Study: Climate Zombies Threaten “Collapse of Society” epidemiology analysis finds, “Only quick, aggressive attacks can stave off the doomsday scenario”

A must-read study in Infectious Disease Modelling Research Progress, “When zombies attack!: Mathematical modelling of an outbreak of climate zombie infection” concludes:

In summary, a zombie outbreak is likely to lead to the collapse of civilisation, unless it is dealt with quickly. While aggressive quarantine may contain the epidemic, or a cure may lead to coexistence of humans and zombies, the most effective way to contain the rise of the undead is to attack hard and attack often. As seen in the movies, it is imperative that zombies are dealt with quickly, or else we are all in a great deal of trouble.

As has been widely reported in the NZM (non-zombified media), a growing portion of the GOP political class has fallen victim to a zombie apocalypse (see “Attack of the climate zombies!” and “Dawn of the brain-dead Senate” and links below that I repeat in the event that our efforts fail and the distant descendants of the survivors try to reconstruct the course of the epidemic in order to save humanity using time-travel a la 12 Monkeys).

The question all uninfected Americans are asking is, what is the best way to deal with the climate zombies?  Thankfully, some Canadian mathematical modelers have analyzed the situation and offered their optimal strategy.

First, some background on zombies.  I recommend starting with the new AMC TV documentary series, The Walking Dead.  Shrewdly, AMC no longer runs stuff like Casablanca and Shane, but focuses on what really matters to humanity now.   Wikipedia explains in its entry on zombie apocalypse:


A zombie apocalypse is a particular hypothetical scenario of apocalyptic theory that customarily has a science fiction/horror rationale. In a zombie apocalypse, a widespread rise of zombies hostile to human life engages in a general assault on civilization.

Hypothetical no more!  See, for instance, Know your zombies: Sensenbrenner, picked to lead House attack on climate science, says, “I personally believe that the solar flares are more responsible for climatic cycles than anything that human beings do.” If the climate zombies succeed, human civilization as we know it is likely to be destroyed, according to the recent scientific literature (see “An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts: How We Know Inaction Is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces“).

The best evidence suggests the climate zombie outbreak began in the fall of 2009 with a series of stolen British emails containing a virus that turned otherwise rational human-beings into zombies who spout the most inane and unintelligible things.  In December 2009, the Canadian Medical Journal released its, “A report on the zombie outbreak of 2009.”

The infection resulted in a new species of human, classified as nonmortuus contagio, but known in the popular press as “zombie”, from the Congolese nzambi, meaning “spirit of a dead person.” As the name implies, the outbreak resulted in a resurgence of the previously deceased. Clinical signs included discoloration around the eyes, open wounds and rotting flesh, with organs and bodily functions operating at minimal levels.

Initial studies reported that the zombies did not feel pain, but these findings could not be verified because of the zombification of the researchers in question. When asked for comment, the lead author of one such study said, “Grrrnn, aaarghhh, huuuuuungry!” When questioned in more detail, he replied, “Braaaaiiiinnnnsss!” No further information is available from the interview.

The cause of the virus remains unknown. Anecdotal evidence suggests that zombies can be defeated by guns, the army, eventual starvation or Dire Straits records.

New diseases are generally investigated using experiments on infected people, clinical trials or medical observation. Unfortunately, because of the rapid zombification of scientists, epidemiologists and doctors, society was left with only one group of technocrats who remained uninfected: mathematicians. Fortunately, during the time at which the outbreak occurred, members of this group had not been invited to parties and thus remained entirely uninfected.

Interestingly, climate science bloggers also appear uninfected — though not their pro-pollution counterparts, who were among the first victims (apparently anti-science syndrome makes one especially predisposed to zombification).

Unfortunately, the mathematical analysis found:

The model showed two equilibria: the disease-free equilibrium (with no zombies) and the doomsday equilibrium (where everyone is a zombie). The application of a linear stability analysis showed that “” in the absence of further interventions “” the disease-free equilibrium was unstable and the doomsday equilibrium was stable. This finding was not promising.

Simulations based on a city of roughly 500,000 people demonstrated that an entire such city would be replaced by zombies [rapidly]. Were this mass replacement of a population to occur in a city such as Washington, DC, it may be unlikely anyone would notice.

Figure 1: Schematic diagram of the basic mathematical model (black arrows). Humans can either die naturally or be converted into zombies “” which is not terribly pleasant, but does come with that nifty jacket and tie. Zombies can reanimate the dead or be killed by humans (although it must be said that the latter doesn’t bother them too much). Possible intervention include quarantine of the zombies (green arrow), a potential cure (blue arrow) or impulsive attacks (red arrow).

I had originally feared that the rest of the world would chose the quarantine option, given that the infection has stayed mostly localized to the United States (see National Journal: “The GOP is stampeding toward an absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones”).

