fire risk, but try telling people that. So they’ve started the work, and of course due to scale and lack of resources, it looks messy and lots of heavy machinery has to be used, there’s no getting around that. But the bush will grow back, of this I have no doubts, and the clearings will provide feed and hunting grounds for forest critters. But bizarrely, the work is being protested against. Wombat Forest salvage logging continues after Game Management Authority removes protesters.

    Incidentally, if you look at the photos of the remaining trees, even Blind Freddy can see that the trees are too closely spaced together and if ever the trees experience a dry year, well it is hardly surprising that they get stressed and drop a whole bunch of dry leaves just waiting to burn. People don’t think. Vegetables and/or orchards, or any plants for that matter need to be appropriately spaced so as to thrive in the worst years – not the best years. People’s conceptions of nature is mostly bonkers, but I do feel like I’ve enjoyed a thoroughly good rant. Thanks for providing the forum 🙂



  70. The “Rising Sea Levels” map on this page shows Memphis underwater, but the city is 338 feet above sea level currently. I thought Memphis might become the New Orleans of the deindustrial times. Will the sea rise be too steep for that to happen?

  71. THANK YOU…..Much appreciation for your imaginative leap that sketches out the various futuristic scenarios and how to cope with these. Loved the idea of planting semi tropical vegetables now. Of course it is a daunting glimse of a time I may not live to see, but you provide so many images of change and of maps and waterways and predicaments that I can step back and begin, BEGIN, to get a sense of the time line and why distant projections might be much closer. Great Lakes ports…now there is a good one. Does that indicate that our rust belt cities may perhaps have a chance again? The Tennessee birds are already here….Thank you….Long time reader, seldom commenting, and very grateful for your ideas and suggestions and steady balance in the face of difficulty of all sorts.

  72. Regarding wild swings in weather that make gardening hard – I can’t help wonder if these will hit perennials near the edges of their range the hardest, and annuals the least. After all, if an annual crop fails, you can try again next year, or sometimes sooner. If your citrus trees are killed by an unusually bad frost, that’s years of time and significant money down the drain. If it’s just that you get no fruit some years, you can live with that, so long as you have other crops, but you can’t be regularly having your fruit trees die.

    Honestly my best bet for gardening is a) check whether we’re in la nina or la nino, and adjust planting times accordingly, and more importantly b) plant lots of different annual crops, ideally staggered planting times of crops that you are particularly dependent on. And if something fails, admit it and plant something else there while you have time. That means whatever the weather, you will get a significant amount of food.

    Monocultures in an unstable climate are really risky.

  73. The idea, which will be familiar with readers here is that the tendency to apply hopeless doom and gloom language to the difficult future we’ve built for ourself is directly related to a tendency to see the nonhuman world as innately hostile and threatening.

    In my limited experience, it seems to go the opposite way more often: People who view the nonhuman world as innately threatening and hostile tend to put their hopes in the technological conquest of nature.

    Of course, the times I’ve managed to deflate their hopes in Man’s triumph, they’ve then immediately moved into doom and gloom “we’re all gonna die” thinking.

    (And yes, we all will eventually die, but as an anonymous Druid once said, “What is that to me?”)

  74. JMG, you mentioned you were near Rhode Island, so presumably near the coast. If you were raising children, would you re-locate? Where to?

  75. Sean,

    Yes, and most (I would wager all) of these species are just filling a job opening that we created. Kudzu does it, water hyacinth does it, zebra mussels do it..

    As an ecologist, it was hard to get used to this idea initially, I’ll admit, but I firmly believe that now.


  76. I give three cheers to the future pirates of Tennessee! Maybe they will become a sea-faring kingdom and rename Memphis to Athens; they already have a Parthenon there.

  77. Those of us in the Deeper South would ask the same questions as the Wisconsinites, but we don’t really want to hear the answer…

    I’m pulling for oceanfront property!

  78. A couple of years ago there was an undersea landslide on the remnants of Krakatau (west of Java) that produced quite an impressive tsunami after dark in the evening, that hit the Java shore with no warning whatsoever, claiming a number of lives. Someone caught a video of it hitting an outdoor concert, and I can imagine the first thing I’d think is how did they arrange for that spectacle?
    Regarding the probable effects of a nuclear war on the climate, in addition to carbon from burning cities, as you’ve noted, I think it was Dmitry Orlov who said in reference to economic collapse that the end of industrial activities would clear a lot of soot out of the air (and I note my asthma has benefited from the lockdowns in China), allowing more solar radiation to reach the ground, with a sudden spike in global temperatures likely.

  79. Kimberly,

    Hello! We also have at least the beginnings of a tea plantation down here in N. Georgia. By that I mean 8 bushes that have adapted to life in Lower Appalachia for a decade now, and given us lots of seedlings.

    To date those have all gone out to homesteaders and horticulturalists – also a good thing, but we have certainly been rolling the idea of starting a proper tea farm around in our heads.

    Nothing Southerners like much more than tea…

    Maybe A/C.


  80. From Florida: Susan Nassif emailed me:

    “I’m forwarding this email from Alan Keitt.

    “Elizabeth Bate found a pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers working a pine tree on the road between Lake House and Mag Grand on Monday. [2 apartment buildings in The Village]
    They were active and may have been courting. She
    has a remote picture and a very good description. They are unmistakeable in the adult plumage. (Spectacular )

    I have never seen these at the Village nor did I find any on Eric Wagner’s list from the 1970s. It was one of the earliest species that I knew as a kid in Wisconsin.

    They are hard to see in this area but there are eBird reports from San Felasco Hammock and western Alachua County for this year. Over the years from 1970s and on they seemed to be decreasing nationwide but have been de-listed as a bird of concern recently. They require standing dead pines for nesting cavities and there has been some attention by timber management to spare some of these during harvests.

    Very nice find.

    Alan Keitt

  81. Phill @#8 (and JMG). Your comment, Phil, reminded me of an essay I read by Ugo Bardi 10 years ago. It describes how the silicate weathering geo-chemical reaction is earth’s long term CO2 regulator. While this reaction can consume all of the CO2 in the atmosphere in about 10,000 years, there is enough CO2 dissolved in the ocean to last another 300,000 years. But there are other processes that inject CO2 back, i.e. vulcanism, humans burning fossil fuels.

    JMG mentioned CO2 falling back in a much shorter timeframe of a thousand years or so. That would reflect more rapid processes such as biomass growth from forests, plankton and such, as well as CO2 dissolving into the ocean.

    I just now re-read Ugo Bardi’s essay on the silicate weathering reaction. Not only have I never read such a poetic essay about a geologically slow chemical reaction, but I found it oddly comforting. That essay is more sublime than I remembered. It almost makes me glad to have Aspergers. Anyway, thanks for your unintended reminder.


    —Lunar Apprentice

  82. Kimberly, thanks for the info on the tea plantation! I think that the proximity to Lake Michigan allows for a dampening of the typical Midwestern wide temperature swings and also keeps the temperature just warm enough in winter for the plants to grow enough for harvesting.

    I’ve been experimenting with the hardiest Camellia sinensis variety I could find for sale in the US in my suburban St. Louis, MO garden. Planted in my warmest microclimate (eastern exposure near the house with the house blocking west and north winds) both plants are surviving but only the one nearest the furnace vent and its bit of extra warmth is growing, and that one only slowly. This variety is rated hardy to zone 7 (0-10F) but my location has dropped a few degrees below 0F each of the past several winters, after 15 or so years of no lows under 0F. So I think the tea farms need to stick close to the shores of the Great Lakes for the time being. In 50 years, well, who knows?

    I was able to open the graphics that were referred to in the comment above. For the US the changes seem to be in line with some of the suggestions you’ve made in these comments for changes to expect, JMG. It looks like eastern Missouri, where I live, will remain in a sufficiently moist climate, but it will shift to something closer to the mid-South in terms of temperature. Missouri has no native pines except for shortleaf pine in portions of the Ozarks. All the pines that people have planted are from farther north (same for spruces). I have noticed that most pines and spruces around here are dying. However, the South has many species of pines that I think could grow here as the climate changes in that direction. If I had a lot of land, I would try growing some of the southern pine species. Also the more southern pecan varieties that have the desirable thin shells. I’ve planted hardier, thicker-shelled pecans in my yard, which the squirrels are enjoying, but if I were young and had land, I’d start planting some of the better, thinner-shelled varieties. And I would try planting palmettos too.

  83. I also just planted some pawpaw trees; here in eastern Ontario we are at the outside edge of their range so the prediction for the short term is that they will survive the winters, but may not bear fruit. That may change over the medium to longer term, so I figured it was at least worth a try.

    In regions that might be facing less water in the years ahead, gardeners might be interested in ‘dry-gardening’ techniques. The short version is just to space crops much farther apart than normal so that the roots do not have to compete for water with nearby plants. Apparently in the days before irrigation and electric well pumps it was common to plant that way, rather than in the intensive raised beds that are more common nowadays. Steve Solomon has a fairly extensive discussion about it in his ‘Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades’ and also in ‘Gardening Without Irrigation,’ which can be found online (it’s out of print) at the Soil and Health Library

    There’s some interesting material about capturing available rainwater by earth-shaping, on the very small to the larger scale in ‘Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond’ by Brad Lancaster. He covers some simple techniques like planting in a hole or a pit rather than a raised bed to make use of every bit of rain that strikes the ground, which can be implemented without too much effort, as well as much more involved techniques like building berms on contour. ‘Water for Every Farm’ by P.A. Yeomans is another book which discusses this subject in detail.

    Of course, if there is no rain at all, things start to look a little tougher. Relocating while that’s still possible does seem like good advice.

  84. JMG, I hesitate to state something so obvious, but you seem to have mislaid something in your statement that Niagara Falls lies between the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway, namely Lake Ontario. It is true that Chicago is more than 500 feet above sea level, but the major Canadian ports on Lake Ontario, alas, are not so lucky. One more causality of sea level rise.

  85. Hi JMG,

    Your reply to Mark is along the lines I have been thinking for a while now. Perhaps it was our ‘role’ as a species to unlock the carbon and other goodies that had been stored for so long in the Earth, to put it to ‘work’ in the Earth system.

    Perhaps Gaia is sick of the ice age cycles and wants to go back to a more tropical earth, and sent some opposable thumb wielding primates out of the trees to do it. It also could be the revenge of the trees over the grasses, as the grasslands grow during cold periods whilst the forests prefer the warm periods. Perhaps it is the trees themselves who have carved out an enormous master plan to get at the carbon and unleash it via their primate minions! There are plenty of more fun and interesting ways to view the whole thing rather than what the mainstream does now.

    In my country Australia everyone frets about climate change and increasing drought/fire, but paleo climate data points towards warm periods being wetter periods here, while the ice ages were spectacularly dry. This means a general warming could actually be somewhat beneficial, if you take away the flood risk. This has started to play out over the last decade or so, but the destabilisation seems to be allowing antarctic air masses to move north easier, giving us some really chilly cold blasts, one of which we are experiencing right now. The warming trend globally over the past 10,000 years has been a re-greening of interior Australia from the utter inland desolation of the Ice Age, with more mesic plant families spreading inland from refuges on the coast and from the Asian north. Perhaps this trend will pick up speed.

  86. Well, at least progress will be made against one *particular* invasive species (from tropical Africa)!

    Taiwan is as good a place as anywhere to be, I guess. The bad news is, no oil or gas, so if the ships stop coming, we can count on a steep die-off. Based on demographics, population collapse will take place within decades anyway (unless we suddenly get millions of immigrants, which could happen and has happened before). The good news is, we have enough water, the island is well suited to agriculture, and we don’t need winter heating. If the region warms, then we’ll be more like SE Asia, which is still fine–just more diseases, probably. Also, with enough of a sea-level rise, central China would turn into an inland sea. (As a Buddhist, I should be ashamed of myself for viewing the prospect with such glee!)

    Something that bugs me about those “rising sea-level” maps is that–well, here’s a really short one that’s animated:

    Notice how the Caspian Sea rises along with all the oceans, even though it is inland. Now if the sea levels rise high enough–like this 80-meter one, which we can’t expect to reach for thousands of years

    –then sure, water from the Black Sea can spill over into the Caspian. Otherwise, we’ll be lucky if the Caspian Sea exists at all. (It’s drying up.) As a fan of Armenia, it warms my heart to imagine a world where Azerbaijan is underwater, leaving only Karabakh, but alas.

    Anybody read S.M. Stirling’s alternate history novel “The Peshawar Lancers”? It’s a salute to all those old Talbot Mundy adventure novels (which influenced Roerich, by the way). The premise is that in the 1870s, a series of meteor or asteroid strikes impact the Northern Hemisphere. The major imperial powers realize that the ensuing climate disaster (think nuclear winter) will starve millions, and possibly bring down their civilizations, so they relocate their governmental institutions–and as many people as they can manage–to their colonies that are far enough south for agriculture to still be possible. Thus by 2025, the seat of the British Empire is Delhi. It’s a fun yarn (the enemies are Russian devil-worshipers), but the evacuation flashbacks are very moving. You really do get the sense that Disraeli etc. were doing their duty with as much pluck as they could muster, and made a decent show of it, even in the midst of an enormous humanitarian disaster. That’s not the behavior very many of us expect from our leaders today!

  87. I’m glad you brought up the topic of assisted migration of plant species. Here in Missouri, I’m looking more and more toward what thrives in Texas, at least the eastern and central portions of the state that are away from the Gulf coast. Yaupon holly among other things has done well here so far, surviving double digits below zero in February 2021. It looks a little ragged at the end of winter some years but bounces back. Yaupon can be made into a tea similar to yerba mate, and it contains caffeine as well. Whether you’re personally a caffeine drinker or not, having a local source could prove beneficial in the times ahead.

    I think a lot of plants that grow well in eastern and central Texas will end up becoming more common over a lot of the central US in the future, and probably west Texas stuff will spread up into the drier areas farther north. Texas is huge and has a variety of climates, but a commonality of much of the state is hot summers and generally mild winters, but with lots of variability in both temperature and precipitation with the mild winters being punctuated by cold snaps (Texans I know call them “blue northers”). The central US (outside of the areas moderated by the Great Lakes) has some of the most extreme temperature swings in the world because there are no large bodies of water or mountain ranges to block either warm or cold air masses from moving in. Eurasia has large east-west mountain ranges as well as seas to moderate things. The Southern Hemisphere is mostly water so is naturally more moderate. If it’s warm beforehand and gets cold quickly with no snow cover, that can damage plants that normally would be able to tolerate the cold extremes without any problems. I saw plants damaged this year by normal winter cold in the lower teens that happened abruptly after the new year following a record warm December. Many of these same plants got through minus ten fine the previous winter, the difference being that it had come toward the end of a two-week cold snap where things had time to adjust, and there was snow cover. Plants from other parts of the world were most affected by this past winter’s damage. Native plants were generally fine, as were the yaupons.

  88. Walter, thank you for demonstrating my point about the mainstream conservative dodge. (You left out the claim that extra CO2 is good for plants; not sure if this was an oversight or what.) Now of course the fact that there are other things that can also factor into climate change doesn’t mean that changes in atmospheric chemistry doesn’t play an important role, just as the fact that climate change happened long before our species showed up doesn’t mean that our clueless messing with the atmosphere can’t cause it.

    Denis, there have been a couple of very good books about the 1816 climate anomaly, though of course they focus on those areas that have a good collection of written records. They’re well worth reading as reminders of the chancy nature of life on Earth.

    Chris, space for reasonably polite ranting is one of the services I offer. 😉

    Jeff, I think they’re mistaken that Memphis will be underwater — its low-lying neighborhoods will be, sure, but much of it’s on high ground, having been founded there to avoid Mississippi floods — which is why I made it Meriga’s great port in Star’s Reach.

    Alice, I expect the inland rust belt cities to have a renaissance over the next century or two, especially if people get a clue and start reopening more of the old canal network.

    Pygmycory, that seems quite reasonable to me.

    Ryan, I’m about 80 feet above sea level, with a nice steep bluff between me and the estuary of the Seekonk River, which feeds into Narragansett Bay, which finally winds its way to the Atlantic northeast of the eastern end of Long Island. It’s pretty sheltered, in other words. If I was concerned about fast sea level rise I’d be further inland, but New England is pretty well positioned for the mess ahead.

    Ecosophian, they do indeed, and I’ve offered prayers to Pallas Athene there.

    Grover, well, how far are you above sea level? There’s plenty of deep south that’s 300 feet plus above sea level; you can expect your climate and ecosystem to change to tropical jungle, but that’s not necessarily a hindrance.

    PatriciaO, yes, I read about that! As for the nuclear war, yes, that could also be a factor.

    Apprentice, I’m mostly thinking of biological absorption of CO2, partly via increased plant biomass and partly due to anoxic ocean conditions entombing gigatons of carbon in deepwater sediments. That’ll be a lot faster than silicate weathering!

    SamWich, you’re quite correct, of course. I was mostly thinking of the ports on the other Great Lakes, which are well above future sea level.

    PumpkinScone, given Australia’s latitude, I’d expect it to start greening as soon as the rain belts shift, and I gather they’re already shifting. Maybe some bunyips will come out of hiding to give you some megafauna again. 😉

    Bei, a lot of sea level rise maps just use some kind of simple algorithm that expands every shoreline to an equal height, and yeah, they miss little things like the landlocked nature of the Caspian Sea.

    Kashtan, assisted plant migration strikes me as one of the most useful things people can do right now. The sooner plants get repositioned, the more quickly and easily the biosphere will adapt. Thank you for contributing to this!

  89. I read the fascinating and brilliant take on Hadley cells and desert/rainbelt shift on dreamwidth. Your work has lead me to view Earth and Anima Mundi as body and soul of an old wise entity with great potency. I need to check the bones on this desertification thing. Even if people are outside zone of disaster there will be mass migration galore. That will be worse than coping with climate. At some point it might be a good idea when there is opportunity of recognizing sacred and common land areas. Gonna get a little crazy. Mountain farming will be a thing too as those regions will be buffered a bit. I would imagine local land spirits may have some input and output as to coping. Thanks for your hard work and foresight sir.

  90. I always have thought that the Great Lakes region was the best place all round to live, one of the many reasons I adopted Chicago as my permanent home a few decades ago. I expect that other Great Lakes cities will experience stunning revivals, as will some of the beautiful, but moribund old cities of upstate New York. Think Milwaukee, Chicago, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, Buffalo, Syracuse, and the towns in between them. Minneapolis, too. If you’re old like me and wed to the coasts, you might as well just live things out, but if you’re under age 50, you need to consider what the next 30 years will bring to your ranch in the southwest or your coastal city.

  91. > Green Fedora

    [Hand going up, waving wildly “Ooh, ooh, I know this one‼️”🥸🤓]

    Most people are under the impression that the Great Lakes are at the same sea level to each other. They aren’t.

    Rough numbers:

    The farther west a Great Lake is, the higher its sea level. Transfers of water west to east travel by gravity, like sand in an hourglass⏳.

    Along with sea level, west to east, water quality gets worse because of humans’ added drek (“garbage”). Westernmost Lake Superior has pure water (drinkable, even today, or close to it) — it is because Lake Superior is farthest away from humans — it is in the middle of nowhere. On the other hand, the close-to-humans-since-1600s Lake Ontario (farthest east) has a water quality that sucks by comparison.

    Lake Ontario
    245 feet above sea level

    Lake Erie
    570 feet

    Lake Michigan & Lake Huron (two halves of the same lake)
    577 feet

    Lake Superior
    600 feet

    A good book is “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes” by Dan Egan, 2017.

    The Great Lakes are full of surprises.

    💨Northwind Grandma🤪🌹

  92. @JMG #56, Green Fedora #29, and KayeOh #63 re the Great Lakes:
    Aye, and Lake Ontario, from a quick check of Wikipedia for the figure, has a surface elevation of 243 ft (74 m) above current sea level. Since as I understand it we’re probably look at around sixty meters of sea level rise at most, maybe somewhere between there and seventy, that’d still put the lake level above the new sea level — and even if the levels are close enough for there to be _some_ flow from the sea into the lake, which how much fresh water is in the lake and presumably will still be flowing into it, I’m not sure the salinity would even increase that much.

    Speaking of, by the way, I was already thinking of commenting on this, but, at least from the looking at sea level rise maps I’ve done, I wouldn’t even say that the sea level rise aspect of global climate change is _completely_ without positives. IIRC (though it’s been a bit since I looked at one of those maps), the Panama Canal becomes a sea level route, no longer needing locks (or at least not such elaborate locks; if there’s _flow_ through the new strait, it might still be difficult to get watercraft through safely at least in one direction), and the (as a result much expanded) Caspian Sea gains a connection to the world ocean system. In a world where access to water transport is much more important, both of those seem like they’d be pluses.

  93. For those who are interesting is some light reading (for certain descriptions of light) about historical climate I have some recommendations.

    Never underestimate wikipedia as a starting point. The better articles have references for further study.

    Links in the above articles lead back to the main ice age articles.

    The Pliocene was just before the Ice Age. It is entirely possible the Earth will return to this climate model.

    For the last 6 deg C warm up, E.C Pielou documented how it progressed rather well.
    After the Ice Age: The Return of Life to Glaciated North America.

    For more human centered climate effects see Brian Fagan’s book The Long Summer.

    And for a longer perspective there is David Archer’s The Long Thaw.

    Those books were at the local extended library, and are probably available at used book sources as well. has all three available used. Or at least they did until I pushed this button. 🙂

    I grew up on a glacial moraine in Wisconsin. I didn’t believe that geology was a real science since I could go to any nearby rock pile and find sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks all jumbled together. Once I realized how odd that really was glaciers suddenly were very interesting. Now I live on the edge of the Channeled Scablands where the Lake Missoula Floods met the Columbia Flood Basalts.

  94. > Jason P

    As I understand it, today’s southeastern one-third of Wisconsin’s climate is what northern-Missouri’s climate was ten years’ ago (hardiness Zone 5).

    💨Northwind Grandma

  95. @JMG

    In your recent post on climate change on your other blog, I had asked you in the comments about whether a study of paleobotany could act as a useful proxy for studying climate change at least in the recent past (in terms of geological time, of course), and you replied in the affirmative. That got me thinking, and I have this question – suppose if someone wants to write a book on the history of the climate of a given geographical region (like the Indian subcontinent, for example), could he/she do so based on the paleobotanical record of the region? I mean, just like mass is a measure of inertia, what plants grow where tells you a lot about the climatic conditions as well as geological conditions (like soil) of the place…

    Also, regarding intentionally migrating plant species –

    If the Soviets could cultivate Mediterranean fruits in the cold climate of Western Russia, then that experience could prove useful to those trying to induce plant species to migrate northwards.

  96. Hi JMG.

    Thanks for this. Just want to clarify something – when you write “in a straight line” from an ice cap, do you mean vertical or horizontal, i.e., North-South and East-West?

  97. One of the reasons that climate change is such a political charged topic is because it is such a threat to the status quo. Yes as it unwinds it will cause untold suffering and population reduction but above all else it will turn the organization of the human based world upside down. A mega-landlord in Miami or New Orleans could find themselves without the money, power and luxury they are accustomed too in short order. But a blue collar man or woman trapped in a dead end job but with a sense of adventure and ability to adapt it could shake up the system enough to let them break out in to a dynamic and adventurous life. Become the king of glass window salvage from Las Vegas with a couple of mules and a wagon. Like the Black Death climate change will shake up the social and economic order and that is what many are really afraid of.

  98. @Celadon @Kashtan
    Re: Assisted Plant Migration

    I offer this article on the adaptation of subtropical species into colder climes using earthworks, varietal selection, and training. The Soviet Union had the challenge of expanding the range of its fruit species in the face of brutal Russian winters, and did a number of methods to successfully achieve this goal.

    On the same vein is an article on the use of masonry walls to create the microclimates that permit the growing of warmer region plants. An interesting bit for those who know their military history is that these are the origins of the walled and hedgerowed terrain of the bocage that so frustrated the progress of the Allies in Northern France after D-Day.

  99. I’m just following our climate leaders: they have imported Alaska crab, followed by Norwegian salmon, then Spanish acorn-fed pork loin. They spend the weekend in a 2,000 ft suite with a hot tub and heated indoor swimming pool, then fly home on a private jet to one of their many their 5,000ft mansions.

    I’m pretty sure whatever climate or CO2 I use, I’m in the clear on that baseline. My wallet will fail long before I reach their Carbon level.

    I don’t know how you could guess if your area will be wetter or drier at all. Sounds like a fool’s game, but if you permaculture, I guess you’re set either way. If you had such a coastline change you’d also have such earthquakes and subsidence that you couldn’t guess a number of other things even far away. Maybe your river would rise or drop 20 feet in Iowa. Maybe the crust would crack so much volcanoes would darken the sky for 4-5 years.

    I disagree that the conservative plan is business as usual. Or not the men on the ground, at least. For example, to them, the dollar destruction stops the money-siphon to the rich and therefore reverses income disparity. I would say hoping for the end of the dollar and trying to halt the US dollar Empire is the dead-opposite of “business as usual.”

    Depopulation and “Many millions, perhaps billions of people will meet tragic and painful deaths over the next centuries” Reminds me of C.S. Lewis’s quote: “the mortality rate is the same as it always was: 100 Percent.” That is, everyone dies. Dying isn’t too great now, so I need not worry about the exact method someone I’ve never heard of, in a country that doesn’t exist yet, dies or doesn’t die gracefully. When you’re talking 100 year blips, the loss of a couple years or a couple percent in childhood is completely unnoticeable. It is being said we have a 40% increase in under 40, non-Covid deaths. It’s a 6-sigma outlier, like once in a million years. No one notices a thing. So a far tinier increase in mortality will look just like now, and you’d have to look back on your whole life to notice, just as it was when lifespan crept up from 72 to 78. Should that happen, ecology will gracefully appear without anybody doing anything. That is, fewer people, fewer places, forests encroaching like they did in Brother Grimm stories about nearly the same thing. In their case, they were the far back end of the black plague, and the houses in German forests used to be whole towns that vanished.

    The other thought-stopper is that things don’t go backwards. Not back to caves, or to 1890 or whenever. They only go forward.

    There won’t be any predictions of power, since if whole grain belts vanish and appear elsewhere, those whole nations won’t exist, along with their cultural traditions and their whole lineages of oligarchs. They think they can keep on top, or try. History says they can’t.

    Pre-gardening, it’s not the plants, it’s the climate. Microclimate. A garden wall like England or a stone alcove does wonders for figs, bees, etc to moderate the only 2 square feet they care about. Has to be used intelligently and is expensive and immobile though. Obviously permaculture capturing rain or letting it go would be crucial if things are not stable. Infrastructure generally doesn’t work, but this is such a small scale it should hold up.

    Has anyone thought that the reason for the lockdowns is instead the oil capacity or the climate – or the broke financial system – means they wanted to shut down unnecessary oil use ahead of time and needed an excuse? I mean, instead of just plutocrat collapse that they were facing? I sure did.

    From last week, For materials, you didn’t leave your house’s location. Keep in mind lime mortar with no portland. It’s the 5,000 year recipe and is softer and in several ways easier to use, but has been forgotten in the ‘States. For floors, I’ve seen some clever ideas. One is to mix lime and clay and pound a rammed earth into terra-cotta-like tiles. Seal with poly or something. Perhaps better, you can lay sand perhaps with lime, and put large floor tiles or stones over it, grouting soft again, not with the standard portland. Now you can run wires, radiant heat flooring, etc under the floor and still have access to pull the tiles for repairs.

    Natural materials: there is nothing more robust than linseed paint. But where would you get real linseed? Or properly ground pigment? If you want paint, enamel, old ideas, there is “Lee’s Priceless Recipes” which has every old, archaic, primitive, and perhaps deadly industrial recipe you can find (1900?). Paint, enamel, perfume, liniment, explosives, glue, rat poison. Use responsibly. Like a normal adult!

  100. JMG,

    We’re about 1500′ above sea level. Plenty high and dry for sure. But our climate is definitely changing. We’ve been here 10 years now, and we’ve seen armadillos move in, from the south; the sourwoods are almost all gone, to the north; in places we’re getting gnats, which was one of the main reasons we left the coastal plain!

    We’ve always said we didn’t like gardening in Zone 9 (university in north Florida back in the day), and when we moved here this area was 7B. But we’re creeping back toward zone 9 pretty steadily…

    At least we seem to be getting plenty of rain.
    Cheers, and thank you for this post!

