Runaway Laughter



I just read something hilarious today.  It was so funny that I absolutely had to share it.

At first glance, and from the title alone, I have to admit, it worried me for a bit.  When the words trigger, runaway, and greenhouse are all emblazoned at the top on the title, it does bring a bit of a panic-sounding name to the article, attracting far more attention due mostly to all the populace’s fear porn addiction than anything of substance.

But then I read the very last sentence and nearly choked on my coffee.  It was the funniest thing I had seen all day, and it came from a place that is not really known for the hilarity of its content, namely that rather stuffy rag, Nature Geoscience.  In fact, as far as science journals go, it’s normally quite dry reading.

But not today!

Here is the entirety of the article as shown in an online magazine named Message to Eagle: [1]

Easier To Trigger A Runaway Of Greenhouse Effect On Earth Than Previously Thought

A new study conducted by researchers at University of Victoria indicates that it may be easier to trigger a runaway greenhouse effect on Earth than initially thought.  The runaway greenhouse effect happens when a planet absorbs more energy from the Sun than it can radiate back into space.  The so-called runaway greenhouse is a very dangerous process that can cause oceans to entirely evaporate.

If a planet absorbs more energy than it can emit, it will heat uncontrollably and evaporate all of the oceans – the runaway greenhouse effect. Previously, it was thought that this would require more energy from the Sun than Earth receives.  Now, scientists know that it can happen, in theory, with the amount of solar energy that Earth now receives.

“What we’ve shown here is that a runaway greenhouse atmosphere that would sterilize the planet is actually possible for Earth, with the amount of sunlight it receives now,” says Colin Goldblatt, an assistant professor in UVic’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences.  His research is the most complete look at the runaway greenhouse effect in 25 years.

“Fortunately, it would need 10 times more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to trigger this than burning all of Earth’s fossil fuels – every bit of coal, oil and gas that exists – would give,” Goldblatt added.

The research is published in Nature Geoscience.[2]

And with that, all the greenhouse, runaway, carbon dioxide buzz words went wee, wee, wee, all the way home.

1.  Message to Eagle

2.  Low simulated radiation limit for runaway greenhouse climates.  Nature Geoscience 


6 thoughts on “Runaway Laughter

  1. Oh dear – I hate to do this to you, but Nature Geoscience if the ‘academic’ blog established by the three think-tanks who are trying to persuade the public that global warming isn’t real, or urgent etc. The trouble was that the ‘anti-science’ was so obviously skewed, none of the propaganda articles looked authoritative, so at first a fairly tame journal in some island country of the Pacific was used – sorry, forgot the name – and then ‘GeoScience’ was taken up.

    For some reason, geologists are the most ignorant of scientific disciplines related to climate science – we had one here write a whole great book with the same gist as that final paragraph. Nice chap when he talked about geology; not a clue when it came to the physics or chem of the upper atmosphere or oceans. But never mind.

    The article you quote is pretty clever, it starts off with verifiable facts, and then just twists it. Because we’re not talking about anything as simple as radiant heat (which is the twisted bit informing the last paragraph). How can I put it. OK – suppose you argued that fissionable uranium wasn’t dangerous because you could have a house filled to overflowing with it, and it wouldn’t warm a kettle. But that’s not how a chain-reaction works in physics or chemistry, is it? Global warming is a chain-reaction operating at the level of physics and chemistry. See?


  2. Tao Babe – I thought you were really interested in science. The last paragraph is pure garbage. Like saying ‘Fissionable uranium is perfectly harmless – you could have a house filled to the roof, and it wouldn’t make enough heat to boil a kettle, let alone set off a firestorm’. The clever twist in that last paragraph pretends that the issue is radiant heat: it isn’t, it’s chemistry and physics. Geo-Science is a think-tank owned publication established for one purpose only. To give ‘cred’ to the sort of rubbishy, pseudo-science articles that look good quoted in newspapers, and which no genuine Science journal would spit on.

    You want trustworthy science? Look for anything published by a reputable scientific Society.


  3. Interesting perspective, Diane.

    Could you elaborate on your claim – or direct me to some articles – that prove this to be true : “Nature Geoscience if the ‘academic’ blog established by the three think-tanks who are trying to persuade the public that global warming isn’t real, or urgent etc.”

    I was unaware of such a foundation for such a reputable Nature journal. Thanks.


  4. I’m confused too, Diane. Nature has long been a top tier peer-reviewed journal. It has a very high bar for publication — half of the letters or articles submitted to it for publication are rejected during the peer review process. Anyone attempting to publish in Nature must provide the editors a list of possible peer reviewers from the field that the letter or article is exploring. None of the Nature journals are an academic blog in any sense. They are rigorous peer-reviewed scientific journals that every true scientist struggles to publish their work in.


  5. Hmmm. Interesting perspective, Diane. Thank you for your input.

    To answer your question about my interest in science and why I do what I do, I actually get giddy when some new truth has been uncovered which exposes yet another dot for me to connect. You see, even though I am not a scientist by education or by trade, I do have degrees in English & philosophy, which means I have been classically trained to read and write at a fairly high level (in English) and I can also critically analyze what I have read.

    I am not so much interested in a single point of reference as I am interested in how that single point of reference fits in with the global truth. The only way to get a huge picture is to stand back, look at all the dots, and then perceive the patterns from the various data points that have been painstakingly gathered. I have found that it is a wonderful BS detection method. I get so excited when I am able to visualize a connection between two distant dots that don’t look as if they are related, but are actually an integral part of the complex global pattern. In fact, I know I’ve hit pay dirt if that small pattern grouping adds to the global pattern and makes it that much clearer. This is what I do best. I am a pattern-perceiver.

    I hold science in very high regard. I hold scientists up to that same high standard. They have to be able to back up their claims, and their claims have to be reproducible. As a wise man once said, the more extraordinary the claim, the more extraordinary the evidence is required (I had a big crush on Carl Sagan when I was a little girl. I was so disappointed when, at the age of ten, I found out he was already married).

    In any case, there are two scientists currently on this posting (Erik Andrulis and Dev Null) who are asking you to back up your claim. They are PhDs in their fields (biology & chemistry, respectively) and have been published several times in the same Nature journal that we are currently discussing, so this claim about Nature being part of a pseudo-science ‘think-tank’ is very intriguing and deserves to be critically examined. I would also like to see your evidence regarding this matter.

    Best regards,



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