1. Walter Solomon says

    And, of course, as soon as the next polar vortex happens they’ll claim that’s proof the Earth isn’t warming. “If the Earth is warming, explain snow!!”

  2. says

    Yesterday, I read (don’t remember where off the top of my head) that the crackpot congress ahole Scalise is STILL denying climate change.

  3. robro says

    I see very little action in government or industry that indicates any acceptance that there is…and has been…an active climate crisis. There are a few inklings this may change such as insurance companies pulling out of the home insurance business in Florida. That’s probably because the actuaries see the dollar signs on the odds that tropical storms will wreck even more havoc. This is essentially what happened in California where the insurance companies pulled out of the business for insuring homes against fires. You have to get that through a state insurance business, called appropriately enough “CalFire.”

    Marcus Ranum @ #3 — They’ll probably hide on a remote island or a yacht, which in fact, many of them are already doing.

  4. Alt-X says

    I sometimes check out the website Engadget but I made the mistake of looking at the comments. I came away depressed for the human race. Highest “liked” posts are all “Scientists just say what the people that pay them tell to say.” “Al Gore said the world was going to end 10yrs ago and we’re still here, it’s all lies to sell books and movies” “No one has been keeping accurate temperature readings, we don’t know if it’s the hottest day” etc etc etc. It’s all the “do your own research” crowd. I saw a good quote the other day that might a bit of truth to it, “Conspiracy theories make stupid people feel smart”.

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    Three years ago, we saw what happened when humanity faced a common threat. (i.e. COVID-19) We discovered that people are far more likely to reject reality when it runs afoul of their ideology or lifestyle. People are more likely to think that masks, vaccines, and even social distancing are part of a totalitarian plot. We will see the same with climate change.

    The wages of individual rights and freedoms is death.

  6. raven says

    I once tried to come up with a number of people dead from climate change disasters before we would even think of doing something about climate change.

    1 million dead wouldn’t do it.
    10 million dead wouldn’t do it.

    We are probably already way beyond these numbers.
    It isn’t just people dying in a heat wave.
    Crop failures leading to starvation and refugees going…wherever refugees go, who knows.
    Wars due to societal stress. A lot of the Syrian civil war is explained by a drought that drove millions of Syrians into the cities while the inept Assad regime did nothing to help them.
    Right now in the world, there are 89 million refugees, a record number.

    So will 100 million dead do anything?
    Probably not.
    We will work up to that number gradually and just get used to megadeath events.

    A billion dead.
    Maybe. By that point, it might be too late to do anything.

    At some point, climate change and global warming becomes self limiting.
    If the earth’s population falls to 4 billion, then there is half the people putting CO2 into the atmosphere.

  7. robro says

    raven @ #7 — I doubt that any number of dead refugees will have any serious impact on the world’s attention. Witness the disinterest in hundreds of refugees dying in the Mediterranean while the “civilized” world gave its rapt attention to 5 billionaires missing at the bottom of the ocean.

    What may get the attention of world leadership is things like not being able to insure your multi-million dollar Mar-a-Lago estate against destruction by a tropical storm.

    However, I’m not optimistic that there’s anything that can be done. We’ve likely already passed the tipping point. The oceans are starting to boil and with enormous quantities of methane hydrates down there…well the prospects are looking like worse, not better.

    Perhaps, once a few billion people are dead and many major coastal cities gone, the climate might return to some reasonable form of equilibrium. Those who survive (I’m sure I won’t be among them) may be able to get human societies back together but what a wonderful opportunity for the surviving oligarchs to solidify their power.

  8. Alverant says

    @7 It’s too late to do anything NOW, the best we can do is mitigate the damage.
    @6 That last line is correct. Some people would rather spread diseases than be inconvenienced with a mask. The same sort of people make a big show about being “pro-life” but become vicious when asked to pay for social programs. The same sort of people who say, “If you want to teach your kids about things I don’t like, do it at home, not at school.” Their “freedom” to not be inconvenienced seems more important than the lives of others. It’s special pleading all the way.