  101. @Stuart re immigration:

    Sure, many of our countrymen and women have what could reasonably be described as a toxic attitude towards refugees. Many refugees also have a toxic attitude towards our country – a lot of humans have a pretty toxic attitude towards a lot of things!

    Our government likes to make a cack-handed show of being “tough” on immigration, by doing things like attempting to deport elderly Caribbean immigrants who have paid into the British tax system for many decades – a despicable scandal. In reality, though, they realise that their buddies in big business want cheap, young labour, and the only way to get that (without, you know, reversing the decline in birthrates) is to import it. Yearly net migration has generally stayed around the three-hundred-thousand, regardless of how “tough” the Tories claim to get on our borders.

    I echo JMG’s comment about the decline of the Roman empire. For those who call for open-borders, or even worse, no-borders – be careful what you wish for. It will come true sooner or later.

  102. One thing that has to be taken into account is the narcotics market. Many countries in the western hemisphere rely on drug money from America to keep the economy going and the masses from revolting. If it wasn’t the drug dollars people like El Chapo and Amado Carrillo would have already taken down Mexico’s PRI like the forefathers of the PRI did with Porfirio Diaz regime. The same thing in Colombia, Peru, Bolívia and maybe Brazil. The modern drug trade channel young aggressive and smart poor men into the dark aspect of the global trade and away from revolutions.

    Mexico and Colombia are not havens for anglos to flee from the falling Babylon but death traps. When the 400+ billions dollars from drug trade dries up the drug Lords will turn either inward or outward. Take over the Mexican State or invade the falling America like Huns. Maybe both.

  103. New t-shirt? “All I got from the Lame Reset is this shirt and 40% inflation”

    Since our betters now have vaccine passports locked in place for cultural institutions, how soon until they require attendees to own an electric vehicle to buy tickets? “Please provide a copy of your car sales invoice at the door and proof you drove it here.”

    PS – would love if you could throw me a book title or author about that 1816 climate event.

  104. In terms of geoengineering, what about etheric technologies? Cloudbusters might be useful for those out west. Of course no one knows yet what the long term effects of sustained use of cloudbusters might be, at least that I’m aware of. And I’m thinking their use would have to be small scale. It wouldn’t stop the desertification but might be a tool in the toolbelt for those who decide to stay.

    Here in Southwestern, Ohio we get plenty of rain. I think my hometown is a good area to stay in for the long term.

    Speaking of plant & species migration… “Lazarus Lizards” were introduced to Cincinnati by a kid whose parents owned the Lazarus department stores here, some time ago. He brought them back from Italy, IIRC. They weren’t in my neighborhood when I was a kid. Now they are at my Dad’s house.

    [Here is a bit about the Lazarus Lizards

    These lizards being everywhere in this part of Ohio now, really got me thinking that this area might be perfect for orange and citrus trees in a few decades. I’ve put some Ohio/Indiana orange groves into some of my unpublished deindustrial fiction.

    We have a lemon tree in a pot, but that’s as far as we’ve got on the home front with growing citrus. I remember on trips to visit my great aunt in Ft. Meyers when I was kid, how she would make homemade vinagrettes from her lemon tree. It was the best. Maybe that option will be available to Ohioans down the road. The river valley certainly gets humid enough in the summer for me to imagine it.

    Speaking of humidity and heat, how do people here cope without/minimizing the AC to the hotest times? We installed ceiling fans in a few extra rooms which helps us from having to use the AC as much. Also lots of cold showers. What other strategies do people here use to cope with the summer humidity and heat?

  105. Ecosophian: minor correction. The Parthenon is in Nashville! I never fully understood why Nashville had a Parthenon, but it does. Back in 2009 I went there to participate in a massive, several hundred-person pillow fight. It was a blast!

  106. Walter White
    #73 June 1, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    Howdy from New Mexico. I have a good friend, in his 80’s, who is certainly one of the most distinguished climatologists in the world. Approximately every 3 years or so he invites researchers in that field from all over the world to a conference where they get into the weeds of climatology and climate change. Politics is forbidden, on pain of being forever exiled from this very prestigious (and little known outside the field) conference. I have attended a couple of meetings of these folks and they are very serious. At the one I attended a few years back it became clear that the researchers have theories, very tenuous ones, about a lot of things. One very important datum that is missing and not likely to be discovered (if I understood their technical discussions properly): the true value of the so-called “solar constant,” without which the effect of sunspot cycle changes cannot readily be measured. And that’s just one factor.

    Said distinguished friend has also instituted a number of university departments in climatology/meteorology in the US and Canada. So when I say distinguished, I mean VERY. If you were in the field you would know exactly who I’m describing but he hasn’t given me permission to spread his name hither and yon, so I’m leaving at that.

    The point of my saying all this is that when pressed on the topic he naturally agrees that the climate is changing but says we cannot know to what extent that change is human-caused other than “some.” Beyond that, he will not say anything about warming or cooling, but from long-term casual observation of the man in action at non-climate related events, it is my impression that he does feel the climate is on a warming trend. He doesn’t discuss the details with anyone I know, and focuses on gathering the data for scientific analysis. Which is to say, there is an awful lot we don’t know. And an awful lot that, very possibly, we cannot know.

  107. Anyone living in soon to be tropical or near tropical climates might consider that those ecosystems, both damp and dry, are home to a most impressive array of medicinal plants, some of which have, allegedly, almost miraculous properties. Mango. Turmeric. There are, apparently a variety of kinds and colors of turmeric, including blue. Some are used exclusively for medicine. Moringa. Neem. And, I doubt not, many more of which I have not heard or read. Get your cuttings or seeds now, while shipping is still possible.

  108. JMG, what are your thoughts on this essay? It talks about “climate cranks and green agenda” capturing the energy political departments just like neocons captured the foreign policy departments.

    “This is the problem faced all over the managerial class. Any reform attempt must start with the removal of the infestation. In the case of foreign policy, it means a decapitation of the neocon establishment, both in government and outside government. You would have to fire everyone, remove their security clearances and maybe put a few in jail to publicly discredit the cult. Given the scale involved, that may not be possible, even if a president was committed to it.

    The same process would have to happen with the climate cranks who have infested energy and environment. The regulatory state is now stocked with people who think their lawnmower is out to get them. The same holds for the Department of Justice and the FBI, as we saw in the Trump years. The managerial class has been captured by what should be described as a cult. Across the system, members of this bizarre new religion now wield power and control policy.”

  109. (@Gwydion #115)

    The greater our wisdom and understanding, the weaker our convictions will be…

    Thanks for sharing that anecdote. It is obvious to me that one of the best ways to corrupt science is to get money and politics involved.

    Models are great tools for validating our assumptions and generating the results we want to see.

    Historical analogs are much better. Even if we can’t entirely understand the cause or predict the trajectory beyond a century out, we can say with some confidence that “when the planet was last two degrees warmer, the climate zones looked like this.” Sometimes I encounter compelling scientific arguments for why the CO2-forcing dogma might be mistaken or incomplete, but the warming and changing trend is indisputable and appears to be accelerating, so we had best be prepared for it to continue. So thanks JMG for this dose of rational analysis.

    To all of those concerned about being below the sea level of an ice-free world, I would say that while an ice-free world is one possible outcome if current trends continue, it is by no means guaranteed. Furthermore, if such a world does come to be it will be many centuries from now. I suppose we cannot entirely rule out a sudden melt situation – the Earth can be full of surprises – but if current acceleration trends continue the most sea-level rise we can expect in any of our lifetimes is less than 10 feet. My home (elev. 260′) would be on the shore of a great shallow bay in an ice-free world, but within my lifetime the river port of Portland (river elev. 5-10 feet) will probably fare much better than the lowland coastal ports.

    To all of those helping plants to migrate northward: It is not clear to me that winters are actually getting milder, at least across the northern US. Sure, we are seeing warmer temperatures in the winter, and therefore higher average temperatures, but the cold snaps are just as cold as ever, and the late frosts are just as late as ever. If there is an obvious change, it is toward greater and more rapid fluctuation between extremes, which is much more difficult to adapt to than a simple warming or cooling. I would expect that a decrease in ice coverage around the North Pole will have the effect of destabilizing the “polar vortex” that typically keeps the coldest winter air at arctic latitudes, with the effect that this frigid air will be centered over land masses and will spill southward more frequently, even as the overall trend is toward a warmer climate.

  110. @Grover
    Definitely you and JMG are right. In the case of the Round Goby, the zebra mussels needed another predator ( which the zebra mussel has relatively few in North America). The round goby accepted that job offer as you put it! There are positives and negatives of it, the goby is another food source to other animals but they also unfortunately bring the zebra mussels’ botulism up the food chain, as I’ve read somewhere. Ecology is a fascinating thing. You picked a good career!

    Best wishes.

  111. I keep on chiming in with small addendums, hopefully it isn’t too much work for our host.

    Anyway, Patricia M: I will personally attest to spending some time watching some of those same woodpeckers doing their thing in my front yard yesterday, tapping away at a pine tree. I am in the western GA Piedmont region. I’ve seen them intermittently but at least anecdotally they seem to be present in larger numbers this year than usual. Probably a good thing!

    Bryan #38:
    Well, the very first thing that drew my eye with those graphics is that they both assume that there won’t be any areas of desert that will transition to savannah type climates. The boundary line on the southern edge of the Sahara is in exactly the same position in both graphics. Ditto with the wet/dry boundary along the NE Mexican coast. If we’re seeing a poleward shift of desert climates towards the poles, i’m not sure it’s realistic to suspect that tropical moisture and its benefits won’t move northward at all either. And apparently Australia isn’t going to change much at all, according to those graphics. If rain belts change, then you’ll definitely see some shifting climate particularly on the northern side of the continent. NW Europe on that graphic is getting unambiguously warmer…which conflicts with the idea of the gulf stream slowing down with the thermohaline circulation.

    I certainly wouldn’t say that everything in that graph is bogus, but — and I have a meteorology degree — any deterministic forecast made by weather models beyond a week out is a crapshoot. I have zero reason to assume any different of a climate model.

  112. luciano geronimo lisboa @ 109, Your final sentence, about invading fallen America like Huns, is exactly the reason why, even though I mostly vote for leftist candidates–wrote in Bernie in 2020–I think the folks trying to cancel the 2nd amendment here in the USA are nuts. A case can be made for enforcing of responsible gun ownership and use, just as we now enforce responsible automobile use and ownership. How that is to be done can, and should, be debated. I personally think persons who drive short distances only and who have clean, no tickets, driving records, should pay no auto insurance, provided car is properly maintained and eyesight checked annually.

    I would also like to say, and I think it is past time that this point is made, that some of us have no one to depend on but ourselves and neighbors. No overseas relatives or tribal members are going to send money, protest at the US embassy, or offer refuge on our behalf.

    As for the mass shooting events, I can’t help thinking that that gun control crowd is avoiding the confronting of, perhaps deliberately, the aspects of our culture and lifestyles that are quite literally making people insane.

    JMG, I respectfully ask and request that, at some time you feel is appropriate, you will write a column or columns about the various factors–I think there are many, we seem to be living in a toxic cultural stew–causing people to become deranged. Creeping ugliness of the built environment? Chemical laced air, water and land? Dumbed down, time and life wasting school curricula? Mass consumerist propaganda?

  113. @Stefania re: dryland farming – The Hopi are past masters of that. Not sure about the other pueblos, since so many of them are suburbs of Albuquerque, or else on the main highway, and get their groceries from the nearest city. But the Hopi are way out there up near Navajo country.

  114. Hello to you too, Clarke!

    I agree with the expert that you mentioned that are many “unknown unknowns” when it comes to climate science. While I’m quite prepared to say that carbon dioxide MIGHT be responsible for SOME of the climate change we’re currently experiencing, I’m not entirely convinced it’s the main factor.

    The climate system on Earth has evolved over many, many years. It doesn’t make much sense to me that the climate system would lack resiliency/redundancy . . . there are probably innumerable feedback loops (many of which we aren’t aware of) that make a runaway greenhouse effect unlikely. It’s almost certainly much more complex than the models we currently use. To quote Paul Simon, a complete understanding of how climate works and changes is “information that’s unavailable to the mortal man”.

    While I don’t think that we should take a totally laisse-faire/BAU attitude to carbon dioxide emissions, I sometimes wonder whether the hype about reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a diabolical way for the rich and powerful to ensure continued access to fossil fuels for themselves and their heirs.

  115. That is a good way to present our situation: the effects of anthropogenic climate change will be catastrophic but only like a typical climate catastrophe that occurs every 10000 years or so. The paragraph about timing at the end deserves a lot more attention. The IPCC reports give a pretty clear picture of what effects we can expect over what time scales. They are of course political documents in addition to presenting selected evidence and arguments. And they have quite likely been conservative in their estimates of sea level rise and particularly they explicitly indicate that their predictions do not include effects of destabilization of ice sheets. But I think 10 years is too short a time range for most of the climate effects you are talking about. See level could rise very rapidly. But the expected time at which rapid rise would occur is many decades off, probably in the 2100s. Most models don’t show significant probability of more than 0.5 m sea level rise in most places by 2050 ( Now 0.5m would be catastrophic for many people and ports, particularly if hurricanes get worse. But it isn’t anything like the 20ft (6 m) rise many are picturing when they read your essay. 6 m could happen in time window after 2100, but it won’t happen all of a sudden. If we are headed for a 6m sea level rise, there will be several decades warning. (Kind of like there has been 30-50 years warning of the 2C warming that is currently baked into our current climate trajectory).

  116. I read a paper the other day called “Our Hunter-Gatherer Future: Climate Change, Agriculture, and Uncivilization” by John Gowdy (I can’t link to it from this computer, but it’s freely accessible online) which agrees with you on the importance of paleoclimatology in predicting where we’re headed.
    I don’t feel qualified to really evaluate the paper, but one observation it makes is regarding the very instability and uncertainty of weather year-to year that you mentioned when it comes to planning for the future.
    It seems the Holocene has been a period of unusually stable and predictable weather over the long term, in sharp contrast to the Pleistocene, and that the timing of the Agricultural Revolution may not have been just due to not thinking of it before, but that widespread agriculture may have been unfeasible during the Pleistocene as a result of that instability.
    If we are to look to paleoclimatology for clues of what our changing climate may bring, then it’s possible that the everyday lives of humans in a few centuries may lean more towards nomadic hunter-gatherers with only periodic attempts at agriculture (though our expanded knowledge base might allow for somewhat more artificial stability with things like greenhouses)

  117. Greetings from two meters above sea level! I’m on an estuary, not the open coastline, which makes a difference for coastal storm risk but not so much when it comes to tsunami risk or sea level rise. At an inch a year (which isn’t happening yet, we’re currently averaging about a seventh of an inch per year) it would be quite the dramatic race whether our home becomes uninhabitable before my wife and I aren’t around to inhabit it. But if the rapid rise holds off for another decade or two, we might not even be the last to live here.

    I haven’t yet managed, to any adequate degree, to put into words how knowing what’s coming shapes my relationship with this place, as well as with Ocean. One thing I can say, the land and river while they’re here are for the sake of the life in them (not excluding human), whose future generations will go on elsewhere. The euryhaline fish and shellfish will find their way farther upstream, via storm and flood if necessary, as long as they survive the present. The cattails can’t relocate until there are new wetlands for them to inhabit, but they spread their seeds prodigiously, as long as they survive the present.

  118. So, what I should have said in summary is that I’m expecting the future climate where I am to be a little warmer in winter, much cooler in summer, and quite a bit wetter, not to mention saltier.

  119. JMG
    About 20 years ago my wife and I stopped at a peach orchard near Scottsdale Arizona and picked what were the most delicious peaches I have ever eaten. These trees were growing right out of the sand. Not far away there was a canal supplying water, originally from the Colorado river. While there we learned that the orchard was going to be removed to make way for a new subdivision.

    I don’t like the idea of living in a desert with millions of neighbors any more than I like living on this island with millions of neighbors. But I also see that people make decisions based on their short term self interest more than anything. My wife has asked me in the past if we have made the right decisions over the years. My answer has always been that we made the right decisions based on the options we had at the time.

    We’re moving back to the Chicago area not because the seas are rising or climate change or energy scarcity, but because it’s closer to family and friends than where we are now, and the opportunity has presented itself.

    I keep thinking back to Isaac Asimov’s short story, “The Last Question”. In the story various individuals consult an oracle about how to avoid the heat death of the universe. The oracle repeatedly states that there is no answer, and the individuals go about their lives with a new emphasis on hording energy for themselves. Finally a miracle happens and the universe is reborn… far outside the lifespan of any individual.

    These posts put me in that frame of mind. There are no good answers. There are only paths that seem to be relatively clear at the moment.

  120. Hi JMG,

    The bad news is, 1) We’ve already tipped positive feedback loops which exasperate the greenhouse gas problem (rendering it “out of control”), 2) We are already on path for worst-case scenarios in terms of climate rise and are arguing about purely theoretical gestures, 3) We show no signs, collectively, of being able to alter our consumption of fossil fuels.

    Generally these things make arguing with climate-activist types frustrating, because, while they understand the seriousness of the topic, they take a position that ignores these points, or downright denies them.

    You come bearing good news from history, 1) we’ve survived worse as a species, 2) negative feedback systems will pull against the positive feedback, so there will be a “top” (AKA “we won’t all burn to death”), 3) meaningful action can be taken at the individual level, to both prepare for the coming future, and do what you can in your own life to slow the rate of change. Another strand of good news is that “less fossil fuels” is what’s on the menu anyway, so it’s a Win/Win situation.

    A good thing about Collapsing Now is that giving yourself some headroom allows you the freedom to experiment and find personal techniques for solving your problems. Forgive me mentioning my tomatoes again, haha, but I was transplanting seedlings all over the place this morning, and thought about how if I were given some bit of random city land now I could easily fill it with overflow. – I would likely never have discovered these things if I hadn’t had the luxury of fooling around.

    On that subject, I was thinking about going around with tomato seedlings and sticking them in yards that just look like they’ve been given no attention, ones full of just huge wild weeds and bare bits of earth. Neglected though they will certainly be, they might by chance produce tomatoes, which somebody might even eat. What do you think of this idea? It came to me walking some seedlings to the parents of one of my son’s friends and passing a few properties like this (the parents were very happy to receive them, btw, and have a balcony garden to put them to use). I think I could plant one in about 2 – 3 seconds, and if confronted I would just explain what I was doing, apologize and leave. I’m on the fence about it still though. There are also city gardens in public spaces (traffic islands etc) that do get regularly watered.


  121. 🪴No Mow May

    We did “No Mow May” this year. Grasses are from 14inches to 18inches. Today, with the grasses blowing in the breeze, with some bees, butterflies, and dragonflies around, the sun out, perfect temperature, I found that vision nourishing and burst into tears of happiness. With a mowed lawn, we could not see the direction of the wind — I knew something was wrong but couldn’t figure out what. Now I know my unease was that I couldn’t see wind currents in the field. Just the one change of not-mowing is helping me feel more stable emotionally by connecting to the land. I said in a recent post that I was feeling ambivalent and afraid that maybe I have bitten off more than I can chew by deciding to transform our 1.75 acres to native plants/wildlife garden. I feel a little less terror. I think I have on-and-off garden-phobia — the solution is easy, just feel-the-fear and have faith that I will get through it.

    Today, my husband and I decided that we will do “No Mow June July and August” too. Our plot is rural with a dairy farm across the road and only two sets of high-falutin neighbors.

    💨Northwind Grandma🌻
    Wisconsin, USA

  122. John Michael Greer,

    Years ago when was young, I used to believe in the whole green tech messiah and religion of progress. After discovering TheOilDrum and your writings I realized the truth and value of systems science, including ecological economics and understanding progress as a religion.

    As a decade and a half long reader I think you are missing out on a recent revolution in the way we understand climate. Old climatology studies and works correctly understood that their were dramatic shifts in climate in the past. In the present, modelers and scientist do everything they can model everything but the feedback and controls of biological life on that climate.

    The biotic pump theory by Victor Gorshkov and Anastassia Makrieva, is akin to climate science as what ecological economics is to regular economics. We both know regular economist are known for being wrong most of the time and their lack of understanding of the physics of energy makes them draw false conclusions. The same can be said for climate scientist, the climate is changing and caused by man, but it is land use and the destruction of forest and ecology driving the process and increased Co2 is a minor part and symptom of it, but not the main driver.

    We know now that it is forest and functioning ecologies that draw in moisture from the oceans and “summon” the rain. This biological control of moisture in the atmosphere drives to a large part the climate we have today. We know that desertification is a process driven by ecological disturbance and destruction of forest and previously stable ecosystems. We can see the march in the cycle of the birth and death of civilizations originating in forested wet areas and leaving hot dry deserts in their wake.

    It is changes in land cover driving climate change, just as the previous civilizations of the middle east destroyed their forests/ecologies over thousands of years. There are too many coincidences of human land use creating deserts where once was a lush green functioning ecosystem. In addition we have seen massive restoration projects modulate the climate back to a cooler and wetter state.

    As you have said it is the arrogance of man’s “dominion” over nature that has led us to try to conquer it in a monotheistic desert death cult religious fashion. But these same cultural and religious biases keep us from exploring the ego threatening idea, that it was always the dominion of ecosystems that defined the climate in regions. Destroying those systems out of ignorance and the conditioning factors of desert death cults (monotheistic religions) is what keeps a large portion of humanity perpetuating this cycle.

    I have outlined this partly in my substack

  123. For those of you who want to bring plants from warmer zones into your yard, the book Palms Won’t Grow Here and Other Myths by David A. Francko will be your friend. If you need to protect your plants for 10, 20, 30 or more years until the climate changes enough to allow them to grow on their own, or if you already have a microclimate that allows them to hang on while the climate changes more to their liking, he’ll tell you what you can do and how to do it. If you can find the hardcover version, get it, for the full impact of the color photos.

    Upthread someone mentioned Steve Solomon’s work on plant spacing to capitalize on naturally occurring rainfall or minimal irrigation. You’ll find that and a lot more practical information on gardening in his book Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Tough Times. I find this book of Solomon’s and Solomon’s book The Intelligent Gardener to work the best for my garden and my way of gardening.

  124. Celadon, you’re most welcome. If you’re not in one of the migration routes, for what it’s worth, a period of mass migration can be pretty placid — that’s why the Irish were able to preserve so much classical culture while the rest of Europe was going through the worst part of the Dark Ages.

    Laura, I ain’t arguing — though there are other locations that will also do well, of course.

    Northwind Grandma, hmm! Thank you for this — I wasn’t aware of the differences.

    Reese, and thanks for this also. You’re right about the Panama Canal, of course; it’d be interesting to see if there are any other locations that would benefit.

    Siliconguy, thank you for the buffet of online and book sources! Those are highly useful.

    Viduraawakened, the paleobotanical evidence would be an important part, but you’d also want to draw in other sources of data. For example, a region that’s now arid but has old river channels in it tells you something important!

    IVN, direction doesn’t matter. The point is that the wave can reach the target land mass in a straight line from the place where it starts, without having to go over or around a land mass on the way.

    Clay, I think that’s a crucially important point.

    Jasper, I’m not sure why I have to keep repeating this, but you don’t have to guess whether an area will be wetter or dryer as the temperature warms. All you have to do is check what happened in all the previous times when the temperature warmed in that area. Since ice caps have melted and sea levels have risen sharply in the not too distant past, you can determine the impacts of that, too. It really isn’t rocket science — it’s the same thing you do when you notice that it snowed last winter, so you might want to have a snow shovel handy this winter, too.

    Grover, excellent! 1500 feet above sea level gets you out of the way of most of the potential difficulties, and since that’s usually accompanied by rugged territory, it probably keeps you out of reach of mass migration troubles, too.

  125. JMG,

    Somewhere I saw a set of charts that actually went back to the beginning of the Anthropocene period, now considered a thing in a lot of scientific areas, which really coincides with the Industrial Revolution in Europe / America around 1820-30. It was a direct correlation of three things – population, fossil fuels expended, and of course CO2 in the atmosphere. The correlation that wasn’t drawn from this by the author in question is that humanity itself is now Industrialized, and that its engineered fate is directly tied to the human bubble that has been created, essentially engineered. Like all human-scale systems they are subject to limits, and we have reached those limits.

    Yet we push against these barriers because there is one underlying perception that dominates all Western thought – techno-solipscism. Basically we can think our way out of this box with more gadgets that will come along in the future. Like all good Americans, we believe that if we just put some more engineers to the project, we can make it work.

    As the engineered-human bubble pops, since we got six or seven BILLION more humans over the last 200 years, all from the systems, which were dependent on cheap energy and abundant water, have threatened to unwind viciously. Glad you brought up the Colorado / Lake Mead system, which provides both water and energy to that figment of a gambling den we call a city – Las Vegas – with its splendid fountains, pools and watered lawns, It is perfectly emblematic of the once-and-future, but inevitable, vicious unwind, as that area, and the rest of the West Coast and Pacific Northwest, are dependent on this dams / electricity generators system, With the loss of rainfall, and more insidiously, the loss of snowpack which holds the water back naturally, all these will work in reverse, losing both water and power.

    Catastrophic for the future of metropolitan areas like Seattle, SF and LA. An increasingly increasingly hotter climate will spell doom for its engineered-occupants.

  126. Those looking for a very long-term land play in anticipation of climate change might consider eastern New York State, along the route of the present Champlain Canal. Choose the right elevation (on either side), and your land will front on the future strait connecting the present Hudson Valley with the St. Lawrence. This seaway will be a wonder, a great salt water river hundreds of miles long, likely with ferocious (but useful) tidal flows, connecting the future eastern Canadian breadbasket, New York, western New England, the Great Lakes region, and at either end, the Atlantic Ocean. You’d have to be able to somehow plan many generations ahead, though.

  127. Quite a few people have mentioned solar cycles.

    So, I’m just going to throw this out here. It may interest people who like to learn about different perspectives. It may also interest people who are looking for a “thrustblock” against which to balance and strengthen their current perspective.

    Still, since the subject matter is both climate change AND sun cycles, here is a relevant recent paper by Miles Mathis which covers both, and also links to his previous papers on both.

    By way of introduction I will say that Mathis can be difficult to read. There is a chip on his shoulder which he finds hard to set aside when writing. That said, if the reader can ignore and push through the “chip” stuff, the bones of his physics and his maths are surprisingly simple for a layperson to understand, and amazingly “unfudgy”. This is because he has a rule, which I find very refreshing, to the effect that every mathematical variable has to clearly point to a physical process or entity, which has the effect of anchoring the maths, and stops it becoming so abstract as to fly off the face of the earth.

    I am not yet ready to endorse his theories, (I’m not sure if I have the capacity to do so in any case), but inasmuch as I understand them, they are certainly fascinating, and worth thinking about (in the sense that they help you to think more clearly about other explanations, simply by offering a contrast).

    If I were to give the teal deer version, (as best I understand it) he holds that there is a charge field made of photons that have real mass, radius, spin characteristics, that moves through space at velocity “c” and is continually recycled (taken in and emitted) by every kind of matter made of larger particles. Including the atoms and molecules themselves, and also every larger body, including ourselves, and the sun and planets. Flows of this photonic charge field connect the sun and all the planets in this solar system, but arise in the galactic core (roughly in the direction of Sagittarius). The direction and characteristics of this flow are influenced by planetary alignments and aspects (which incidentally provides the first physical explanation I’ve seen of the capacity for planetary alignments to exert an influence on the earth), and alignments between the planets, the sun, and the galactic core influence the power variations of the solar cycle. Mathis’s predictions are that the solar cycle is currently strengthening (in this he differs from mainstream predictions derived from statistical analyses of previous cycles), and this prediction is based on how he estimates that planetary, solar and galactic core alignments influence the flow of the photonic charge field.

    Anyway, if anyone is interested in thinking about the solar cycles, have at it.

    Like I said, fascinating stuff, which is worth getting to know, even if only to use it as a thrustblock for other ideas.

  128. @ Piper #128 “There are no good answers. There are only paths that seem to be relatively clear at the moment.”

    Hear, hear!

  129. @ Northwind Grandma “Just the one change of not-mowing is helping me feel more stable emotionally by connecting to the land.”

    This is wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

  130. Great post. I’m at 860 ft above sea level. I think I’ll stay put.

  131. Luciano, now you know why I’ve tried to tell people here in Gringostan that moving to Latin America to avoid the crunch is not a good idea!

