Short-term Profits for Oil Barons vs. Humanity

Attention climate change deniers – the planet is rapidly heating up. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is out with a new report showing that the last year – from June of 2011 to May of 2012 – was the hottest year ever since NOAA began recording annual temperatures. That included the fourth warmest winter – the second warmest summer – and the warmest spring ever recorded. On top of that – the science journal Nature is also out with a new report warning that the planet is reaching a tipping point – and its ecosystems are on the verge of irreversible change, which could mean disaster for humans.

The report even warns of the possible extinction of our species within just a few generations, once this tipping point is reached. Something has so badly rotted in our culture that we no longer look out for future generations – or care about leaving them a habitable planet. Instead – we care just about short-term profits for oil barons in Texas and Kansas, and it could cost us everything our species has worked for.


TimFromLA 12 years 2 weeks ago

Are we approaching extinction-level yet? Well, add radiation from Fukushima being into the Pacific, add excess rain from global warming with cesium for example and yes, we are at extinction levels.

PhilipHenderson's picture
PhilipHenderson 12 years 2 weeks ago

Extinction of human species is a 50-50 bet right now. The global warming deniers have the money required to have it their way. They prefer to believe their political leaders rather than the scientists. The political leaders are acting like a religious organization and are poisoning the information stream so that even intelligent folks who ought to trust the scientists refuse to acknowledge the truth.

ThatDaveGuy 12 years 2 weeks ago

I have a question about this phrase:

"we no longer look out for future generations - or care about leaving them a habitable planet. Instead - we care just about short-term profits"

Was there ever a time that we, collectively, gave a rat's ass about future generations and the overall health of the planet? Other than the Ecology Movement in the 60's & 70's, humanity has never looked very far beyond the next quarter.

I'm sure it's much worse now than in the past, but there never really was a "golden age" when everyone's top priority was the future.

Jimspy's picture
Jimspy 12 years 2 weeks ago

We are looking at the collapse of human civilization probably within the lifetimes of our grandchildren. The species will survive...but that's about it. It doesn't need to be this way - we COULD turn it around. But we would have to do so within about 4 years. That is obviously not going to happen. And so...yes, we're pretty much toast.

Sauron's picture
Sauron 12 years 2 weeks ago

The problem is, there will never be a " golden age " with the attitude that the money magnates have in the here and now. It is an innate characteristic of mankind to push a good thing to the brink of extinction, and then try to figure out a last minute bandaid to hold things together while they try to do what they should have been doing all along. Unfortunately, money makes the world go around, and as long as there is a nickle to be drained out of our planet, they will do so. Ironically, maybe it will be money that makes the world STOP going around.

JohnLemessurier's picture
JohnLemessurier 12 years 2 weeks ago

Plus new diseases cropping and old ones reappearing, not only affecting humans but other species as well. If the bees go... we go.

klentz's picture
klentz 12 years 2 weeks ago

In he long term, human extinction is certain - most likely from (1)starvation (2) disease (3) wars. In the short term, unfortunately, only the 1% will survive - Why? While they are the key to changing anything, that is, they must be on board for any meaningful change to happen, they are also those who can afford to, and will, put off any global attempts at solution. They will eat while we starve. They will avoid disease while we rot. They will watch from afar as their wars kill millions.

And this is my most optimistic prediction.

DadlyEdly's picture
DadlyEdly 12 years 2 weeks ago

I came to the conclusion a couple of years ago after learning that the permafrost in the arctic, holding thousands of years worth of undecomposed stuff, was thawing that we had probably already gone into a positive feedback loop where the methane and co2 from the decomposition of those frozen plants and animals would complete what fossil fuels had started. In fact, I think in order to prevent that global warming feedback loop, we probably would have had to eliminate fossil fuels before 1980 or so because of the longevity of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

Sadly, I personally know climate scientists who agree with me.

