Scientists Offer New Reason to Curb GHG Emissions: Prevent Pre-Emptive Attack by Space Aliens (Updated 1:25 pm)

by Marlo Lewis on August 19, 2011

in Features

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No, I’m not making this up, and it’s not a prank.

“A preemptive strike [by extra-terrestrials] would be particularly likely in the early phases of our expansion because a civilisation may become increasingly difficult to destroy as it continues to expand. Humanity may just now be entering the period in which its rapid civilisational expansion could be detected by an ETI [extra-terrestrial intelligence] because our expansion is changing the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere, via greenhouse gas emissions,” write researchers from Pennsylvania State University and NASA* in a study entitled “Would contact with extraterrestrials benefit or harm humanity? A scenario analysis.”

Science correspondent Ian Sample reviewed the study yesterday in the UK Guardian. A pearl from his article:

“Green” aliens might object to the environmental damage humans have caused on Earth and wipe us out to save the planet. “These scenarios give us reason to limit our growth and reduce our impact on global ecosystems. It would be particularly important for us to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, since atmospheric composition can be observed from other planets,” the authors write.

Sample shows these speculations the proper respect by posting this picture at the top of his article:

Clearly, the IPPC climate impact assessments are too “conservative” and global warming poses a bigger threat than scientists previously predicted.

The only point I would add to Sample’s knee-slapper of a review is that the “green alien” scienario made its Hollywood debut in the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, starring Keanu Reeves.

In the original 1951 film, Klaatu and his robot Gort come to Earth to deliver an ultimatum: Mankind must end the nuclear arms race and abandon its warlike ways or Earth will be destroyed. In the remake, Klaatu and Gort come to rescue plant and animal species endangered by global warming and to exterminate mankind as punishment for our fuelish ways. Gort pulverizes our fossil-fueled industrial infrastructure and is on the verge of wiping out humanity when Klaatu, moved by the beauty and purity of heart of astrobiologist Dr. Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly), dies instead for our sins of emission.

* NASA is apparently taking some heat — or at least some good natured ribbing — for this paper. In a recent clarification, one of the co-authors, Shawn Domagal-Goldman, states that the study “isn’t a ‘NASA report.’ It’s not work funded by NASA, nor is it work supported by NASA in other ways.”

He elaborates: “Yes, I work at NASA. It’s also true that I work at NASA Headquarters. But I am not a civil servant … just a lowly postdoc. More importantly, this paper has nothing to do with my work there. I wasn’t funded for it, nor did I spend any of my time at work or any resources provided to me by NASA to participate in this effort.” Domagal-Goldman admits to “making a horrible mistake. It was an honest one, and a naive one… but it was a mistake nonetheless. I should not have listed my affiliation as ‘NASA Headquarters.’ I did so because that is my current academic affiliation. But when I did so I did not realize the full implications that has.”

Lest anyone mistake his apology to NASA for a retraction, Domagal-Goldman adds: ”One last thing: I stand by the analysis in the paper. Is such a scenario likely? I don’t think so. But it’s one of a myriad of possible (albeit unlikely) scenarios, and the point of the paper was to review them.”

Jim Guirard August 19, 2011 at 1:30 pm

GADZOOKS !! No wonder the Little Green Men are terrified about the explosive balooning of our atmospheric CO2 over the past century and a half — all the way from 1/4000th of the whole back then to an alarming, “tipping point” 1/3000th today.

Intergalactic rumor has it that the retaliatory invasion from the planet “Vert-ego” will come on December 21, 2212 — when the fraction is expected to have risen to a suicidal 1/2500th and which, by some miracle, is exactly 200 years after “time as we know it” comes to an end late next year.

In the meantime, those who wish to pay homage, atonement and carbon-footprint taxes to Gaia and her Prophets — Gore, Boxer, Browner, Hanson, Obama et al — would do well to study and to follow the detailed instructions which appear at

JIM GUIRARD – 703-768-0957

BobRGeologist August 19, 2011 at 11:12 pm

I would advise not wasting time or money messing with reducing GHG. Don’t you realize we are in a climate predisposed to 100,000 year glaciation events? The 5th (Wisconsin) glaciation melted away only a geological moment (10,000 years ago). With lots of ice still in our polar regioins we are vulnerable for another any time cosmic conditions weaken our sun or plate tectonics interrupt the flow of warmed ocean currents into the high latitudes. Get this scientific fact through your heads, only a robust greenhouse gas can prevent the Earth from becoming a permanent snowball. Our worst enemy is the EPA and its counterproductive plans to shrink the CO2 in our atmosphere, greatly increasing energy costs and starving millions in the third world.

