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The window of life

Climate change is one of the hottest topics (pardon the pun) when it comes to discussion on this site but we haven’t published many new climate articles recently so readers, justifiably, have sought out the older articles to continue the exchange of ideas and opinions.

A new article is clearly overdue.

And I have just the thing!

Well, it’s not exactly new. It’s a piece I wrote many years ago for the now defunct Café Whispers, but for want of a ‘new’ article here on climate change … I’ve taken the easy option. Nonetheless, it is just as pertinent today as it was at the time of writing.

I wrote:

Life, whether it be teeming in the universe or just the rarest of miracles, has either way been lucky to find a home on our fertile planet; that small, insignificant rock (in galactic terms) that just happens to be sitting in the right place of our solar system for life to survive.

It’s quite nice here. Apart from the extremities it’s not too hot, not too cold. If we keep it like that then I’m sure our stay here won’t be tenuous.

But just how lucky are we mortal types to have found this nice little spot to populate?

Immeasurably lucky, actually. Paradises like planet Earth are as accidental as the creation of life itself. It is like an oasis amid a burning, scorching desert devoid of surrounding life.

The galactic desert that surrounds us does not welcome life. Even our own sun, without which our planet would be sterile and without life, is miraculously at a safe distance so that life can prevail.

It is worth considering how fortunate we are to be able to exist on this small rock.

The center of the sun is a ‘mere’ 14.5 million degrees Celsius. A piece of it the size of a pinhead would generate enough heat to kill a person from 150 million kilometres away. How wonderful that the outer layers of the sun are much ‘cooler’, thus enabling life to exist on this planet. The coldest places in our solar system can be found at its edges where it is minus 273 degrees. How wonderful that our planet isn’t any further, or closer, to the sun.

Under what temperature extremes could human life survive? I’m guessing somewhere from a chilly minus 40 to a blistering 60. In planet Earth the gods have offered us a very small window of life.

Why then, are we so determined to damage it?

Look at the sludge that this planet has become. Look at the filth in the air, in the water and the earth of western countries and developing countries. It’s beyond belief. We see industries which are happy to choke the land, waterways and air for the sake of more profits.

The planet, obviously, isn’t important any more. Our term here is considered a right, not a privilege.

As it is it is a hostile planet: no-one gets off alive, but it’s still the best home we have.

What was once the solar system’s paradise, is now its rubbish dump. If we keep trashing it, destroying it, polluting it, playing with its climate … how long before we receive our eviction notice? How long before the window of life closes on us?

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  1. Freethinker

    The sad part is that in the last 100 years we have built an immense knowledge and it have served as “food” to feed the human greed.
    IMHO that it is the main cause of destroying the planet ecosystem.
    Only a very small percentage of the population live a sustainable life, those without greed and well educated and the indigenous people in remote areas of the planet.
    Within the small educated percentage of the population that believe that a change in life style it is needed only a tiny percentage doing something about it by changing their way of living.
    Our Universities and other education institutions (world wide) persists in teaching economy models and theories that go hand on hand with greed and consumerism.

  2. helvityni

    People were more concerned about Global Warming earlier on, we were all trying to do the right thing, even young children were interested…. Now not even our leaders seem to take it seriously…it’s all so disappointing.

    Thank you Michael, for putting your article up for the second time, lest we forget….

  3. freefall852

    Michael..I would think the “arguement” for a quick (as in soon) and long-lasting policy toward climate changing has been satisfactorily concluded a while back..hence the lack of anything “new” to add…the fact that not much has been done to achieve this is more a political arguement…THAT is still being raged…unfortunately on deaf ears and dumb intellects.

    I spent many fruitless lines talking point to point on the old Jennifer Marohasy blog to some of her creatures there, but it was a futile battle…My examples of soil temp’ measurements, ground water/salinity measurements and historical examples were many times trumped by their logic of BOM conspiracy and CSIRO figure manipulations…and , of course, that other satanic exampler..: NASA.

    As for the fluke of Life on Earth, one has but to look to the paddocks around this area to see how it all works..

    In one paddock, being many years back into the early part of last century, cropped and grazed to the sub-soil (as any mallee resident is aware), leaving little or no fertile top-soil left over the wind-swept paddocks, one is sometimes quite surprised to find a resurrected species long extinct from the site and the only way one can surmise its reappearance is by dropping from an animal or bird or blown-in with the wind..and such (I would surmise) is the chance of life on this planet, where at some time in the billions of millennia years of the universe, another planet, perhaps much like ours now, teeming with life species, explodes and while all breathing / pulsating life may be extinguished, the microbes, bacteria, fungi or DNA of that planet’s life-species is blown out into space, to be picked up and transported to hell knows where on the “back” of satellites and rocks etc. to the ends of the hopefully land on another suitable planet such as ours. Surely a one in a billion(squared) chance….and here we are..and so we now seem to be pursuing the addicted gambler’s opportunity to have another “roll of the dice” for one more shot at those one in a billion (squared) chance.

  4. diannaart


    …it (climate change article) is just as pertinent today as it was at the time of writing.

    Am interested in the date when you wrote the above article… nevertheless, it is definitely as pertinent today as it ever was. Action on cleaning up our mess has been proportionally slower than the couple of hundred years of ‘industrialisation’ (spewing into atmosphere?) which have altered our climate and consequential changes to our ecosystem, Earth.

    Perhaps we have missed the tipping point where action can make a difference… no-one really knows for sure. However, we can still adapt and plan ahead, by halting the mining of carbons, cleaning our rivers, building in harmony with our environment and ceasing, as much as is possible, our use of pollutant materials. There is no excuse, we really do have the technology.

