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New Study: Climate Change Could Be The Ultimate Civilization Killer


Climate change could have wiped out alien civilizations and may be on the way to wipe out mankind, too, a new study has suggested. Using simulations based on information about the fate of now extinct civilizations such as that of the Easter Island, the team, led by astrophysics professor Adam Frank, found that it may well be the case that climate change compromises the sustainability of any civilization.

The authors developed four scenarios based on mathematical models, all but one suggesting climate change wipes out civilizations unless it is reined in.

Under the first scenario, tellingly named “Die-Off”, the rise in global temperatures is mirrored by a decline in global population. Under the “Collapse without resource change” scenario, a sharp increase in temperature followed by a plateau would lead to an equally sharp drop in the global population, ending with extinction as the temperature plateaus at much higher levels.

The third scenario factors in a change in resources, which would make for a slightly more gradual demise of the population and considerably higher temperatures before the demise happens. Change in resources here refers to what mankind is doing right now: switching from what the authors of the study call high-impact resources to low-impact resources. Related: Iran: Oil Prices Could Jump To $140 On U.S. Sanctions

The only scenario that provides some hope for the Earth is sustainability: both population and global temperatures rise to a certain point and then plateau. This could happen if the population wakes up to the fact that it is damaging its chances of longer-term survival and switches from high-impact to low-impact resources early enough.

Unfortunately, according to the study, it remains unclear whether the earth is still in the early stages of change, or whether we have already gone too far to fix things. As Frank put it, “If you change the earth’s climate enough, you might not be able to change it back. Even if you backed off and started to use solar or other less impactful resources, it could be too late, because the planet has already been changing. These models show we can’t just think about a population evolving on its own. We have to think about our planets and civilizations co-evolving.”

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • NickSJ on June 08 2018 said:
    I come to this site for information on what your masthead says the site is about - the oil industry. It's really disappointing that you feel it necessary to print garbage like this so-called study.
  • Jim on June 08 2018 said:
    Scenario 4 which is the real scenario. Global cooling shortens the growing season creating a shortage of food. Chaos erupts and people start killing each other to survive. After 2060 it will not matter because the 10000 year ice age cycle will purge what ever parasite that is left.
  • Brian Bresee on June 08 2018 said:
    Hoax science with the real goal of global wealth redistribution in mind, enriching those in charge of the carbon exchange.