  9. birgerjohansson says

    Robro, @ 8
    Oh, yes. This is the perfect opportunity for disaster capitalism.

    If you have read William Gibson’s “The Peripheral” and “Agency”, in that science fiction universe two generations from now, the oligarchs refer to the era of catastrophe and death as “The Jackpot”.

  10. kome says

    It’s a holdover from an Enlightenment Era view of human rationality that if you give people undeniable evidence against their beliefs, they’ll change their mind. And yet, its own persistence is itself evidence against the idea that people will eventually abandon their beliefs in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence.

    People don’t believe things merely for epistemic reasons. Peoples’ beliefs serve a multitude of needs, and evidence/data doesn’t affect the need for social connectedness, the need to be right, ego protection against being embarrassingly wrong, or any of the other myriad things we’ve known for decades influence peoples’ beliefs.

    At a certain point, if we’re not going to try to engage in persuasion that addresses those aspects of human cognition, we need to stop trying to convince people dead set on maintaining false beliefs and instead work around their obstinance to fix the planet in spite of them. We don’t need them, so if we aren’t going to convince them let’s stop trying to convince them. We need to defeat them and render them powerless.

  11. Allison says

    @11 (kome)
    In other words, the fascists are right.

    I fear that change will come in the form of the collapse of democratic/civilized society, so that all that will matter will be the power and willingness to inflict violence. We already see this in a number of countries — Somalia, Syria, etc. And the population will support (to the extent their support matters) whoever is best able to suppress the others, as that faction will have the capacity to channel the violence into predictable channels — viz. Afghanistan. People will prefer order, even an extremely oppressive order, to chaos.

    And the USA seems to be headed in that direction, as the Republicans are almost unanimous in wrecking what civilized institutions there are in the US.

  12. Akira MacKenzie says

    Highest “liked” posts are all “Scientists just say what the people that pay them tell to say.” “Al Gore said the world was going to end 10yrs ago and we’re still here, it’s all lies to sell books and movies”

    Just a few days ago RWNJ father was ranting about some news item on climate change. He brought up that ONE damn study from the 70s that says the earth is cooling not heating up as evidence that the very notion of global warming was bullshit.

  13. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 12

    In other words, the fascists are right.

    I prefer not to die as part of a democratic suicide pact just because their are more greedy morons than those who are scientifically literate.

  14. says

    I’ve suspected for some time now that a lot of white people, mostly but not all rich, secretly WANT a catastrophic climate change to wipe out all the “surplus” people whom they never wanted to feed or inconvenience themselves for, and can’t bear to speak of any sort of conscious population control. They won’t admit it to others, of course, and may not admit it to themselves — it’s sort of an unspoken, unacknowledged result of a whole lot of ideas or beliefs, all of which kinda come together in their minds as “Fuck it, just let ’em all die off and they won’t be a problem anymore (and then there’ll be lots of vacant places for our kids to re-colonize).”

  15. numerobis says

    raven@7: It’s the poor who die first, so emissions cuts by killing people isn’t effective.

  16. says

    In my more negative moments, I get the sense that we have a choice between two scenarios:
    1) The majority of humanity becomes slaves, supporting an upper class of assholes who never have to face any consequences.
    Result: A boot stomping on a human face forever.
    2) The majority of humanity dies off, leaving the assholes to suddenly realize that they’re not capable of surviving without a slave class to support them.
    Result: Extinction.

  17. fishy says

    I’ve read, “The Last Days of the Dinosaurs.” They died quickly in an oven.
    The ones who didn’t die found shelter beneath the water or underground.
    This really sounds like a survivalist investment opportunity. A city beneath the ground. Maybe they could repurpose a sort of, oh, I don’t know, silo of some sort.

  18. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 17

    And all because people think they’ll become millionaires/billionaires if they just “work hard” and hate the idea of anyone standing in the way of big hypothetical pay day.

    Fuck capitalism and free markets.