    Denis, William Klingaman’s The Year Without Summer and Henry Stommel’s Volcano Weather are both good sources on the 1816 climate crisis.

    Justme, thanks for this.

    Justin, I’d be very, very wary of suggesting that anyone do anything to change the climate just now, since — as you pointed out — we don’t know what the effects would be. Thanks for the lizard reference; the link you gave didn’t work but I got there via a search for “lizards” on the site. I’m intrigued to learn that Cincinnati and Milan have the same climate!

    Degringolade, thanks for this. I’m fascinated to see someone else suggesting that a blue-water arctic would lead to a collapse of the three-cell atmospheric circulation, though they see it as going to a one-cell system and draw some conclusions from that which don’t seem justifiable to me.

    Mary, an excellent point.

    Akhtar, it’s a half-valid argument. The problem with the people the article calls “climate cranks” is not that they’re concerned about the climate — there’s good reason for that concern — it’s that they’ve latched onto a failed response to the predicament we’re in, and won’t let go of it no matter how badly it works. If they’d taken the time to learn a little about the predicament in question they could have done a lot of good; instead of pouring money down the ratholes of large-scale solar and wind installations, they could have directed funds into insulation retrofits, solar water heating, improved public transit, and other proven technologies that would have cut our energy use sharply, keeping the price of energy down for essential uses and improving everyone’s quality of life. Instead — well, you know what we got instead.

    Mary, I’ll consider it, but first I have to figure out what’s driving the general collapse of basic intelligence in the American public and government!

    Ganv, excellent. Yes, precisely — catastrophes happen, and it’s our misfortune that our environmental clumsiness is causing one of them. The ten-year window is roughly how soon I expect things to start getting really difficult; it’ll keep on getting worse from then on, for five or six centuries at least.

    Luke, thanks for this. Fortunately there are alternatives other than large-scale field agriculture on the one hand, and hunter-gatherer economies on the other. I expect there to be a lot of pastoral societies in the dry regions and a lot of intensive polycultures in the wet areas, as those systems handle instability much better than field monoculture does.

    Walt, thanks for this. That’s a useful sort of thinking.

    Piper, maybe so, but now and then it’s possible to glance up from the affairs of the moment and look a little further off to see what’s coming. Not everyone’s interested in that, of course.

    Johnny, I’d encourage you to do some divination on the subject, or find someone to do a reading for you if you don’t have that skill set; this is the kind of situation where feedback from the Unseen can be helpful. With regard to your broader point, of course climate activists can’t admit that it’s too late to save industrial society. Their entire mindset is borrowed from the kind of cheap fiction where the Good Guys Always Save The Day, and their LARPing — ahem, activism — fixates on being the Good Guys.

    Collapsologist, I’m familiar with that hypothesis. It brings in an important additional factor to the whole system, but — in the form you’re offering here — it falls into the usual trap of taking one factor out of many and treating it as the only factor that matters. There are far too many cases of changes in vegetation and ground cover following, rather than preceding, changes in climate for the simplistic version of the biotic-pump theory to be correct.

    Kurt, there’s only one modification I’d offer for this otherwise sound analysis. When you say that humanity is now industrialized and its fate depends on the industrial system, that’s an oversimplification, because not all human beings are part of, or dependent on, the industrial system, and even among those who participate in the system, the level of participation varies — and therefore so does the level of vulnerability. Seattle, SF, and LA? No argument there — but that’s not the whole world, of course.

    Christopher, sounds like a sensible place to be.

    Degringolade, funny. Genuinely funny. I hope they tell American jokes in Poland…

  132. In the climate scenarios where northern latitude regions that are currently boreal forests or tundra become arable, is sun angle an issue to consider in agriculture? Temperatures and rainfall at higher latitudes might eventually match those of prime growing locations today, but Sol’s daily and seasonal courses through the sky aren’t going to change. This might make little difference in a place with plenty of sunshine, but I wonder if adding another ten degrees of latitude to, for instance, England’s cloudy skies might cause trouble with some crops even if the temperature is equivalent.

    On an equinox day, the same density cloud cover would attenuate sunlight at least 30% more at the latitude of Anchorage than at the latitude of London.

    It might be too minor a factor to worry about, compared with other variables.

  133. JMG,

    Too bad it doesn’t keep the halfbacks away…

    You know, the NYers and NJers (true Yankees seem alright) who moved to South Florida, and then halfway back!

    We’ve experienced a huge influx of people in this latest housing boom – no doubt fueled by our Readers’ Digest “Friendliest Places”…”award,” and the Forbes mention of best places to retire…

    Housing prices have skyrocketed. We snatched up our downtown house in early 2019 – seeing this swell in advance – just before it all began…again. Paid 150k for it and now Zillow has us at 305. Good timing.

    I can’t help but wonder how much of this northward migration is driven by climate change though…

    I’ve ridden out a few hurricanes, but that was in the middle of Florida, well away from the coast. Wouldn’t take too many of those at 10′ above sea level to make me rethink where I was hanging my hat.

  134. Here in Brisbane, Australia we’ve just lost a major shopping centre to ‘radiation entrapment’:

    The Toombul shopping centre was well-known for the occasional flooding in its lower carparks, which became real flooding in 2011 and 2022. Now it’s shut for good, and everybody’s suing everybody.

    Brisbane’s airport is also located next to the creek that flooded the shopping centre, and it’s right next to the sea …

  135. Justin Patrick Moore – With higher temperatures comes a greater risk of dehydration, as we sweat to keep cool. Everyone should be prepared to mix up a batch of Oral Rehydration Solution. It’s usually described as treatment for diarrhea, but the cause of the dehydration doesn’t matter. A simple recipe is one liter of water (five 200 ml cups), 6 teaspoons of sugar, and a half teaspoon of salt. Other recipes add smaller quantities of potassium chloride (“NoSalt” salt substitute, from the grocery store), sodium citrate, and/or sodium bicarbonate. Add artificial flavors and colors, and you have DIY “Gatorade”. Or just add a splash of lemon juice.

    I have been highly impressed at the quick relief of heat symptoms with either Gatorade or my DIY ORS, much moreso than simply drinking water. Of course, there are ways to do it wrong and make a bad situation worse, so you may simply want to buy pre-packaged ORS to be mixed with water. Perhaps that is something that I would offer to a desperate neighbor for their child, and let them worry about following the directions (rather than assuming risk for myself). (I see that 50, 1L packets, can be bought for $30. That’s got to be at least 10x the price of DIY.)

    Unfortunately, too much public health advice is aimed at “the average American”, who already has too much salt, sugar, and fat in his diet. That doesn’t mean that this is true of each of us. M need to do our own research, make our own plans, and stock our own supplies.

  136. @Piper at the Gates, #128

    If I recall “The Last Question” correctly, the Oracle in (silly, I know) question is a computer, or a series of computers actually, who develops conscience and superhuman abilities. The first computer passes the questions it was unable to solve to its successor, and since humans keep asking the same “death of the universe” thing every few decades, the Oracle takes notice and devotes itself to the task of solving it.

    By the time it finds an answer, though, all biological life has gone extinct and there’s no one to ask the question whose answer turned into the purpose in the existence of the Oracle. Having nobody to share the good news saddens it deeply, so it goes like: “if not an explanation, a proof by demonstration will have to do”. It burns its significant energy reserves and sacrifices its existence to kickstart the Big Bang and (IMHO) give birth to the version of the Universe we, the readers, are currently inhabiting. That makes the Oracle into the Ultimate Being who inspired the myths of the Creator God you find in so many of the religions of the world, and hints that this Meta-history is actually cyclical, and that the thing that causes the Universe to rebirth in each round is the curiosity of beings who see a dark path ahead and wonder how could we make it better.

    That last sounds remarkably in point for the theme of this week’s post.

  137. Hi John Michael,

    It’s a fine service too. 🙂

    Hey, the other issue arising from my former comment was that if us humans muck around with the environment too much, we have to end up spending more of our time, resources and energy directed at providing the services (or adapting to the consequences) that whatever it was that we mucked up used to do so – but for free. The forest management issue I previously mentioned (in regards to tree spacing) works a bit like that. And each change places extra costs on whomever lives in such an environment. Eventually the environment reaches a new and different equilibrium, but we might not like it and it will be a hard road to travel to get there.

    One of the interesting things about this subject is that people speak about it, including the more vocal folks you mentioned, as if it is a far off future concern. I’m not so sure about that. Temperatures on average do seem to be increasing here where I’m located. When I first moved here, the old timers said that growing citrus was not possible, but they were wrong about that, although it may have been true in the past. And as temperatures increase, rainfall is likewise increasing. I’ve got 140 years of records from this mountain range and if you plot a linear regression line through the data, it’s pointing upwards. In the past fifteen years we’ve had the hottest day (44’C / 111’F) and also the wettest year (55 inches of rain) in recorded history. We got through both and are busily adapting our systems to accommodate such variability. But the costs increase with each stair step change. It ain’t cheap to respond to reality. 😉



  138. In the mid-Atlantic, we see overall warming temperatures, with more erratic variation. Despite gradual change over decades, we had to delay tomatoes this year due to late frosts and lost most of our peaches two years ago after premature blooming. Beyond looking for higher temperature zone plants to adapt, a wide variety of more hardy ones makes sense – win some and lose some (microclimate management helps).

    I would think twice before introducing invasives, which can overtake both natives and food crops, while offering limited or no soil health promotion or wildlife support. In our area, English Ivy has been here hundreds of years, continues to outcompete locals, and is quite problematic. Most gardeners refuse to use it in compost.

    Hardening known species from nearby areas makes sense, and choosing those tolerant of a wide range of conditions. “Fix it” unnatural/invasive plants, whether kudzu or some GMO “soylent green” style wonderplant, may lead to unforeseen and serious consequences.

    Semi-tropical weather may support more medicinals, but diseases and vectors are already making waves. Zika and malaria already have documented spread in southern areas. Historically, disease has caused more population loss than starvation in most stressful times (though nourishment/trauma are also part of the picture).

  139. Walt, oh, doubtless, but keep in mind that there’s a countervailing factor: increased day length. The further north you go, the longer the sun stays in the sky between the spring and autumn equinox, until you reach 90° north and the sun rises on March 21st and sets on September 22nd. It would be interesting to work out total insolation including both variables, lower sun angle and longer summer days.

    Grover, hmm! How many of them are buying the houses as investment properties, as distinct from buying them and moving in?

    Kfish, stay tuned. I took a moment to look up Brisbane’s geography, and note that it’s on its way to a future as a cluster of islands rising above a shallow sea. It’ll be interesting how the lawsuits work out as more properties close to the river and Moreton Bay sink slowly into the ocean…

    Chris, I’ve noticed the same bizarre habit of insisting that, sure, changes are coming, but off somewhere in the far future. It’s all the stranger because people will say that, and in the same conversation grumble about some dramatic change that shows, no, it’s not in the far future, it’s happening right now.

  140. @Walt @JMG

    Here’s a chart of insolation over time at various latitudes:

    And here’s a tool to use if you want to calculate in more depth:

    The short answer is that despite much lower yearly-average insolation at high latitudes, for a three month period from early May to early August, high latitudes receive substantially more sunlight than the equator, and it’s even higher at the north pole than at 60°N.

    Short season crops like corn and wheat should have no trouble growing in a warm Arctic once the permafrost melts and the frost-free growing season exceeds 100 days. Of course it will be one crop per year vs. continuous production in the tropics for lower maximum annual food production per acre, but that doesn’t stop us from thinking of Ukraine and Iowa as breadbaskets.

  141. Scotlyn (and anyone else interested in short-term solar cycles) – This web site has current conditions and a short-term forecast (which I have found to be little better than chance), but if you go to the very bottom, you’ll see the multi-decade solar activity history and forecast.

    If you look at the 10.7 cm radio flux chart, you’ll see that we’ve already exceeded the forecast peak, about three years before it was expected to arrive. If you look above it, at the sunspot number chart, you’ll see that our little star is also over-performing on that objective. But if you look at the 300-year sunspot chart, our current cycle looks more typical. It may be just that the forecast was low. But, if anyone wants to chat about the potential impact of a new Carrington Event, you know where to find me.

  142. Hi JMG and Kfish,
    There is a very interesting book about Brisbane and floods called “A river with a city problem”. It is about the tendency to build on the flood plains. Originally the intention was to use Ipswich as the capital as the land around Brisbane was very good agricultural land and it was considered too good to waste. Unfortunately Ipswich also floods badly so that would not have solved the flooding problem.
    Oh well! They’ll probably think of something.

  143. Walt F >

    “Those looking for a very long-term land play in anticipation of climate change might consider eastern New York State, along the route of the present Champlain Canal. Choose the right elevation (on either side), and your land will front on the future strait connecting the present Hudson Valley with the St. Lawrence. …connecting future eastern Canadian breadbasket, New York, western New England, the Great Lakes region, and at either end, the Atlantic Ocean.”

    I grew up in the Albany area, upstate New York State (NYS) in the 1960s. My mother’s father’s father Robert (b abt 1850 Quebec) became what was known as a “canaler” (I guess as “captain”) on Lake Champlain (including its canals between Montreal and Brooklyn, Kings, New York). Specifically, Robert headed a canaler-family. Robert’s wife and thirteen kids travelled on each year’s canal boat (prob rented) every April to November roughly from 1870 to 1915. The family spent the winter (until spring thaw) wherever their boat happened to be located before things iced up in November.

    The decline of canal boats on Lake Champlain was evident by World War I. After servicemen returned from WWI, they mainly went to work in factories rather than on the waters of their youth.

    My mother used to bring us two kids to various locks of the New York State Barge Canal around Albany. I absolutely loved it out there. One of my fondest memories was traipsing through the nearby wetlands picking cattails.

    A riveting account is recorded in the following diary:

    Life on a Canal Boat: The Journals of Theodore D. Bartley, 1861-1889, ISBN 1930098596.

    In 2019, while trying to figure out what state to move to (escaping from Northern California), I investigated NYS. I didn’t like what I read, and nixed moving back. NYS didn’t sound like a positive place. Not only that, but after fifty years, everyone I had cared about had died or moved away. There was nothing there I would recognize from the olden days.

    I think that Wisconsin is more like the NYS I remember. However, one thing I gave up is the locks of the Barge Canal. But even with the Barge Canal, I can never go home again.⌛️

    💨Northwind Grandma
    Wisconsin, USA🌱

  144. On climate and everything else: one of the methods I use to determine the probable accuracy of any particular person’s claims, is whether or not they live as if their claim was true.

    You’ve already touched on that with the Davos crowd, that they don’t live as if the climate-damaging effects from their jets and lifestyles actually mattered. Same same with past Pres Obama, global warming aficionado, who purchased beachfront property — which, if he truly believed in his claims, should be underwater and/or lose value as the sea crept closer to his ocean-view window.

    The same disdain for beliefs pushed onto the wee people can be seen among religious leaders for whom “sin” for them is merely recreational, but the same sin condemns congregation members to the hot place; and politicians whose concern for children demands banning one thing while encouraging another, both of which potentially kill kids; and medical leaders who insisted the worker-bee’s faces be covered while they themselves walked around barefaced. One fellow who pushes geoengineering lives in an area of the country that is supposedly a target zone for weather control. Baffling, if they actually believe what they are selling.

    I don’t think we’re seeing unconscious hypocrisy in any of these cases. We’re seeing someone support an agenda verbally (i.e. lying), while their actions and behavior shows their actual beliefs.

    So, if AGW advocates don’t get their act in gear and decrease their own carbon footprint, it’s likely because they do not believe it is true and/or don’t believe that it will affect them. There’s certainly some hubris in the latter aspect, but fundamentally it all comes down to belief.

    That is, their sloppy carbon-spewing behavior is in concordance with their actual beliefs or lack of belief.

    The other side of the coin on climate change, of course, are the people who advocate for an incoming Maunder-minimum type mini ice age. As a group, they may be misreading data or utilizing data that the warming-crowd doesn’t, but the ones who publicly advocate have quietly moved from cool zones to currently warmer climates (since they believe cool zones will become frozen, and currently warmer zones will cool off), taken up small farming, are encouraging self-supporting communities, and are building highly snow resistant structures. These people act as if this change will come about within their lifetimes. That gives me pause. At the very least, their beliefs appear consistent with both their advocacy and their behavior.

    Beliefs can be erroneous, and there’s more than a few black swans swimming in the mix, too. Nevertheless, when informed, thoughtful, and otherwise stable individuals act in consistency with verbalized beliefs, I think the reality-deck is probably stacked in their favor.

  145. JMG,
    I know there has been a lot of back and forth on this topic but I have to say – why is it so hard to find climate proxy records for a specific locale?
    In my case I am in the coastal PNW and I can see a lot of available research touching on minutia of lake sediments or the geological changes but no clear data on the actual climate for the last (let’s say) 30k years.
    I have even seen the map with the line of the southern ice limit during last glaciation (somewhere around Tacoma) but I cannot find the scientific literature for it.

    I assume it’s just me not being versed with the specific keywords or websites but it is frustrating.
    So I hope that other people here that have any links will post them because I see that I am not the only one asking.

    The books that you pointed out are a good global introduction – and there are others about the ice core records, but I would like to see local info – you know, what animals lived here? What plants? There are plenty of proxies for local temperatures (from shells to pollen to who knows what else).

    Thanks for this again!

    One more thing – I like your timing. Other than blaming heart attacks and clots on AGW or trying to impoverish people in the name of “saving the climate” (whatever that means), the MSM stopped touching this subject completely. I think at this point “climate change” has become an even emptier expression than “war on drugs” or “save the whales” -fake journalists still utter it to fill in uncomfortable spaces in the news (or else people might think of the dreaded GMO treatment) but other than that it’s way to dangerous to talk about – or people might actually try to prepare and screw up the WEF’s best laid plans.

  146. Mark, thanks for this! Should have known that it was all readily available.

    JillN, I suspect that what they’ll think of is frantically dogpaddling when the water rises to neck level.

    Elkriver, the mere fact that someone is sincere in their beliefs provides zero assurance that the beliefs in question are true. Think of the number of people who really, seriously, sincerely believed that Communist revolution would lead to the utopian society predicted by Marx, or — well, there are plenty of other examples. Fervent, honest, sincere beliefs that turn out to be mistaken are a dime a dozen in world history.

    NomadicBeer, hmm! That’s very curious. A few decades ago I had no trouble finding information about the paleoclimates of the Pacific Northwest; now admittedly I had a borrower’s card for the University of Washington Library system, but that was also before the internet became the go-to resource for such things. I’ll see what I can find.

  147. Im in the coastal range of California, south of SanFrancisco, 2400ft. So the idea is that the climate will become more like Southern CA, so the mountains outside of LA ? If I understand that correctly, then the biggest problem would be the transition and the huge fuel load of the kinds of large trees we have now that would not survive to be in that climate, so they would burn I guess ? Or is it like you told the person in the Pacific North west it would be more like Northern CA on the west of cascades, not desert like will be east of there ? SO, if they are like Northern CA what is Northern CA on and west of the coastal range ?

  148. JMG,

    Unfortunately this is a purely theoretical question, but what if someone came to you and said, “I have 10 billion or so dollars I don’t want to leave to my ungrateful kids, and I believe everything you say about the trajectory of our woebegotten civ. What could I do with the money to effect the most good?”

  149. It’s exciting hearing all the talk about the Great Lakes! I’ve lived in Northeast Minnesota since 1998, about 65 miles North of Duluth and Lake Superior. The climate over that time has been more like Kimberly described of Chicago in the late 70s, early 80s, with a good frost in September, snow on the ground usually from mid-November until mid-April, and plenty of weeks when the highs never get above 0F. Last year was by far the most unusual, with the snow melted off by the end of February, a drought in the spring that left the grass look more like Central Texas, the first frost not until mid-October and while the snow did show up in mid-November a heavy rain cleaned it all off the week before Christmas. Since then things have been more what could be expected with a wet, cool spring and what looks to be a wet, cool summer. I’m curious how the tomato plants I let self-propagate last year will do. Is there some truth to plants adapting to be more suitable to the local climate when the seeds propagate that way? A squirrel even managed to help get a few tomato plants going in my neighbors yard!

    Duluth has gotten a fair amount of exposure recently as a climate refuge, with some folks being interviewed for relocating there due to it being “safe” from climate change. I wonder how well they’ll manage the next few winters. They are still going to be hard to contend with for the next decade, especially when one was used to much shorter, warmer winters.

    As more climate refugees arrive and as the climate changes, I’m very curious how this will change. Will Superior, Wisconsin become the Chicago on Lake Superior as those who platted it had originally hoped? Will our economy diversify from almost being solely reliant on natural resource extractions and develop into more of a hub with ports nearby? Will people be desperate for the water of Lake Superior, which currently has a 100 year retention rate? and what kind of effects would that have? How are people going to manage winters with the climate in such a flux that one year the cost of heating might be quite tolerable while the next will force people to flee to some place warmer?

    All I can say with any certainty is that things are changing and while it holds onto some of what was there, ten years from now will look and feel about as different as the ten years that have passed. A decade of experimenting with the change ought to liven things up a bit though!

  150. The Farmer’s Almanac newsletter I came across in my junk folder right after my last comment had a subject that was rather fitting for this weeks topic: Planting according to nature. Are you one of their secret Almanac weather experts JMG? 😉

  151. A few more thoughts on agriculture at high latitudes.

    1. Longer days can have an even more positive effect on growth than would be predicted by solar irradiance alone, because most plants “max out” photosynthesis at some level of irradiance beyond which additional light isn’t helpful. So even though June noon light is stronger at 45ºN than at 60ºN, both are likely sufficient to achieve maximum photosynthesis rates, while at 60ºN the days are ~30% longer leading to more hours of growth each day. Here’s a very old paper documenting this effect in wheat:

    2. Plants use day length as a signal for growth and flowering; some crops will simply fail to flower or ripen at high latitudes, and low-latitude-adapted varieties will yield poorly. Plant breeding can improve adaptation for a particular latitude, and this sort of science will become critical in the decades ahead as breadbaskets move northward across Canada and Siberia. See e.g.

  152. Mention of the Hudson Sea reminded me of an excellent PA novel, Davy, by Edgar Pangborn.

    Davy takes place in a post apocalyptic setting where, centuries after the war, the climate in former New York is tropical and culture is vaguely late Medieval with dashes of Renaissance. Very interesting reading considering climate change and everything else going on right now…

  153. I live 45 m above sea level on the lower slopes of Table Mountain, plus our part of the world is still rebounding after the last ice age at 1 mm/yr, so we are safe from sea level rise for a while. Trouble is, if the water rises more than a meter or two our peninsula will be cut off from the mainland. Better brush up on my Boy Scouts raft-building skills!

    Climate-wise, my boyhood memories are of endless rainy winters and sliding into icy sheets with a hot water bottle. That was 70-odd years ago. Our Mediterranean climate seems to be warmer and drier now. We had Day Zero a couple of years ago when Cape Town almost ran out of water, then some good rains filled the dams, but this winter is ominously dry again.

    I particularly notice the absence of Christmas butterflies. As a child the large black butterflies with yellow spots (strictly, the citrus swallowtail) were plentiful in the garden; now I might see one or two a year if I’m lucky. On the other hand the indigenous red wing starling, formerly a country bird with a pleasant chirp, is now out-competing the European starling that Cecil John Rhodes introduced to the area. Less happily, the hadeda with its raucous squawk has moved in from the highveld.

    The main change I have seen is urban sprawl. I don’t get about much because I don’t have a car, but when I do I am amazed how areas which I knew as open fields or bush are now covered with dwellings, in some places neat suburban brick houses, in other places vast acreages of squatter shacks. I don’t know how many more people we can take.

  154. You know what gets me about the WEF and those who salivate over technocracy. Is how they greatly desire everyone but themselves to be soulless automatons who are hard working ants whilst they get to be “God’s”. Of Art, Beauty and Glory they only want for themselves.

    According to the writings I read about their Utopian dreams of socialism for everyone else but themselves. With themselves at the top. Real Plato’s Republic and other Utopian technocrat hours.

    Real social parasites those people are.

  155. @Mary Bennet 121
    “luciano geronimo lisboa @ 109, Your final sentence, about invading fallen America like Huns”
    “The Comanche Empire” by Pella Hamalainen shows that when Americans first entered Mexican Texas (1820s?), the western half of what is now Texas was controlled by the Comanche in a manner so similar to the Huns that some historians of Rome have re-examined the Huns in terms of what we know about the Comanche.

  156. John Michael Greer,
    For me the best part of your essay was: “We really, truly, just don’t know.”
    combined with the implication from everything else you wrote that this should not be an excuse for inaction but quite the opposite: a recognition that we need to plan for many different possibilities and be flexible and fast on our feet (perhaps literally).

  157. @ JMG, JillN: The funniest part is that the riverfront properties are the most expensive in town – all with boat ramps and river views. I shouldn’t be laughing – I live in Rocklea – when the creek next to my house is named “Stable Swamp Creek”, that’s a big hint to the area’s topography. Check out the Gold Coast just south of us, for more examples of people living like they don’t believe it’s happening.

    We’re planning to get out when the ginormous property bubble finally pops. Should happen before the next flood, right?

  158. For some of us it all comes down to one question really.
    Will the well run dry or not.

  159. @JMG: Good point about not tinkering with the climate just yet. I think I was having a momentary burst of enthusiasm about the potential of Reich’s cloudbuster in that situation. Maybe other etheric tech could be focused on in the meantime, for those interested.

    As for Cincinnati and Milan… I saw a book at work recently about the wineries of Cincinnati. Mostly it was sweet German inspired wine’s -and a fair number of vineyards in the valley near where I grew up, and roamed the local woods as a kid. There are still a few wineries around, but it could be another element of future economics here, depending on how this climate shapes in the future.

    The “winter rain season” you wrote about in the WoH series is basically true here now too, though we did have some good snows this past year. We had a lot more rain this spring as well. All these variables will shape whats to come.

    @Lathechuck: Good idea about the Oral Rehydration Solution aka DIY Gatorade. I’ll be adding this to my list of preparedness supplies. DIY would be good for home, but as you mentioned, having something prepackaged on hand for the neighbors (I have mostly elderly neighbors at this point -with just a few kids on the street these past years) seems like a good idea. I can see brownouts happening here over the coming years in the full heat of summer, and people not being able to cope. It gets seriously muggy here along with regular temps in the high 80s to 90s and beyond, depending, in the summer. I imagine it gets pretty muggy where you are at too. Thank you for this!

  160. @JMG & Kfish

    I live about two hours drive south of Brisbane. Years ago when deciding where to settle, I used this website as one avenue for gathering info about sea level rise:

    If you visit that and enter in brisbane to the search field, then on the page that opens, click on the ‘manual’ tab on the left hand side of the page, and move the bar to the right to the 10m mark, you get a nice clear graphical representation of what JMG predicted in his comment about Brisbane’s future. There’s a densely populated city just to the south of Brisbane called the Gold Coast, where parts were built on reclaimed swamp. It doesn’t have a bright future.

    There’s another interesting website that i’ve used to help determine what plant species to introduce on our property (with changing climate in mind):

    It’s essentially a climate analogues matcher. It enables one to enter a location in Australia, tweak some variables of volume of emissions, time period and model scenarios, and receive an estimate of the place in Australia that your selected location will be most like in the future period selected (if the variables selected unfold). I wonder if a site like this exists for the US.

    Thanks for another very educational and useful post JMG!


  161. @Mark L, thanks for those tools. The chart gives a good sense of the effect of latitude, provided one keeps in mind that it’s telling the total per day, not e.g. the peak at local noon which would be a different-looking chart.

    Taking that as a given, the remaining practical questions are more subtle. The exaggerated effects of sloping ground and shadowing; whether plants that evolved to make maximum use of, say, ten hours of intense sunlight per day can make effective use of twenty hours of half the sunlight instead (natural or artificial selection can probably compensate); and especially, the effects of future weather patterns. As the text at the NASA site explains, actual surface insolation is considerably lower on average due to atmospheric and (primarily) cloud attenuation. The same cloud cover attenuates ground insolation more when the sun’s apparent altitude is lower, i.e. during the extended morning and evening daylight hours at higher latitudes.