    It is time we get back to real science, like the Earth's wobble, sun cycles, elliptical orbits, and such as the real reasons for climate change.
  • citymoments on June 08 2018 said:
    With all due respects to the author, I like to remind her of two simple facts: 1. Human, only existed on this planet for less than 2 million years, the age of the earth is about 4.5 billion years. Climate, before the human existence, had been changing hundreds of times. it had nothing to do with human factors or man made CO2 but it is part of natural phenomenons. 2. I like to kindly ask the author one simple question: Can she or anyone name me one planet in our universe whose climate is static but not changing? if she can not, then may I suggest her to consider to join me in challenging the mainstream climate change fallacy?
  • dan jones on June 08 2018 said:
    interesting article coming from oilprice.com I actually am surprised at how non biased the website is for being tied to such a controversial topic.
  • Scott on June 08 2018 said:
    This whole piece of leftist propaganda is nothing but fear mongering and based on fantasy. The truth is it is becoming increasingly clear that man is NOT cooking the planet, it is science itself that tells us this. We haven't had "global warming" in near two decades. Temperature studies by the likes of Dr.'s John Christy and Roy Spencer clearly document this. Testimony from the likes of Dr. Richard Lindzen before Congress and the House of Commons illustrate this. Great minds of science like Nobelist Dr. Ivar Giaver and Dr. Freeman Dyson along with hundreds of climatologists and atmospheric scientists laugh at the idea that man is cooking the planet in any way. The difference man has made to climate is negligible, and even if we were making a real difference there's not one thing that could be done about it anyway without returning us to the stone age. Don't worry Chicken Littles, cycles of extreme cold will return. Not in our lifetimes or the lifetimes of anyone alive in the near future but the planet WILL see the advancement of the great glacial sheet once again. Now THAT will be catastrophic for those here thousands of years from now.
  • Phil Mirzoev on June 08 2018 said:
    Yeah yeah, we seem to have heard that song a couple of times already..
    I guess, many people, even those, like me, who do believe in the anthropogenic causes of and contribution to the global warming (GW), have got really really tired about the tremendous anti scientific, fear-based, infantile demagoguery by politicians and the media in terms of the imperative solutions, ostensible remedies and new "climatic ethics" that have been grown in the political test tube on the fertile ground of the fact of the global warming and shoved as an ultimate intellectual insult down the throat of millions of people on the pain of a latent threat that if you dare to rationally question all these futuristic semi-speculations is you will be declared to be a "witch".
    If somebody wants to help transition to new economically viable types of energy then they'd better shut up and do the job to help achieve it. It is a lab work, not a microphone work. Don't waste people's time by politically "terrorizing" them with those "horror stories".
    If somebody wants to talk about real GW-related problems in future, then they should know that the main recipe of the UN reports dedicated to the GW is ADAPTATION - those people who are concerned with that should shut up and come up with the feasible realistic measures of such adaptation measures.
    Any more noise about global warming apocalypse at this stage will only continue to ruin the credibility of the so-self-called "political elites" and their obedient non-critical political concubine - the so-called "free" "independent" "democratic" media.
  • Chris on June 08 2018 said:
    It looks like the lies repeated over, and over again become the truth. The global elitists in charge of carbon pricing scheme are clapping their hands seeing $$$$ flow into their hands, when the scared, brainwashed populous is demanding ever stronger action on climate from our corrupted political elite. Tax on carbon, the carbon that our civilization is built on, will allow the unlimited supply of dollars to the global elite (the 1%).
    Even Pope Francis throws his questionable authority to rein in the faithful of the Roman Catholic Church in support of climate agenda. It is becoming so obvious, that the real argument is not about the climate warming, or changing, but it is about the control of population growth, population control, and control of our planet resources. I would prefer, that this site should just report on oil and gas issues, and stop being the voice of some garbage science and, and fearmongering.
  • Bill Simpson on June 08 2018 said:
    Climate change kill off the human species, probably not, but our civilization, absolutely.
    Peak oil destroying the financial system is a far more immediate threat to our industrial civilization, but should we avoid that, which I doubt, climate change will probably finish off civilization as we know it.
    We have already put enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to cause sufficient warming to liberate the vast amount of methane trapped in the permafrost and on the ocean floor. That won't happen during the lifetime of anyone alive today, but it will eventually happen. Especially when you consider that we will continue to add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere for at least another century.
    Humans can't survive a temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit without artificial cooling. Once global warming progresses enough, much of the planet will be transformed into a desert, where it will be too hot to survive and no plants will grow. Humans will become hunter gatherers surviving near the poles.
    But don't worry, the oil shortage coming in less than 20 years will take out civilization long before climate change gets the chance. The financial system overloaded with debt will be what causes the collapse, as the economy begins to shrink from not being able to continue expanding, due to not having more and more oil to do more & more work.
  • David Jones on June 09 2018 said:

    Your question is not as relevant as you may think. Climate does change naturally and not a single climate scientist would claim otherwise. The issue at hand is not that it shouldn't change, the issue is that it is changing too rapidly and a lot of this change is due to our activity. Species tend to die off when changes to their natural habitat are too rapid as they cannot adapt quickly enough to survive. From what I have read, it would seem we have leveraged climate system changes by an order of magnitude or more. In our case, the more dangerous element could actually be our reaction to a less forgiving climate in the coming decades. Will resource scarcity and habitat degradation result in more conflicts? Personally I think there is a substantial chance for this since the strain is likely to make it harder to live with others on a global scale. We have sufficient firepower now to wipe out a good portion of the human species in the event that things get out of hand and there is really no margin for taking things as they come when confronted with global scale changes since the range of outcomes includes very extreme worst case scenarios that would decimate human civilization.