We're going to have to stop using fossil fuels quickly, and figure out how we're going to get ourselves out of this mess we've created, or extinction of the human race is a real possibility.

edayres's picture
edayres 12 years 2 weeks ago

There was a time when I thought the human drive for self-preservation would ultimately cause us to come to our senses in time to prevent self-extinction but no more. I can see the last human staring into a smart phone as they go bye-bye. This pervasive belief that if we can just rich enough to buy some kind of immunity from all this will be our undoing.

michaelb44's picture
michaelb44 12 years 2 weeks ago

We have become the modern day version of the Easter Islanders who cut down every tree on the island to move their huge statues. We should ask one of them how that worked out for their people. Oh that's right, their aren't any of them left to answer.

Jimspy's picture
Jimspy 12 years 2 weeks ago

One note to clarify Thom's post: The NOAA records are strictly for the continental United States. Warmest spring in the US, not globally. So far, anyway.

smilingcat 12 years 2 weeks ago

We might be able to turn it around if we are willing to spend on CO2 sequestering technology and move away from fossil fuel based economy.

Germans and other Europeans are headed in the right direction. US? not so much.

BTW, how many of you are doing something about it? Are you all talk and still drive megaSUVs or play soldier and drive a fauxHumvees H2s, H3s and others like it. And do you still want to eat porter house steak? Those things are contributing to global warming. yes even the porterhouse steak.

And are you recycling as much as you can?

Have you thrown away batteries of all kind in regular trash? Those with mercury, NiCd, NiMH, or Li ion batteries? Are you sure you didn't? What about those old cell phones and other hand held eletronics like iPAD. If you did, you did contribute to the problem.

noblesj1978's picture
noblesj1978 12 years 2 weeks ago

We should be asking ourselves: is global warming our chicxulub? Are we on a final approach with disaster as helpless as the dinosaurs of eons past. Helpless because we are easily pursuaded to believe that lie that everything is going to be alright no matter what we do.

I think we may soon learn the exclusive lesson of the universe- that being causality.

jfyooper's picture
jfyooper 12 years 2 weeks ago

There is a reason the money hounds are building under-ground condo's. Complete with swimming pools, hair dressers,spa's, food(MRE'S) medical rooms.etc. There is a reason the governments are building storage facilities with "air loom seeds" and plants etc.

But can they survive each other? Can they survive the radiation while their breathing air is filtered? Can they survive the big one?

How long before the first fight breaks out over who is richer, and the richer one deserves the better view of the inside of the mountain wall? Or the rich woman that dropped her 2 million dollar ear ring and another 2.5 million dollar man finds it and makes an effort to return it personally.( " " )

Or the water is rationed, the squid runs out, TSD medication is low, the gold run out to fill their teeth.Will they crawl out then and wonder, "What have we done?"

Of course in thier minds, their breeding will bring a superior race. I wonder who will rake their yards then?

Jordan Makarus's picture
Jordan Makarus 12 years 2 weeks ago

I think the question may be, can we learn to cooperate on a large enough scale before it's too late?

Global Warming may get us... - But if we don't change course soon, the inertia of the ecological and social degradation we're immersed in will destroy everything that's worth living for anyway.

What amazes and drives me, is that as a species we have sent spacecrafts beyond the orbits of the solar system. In a split second we can zip electro-magnetic signals around the Earth to hand held audio / video transceivers. We have achieved, and are capable of, countless and amazing technological feats; Yet we cannot reevaluate Economic Philosophy... ?

- This is freakin insane... - Greed and ignorance are consuming our potential right before our eyes, and we appear nearly powerless to stop it. - Still, I believe that Regenerative Economics (A conservation-based economy) is totally plausible if we can somehow ignore all the two-sided absurdity of politics, and attempt cooperative problem solving discussions till we get a handful of billionaires to consider a new game. - We all pretty much know this Monopoly game is over...