    @Northwind Grandma, histories like your great-grandfather’s are what I look to when trying to imagine future cultures that might arise around the unique waterway that 70 meters of sea level rise would create there. Picture something like canaler Robert’s lifestyle, but on a wider salt water strait with no locks needed (the old north-south canal course being completely submerged, and the Mohawk River and Erie Canal starting around present lock E8 at Scotia, NY), a warmer climate with no winter ice on the strait (even if the air temperature still drops below freezing occasionally), and no competition for transport from trucks or railroads. (Rail transport could still exist where there was no less expensive alternative, such as eastward from Albany to the New England east coast. Albany itself is submerged but some higher towns in that area, one on either side of the strait, become major hubs if not capitals.) Terraced orchards on the south-facing slopes of the Green Mountain and Adirondack foothills.

    Seventy meters of sea level rise are probably centuries away. I’m sorry but not surprised to hear that present-day western New York State isn’t so attractive as a place to live. Its unlikely that the NY polity will exist in its present-day form by the time salt water flows between the Hudson and Champlain, so I’m free to imagine new nation-states there defined by geography, such as (to borrow our host’s names) the eastern edge of Lakeland on the western bank, and Nuwinga to the east. The former an agricultural and fresh-water maritime superpower (by future standards), the latter returning to its roots as a contentious rabble of seafaring city-states.

  162. Here in Southwest Missouri every one has begun saying we now have a “rainy season”. Rainfall has gone up almost every year it seems, and people have noticed but few do anything to adapt to our climate here. After failures the last several years I have decided to give up growing potatoes since we are getting too warm earlier and too wet as well. Starting to shift to three sister’s crop growing to see how that weathers the climate altering. Hoping saving my own seed makes crops that adapt to the climate as it shifts. On the subject of trying to find climate data for specific locations, it is very hard to find anything relating to scientific literature online to give details on specific areas. I am still trying to find anything for my area to help make changes with an eye on the future climate, but only have current changes to go by which is wetter, more humid and warmer earlier and later in the year. Just glad that all us fringe thinkers have somewhere to come and be part of a community, so many thanks for that JMG as well as many thanks as usual for another great post to keep us all thinking on!

  163. @JMG,

    I’ve begun studying Welsh this year alongside my Dolmen Arch studies, and it has taken me by storm. What a beautiful language. With the waves of immigration you see coming to Europe and the UK this century, do you think there is a risk of wiping out the Celtic languages in the decades immediately ahead? Even if it’s just translating children’s books from English to Welsh, I want to help this language survive.

  164. This is a tough topic. Thank you for addressing it soberly. Oh, how I wish this was the way the national conversation was going!

  165. @Walt F #174

    Yes, adapting to longer photoperiods will be a guiding challenge for plant breeders in the decades ahead, and some crops may prove less adaptable. Plant breeding takes time, so starting a high latitude crop breeding program (in greenhouses) in Svalbard (78°N) next to the seed vault would be a good use of limited resources in the near term.

    As for sun angle, I wouldn’t expect it to be much of an issue except at the very highest latitudes. The summer sun angle at 75°N is the same as the winter sun angle at 30°N, and plants grow just fine in the winter at that latitude even with shorter days where it is warm enough. Once sun angles drop below 30-35 degrees, atmospheric attenuation, shading, clouds etc. become more of an issue and so plants grow more slowly even with adequate temperatures. That will only really be a problem between 75°N and the pole where there isn’t much potential cropland anyway.

  166. @JMG

    I laughed when I saw the bit about a Polish LARP group (LARP = Live Action Role-Playing aka Improv Theater) playing as modern Americans.

    The rest of the thread had one lady saying she tracked down their design doc. Used Google translate it and posted this:

    i was too fascinated by this concept not to do some digging and ended up finding their design doc and reading through it via google translate– seems like a very cool larp that tries to tell human stories under the mythos of a broken american dream.

  167. For those interested in the impact of the sun on global climate, this paper has an overview of some of the main issues:

    I will forewarn that it leans somewhat towards the climate-skeptic camp, but regardless of where you stand, some of the data points are intriguing, and I respect that their conclusion is essentially “we’re not really sure yet, more research needs to be done”.

    A particularly juicy bit, for readers open to the possible occult dimensions to climate-change, relates to Sun-Planetary Interaction hypothesis, which is:

    “…the hypothesis that the gravitational effects of the planets orbiting the Sun can in some manner (various mechanisms have been proposed) interact with some of the mechanisms driving solar activity[…] Although these Sun-Planetary Interactions (SPI) theories can initially *sound more astrological* than scientific in nature, many groups have noted that many of the periodicities in solar activity (and climate) records discussed in the previous section are intriguingly similar to the periodicities with which specific planetary alignments occur. Indeed, even the ∼11 year cycle might potentially be related to planetary alignments such as the 11.07-year Venus/Earth/Jupiter alignment cycle (Stefani et al. 2020, 2016; Scafetta 2012b) or harmonics associated with the interactions between Jupiter, Saturn and the Sun that have periodicities of about 10-12 years (Scafetta 2014a, 2013, 2012c).” (emphasis added)

  168. Thanks for a great post. I live near a coast (on the cusp of being too close but not quite close enough to be sure if I should be worried) but it is a forming coastline, a quick browse reassures me that local conditions matter too. As sea levels rise faster do local conditions get over ridden or would they be accelerated? Where I live all the sand that gets washed out from other areas gets piled up and over time the coast expands, but fifteen kilometres north the local town is starting to get washed out (and all that ends up piled on my beach). Or is it anyones best guess?

  169. @Martin Back #164: I’d consider island living to be an advantage. There’s a large island in Lake Michigan where the population is fairly homogeneous Irish and where people don’t lock their doors. Unfortunately, places like that are getting harder to find! Small, isolated communities are where I’d choose to live if I were young again — and if they’d have me: I’m kind of a grouch.

  170. Zachary Braverman @ 159: If I may, people are generally best at what ever it is they care the most about. A book person with means might want to set up a library. Such a person would naturally know how to write, or have drafted, bylaws which prevent entyrism, throwing away of books someone or other doesn’t like, and allow access by all without becoming a homeless shelter. A gardener with cash to burn might hire some farmers to grow and preserve seeds of rare, heirloom varieties. Someone who understands finance might want to help young people with good ideas and work habits get into their own worthy enterprises.

  171. Jmg, kfish, Justin

    It is surprising for me to see the name of Brisbane on this blog, since I live close to it. It is also surprising that some of you commentariat are brisbanites.
    I also have wondered about how Brisbane will fare with the rising sea, I imagined, based on sea level rise maps, that it would become a bay with a few islands which would probably be used for lighthouse, checkpoints and quarantine areas. A new city would be made inland in what are now rural towns, and the river that feeds into the sea would be dredged and maybe have canals connected with it so that goods can be transported inland by boat. I also imagine that the destruction of the Brisbane will be a popular theme for art, and that the botanical garden will especially be missed.

  172. JMG and NomadicBear #155 Paleoclimate history of the Pacific NW. 20 years ago I was in Victoria, BC for a fish conference and I took half a day to visit the big museum there. They had a display on climate history of the BC Pacific Coast that was most interesting. The Canadian’s research had identified, from tree ring data, an anomaly about 8,000 years ago that had affected the local climate. The effect was that it had gotten a lot dryer and most of the fir trees had died. Since I live in Bellingham Wa. this is a concern as the current stands of fir in our forests would present a rather extreme fire hazard if they died. I have never gone looking for the data but the provincial museum in Victoria might be a good place to look for historical information. The Canadian data would be interesting to dig up.

    I also lived for the last 30 years on top of a hill that looked down on a significant stand of fir. It was surprising how many of them would start to die back at the top after a couple of dry years. Then bend up an upper limb and grow a new top when it got wetter. We are apparently closer to this tipping point than we think about.

  173. Hi JMG,

    I’ve tried to leave a couple of comments & the screen froze and they never appeared; wanted to let you know in case it’s the site that’s grumpy and not our Internet. I hope you see this one.

  174. JMG,

    i would bet that half of the new property exchanges in our county in the last 3 years are investment properties, if not more. That’s why we’re sitting tight, waiting for the foreclosures, before we pounce on a forever property.

    The market is definitely softening, even here.

    I figure people stop travelling abroad as much, and start visiting nearby places, like where we live, and the (current) coast, to get their jollies. Seem to have been making that adjustment for some years now, actually.

    Many thanks for your advice over the years!

  175. Chris,

    I’m constantly amazed by how many older folks will agree with everything I’m offering, in theory, and then push it back to some conveniently distant place in the future. Telling them that this is today’s reality doesn’t seem to damage their worldview much…


  176. Hi John Michael,

    It’s weird isn’t it? The thought processes must certainly generate a lot of internal tension. And the events of the past two years have fed into those thought processes, combined with the constant barrage of bad news – at some point in the future. Crazy stuff, and it is all very abstract, whilst the concrete stuff goes on apace.

    For you interest, I’ve been cogitating upon the core lessons from the recent federal election results. Voting is compulsory down here, the count process is fair, and so the results are representative of the common mood and they are generally accepted without ongoing tantrums. Turns out I value actual freedom (as in freedom from unnecessarily intrusive behaviour in my day to day life) far more than most other people, and the message I took away from the result is that I am in the minority in this matter. Oh well, people have to learn the hard way and history turns and turns again.

    But getting back to your essay, the support for the teal candidates and the greens certainly tells a story. To me it looks like affluent people have concerns, but desire no changes to their perquisites. Some cheeky wag took a photo of an alleged teals support worker loading placards into the back of a very large, gas guzzling and expensive Porsche. The symbolism of that photo summed up the story. I guess that is all part of the bargaining phase. What do you reckon?

    And I talk to the people who support such groups, and I get the distinct impression that they are by and large fast collapse believers. That seems like a really strange world-view to me, but you know, I’m not here to police their thoughts. However, I don’t believe that courtesy is being reciprocated given recent events, and I’m starting to cogitate upon the possibility that the last two years of craziness due to the health subject which dare not be named, feeds into that belief system. Dunno, but there is more to all this than meets the eye. And concerns about climate change, whilst doing nothing to allay the concerns, tends to also feed into that belief system.

    Crazy days. And interestingly, you don’t generally encounter those belief systems out in the country areas.



  177. “I don’t recommend mentioning this to climate activists, much less suggesting that they could help the planet no end by cutting their own indirect carbon footprints by, you know, buying fewer products and using less energy.”

    The local environmental group here has such things as “group buy ins on electric cars”. When I see that I don’t even bother trying to convince them – they are too deep into the problem.

    This is the one point where I actually really agree with folks like the vegetarians/vegans. They see a problem, they see they are the ones driving the issue, so they change their actions. I’m not saying you have to agree with them but I do like the action they take. It is direct and logical. The issue with environmental groups is that they seem to always rally for governments and corporations to make change and not themselves. It would be like the vegans instead of changing their diet but protesting the governments to make a better cow. Good luck with that!

    The quote I always go to is – The raindrop never feels responsible for the flood.

  178. 150 feet above sea level should suffice for me and the next couple of generations, at least. Past that too much will change for me to over invest in a theoretically perfect solution for my descendants.

    Re: housing, in the US at least there are a lot of big corporations that bought up a lot of housing – estimates I have seen are that perhaps 20% of all housing is corporate held now – so that may be a big factor and may mean it isn’t a “normal” bubble that will pop the way we might expect. Lots of wealthier folks in NYC etc are also either moving, or buying a backup place; here that has definitely been a factor.

    As for people being either fast collapse types or denialists, well, re-examining the foundations of your life is difficult, especially as an honest reckoning might lead to major life changes. Much easier to believe in continuity, or unavoidable sudden catastrophe – in neither case do you need to question what you are doing.

  179. Atmospheric, no, you’ll end up with roughly the same climate as Baja California — that is to say, very dry. All those stands of timber? They’ll burn. Fire plays an important role in the transition from forest to desert biomes in western North America during warming periods, which is why fire seasons across the West are becoming so harrowing.

    Dagny, yes, that’s also a factor. None of that changes the fact that dumping billions of tons of excess CO2 into the atmosphere also has an effect.

    Zachary, I’ve thought of that, not least because it’s not wholly impossible that I could be worth that much toward the end of my life and I have no children, ungrateful or otherwise. My suggestion would be to create a foundation to preserve whatever technologies, traditions, or teachings the person thought most needed to be kept alive into the deindustrial future, with a building and property somewhere close to a midsized city that will be likely to come through the decline in something like one piece. (Manly P. Hall’s Philosophical Research Society would be a good model if it wasn’t in LA.)

    Prizm, you’re in what may turn out to be a very good place. Yes, letting plants repeatedly self-propagate is a good way to let Darwin select your varieties for you, since plant seeds have a lot of genetic variability and those plants that thrive and reproduce will be those best suited to the local conditions. As for the rest, those are fascinating questions and only time will tell. (No, I don’t work for the Farmer’s Almanac, but I know some of the same traditions they’re using!)

    Mark, many thanks for both of these.

    GrimJim, excellent! Davy has been a fave of mine since my teen years, and yes, Pangborn had global warming down cold in the 1960s.

    Martin, fascinating. Where you are, you’d want to look north to see what kind of climate you can expect in the future.

  180. I’ve seen a bunch of comments here, about how much cooler the local climate was “when we were young”, and I have similar memories. But don’t mistake the temperatures then for “normal”. It was the chilly weather of my youth that supported the “return to Ice Age conditions” story that made the rounds in the 1970s.

  181. I am so intrigued by the idea of predicting local climate change via history. It makes so much sense. Turns out that if you live in Australia there is a government website which will do it for you:

    You can click on your state and find out what area in Australia your current area will look like around 2040-2059. I live in Launceston, Tasmania and by their calculations Launceston will look like Bathurst, NSW in around 20 years. In ten years or so I shall start planting orange trees.
    The sad truth is, of course, that along the way I imagine we will lose a lot of forest and the incredible flora of the alpine areas that is among the last of its kind in Australia. We have already lost huge areas of kelp forest here in Tasmania to warming seas. I know the Earth changes all the time, but there is a lot of grief in seeing the last of precious fellow species.

  182. Info, that’s the normal mindset of a decadent aristocracy. Aristocracies on the way up recognize their dependence on those they claim to rule, and act accordingly, whether that’s shown in the feudal traditions of mutual loyalty between lord and vassal all the way down from king to peasant, or in more recent times by Andrew Carnegie’s library-building efforts and Henry Ford’s decision to make sure his workers were paid enough to buy the cars they made. Aristocracies on the way down lose track of that, embrace a blind conviction that their privileges are hardwired into the nature of things, and treat their subordinates as puppets whose only role is to do whatever their supposed betters want; the subordinates accordingly withdraw their loyalty from a system that no longer benefits them, and the sound of tumbrils is not that far away.

    Jessica, it’s a crucial point, though it needs to be balanced with a recognition of the fact that there are some things we can in fact know.

    Kfish, if you’re lucky!

    Valiant, a good point.

    Justin, I’d encourage people to start by exploring etheric methods to make themselves and their gardens better suited to a new climate — yes, there are options, and in a future book on radionics I hope to discuss some of them.

    Jez, you’re welcome and thank you! My one concern about these tools is that they may be shaped by current political pressures in the scientific community. You might see if you can find out what the local climate in your part of the country was 8000 years ago, say, and compare that to what the sites predict.

    JD, that’s a good sign. If you’ve got a rainy season, there’s some reason to think that you’ll shift into a savanna climate (dry most of the year, but with a good soaking from seasonal rains) rather than desert. Yeah, potatoes are probably a lost cause but corn, beans, and squash? A winner.

    CS2, it is indeed a lovely language! As with all such things, whether Welsh survives depends entirely on whether people take up the challenge of keeping it alive during difficult times. Thus your efforts may have a significant impact.

    Blue Sun, why, in that case, do what you can to spread the word!

    Panda, fascinating. Thanks for this.

    Luke, thanks for this also. Of course the sun’s variations have effects on climate, and so do dozens of other factors. None of them changes the fact that dumping billions of tons of excess CO2 into the atmosphere will change its heat retention characteristics, but as long as that’s kept in mind, all these points are worth researching — as is (ahem) astrological meteorology. Yes, that’s a thing!

    J.L.Mc12, I have a lot of Australian readers, so it doesn’t surprise me at all. Maybe you and your fellow Brisbanian green wizards should get together sometime over a beer or two.

    Tomxyza, interesting. That’ll probably have been what’s called the 8.2 kiloyear event, a climate crisis around 6200 BC which caused catastrophic droughts over much of the planet and probably brought about the invention of irrigation canals in the Middle East.

    Your Kittenship, I got this one but not the others. Please give it another try.

    Grover, okay, that’s what I thought. Thank you for the data point!

    Chris, okay, that’s really interesting. Thank you for this.

    Michael, oh, agreed. So long as vegans and vegetarians change their own lives and don’t try to force other people to adopt a diet that may not be suited to their needs, I’m all for that.

    Isaac, keep in mind that corporations can also panic or go bankrupt, in which case they can drive far more dramatic bubbles and busts than individual investors! As for the denialism vs. fast collapse dichotomy, exactly.

    Lathechuck, one of the things we have to outgrow is the false notion that there’s such a thing as normal climate. The climate is always changing, and any given period of temporary stability is simply a pause in the ongoing process.

    Blueday Jo, I know it’s difficult, but species are always dying and always being born.

  183. CS2,

    If I may make a suggestion:

    mewn twll yn y ddaear roedd hobbit yn byw.

    You might even make some money off of it.

  184. Australia is in a uniquely poor position to deal with rising sea levels because, in the words of one of our great poets, we “pullulate timidly on the edge of alien shores”, which is a fancy way to say we all live on the coast.

    Even assuming a modest 50m increase in sea levels, the lion’s share of the Australian real estate market will be under water including almost all our capital cities and our famous east coast beaches. Melbourne looks best placed to deal with it as the northern and eastern suburbs would remain as would the farmland to the interior. And, of course, our national capital is up in the mountains so it will still be there governing over who knows what.

    Interestingly, crossing the mountains (the great dividing range) was one of the more important advances very early on in the colonial era. It looks like we’ll have to pack up our stuff and make the crossing again if we want to survive. Hmmm. This gives me an idea for a novel.

  185. Chris of Fernglade #190,
    I also pretty much like to be left alone to make my own decisions and am happy to leave others alone also. Life actually seems safer to me if many points of view prevail. Re some of our new politicians it might be a little more honest if they said things are gong to get tough, made some effort for those coping least well to get by a little better and, as a measure of good will and moral leadership, said they are going to cut their own salaries by 25%. Cue: laughter, possibly raucous.

  186. Hi John Michael,

    Yeah, it is interesting as there’s been a weird shift of consciousness of late.

    But it does look as though the bargaining stage has been reached for many. I’m not sure how that will play out when politics fails in the face of resource and energy depletion, but we might get an epic tantrum. It’s possible. And I don’t believe the techniques used to turn the events of the mid to late 1970’s can be used a second time around. I’m playing around with the idea in my head that an old school economic bust will sort out many of the competing issues.

    Anyway, I’m cogitating upon these matters. And you can almost smell the tensions between demands for electric vehicles (it’s hard to get around their cost which feeds into class issues), the economics (not to mention energy and resources) of further investing in supply capacity in the grid, versus concerns about climate change. Balancing those issues has got to hurt, and that isn’t just happening down here either.

    Intensive polycultures, wonderful things. 🙂 The trick is to build the soil, not exhaust it and I agree about trialling plants just out of their natural range. It can be done.



  187. Hi JMG – I wish this was a entry in one of your old contests – to write the most fanciful “climate change solution” pitch – but, alas, it is real.

    Adam Neumann, of WeWork fame, has a new venture:

    “His newest startup, a Web3-climate venture called Flowcarbon, has raised $70 million through a combination of a venture round led by Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto arm and the sale of its new “Goddess Nature Token” cryptocurrency.”

    “Essentially, the company allows “nature-based” projects to sell carbon credits to companies who want to reduce their overall carbon footprint and then allow those tokenized credits to be traded on crypto exchanges. The argument for developing the venture on the blockchain is that doing so will make raising money easier for the climate projects, provide more transparency, and allow smaller projects to more easily sell to big polluters.”

    Honestly, where do these all people come from?

  188. Wer here
    Good Lord, the recent weeks were hard to say at least. A lot of folks here wonder what is going on, we have problmes with the internet where I live and the situation is “strange” to avoid a really undruidly word.
    For example at first we had almost no rain in April and suddenly at may it poured almost for 2 weeks
    (farmers are happy at least, and that old lady that is practising old tradicional medicine is getting a lot of visitors right now- future market prehaps?), Last night report came in that inflation is officialy 14% everybody is staring blankly at this pronouncement (last year gasoline was 4,50 zł now it is almost 8,34 where I live),
    I watched price of medicine in the local pharmacy almost triple. People practicing old folk hearbal solutions are under siege. The idiots in Poznań Medicine Academy are in uproar at the “disinformation and science denial”
    When you don’t have a lot of money like people in Ujście you now don’t have a choice. Sadly recently a lot of young people turned into the bottle to forget, a lot of famillies are in bad shape now
    Stoped watching the news because it is all fake at this point. Monkey pox is now in the news and a Covid surge whatever that means, someone had eaten a really bad exotic food in London and here in Poland we are expected to panic about it #sigh# I wonder when this nonsense will end,8-wczesnych-objawow-malpiej-ospy–to-sygnaly–ze-trzeba-sie-izolowac,artykul,81838054.html
    :/:/:/:/:/. How would the climate of europe look like in the next few hundret years I have no idea it might be a personal oinion but I never bought the whole Earth will boil because of freons or something scare.
    Stay safe everyone Wer
    PS: I don’t know what is going on the internet is getting “wonky” where I live problems with power or the Long descent had caught up with us ?

  189. @Mark L, #162 and #178, two very informative comments! You’ve made an excellent case that daylight intensity (as influenced by sun angle geometry and cloud attenuation) isn’t going to be an issue below 75° latitude, but that some plants will have to adapt by developing different responses to light-dark signals (e.g. daylight length). And that could be a challenge.

    At first I thought your idea of beginning breeding programs now might be a bit premature, because the advance of hardiness zones northward is a slow process. A plant bred today in a high-latitude temperature controlled greenhouse would have to wait many (human) generations (as preserved seeds, presumably) before there’s a natural setting where it can grow. But if those light-dark-cycle-sensitive species include trees, there’s no time to waste, and as you said, the resources for such a program exist today.

    So, JMG, please take note! Consider allocating a small portion of Zachary’s 10 billion dollars that way.

  190. I’m learning basic astrology in part to learn astrological meteorology! It would be good to have some way to predict weather when we no longer have operational satellites and huge number-crunching computers to do it for us. I find the possibility of doing it via astrology fascinating and will begin study of the field later this year or next.

    I’ve been in St. Louis since 1984 and I moved here as an adult. When I say it’s gotten warmer here, I’m basing it on what it was like in the 1980s and 1990s versus what it’s like in the 2010s and 2020s. The Midwest was a warm place in the 1980s; cue major heat waves in 1980, 1984, and 1988. Despite this, during each winter at least one low would drop below -10F. That hasn’t happened since 1996. Further, the average heating-degree day total has dropped significantly and the average cooling-degree day total has risen significantly since the 1980s, and dogwoods which used to bloom in early May now bloom in mid April, sometimes earlier. On the other hand, we used to average about 36 inches of rain a year; now we average about 40 inches. Since I’m 65 years old, I only need to plan for about another 20 years or so at most. I think St. Louis is as good a place as any for that amount of time, especially given all the things we’ve done to prepare for decline.

  191. “These posts put me in that frame of mind. There are no good answers. There are only paths that seem to be relatively clear at the moment.”

    Thus the importance of Wisdom.

  192. @your advice on savannah climate farming – Si! Si! And add chili peppers to the list!

    Viva la cocina Mexicana y Nueva Mexicana!

  193. Speaking of climate change and relocating plants, I just want to clarify a little. I mentioned this last time I think, but where I am we are getting earlier springs, and warmer summers, but also later frosts and we still have very cold days in the winter (-25 this winter.) So that’s why I’m focusing on plants in my perennial polycultures like pawpaw, persimmon, pecan- we’re at the tip of their hardiness here in zone 5a, so while they’ll still be viable if Central NY turns into Southern Georgia, they’ll still survive our current low temps. We’re just outside the coldest end of their native range. Yaupon holly, for instance, won’t survive the winter outside here. Pawpaw, persimmon and pecan will survive, but their fruit might not always ripen (not having enough heat days), which is why I’m also focusing on early ripening. I’m also growing plants that can take even colder temps, because we really, truly just don’t know.

    That is the nice thing about plants adapted to the Eastern US- they can really take quite a swing in temps.

  194. @JMG and commentariat

    Regarding intended plant migration –

    Can plant seeds be ‘prepared’ for migration northwards over successive generations via technologies like electroculture and musicotherapy? I mean, in both cases, it has been experimentally demonstrated that plants respond favourably to electrical fields and soft classical music (Indian/Western). Could this, by boosting the vitality of plants, cut down the number of years and plant generations needed for crops to acclimatize? Just a question.

  195. JMG and Zachary,
    about your net worth.

    I have to say that I share your “optimism” about the future – I too might be worth a billion soon enough!

    Here is an anecdote from the 90s in E. Europe: There was a time of inflation but not as bad as Weimar. A family I know won the lottery and you could chose to get a car or the money. Being spendthrifts and planning for the future, they got the money and put them in the bank with a “good” interest rate. Two years later, they used ALL that money to buy a regular size, no-name brand TV.

    Using the rule of 70 and guessing the inflation was about 16X (4 doublings) I am guessing the inflation at the time was less than 200%.

    Another anecdote from my life: I got a scholarship due to good grades in college. At the beginning of the year that was enough to buy food for a month. At the end it was enough for a coffee and a cookie.

    Those were lessons that stayed with me – so I hope people are paying attention. The difference between 2% inflation (supposedly ideal according to economists) and 200% inflation is psychologically huge. WIth 2% people can plan for their kids college fund. WIth 200% you can only plan for a week or at most a month.

  196. Well, that was unexpected! I had a sudden flurry of comments all trying to insist that it’s impossible to know anything for certain about the future of climate, therefore I should just shut up. They were sufficiently like one another that I’m really wondering if it was a coordinated trollfest. They all got deleted, of course, but I’ll take a moment here to answer the basic argument, which is the same argument that people try to use to defend investing in a speculative bubble — after all, I can’t be absolutely certain that it’s exactly the same as all those other bubbles that crashed ruinously…

    If you drive a car at high speed into a brick wall, it’s a safe bet that you’re going to wreck the car. Sure, it’s theoretically possible that your engine could suddenly seize up, or a really weird earthquake could knock the brick wall over just in time, or a space-time anomaly could teleport your car to the other side of the wall, or blah blah endlessly fantasizing blah, but you know what? It’s still a safe bet that you’re going to wreck the car. Furthermore, if my experience is anything to go by, the louder you insist that no, you won’t wreck the car, something different is sure to happen, the more certain it is that you’re going to end up with chunks of car scattered across the sidewalk, and quite possibly a steering wheel column driven through your chest.

    With that, let’s go on to the comments that deserve a response.

    Simon, then it’s good news that rainfall is increasing inland. I want to see that novel, btw.

    Chris, I’m still waiting to see the bargaining stage here; I thought we were getting to it a couple of years ago, but then the comfortable classes went back to the anger stage in a big way.

    Darren, funny! Thanks for this. As for where they come from, why, parasites are normally found under damp rocks, you know… 😉

    Wer, we’ve got similar things going on here in the US, of course — gas prices soaring, an official rate of inflation that’s a small fraction of the real rate, and yes, internet problems. As for European climates, do a search on your favorite search engine for “europe paleoclimate eemian” and you’ll get plenty of hits, though you’ll have to translate them out of the science-eze. The short form is that Poland will be a lot warmer and drier.

    SLClaire, glad to hear it! Thanks for the data points — those are highly useful.

    Isaac, thanks for this.

    Viduraawakened, that’s an excellent question, and the only way to answer it is to do the experiments!

    NomadicBeer, yes, I’m well aware of that. In my case it’s not a matter of net worth, it’s a matter of income potential from my books and other writings, and those ratchet upwards with price increases, you know. Hall’s PRS, which I mentioned in my comment, survived the inflation of the 1970s and 1980s quite handily for similar reasons.

  197. @Ighy, #105: thank you for this. I’ve forwarded this to a friend ofmine that is experimenting on such (cold hardiness, etc, and adapting species to changes).. Now to research prickly pears….I’ve already seen a few wild in Arkansas, mainly in the higher elevations on rocky ridges.

