The World’s Most Radical Scientist

Interview With The World’s Most Radical Scientist
Dr. Guy McPherson isn’t your typical Climatologist.
He thinks recycling programs “Exist only to make some people a lot of money, and to make us feel better.”
He believes the proposed Carbon Tax is “Smoke and mirrors, intended to hide the truth.”
His thoughts on Solar, Wind, & Hydroelectric power? “A means of keeping the house of cards going.”
Because We’re All About To Die.
Last week my hyper-successful friend Michael (See A Canadian In Panama) sent me an email, subject line: Load up on wheat & corn futures?
The message itself was a single video link, but it might as well have been a portal to another world.
A small group of scientists are advocating a new theory in climate science. They argue humanity is not in the midst of regular Climate Change, but Abrupt Climate Change or Non-Linear Climate Change. More commonly though, the theory––and the movement–– is referred to by a more subtle, understated name––Near-Term Human Extinction.  
Growing up in the South, there was no shortage of people with signs reading “The End Is Nigh,” but not typically for scientific reasons. And now we have scientists calling for the Apocalypse. Apparently Armageddon is now an equal opportunity destroyer.
Normally I would cast this in the “internet crazies” pile, but the credentials gave me pause. The people in this camp are doctors, professors, engineers––educated & decorated. They make their case with scientific studies, evidence, historical records, and math. Apart from the whole end-of-the-world thing, you’d mistake them for regular, ordinary professionals.
The most widely-known scientist within the movement––certainly the most widely criticized––the man who actually coined the term Near-Term Human Extinction in the first place, is Dr. Guy McPherson.
Dr. McPherson is arguably the world’s most radical scientist. Calling him controversial doesn’t quite do the situation justice; his work has really pissed off a lot of people––mainly other scientists, and especially mainstream climate scientists, whose loathing rivals what you find today in American politics.
He’s been called a “fringe scientist,” a “doomist cult hero” and an “alarmist.” The New York Times called him an “apocalyptic ecologist…who has built…an ‘End of Days’ following.” The Washington Post ran an article calling him a “fringe character” practicing “climate doomism.”
But it wasn’t always that way.
Dr. McPherson was a respected professor of conservation biology, ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona for 20 years; he still holds the prestigious title of Professor Emeritus. He’s authored hundreds of scholarly articles, over a dozen books, and has testified 7 times as an expert witness in the management of natural resources. And a list of awards is too extensive to mention here.
I caught up with Dr. McPherson in Houston Texas, where he was making a pit stop on his way to a speaking engagement in the Pacific Northwest.
“Dr. McPherson, before we jump into the details of your theory, can you tell me if there is any historical precedent for abrupt climate change, or is this something completely new?”
“Absolutely. Our planet has experienced 5 previous mass extinctions, extinctions which killed 50% or more of life on the planet. Two of these extinctions were associated with rapid heat rise associated with substantial increase of carbon and methane. The most devastating is referred to as ‘The Great Dying,’ which occurred 250 million years ago, and killed 95% of life on the planet.”
“What kind of temperature changes did the Earth experience during that extinction, and how long did it take??
“Between 12 degrees Celsius and 22 degrees Celsius is normal for our planet. During ‘The Great Dying,’ we experienced a temperature increase from 12 to over 23 degrees. This happened over a time period of about 900-19,000 years.”
“I think our readers would say that’s hardly abrupt in human terms. Are there any past examples that you can point to which show climate change happening in the kind of time frame you say we are experiencing now?”
“Yes there is. 56 million years ago, and this is according to the National Academy of Sciences, the Earth experienced a 5 degree Celsius increase in just 13 years. So there is historical precedent for rapid temperature increase, and that is exactly the kind of shift we are currently experiencing. As reported by the U.N. in August of 2010, 150-200 species are going extinct every day––which is over 100 times the normal rate––we are in the midst of the 6th great extinction; this is my belief and also the belief of numerous mainstream scientists.”
“Much of your theory centers around the concept of positive feedback loops, can you explain that?”
“Yes, a Self-Reinforcing Feedback Loop, also called positive feedback, is a process that feeds upon itself. It’s the snowball we push down the hill that takes on a “life” of its own, going faster as it gets bigger, which makes it get bigger, which makes it go faster.”
“Most climate models we hear about call for a temperature increase of a few degrees by 2100. How do you reconcile those models with your theory?”
“The models are wrong, and for a number of reasons. Many of the models do not factor in these positive feedback loops, or they only factor in one or two, when in reality there are over 50 that should be considered. As a result, typical models show temperature increase, Arctic ice melt etc., progressing in a linear fashion, when in reality progression is occurring in an exponential fashion.”
This chart compares a linear model (blue) to an exponential one (red):
“So what the models have predicted falls short of the changes scientists are actually observing?”
“Yes, and this is not new. Again and again, the actual changes we have recorded through observation are far worse than what was forecast by mainstream scientists and the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change––the IPCC. And that’s not just my view, that’s the view of the prestigious and conservative Scientific American, as noted on my website.”
And it would seem that, at least on this point, Scientific American and Dr. McPherson agree. As noted on his website:
“Across two decades and thousands of pages of reports, the world’s most authoritative voice on climate science has consistently understated the rate and intensity of climate change and the danger those impacts represent, say a growing number of studies….The speed and ferocity of climate change are outpacing IPCC projections on many fronts, including CO2 emissions, temperature rise, continental ice-sheet melt, Arctic sea ice decline, and sea level rise. The IPCC’s overly conservative reading of the science….means governments and the public could be blindsided by the rapid onset of the flooding, extreme storms, drought, and other impacts associated with catastrophic global warming.”
––Scientific American, “Climate Science Predictions Prove Too Conservative”, Dec.6, 2012
Over the years, the IPCC has been wrong numerous times in its projections. According to Scientific American, “In the 2007 report, the IPCC concluded the Arctic would not lose its summer ice before 2070 at the earliest. But the ice pack has shrunk far faster than any scenario scientists felt policymakers should consider; now researchers say the region could see ice-free summers within 20 years.”
––Scientific American, “Climate Science Predictions Prove Too Conservative”, Dec.6, 2012
“Climate change is advancing at an exponential rate,” McPherson continues, “so of course linear models aren’t proving to be accurate.”