  19. R. L. Foster says

    That last panel nailed it. Look at what’s happening to Florida’s property insurance industry. The big insurers have pulled out. The state insurance entity can’t keep up with demand. Yet people keep pouring into the Sunshine State (undocumented farm laborers excepted). The population grows about one percent per year. All it will take for there to be a statewide crisis is to have a couple of major hurricanes hit the state’s East and Gulf coasts. Then we’ll see thousands of guys like that last one screeching for the rest of us to bail them out. There ain’t enough money in the Treasury to compensate them all. Nor should we even try.

  20. wzrd1 says

    One thing all forget, while they’re talking around a return to feudalism. When the poor begin to starve and the middle class start joining the poor, that’s when a Committee for Public Safety forms.
    Things didn’t end well for the wealthy in France, nor did they end well in Russia, China or for those who stayed, in Cuba. The few survivors ended up getting mopped up in various Cultural Revolutions.
    As for bunkers/silos, the wealthy have that covered already, with old launch complexes and continuity of government bunkers repurposed for those who can afford them. But, they forget that those bunkers aren’t much good once the air intakes get blocked up.
    One possible mitigation for warming is a thermonuclear war. The smoke and ash would lower some insolation, the decreased greenhouse emissions then stabilize things a bit, wild swings in climatic conditions as equilibrium is reestablished cull more of the population and in the end, around 350 million to 1 billion survive to things stabilizing again – without civilization, which crashed when nothing could be maintained. No Mad Max, we don’t maintain that kind of fuel reserve any longer, everything’s just in time delivery. So, back to hunter-gatherer and subsistence farming.

    As for the dinosaurs going underwater or underground, that still doesn’t explain the survival of birds and insects that don’t lay eggs underground. You don’t need to cook a planet, only obscure the sun long enough for plants to die off and go dormant, then the ecosystems crash and pretty much only the tiny survive on what dregs remain, larger animals carcasses and/or hibernate. Back in the ’90’s, scientists recomputed the nuclear winter scenarios with modern supercomputers and much better models. Didn’t happen under the old centuries of snowball theory, but was long enough of low sunlight to cause plants to go dormant or die. Only takes a year or three max to wipe out the majority of life, the runoff poisoning what wasn’t choked off in the oceans and plant die-off cleaning up that ecosystem.
    Pretty much leaving the small fish and filter feeders happy, as well as krill consumers.

    OT, DeStupid has directed the state pensions folks, who invested in AB, to go after them, as the Bud Light brand decided to, (GASP!) consort with a trans person for publicity of their product. So, we know that DeStupid will demolish the freedom of association, assembly and speech in the very first amendment. That means the rest of the Bill of Rights just became a Bill of Optionals, should the nation fuck up and elect him as POTUS.
    But, he’s held back by the god-emperor, who refuses to get off of the throne – even to give a courtesy flush. Hope he enjoys the stainless steel model in the pen, as he’s got two criminal trial dates now and likely, more to come.

  21. says

    Welcome to the apocalypse: Where the drooling malignant rtwingnut xtian terrorists run wild and the decent, rational people must hide from the ensuing chaos.

  22. John Morales says

    shermanj, typical USAnian perspective (though a little cowardly, what with the running and hiding sentiment) focused on itself. There’s a whole world out there.

    China, not that xtian. India, not that xtian. Indonesia, not that xtian.
    Pakistan, not that xtian. Bangladesh, not that xtian.

    (Climate change is more about Mammon than about Jesus)

  23. Stuart Smith says

    I’m pretty sure he released this exact comic a decade ago, only it was “What we imagine they will say” and “What they will actually say.”

  24. Howard Brazee says

    It’s all the fault of allowing gay marriages. God is angry at us. Or maybe it is because of abortion. Or tattoos.

  25. says

    ‘Someone’ who is always hotly criticizing others for not paying attention to the original context provided by PZ seems to overlook the fact that the comic posted was specifically intrinsic to the united states. Therefore, my comment was intentionally country specific. As others will attest, I often have a world-wide perspective on my comments. I think that lack of civility and the harsh criticism of one or two commenters for others is a symptom of the apocalypse. I just read a dialog between chrislawson and Rob Grigjanis on the ‘science-relies-on-honest-observation’ that I consider to be the epitome of civilized, decent behavior. I thank you both.