  198. @team10tim #197

    Diolch! I’m floored it hasn’t been translated yet?

    I’m only around A1 level since I just got started, but I have a good tutor and I’ve self-studied two languages before (to C1 and B1 levels so far). I just moved somewhere with long and cold winters, so I’ll have plenty of time to study.

    This has me wondering what other works haven’t been translated that really should be!

  199. Leftie environmentalist here, one who generally has a pretty high regard for your take on things. But I think conflating Davos with Left & environmentalists (and the subsequent condescending tone this leads to) is wrong and counterproductive. It’s not necessarily a matter of “stop emitting carbon or were all going to die”, but more like stop emitting carbon or too many are going to pay the piper unnecessarily (as you all too well point out later in the article). And I detect more than a bit of expected bias in the statement “the vast majority of the greenhouse gas pollution released by multinational corporations comes from producing and distributing goods and services for ordinary consumers. I don’t recommend mentioning this to climate activists, much less suggesting that they could help the planet no end by cutting their own indirect carbon footprints by, you know, buying fewer products and using less energy. If my experience is anything to go on, you’ll get a hysterical meltdown. (I and a significant number of environmentalists have been advocating and following reduced consumption for decades). We have worked at reducing ecological footprint for years (not the least by native plant gardening, organic backyard food-raising, minimal consumerism. So I find that saying “there’s no great risk that the people who believe in climate change will give up their cozy carbon-intensive lifestyles” to be unnecessarily offensive and a bit over the edge. I’ve been away from this site for a few years, but I can remember the really comprehensive outlook that your writings provided and still incorporate. And I’m not saying there isn’t some truth in the substance of what you say above, but making climate activists the whipping boys seems counterproductive, seems like the circular firing squad as the rush of trolls you experienced would seem to show.
    With that said there are excellent points you make here, particularly about potential trade-offs. But I’m not yet convinced the “winner” scenarios are by any means locked in. Siberia and the outback could potentially become more friendly to food production, but the methane/wildfire/flooding issues we already see in those regions seriously complicate that picture as well I would think.
    Thank you

  200. Another one knocked out of the park by our host! (Confession: John Michael Greer does this so often that I am guilty of taking it for granted). I lurk, but I really appreciate this site and the commentariat.

    I’d like to share something I came across in my searches on climate change: the book “Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises” (2002), the full pdf available for free download on the National Academies of Science website. I’ve just started reading it and from what I’ve read so far, it supports what our host wrote this week. Here is the link:

    I’m in Sacramento, CA, and since I live alone (and all of my friends and family are here in Northern California), I intend to ride out the changes. (Sacramento calls itself the city of trees. I will enjoy them as long as I can). I also have a small, single story ranch house in a great location and I will be replacing the roof (high albedo roofs are now required upon replacement), and making other climate-appropriate upgrades. Most of my landscaping died during the last drought, and color me very glad that I didn’t replace it yet! I’m hoping to find plants that can thrive in my microclimate here. My house has two 80+’ tall 100+ year-old deodar cedars, one in front, one in back. I have an arborist come out every couple of years to inspect them, to see how they are handling the heat and water stress. So, half my lot is Sacramento hot-n-sunny, and the other half of the lot is in shade.

  201. JMG, I don’t know if the electronic hiccups were on your end or mine, but everything seems normal again on my end.

  202. This post is being circulated around Twitter and people are reading it and most of the comments there are quite good. But of course its Twitter so you might get carpal tunnel blocking trollbots here.

  203. @Celadon,

    There is a population of Eastern Prickly Pear cactus growing in the sand on the Connecticut shore (Long Island Sound, where I grew up). It’s smaller than the southwestern species. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, stepped on it with my own bare feet. Opuntia is a genus with great ecological amplitude, as we ecologists say.

  204. Thank you for the comfort of knowing that my take on the climate issue was not my own deluded thinking. Big cycles are playing a part and there is so much we simply do not know enough about to understand. Your point about wasted energy is dead on target. Our house is large but was built to cater for a group rather than a nuclear family as I was anticipating a more communal approach to survival as the current economic system winds down. It was built with energy conservation in mind and our electricity bill is that of a small single person unit, our heating is managed with a wood heater that merey ticks over most of the time and hot water is now via solar with a gas booster if required, and is about to have a wet back added when a better wood heater gets installed.
    Working in the dairy industry in Tasmania the last year has been interesting. Production across the state has been down, but the northwest corner which is regarded as the safest of safe rainfall areas has been in drought. The change across a distance of 10 kilometres is startling.

    Your comment about the declining intelligence of Americans caught my eye. I just read an article on The Sakers blog about the failure of western education by an African author, and thought he had missed the point. I think the failure of many western systems, education not least of those, is down to a failure of goverance brought about by the domination of politics by “parties”. This creates a dynamic where the success of the “party” is what gets the most effort and attention, and this requires money and support, whcih comes from those who see the “party” as being able to deliver them what they want/need. The corruption that enables means that we wind up having our critical decisions made by those who do not understand conflicted interest, and the toxic corrupt environment is not one that attracts the sort of minds that are needed to deliver a sustainable future in which truly enlightend thinking is valued. Rinsed and repated over a few itterations the end result is upon us.

    Again, thanks.

  205. @Bei Dawei #93

    I read the Peshewar Lancers and loved it. I’d like to see a sequel. It’s terrific worldbuilding.

    Probably not. That would require S. M. Stirling to go indie and get his rights back.

  206. Darren (no. 201), on the subject of dubious climate solutions, I would like to nominate Highland Titles (f. 2006 in Guernsey; there are a number of affiliates), whose ads are all over YouTube. The way it works is, the customer buys a souvenir plot of land (say, a square foot or meter) in a company-managed nature preserve (in a transaction that does not really confer legal ownership; it is unclear what rights, if any, are actually transferred), and then receives a “Scottish title of nobility”–namely “Laird” (which, NB, is not equivalent to “Lord,” and certainly does not denote a peerage)–on the basis of this supposed holding. None of which is recognized by the usual authorities for such things, e,g, the Land Registry or the Lord Lyon (the chief herald of Scotland). It is also unclear how much environmental benefit any of this has.

    Some critical takes:

    The company responds:

    All this reminds me of an ad I saw years ago in Parade Magazine (a Sunday insert in US newspapers), advertising the possibility of having a star named after oneself, or perhaps a friend or relative. The way it worked was, the company made a list, which they then copyrighted–and on that basis, were able to claim that their list was “deposited with the federal government,” or some such!

    For some time, I’ve contemplated presenting myself as the emperor of Taiwan. All I need are some nice emperor clothes–robes and such, maybe a funny hat. I could go around asking people “Hi, can I be your emperor?” and asking them to sign a petition. If more than half the population signs, then I guess I’d *be* the emperor–kind of like Emperor Norton, who everybody laughs at, but they bowed and bought him drinks back in the day; or Danny Wallace from “How to Start Your Own Country.” One drawback is that China would probably take my claim seriously, and start lobbying countries not to admit me!

  207. Hi John Michael,

    Mate, who would have predicted fracking? And we’re now experiencing the downsides of the economics of that option right now, but for a time, it was a lifeline to avoiding limits and consequences. As each option gets exhausted I’m guessing it becomes harder to utilise some new energy gimmick – possibly because there are no economically viable options – otherwise they would have been employed. I mean the money printing which possibly paid for the fracking has had some err, interesting consequences.

    It suggests to me that the energy predicament is well understood at the upper end of things. Now I agree with your analysis as to mucking around with the climate and the composition of gases in the atmosphere. But I have a hunch that when the people at the top end of things are talking about climate, they’re actually trying to talk about energy, which they might not be able to talk about in clear language – we often assume that they can. After all, I’ve noticed that there is a tendency to conflate the two issues. The electric vehicle boondoggle is a good example of that kind of thinking.

    Just for your interest, it is raining very heavily here right now. I know you’re not a fan, but the relentless rain over the past few years brings to mind the words of Scotty (the engineer): “She canna take any more captain. She’s going to blow!”



  208. Gday John,

    We are also in Tassie.

    Cazy times here. The rich are also buying up the countryside/bush as well now.

    That kinda works for us, as you have alluded to living on acreage is a real slog!

    We will move to the burbs and manage an intensive garden. Also skilling up on foraging, sailing and the like might be a better use of time.

    We are also experiencing a wet patch, but that will flip yet again, which means the return of mega fires – again!

    What more can you really do?

    To my mind, if things go pear shaped, we will all have to suffer together.

    To put too much energy into prepping for something that simply may not play out in this life may well rob you of the opportunity to enjoy what is right infront of you.


  209. The Canadian shield pushes up rocks of all sizes into most fields in ontario north of the greenbelt. This is good for building stone circles, definitely not good for growing grain crops. Big animals like cows need hay fields, however goats do not. Goats eat everything and in my experience and know what food is good for foraging and what time of year to eat it. A big healthy crabapple, or apple tree is great to have, and maybe some corn to fatten them in winter. I also learned they also graze in the forest. I got to thinking, if I could somehow build tall strong fences in the forest for the goats; a simple shed or lean-to for shelter, and keep a forest donkey in there with them, they might thrive even more if I rotated them from field to forest pasture. I would have liked to further expirement with the goats towards figuring out if this forest fence was possible. The area I work in is a situation where farmland was carved out of a heavily forested area hundred+ years ago and is still surrounded by forest. Mostly grows potatoes, garlic, squash. A half dozen goats wouldn’t kill the forest, they provide both meat and milk depending on the breed, and you don’t need hay fields. Seems to me its possible small goat herds could graze in the forest to help them grow more and thrive when the field pasture gets eaten down.
    This would make these hard scrabble little farms perhaps not so difficult to survive off of and circumvent the need to clear more land for pasture.

  210. Hey hey JMG,

    I’m glad that you got a flurry of posts about the unknown. It is something that I wanted to mention, what we can and can’t know about the future. This is mostly for your other readers, but you might enjoy it as well.

    Temperature and CO2 records, or proxies for them, go back a very long way with a very good temporal resolution. Solar activity is limited to direct observations. As far as I know there are no proxies to check solar activity prior to our existing records of direct observation. We have some fairly good notions of what warmer eras looked like from paleoclimatology but less certainty about the finer points of the trasitions.

    With what we know about the relationship between climate and CO2 we can expect to see some effects (more than we have already seen in the last few decades) and we know some of the transitions happened quite quickly and others were more gradual.

    Uncertainty forces us to think about risk. Here is an excellent article about farmers mitigating risk in ancient Rome:

    I recommend it for a couple of reasons. First, it is by a historian who made a blog to make the finer points available to the public. Second, for at least the last seceral thousand years most (80% or more) of the populous in agrarian societies have been subsistence farmers, and likely will be again in a couple of centuries. Third, those farmers did not set out to maximize production, but to minimize risk. Many of the reasons that they did this and the strategies that they used will be familiar to long time readers here.

    But mostly I recommend it because it walks one through how a most of humanity has dealt with uncertainty and managed risk for the last several thousand years when the following conditions applied.

    1 there is a risk that something will go wrong this year and your family won’t have enough to eat.

    2 food spoils and can not be kept cheaply (or even reliably) for more than a year.

    3 money is risky because it is easy to steal (or tax or confiscate by whoever) and it may have value now, but it won’t buy much food when there isn’t enough food to go around.

    A lot of the mindset explored is pretty foriegn to modern western sensibilities, but the world is going to look more and more like this as time goes on so I recommend that readers here take a look.

  211. CS2 (if I may), if you want to consider any of my books for Welsh translation, let me know and I’ll do everything I can to get you the rights.

    Mike, my attitude toward environmentalists on the left is based on decades of experience and frustration. I’m glad to hear that you’re reducing your carbon footprint; that’s certainly an important step in the right direction, but to judge from everything I’ve seen in a quarter century or so in the field, you’re part of an embarrassingly small minority. Do you recall the articles a few years back about the handful of climate scientists who had given up flying to climate conferences, and couldn’t get most other people in their own field to take the same obvious step? That’s only one example of many. I choose to be deliberately edgy about the subject precisely because there’s so much hypocrisy on the left on this subject — because I’ve watched so many people in expensive office-casual wear sobbing theatrically about the fate of the earth, before climbing alone into their SUVs to drive back to their cozy corporate jobs. It’s only fair, it seems to me, to point out that you aren’t going to be part of the solution if your lifestyle is part of the problem.

    MarqT, thanks for this. I hope you’re well above sea level, because quite a bit of Sacramento could be underwater in fairly short order.

    Your Kittenship, glad to hear it.

    Denis, ah, that might explain it. Thanks for this.

    Simon, it sounds as though you’ve got yourself a very good situation! As for parties, well, that’s been a feature of politics since the collapse of the Middle Ages, so I’m not sure it makes sense as an explanation for the much more recent phenomenon of pandemic stupidity among the US managerial class…

    Chris, it occurred to me back when peak oil was being elbowed aside to make room for climate change activism that the whole fixation on climate was an attempt to reframe the crisis of energy resource depletion in a way that made it easier for people to ignore its more challenging features. With the price of oil bumping up against $120 a barrel again, it’s clear those challenging features aren’t going away! As for rain, tropical rain forests tend to get a lot of that, you know. 😉

    Lydia, thanks for this. The link works just fine.

    Glenn, I ain’t arguing! Handing over the acreage to the rich might be a good plan, since their chances of being able to make a success at farming are basically nil, so you can buy the property back again for pennies on the dollar once they realize that.

    Ian, hmm! That might work. More generally, glacial rocks in the fields make life hard for field agriculture but not for the kind of polyculture gardening that the First Nations typically used.

    Team10tim, many thanks for this!

  212. With all this talk of immigration, here in Australia I have said it for many years. In decades to come we will welcome immigrants with open arms. By arms I mean, machine guns, rockets, cannons – anything to stop people coming. It will be horrible to see play out as we push away the desperate but I can see most people backing it for security sake. This is Garrett Hardin’s Life boat economics in action.

    It has been said before that economically we suffer from the tyranny of distance, but now we have one of the worlds largest moats. Will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

  213. Hello SLClaire,

    You said you were interested in learning basic astrological meteorology. I am also interested in this. Would you be interested in sharing ideas? I have started but need more experience and feedback.

    My email address is Susan13645 @ sina . com (just remove the blank spaces.)


  214. “Mike, my attitude toward environmentalists on the left is based on decades of experience and frustration. I’m glad to hear that you’re reducing your carbon footprint; that’s certainly an important step in the right direction, but to judge from everything I’ve seen in a quarter century or so in the field, you’re part of an embarrassingly small minority.”

    Having bad people representing legitimate issues does cause problems for people with said legitimate issues. As Amber Heard for DV.

    So it is with those “environmentalists” who make use of the legitimate issue of the environment to push their technocratic dystopia.

    I think environmentalists should speak out and denounce those people who hijack legitimate issues for their own ends. And actively work against them as much as for genuine activism for said legitimate issue.

    That way will make it easier for everyone to see you as an exception to the pattern that they are starting to see.

  215. Yesterday I saw a picture of a couple of rows of private jets parked at Davos. 🙄

  216. On a local evening📺news program right before Memorial Day weekend, there was a segment where it told that nationally in the USA (I don’t remember the number, several million, where when I heard the number, I said, “zillions”), the number of people hopping into their gas-guzzling vehicles were (1) more than willing and able to pay the current high prices for gasoline; and (2) going to drive at least 500 miles (one-way) to go on a 3-day vacation over the weekend. Then today, I saw a headline in the local newspaper🗞called “Stagflation,” “it is just like the 1970s.”

    Huh? No-ooo. I remember the 1970s, and no-one in their right mind would do something as rash as spend 1,000 miles x $5/gallon on gasoline for a 3-day weekend. Back then, they were lucky if they could scrounge together meals of Ramen noodles🍜or macaroni and cheese🧀 to feed the young-uns, eating meat only once a month, and this went on for years. They knew how to hunker down.

    I am fortunate to have a sense of what is really going on (at this time), thanks to here. I don’t think I will be caught unawares. Americans are not in their right minds. I betcha that Americans feel this last Memorial Day weekend’s hundreds-of-miles drives🚍 is the last hurrah⛱. Perhaps they are thinking this is the last summer😎they can spend-spend-spend💸, pretending that in the autumn🍂they will have enough to eat, and in winter🌨, have enough fuel🛢to heat their homes🏚—convinced that more and more free-money will drop into their laps long-term. The-Memorial-Day-weekend-of-sheer-denial.

    I can hear🙉it now, come late October👻, a huge proportion of Americans bemoaning that their larder is bare😱, begging for handouts from strangers for food and heat🥶, because ‘the kids are hungry and cold’ (and how could this happen to THEM?) They have no idea what it means “to save for a rainy day” and “tighten their belts.” I suspect Americans in their 20s and 30s will be rudely awakened to see their kids suffer⬇️😩after they themselves wasted their autumn+winter food+heat money by June 1st, that THEY were the ones who did the frittering. It will take several years of suffering for them to realize that no-one is going to save them and they need to stretch a dollar.

    It—definitely—is going to be one spectacular autumn and winter.

    💨Northwind Grandma
    Wisconsin, USA

  217. JMG and Chris,

    RE: “it occurred to me back when peak oil was being elbowed aside to make room for climate change activism that the whole fixation on climate was an attempt to reframe the crisis of energy resource depletion in a way that made it easier for people to ignore its more challenging features. ”

    I suspect that you are right, or were right 10 or 15 years ago. A good reference to check when wondering what the movers and shakers actually care about versus the pablum that they feed to the proles is the Bilderberg meeting agenda:

    The key topics for discussion this year are:

    1. Geopolitical Realignments
    2. NATO Challenges
    3. China
    4. Indo-Pacific Realignment
    5. Sino-US Tech Competition
    6. Russia
    7. Continuity of Government and the Economy
    8. Disruption of the Global Financial System
    9. Disinformation
    10. Energy Security and Sustainability
    11. Post Pandemic Health
    12. Fragmentation of Democratic Societies
    13. Trade and Deglobalisation
    14. Ukraine

    Although it is unclear if sustainability is referring to environmental issues or how to sustain current energy levels. And since items 7,8,12, and 13 aren’t really discussed in the MSM it is hard to parse the level of Orwellian double speak. Particularly because item 9 is somewhat at odds with the number of important VIPs attending and the news coverage of an event where the coverage looks like this:

    Please note the number of relevant articles, especially from MSM sources. This is from my Linux machine, when I do the same Google news search on my android phone I get “there are no items to show”

    This is especially odd when 5% of the attendees are from big media organizations:

    I might be out on a limb here, but I would generally consider it newsworthy when the director of the CIA, the CEO of Pfizer, the chair of Goldman Sachs, the Minister of State for European Affairs, the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, a bunch of military leaders, and a hundred other VIPs meet to talk shop about anything.

  218. teresa from hershey (no. 220), as I recall, Stirling wanted to make it into a series, but it didn’t make enough money. There was however a prequel novella, “Shikari in Galveston.” published in the 2003 anthology, “Worlds That Weren’t,” and featuring Anglo-Russian rivalry over Texas a century after the disaster.

  219. @Mary Bennet,
    Turmeric is one of the medicinal plants I have been growing in a climate analogous to Delaware’s. Where they die back in the winter there are two strategies. I got one plant through four months of frosts down to -12 last winter in the middle of an unheated greenhouse with two more layers of insulation over it and a closable hole through which I occasionally watered it (one in a drafty corner of the greenhouse with only one more layer of insulation over it did not make it). I think we are likely to lose the ability to maintain this sort of greenhouse before the climate changes enough to obviate it, but it might be possible to get them through with a couple of thick blankets under a tarp weighted down and a jar of freshly boiled water placed near the plant at bedtime and again in the morning and letting the sun in whenever warm enough.
    A second strategy is to take root cuttings and, from about four pages of notes I’ve made on the subject: “Heap rhizomes under shade of trees or in well-ventilated sheds covered with turmeric leaves. Sometimes the heap is plastered over with earth mixed with cow dung. Can be stored in pits with sawdust, covered with wooden planks with one or two holes for aeration.
    “Indoors: rhizomes will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 6 months in an airtight bag. (2018 tried with paper towels and sawdust. In 3 months partial rotting. Paper towel became damp and stuck to the rhizomes. Rhizomes loose in vegetable compartment had small amount of rotting, but fared okay. 2019 try net bag versus plastic bag w/saw dust versus plastic bag w/o sawdust.)”
    As you can see I’ve had mixed luck here. My 2020 cuttings came through three months in dry sand in a heavily insulated box in a corner of the greenhouse; my 2021 cuttings failed. As you can see, now is the time to be experimenting.

  220. @ Scotlyn

    I was referring to the “full melt” scenario but, yes, the timeframe for that is such that our current socio-political are almost certain to be a thing of the past when (and if) it happens.

  221. Wer here
    I have a rather harsh reply to Mike and “liberal rich people here”. For the last 10 years people in Wielkopolska had invested in renewables and It ended in disaster. The electric windmills cost so much and barely produce anything, our mayor go one beautiful Merecedes benz for his “enviromentalism” – spending money form our count’s budget to build ONE WINDMILL (now we have falling apart bridges that we don’t have money to repair because of”budget cut’s” but we could no problem spend dozen million złoty on ONE WINDMILL in the area, that doesn’t generate energy for our county and doesn’t work most of the time- Lone Ranger local call it)
    And it isn’t just problem in our area
    And not to mention that thoose things don’t tend to last long,36001,28132567,cyklon-eunice-nad-wielkopolska-turbina-wiatrowa-nie-wytrzymala.html
    Not to mention that electric cars are beyond folks like me to buy even with”subsidies” we have more pressing matter than virtue signal about this. And it seems that the EVvehicle bubble is colapsing , even Musk recently announced that he is laying of workers like crazy, this whole renewables and electric cars will save us looks more like a bad joke that we ordinary folks (who never could afford thoose things) had to pay with our taxes and ended up reciving nothing. I am so “happy” that rich enviromentally “concious” folks in Pozań or somewhere recived a few tesla’s that they can show off on their profiles on facebook just like “support Ukraine” and I got “boosterd” for the 20th time in a row. As someone relatively poor in Poland I can’t stand thoose people and this circus. You want to buy an EV car Chwała Bogu but don’t demand that me and my familly pay for this.

  222. Re: prickly pears. In Oaxaca, Mexico, and probably in New Mexico, the prickly pear pads, de-prickled, are a delicacy called “nopales,” [No-PAH-lays] often roasted on a grill and sliced as a vegetable. Someone who tasted them said they taste somewhat like green beans. A friend of mine gathered some prickly pear blossoms and added them to a strawberry pie instead of rhubarb. It was tasty, but needed a bit more thickening.

  223. Just another data point. Don’t remember if I mentioned this elsewhere, but recently I made a trip to the south end of Georgia and back. Where once Brazilian Pepper was something we saw in central Florida, it can now be found as far north as Turner County, GA, north of Tifton. And where once Chinese tallow could only be spotted about that far north, now it inhabits field margins nearly to Atlanta!

    Gaia is sending in the troops.

  224. @JMG, Great! I will absolutely translate the Dolmen Arch if someone hasn’t gotten to it by then. I work as a freelance translator, from an unrelated language into English. Translating into a non-native language is another bear, but I have no qualms with hiring a native speaker to check my work. I’ll study hard and see where I am by the summer solstice one year from now.

    Does learning a new language develop one’s mental sheath? I find I’d rather do that than take up a musical instrument, math, or philosophy, any deeper than what I need for my theurgic practices.

  225. The Whitlock paper referenced at #179 is interesting to say the least.

    ” In terms of both the climate and the vegetation, no millenium has been exactly like any other during the last 20,000 years. Paleoecologic data from the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere suggest that modern [plant] communities are loose associations composed of species independently adjusting their ranges to environmental changes on various time scales”

    “A conservation strategy that seeks to preserve areas of high species richness in the face of future global warming fails to recognize the ephemeral nature of such associations to climate changes of similar magnitude in the Quaternary. Likewise, conservation efforts that emphasize the preservation of communities or vegetation types will probably be unsuccessful because future climate changes quite likely will dismantle the community or vegetation type of concern ”

    So there is no stable climate to preserve, and the ecosystem is going to continue to shift around as demanded by temperature and rainfall regardless of excited human arm waving.

    Also interesting is the Younger Dryas apparently had little effect here which makes sense given the Gulf Stream is thousands of miles down wind.

  226. JMG and Glenn, Perhaps it is my inveterate cynicism speaking, but I doubt very many of the lands being bought up by the wealthy will ever be resold. I would say, instead, look for future settlement on those lands by the servants, security and household staffs, of the rich. The security guys and gals you can probably live with, provided they are able to secure employment; the staff, including families up to the umteenth distant cousin, maybe, maybe not.

  227. JMG, Mike: RE., left environmentalists

    I noticed the same as JMG on this one, and these were my peers. Now they think I am a right leaning nut case although I have held still and they have moved, in any case. What I see is alot of virtue signaling. Some changes in consumption, the backyard chickens and native plants, the “correct” replacement car, maybe less consumption or at least buying with less packaging. But also it has been very static for most of them, and I was part of these groups when we tried “Transition Town” , “Permaculture xyz place” … here is what we have in this county now, too much money spent on the ongoing effort to put a few electric car chargers in every public parking lot ( this displaced the BUS STOP in one Safeway parking lot ! A wonderful, handicap access with room to wait, now there is a sign on the busy road a block down with not even a bench, this in a lower income area); an extra charge to get a paper to go coffee cup; no plastic straws, almost no plastic bags; lots of building, lots of cheap, apartment style housing added; bus routes cut; “incentives” to buy an electric car, which benefits people with money; Base electricity rates already up to .31/kWh with more to come, some cities outlawing new gas hookups, so they want all electric; the utility owned battery storage at the site of the shut down natural gas electric site with problems, I think fire, twice, they cant get bids cheap enough locally for the “green power” they want to buy, so we contract to companies to build large out of state generation to send in to my area of California ( covering sensitive habitat out of state with solar panels. I read the reports from our local electric provider).

    As far as the individual, household change, for most this is what I saw: yes, buy food at the farmers market, put in yard with some food growing and native plants, we even have bee consultants who will come by and take care of your de riguer hive. “Better” consumption, which at the end of the day is also virtue signaling and class based, so the items are from Patagonia, Coyuchi and for those with even more money, Wool items grown and handmade in Marin county. And there is nothing wrong with those sources, except we cant consume our way out of a consumption problem, we have to use less, not just substitute, substitute local sources and use WAY less of it. The latest solar electric installations are very large. Same lifestyle, just powered by a large, expensive solar array. Again, we actually have to change our lifestyle. And once whatever household changes have been made, the correct car, the LED lightbulbs, the large solar array, they figure they are done. It is very static. Not a lifepath of continual improvement.

    Back when we had the 350ppm movement, it came out that to meet that goal, we in the USA would need to use 10% OF average USA amounts of energy, that means on all categories, including purchases. A 90% reduction. Myself and at least one other person I have seen post in these comments were part of the Riot For Austerity as we worked to move our consumption down to meet or at least get very close to that goal. This was not done by anywhere near that many environmentalists. Not even close. So Mike, maybe you are one of the ones that actually track what you are using and have actually reduced that much, and if so, welcome ! But, this is not what I have seen in the environmental group at large. What I see is most just consume not much different than the average household and then think they “make up for it ” by buying a very large solar installation. And this is subsidized by the rest of the power companies customers, who cant afford that. And if I point this out, I am obviously not an environmentalist and must be in a corporate pocket. And let me tell you, as I took most of the day last week to make my way home from across the state via mass transit, these environmentalists were not there with me. Especially not for that last bus, were the route has been cut and 2 routes combined so it takes twice as long, or for the last mile walk up hill.

    Collapse now and beat the rush

  228. Wer, the result with the “Energiewende” (the transition to supposedly green energy) via wind frams and solar panels in Germany was the same: it didn’t work out, and the consequences of the diverse oil and gas embargoes against Russia have laid bare the relative scarcity of fossil fuels, to which the West still has access. In Germany there is currently a “9-Euro-Ticket” for commuter trains and public transit, which has resulted in full trains and buses, The intention was to entice people to use public transit instead of cars, to save petrol. We weill see if it achieves anything useful vis-à-vis energy savings.

  229. @k #230, those maps are the best I’ve ever seen for maximum sea level rise scenarios. Thanks!