    People who work on building infrastructure understand the risks of climate change. As the Earth warms, new stresses are applied to our buildings, bridges, roads, houses, and other structures. Some of the obvious threats to infrastructure are from extreme weather including heat waves, storms, and intense rainfalls. There are some other less obvious threats, and many of the threats vary by location.

    Regardless, the planning for infrastructure relies upon a reasonable estimation of future climate changes.

  5. Michael Taylor

    diannaart, I think it was either 2011 or 2012. The reason I said just as pertinent today as it was at the time of writing is because I had hoped that the world had done more since then to address climate change.

  6. Michael Taylor

    Crikey, was it only 4 years ago, Bacchus? Seems longer.

  7. havanaliedown

    “the world had done more since then to address climate change”… I think they have less grandiose spankfests in glamorous locations, after converging via carbon-spewing-planet-killing-business-class jet travel. When they declare the next globalwarmingclimatechangeextremeweatherclimatechaosfivestarhotel conference will be held via Skype (or fat Al Gore eschews all the benefits of living in a modern industrialised society and quit his gigantic mansions to live in a cave – whichever comes soonest) I might take notice.

  8. Keith

    Thanks Michael.

    Something I’m noticing is that deniers generally are not responding as much to articles I read at other sources.
    It is getting to the stage where the costs of climate change are accrueing at a rapid pace ( Munich Re) . Chile has been hit hard through collapse of their fishing industry by a huge algal bloom , almost 50% of the coral of the Great Barrier Reef has died etc, etc.

    Much effort is going into stopping the reckless Adani Carmichael mine; Gina Rinehart is waiting in the wings to develop a mine also, something generally not discussed.
    Trump is virtually denier in chief, happily he is not getting a good reception from the Pope or European leaders in relation to his views on climate change.

    Young people who are taking the US government to Court appear to have won a moral victory with major fossil fuel companies which at first wanted to also be in Court against the young people, now fossil fuel companies are petitioning to be able to leave the proceedings.

    News flash:

    While writing this note had a email from Getup:
    “In stunning breaking news, Premier Palaszczuk just announced the Queensland Government will refuse to give the money to Adani.

    For the loan to go ahead, it has to go via the Queensland Government. Now that Queensland Labor have refused to act as go-between on this dirty deal, Turnbull’s craven billion-dollar payoff to Adani has been left stranded. “

  9. diannaart

    Michael, your reasoning is clear, I guess my comments not so much.

    I thought your article must’ve been written in the early 2000’s.

    You’re quite correct that so little has been done since… well, since over 100 years ago when 19th century scientific observers noted differences in atmosphere, climate since the burgeoning of factories, steam engines and the application of coal, gas and oil. Even earlier, in fact, humankind has burning stuff since fire seemed liked a very good idea at the time.


    Deniers behave as if someone thought up the idea of ‘consequences from polluting our planet’ last week – just to piss them off. They think it is personal.

    Planet Earth does not give a rat’s… it will endure regardless.

  10. Matters Not

    Keith re:

    Premier Palaszczuk just announced the Queensland Government will refuse to give the money to Adani.

    I suspect the ‘devil will be in the detail’. Politically, she is in a very uncomfortable place. Eggshells everywhere.

  11. LOVO

    Premier Palaszczuk has gone from Newman-lite to ‘gawd knows’ in the shortest expanse of time…one wonders if’n the fifty percentage points of the GBR tourism industry decimation has given her/it an kick in the arse. Mayhap this right winger-lite has woken up to her ‘stranded assets ‘-lite political future.
    What an disappointment she has been…….what an pumpkin scone she are, ay…….no, really. ?

  12. paul walter

    Mattes Not, it is a complicated issue, mainly because of the Feds, particularly the Nats wedging and th interference from MSM, particularly Murdoch.

    The events need to be reported and read very carefully because of the tricky language employed, with consideration for the political nature of the background.

    Here is an example of a misreporting, in this case from the ABC:

    In fact the situation is not that the “QLD government will refuse to give the money to Adani”.

    What the QLD government has said is that it will not “facilitate” funding from the fishy NAIF fund.

    “Funds need to come directly from the Federal government…” the Qld Deputy Premier said.

    So Qld can’t stop funding but has reduced risk for Qld by leaving a final decision to Canberra, which is, of course, infinitely better resourced than the state of Qld…eg “put you money where your mouth is”.

  13. Johno

    Thanks Michael,
    Trump is keeping the world in so called suspense. Mr Trump tweeted: “I will make my final decision on the Paris Accord next week!”
    And the adani saga continues…… come on ozzzie, come on, come on… give up on adani !!!

  14. darrel nay

    Scientists can’t predict next week’s weather with any degree of certainty so, obviously, we would be fools to place unwarranted confidence in long-term forecasts.
    I am old enough to remember when, in the seventies, the scientific ‘consensus’ was that we were heading into an ice age (global cooling) and then in the nineties it was global warming and now it’s “climate change”. Interestingly big-oil money funded all three abovementioned lobbies – hmmm I smell a fraud.

    Plants need CO2 to live.

    CO2 is NOT toxic – period.

    Paris Accord is just one more example of proven liars and criminals trying to steal our money. I mean Obama flies around the world in private aircraft with giant motorcades and red carpets while lecturing us about our carbon footprint – give me a break.

    If you believe in anthropogenic climate change and you genuinely feel the planet is in danger, then have the guts to go and turn your mains power switch off. My guess is that none of you will go off grid and so you’ll have to excuse me if I call you out as being a bunch of good-hearted but self-righteous virtue signalers.


  15. corvus boreus

    darrel nay,
    There are so many errors and misrepresentations in your last missive that it is not even worth properly refuting.
    You’ll have to excuse me if I respond that you are a grand conspiracy nut and a scientific ignoramus.
    Cheers yourself, phuqwit.