Personally, I don't begrudge the winners their billions. Maybe we just need a few more Buffets and Turners to help engage a new discussion? - A laissez faire, greed and consumption-based economy has an absolutely Zero Viable Future at a time of 7 billion people and the associated resource needs, depletion and pollution. Period. - Is there anybody who is willing to look at the global picture who would really deny that??

"A modern economy may be largely an illusion we've bought into. A better illusion is certainly conceivable. It's up to us whether it's possible or not..."

It's hard for any of us to break free of 'This Economy' to where we can show working models of a conservation-mitigation economy, and then scale it up. - 'The Economy', itself, is the barrier to a functional definition of "Economics", and to alternative approaches. - It will probably require subsidies, of a sort, to prove that we can involve, inspire and employ many more people in an economy that is purposed towards the regeneration of the soil, the water and the maintenance of the habitable earth environment.

It's nobody's fault and it's everybody's fault. It's nobody's responsibility and it's everybody's responsibility. And nobody's perfect.. God help us to help each other. The miracles we've been fortunate enough to bear witness to deserve our best effort to see if intelligence is possible on a large scale .. or something like that. ? Regenerate... (apologies for the length..) Regenerate..

Progs Rock 12 years 2 weeks ago

That/daveGuy asks "Was there ever a time that we, collectively, gave a rat's ass about future generations and the overall health of the planet?"

He's right -We never had to before. Somewhere in the last 5,000 years, we went from being another hanger-on, to an epidemic, to a pandemic. When a disease takes over its host, we don't see anything that might resemble conscience. But then who else ever took over everything?

There are 2 potential limits - conscience and nature. One of them will not be pretty,

JimFun71's picture
JimFun71 12 years 2 weeks ago


Human kind may live on past the next few generations but civilization as we know it is aready doomed. What is it now? 7 Billion and counting. Is there anybody out there that can honestly say this is a sustainable level? If were not at peak oil now we will be in a few years. As soon as oil starts to climb, I mean really climb like to $250.00 to $400.00 per barrel we will see a mass extinction on this planet.

The simple fact is that man today uses 600 times more energy than coloinal man. Every bit of this energy comes from oil. When the oil goes so does our life style. In pre colonial times there was 9 farmers to 1 tradesman. Now theres 1 farmer for every 10,000 people. What happens when disel is $30.00 per gallon and your tomatoes cost $12.00 a pound and hambuger is $35.00 a pound???

Without the easy energy most people wont survive. All that will be left is the native tribes that live in harmony with nature and the farmer survivalists.

I asked a survivalist friend what he had stocked up. He told me food and water for a year. Then he asked me what I had. I replied a lot of guns.

humanitys team's picture
humanitys team 12 years 2 weeks ago

Humanity is at the stage of it,s birth ,now as you know a birth is a very perilous time .

The birthing of humanity is a term that the wonderful Barbara ford max Hubbard uses to describe our current times she is a true visionary and futurist.

What will it take for humanity to jump to a new way of being and living together for the highest good of all when will the number of like -wise individuals reach critical mass to tip the balance so we evolve as opposed to DE-evolve?

Evolution is not a straight line but happens in leaps and jumps ,jump time is going to happen but we have to get to that critical mass of human,s reaching for and striving to bring about the change that we wish to see in the world that works for the highest good of all.

To reach critical mass it is estimated at around 2-4% of the population of the planet ,so raising consciousness to change consciousness is the first step ,that,s why everyone,s voice on this form is so important and Thom always say,s tag you are it and that is profoundly correct .

Its people like Thom who have sounded the alarm call and have raised awareness of the issues it is up to us to create another world for our children and our children,s children,s children.