    There’s a New England map down the page, that clearly shows the Hudson Strait I was talking about earlier. (It also shows a Connecticut Sea that I had pretty much overlooked. I’m picturing olive trees growing around it.)

    @others from earlier regarding growing tea, I’m looking into giving that a try, as the hardiness zones have shifted just enough here (northern shore of Buzzards Bay) to make it possible. I think the expectation is if you’re pushing the edges of the hardiness zones, it’ll require some intervention during some winters. Given the microclimate, wind sheltering rather than temperature moderation being the more likely need.

  230. @Northwind Grandma #233

    If I may attempt to frame this apparent orgy of consumption in a different light, or maybe just rationalize my own behavior :-).

    One behaves differently before a hurricane than before a death, and perhaps what is coming will feel more like a death, with certain sectors of the economy like tourism and long-distance travel disappearing for all but the most privileged. And if certain concerns being aired over on the covid board prove correct, the next few years may bring literal death for a great many people.

    We are heading your direction across the country next month, using up our train travel points. The main reason is for a covid-postponed family reunion, which may well be the last time I see my aunts and uncles, all now in their 80s. We’re also visiting high school friends and staying in what is probably the nicest place I have ever booked on Lake Superior for our anniversary.

    We’re not especially wealthy – assuming no inflation we could make it about 2-5 years with no income – but this vacation will use about 3% of our assets and inflation or a housing crash could wipe out 50% in a few months. We’re about as prepared as we can be in terms of food, resilience, having useful skills, etc.

    Some of what we’re seeing may be rooted in outright denial and regrettable spending, but a last hurrah before dark days is not irrational behavior. To me it feels more like this song: (For those who don’t do video, that’s “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw.)

  231. @Wer #239, the root of the problem with electric cars is that they’re being designed as direct drop-in equivalents to present-day ICE cars, which pushes the limits of the technologies. Requiring every EV to be able to go 300+ miles at 65+ mph carrying a ton of passengers and cargo with air conditioning on a single charge is like requiring every ICE car to be able to average 200 mph around the Indianapolis race track. It results in EVs weighing more than ICE cars, puts stress on their batteries and other components, and of course takes almost as much energy per mile to power them.

    (When I say “requiring” I don’t mean by law, I mean by the supposed demands of the increasingly upscale-skewed motor vehicle “marketplace.”)

    I’d buy an EV today if I could get one that was road legal, could go up to 60 miles on a charge at up to 45 mph, and sheltered me and two passengers (and/or some groceries) from wind and rain. (Cabin heat let alone AC are fripperies if the alternative is walking or cycling. The lack of “safety” from high-speed collisions is also acceptable when the alternatives lack it just as much.) And assuming it was appropriately priced for those modest capabilities. Say, $12,000 new.

    Chinese vehicles (some actually available, some little more than rumor at present) appear to be aiming at that niche or close to it. But shipping from China adds to the price, and the ones available so far (like the Changli) aren’t U.S. road legal. Will any U.S. auto maker attempt to supply that same increasingly obvious demand? More likely, they’ll chant “Nobody who matters wants those” as private enclosed motor transport becomes unavailable in the U.S. to all but 5%. But there’s hope for other countries.

    (ICE = internal combustion engine; EV = electric vehicle; 65 mph = 105 kph, 300 miles = 483 km)

  232. Dear John Michael Greer,

    Thanks for another insightful, balanced post, with a gracefully managed comment thread as well. I particularly appreciate your fairness to both sides of the political spectrum while also never pulling any punches. The hypocrisy of the Davos set speaks volumes. Just as a side note, I think you might seem more conservative-leaning as of late only because the neoliberals are having a long, drawn-out heyday, and they’re making as much hay as they can while they’re on top. So you’ve been punching up at liberal globalists more instead of punching down at right-wing populists especially, who’ve recently had such a whipping. Totally understandable.

    I want to register a challenge, however, on the subject of invasive species. While on a long enough timeline, it’s certainly true that “everything’s a native,” as flora and fauna enjoys the opportunity to evolve together over thousands to millions of years. However, for the much more immediate timeline for readers of your blog, it might not be too useful to hear the message, “embrace invasive species.”

    For example, if we let the invasive species that naturally want to dominate our 1/4-acre suburban garden – wintercreeper and honeysuckle vine – take over, we’d have no space for edible and medicinal plants. Wintercreeper and honeysuckle are neither edible nor useful, and studies have even shown that honeysuckle dominance accompanies surges in mosquito populations. Neither invasive species supports native pollinators, so they are not good companions to our garden of medicinal herbs, annual and perennial food plants, and native edibles. Native plants support native bees, and many of these bees are crucial for human food plant pollination, such as tomatoes, only pollinated by native bees through buzz pollination (non-native honeybees can’t do this.)

    What I’m coming to here is that there is an important and useful distinction to make between seeking out warmer-climate migration species and actually turning to the current list of recognized “invasive species.” The plants STLClaire mentions in her several posts above – saw palmetto, thin-shelled pecans, etc. – are not “invasive” in the way that honeysuckle and wintercreeper are in our locale (I know Claire; we are both in Missouri, as are a fair number of your readers in this thread).

    I have myself begun casting a net toward warmer-climate options, especially in the annual food garden, and I think that’s a worthwhile effort. When I returned to MO after 17 years away, I first sourced seeds from an Iowan supplier but then quickly realized I need to instead reach for seeds from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, based in Virginia. Their varieties work much better in the “warmer than I remember from the 90s” reality I now face.

    One thing you might have missed in kashtan’s post above is that with the weather variability, his natives “were generally fine.” So natives have a resiliency that is of great use to gardeners. And in Mark L’s several posts, there’s something to keep in mind, too: While the general trend is warmer, the cold is still, well, cold. I can’t overwinter stevia outdoors; it has to come inside, and without a greenhouse, I won’t be able to grow citrus here for quite some time.

    For me, the takeaway is to become the best gardener I can be, one who is in touch with the annual vicissitudes of the weather, the plants, the soil, and the animal and insect species interwoven with them. I must be able to adapt as quickly as I can for whatever lies ahead.

  233. Greetings,

    Longtime reader of ADR (commented there once or twice). Something has occurred to me with most of the resource depletion scenarios that you posit.

    Basically, as the gears of modern society continue to accumulate more sand, not only will we face continued price increases and flat out unavailability of many resources, the breakdown of society will produce more lawlessness and theft. I have read a little bit of “Prepper” content, and one of the ideas they often raise is that for many, their “brown substance hitting rotating blades” plan is to find out who has been accumulating resources and simply take them at gunpoint.

    The Uvalde school shooting in my view has already demonstrated that our police are either feckless or simply not on the side of the public (not shocking given how demonized they have been), just as the Afghanistan withdrawal broadcasted our fecklessness to foreign powers.

    I currently rent an apartment in the Nashville area these days, which in my view limits my options to stockpiling nonperishables, learning skills better suited for harder times (though even those options are limited), and basically preparing myself for an eventual shootout over the things I have. Very myopic I know…

    I’m thinking a better plan is to buy a raw acre on the edge of the ~500 acre family farm near Clarksville TN to build a homestead on. Currently the farm is engaged in the typical wheat/soy/corn industrial operation, but I suspect when the ethanol industry shutters there will be a big transition ahead.

    Apologize for the meandering thoughts, on to my questions:
    1. Do you think my view of the trajectory of major cities is horribly misguided?
    2. Are there any good books or information about how to deindustrialize large scale farming operations? I don’t plan to arrogantly come in and tell them what to do, given I don’t know the first thing about farming, but having some offline resources that we can read and implement together would be most helpful.
    3. What sort of climate should we be targeting for future agriculture?

  234. Michael, if I understand correctly the current Australian policy toward illegal immigrants is not all that far short of that, so that wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    K, many thanks for this!

    Info, and that’s just it — they don’t criticize even the most blatant hypocrisy in their midst. It’s really sad.

    Your Kittenship, I bet you did! They’ve just wound up that clownfest, and now the Bilderberg Group is meeting in DC — another social occasion for the absurdly overprivileged to parade their status and pretend to be doing something about the problems their own greed and incompetence have caused. They ought to just go all the way and start meeting at Versailles.

    Northwind, I remember the 1970s, and as I recall it took a while before it really sank in just how hard things were going to be. Doubtless the current round of stagflation will take a while to sink in, too.

    Team10tim, thanks for this. I note with some interest that 9 of the 14 headings all deal with the ongoing implosion of US global hegemony and its economic appanages.

    Robert, ah, I see you’re a fellow Saker reader!

    Wer, thanks for this dose of cold hard reality. I hope Mike takes notice.

    Grover, thanks for this. That’s very, very cheering to hear.

    CS2, I’d be absolutely delighted to see the Dolmen Arch in any of the Celtic languages. Let me know when you’re ready and we can make arrangements. Yes, learning a new language is great mental-plane exercise because it forces you to think about what you’re saying and what you mean.

    Siliconguy, yep. That’s the reality of climate change.

    Mary, don’t overestimate the competence, intelligence, or foresight of the current elite. Decadent aristocracies aren’t known for those.

    Atmospheric, I know. I’ve seen the same thing happen with weary reliability over and over again.

    Brunette, I think you misunderstood my comment. I noted that warm-adapted species brought in from other climate regions would be considered invasive species by many people today; that doesn’t add up to an enthusiasm for everything that shares that label. (Monkeypox is an invasive species in the US, for example, and I’m certainly not encouraging people to get infected!) One thing to keep in mind, however, is that many invasive species appear to be aggressive because they’re filling an otherwise vacant niche, or meeting a need in the local biome; the habit of reading weeds as a cry for help on the part of the local biome has much to recommend it.

    Joel, first, it depends very much on the city; to judge from past dark ages, some will follow that trajectory, others will go their own ways. Second, not offhand — anyone else? Third, you need to research what the climate in your area was like 8000 years ago, at the peak of the Hypsithermal — that’ll take some digging but your local university libraries will have that information — and assume it’s headed toward something along the same lines.

  235. Re: invasive species

    I’ve had jobs in the past “controlling” invasive species with herbicides and power tools. After a while that didn’t feel right anymore. I can’t say I would recommend “embracing” them – as in planting them intentionally – but I do feel that the adversarial relationship isn’t helpful and in any case will become impossible across large areas when we have fewer surplus resources.

    My thought of late is that just as nature abhors a vacuum (bare soil), so does she generally abhor a monoculture. Those solid carpets of Scotch broom, Himalayan blackberries, buckthorn, honeysuckle, kudzu, etc. must have particular micronutrient and soil microbiology requirements that they are not, by themselves, capable of sustaining. Which is to say that these invasions will ultimately be time-limited by incomplete nutrient cycling, disease, pests, etc. My own limited experience of watching land over time has given me hope that areas taken over by invasive species do not stay that way forever, as they gradually trend toward a more diverse equilibrium. Sometimes invasives just suddenly die out, making room for other plants.

    Certainly it makes sense to keep intensively managed food production land free of invasive weeds to the extent that they compete and reduce yields, but I’m no longer convinced that fossil-fuel- and herbicide-intensive “ecological restoration” is a good idea, or the best way to support ecosystems in transitioning in the years ahead.

  236. @JMG (#252)

    Yes, indeed. The Saker is a Raevsky, from the Russian noble family of that name; his parents (or maybe grandparents, depending on how old he is) left Russia once it became clear that the Red Army would win the civil war against the White army. A kinswoman of his, another Raevsky, was one of my Russian teachers at UC Berkeley, and I was enormously impressed by her intelligence and humanity. So I was well disposed toward the Saker even before I began reading him closely.

    Alas, he does share the centuries-old usual Russian prejudices against Ukrainians, but otherwise his political and military analysis of the current situation seems extremely sound to me. (My own Doktorvater in Slavic philology was a Ukrainian, so I looked fairly deeply into the history of the two nationalities, and I am convinced as a scholar that Ukrainians and Russians have been distinct peoples [narody] at least since the 1300s.)

  237. Crazy as it may sound to some, I agree!

    Looks like I’m going to have to harvest garlic in the next week or so. That’s usually a July 4th sort of thing.

  238. @Joel #251

    There are various ways to make industrial-scale farms less ecologically damaging and somewhat more resilient. You can look into no-till or minimum-till practices, organic production methods, cover cropping, crop rotations, diversification, etc. all of which may pay dividends in the years ahead. Being only tangentially connected to the larger-scale farm world I don’t have any specific book recommendations.

    Ultimately, however, the only way to de-industrialize a 500-acre farm managed by one family is to bring on a lot more human and animal labor to replace the giant tractors and implements. That won’t make economic sense until it does (due to oil prices/lack of equipment availability) – there’s not much of a point in trying to grow corn and soybeans with a horse-drawn plow at the moment – but adding some less-mechanizable, more labor-intensive crops (e.g. fruit/nut orchards, berries, vegetables) on a small part of the farm could start the transition back to having more labor on the land and supplying more food to local communities rather than commodity markets.

  239. @Northwind Grandma #233, Mark L #248

    My thoughts on the matter of travel are similar to Mark L’s, with an added wrinkle.

    Travel has been heavily curtailed for the past couple of years even for those with the means to do it, thanks to the pandemic. Now that they finally (perceive that they) can travel again, they are. So some of what you’re seeing consists of trips that would have been taken in 2020 or 2021 being forestalled until now.

    Couple this with the mentality among others of “this may be the last time I can afford to (because gas prices / the climate / the economy / whatever), so I had better do it NOW, while I still can,” as well as the legitimately in denial who are traveling simply because it’s summer and they, at least for now, have the means to.

  240. RE JMG’s comment above, which is: Brunette, I think you misunderstood my comment. I noted that warm-adapted species brought in from other climate regions would be considered invasive species by many people today; that doesn’t add up to an enthusiasm for everything that shares that label. (Monkeypox is an invasive species in the US, for example, and I’m certainly not encouraging people to get infected!) One thing to keep in mind, however, is that many invasive species appear to be aggressive because they’re filling an otherwise vacant niche, or meeting a need in the local biome; the habit of reading weeds as a cry for help on the part of the local biome has much to recommend it.

    OK, glad to hear you’re not intending to express a blanket enthusiasm for everything that shares the “invasive species” label. We have here in MO a rather stellar Dept. of Conservation, by the way, and the way they use that label is judicious, and for this gardener, helpful. I’m no native-plant purist, for sure; there are plenty of non-natives that one should enthusiastically embrace (for me: comfrey, calendula, most annual veg and fruit, beneficial perennial herbs, etc.).

    Before I go on, let me clarify that “weed” isn’t a word I use much, as plants that are traditionally labeled such, dandelions, for example, are actually more useful than that ubiquitous non-weed, turf grass.

    Question for you on the last part of your comment above: Do we know for a fact that the presence of aggressive non-natives signals a cry for help from a distressed biome? Or do non-natives spread by non-natural means (our modern fossil fuel-powered transportation grid) have such a large degree of extra-evolutionary advantage, that they would be a threat even to the healthiest edenic eco-paradise? If you could suggest sources on this topic, that would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much for the thoughtful reply.

  241. A few years ago back in Pennsylvania, as I mentioned here at the time, I volunteered for a couple of years with a local environmental and climate activist organization. Their main objective at the time was legislation to require a cleaner mix of electric power generation in the state. That objective may or may not have been ultimately beneficial, and in any case the effort had no chance of success, due to opposition by the perpetual Republican majority in the state legislature.

    Anyone who signs a petition (if even that) can call themself an environmentalist, but we were environmental activists, the ones spending our days off walking or standing around with petitions collecting the signatures. That our objective ultimately amounted to coercing changes in other people’s behavior by means of legislation wasn’t a dirty secret or anything to apologize for; it’s more or less what activism means. Is deliberate political and economic coercion to consume less as bad as, or any worse than, allowing supplies to dwindle and systems to break down via business as usual until economic disruption forces the same thing?

    And here’s the thing: the members and volunteers weren’t SUV-driving McMansion-dwelling globe-trotting hypocrites. They were young people living in apartments in Philadelphia and the centers of the surrounding towns. (The one exception was me; I was older and lived in a family-owned house in the suburbs.) We all routinely used public transportation. Once or twice a year we piled into two crowded rented buses to go lobby at the state capital. Our energy footprints were already comparatively small. It doesn’t seem so unreasonable to say “almost everyone else should use less energy” when you’re using less energy than almost everyone else.

    Maybe most of them only had smaller environmental footprints because they were young and just out of (or still in) school, and by now they’ve all bought big houses and own SUVs and fly off to annual vacations abroad. Or maybe some were secretly living large even then, when the rest of us weren’t looking. But it seems perfectly possible to be an environmental activist without being a lifestyle hypocrite, and I suspect that most ground-level environmental activists aren’t actually lifestyle hypocrites. The problem seems to be that so many of the ones who command enough influence or visibility that they could conceivably be effective activists are also hypocrites.

    And then there’s this: electricity from wind and solar isn’t as cheap or reliable as from fossil fuels. And…?

    “At this rate we only have a few days of bacon left, and we can’t get more until next week. And too much bacon isn’t really healthy either. So let’s have beans instead of bacon for some meals.”

    “Okay, I suppose that makes sense.”

    But every time beans are actually served, it’s: “These beans aren’t as delicious as bacon. There’s enough bacon left for today, we could have had bacon. Darned environmentalists!”

  242. JMG, I don’t overestimate our current decadent elite, but I also don’t underestimate the cleverness of their servants. As soon as it looks like Big Boss is going down, that nice piece of farmland he bought on speculation back when and forgot he owns, is going to look like a mighty good place to settle the entire tribe for one of his secretaries.

    JMG, would you work for average sociopathic oligarch? No, I didn’t think so, and neither would I. So, what does that tell us about the moral and ethical level of his staff or her members?

    For folks like Glenn and other rural dwellers, I would respectfully suggest that the time to interest yourself in local affairs is NOW. Get those laws and ordinances in place that protect your families and ways of life. Not necessarily to exclude anyone else, but to make clear what you will and won’t tolerate.

  243. CS2 (no 242) “Does learning a new language develop one’s mental sheath?”

    Yes, it absolutely does. There’s a parade of evidence of its neural benefits. Here’s one I saw recently, arguing that bilingualism delays dementia:

    Noting that we really ought to take single studies cum grano salis–they can be all over the place (wine is good, eggs are bad, etc.). But this makes a lot of sense to me.

    Unfortunately, the usual custom among translators is to translate into one’s native language. (Some lucky people have more than one.) Exceptions include languages that are not native to anybody (like Latin–yes, you can read Harry Potter and Twilight in Latin), or very many (like Esperanto), or which are dominated by L2 speakers (Bahasa Indonesia). Not sure if any of these situations describes Welsh…

    I’ve taken up the study of Eastern Armenian in my middle age, and enjoy it very much–I can feel those neurons firing! Hopefully I’ll be able to visit the hayrenik before civilization falls. If anybody wants to learn Eastern or Western Armenian, let me know, and I’ll point you some great resources (everything you need is free). I also have some good intro-textbook files on modern Uygur and Kurmanji (the main dialect of Kurdish–I got these from the YPG!).

  244. Thank you very much, Patricia Ormsby. That answers some questions I have had about Japan, and some I didn’t even know I had.
    One site I like very much for balanced Ukraine and world in general coverage is, an alternative Indian site.
    I so appreciate your posts, JMG and the commentariat

  245. I’m seeing comments from a number of other midwestern gardeners here, so I thought I’d mention a good source of seeds that’s fairly new but has a mission of adapting plants (mostly food plants but some herbs, flowers and native plants as well) to the region. They’re called The Buffalo Seed Company, website They’re based out of eastern Kansas near Kansas City. This is the first year I’ve gotten seeds from them but so far they’ve been doing quite well, I’ll have a stronger opinion at the end of the season. They even have a neat map on the front page of their website showing which areas of the country have the most similar conditions to their place and thus are likely to have the most success with their seeds.

  246. Thanks, k @230!

    If I were to live until we get 66 m of sea rise (which is probably beyond even a patriarch’s life span), our current address would be on the flanks of the new Island of Mont-Royal:

    The cartographer has maps for Brisbane, Seattle and many other places that were discussed here, as well as a beautiful one of Walt F’s Hudson-Champlain seaway…

  247. First time reader, first time poster. This place was recommended by someone at ‘Founding Questions’, and I thought I’d take a peak.

    When I first started looking into climate change back in the 90s my views were about what you describe for Republicans. Since then I’ve gone in a very different direction. Not due to more research or more data on climate change, but from acquiring more data on humanity.

    As the author says, everyone wants everyone else to cut back with no thought to cutting back themselves. Debate those on the Left and point out that the ‘Free Rider’ problem means the current system can never solve the problem of consumption. They’ll get a triumphant look on their face and start talking about what is essentially a global government. This is the not-so-hidden agenda of the elites that continually harp on about climate change.

    The Davos set don’t really want to save the planet, they want to control it.

    One can already see this in action, as the mega-rich and their politician lackeys claim that X, Y, and Z are to save the planet, when the math clearly doesn’t add up. Like wind turbines whose estimated lifetime output is less than the energy and resources needed to manufacture them, and the cost to decommission them hasn’t even been looked into until recently when it became necessary.

    To put it a different way:
    Making changes that might counter-act some of the effects of climate change requires a global government. Everyone likely to be at the top of such a government doesn’t seem to actually care about the environment, and even if some did, their first priority once they get in charge will be to stay in charge. As has always been the case with governments and bureaucracies.

    Even today we see some of the crazy ideas the elites have planned for us, like genetically modifying us, picking who gets to breed (the old-fashioned GMO method), and unpersoning anyone who stands out from the crowd. It would only get worse as they increase their hold on the planet.

    I don’t need more research on climate change, or more studies or models. I know all I need to know about the subject, which is that the cure would be far worse than the disease. Bring on Waterworld, as even a web-footed Kevin Costner is more human as I define the term than the peasants would be after 100+ years of a global Soviet Union. The globalists are already barely human; it’s hard to imagine what 100+ years of indulging their evil would turn the coming generations of politburo members in to.

  248. @Joel (251) – not a farmer but I gather older farms used to have hedgerows between fields, which helped keep pollinators alive. Maybe selling those as a hedge against the problems that honeybee colonies are having would be an approach that they would be open to considering?

  249. Joel, #251

    2) RE deindustrializating farm land. This is going to sound trite, but the way to do it is one acre at a time.

    Currently in the USA farmers and ranchers are 1.3% of the labor force and the average age is 57, a of them third are over 65. For preindustrial societies they were at least 80% of the population. Our present arrangement is only possible because of the fossil fuel inputs into farming, diesel equipment, fertilizers, and pesticides. When those go away we are going to need many more young people to work the fields.

    If you really intend to do this you should probably get a couple of acres and start planting them the old way, maybe go apprentice with the Amish. Maybe look for areas with industrial farms that border Amish farms. It is hard work and you will be poor, but a lot of people find it very rewarding. Get some Robert Frost books. The road less traveled wasn’t becoming a poet, it was becoming a farmer.

  250. @Zorost #265

    “I don’t need more research on climate change, or more studies or models. I know all I need to know about the subject, which is that the cure would be far worse than the disease.”

    That’s the conclusion that I have come to, arriving there from the “we must take action on a global level” perspective.

    Part of what helps me to feel that way is that the “disease” is self-limiting as we run out of fossil fuels. It is certainly convenient, from a biosphere survival perspective, that we are running out of carbon fuels just as the impacts of burning those fuels are starting to bite, and so we are looking at climate perturbations within the range of Earth’s fossil record.

    It certainly didn’t have to be that way. Through a few small tweaks of evolution and plate tectonics, the planet could have stored away 20 times more carbon rich fuels, and we could have been looking at a 10,000 ppm CO2 atmosphere and probable permanent destruction of the biosphere if we continued business as usual with affordable supersonic travel and moon visits for everyone. If that were the case, then the disease might be worse than the cure, and I might even reluctantly concede that a draconian global government is the least worst option.

  251. Hi John Michael,

    That was the exact conclusion that I have been slowly drawing out this week after cogitating upon the meaning behind the recent federal election. That’s exactly what it looks like to me. Isn’t it interesting that the things we should be talking about as a society, aren’t the things we’re allowed to talk about as a society, and yet we talk about them all the same? The other conclusion I’m drawing, is that it is impossible to ignore reality, although it seems fashionable to want to give it a try. Fortunately I prefer a more punk mindset! 🙂

    You blew my mind years ago with your recounting and analysis of the Ghost Dancers. And here we are today.

    Hey, oil just surpassed the US$120 a barrel. Ook (no longer worthy of an exclamation mark). I’m sure it will decline only to then rise yet higher.

    We also have temperate rainforests down under. Mate, when I look out into the forests here, I see plants which will thrive in those wet conditions, and ones which won’t but might struggle on. They were once the boss vegetation here, and may well be again. Trees are patient and quietly bide their time.

    What many people might not understand is that the last ice age had minimal impact upon the continent. This means that the huge ice sheets didn’t grind up the rocks into fertile soil when the climate warmed again, like it did in other parts of the world. The soils are old here and often lacking in minerals which other parts of the world take for granted. However, the plants are hardy as, can survive very changeable conditions and there is a huge diversity of them. And there is a variety of plant waiting for its day, all over the country. Just a little push in either climate direction, and you get a suddenly different environment. There are even deciduous plants, plants that can survive appalling conditions – cold and heat. It’s all there, just waiting.



  252. Joel (#251)

    You might try Gabe Brown’s ‘Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Agriculture.’ I’m a bit low on time to write right now so here’s the blurb from Google Books:

    Gabe Brown didn’t set out to change the world when he first started working alongside his father-in-law on the family farm in North Dakota. But as a series of weather-related crop disasters put Brown and his wife, Shelly, in desperate financial straits, they started making bold changes to their farm. Brown–in an effort to simply survive–began experimenting with new practices he’d learned about from reading and talking with innovative researchers and ranchers. As he and his family struggled to keep the farm viable, they found themselves on an amazing journey into a new type of farming: regenerative agriculture.

    Brown dropped the use of most of the herbicides, insecticides, and synthetic fertilizers that are a standard part of conventional agriculture. He switched to no-till planting, started planting diverse cover crops mixes, and changed his grazing practices. In so doing Brown transformed a degraded farm ecosystem into one full of life–starting with the soil and working his way up, one plant and one animal at a time.

    In Dirt to Soil Gabe Brown tells the story of that amazing journey and offers a wealth of innovative solutions to restoring the soil by laying out and explaining his five principles of soil health, which are:

    Limited Disturbance
    Living Roots
    Integrated Animals

    The Brown’s Ranch model, developed over twenty years of experimentation and refinement, focuses on regenerating resources by continuously enhancing the living biology in the soil. Using regenerative agricultural principles, Brown’s Ranch has grown several inches of new topsoil in only twenty years! The 5,000-acre ranch profitably produces a wide variety of cash crops and cover crops as well as grass-finished beef and lamb, pastured laying hens, broilers, and pastured pork, all marketed directly to consumers.

    The key is how we think, Brown says. In the industrial agricultural model, all thoughts are focused on killing things. But that mindset was also killing diversity, soil, and profit, Brown realized. Now he channels his creative thinking toward how he can get more life on the land–more plants, animals, and beneficial insects. “The greatest roadblock to solving a problem,” Brown says, “is the human mind.”

  253. @Joel

    Yes, move to that 1 acre contingent to the farm if you can find it and buy it. You dont even need to convince teh family operating the farm to do anything right now. You get to run the experiments on your 1 acre so that when it is obvious change needs to happen, the bugs are worked out and you have some idea of what elese will grow there. Sure, put the hedgerows around your 1 acre to also try out how that works and that the ones you researched do well there. From what I have read tennesee should be a great palce to ride out the changes, if I had family there, I would be on my way

  254. Data point from the US Energy Information Administration. It is not just my local electricity provider, the whole state does import alot of electricity :

    ” In 2021, California was the fourth-largest electricity producer in the nation, but the state was also the nation’s second-largest consumer of electricity, and in 2020, it received about 30% of its electricity supply from generating facilities outside of California, including imports from Mexico….

    California is the largest consumer of jet fuel and second-largest consumer of motor gasoline among the 50 states and, the state accounted for 15% of the nation’s jet fuel consumption and 10% of motor gasoline consumption in 2020….

    In 2019, California was the second-largest total energy consumer among the states, but its per capita energy consumption was less than in all other states except Rhode Island, due in part to its mild climate and its energy efficiency programs…. “

  255. Robert, thanks for this. I find the Saker extremely useful as a source for the Russian viewpoint — it’s entertaining, at least to me, to balance it against the BBC, which inevitably gives the opposite view.