  16. Michael Taylor

    Thank you, cb, you saved me the bother of a reply.

  17. Rossleigh

    “CO2 is NOT toxic – period:

    Is that why if someone is locked in air-tight space they don’t suffocate?

  18. darrel nay

    reply for corvus boreus,
    I bet you don’t have the heart to match your foul-mouth – this is not the first time you have responded to me or others on this site in such a disrespectful fashion. Your disgusting abuse is acerbic and only serves to demean YOU. Abusing me may leave you feeling empowered but it is not constructive. Don’t you realise that there are young people on this site who deserve better.
    I could choose to meet you in the ‘gutter’ (and you should make no mistake, that if I met you in the mire, YOU WOULD LOSE!) but I would prefer to encourage you to raise the tone – I firmly believe you have more positive contributions to offer this site.


  19. darrel nay

    reply for Rossleigh,
    as you well know, suffocation results from shortage of oxygen and has nothing to do with co2


  20. Keith


    The press pushed the notion of an ice age being imminent in the 70s, scientific consensus was that warming would occur. Scientists working for Exxon Mobil believed in the consensus position (Inside Climate News plus other publications).
    Check out “consilience”; that is, science disciplines such as Biology, Geology, Physics, Chemistry, Oceanography etc support the concept of anthropogenic climate change.

    Oceans are warming, they take longer to warm than the atmosphere, check out the situation off Chile with a very serious algal bloom crippling the fishing industry .

    Check whats happening to Antartica and the Arctic; Greenland in particular.

    Some people deny that CO2 has little impact as a greenhouse gas; without greenhouse gases Earth would be a frozen orb.

    Experimentation which can be replicated is the hallmark of science.
    On Saturday 8th April 2017 experiments were conducted in an open air situation to display the greenhouse effect.

    The main experiment used as equipment a radiator, a thermometer, 5×2 litre bottles, and a hose to transfer CO2 created in two of the bottles, into another bottle. CO2 was created by mixing 2 table spoons of bi-carbonate of soda with 1/2 cup of vinegar. Two capped bottles one containing CO2 and the other plain air were placed equidistant from the radiator (about 1/2 metre away); while the third bottle containing ice was placed about a centre meter equidistant behind the two other bottles. The bottles holding air and CO2 had probes connecting them to a sophisticated thermometer.

    The radiator represented Earth bouncing back infrared radiation, the bottles displayed two different atmospheres, and the bottle with ice represented outer space. The aim of the experiment was to demonstrate how CO2 retains energy. Warmth is pulled towards ice (outer space) when the concentration of CO2 (greenhouse gas) is lower.

    In the experiment conducted, the bottle with CO2 was consistently 3C warmer than the bottle with air.

    There are several experiments which display the interaction between CO2 and infrared radiation, first conducted in the mid 1800s by Eunice Foote.

    Deniers argue against whats happening in Miami and many other environments:

  21. darrel nay

    reply for Keith,
    The experiment you describe is a simplistic experiment which fails to account for many critical factors including the multiple buffering effects evident in nature – such as the fact that plant growth accelerates in high CO2 environments.
    Again, I point out the simple reality that if scientists can’t predict the weather in a month within an accuracy of 1 or 2 degrees then neither can they predict the weather accurately in ten years within 1 or 2 degrees of accuracy.
    Further, why should be believe the climate change priests when they won’t turn off their own main switches – these people talk the talk but don’t have the conviction to walk the walk. I for one, won’t be following the advice of people who claim the planet is in critical danger but can’t even be bothered to turn of their own power, rather they find it easier to lecture us “deniers”


  22. Johno

    OMG darrel, sounds like you’ve been hanging with Malcolm Roberts just a wee bit too much.

  23. Keith


    Through our solar panels we put energy into the grid, we have planted a number of trees and have reduced travel. Many others would have taken similar actions; but, what individuals do is far less than what can be accomplished by councils and governments.

    The greenhouse effect has been known for over a century; fossil fuel interests have been orchestrating a denier viewpoint to rail against scientists only in fairly recent times. Who do you believe funds such groups as Heartlands, the Cato Institute, ALEC or other Agencies pushing the denier viewpoint?

    Something like 12,000 articles are published in peer reviewed Journals about climate change, literally only a handful are published by skeptical scientists per year (Powell et al). Now scientists are peer reviewing a number of articles written by journalists; journalists who deny anthropogenic climate change get a poor rating with the reasons given by a panel of scientists.

    As stated there are several experiments increasing in sophistication that show the greenhouse effect, on the day mentioned before a number of other experiments were conducted.

    You might like to investigate how many trees are being lost in the US through insect attack.

    Professor Anderson states that 10% of the wealthiest people create 30% of CO2. Most people do not own jets, helicopters, or multi cabined cruisers.

    American experience in relation to trees and climate change:

  24. LOVO

    reply for Johno
    Yes, both are classic case’s of ‘small man syndrome’ , but ‘they’ are easily dealt with…?
    1. Read what ‘they’ say, then laugh out loud ?
    2. Wave little finger in air
    3. Then move on ?
    4. Don’t feed the Trolls….’they’re’ already full of shit. 😛

  25. Johno

    To be sure, you are spot on.

  26. Ceridwen66


    Even at the risk of you labelling me a global warming ‘priest/ess’, I had to comment. I don’t know all the scientific ins and outs of climate change, so I cannot begin to comment on your more objectively focused statements – even though my current formal education is scientific it is political and sociologically based. I don’t know if climate change – I prefer the term Earth Changes – is man made or cyclical, but I know that it is real and impacting the globe in myriad ways. Apart from reading countless academic and peer reviewed journals and articles on the accelerating effects of an escalating unstable global climate, I believe I am in tune enough, aware and awake enough to instinctively ‘feel’ there is something not quite right happening, that something momentous concerning this planet is at hand.

