The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Heat Too Hot to Survive

Refugee Crisis?

You have yet to see a real refugee crisis.

Rising global temperatures could push the sun-baked cities of the Persian Gulf across a threshold unknown since the start of civilization: the first to experience temperatures that are literally too hot for human survival.

It will be WORSE in many parts of the tropics. Humidity increases effective heat.

Habitats, or refugees.

Really, both.

This is the level of stupid we have engaged in.

People rag on about how bad Communism was, how many deaths it caused, but they never properly add up capitalism’s deaths.Β  The deaths resulting from the environmental crisis, however, will make capitalism anathema to our children. They will consider us insane, and worse than insane: They will consider us psychopaths who knew what we were doing when we condemned a billion or more people to death, billions of others to impoverishment, and did it anyway, for little more than greed.

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  1. Tom

    Wizard’s First Rule:

    People are stupid. They will believe any lie so long as it is reasonable.

    Terry Goodkind was a Libertarian, but the basic first rule is right. Capitalism sounds reasonable.

    Problem is, it breaks the laws of thermodynamics and ultimately destroys itself.

  2. Ivory Bill Woodpecker


    As if you and I and the other members of the peasant majority in the technologically advanced countries had any genuine role in making the decisions…

  3. Spinoza

    A bitter, nasty, resentful side of me looks forward to the day when we can all look at our fellows and say “Told you so.” There are wicked feelings in all of us.

  4. guest

    I think the weather works differently in the tropics. It’s humid and the moisture goes up, cools off and falls as rain. It’s the subtropics that rely on the movement patterns of warm air from the south and cold air from the north to modulate the extremes. Not saying they won’t be affected in the tropics, but they are not at the mercy of increasingly erratic jet streams and high pressure and low pressure systems like the rest of us.

  5. V. Arnold

    @ guest
    Not saying they won’t be affected in the tropics, but they are not at the mercy of increasingly erratic jet streams and high pressure and low pressure systems like the rest of us.
    Then you fail to understand the inter-connectedness of the system.
    As a longtime resident of the tropics (13Β° N. latitude) patterns are changing, but not so much as yet. Summer temps are still within the norm, but 600 k north drought and 50Β°c. The last two years, the biggest changes are the rainy season. But it’s too soon to do the chicken little bit; well see…

  6. Steeleweed

    The Middle East is not the only place that will become uninhabitable. Parts of the American Southwest are likely to bake and the power support sufficient air conditioning may not be available or too expensive. In addition to heat, rising seas will displace billions directly and indirectly affect billions more.

    Tom is right – Capitalism is self-destructive both because it values short-term profit over long-term viability and because it cannot survive without growth, even though infinite growth (capitalism’s wet dream) bumps up against a finite world.

    For 150,000 years people have been migrating for survival, but we’ve run out of vacant places

    The world is seriously over-populated. Nature will take care of that, one way or another. It’s just a question of how messy it gets and who or what will be left to see the result..

  7. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Indeed, this planet is running out of both room and resources for expansion.

    Any further significant expansion will need to go off-planet, which will require the solving of some major technical problems–but we talking apes are too busy wasting our money and our scientific and technical minds dreaming up nifty new ways to hurt and kill one another.

    I suspect we could have colonized parts of our Solar System already, if we weren’t distracted by our stupid simian dominance hierarchy conflicts, which carry ruinous expenses in both money and lives.

  8. Ghostwheel

    The space colonization fantasy is exactly why so many are so unconcerned about overshoot and limits to growth. It is exactly what needs to be excised from our collective delusion.

  9. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Oh, goody; another member of the Penitence Caucus. πŸ™„

    By “the Penitence Caucus”, I mean the people who think we can’t both take prudent measures to reduce our strain on the Earth and seek high-tech ways out of our predicament–no, we must do only the first half of that, and submit to whatever punishments Mommie Dearest Nature dishes out like Good Penitent Little Boys and Girls. We have SEE-yunned and we must re-PEE-yunt and Get Right With GAWD(dess). πŸ˜†

    We haven’t survived all these millennia by playing by the rules, folks. We change the rules. We rig the game. Yeah, the Reaper gets us all as individuals sooner or later, but as a species, we’ve CHEATED the SOB at every turn. And if the mofo eventually gets the species–f**k it all, we made a damn good run of it!

    To Areinnye with the Kobayashi Maru scenarios of the Penitence Caucus. :mrgreen:

  10. Spinoza


    I’d like to take the opportunity to give you a….Hell Yeah! God damn right.

