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Global Warming December 19, 2007

Posted by John A. Davison in general.

I regard the future of our civilization to be in great jeopardy.

As a physiologist I regard man as a chemical machine obtaining energy through the oxidation of fuel just as other chemical machines do. Machines are rated in horse power; one horsepower is 746 watts. A 70 kilogram human at rest is producing heat, CO2, and H2O through the oxidation of  food stuffs at a rate of about a tenth of a horsepower (80 watts). Accordingly,  a human, when driving a typical automobile rated at 200 horsepower, is producing CO2 and H2O at a rate 2000 times greater than himself.

 No other animal has the energy requirement of Homo sapiens. It is all due to the industrial society we have created. Everything we do produces CO2 far beyond that needed for our physiological maintenance as an animal. Coupled with this, we are by far the most numerous mammal on earth, approaching 7 billions – 7,000,000,000. No other mammal even comes close. There may be an equal number of chickens which contribute a substantial fraction of our animal food.  These mind boggling numbers have led me to question if it is possible to sustain a civilization with such requirements.  My intuitive, knee jerk, reaction, and that is all that it is, is a definite NO!

What I find amazing is the polarization that surrounds this issue. It is demonstated in the rallying cry of the skeptics invading  the Bali Conference, shouting – “Have the courage to say no.” What could possibly ever be accomplished by such an attitude?

I recently discovered the book, “The Weather Makers” by Tim Flannery, an Australian climatologist and naturalist. Like myself, he has reached what  can only be described as a doomsday forecast. While my concern is only intuitive, Flannery presents solid evidence that the changes we see taking place right now have already proceeded too far to be reversed.  I recommend his book for all those interested in the future of the  earth which, as far as we know, is the only planet in the universe supporting life in any form. The way things are progressing, Homo sapiens, the youngest and apparently last mammal species that will, in my opinion, ever appear may also prove to be the one with the shortest life span.

The only solution I can offer involves the reduction of our numbers by at least two orders of magnitude to around 70 million, or very roughly the world’s population prior to the industrial revolution a mere two centuries ago. It was that revolution that produced this result. Never in the history of the planet have such great changes taken place over such a short period of time.

I consider pandemic disease to be the most likely means by which this reduction will occur. 

I realize this is a pessimistic forecast and with that in mind, I welcome the views of others.

“A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”



1. John A. Davison - December 24, 2010


Here are some sobering realities for those who continue to question global warming. I repeat my contention that it is primarily the melting of our ice reserves that has slowed global warming. As those reserves dwindle, global warming will accelerate, the oceans will rise and coastal cities will be abandoned, all due entirely to the activities of Homo sapiens.

I hate being right!

In the meantime –


2. John A. Davison - January 24, 2011


This study is nonsense. All the reforestation in the world would have a negligible effect on the increasing rates of emission of carbon dioxide, water vapor and other industrial gases into the atmosphere. The carbon balance which preceded the Industrial Revolution will never be regained until carbon containing fuels (oil, gas, coal) are no longer the primary source of the power needed to satisfy the needs of nearly 7 billion humans, an equal number of chickens and a few billions more of various domesticated animals needed to feed the nearly seven billion humans and the seven billion chickens etc. It is a monumental waste of time to even suggest such measures as reforestation. The only realistic solution is nuclear fission and nuclear fusion if and when that becomes operational. In the meantime, wind farms, solar panels and tidal driven devices are a drop in the energy bucket and probably cause the emission of more CO2 being manufactured than they will ever offset operationally. So far absolutely nothing has stemmed the increase in the concentration in the atmosphere of CO2, H2O, methane and a host of other industrial products all of which increase global warming and cause the profound climate changes we see taking place right now. France, largely through necessity, has led the way toward a nuclear powered economy. Those, like ourselves and China who choose to continue on a suicidal path will bear the reponsibility for the inevitable result which lies ahead – the collapse of civilization. The only other solution is the reduction by at least an order of magnitude of the number of human beings presently inhabiting the planet. If this does not soon take place, disease, famine and war will do it for us. Only through draconic measures can we even hope to restore the planet to its former balance. One thing is certain, the earth will recover and prevail with or without us, most probably the latter.

I hate being right!

3. davescot - February 6, 2011

Hi John,

FYI there are about 1.5 billion head of cattle in the world each weighing an average of over 5 times that of the average human.

Kind of makes you wonder which is the more successful species – humans or domestic cattle. By weight they win and we are their secret to success.

Just the krill in the oceans almost outweigh us and all our domestic animals combined. Prokaryotes outweigh eukaryotes. Humans and all our crops and livestock are just a tiny fraction of total biomass on the planet. We’re not much in the grand scheme of things.