    Listening to my own intrinsically reliable radar makes more sense to me than the inane, stale and unevolved crud parasites such as the blind, deaf and dumb Malcolm Roberts vomit out. Do you garden? Get your hands dirty? Cultivate a patch of dirt? I do, and over the last several years have witnessed disturbing events such as heat ‘melting’ silverbeet, vegetables growing out of season, fruit trees shedding during peak growing times and an unusual influx of garden pests. I know something isn’t right when the thermometer reads 59.4c in early December and a week later 14c. Record breaking storms containing record lightning strikes, hail and rainfall, record breaking floods, droughts and bushfires. Once in one hundred year storms becoming common place. Are you really so confident in your denial of a changing climate to ignore what Nature is telling you? It tells so many stories if you take the time to listen but alarmingly, cognitive dissonance is strong in some.

  27. astra5

    Thank you for re-posting your 2013 piece. Sadly, the deniers are as vocal as ever. Facts and reason are irrelevant. How do we account for their beliefs? The phenomenon must be akin to a religious belief that although impossible to validate, is embraced fervently, woven into catechisms, recited mindlessly, and repeated endlessly. Malcolm Roberts’ utterances spring to mind.

    Of course the climate deniers would accuse the believers of the same mindless behaviour.

    So who is right? I back those with verifiable facts and impeccable logic. The world awaits a ‘paradigm shift’, as described by Thomas Kuhn, when suddenly attitudes and beliefs turn turtle and global warming becomes the accepted paradigm, just as the oxygen theory of combustion replaced the phlogiston theory that had held sway, despite the accumulating contrary evidence, for so long.

    Verifiable evidence eventually overwhelms invalid facts and flawed reasoning.

  28. Johno

    A few weeks ago my partner and I went to a talk at the University of South Australia about the Adani Coal Mine. Sara Hanson-Young, Bob Brown and others all contributed. Before their discussion a 30 minute documentary was shown about the mine. Below is a link to the trailer.

  29. John Lord

    I also wrote this a long time ago.

    ‘In terms of the environment. I wonder what price the people of tomorrow will pay for the stupidity of today’

  30. Johno

    There is an interesting weather pattern happening at the moment across the bottom of Oz. A large almost stationary high is stopping lows coming north (to Adelaide) so our rainfall for this month is not looking good. Our revegetation projects depend on natural rainfall. Early days yet and my fingers are crossed for rain.

  31. Keith


    It certainly is interesting but can’t really draw any conclusions.

  32. Freethinker

    IMHO if Australia follows the Finkel’s report recommendations will be like getting out of the Paris agreement.
    I hope that the Labor party will be no part on it just to do something about, the recommendations are weaker that what Howard recommended back in 2007

  33. diannaart


    From what I have read so far, there are loopholes the size of coal-mines in this report – no wonder the Finkel report is getting such a positive call from the LNP. Except for, maybe, Tony Abbott whose ability for comprehension remain MIA.

  34. Freethinker

    Yes diaiiaart, is not the best report and I am worry to see what will be the ALP reply to it.

  35. diannaart


    A convenient opportunity for Shorten to appear to be in bi-partisanship with LNP.

    If Adani mine gets up, it will be because Finkel’s report allowed way to much wriggle room.

  36. guest

    The deniers keep on denying but never really talk much about the science. Their discussion is mainly about economics or the politics. Deniers have no coherent science to justify their denial. Basically, they just deny.

    An example of a denial argument appeared as a paid advertisement in The Australian (9/6/17) from The Climate Change Study Group 2017, whoever they are. It was presented as a Socratic conversation between a Mr Smith and Socrates.

    The argument leads Mr Smith to admit the importance of CO2 in plant growth of the kind which became coal during the Carboniferous Period (c.359 – c. 299 million years ago). It says this:

    “Plants absorbed CO2 from the atmosphere prior to the formation of fossil fuels. Plants need CO2 and evolved when CO2 was at least four times the present level.”

    Which leads to this conclusion:

    “You have observed there was no dangerous warming prior to CO2 being absorbed to form fossil fuels. So how could the same CO2 that formed fossil fuels and now being released cause dangerous global warming?”

    It is a pathetic piece of sophistry in which Mr Smith is led down the garden path. And of course there are real people who are willing to believe it because they do not know enough to refute it.

    Wikipedia tells us about the Carboniferous Period:

    “The atmospheric content of oxygen also reached the highest level in geological history during the period, 35% compared to 21% today, allowing terrestrial invertebrates to evolve to great size.
    A major marine and terrestrial extinction event, the Carboniferous rainforest collapse, occurred in the middle of the period, caused by climate change.”

    Deniers and sceptics rely heavily on the fact that there have been climate change events in the past and see present climate change as just another example. But what they forget or ignore is the rapidity of present climate change. The changes in the Carboniferous Period occurred over 60 million Years. In the Devonian Period prior to the Carboniferous, CO2 was 8x present CO2 levels and over the 60m years of that period there were changes in aridity, glaciation and sea levels – as there are today.

    Tony Eggleton (2013) tells us (p.132) “At present the world is warming at the rate of 1 degree C in 60 years: that is, 20 times faster than any previous sustained rate of temperature change.”

    The idea that there were no ‘dangerous warmings’ in the past and that releasing CO2 from fossil fuels will have no effect is a complete furphy.

    Ask yourself, too, how many humans were there living in the Carboniferous Period who were affected by climate change then? How many people in the world today?

  37. Johno

    This weather pattern across the bottom of Australia is continuing, the highs are rolling across back to back. June, July, Aug are trad. our wettest months. So far this June we have had 6 mm.

  38. Keith


    Not good news in relation to poor rainfall.