    On the other hand, kindness indicates we are all ‘trans’ in that we are all transitive. And, I hope PZ doesn’t mind my comments.

  26. robro says

    birgerjohansson @ #10 — I know of Gibson, of course, but never read him. That might change. I finally found a particular book on this subject of politicians and capitalist exploiting disasters that I scanned a few years ago. It’s titled The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. She documents how well attested the idea of “disaster capitalism” is in conservative circles. The book was published in 2007 and she starts out with New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, of which she says:

    The news racing around the shelter that day was that Richard Baker, a prominent Republican congressman from the city, had told a group of lobbyist, “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.” Joseph Canizaro, one of New Orlean’s wealthiest developers, had just expressed a similar sentiment: “I think we have a clean sheet to start again. And with that clean sheet we have some very big opportunities. All that week the Louisiana State Legislature in Baton Rouge had been crawling with corporate lobbyists helping to lock in those opportunities.

    Never mind the misery and deaths of the mostly poor Black population of New Orleans. There’s money to be made and while we’re out it we can get rid of some of the riff-raff.

  27. birgerjohansson says

    About bad excuses: the Brexiteers are trying to blame the Brexit mess on…(drumroll) the people who wanted to remain in EU.
    Also the current Prime Liar, Rishi Sunak has decided to double down on culture war during the time remaining to the next election.
    It is not working, but they have no further tricks up their sleeves. Maybe burn down the parliament…?

  28. birgerjohansson says

    I could go on page after page about how the tories used the pandemic as an excuse to shovel billions in contracts to businesses that had donated money ro the party.
    Often, the equipment they delivered was useless, or never turned up at all. This is a 3rd-world dictatorship level of corruption.

  29. wzrd1 says

    birgerjohansson @ 30, I dunno, perhaps 36 barrels of gunpowder in the House of Lords?

  30. StevoR says

    @ 30. birgerjohansson : “About bad excuses: the Brexiteers are trying to blame the Brexit mess on…(drumroll) the people who wanted to remain in EU.”

    Wait, what the? How?! How can the Brexiteers possibly twist that into somehow being the Remainers fault? I just .. what? Morbidly curious here.

    Also of course if they now accept that Brexit was a mistake and a mess then an obvious solution is, well, obvious..

  31. unclefrogy says

    the rich and powerful, the oligarchs are as always relying on the tolerance of the lower classes for exploitation and abuse, looking at the history it does appear that they often get it wrong in the end. the exploited do not in any material way need the rich and powerful ruling class, that can not be said of rich and powerful. They are not the most intelligent nor educated nor the strongest and most fit. many have only the talent of manipulating the market and the government. they are not even the great warriors of the past. few are in any way visionaries. they exist only by the ascent of the majority of the population not by some divine mandate of heaven. they are walking on the thinnest veneer, an unspoken agreement that money is a thing that prestige and cultural status exist as concrete things and not ideas of the moment, no more substantial then smoke and dreams.

  32. outis says

    Scary perspectives, but yes, do not expect the negationists to bite the bullet and admit they were wrong the whole time. At this point they are basically psychotic, no longer able to recognize reality, no matter how much said reality bites them on the ass.
    No idea about “what it will take”, it was a question I found aired in a book by Konrad Lorenz, “The eight deadly sins of humanity” decades ago, whihc makes for grim reading indeed.
    Two observations:
    – if indeed a new middle age will come, with populations and knowledge systems crashing, it will be far worse than the first. Nature was almost intact 1500 years ago, so those living then had a much better base to build on.
    – and about millionaires hiding in their bolt-holes, that can work only for a time-limited crisis, say six months or so. If everything really crashes down Mad Max-style, those rich idiots will simply end up in a stew pot, courtesy of their young & fit security guards. Who will get their families in the compound prontito and serve their erstwhile masters for dinner. Old bastard in a stew with taters, mmmm.

  33. charles says

    I used to think the population problem was too many of the wrong people. Climate change shows that I am part of the wrong people.