Our civilization as we know it is going to end by ice, not by fire. Same thing that killed the dinosaurs. A few parts per million CO2 from burning fossil fuels isn’t going to stop the next ice age. Probably won’t even delay it noticeably in the geologic column. A book you might enjoy:



4. John A. Davison - March 9, 2011

davescot, actually David Springer.

I see you managed to sneak in the above comment on February 6. I just now discovered it. If you pull that stunt again, it will be the last comment you will ever leave here. Got that? Write that down!

The dinosaurs, like the giant amphibians, which preceeded them, would have all disapppeared with or without any environmental catastrophe. They were programmed to disappear. Every creature that was ever found in the fossil record was part of the Plan which Robert Broom claimed explained phylogenesis. I agree with Broom’s assessment and have formalized it with the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis (PEH). Apparently you reject our thesis just as the Darwinians all do. Do I have that right?

As for global warming, I see we are still poles apart.

My position has always been the same. The sole cause of all the changes we now see taking place (at rates which have never before been so high) is the result of the presence of man, especially civilized man over the past two centuries. The changes we have witnessed in the last 100 years alone are enough to alarm any objective student of the history of the earth’s surface. Every glacier on earth is in retreat which means that, unless this is reversed, the drinking supply for the world will be soon be inadequate. The sea level rises continuously as both poles melt, diluting salinity to measurable extents and posing a serious threat to the Gulf Stream and the Japanese Current and to oceanic circulation generally. It is my position that at some time in the near future there will no longer be sufficient melting ice reserves to counter the tendency for temperature to rise and runaway global warming will be the result. Polar and glacial ice masses have been powerful buffers against global warming. Their rapid disappearance indicates an imminent disaster to this investigator. I see no sign that current trends will be reversed. Furthermore, the present trends are in violation of what the Malenkovitch cycles predict. Civilized man seems to me to be the only possible explanation for such deviations.

There are two seas as Alfred Russel Wallace pointed out, the oceanic sea and the atmospheric sea. They have both been violently disturbed by the presence of man with serious consequences for his survival as a civilization and even as a species. Since creative evolution is, in my view, no longer in progress, all that can be verified is rampant extinction. Man very likely may prove to be the species that occupied the shortest period of time of any species in the history of the earth, quite possibly under 100,000 years, a mere instant in the history of life.

All this nonsense about the activity of the sun fails to pass the test of correlation and even if it plays a small part in climate change, its influence is overwhelmed by anthropogenic factors.

I am not the only one to paint a pessimistic future. I recommend “The Vanishing Face of Gaia” by James Lovelock and “Our Final Century” By Martin Rees, two of our finest minds. Unfortunately, judging from their writings, they both seem to be Darwinians. I suspect that is nothing but British nationalism. Since neither are biologists, I forgive them!

Thanks for the comment. Next time announce your presence on “Recent Comments” as I and others do.

5. davescot - March 26, 2011

Thought you might enjoy this cartoon depicting Tim Flannery.

6. davescot - March 26, 2011

How can I “sneak in a comment”? Don’t you pay attention to the sidebar “Recent Comments” on your own blog? God knows you don’t many names in that column other than your own. Mine should stand out like a sore thumb until it scrolls off the bottom.

7. John A. Davison - March 26, 2011

Sorry Dave, but your name did not appear on the side bar and that is the only time that has ever happened. This time it did which is why I am responding immediately. So don’t try to pull that nonsense with me. I know better.

I am not surprised at a cartoon of Tim Flannery appearing on that pathetic blog. Flannery is a fine scientist as well as a first class naturalist, a rare combination. Shortly after the publication of his book, “The Weather Makers,” he was named “Australia’s Man of the Year.” The clowns that hang out at “Watts Up With That?” have no credentials either as scientists or naturalists. TV weathermen are not scientists, especially Anthony Watts who runs that dog and pony show. I’m surprised you are so gullible.

Incidentally, Flannery’s prediction may prove to be true. I have no trouble with it. Besides it is entirely hypothetical as we have scarcely begun to curb emissions anyway. The anthropogenic changes we see taking place now overwhelm any other conceivable cyclic causes as any objective analysis makes very evident.

The reason I have very few users is because this is not a fan club like Pharyngula, Uncommon Descent, After The Bar Closes, EvC, Panda’s Thumb, ARN, richarddawkins.net, etc, etc. It is my personal journal and legacy as a citizen and scientist. Real scientists don’t have fan clubs and if you read my welcome thread you would realize that.

Of course it may have been a glitch that your name never appeared but I can assure you I have responded promptly to every comment in the past.