    In short, the "we'll see what happens when we get there" good old days ended in the 20th century, we now live in a time where decisions have to be made considerably in advance of the actual issues fully manifesting. That, in my opinion, is the only safe way forward for the human species.
  • Geraint Hughes on June 09 2018 said:
    Co2 is not the cause of climate change, we are not going to have any affect on weather by looking at this. This is just another daft alarmist article.

    The world population is more than a sustainable at a rate twice that of todays. Food production can easily be maintained using multi-storey farming techniques.
  • PA Olo on June 09 2018 said:
    What more to add? the comments above already highlight the micky mouse approach of this so called "study". It's just propaganda for gullible individuals looking for a lost cause. Science is the answer, which I really cannot see in the article, despite looking hard…
  • Glen Pellerin on June 09 2018 said:
    The bigger issue is not global warming but instead increasing CO2. As the carbon dioxide levels rise the oxygen levels must invariably sink. Right now we are at 21% oxygen in our air. Still we keep increasing our population of oxygen breathers while destroying the areas like the rainforests which provides the most oxygen. We are poisoning the oceans which supply the rest of our oxygen. Never mind the temperature, when the oxygen levels drop too low, what will all of us breathe?
  • Lee James on June 10 2018 said:
    I can see how this article comes across as overly sensational, self-serving projection about one of the most complex things you can think about: climate. Truth is, no one know for sure ... that's why these modelers typically lay out a very wide range of possible outcomes.

    Why discuss climate at all in an Oil forum? Consumption and energy choice are affected by macro-conditions around the world. Economies are affected, and hence consumption. Protections against social and environmental effects may be enacted, affecting markets.

    If even a fraction of the dire predictions plays out, we are in trouble.The world is already struggling. Look at the world as it stands today, right now. Many areas of the world are already stressed (for a variety of reasons) and seemingly without remedy. On our Southern border we have an onslaught of refuges from several countries where conditions are so bad, they are willing to risk having their children locked up separately from parents. That desperation is major.

    Mediterranean countries, especially, are overwhelmed with war and economic refugees from Africa and the Mid-East and Asia.

    Heck, we can't even come up with effective solutions for our U.S. homeless.

    How much more stress can the world take?

    While I believe man contributes heavily to a changing climate, I see such a wall of resistance to that idea that I instead emphasize something that should be obvious to us: the world's fossil fuel dependency is directly fueling world conflict.

    In the Mideast. It's not only that everybody wants somebody else's oil. It's that major oil-producing countries, like Russia and Iran, use so much of their oil revenue to weaponize. Add the oil-fueled forms of conflict together, and we've got a very troubling and on-going problem.

    Add the flood of refugees to armaments and war, and I'll suggest we're at powder-keg proportions.

    Wise energy choice is huge. Whether to buy petroleum is a decision that goes way beyond, but includes, the climate-change issue. I don't know of any country that has gone to war over clean energy or more efficient use of energy. Nor do clean energy centers use their profits to build armies. Something to think about.
  • Dave on June 10 2018 said:
    There are way too many professors and not enough doers in this world.
  • Steven Leppard on June 12 2018 said:
    That all sounds great, except that it isn't. Scientific data shows that life on earth does much better when temperatures are warmer, so the basic premise of temps going up and population down is false.

    And then there is the whole issue of man made global warming, which is the single biggest fraud going at the moment. The narrative is collapsing as real scientists become emboldened to the point where they speak out against it - something that hasn't been possible in the recent past without destroying their career. As it collapses we see ever more attempts to ratchet up the fear factor, but it isn't working. People are becoming tired of it all, and are starting to understand the truth.
  • Joey Bucks on September 03 2018 said:
    As an oil investor who owns thousands of shares of BP, CVX, XOM, and a few others (gotta love those dividends!), I find the whole concept of global warming ridiculous. There is no evidence of any sort of warming going on, just a bit of a blip the librals are blowing WAY out of proportion. We'll all be just fine.

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