USPatriot August 20, 2011 at 5:21 am

Despite the US government cover up, evidence suggests that aliens regularly visit our planet for reasons not entirely explained. It does not appear that they wish us ill, in fact, evidence is to the contrary. My guess is the aliens will resist this NWO being planned for us, as I expect they wish us to live in freedom and peace, not tyranny. It is the NWO that is killing the planet with GMO foods, chemtrails of aluminum and other metals, manufactured oil spills, nuclear fallout after HAARP earthquakes, starvation, planned riots, toxic vaccines and deadly viral/bacterial strains, some of which are man made.

Tege Tornvall August 20, 2011 at 6:56 am

If you don’t have problems, invent them!

Round Rock Electricity August 20, 2011 at 11:04 am

We “could be detected by extra-terrestrial intelligence because our expansion is changing the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere, via greenhouse gas emissions…”

Holy Speculation Batman!! But wait, it gets worse!!!

“Green aliens might object to the environmental damage humans have caused…”

I am busting a gut… This has to be a SNL skit…. or straight from the Comedy Channel, right?

Dr. Jim August 20, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Why would aliens want to come to this planet? Particularly to the U.S.A. with all that CO2 in the atmosphere, dying polar bears, the EPA sticking its nose into whether their saucers are polluting the air, and having to sit through seeing “An Inconvenient Truth?” If I were them, I would gamma irradiate the planet and be done with it.

Brian H August 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Check out “Flying to Valhalla”, by Pellegrino. With the Rules for Alien Contact co-authored by Asimov.
In a nutshell, at least some, or one, predatory space-going species would consider all other such to be competitors to be destroyed. Such a species would probably set up near-C missile factories around their star, and launch at any potential rival.

Other races, not so aggressive, must consider that someone out there thinks like that. The only rational self-preservation strategy is pre-emptive: do it first. So every technological species must reluctantly be obliged to destroy all others as soon as they are detected.

That’s why there’s a Big Silence out there. Knowing the above, the only way to survive, additional setting up your own automated missile factories, is to be very quiet, and migrate to an unlikely locale around some other star, dig in, and hide.

About the missiles: a .92C shuttle-sized object would blow a hundred mile hole in the atmosphere and crust, and wipe out all advanced life. At that speed, you get to see its gamma wake at about 12X its actual distance from you. If it seems 1 light-month away, it’s actually about 4 days out.

Time enough to bend over and kiss your bippy goodbye.

Hogan August 20, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Aliens might detect something? From what distance might these alleged aliens be doing so? Anything farther than 100 light years would put their ‘data’ back to 1911. AND…were they to come here….even at 99% the speed of light…it would be just over 100 years before arrival.
BTW…I don’t believe any of that crap, but whomever wrote up that speeculation needs to go back to high school physics…perhaps they could explain what the energy source might be to allow traveling such distances….

Marlo Lewis August 24, 2011 at 11:49 am


Yes the speculation is quite ridiculous. In addition to the points you raise, aliens are more likely to detect our presence and learn about our technology from radio waves than from examination of Earth’s atmosphere. So should we negotiate a treaty to reduce industrial country radio transmissions 5% below 1990 levels by 2008-2012 (a la Kyoto), and a successor treaty to cut global transmissions 50% below 1990 levels by 2050 (a la Copenhagen)? Hah!

Aliens advanced enough to travel at light speed or greater and wipe us out with weapons beyond our ken would not need to fear puny humans! The preemptive strike scenario is not even good science fiction.

As to the “green alien” scenario, if Klaatu’s race is so worked up about global warming’s alleged threat to Earth’s biota, then all they have to do is share their eco-friendly zero-emissions energy technology with us Earthlings. The “final solution” Klaatu comes to execute would kill far more plant and animal species than would any plausible amount of man-made global warming. Annihilation by “green aliens” is poor science fiction, too.

The premise of Independence Day — aliens want to destroy us to gain access to Earth’s natural resources — doesn’t make much sense either. What would a civilization that builds half-mile-wide, faster-than-light space craft need here? Fresh water? Timber? Gold? Oil?

Let’s suppose though that advanced aliens somehow need our resources. If global warming despoils Earth’s resources, as alarmists claim, wouldn’t that make our planet a less appealing target?

Good old Stan Lee and Jack Kirby came up with a more coherent plot in the story of Galactus, the destroyer of worlds. Galactus feeds on bio-energy. He needs lots of it — whole planets full of life to suck dry.

CO2 emissions fertilize the biosphere, so that might make Earth a more tempting morsel to Galactus. On the other hand, if global warming harms biodiversity, then Earth might become less appetitizing. Or would that just ensure that Galactus, determined not to let his meal spoil, eats us sooner rather than later?

I dunno. What is clear is that such Hollywood/Marvel Comics speculations are not science!

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