    Where I live we are down almost 2 inches in our rainfall for the year so far, which is not particularly significant yet. A mate who lives about 250 ks away, has commented on the lack of wind.

    In relation to Perry and Pruit, only fools are dismissive of science. Trump’s cabinet comprises of climate change deniers.

    Yesterday a small township in Greenland was hit by an earthquake and tsunami: sadly, a few people are missing and a some houses were washed away.

    It potentially is a serious matter in relation to climate change; further seismic action in the Arctic would be extremely bad news, though it is too early to tell yet.

  39. paulwalter

    Right across the southern states, Johno. Dryer than sin in SA.

  40. Johno

    Too true Paulwalter, the adelaide region could get some significant rain mon/tues, how widespread, I am not sure. I for one will be cleaning gutters. Time to harvest some rain.

  41. diannaart


    I agree with you, except, we are slave to capitalism, which means “money talks”. What can be done is a combination of tourism and practical aid to Indonesia’s poor and alternatives to tree-felling.

    It is possible to multi-task solutions, make capitalism work for people instead of against them.

    Convincing the 1% is the difficult task.

  42. jimhaz

    Depopulate or Perish thread continued.

    At least renewables helps developing countries – the more the West uses renewables the cheaper (in relative terms) for developing countries.
    Of course helping developing countries in such a fashion, means more people overall using more resources sooner than otherwise – so renewables have really done nothing on a nett basis to alleviate global warming. One could perhaps safely say that renewables have increased CO2 in the atmosphere and other forms of environmental degradation.
    That is the Catch 22 – the more cost efficient we make renewables, the more populations and resource usage will rise to fill the opportunity vacuum.
    We Australians will notice the rises costs of quality products first. The more advanced developing countries become – the more demand for quality products westerners value, without there being an ability to produce much more of same. Decent quality cheese, coffee, chocolate, holiday resorts and fish, meat– all the things you now find above average or healthy that can be exported will become too expensive for more and more Australians.
    Gas, OS housing investment, milk powder shortages are examples of the early stages of this.

    Lol.. I just went to the SMH

  43. Jack Straw

    Such a wonderful article Michael I am sure Haracbass will be gracious enough to continue his musings on your article. Such a humble man is he! I’m sure Miriam could get the ball rolling here as those 2 have such wonderful interplay together.

    Window of life … also now known as the Harqubeast perish the thought continuence article given the blessing of H himself

  44. Jack Straw

    Depopulate or Perish by the big H continues

    Great points jimhaz renewables definitley the way to go !

  45. Michael Taylor

    Such a wonderful article Michael …

    Outstanding comment, Jack. Probably the best comment ever made on this site. I can’t see it being topped. ?

  46. Jack Straw

    Don’t go giving anyone ideas. I might be tempted by The Steak Knives on offer.

  47. Michael Taylor

    No steak knives, Jack. Just praise from me, which I can assure you is of far higher value. ?

  48. Jack Straw

    I don’t know M. I could use a good set of steak knives as I might be tempted back to the original Depopulate or perish the thought’ article by the esteemed H.

  49. Harquebus

    I don’t get it however, as long as I am here, here is something from my list. Jus’ so’s ya know I bin ‘ere.
    I actually read Michael’s piece ages ago.

    “Present consumption levels are achieved because resource and ecological “stocks” are being depleted much faster than they can regenerate.
    But the unsustainable present levels of production, consumption, resource use and environmental impact only begin to define of the problem. What is overwhelmingly crucial is the universal obsession with continual, never ending economic growth, i.e., with increasing production and consumption, incomes and GDP as much as possible and without limit. The most important criticism of the ecomodernist position is its failure to grasp the magnitude of the task it confronts when the present overshoot is combined with the commitment to growth.”
    “The life support systems of the planet, the natural resources and processes on which all life on earth depends, are being so seriously damaged that the World Wildlife Fund claims there has been a 30% deterioration since about 1970.”
    “Nearly all fisheries are being over-fished and the global fish catch is likely to go down from here on. The mass of big fish in the oceans, such as shark and tuna, is now only 10% of what it was some decades ago.”

    And something a little more recent that may be of interest to some.

    “So, disposable lighters are all an example of how a combination of financial factors and government regulations can push a bad product to dominate the market.”
    “Whatever the case, it is high time that someone realizes that some ideas, such as disposable lighters, are evil to the bone. And that the mythical “free market” cannot turn evil into good.”

    And just coz sumwun mentioned “sludge”.

    “Isn’t sludge just treated feces and urine? No, it is whatever goes into the sewer system and emerges as solids from municipal wastewater treatment plants. Sludge can be (its exact composition varies and is not knowable) any of the 80,000 synthetic chemicals used by industry; new chemicals created from combining two or more of those 80,000; bacteria and viruses; hospital waste; runoff from roads; pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter drugs; detergents and chemicals that are put down drains in residences; and, of course, urine and feces flushed down toilets.”

    “Even as a waste disposal site, the world is finite.” — William R. Catton Jr.

  50. Jack Straw

    We are unimaginative and lazy thinkers,It’s really time to belt the flat earth people for a massive 6, They are criminals!

  51. diannaart

    Thank you Michael

    Only just manage to catch up – having bad reaction to new medication.

    Faction, in the world of apocalyptic fiction the doomers & gloomers wind up… um, extinct.

    Fact, Harq did restart his thread when comments tapered off – very naughty at best; totally self-obsessed at worst.

    Fact, we can act to behave more responsibly and respectfully towards each other and the environment which sustains us.

    Fact, I will be back.


  52. Harquebus

    I was going to post just one link here but, considering that my other option is now closed, this one gets the lot.

    How many Earths would we need if the world’s population lived like Australians. At 5.2, we top the list.