If we came from the understanding that we are all ONE and what hurt,s one of us hurt,s us all and the thought that there is enough of everything for us all ,these two guiding principles would change Humanity over night ,that is why it has been said that belief,s create behaviors ,this is the only solution and the ultimate truth, as evolution is just another word for movement towards unity .


humanitys team's picture
humanitys team 12 years 2 weeks ago

OH i FORGOT TO MENTION ONE SMALL DETAIL THE OIL it does not belong to the oil barons ,this is a natural resource and belongs to our mother earth and all of us ,all the minerals belong to all the world,s people and for our world to truly work ,they have to be shared and not squandered .In the last 40 years we have used MORE RESOURCES THAN THE LAST 40 000 years.

We are asked by life to be good steward,s of this perfect planet and to not abuse it but to share and sustain what has been given by life.Nobody can own portions of the planet this is insane we are asked by the life principle of sustainability to do just that sustain all that we think of as good and serves us .

Everything that is around us has been placed in our care they are not our possessions ,ownership is a temporary fiction having nothing to do with ultimate reality.

Ownership is a fallacy and comes from the second fallacy about life that there is not enough to go around,for a larger understanding about all of this read the New Revelation.s by Neale Donald Walsch .

Alan Lunn's picture
Alan Lunn 12 years 2 weeks ago

When I was a fundamentalist buying into the wackiness of the Christian Right, the tendency for end-of-the-worlders is that human extinction is inevitable -- and soon. This creates a fatalism about stewardship of the planet. It doesn't matter to that absolutist mindset. Now, move that scenario into the political ideology realm and one does not care about the planet. The planet is on a collision course and it doesn't matter. Give this ideology power and you produce phenomena like the Koch brothers. Their conscience about their fellow human beings is "seared," to put it "biblically." It's delusional. Not that this has never happened before in historic regimes -- especially religious regimes.

Hankk MI's picture
Hankk MI 12 years 2 weeks ago

Every Citizen in this country should know by now that a USA with out a tax base can not succeed. The right has taken the good jobs out of our country and with it a very strong middle class tax base, and replaced it with GHW Bush's biggest and best service nation in the world. However, minimum wage part time service jobs have NO tax base, these workers are all at the poverty level.

Then for 30 years they have given the wealthy/corporations trillions of dollars of tax/welfare breaks elimating the strong upper class tax base, and replaced that with borrowing money from other countries to keep from going belly up, thus giving the USA the largest debt in history. The GOP "Grand Old Party" is dead and buried and it's founders are rolling over in their graves at what this owned Koch-Teapublican Party has done and doing to our country. From jobs, tax breaks, weather, ETC they have systematicly brought our nation to it's knees.

Ask your self and friends this question, IS THE USA BETTER OFF TODAY THEN IT WAS ON 01/19/2009? If you/they know where we were headed on that date then your answer has to be YES. Therefore I say that a vote of R will move our country BACKWARD, While a vote of D will continue our country moving FORWARD. hankk MI

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 12 years 2 weeks ago

The American Indian, per Thom as I remember, had a political system that required any policy had to viewed in its effect on the 7th generation from the now. This is the kind of requirement that comes about when the female of the species is in control. I wonder how many millenia it took for the American Indian to evolve to this level.

Of course, the culture with the guns came along and wiped them out.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 12 years 2 weeks ago

I have very little hope that individuals such as oil barons have enough self control to harness the inner madness of.......can't get enough of getting more.........even if it means reaching the tipping point. This is why we need a functional democracy, one in which the general welfare of the many trumps the madness of the few in regard to legislative decisions.....not gonna happen while the reign of republican/ tea-bag terror continues its death grip on all manner of representation by and for the 99.9%. Can't get anymore unpatriotic than the tea-party!

douglas m 12 years 1 week ago

Federally mandated air oxidizers help air quality. Federally mandated air oxidizers get the same car{from the US} with the same engine{from the UK} exactly HALF the gas mileage thus using twice the fuel. Air quality is being used against THE PEOPLE. Climate change is obviosly real but coomon sense might happen too little too late.

Im curious what will happen first. Tibetan platue and Greenland melting causing freshwater to stop the oceans currents or the oceans ph levels going to the point of no return in less than 75 years{popular science}.

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