I don’t know what you expect to accomplish with a cartoon of Tim Flannery. It doesn’t impress me so much as it characterizes you.

Your name is there now for some time. I hope that pleases you. You will always be able to see it again just by poking the “earlier comments” button.

It is too bad that you can’t be more effective as you were in the past. Apparently you have retired from the contest between the forces of good and evil. As I have said before, you are always welcome here.

Thanks for the comment.

P.S. I can’t find that cartoon at the Anthony Watts blog.

8. John A. Davison - April 9, 2011


It is pleasing to find a report that agrees with my own assessment.

9. John A. Davison - August 10, 2011


While I am no fan of Al Gore the politician, he is right on about global warming and climate change. I believe with James Hansen, James Lovelock, Tim Flannery and Martin Rees that the activities of Homo sapiens which began in earnest around 10,000 year ago are the sole reason for the departures from the Milankovitch cycles which no longer can explain the conditions which now prevail. We are on a course to our demise as a civilization and possibly as a species.

How and why the vast majority of political conservatives refuse to accept the testimony of some of our finest minds is a mystery to this investigator. Like all other aspects of the human psyche, it must also have a congenital component which can submerge reason, objectivity and ordinary common sense.

“The contrasts and contradictions that can permanently live peacefully side by side in a skull make all the systems of political optimists and pessimists illusory.”
Albert Einstein, Ideas and Opinions, page 28

10. John A. Davison - August 31, 2011

I am willing to bet that the Gulf Stream has already started to slow down even though there are near hysterical claims to the contrary. That is something that cannot be confirmed from satellite data alone. Benjamin Franklin was the first to measure it and it should be measured again using the same criteria he used. Is anyone even bothering?

11. John A. Davison - September 9, 2011


This is for all you global warming skeptics with whom we are so blessed. It is the melting that is delaying the warming.

“Mankind fiddled while earth burned.”
John A. Davison

Let’s face it folks. You don’t believe anything else I say so why believe this?

I am worried sick about what others think as you can easily detect.

It doesn’t get any better than this.

I love it so!

12. John A. Davison - January 29, 2012

I note that both poles continue to melt which supports my “old fashioned ice box” hypothesis of climate change. It is the MELTING of our ice reserves that is delaying the onset of global warming. When ice melts it absorbs energy from the surroundings, cooling them. We are in a meta-stable state. As long as a suffcient amount of ice melts per unit of time, the earth’s temperature will undergo very little change. At some as yet undetermined point in the future there will not be enough meltng ice left to counter the warming effect of the CO2 and other atmospheric pollutants and runaway warming will steadily increase. I believe this model overwhelms ALL OTHER considerations as the LIMITING FACTOR which is of primary importance. I see no way this can be prevented short of abandoning our industrial society, an eventuality I do not see as likely.

“The whole of science is nothing but the refinement of everyday thinking.”
Albert Einstein

This message modified February 4, 2012.

13. John A. Davison - January 31, 2012

Incidentally, so far this is the warmest Vermont winter I have experienced since my arrival here in 1968.

James Hanson produced a photo of people walking across Niagara Falls in 1911!

The pundits at Real Climate won’t even allow me to comment there, so I say to hell with them too!

14. John A. Davison - February 1, 2012

I believe that runaway global warming is now in progress.

15. John A. Davison - February 2, 2012

I stand by my message #292 and will until it is proven to be without merit.

16. John A. Davison - February 9, 2012


I call your attention to this very important question of whether or not the Gulf Stream is slowing. I believe, based on the chilling that is now taking place in Europe, that slowing is already underway. It has stopped entirely several times in the past with profound effects on the earth’s climate. It could do it again any time. Today, due ENTIRELY to the effect of man on the planet, things are happening much more rapidly than at any other time in the history of the earth. Tim Flannery has suggest 30 times more rapidly and I see no reason to question him.

17. fJohn A. Davison - March 13, 2012

Incidentally, Real Climate is a blog headed by Gavin Schmidt who “moderates” all comments. He runs that blog with an iron fist, tolerating no deviation from the party line which is his alone. “Moderation” means – “You’re out of here if you don’t agree with me.” He has 10 lesser members of his elite club and the entire blog revolves around those eleven participants. That is typical of all “moderated” forums, Pharyngula, Panda’s Thumb, After the Bar Closes, Uncommon Descent, you name them. They are all alike, all headed by insecure, egomaniacal, intellectual lightweights.

I have, on this thread, presented my convictions on the causes of the climate changes and global warming that we see going on right now and nothing Gavin Schmidt or anyone else says or does will change those convictions until they are proven to be inadequate to fully explain what we see happening at the present time.

Got that Gavin Schmidt?

Live with it!

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