    “August 2nd was Earth Overshoot Day. As of that day, the year is done for planet Earth, she has given a year’s worth of natural resources. It may seem counter-intuitive at first. Obviously, we aren’t done with 2017 yet. How can we take more than the Earth makes, for decades on end?”
    “Current patterns of production and consumption externalize much of the actual cost, most notably the cost of depleting natural capital or biocapacity. Measuring ecological footprint against the biocapacity of an area determines ecological overshoot. Globally it takes the regenerative resource capacity of 1.7 Earth’s to meet human demands.”
    “Humanity went into global overshoot in the early 70s, before many people reading this article were even born.”

    “Overshoot needs to be tackled in two ways: the first way is by moving towards more sustainable lifestyles to reduce our per capita consumption. The second way is to tackle population growth so that there is a larger share of biocapacity for each of us.”

    “No one knows quite how many children have died mining cobalt in the Katanga region in the south-east of the country. The UN estimates 80 a year, but many more deaths go unregistered, with the bodies buried in the rubble of collapsed tunnels.”
    “Challenged by the Washington Post about the appalling conditions in the mines, Huayou Cobalt said “it would be irresponsible’ to stop using child labour, claiming: ‘It could aggravate poverty in the cobalt mining regions and worsen the livelihood of local miners.””

    “Not only did the Sierra Club and other environmental groups stop writing about population issues, they stopped reminding people that overpopulation is responsible for every single problem they were trying to “solve”.”
    “Martha Campbell puts this even more strongly – she sees hostility towards mentioning the population question due to universities teaching students that even discussing the connection between population and environment is not a tolerable topic of discussion and politically incorrect to even suggest that slowing population growth might protect the environment for future generations.”
    “Anyone who denies overpopulation is a problem ought to be called a population denier, just as those who insist there’s no climate change are called Climate Change Deniers. For some reason just about everyone, scientifically literate or not, ignores warnings about population”
    “People are brainwashed by viewing the world through economic filters, forgetting that forests, fisheries, wetlands, aquifers, healthy deep class 1 and 2 topsoil, and other resources are essential for survival, and can be diminished and even depleted.”
    “If women could gain access to birth control, the population growth rate would go down.
    Women aren’t stupid, they know that childbirth is dangerous”
    “the population is still growing exponentially. Just a bit more slowly.”
    “Limiting human population will not guarantee success, but not doing so means certain failure”

    Why did everyone stop talking about Population & Immigration?

    “According to a new study from Lund University in Sweden, having fewer children is among the top way to reduce climate change.”

    Michael Taylor
    I hope that you are amenable to a certain amount of digression. Economics, environment, energy, population, politics and community. They’re all related.

    I’ll be back.

  53. Rapideffect

    Miriam English August 7, 2017 at 9:00 am

    “Rapideffect, you love telling other people they lie, but isn’t presenting yourself as a male, with a male avatar then acting insulted because nobody realised that you’d misled them a lie?”

    No, I didn’t mislead at all, it is you who judged/assumed/believed I was an old man. The avatar is Albert Einstein, is it not ok for a woman to have a male avatar? I have seen men using famous women as an avatar does that make them women??

    “Rapideffect, you say civilisation is going to collapse. What is your evidence? I don’t ask for opinion; you’re always carping on about nobody else supplying facts (when we actually do) but I’m amazed that I, and others, haven’t applied the same request to you. You’ve been allowed to dismiss everything without any facts to back you up. Yours has been pure speculation — no more substance than fortunetelling. Where are your facts?”

    I have, and so has Harquebus. You choose to interpret the data/evidence/facts in an overly optimistic but mostly unrealistic way.

    Read this paper if you want to understand how peak oil played it’s part in the GFC, from someone who actually predicted it.

    I suggest reading any or all of the posts here: to understand the concept that diminishing returns will cause a deflationary death spiral to the global economy, eventually collapsing it bringing an end to civilization.

    Miriam EnglishAugust 7, 2017 at 9:11 am

    “Rapideffect, homeopathy is wrong because it can easily be scientifically proved to be wrong. Show me an instance where I have professed belief instead of facts. It’s easy to accuse. Prove it.”


    Miriam EnglishJuly 31, 2017 at 8:12 am

    “Wow, H, you are so all-consumed by your doom obsession you even misattribute the global financial collapse to peak oil. News flash: it was due to fraudulently opaque bundling of bad risk debts to be repackaged as good debts, along with a large-scale swindle of offering mortgages to people who could not possibly pay them. It had absolutely nothing to do with oil.”

    Prove that peak oil played no role in the gfc as you believe. Gail Tverberg answers many peoples questions on her site , you can ask her directly then you can try and disprove her answer.

    Kaye LeeAugust 7, 2017 at 9:17 am

    “I admit I haven’t been following Rapideffect’s every word but the comments I have noticed have all been about how badly she has been treated and how silly everyone else is.

    I prefer information, something Miriam always provides, rather than listening to someone’s personal grievances.”

    Than why do you listen to Miriam English? Personal grievances is all she talks about, here is one of many examples:

    Miriam English August 7, 2017 at 9:00 am
    “I wasn’t going to respond to Rapideffect anymore, but it hit me during my shower this morning that much of what is wrong with the world (and especially politics) is that ignorant morons are allowed to have the last word.”

    Miriam English’s constant insults are uncalled for, childish and add nothing to the discussion.

    Miriam EnglishAugust 7, 2017 at 9:36 am

    “Rapideffect, you say I “believe in infinite growth of information, which requires finite resources.” That’s not quite how I’d put it (it isn’t so much a belief, as it being obvious), but it more or less presents the point I was trying to make. You say this isn’t backed up by facts, even after I’d given examples of an infinite universe of data that can be easily explored by anybody using their (finite) computers. How is this not backed up by facts? Show me (using facts, not opinion) why we can’t use finite computers to explore the infinite realms of knowledge (including mathematical systems like the Mandelbrot Set, Julia Set, monster curves, L-Systems, and so on).”

