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A reaction to Malcolm Light

Humanity is facing the final, western corporate capitalist, fossil fuel initiated, catastrophic Arctic methane hydrate destabilization and Permian style methane blowout – firestorm … – Malcolm Light

This first sentence of Malcolm Light’s article from January 2019 is not less distinct than the heading: Global Extinction Within 18 – 34 Months

It is not new for me that an increasing Arctic methane release can lead to our extinction faster than expected. But this article has occupied me a lot.

Yes, I have an emotional defense mechanism too. My first reaction has been to look deeper into the rational arguments and look for weak ones. My emotional reaction is very simple: I don‘t like this pessimistic outlook.

Who is Malcolm Light?

Malcolm Light is one of the leading voices on the Arctic News blog. In January 2015 and in October 2016 he has published posters with high information density about the role of Arctic methane in global heating.

Dr. Light‘s parents were both meteorologists. He has a Bachelor of Science (Honors) in geology (and oceanography) from the University of Cape Town and a PhD in geology from the University of London where he began detailed Arctic research at the Centre for Polar Observation and Monitoring (CPOM) in 2002. – Interview with Malcolm Light by Dorsi Diaz, September 10, 2014

What are Malcolm’s prognoses?

extinction within 18 - 34 momths

  1. „An Arctic blue oceanic event is possible in 2020…“
  2. This is “the start of the Arctic Permian style methane blowout event”. The atmosphere and oceans will be heated.
  3. 12 months later warm water from tropical ocean currents will reach the Arctic shelf and cause a „release of some 50 Gt of methane“ and „a 10 Degree Centigrade Rise in Mean Global Atmospheric Temperatures“. This is the beginning of an „Catastrophic Permian Style Global Extinction Event in late September 2021″.
  4. Zero Arctic Ice Volume

That are clear and strong words. Unfortunately I am used to hear dire predictions like that. Well, it‘s coming closer, faster than expected.

Defense Mechanisms

My first reaction has been to think about the arguments, a reaction of my rational mind. During the next days I have noticed, that my thoughts went back and forth to this article. I have been worried. I thought that my first reaction has been to deal with uncertainty. This is one of the most difficult mental states to endure. I’ll keep that away from me.

Malcolm‘s predictions may come true with a more or less exact timing. The point is that it is possible that we are facing a catastrophic extinction event in a couple of months. I even think that’s likely. I can’t give any exact probabilities. But it is possible, that everything I love (and I don‘t like) is gone in less than a handful of years. It doesn’t matter whether it happens 12 months sooner or later.

As if

While I have been engaged with this article I have heard an audio book. Alexandra Reinwarth describes in "Life is too short for later“ (only in German available) how she and her circle of friends is confronted with another friend getting a new cancer diagnosis. Everything that is important in life stands in a different light. She decides to make a self-experiment. She gives herself a fictitious time of death in about a year. I have enjoyed to listen to Alexandra‘s experiences during this year. She describes it with a large portion of humor and self-irony.

So now I’ve taken Malcolm’s predictions as if they come true. What is my life like? What is important for me for the next one or two years? At the same time I feel the deep grief about what I am going to lose and I see the great gift life has in store for me.

This simple as if-step allows me to deal less with uncertainty. Try it.

As if does not mean to take it all as true what Malcolm or anybody else is telling you. Use your brain and feel what your heart says. And if this dire situation we are in is true for you too, you are looking for possibilities to deal with it anyway.

If this is all bullshit according to your opinion, this blog article is not for you. Have a nice day, good bye.


Enjoy yourselves and be excellent to each other in these last days and hours on the only remaining habitable planet in this solar system. – Malcolm Light

Thank you Malcolm for that.

And if this prognosis is wrong?

So what?

What is bad about being kind to each other and especially to yourself?

Don‘t forget to try "as if".

Article reposted with permission from the author.


Wolfgang Werminghausen is living in Münster, Germany. He is married and has 4 children. After study of psychology and working as psychotherapist, he had a trip into the world of finance for some years, developing investment strategies and long-term analysis of accounting statements. With the insight, that the economic paradigm of infinite growth is a delusion and does harm ecologically, it was only a small step to Guy McPherson’s theses of abrupt climate change. He wanted to know all about this topic and invited Guy on his European tour to him in Münster.

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