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Yeah, we're doomed, again

25 May 2015

I recall that when I was young, one of the most popular memes was an old man with ragged clothes holding a sign saying "the end is nigh".

Various cartoonists and satirists would apply this meme to all manner of contemporary issues but eventually it ran its course and seemed to fade into obscurity, as most memes do.

I have noticed however, that it is being resurrected - albeit figuratively rather than literally.

We have climate change, the risk of asteroid or comet impacts and a raft of other civilization-ending events being regularly trotted out by a media that is always searching for a new way to lure your eyes and ears to their pages and programming.

Well let's give that a go and see what happens...

This morning, while scanning the wires for inspiration, I spotted an old threat to our existence being dragged out again.

Yes, we're talking about Global Warming Climate Change (sorry) Climate Disruption -- the modern day bogey man who hides in everyone's closet and who grows stronger every time you drive your car, turn on a light or chop down a tree.

As we (allegedly) have done in the past, were approaching a new tipping point -- or perhaps we've already passed it and according to this New Scientist "story", AGW is now blasting huge craters in the Siberian permafrost. Each explosion releases more toxic methane into the atmosphere and this methane is a critical player in the rapidly rising temperature of our ecosphere. In effect we have the start of what could be a runaway chain reaction.

Referring to the term "methane time bomb" coined by others, NS takes it a step further by using its own terminology: "the methane apocalypse".

Sigh... should I be worried yet?

Apparently the Arctic Methane Emergency Group thinks I should and indeed, at the time I wrote this column the rising levels of methane seem to have crashed their website. Now *there's* a sage warning for us all!

To be honest and as I've stated before, I do believe there is a degree of climate change taking place as a result of global warming. Yes, mankind's activities have played a part in this warming process but I'm still unconvinced that our activities are the only, or even a significant cause of this.

What I am absolutely convinced of however, is that we ought to be acting responsibly to limit the effects our activities might have on this climate change and its root causes.

I am also absolutely convinced that, as is human nature, far too many individuals and groups have jumped on the "we are all going to die" bandwagon and in a highly mercenary fashion, milked it for their own personal benefit.

Gullible governments seem more than happy to throw money at anyone who tells a good story and claims, like all good religions, that paying penance (by way of cash) will absolve us of our sins.

But let's face it... if we do have a looming methane apocalypse then nothing we do now will save the planet.

If we're already past the critical point of a chain reaction that will release gigatonnes of stored methane from permafrost and deep ocean depths then we're fooling ourselves if we think that capturing a little carbon is going to make a single jot of difference.

Of course that won't stop a handful of people from enjoying the final days of the planet in exquisite luxury -- their pockets liked by the rest of us and gullible governments who believe that we can buy our way out of this situation.

One only has to look at a certain former US vice-president for proof of this. He banged the global warming gong long and hard -- but it was revealed that his own contributions to the problem were enormous and immensely hypocritical.

This is the nature of man.

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