    I never said you cannot explore the infinite Mandelbrot Set with a finite computer. I said you believe in infinite growth of information as an example below:

    Miriam EnglishApril 30, 2017 at 7:00 am

    “Harquebus, you’re still missing the point. We already have, to some degree, an information economy, and have for decades.

    All my books, short stories, plays, many of my drawings and paintings and cartoons, and all my virtual worlds exist only as data. I no longer buy bulky, wasteful paper books; all the books I’ve bought in recent decades have been electronic, and I now have many thousands of ebooks.”

    “Yes, information has some contact with the physical world, but while information grows at a stupendous rate, its dependence upon physical stuff seems to actually lessen each year. The two are essentially uncoupled.

    There are 1.3 billion YouTube viewers and 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute! Nothing else grows like information; certainly nothing in the physical world.”

    As I have said before, this growth in information is not infinite, the non renewable resources used to create this growth are FINITE.

    Miriam EnglishAugust 7, 2017 at 9:58 am

    “Rapideffect, you say “Unfortunately renewable energy is not a substitute for oil”.

    Give me facts that show that renewable energy can’t substitute for oil.”

    Sure, as above:

  54. Harquebus

    I try not to post articles older than a few months as things are changing fast and the rate of change is accelerating.
    After coming across and rereading this, I will make an exception.

    “This is not just an interesting change happening in a remote part of the world, he says, but a catastrophe for mankind.”
    “We have created an ocean where there was once an ice sheet. It is man’s first major achievement in re-shaping the face of the planet”
    “Because Wadhams says what other scientists will not, he has been widely slandered, attacked and vilified by denialists and politicians who have advised caution or non-action. But now he returns their fire, exhorting people to counter what he calls “the sewage flow of lies and deceit” emitted by the deniers.”

    Please see the populationmatters article and others that I posted on the 7th, if you have the time.

    What has been in the alternative media headlines is the number of heat temperatures being broken, increased severity of droughts and floods attributed to climate change, warnings of economic insanity and more recently, expected shortages of materials and products; cobalt being one.

    I started reading the following article in another location. It started out well and then goes on to blurb about our “photovoltaic conversion”. What idiot wrote this I thought? Sure enough, Ugo Bardi. He and I have clashed before. He don’t like me. You won’t see Harquebus on his site. Not as H anyway. Credit to theAIMN for being better.

    “There is a big difference: wood fires could never take humans to contemplate the idea of expanding beyond their planetary boundaries. But fossil energy could fuel this expansion at most for a few centuries and this big fire is already on its way to exhaustion.”

    Here’s a couple more without excerpts.

  55. diannaart


    Do you actually read the articles to which you link?

    If so, you would understand that at present old existing coal power stations produce cheaper energy supplies. The cost will rise if/when new coal plants are built with all of today’s check and balances on pollution. At present renewables are exponentially improving and will continue to improve as new technology methods are engineered.

    You did read this point?

    The mere possibility of the introduction of a price on carbon or carbon regulation in the future actually affects the costs of new-build coal-fired electricity today. The risk of increased costs or regulation for emission intensive generators manifests itself as a higher “risk premium” applied to current financing costs. The overall effect is a higher weighted average cost of capital (basically, a higher average interest rate) for emission intensive generation.

    Or even the conclusion?

    The cost of electricity produced from a new wind farm is competitive with the best estimates for the cost of electricity produced from a new coal station, and cheaper than the cost of new coal quoted in very reputable analyses (CO2CRC 2015 and CSIRO 2017).

    As noted by the author, the comparison in this FactCheck does not include the cost of intermittency for renewables. Recognising that no technology runs 100% of the time, there is a backup cost to be added to wind to make it as firm (or stable) as a fuel-based plant. Available costs for such backup, such as large scale battery or pumped storage, are based on estimates and are the subject of much current study.

    New wind with backup could very well be very competitive with new coal, particularly if the cost of emissions is recognised. However, at present, the contention either way is unproven. – Tony Wood

    Then you would be aware that Tony Wood only discussed Wind Power and did not include the entire raft of renewables that are currently available. Nor has he presented the increasing ability to supply reliable power through batteries and other backup systems.

    Basically, the future for digging up polluting material and not applying methods for “cleaning the coal” is finite. The cost of opening new coal power stations along with “cleaning the coal” will be more expensive than renewables.

    BTW You do understand that clean coal is not actually clean. It is cleaner than the coal power generation but not actually “clean”.

    Check out another article from the Conversation and do actually read it this time:

    A new high-efficiency coal plant run on black coal would produce about 80% of the emissions of an equivalent old plant. An ultra-supercritical coal plant running on black coal emits about 0.7 tonnes of CO₂ per megawatt hour of electricity, or about 0.85 tonnes using brown coal. That is anything but clean.

  56. Keith


    I thought the Conversation article was quite ordinary; it was written from an economics perspective. The problem with economic perspectives is that they do not take into account hidden costs. I do not like the term “peak power” but could not think of another way to express that point, power needs to be conserved. This was my response:

    What is happening overseas is quite important in relation to an indication of cost; as are hidden health, and climate matters.The fact check is very kind to Matt Canavan on the basis that we are virtually at peak power production; the interest is in creating new power plants.

    We are told that “clean coal”, “supercritical coal power”; or when termed with less spin, carbon capture and storage power plants are horrendously expensive to build. Such power plants only partially solve the problem of reducing emissions. “Clean coal” power plants become less efficient as the level of cleaning emissions is increased.