“What else is wrong with the models?”
“Well, particularly with the IPCC, their models and low-emission scenarios assume that mankind will successfully undertake geo-engineering. Meaning within the models is an assumption that we will have technology to remove large quantities of Carbon from the atmosphere, technology that doesn’t exist currently.”
“I think most people would find that deceptive, and hard to believe.”

“It is happening and it is deceptive. And again, this isn’t just my view. This point in particular has been highlighted by respected climatologists like Paul Beckwith from the University of Ottawa, who like me object outright to such factors being included in climate models. And it’s not just geo-engineering that scientists are using to understate the numbers, they are also manipulating the baseline.”
“Typically when speaking about climate change scientists talk about an increase of X degrees over baseline, baseline being the average global temperature pre-1750, which was 13.5 degrees Celsius. But now, as the numbers are becoming alarmingly high, scientists have conveniently switched the baseline from 1750 to periods like 1880-1909, or 1981-2010, concealing the actual true rise in temperature by as much as 1 degree Celsius.”
“OK, assuming the mainstream models understate the severity and speed of change, how would you characterize our current state?”
“Well, when you look at what’s happening to our planet, when you consider the fact that we have lost HALF of the plankton in the oceans over the last few decades, which produce a full 50% of our oxygen, when you look at what’s going on in the Arctic, I hate to say it, but our current situation is that all hell is breaking loose.”
“Can you elaborate?”
“Particularly with the melting of the Arctic sea ice, we’ve already triggered dozens of positive feedback loops which are speeding up the temperature rise of the planet exponentially as we speak. This year, certainly by next year, we will have an ice-free Arctic, and the last time we had an ice-free Arctic was over 3 million years ago, far longer than the 300,000 years humans have been on the planet. Once that happens––and at this point there is nothing we can do to stop it––the positive feedback loops we’ve already triggered will accelerate further, and dozens more will be triggered on top of that. Several of these feedback loops, just on their own, are extinction-level events.”

“Walk me through some of these extinction-level feedback loops.”
“Albedo loss is one; Albedo refers to reflectivity. When we have an ice-covered Arctic, 90% of the sun’s energy striking the ice is reflected back into space. As the ice melts, it is replaced by blue ocean, which absorbs most of the energy, which in turn melts more ice.”
“Ok Doctor, but the ice in the Arctic has been melting for decades without much consequence, we’re still here doing just fine. Why should we believe that an ice-free arctic will have any larger effect than what we’ve already seen?”
“That’s a great question, and it has to do with a concept called latent heat. Latent heat is the amount of heat/energy you can put into an object without raising its temperature. Consider this: it takes 79.2 calories of energy to turn 1 gram of ice into water. So 79.2 calories to bring a gram of ice from 0 degrees to 1 degree. So long as there is just a small piece of ice, everything remains 0 degrees because the totality of the energy is going into the phase change of ice to water.”
“In laymen’s terms?”
“If you’re at a party with some ice in your cocktail, that cocktail will remain near freezing so long as there is even a small amount of ice in your glass. But the minute that ice melts, the drink will warm up at an exponential rate. Why? Because the 79.2 calories that it took to move ice from 0 to 1 degree is now being applied to your drink.”
“Why is that significant?”
“Because 79.2 calories applied to 1 gram of water doesn’t move the temperature one degree as it did with ice. It moves it almost Eighty degrees; 79.2 calories applied to one gram of water will heat it to a temperature of 79.2 Celsius, or 174.6 degrees Fahrenheit. And that’s what’s about to happen in the Arctic.”
“So the fact that we have ice in the Arctic has more or less neutralized the sun’s energy, and once it’s gone…”
“That’s right Christoph. So far, the all the sun’s energy hitting the ice that wasn’t reflected back into space has been put into melting the ice, but like your cocktail everything has remained cool, because there is still a bit of ice in your drink. Once the ice in your drink melts it will heat up at an exponential rate. And once the ice in the Arctic melts, the same will happen to our oceans; they will heat at an exponential rate.”
“Well that’s not terrifying in the least, thanks for sharing. I want to ask about the other apocalyptic feedback loops that have you concerned, but we’re out of time for today. We’ll have to pick this up next week.”
“Looking forward to it.”
-Christoph Grizzard, The Fat Cat Investor

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