    Grover, hmm! Enjoy your garlic.

    Brunette, the writers I know of who have done the most to read weeds as a message, and respond to it, are nearly all associated with biodynamic gardening, which may not be your cup of tea. Joseph Cocannour’s Weeds: Guardians of the Soil might be worth your while, and so might Stephen Harrod Buhner’s books on interplant communication — for example, The Lost Language of Plants. The metaphoric language that sees “invasive species” as hostile conquering hordes riding roughshod over a helpless biome, I suggest, reflects our human preconceptions much more than it does anything in nature.

    Walt, I’m glad to hear this. I’ve simply seen far, far too many of the other kind.

    Mary, I’m not talking about the elites alone. I’m talking about the entire hierarchy of yes-men and place-servers who’ve gathered around them. Notice just how ineptly that hierarchy is managing pretty much everything in our present society.

    Zorost, you really have fallen for the line the elites are pushing, haven’t you? It’s not true at all that taking steps to prepare for the impact of climate change requires a global government, or any of the other inept and self-defeating expressions of the corporate Stalinism the Davos crowd wants to push on the rest of us; those latter won’t do a thing, as well as having the other negative dimensions you’ve noted. The changes that I’ve discussed at length are best done by individuals, families, and local communities, and they increase local resilience and independence. Thus it makes sense to get a clear understanding of what we’re facing, so that you can implement those steps yourself.

    Celadon, well, I read his blog tolerably often, so turnabout’s fair play!

    Chris, that’s the good thing about being out here on the fringes. When the things that most need to be talked about are the things nobody respectable is allowed to mention, the freedom of fringe culture becomes a lifesaver. Yes, I saw Brent break $120; I expect $150 a barrel at least once by the end of summer.

    Atmospheric, hmm! I didn’t happen to know that Rhode Island has the lowest energy consumption per capita of any state, but that doesn’t greatly surprise me; the climate is moderate, most of the towns are walkable, and the public transit system is statewide and very good.

  256. Questions: 1) Is human-caused CO2 puny compared to the CO2 from volcanic eruptions (let’s say smoothed over a decade)? From Krakatoa to the Kiluea to Martinique to Mt. St. Helens to the Canary Islands to Etna, we’ve had quite a few spectacular eruptions since the Industrial Revolution. Also, volcanoes spew out the most potent greenhouse gas: water vapor.

  257. @Simon (#219) One criticism that I’ve heard about the political parties is that it seems that they never actually “win” the battles that they advocate for, because if they did, their captive constituents would not be energized to vote for them any more. Between that and the fact that many of them also pick the winners and losers in the market (and front run said winners in their own portfolios), I think the general public is ready to cast the lot of them into the abyss.

  258. While the number of comments is winding down, I now have found the time for a more substantial one.

    Changes in precipitation seem much harder to predict than changes in temperature. The eastern sides of continents, where they are intersected by the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, are usually wetter than the western sides, as pointed out by previous commenters. Nevertheless, the eastern side of South America, where the tropic of Capricorn passes very near Rio de Janeiro, is outstandingly wet. The Atlantic rainforest, which used to cover the entire Brazilian coast from its easternmost point near Natal almost down to the boundary with Uruguay, is older and more species-rich than the Amazonian one.

    My wife spent part of her childhood as squatter on a tiny piece of land on the outskirts of São Paulo. She still talks about the incredible fertility of that land, how any small seed accidentally thrown away might grow up over a few years into fruit-bearing trees or yield more vegetables than the family could eat. There was water welling up spontaneously in the middle of that small patch.

    Brazilians (in the southeastern part) used to boast that they knew no natural catastrophes, not hurricanes, nor earthquakes, nor volcanoes, nor droughts. The only calamities were downpours sweeping away houses built on unsuitable hillsides. Yet, over the last decade, São Paulo has experienced more than one multi-year drought. It came near to exhausting its water supply in 2015, and 2021 was nearly as bad.

    One undeniable reason for this is local: the cutting down of 90% of the Atlantic rain forest, particularly in the headwaters of the São Paulo metropolis. Like several CO2-skeptical commenters pointed out above, a forest produces its own rain. On the other hand, deforested ground quickly erodes in the tropics – the red scars on sparsely covered hill slopes can be seen everywhere. This is compounded by the impermeabilization of the ground by asphalt and concrete, and by underinvestment in water storage by the privatized water company.

    Local changes can and have been reverted: the Tijuca forest in the middle of the city of Rio de Janeiro was reforested by the emperor Pedro II. in the 19th century. A hilltop reforestation campaign is underway right now to save the springs that agriculture depends on.

    However, the local changes may not be the whole story. Some climatologists find the reason for the unusual wetness of Brazil’s coast in the atmospheric river that brings water vapour from the Amazon, and wonder if this atmospheric river will endure further deforestation of that other rainforest.

    If JMG’s hypothesis of a shift in the atmospheric cells (on his other blog) turned out to be true, the droughts in Sao Paulo (some people begin to speak of desertification) might forebode permanent changes, even if the Amazon were not further deforested by humans.

    I don’t think the Atlantic rain forest will entirely disappear. Its species richness is a clear sign that it has survived (as a biome) for many millions of years, probably retreating into refuges during dry spells and then expanding again. However, the changing rain patterns would have huge economic, social and geopolitical consequences.

  259. @Robert Mathiesen,
    Thank you for your kind words regarding my article. I’ve finally gotten back to writing after a year and a half of other matters, but it’s my first time to publish at The Saker. If it gets me on the ProporNot list I’ll be very pleased. I agree with our host that we won’t really know what’s going on in Ukraine until the smoke clears, and even then…but I value the Saker highly for presenting the other side of the story. A couple of their best analysts, including Andrei himself have been hit hard by the stress from focusing on this conflict. They get added to my prayers regularly.

  260. @Atmospheric River @JMG re: per capita energy use

    One of our local conservation groups sent those numbers around a few months ago, and Oregon looks pretty good. They’re actually pretty meaningless though with regard to teasing out what we really want to know: how much energy each state’s citizenry uses by virtue of their personal choices.

    “Per capita energy use” is five times higher in Louisiana than Rhode Island, but if you look at the breakdown the vast majority of the Louisiana pie is industrial (refineries and chemical plants), whereas RI has very little industry. Simply dividing the total state energy use by the number of citizens makes mostly-residential states with comparably little heavy industry appear to be more energy efficient and sparsely-populated states with lots of industry appear to be wasteful. If the goal is to make blue states look good and red states look bad, that’s one way to do it…

  261. MarkL #253, Re your comments on weeds and their meaning, Peter Andrews has written two books on land restoration in Australia: Back from the Brink and Beyond the Brink and in them he mentions invasive weeds and their place in the environment. As JMG said their appearance can show a lack in the current environment and you should plant more if they are appearing. Peter Andrews also made the point that no plant can completely take over its environment. If one could it would have and it hasn’t happened yet. He also said that plants are like us. They cannot exist in their own muck for long and will use up all the nutrition in that area and then die out or diminish to non-invasive status in time.

  262. One huge reason the climate changes in different parts of the world drastically in short time periods is that the earth’s crust moves / shifts/ rotates 90° suddenly every few thousand years as snow accumulates at whatever the current pole is…

    This explains the global “great floods” myths of many societies… why our recent civilizational histories mostly seem to start 6000 years ago or so…

    Why there appear to be no records of anything past 6k years ago besides the Pyramids- not built by the Egyptians – and the Turkish ruins.

    Please address.

    Methane more powerful than co2 Anyway.
    Thanks for highlighting davoZ hypocrisy
    To me co2 has always been a moral figleaf story to cover up peak oil and propagandize people to use less stuff for better or worse.

  263. @tim #268. The Afrikaners have a saying which translates as, “There are three ways to lose money. On horses is the fastest, on women is the nicest, but on farming is the most certain.”

  264. JMG, whenever you write about climate change you always leave out our original geo-engineering project, that is, agriculture; when you cut down a forest and replace it with a field of annual crops, you convert what used to be a carbon sink into a carbon source. We have been doing this for 10k years, it’s how we turned the Sahara into a desert thousands of year ago, it’s how we’re turning California into a desert now. If anyone is interested the primer for understanding this is a book titled “Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum (how humans took control of climate)” by William F. Ruddiman.

  265. @Martin Back,

    Around here the joke is:

    A farmer won the 10 million dollar lottery. When asked what he was going to do with all that money, he said “I guess I’ll just keep farming until it runs out”.


  266. @Joel, I will echo Atmospheric river and others to get the acreage if you can and prepare to offer an alternative when the opening is there.

    I don’t know how much a connection you have with whoever is currently running the farm, but helping out now where you can – even as simple as providing food and conversation in the tractor/combine cab during planting and harvesting – will help you understand their needs and where you may be able to help more and in the future.

    I would also recommend doing a lot of the listening and maybe be able to show what is working on your acreage before suggesting changes to them.

    Books like Dirt to Soil may be good resource for you to read and have available when the existing farmer is open to that conversation.

  267. @Aldarion

    “One undeniable reason for this is local: the cutting down of 90% of the Atlantic rain forest, particularly in the headwaters of the São Paulo metropolis. Like several CO2-skeptical commenters pointed out above, a forest produces its own rain. On the other hand, deforested ground quickly erodes in the tropics – the red scars on sparsely covered hill slopes can be seen everywhere.”

    Unless farming is developed in the forests to an advanced state that can be replicated worldwide. There is far less incentive to preserve those forests.

  268. @Patricia Ormsby (#278):

    You’re very welcome. I have always valued your contributions to JMG’s blogs, and I’m glad to see you returning to writing for the public.

    I saw Andrei’s post about how hard the work of his blogging has hit him. It takes a real toll on a person, thinking and writing so constantly and deeply about such a grave crisis does. He’s been doing heroic work on his own chosen battlefield. I trust he’ll recover after taking enough time away from battle.

  269. @JMG

    I hope this question of mine isn’t off-topic, but here goes –

    Could this help mitigate climate change, to make the future more livable? I’m particularly concerned about what India’s ecological future will be like. After all, water cuts are already a reality in most parts of the country. This year’s summer was particularly bad, and I know people who live in areas where daytime temperatures were between 45 and 50 degrees Celsius, and that too, with 10 hour-long power cuts.

    Also, I have another question – you have said that you expect India to do relatively well in the years to come, even to the point where India becomes a great power (iirc, you mentioned somewhere that India could be to the US empire what the US was to the British empire). But, given climate change, soil erosion, water pollution, peak oil and other factors, I’m somewhat skeptical about whether my country will do all that well. But I’m sure you had some solid reasons for your take on the matter, so it’s pretty likely that I’m missing something out in this analysis. Could you help me out there?

  270. First, thanks to everyone that pointed to me info on paleoclimate for PNW!

    Second, I did expand my searches and I found this (

    “Evidence for the existence of an early to mid-Holocene drought in the Pacific Northwest is compelling, though timing and local effects remain incompletely understood.”

    Again with the lack of understanding. I am starting to doubt man’s ability to understand and conquer the universe (snark!).

    Their educated guesses are in line with JMG’s estimates: 2C summer temperature increase and 50% winter rain (or precipitations) decrease.

    I find it interesting to look at the world cities to understand what a 2C difference can make (

    So Seattle could have the same avg temperature as Beijing or Paris. On the other hand, the annual precipitation could be the same as Madrid. It looks like olive trees are not out of the question but we can say goodbye to a lot of electrical generation.

  271. @ JMG re: your answer to Zachary about starting a foundation to save whatever traditions etc you want to save: YES! And… make sure all the written part of these technologies, tradition, and teachings, etc on acid-free paper​. Hopefully of archival quality.

  272. Hi JMG,

    Have you given any thought to what Bitcoin looks like going into the future regarding it’s proof-of-work energy requirements?

    If energy reserves continue to deplete and no viable renewable energy source is established then bitcoin as money seems like will be discarded when the cost to run the system becomes too high. Or that the bitcoin becomes centralized because the only node operators available are Corporations and Governments.

  273. I’m in the northeast and I hear talk about women revolting if Roe versus Wade is overturned.

    Tim Cast IRL also did a recent article on the percentage of people under 45 who support assassinating politicians, to get us out of the situation we are in and it’s a shockingly high number. (The boomers were the only group with a less than double digit number and event then at least 15% under all the other brackets.)

    My ear to the ground among the men folk here in New England, is that the opinion is that women need to be stuck back where they were circa 1970…. like if men can be discharged from the military from having an affair, women need to be held to the same standard.

    Honestly I see women’s rights being rolled back over the next few decades, I feel like the trans movement is a Trojan horse that’s doing it.

    JMG thoughts?

  274. Ralph@283

    I don’t think many here are fans of industrial agriculture methods, including annual tilling, which releases substantial carbon from the soil. No-till has begun to be used industrially, with certain crops – in some areas it makes up the majority (at least in Virginia). A further move to regenerative agriculture, using cover crops and fewer or no synthetics, enriches soil with substantial carbon capture. Fuel and labor costs largely drove increased use of no-till. Now with rising fertilizer costs and pesticide resistance, plus some subsidies, better soil management is gaining attention of the larger farmers. When all else fails, listen to nature …

  275. We moved to a place up on a hill. Which we rather appreciated in the wettest year in weather records in the Mid-Atlantic in 2018. But it supposedly only rained twice. Once for 45 days and once for 90 days. That was … interesting.

    In the spring and fall, we can readily see the number of dead trees on the Appalachian ridges and hillsides is not consistent with healthy forests – but unlike invasive insects, they can’t migrate as theirs ecological niches shift. Even at it’s measured pace, by human standards, in my sixties I am old enough to personally notice Climate Change. When I was much younger, it got cold between Halloween and Christmas, and you put away the t-shirts until May. The snow that fell around the end of December in NYC tended to hang around till Early March – there was always a little snow around in the shadows and nooks. January and February were largely below freezing – straight through. But I haven’t see one of those winters since the 80s.

    We had a day in the 50s in 1976, and it was a NY Times Headline. Now they are common in the Northeast and Central Atlantic. One of the consequences of the gradual warming, is of course more energy in global weather systems. That doesn’t mean Boston becomes Miami, but it manifests through more extreme and random weather. We’ll still have cold days and snowstorms – but lately we’ll also have days in the 50s or more. Recent snowfalls are melted away within a day or so… or by sunset. Tornadoes in Brooklyn, THAT’S new.

    And the Southwest is apparently on permanent fire now, and it’s seems to have stopped raining there for the most part. I may see Las Vegas, or Albuquerque dry up in what’s left of our lifetime.

    But get used to the idea of changing up your lifestyles, the changes are in motion. The radiating stress fractures of the tightening Age of Limits manifest ever more clearly.

  276. Thanks JMG,

    I might do that. I will also examine my plan B, which was to build a little shelf with a “Free Cherry Tomato Seedlings” sign for out front fence and just put some in tiny planters out there. Something to think about, thanks!

    @ Michael (191)

    I think one aspect of the vegetarian/vegan strategy that is successful (and possibly worth emulating by other groups) is that to become one is to take the life changing action already. It’s not a passive “interest”, if you know what I mean. Also, if you started to eat meat you would immediately lose the title.

    For what it’s worth, Taleb has done some interesting writing on how a small but committed group can cause big shifts to the whole because of their determination not to move on certain points. He has many examples, Kosher food, and Halal stand out, but he discussed vegans too. Actually he sees veganism as having largely pushed vegetarians to the side (in certain areas – the imagination maybe being one of those) as a result of this same kind of leverage.

    Assuming you are a restaurant and have these two special types to deal with, then if you want to make accommodations for them, it’s less of a headache to just cater to the stricter rules of veganism, because by default vegetarians can eat anything vegans can eat. So the options start to seem like omnivore (or let’s say normal) vs vegan rather than the earlier range where vegetarians typically had an option but vegans would need to work with very few choices. This comes with a cost, but has been useful for vegans.


  277. JMG,

    Thanks so much for the reading suggestions. I’ll definitely check them out. I’ve dabbled a bit with biodynamic gardening.

    The struggle I’m having with the invasive plant issue is that when an exotic species hits a perfectly healthy biome, like an island, for example, it has all the advantage of no predator, no checks and balances on its growth and aggression. That has nothing to do with a “cry for help” since the biome being invaded was previously healthy.

    When smallpox invaded previously healthy Native American tribes, was that a cry for help?

    While I’m not keen on chemical means for eradicating invasives, I’m not convinced we should romanticize them either.

  278. If we are talking about the climate 8000 years ago, do you mean before or after the Misox variation? It would make a big difference, it seems

  279. JMG #274

    If you look up the data from those who believe whole-heartedly in AGW, a global full-blown repudiation of consumerism and massively cutting back on lifestyle would lead to something like a 30% decrease in the change that is for the most part locked in. This is the best-case scenario, and assumes that humans are a big part of the cause of climate change and that huge changes are coming. I am by no means sold on either assumption, especially since increases in CO2 usually followed the rise in temperature, rather than preceding and causing it.

    A handful of individuals switching to solar water heaters and similar will have no noticeable effect.

    Given the tiny effect individual action will have combined with the huge amount of uncertainty regarding what changes if any are being caused by human activity, the rational course of action is to prepare for whatever changes are coming rather than trying to divert those changes or debating the cause of those inevitable changes. Especially since most of the major changes that are coming will be human-caused problems like war and tyranny.

    Sharko #281
    I haven’t found any reputable sources that say the plates shift 90 degrees every few thousand years. The flood myths were likely the letting loose of glacial lakes, as I believe the OP mentioned. Graham Hancock has a lot of stuff on that if you want to know more.

    I think there is a lot more pre-6,000 year history than is admitted to, but it doesn’t fit the narrative so it gets discarded or white-washed. Much like how Gobekli Teppe gets explained away as being built by hunter-gatherers, when that is impossible short of zombie mind control. Or how the Sphinx can’t possibly be from 10k years ago even though the weathering couldn’t have happened except around 10k years ago. Again, Graham Hancock has a lot of cool stuff on this sort of thing.

    One of his books is about the crazy maps from 500+ years ago that show an ice-free Antarctica when Antarctica wasn’t discovered till the 1800s. Or showing various islands that haven’t been above the surface of the ocean since the glaciers melted (Hy Brasil, etc.) Maps showing north and south American shorelines that were made before Columbus, etc.


    Peak oil isn’t real. It’s based on the assumption that the free market will show us long-term trends because of the predictive power of free markets. The problem is that oil production isn’t determined by a free market, it is determined in meetings between men in robes, men in cowboy hats, and politicians with briefcases. There are plenty of other examples in the world today where there is demand for something which isn’t met due to those in charge preferring to make money through financialization and monopoly pricing rather than by such old-fashioned customs as providing a good or service that people need.

    Also, some theorize that melting ice caps will reveal oil deposits, and/or make known oil deposits in such locations profitable to extract. Supposedly there is oil in the South China Sea, or at least it has the potential for great reserves. This is supposedly the real reason China has been creating islands out there; not for military purposes which makes no sense, but to prepare for making a claim on oil fields based upon the Exclusive Economic Zone agreement.

    If it’s any consolation, I don’t think civilization will last long enough for it to end through resource depletion.

  280. Thanks to all the knowledgeable commenters sharing input on this topic, it’s much appreciated.

    I happened to be looking at my province’s topo map today. I really enjoy those interactive maps, I bet I was not the only one using NukeMap in recent weeks!

    Anyway, because of the way that “Appalachia” is freighted with cultural meaning, and not just a geographic description, many folks do not realize that the Appalachians extend into Canada. Well, they do, and my house is perched on one, and from the map I observe that my home sits at roughly 100 meters – same as the future pirate port of Memphis, Tennessee – despite being a dozen klicks from the ocean.

    I should have known that this was the case because of the way that my road is a bugger to jog up, but I never really thought about it.

    Anyway here’s my point, which is about dikes. I’d like to ask the crowd how they see the future of dikes and levees. Hang on, this isn’t as dumb as it sounds. (Is it?) I am sure there must be many areas like mine where hills or mountains just-almost surround lower spots. Even in a future without oil is it hard to see humans being able to dike off a foot every decade?

  281. Sharko (no. 281), the Agricultural Revolution and complex division of labor had to emerge before there could be a scribal class capable of producing written records (and then we have to get lucky about what they chose to record, and whether the records make it to our era) and–with a few exceptions–monumental architecture.

    The pyramids were indeed built by ancient Egyptians. It wasn’t aliens (come on, if they were floating in the air or standing on their heads or something, then I’d consider aliens), and it wasn’t Atlanteans (Atlantis being a Platonic myth which didn’t even involve pyramids).

    Many “Great Flood” myths are loosely related (Utnapashtim, Ziusudra, Noah, Deucalion) and seem to have had a common narrative ancestor (though the theology changes, and themes come and go–often there are no animals, sometimes immortality is a theme). There’s no reason to think a Great Flood really took place as described, any more than you need real-life superheroes to explain all the superhero movies. Although the Ryan-Pittman theory points to the Black Sea Deluge as their archaic inspiration, you don’t need anything like this to explain the myths–only general experience of floods. Some myths have the world destroyed by fire–did that really happen as well?

    Could an advanced civilization like ours have existed and then been lost to history (the Silurian hypothesis)? Well, anything is possible, but how likely is it that such a civilization would leave no remains of its presence (ignoring the pyramids) in the form of depleted fossil fuels, plastics (these things last forever and spread everywhere), etc.? You’d have to imagine them using entirely different energy sources–magic crystals, perhaps. (Is this why you bring up methane?) If they were human, then presumably they’d have left genetic traces in surviving human populations.

    What about a high (but not super advanced) civilization, like the ancient Egyptians? Could some of these be lost to history? Sure, absolutely. They’re finding ruins of ancient cities in the Amazon, for instance.

  282. JMG,
    thanks for letting Sharko’s comment through. Yes, it might break your policy of “no conspiracy theories” (don’t I know it) but it’s so far fetched and ridiculous that is reinforcing the mainstream view that there are no conspiracies and all the theorists thereof are loonies.

    I don’t know when the next “5th wednesday of the month will happen” but can I propose a topic: what conspiracy theories did you personally change your mind about – from being a firm skeptic to believing they are true or at least accepting the very strong possibility of that.

    Thank you!

  283. @Bei Dawei, thanks for the comment and the link! It’s great that learning new languages covers double ground in my spiritual studies.

    I translate from my second language into my first professionally (freelance) currently. I’d be willing to do it from my third language into my first as well, if there were any money in it. But the reverse I’m simply not comfortable with; you’re right that translating into a foreign language is way harder! I would only consider doing it in Welsh if I had the support: I’d start with children’s books and work up, checking everything with a native speaker. Plus, non-fiction is (or should be) clearly written and straightforward, which makes translation much easier. Trying to capture the layered meaning from a passage of fiction and render it in a non-native language would be really hard.

  284. For all the farmers and would-be farmers out there I commend the Small Farmer’s Journal, out of Sisters OR. Their website is
    They encourage the use of equines in farming and have other interesting stuff, all very well written. I’ve subscribed for years. I’m not a farmer myself, but I love their stuff!!

  285. @ JMG — In looking up california petroleum market found something interesting, in 1985 we were refining almost all California and Alaska oil, almost half and half, by 1999 Alaska is seen reduced and from then on steadily more foreign, from 2008ish half foreign oil, Foreign top sources ecuador, saudi arabia, iraq.

    @ Mark #279

    my main reason for quote from that site was data to uphold what I had heard about where I live, California importing so much electricity, and that site gave the number quite clear, we import 30% of our electricity .

    We are very smug and hypocritical here, we are importing 30% of our electricity and more all the time as that is the way we can get cheaper non-fossil fuel in our mix. We are not actually being self sufficient in sustainable electricity production which is the story Ca tells itself. That is the point I was looking for from that site.

    The other points from that site are just points that site makes, fluff as far as my point is concerned, just points of interest, which as you say, do not tell the whole story. And all of those have more to the story, heavy industry, as you say from some states. Although California has more to the story too, dairy farming, eggs, intense truck farming type agriculture sent over the whole country, logging, milling, oil refining and being on the Pacific edge of the country, alot of the high jet fuel is the rest of the countries flights that change flights here in SFO or LAX to go overseas and filling up the tanks of all those container ships. Agriculture takes alot of energy and fuel calories for each food calorie you get, strawberries, raspberries, grapes, almonds, apricots, lettuce, milk…..

    In my county, it is berries and lumber, especially berries, raspberries and strawberries, although the apple juice is still going far too. Seas of plastics to get those strawberries and raspberries. A strawberry field is covered in plastic, these days they are using green to cut the glare and be more easthetically pleasing, holes are cut to transplant into. # main reasons (1) pests, keeps the berries off the dirt so the dirt living pill bugs and such dont nibble them ( the ones in my garden, the straw helps that some, and I can just cut off the bit part, but they cant ship and sell with bites in them) (2) they fumigate the soil for the non-organic under the plastic (3) it is also a water retaining mulch effect. The raspberries are all in large hoop houses, with plastic covers on some of the year, it starts the season earlier for one, for the other is it likely keeps birds off better. For both crops, hand picked labor all driving their cars to the fields, the plastic is taken on and off. There is also plastic drip tape irrigation which is taken on and off. All watering is pumped. Apples used to be dry farmed, berries are irrigated alot. Here it is well water pumped by each farm, over pumped with an eye on the salt water intrusions from over pumping. ” With an annual strawberry production of 1.43 million tons of in 2018, the United States is the leader of the global strawberry market, accounting for a third of the total world’s production. Favorable climate conditions make the state of California the largest producer of strawberries in the United States. In 2015, 25.8 million hundredweight of strawberries were produced in California, considerably more than the second ranked, Florida, with 2.45 million hundredweight.” “This statistic shows the ten U.S. states with the highest amount of milk production in 2020 & 2021. California, is the leading producer, where over 41.8 billion pounds of milk were produced in 2021. ” both from statista.

  286. Hey jmg

    This talk about the folly of current thought on the environment reminded me of someone who has written abit about that subject on his blog and his latest book, Gordon white of “runesoup.”
    He has written about a lot of the stupidity concerning invasive species in his new book “Ani.Mystic” which he summaries with the question “when does nature stop?”
    Using pacific islands as a example, he points out that foreign species have been settling on the islands for millennia, some of them with out human help. What point in time do you choose to say that any future change or addition to an ecosystem will make it “impure?”, many plants considered native have only been on an island for a few centuries, are they therefore invasive and must be destroyed?

    (Nothing to do with the discussion, but something that I think you would find amusing, is that on his blog he describes eucalyptus trees as “nazi ents” due to their habit of eradicating competing plants by smothering them with their hard to degrade yet very flammable leaves)

  287. ” . . . and it will surely kill us all . . . “?

    ” . . . in this episode i
    00:05 point out how the uncontrolled meltdown
    00:07 of the world’s nuclear power facilities
    00:09 will cause atmospheric
    00:10 ozone to be diminished thereby leading
    00:13 to the loss of all life on earth . . . ” ?

    ” . . . Climate change is a constant feature of the long history of the Earth. . . . ”

    However, certain climate ‘conditions’ are required {plus the ‘exploitation’ of cheap energy} for ‘civilisation’ to develop?

    “ . . . this cool
    04:00 stable temperature arose once during the
    04:04 last 2 billion years {the last 12,000 years}
    04:05 of planetary history it also arose once
    04:08 during the 320 000 years or so
    04:10 of our existence as a species . . . “

  288. Ahhh Walt F I have you and your fellow environmentalists to thank for the closure of the small coal fired electricity plant where I live in PA. The owner updated it per all the regulations over the years and so it wasn’t spewing anything dangerous and the coal was locally mined. The plant paid something into the township tax base. When it closed our local taxes almost doubled and our electricity rates went up too.

    Why don’t environmentalists ever pay the cost of the changes they push so hard for?

  289. @Brunette Garden

    Regarding invasive plant species –

    I know you asked our host, but I felt like giving my own two cents on this…

    The alternative to chemical pesticides isn’t necessarily just sitting back and allowing invasive plants to take over. There’s a technology called biological control or biocontrol for short, and it basically is nothing but releasing predatory insects which prey on the species whose population you want to reduce (please note: complete eradication is neither possible nor advisable), but leave the species you want protected alone. Now I know I’m massively oversimplifying things, but I hope you get the point. There are books on the use of biocontrol to keep invasive plant populations in check, like this one:

    There are also a lot of online resources on the topic that you can look up. Hope this helps🙂.