    A US example of a carbon capture and storage power plant is not a happy one:


    “The plant has been plagued by construction challenges, running more than two years behind schedule with a $7 billion price tag that’s more than double its original $2.88 billion budget. Southern has had to write down about $2.6 billion before taxes for Kemper, and faces lawsuits it says are baseless.”

    Or, another unhappy example:


    “Coal baron says carbon capture and storage ‘does not work’ and ‘is just cover for the politicians.’”

    Joe Romm, the author of the Think Progress article has also spent some time in analysing the costs of renewable energy from a replacement of old technology point of view, and found that renewables are much cheaper than energy from coal.

    The hidden costs of coal are quite profound, black lung disease, asthma, deaths created by emissions from fossil fuels in general.

    From a climate change point of view huge costs are being created through extreme events caused through increasing atmospheric warmth. An example being a warmer atmosphere is able to carry more water vapour…….

  57. Rapideffect

    “Then you would be aware that Tony Wood only discussed Wind Power and did not include the entire raft of renewables that are currently available. Nor has he presented the increasing ability to supply reliable power through batteries and other backup systems.”

    “Currently, wind power is the cheapest form of renewable energy. So we’ll use that as the basis for comparison with coal-fired energy.”
    Ken Baldwin (author)

    If other renewables and backup systems were looked at, the costs would be far more expensive.

    Coal is cheaper than renewables, this is the conclusion.

    BTW you do understand that renewables are not actually clean.

  58. diannaart


    I DO understand in comparison to coal, oil and nuclear, renewables compare very favourably.

    Now what were you really trying to suggest?

  59. Keith


    What is ambiguous about:

    “Based on recent prices for newly-installed wind power of around $60-70/MWh, and recent price projections for new supercritical coal power at around $75/MWh, it is reasonable to say that – as things stand today – wind power would be cheaper than coal as a new-build source of electricity. ”

    There is nothing ambiguous about the cost of “clean coal”, references above show the experience is not what the politicians are trying to spin.
    “Coal baron says carbon capture and storage ‘does not work’ and ‘is just cover for the politicians.’” Reference above.

    Health costs:


    “These substances cause and contribute to asthma, lung cancer, heart attacks, stroke, respiratory disease, headaches and nausea in nearby communities.”

    Toxic and terminal: How the regulation of coal-fired power stations fails Australian communities

    Joe Romm, Physicist, when analysing renewables does not agree about coal being cheapest energy.

    Watch a Tony Seba clip about the take up of new technologies. Pushing coal is akin to promoting horse and buggies when motor vehicles were just beginning to catch the market.

    Energy storage is very close to being far more accessible with mega factories being built in the US and China.
    Economies of scale will ensure that the price of renewables continue to come down. Google Tony Seba.

  60. diannaart


    I agree the Conversation article was not up to its usual standard, that it is based upon limitations, i.e. the full range of viable renewables, the changes as technology evolves and so on. However I found it an interesting exercise to use what RE had provided – he clearly only looks at headings and considers little else.

  61. Keith


    We can continue with fossil fuels, the expense is more deaths.
    Already millions of people have died from coal dust and emissions from fossil fuels.
    Storms are increasing in strength; or, hold more moisture, or both.
    South Eastern USA has been hit by Harvey and is about to get struck by Irma, Jose may follow on, Katia is stirring in the Gulf of Mexico.
    The Western USA has been impacted by huge wildfires.

    South Asia has had flooding which has caused 1,300 + deaths, and caused 41 million people to need to be evacuated. There were many major flooding events in 2017, as there have been in prior prior years. The kind of floods where people were killed and houses destroyed as well as cars being carried away by flood waters.

    The MSM do not provide much detail about what has been happening, though there are regular reports on Utube. (latest, No 64) (No 37 going back to 20 June 2017)

    Billions of dollars in costs are accrued through major events which have an underlying climate influence. Oceans are warm which add to the intensity of storms.

  62. Rapideffect

    @ Keith

    You might like to look at the comments from as the posts I am making here are a continuation from that story.

    Here is why renewables cannot replace fossil fuels:

    “We can have 100% renewable electricity production by 2050.

    But electricity production is only 18% of total world energy demand.

    82% of total world energy demand is NOT electricity production.”

  63. Keith


    Pushing Energy without regard to Catastrophic Climate Change means death for many, are you happy promoting that Rapideffect?
    Scientists are in agreement that warm Oceans equal storms being enhanced, the view is held with a very high degree of confidence; i.e., the same level of confidence as gravity has.

  64. Rapideffect

    @ Keith

    I’m not pushing nor promoting anything Keith, you seem to believe that replacing 18% of total world energy demand with renewables will prevent climate change, it won’t. What about the other 82% of energy that is needed for civilization to function, how is this going to be substituted for with a clean source.

  65. Keith

    11 September 2017

    We have a choice, either we continue with a business as usual approach, or we make efforts to rapidly make huge efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

    Grounding lines are moving in the wrong direction in Antarctica as displayed by very recent research.
    Already San Francisco and Oakland are taking major fossil fuel companies to Court wanting them to pay for damage caused by sea level rise. Other cases against fossil fuel companies are also beginning to be heard in the US.

    It is not necessarily climate change per se that will cause grief, but the dystopian world created. It means mass migration , civil unrest, and war.

    James Hansen et el published an article a year, or so ago predicting a more rapid sea level rise than expected by the IPCC; the latest research is suggestive of Hansen et al being right.

    The newest research on grounding lines:


    “The research used satellite techniques to infer changes to glacier grounding lines based on changes in the height of the glacier’s surface.
    Scanning 1/3 of Antarctica’s marine-based glaciers along a roughly 10,000-mile stretch of coastline, ….”

    We have a choice whether we believe what Professional Climate Scientists are stating; or take onboard the views being put out by the LNP Monash Forum.

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