  11. Hugh

    World population is set to hit 9 billion sometime around 2040. You can go to the US Census, several links including this one:

    and see that the projections are not just unsustainable but wildly so for many countries and regions throughout the world. My maxim is never bet against the math, which is why if present trends continue I think that the planet’s human population will plunge from that 9 billion to 1 billion or less by 2100 due to disease, famine, and war.

    I use the following equation of which you no doubt have seen many variants to illustrate the problem:

    PT = -ER, where P is population and T is technology level, and E is environmental and ecological damage including pollution and global climate disruption and R is resource shortfalls and exhaustion, most notably oil and water. I call this the wing equation (pter- = wing in Greek). If you think about it, P and E are mirrors of each other, just as T and R are. Hence, the negative sign. P and E, roughly, define the scope of the problem (human population and its effect upon the biosphere) while T and R reflect its rate. None of the quantities is static, but, in the absence of game changers, there are distinct limits set by the right hand side of the equation. When those limits are met or approached, the left side of the equation must change (we die and/or live greatly impoverished), and it will likely do so in a non-linear fashion. This is what I mean about never betting against the math.

  12. guest

    Ditto what ghostwheel said. Talk of space colonization on the scale of 9 billion folks is just pure, tiresome wanking. Let’s talk about that after we have figured out how to stop shitting our beds here on Earth, before we try to think of shitting new beds and destroying another planet in one or two hundred years. If there is intelligent life out there somewhere, hopefully they would have the sense to destroy any attempts for human infection of additional life sustaining habitats.

  13. V. Arnold

    @ Hugh

    In line with your comment: Back in the late 60’s or early 70’s I read an article regarding the sustainable population of the U.S.; and it was 50 million. Try as I might I can’t find the source of the article, but it was a researcher in the field of ecology.
    Further, David Suzuki said in the late 80’s; if we woke up in the morning a could switch off all pollutants entering the ecology, it would take 40 years to empty what is already in the “pipeline”.
    It’s too late, as you say, to stop the coming mass de-population of planet earth…

  14. Great, Ian, as ever.

    I’m not ready to count capitalism out quite yet … and besides we now have no other model even remotely available, useful or feasible… We gotta’ dance with the guy that brought us!

    We do have the option to morph capitalism into something we can live with (read: survive here with) and there are, arguably, early trends already along those lines.

    I talk about all this in my new book, launching late November, basically channeling the Capital as Power people and seeing where that leads…

    best to all,


    PS Is there time enough? No one knows, but we’ve at least got to try, don’t we?
    PPS The book is called Morphing Capitalism … into an Economy for Humanity?

  15. JustPlainDave

    Dealing with the shit sandwich we’ve been handed would be a lot easier to take if Boomers had any settings between the extremes of “deny the very existence of a problem” and “vocally hope for a cathartic demise*”.

    * A decent interval after said Boomers have shuffled off this mortal coil, of course.

  16. dfvbd

    Ditto what ghostwheel said. Talk of space colonization on the scale of 9 billion folks is just pure, tiresome wanking.

    With chemical rockets, yes. With alternatives, it’s not so clear-cut.

  17. Ian Welsh

    Space colonization is about species survival, not the survival of current populations. Anyone who pretends the argument is “we will move 9 billion people off world” is engaging in debate with a fantasy.

    That said, there are plenty of resources in space, which will be useful to those who remain on Earth. And eventually more people will move off Earth than folks think. Emigration outflows from Italy, iirc, reached 30% population at one point. The rate of movement using, say, a space elevator, is not comparable to that of chemical rockets, as dfvdb alludes.

  18. different clue

    If runaway global warming catastrofucks earthside civilization into a state of poverty and disorder or even rolling extinction such that a space colonization effort cannot be afforded or even attempted, then there will be no earthside survival and no survival in space either.

    Whereas if earthside earthlings solve the global warming problem and achieve global de-warming back to a desired level, then they (we) will have all the time in the solar system to learn how to get off-planet. Space will be there when we get there. So perhaps for now, earthside events should be the sole and only focus till we are sure we have preserved a civilization and its eco-habitat such that a civilization can then go into space in due time.

    One problem we have is obstructive denialists. If the only way to take successful action to dewarm the global is to kill enough denialists to where the surviving denialists are no longer able to obstruct global dewarming action, would that be so unethical in its mass-murderousness that letting human life on earth die a Heat Stroke Death would be preferable?
    Is that “the question which dare not speak its name”?

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