  290. @atmospheric river #306

    I didn’t intend to suggest that all EIA data is bunk or to refute your main point about CA importing energy. I just wanted to make a note that their way of calculating per capita energy use doesn’t account for externalities and so makes wealthy places look comparably good. I have a strong sense that if we were to estimate the total per capita energy footprint (kWh per person per day including energy used everywhere in the supply chains of all consumed products, and embodied in all owned assets and utilized services) it would correlate pretty consistently with wealth, and Californians and Rhode Islanders wouldn’t be better than Mississippians and North Dakotans.

    As for plastic use in agriculture, that’s a serious issue even in the organic world where I work. To the extent that plastic mulch can substitute for herbicide, and higher margins justify more input costs, organic agriculture almost certainly uses more plastic per acre than conventional agriculture.

  291. Wer here
    Well it might be harsh but I will speak from a more personal experience of a rather distastefull encounter i had 2 years ago. I was returning from wągrawiec via PKP train when i encountered a person. I did not spoke to him but I heard what he was talking loudly on a train from a distance. A young man from Poznań with violet colored hair was “forced to use public transport because his friend with a Dodge car was ill” he was loudly complaining about it when he was not looking to his laptop on his lap. He had some freinds with him.
    Close to the end of the ride when apparently his laptop battery was down we passed a lovely local church that was nearby and his reaction was like “look medieval europe is here”. He then started talking how people in rural towns in Poland were “Catholic mob burning withces and hunting werevolfs” and talked how enviromentaly unconcious we are (whatever that means) and that “rural people are like orcs assaulting poor defencless mother earth”
    I almost stood up and punched him there (i didn’t because he probably would call his lawyer and had six friends with him)
    That buffon called his own countrymen and good honest hardworking people that I knew all my life as monsters, brainless “unciviliezed” mob. I am afraid that he wasn’t the only one who thinks like that, before this encounter I thought that only really crazy people think like that It left a bad impression on me, some people in the enviromental movement are no doubt good people but it is such a minority that it is a shame.
    How many excuses of a human being like the one I by chance (I took that train because I had to at that time) encountered walk on God’s Green Earth I don’t know but many enviromentalists are so High up people that look down on normal poorer people like me. And did I mention his freind had apparently a giant Dodge SUV.
    Stay safe everyone Wer

  292. Regarding invasive species: it occurs to me that the constant issue of various blights and parasites compromising tree species could be mitigated with the application of biodynamic methods to forestry management. Here in the UK we have ash dieback that could make our beloved ash trees go the way of the elms after Dutch elm disease; I understand that similar blights are effecting ash trees in North America too. Currently the mainstream view is that the causes of ash dieback boil down to “dunno probably climate change or something lol”, and up until recently the solution has been to clear-fell, much to the delight of tree-hating property developers. Thankfully I think this latter view is changing somewhat, but a serious investigation of how improving the overall health of the biome to protect trees from various pests is still forthcoming, from what I gather.

  293. Greg, doesn’t matter. If you’re drowning, having the water rise an inch above your head is the same as having it rise a yard. Except in the case of the huge eruptions I mentioned in my post, volcanic CO2 emissions are sporadic, and the biosphere adapted to them hundreds of millions of years ago. Our CO2 emissions are continuous and increasing, and the biosphere probably needs another half million years or so to adapt — by which time all the fossil fuels will long since be gone, and the forgotten ruins of New Orleans will be deep under a layer of sediment in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Aldarion, here again, did you look up what happened during prehistoric warm periods? That’s a source of detailed information that people seem weirdly unable to consider.

    Mark, so noted. Do you have a source for state rankings with industry set apart from other uses?

    Sharko, your data’s about fifty years out of date. First of all, the theory of sudden crustal displacement was worth considering when Charles Hapgood first proposed it back in the 1950s, but it didn’t stand up to further data. Second, you need to take a look at more recent archeology — Jericho and Gobekli Tepe were urban centers in 10,000 BC, and they weren’t the first. That said, you’re at least partly right about climate change being used to respond to peak oil without mentioning it; the awkward detail being that climate change is happening anyway.

    Ralph, agriculture is one element in a very complex pattern, and it’s very easy to oversimplify the pattern and reduce it to “agriculture BAD!!!” or some such comic-book caption. I hate to tell you this, by the way, but there were no forests in the Sahara in 4000 BC, when desertification got its claws into the region — it was open grassland with scattered trees in a few locations — and I have yet to see evidence that there was much agriculture there, either.

    Viduraawakened, it sounds like a worthwhile thing to explore, though I don’t have the technical knowledge to say more. As for India’s future, fifteen years before the US vaulted to global power, it was a basket case of a nation, racked by a crippling economic depression and the catastrophic droughts of the Dust Bowl era. It was the process of facing the challenges of depression, drought, and war that shook the US out of its relative somnolence and launched it for good or ill on its trajectory as a global empire. If India wasn’t facing major challenges, I wouldn’t predict a future as a great power for it.

    Patricia, exactly — and also in the hands and minds of practitioners as a living tradition.

    Bix, while the underlying technology is potentially useful, cryptocurrency is a Ponzi scheme right now — a product that has value only because you think you can sell it to someone at a higher price than you paid for it. I expect all the cryptos, Bitcoin included, to lose most of their value.

    Comment, please ask this again on an open post. We’re talking about climate change right now.

    Samurai, I ain’t arguing.

    Brunette, we’re going around in circles at this point. I’d encourage you to go back and note that what I was talking about was attitudes toward plants deliberately brought into a biome to deal with climate change.

    Zorost, I see you didn’t read my post. I noted there that of course climate change is locked in, and we’re going to have to live with it. If people take up the sort of alternatives I’ve proposed, what that means is that as fossil fuel availability declines and dealing with climate change imposes soaring costs in terms of energy and other resources, we’ll have a good deal more energy available to deal with the resulting crises, and take care of essentials such as food transport, ambulances, etc. Whether the crises to come are human or environmental — and I expect us to get plenty of both — that addtional slack can make a great deal of difference in how much survives.

    As for peak oil not being real, er, I really recommend you take a closer look at the data. (If you do so, avoid the “apocalypse next Thursday” brigade, which infests peak oil as it does so many other issues.) The vagaries in the price of oil show what happens when attempts to control the price of oil in boardrooms run up against hard geophysical limits; since the world is not flat, after all, it contains a finite stock of hydrocarbons, and if you take a close look at discovery rates and a galaxy of other data sources you’ll find that depletion explains far more than the mainstream view you’re repeating here can account for.

    Bofur, it doesn’t sound dumb at all. Dikes were common in Holland long before fossil fuels came into general use.

    NomadicBeer, this month has a fifth Wednesday, and I’ll take nominations.

    Atmospheric, yep. Now factor in the declines in production in the California and Alaska fields…

    J.L.Mc12, glad to hear it.

    Postkey, two good examples of the kind of extreme claims I was laughing at.

    Denis, you might find this article wortth reading as a counterweight to that particular delusion.

    Christian, hmm! Thanks for this.

    Wer, we’ve got ’em here in the US too. Sigh…

    Luke, that’s a worthwhile point. Thanks for this.

  294. Re: dikes

    I imagine we’ll see lots of dikes and levees and seawalls in the century ahead.

    That said, all resources utilized for control efforts are resources not used for adaptation efforts.

    Dikes are a squared phenomenon: doubling the height of a dike requires four times the material. Adding the fact that the length of the dike will need to grow as well, it’s probably more like a cubic phenomenon. And the taller the dike, the greater the human and economic cost if it fails.

    Add in the fact that dike failure is not a predictable function of sea level rise but a stochastic function of extreme storm/flood events (see e.g. Hurricane Katrina), with climate change loading the dice, and it becomes clear that cities that choose to move well inland will be better off 100 years from now than those that choose to build ever-higher dikes and seawalls.

  295. @Denis #309, as I said, none of the measures we were petitioning and lobbying for during those years passed. And even if they had, they would not have forced the closure of your plant; they were more about the mix of new generating capability expected to be brought online between then and (IIRC) 2030 as older plants are phased out.

    However, I understand that’s not the gist of your point. Generally speaking, activist agendas do impose regulations and costs on others. Maybe not the very softest forms like, say, posting signs that say “please don’t litter,” but as soon as the signs say “$200 fine for littering” someone’s paying for the enforcement costs, alternative disposal costs, and the fines themselves. That’s true of all regulations. I think that should be openly acknowledged. I find it infuriating when news articles about legislation are worded as if the laws leaped off the printed page and accomplished superhuman feats: “The Safe Homes Act will protect children from injuries caused by defective furniture.” Rather than the actual content: “The Small Manufacturers Are Screwed Act will authorize a certain government agency to penalize furniture makers with fines and seize their inventory unless they pay for various expensive and time-consuming testing to be decided later by said agency.”

    So, in that spirit of directness, it’s true I wanted you to pay more for electricity to make it economically feasible to provide that electricity from (overall) cleaner sources, and also to encourage you to conserve. For what it’s worth, we were also pushing to ban common electricity pricing practices, such as fixed minimum charges and heavy-user discounts, that discourage conservation. So you may or may not have ended up with higher bills, if I ran the state.

    (I was also in favor of third party Presidential candidate John Anderson’s proposed large Federal gasoline tax increase back in 1980. That could have been a first step in a new lower-consumption economic direction that would have left us all much better off today. But of course it would have increased expenses and noticeably lowered the standard of living for a lot of people.)

    As for electricity in Pennsylvania, continuing with business as usual is going to end up with big price increases anyhow, unless it causes extensive shortages/outages/rationing instead. Or all of the above. In coming decades, you might even be better off having some of that locally mined coal still in the ground and available for other higher-value uses.

  296. @Brunette, Check out Jin Yin Hua, before trying to eliminate all that precious honeysuckle.

  297. Stefania,

    Innovative growers in the arid Middle East and South Asia turned the raised bed/swales-on-contour idea upside down and planted crops like fruit trees and grapes in the bottom of the swales, where all the water they get funnels down into their roots. I do the reverse in my garden, in the humid U.S. Southeast, sort of Emilia Hazelip-style. Been growing that way for over a decade actually, now that I think about it. Every drop of water that falls on it stays in it. There are few things that improve soil faster than infiltrating all the water that hits it. Though of course I’m in awe at folks like Gabe Brown, and Joel Salatin, and Will Harris. Among many notable others.

    But I have the reverse option available in my garden, too. If our climate dried out I could simply plant in the bottoms and walk on the tops. Our topsoil is shallow and rocky here, so I generally like to pile up what’s there into water-harvesting mounds on contour and stay off of it, walk on the hardpack beneath in the swales. This method keeps my clay soil as friable as possible, reduces cultivation, and funnels resources into more specific areas, not wasting them underfoot like in a conventional row crop garden.

    We also harvest our lawn grass and use it as mulch in the garden, and fertilize with a chicken tractor. Though I admit I will turn on a sprinkler occasionally, when it gets too dry. Hey, topsoil takes at least a few years to grow! And I’ve only been on this property for three.

    Did you know that every %age point gain in organic matter in the soil raises its water holding capacity by something like 200,000 gallons per acre? I could be lowballing it…my memory of that figure is dim…

    Anyway, enjoyed your comments!

  298. “Dikes were common in Holland long before fossil fuels came into general use.”

    Heh, well, I know, but fifty-foot ones? I need to learn more about it.

  299. Wer, about violet hair people

    I think Poland like many countries in E. Europe is in a pickle. We have had for a long time an inferiority complex because the Westerners were richer and “more advanced” than us. What we have to understand is that the historical accident that made W. Europe and its diaspora the masters of the world is going away.

    Given the current changes that will bring the center of the empire from US to Eurasia (probably Russia-China), E. Europe has the chance to do much better than the collapsing W. Europe.

    Of course it will take generations for the current elites to let go of their obsession with aping the western culture or a new elite to take over (most probably through war or revolution).
    Unfortunately the transition will be painful but the best we can do is to try to maintain the old traditions (be it crafts, religion or village community).

    The good news is that with the economy collapsing and peak oil, there is a chance the old ways will survive. Think about it – if the PMC kept getting richer for another generation or two, there will be nobody left alive that knew the old ways.

  300. Seattle Times on Monday reported that a giant deep-ocean turbine trial in Japan , anchored below 100 feet to the ocean floor in the Kuroshio Current on the east coast of Japan, could generate as much as 200 gigawatts of power. Post originally came from Bloomberg but I couldn’t find it there.

  301. Hi John Michael,

    Speaking of the intersection of climate change and energy, I was wondering how the new gobarrment (and puppets!) were going to handle the energy side of things: Short-term fix to gas crisis is to bring coal plants online, Resources Minister Madeleine King says.

    Given the loose talk of the winners of that fandango, well I’d have to suggest that reality is somewhat different. It’s pretty ironic and took remarkably little time to find out.

    This is such a complicated topic you’ve tackled, and the more of the comments I read, the more I believe the two separate issues are being conflated – and I guess there are good reasons for that. It reminds me of discussions I have had with people over the decades about confusing profits and cash. A business can be turning a profit, but if more cash goes out than comes in, eventually the cash runs out – even if the business is profitable. People confuse those two issues all the time, and there are interesting parallels to be drawn with this example.



  302. @ bei dawei #235

    The Peshewar Lancers (S.M. Stirling) probably didn’t make enough money for his publisher. It was an unusual, parallel world history.

    The real issue is rights.

    If S. M. Stirling doesn’t own the rights to The Peshewar Lancers, then he can’t necessarily write a sequel. The publisher may own the rights to the world itself as well as to the novel. It all depends on the contract.

    If he owns the rights, he could continue the series as an indie writer. The money needed to publish are different because he’s not supporting a huge publishing house in New York City.

    He could become that new beast: a hybrid writer. Sometimes publishing via traditional publishing and sometimes, depending on the property, doing it himself.

    He’d have to pay for a cover and some editing, and possibly the trade paperback layout. He could format the manuscript for eBooks himself. Lots of writers do.

  303. I thought it was implicit in my comment that the Atlantic rain forest was more fragmented into refugia at certain points. I have looked at the literature – some sites in northern Espirito Santo and southern Bahia seem to have been covered by forest all through the Last Glacial Maximum and Holocene, though with varying species composition. Other sites had a drier climate than today in the early and mid holocene, with more grass pollen.

    To the extent that the hypsithermal is a good model for the near future, the rain forest would probably reduce its extent, though it wouldn’t disappear completely.

  304. Jimofolym, press releases like that are a dime a dozen. Let’s see if it accomplishes more than soaking up some investment money.

    Chris, a fine example! Yeah, it’s intriguing to watch how fast green rhetoric is being thrown over the side now that there’s a real risk of actual energy shortages.

    Aldarion, fair enough. That may have been implicit, but I missed it.

  305. @jimofolym #323

    1. There is a prototype generator of unspecified but small output being installed in the Kuroshio Current.

    2. The total energy in the Kuroshio Current is estimated at 200GW

    These facts are entirely unrelated except by the sort of hype journalism that is unfortunately common in the green energy scene.

    The total potentially harvestable energy in the Gulf Stream is estimated at 19 GW (

    The total energy in US winds at 50m elevation is around 4200 GW

    The total solar energy incident on the US averages 1.3 million GW

    The energy flows of our planet are actually quite immense relative to our energy demands. That doesn’t solve the problem of capturing and converting diffuse energy sources with a reasonable net energy factor and at a cost and level of resource investment we can afford.

  306. Hi everyone. Really glad to see comments pop up on gardening and soil conservation in farming. That too in a post about climate change! Of course healthy soil is a great carbon sink and it just happens to be the basis of all terrestrial life on Earth 😋 Just saying.
    Being part of the global savesoil movement, I would rather climate change activism doesn’t get attached to soil regeneration. Too little has been accomplished by such lumping together of issues.
    @sgage loved your farmer winning the lottery joke. I’m stealing it 😅

  307. Hi guys

    Just picking up on the Egyptian pyramids (raised by Sharko and also Zorost). Whilst it not really on-topic, since the matter of these structures has been raised, i cant help but comment, having seen them with my own eyes more than once in the past decade, and reflected upon the whole Ancient Egypt phenomenon a lot since. Putting archaeology, ancient history etc to one side and just reverting back to our shared commonsense as humans – how could the geometrically and astrologically perfect Giza pyramid have been built in ~2570 BC, at roughly the same time as the stepped pyramid at Saqqara (quoted by Wikipedia as being built ~2670 BC)?. This is about an hour or 2’s drive from Giza and shows none of the elegance, other-worldliness or infinite complexity of the Giza one. It looks like a great big ugly, imperfect mound of stepped stone and dirt which crudely tried to copy the ageless Giza example, by the Egyptians of the day. Hey they did their best, but its like looking at a crayon drawing of the female form vs looking at the Mona Lisa.

    So Saqqara might be dated correctly, but Giza – no! no possible conceivable way! Just Google images of the 2 and put them side by side. The Giza example must have been built by a prior antediluvian civilization – there simply is no other explanation that stands up to commonsense (the only stable and reliable tool we have as humans). Archaeology, the great arbiter of truth re this, is clearly (like many of our sciences) trapped inside its own outdated paradigm here. If ever there was unassailable evidence of the existence of prior advanced civilization here on Earth – it’s staring at us right in our faces every time this image appears before us on our own currency, in pop culture, advertising, hollywood film etc.

    What this has to do with the topic at hand is questionable, and please feel free not to post this JMG. I just felt it a relevant comment to add, in line with the group’s discussion train.

    Best wishes

  308. Hey JMG, another excellent post on a very important topic. When I was working as a climatologist in the Air Force back in the mid 1980s, I was assigned a task to churn out some statistics from the McMurdo Station in Antarctica to plan for resupply flights. With only about 25 years or so of weather data on record, a warming trend was readily apparent. My co-workers and I had no compelling reason to be concerned – the North Sea and Alaskan Slope oil fields were online, and the party was continuing. I recall even making a poor joke about flying a C-130 into the station loaded down with some potted palms and buckets of white sand, to avoid the rush to the hot new beach property down there. Ugh.

    Our thinking seemed to be limited around beginning and ending points for climate change, and not recognizing the volatile periods in between, that can obviously create havoc. This sunk in a little more clearly with your discussion of the climate cells recently on dreamwidth. Even a temporary shift of rain or temperature belts that persists for a month could be devastating. I had learned in college that we were experiencing a interglacial warming trend, with isostatic rebound in the process of completely emptying Hudson Bay, but that it would be another 10 or 15 thousand years before the bounce was complete. Meanwhile, the complex climate changes in process wait for noone.

    I agree with your political comments on the issue – when I get bogged down in a discussion with people on the climate change, I try to find out their politics. With liberals, I steer for the concepts around overshoot, and how that can be used as an argument, rather than CONTROL of living standards. I usually point out the virtual signaling, ’cause I can’t help myself. With conservatives, it’s usually a quick path to “Bah, climate is always changing, and man doesn’t have anything to do with it.” Then I ask about pollution, and if that’s a problem. This sometimes gets me past the first wall.

    With anyone still standing, I then steer towards mitigation – conservation, reduction of energy use, no more jet travel, and more details on energy use. It sometimes ends in a nodding of heads. But usually not. In this week’s book club, we covered a novel about a family moving to Alaska in the 1970s, and the primitive life they adopted. During the discussion, the question was asked if any of the readers would consider that change – I nodded yes, but most of the (ladies) stated effectively that no way in hell would they give up their lifestyles. That is, downstate Illinois lifestyles in a lower class small town.

    It’s hard to be cheerful.

  309. @ Rod # 33 – geoengineering – take a gander at the numbers related to thermodynamics in the atmosphere. It’s crazy huge. Weather control seems well out of reach of mankind, beyond getting a few sprinkles from seeded clouds.

    @ Old Steve # 43 – I don’t recall any “sudden” movements of the earth’s crust from geology classes other than a few feet during earthquakes. Plate tectonics is usually referenced under much longer time frames than climate change, but of course can explain things like fossil fuel deposits in Alaska. Old deposits that is.

    @ Particia Ormsby # 236 – thanks for the post on tumeric survival. I’m considering a move up to a colder spot soon, and getting plants through a North Dakota winter will be of some interest.

    @ Stefania # 271 – thanks for the post on Gabe Brown’s book. I need to buy that for my cousin who grew up as a farm girl in North Dakota, like my mother back in the Great Depression and WWII. Though originally from Duluth, it’s awfully blue there now and very expensive. I think a move to the flatlands very close to the 100th meridian could be more challenging.

    @ Martin Back # 282 – lose money fastest on horses? I can vouch for that. It’s truth that could be etched in granite, along with “sun rises in the east” and “beer goggles are real”.

  310. atmospheric river wrote,

    “Back when we had the 350ppm movement, it came out that to meet that goal, we in the USA would need to use 10% of average USA amounts of energy, that means on all categories, including purchases. A 90% reduction. Myself and at least one other person I have seen post in these comments were part of the Riot For Austerity as we worked to move our consumption down to meet or at least get very close to that goal. This was not done by anywhere near that many environmentalists. Not even close.”

    I was part of the Riot 4 Austerity, indeed I’m even quoted in one of the founder’s books – I’d noted that about half the world’s food was produced without fossil fuel inputs, and we produce twice what we need, so starvation isn’t necessarily in our depletion future, though obviously it could be for political and diplomatic reasons – just ask the Irish or Indians.

    I also came up with an attempt to account carbons spent (imagining them as a separate currency, rather like WWII ration coupons), including getting credits for aerobic composting and tree-planting – about the only thing individual households can do which might be regenerative, rather than just refraining from doing more damage.

    The founder now lives in an urban area and drives a minivan and regularly posts online that covid is going to kill us all.

    A decade later my household is at about 25% of the average consumption, overall. We don’t have a garden, but I do still sneak out and plant a dozen trees each winter in vacant land or on nature strips in front of houses (I wear a hi-vis vest so people assume I’m a council worker and don’t bother me), about half of which I find still standing a year later.

    Actual environmentalist action is like watching a boxing match compared to getting in the ring – doing it is a lot harder than watching or talking about it.

  311. I don’t know. Climate change and its possible effects are a great mental exercise; lots of facts and figures and graphs, oh my, and entertaining the possibilities for its progression is just that; fascinating entertainment. The prospects of the world devolving into chaos and destruction for me, seems more likely to be from the simple existence of mankind. World population is hyperinflating towards a Seneca’s cliff. There is no other word to describe it. Maybe a human bloom? or homo sapient outbreak? To support this mass explosion of people (quadrupled since 1945) we have have built a tower of Babel. We have devoted ourselves to population growth through food, medicine, safety awareness and habitat climate control. At the same time, we have crafted and are ever crafting the means of immediate and potentially complete self-destruction. Examples are, genetically engineered and targeted viruses, an economic house of cards, personal data collection, filtering, cataloging, and targeting, face recognition, drones and hypersonic nuclear weapons. global supply chains and just-in-time logistics, etc. And in our selfish satisfied state of comfort, we have ceased to procreate at a sustainable level in the educated class. So when it comes to climate change and its threats, I, personally, worry more about how the Ukraine/Russia war will effect the future and devote my energies and plan accordingly.

  312. ‘Environmental Nuclear Bomb’ as the Great Salt Lake Dries up

    ‘If the lake continues to dry up – flies and bine shrimp will die – as early as this summer – migratory birds will not have this food source -… Most alarming, the air surrounding Salt Lake City would occasionally turn poisonous. the lake bed contains high level of arsenic and as more of the bed becomes exposed, wind storms carry arsenic into the lungs of nearby residents.’

    Thought this may be of interest.

    On a gardening notes,
    The earth heaved and a bounty of shaggy mane mushrooms appeared! I took this to be an auspicious sign. 🙂

  313. @Greg F: you do know that the mortar between the stones of the Great Pyramid has been dated, and that the name of the Pharaoh who ordered it built is inscribed in many places?

    Early Egyptian history is a record of incredible centralization and increase in wealth at the top. The Saqqara pyramid is already a huge construction compared to what came before, and wealth and power concentration continued after its construction. That is what made the Great Pyramid possible. Compare the tallest buildings on earth in 1880 AD and 1931 AD to see how fast change can happen.

  314. hi Aldarion, the radiocarbon dating that has been done on organic matter associated with mortaring etc most likely reflects repairs done to the exterior of the Giza period by Khufu after a period of flooding. Re his name being inscribed on it – if i were KIng then, i’d be putting my name on it too ! It should be noted that inside the KIng’s Chamber, there is no mention of Khufu or anything/one else. Re your 1880-1930 analogy – its not useful as this was the period when hydrocarbon-based energy took off here on Earth. An unheralded development which took us to the Moon in short order (but no further lol). As i understand it, the Egyptians at the time of Khufu were still pretty much rooted in the copper age. .

  315. Hi John, did some casual digging and found this from

    “Volcanic eruptions are often discussed in relation to climate change because they release CO2 (and other gases) into our atmosphere. However, human contributions to the carbon cycle are more than 100 times those from all the volcanoes in the world – combined.

    In comparison, while volcanic eruptions do cause an increase in atmospheric CO2, human activities emit a Mount St. Helens-sized eruption of CO2 every 2.5 hours and a Mount Pinatubo-sized eruption of CO2 twice daily.

    The largest possible eruptions come from super volcanoes like Yellowstone or Mount Toba (which erupt very rarely, about every 100,000 to 200,000 years or more), but the total annual CO2 emissions from human activities is like one or more Yellowstone-sized super eruptions going off every year.

    Essentially, CO2 emissions from human activities dwarf those of volcanoes.”

    Man! I didn’t think the discrepancy was that big.

    So now I better appreciate your reply about the Earth taking maybe 500,000 years to find its equilibrium. The fossil age is the near-equivalent of the monster eruptions in the deep past.

  316. Hi Greg, you are right that the analogy isn’t perfect. However, coal was already widely used in 1880. Older examples are less securely dated.

    With regard to the copper age: the Americas didn’t have bronze nor iron before 1492, and look what was built from the Norte Chico at the same time as the Egyptian pyramids, though Teotihuacan or the Mayan pyramids up to Cuzco and Mexico City.

    My point is that organization matters as much as, and sometimes more than material and fuel, and that change could be very fast in earlier civilizations, too.

  317. Hi Aldarion.
    I agree that organisation was and remains important whenever we discuss human achievements. Knowledge though possibly sits beneath organisation and is the irreplaceable grease that allows things to happen. There clearly were knowledge factors at play re the building of Giza. This pyramid was frankly built with reference to cardinal Earthly dimensions. It sits at 1/20th of a degree to True North. There is no evidence that it was built as a tomb. It is un-inscribed. Royal Egyptian tombs at that time and later, were built downwards into the Earth (a la Valley of the Kings). The number 43,200 appears important. By multiplying the height of the pyramid by this number you get the radius of the Earth. If you multiply the base perimeter of the pyramid by this same number, you arrive at the equatorial circumference of the Earth. The case re the importance of 43,200 has been made by Hancock and others (i think associated with Earthly ‘wobble’ and the precession of the Earth’s axis over time). Whatever the case, the thing itself is seriously spooky and really obviously not of our time (i.e since Sumer) if you sit and reflect upon it. I once spent a whole afternoon satisfying myself that it was 8-sided not 4 (by walking around it and carefully looking at shadows etc) – the thing is perfectly mysterious and ultimately defies rational explanation (at least from our side of the Flood). As i mentioned earlier, Saqqara is a pile of dirt compared to it – admittedly a big pile of dirt, but a pile of dirt nonetheless.
    I’m less familiar with the Mayan constructions, but from what i have gleaned to date, do wonder intensely whether the true history of at least some of them, might not be broadly related in some way to their Ancient Egyptian cousins.
    Best wishes

Courteous, concise comments relevant to the topic of the current post are welcome, whether or not they agree with the views expressed here, and I try to respond to each comment as time permits. Long screeds proclaiming the infallibility of some ideology or other, however, will be deleted; so will repeated attempts to hammer on a point already addressed; so will comments containing profanity, abusive language, flamebaiting and the like -- I filled up my supply of Troll Bingo cards years ago and have no interest in adding any more to my collection; and so will sales spam and offers of "guest posts" pitching products. I'm quite aware that the concept of polite discourse is hopelessly dowdy and out of date, but then some people would say the same thing about the traditions this blog is meant to discuss. Thank you for reading Ecosophia! -- JMG

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