But the study suggests that option simply won’t work:

In summary, a zombie outbreak is likely to lead to the collapse of civilisation, unless it is dealt with quickly. While aggressive quarantine may contain the epidemic, or a cure may lead to coexistence of humans and zombies, the most effective way to contain the rise of the undead is to blog hard and blog often. As seen in the movies, it is imperative that zombies are dealt with quickly, or else we are all in a great deal of trouble.

Interestingly, this is very similar to the strategy recommended by the prestigious journal Nature (see Nature: “Scientists must now emphasize the science, while acknowledging that they are in a street fight with climate zombies”).

Happy Halloween!

Related Posts:

Note:  I have made remarkably few wording changes to the original studies.  Who knew Canadian mathematicians were that funny?  This is a repost.


23 Responses to Study: Climate Zombies Threaten “Collapse of Society”

  1. Colorado Bob says:

    ” India’s food price index rose 11.43 percent in the year to Oct. 15, while China’s food prices climbed 13.4 percent in September from a year earlier. Bangladesh food inflation jumped to 13.75 percent in September from 12.70 percent in August. ”

  2. Tom Lenz says:

    The zombies on CBS just had the lead scientist for the Nature Conservancy on air who actually mentioned climate change as it relates to the freakish snow. WOW! That has to be a first. I feel a little less like blowing my brains out this morning. ;)

  3. Mike Roddy says:

    Good one, Joe!

    As you know, I muse on this issue a lot on other blogs. Here’s Tim Phillips, my favorite new member of the annual list:

    It’s much easier to understand Tim and the Koch brothers who employ them if we just accept that they are not human, and suffer from a strange parasite that drives them to infect others.

    If they are actual humans, of course, we might be doomed, since there are a lot of them, and they have purchased Congress.

  4. Artful Dodger says:

    Occupy News:
    “New Haven’s occupiers taking it to the next level​ — sustainability”

  5. Artful Dodger says:

    Tommy, don’t u dare! We need you, brother! … and make sure you have a great day today. Cheers!

  6. Tom Lenz says:

    Then they had on comic Mo Rocca posing as a ‘journalist’ to cover the population problem with an expert who reassured us that food isn’t a concern because so much is wasted yadda yadda yadda. He did explain how consumption patterns in the west can be more important than birthrates elsewhere but did the zombie anchors learn anything? No, they threw to commercial with an eyeroll at the birthrates in Africa with a wink and a smile. Being practically brain dead zombies they are very slow learners.

  7. Tom Lenz says:

    Thank you so much Artful Dodger. I always know I’m among kindred spirits when I come here. You have a great day too.

  8. AngryMan9000 says:

    Looks like you zombies have gone off the deep end. Everyone knows the best place to survive the zombie apocalypse is at the mall.

  9. Tom Lenz says:

    Give them the Alex The Droog treatment in A Clockwork Orange. Keep their bellies empty while being forced to stare at an endless video loop of starving famine victims.

  10. Mike Roddy says:

    Seth Borenstein wrote a good story on Muller’s work, and it’s linked to Huffpost and AOL, too.

  11. Tom Lenz says:

    No brains for you!

  12. Joan Savage says:

    Option 5 “A Model with Treatment” a gradual cure for zombie-ism.

    “In this case, humans are not eradicated, but only exist in low numbers.”

    Could be worse.

  13. Joan Savage says:

    Option 6 Impulsive Eradication, suggests complete success in ten days.

    Now, that is almost beyond one’s wildest dreams.

  14. M Tucker says:

    On October 27 President Obama sat down to dinner with four campaign donors. These were everyday folk who wanted to discuss the issues with the President. They spoke of many things from health care, to education debt, to mortgage foreclosures, to jobs, to Republican gridlock, but not once did global warming come up. Not once. So the epidemic is spreading and I would modify this statement:
    “Were this mass replacement of a population to occur in a country such as the United States, it may be unlikely anyone would notice.”

    The US…Climate Zombie Nation! It is too late for us…save yourselves!

  15. Brian R Smith says:

    I still have my full-coverage rubber Nixon mask which may offer some protection against climate zombies at the Senior Center tonight. The downside is C02 build-up in the mask which causes cranial warming. My other choice was the Romm CP-350 Deluxe Head Vice For All Occasions, but it flew off the shelves before I could get one. Never mind, I can make my own out of surplus congressional wingnuts.

  16. Russell says:

    ‘Mister Burns, the climate zombies have eaten all the Simpsons, and are starting to gnaw on your fence.’

    ‘All right , Smithers. Release the Romms!”

  17. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Lay off mathematicians- they’re OK although they have a tendency to go forth and multiply. Better to be at a party with a mathematician than a bean counter, ME

  18. Tim Kelly says:

    I’m curious to know if Sheldon Whitehouse’s Oct. 13th speech has had any effect. I’ve been spreading the word about this address ever since I first heard about it. Anyone heard anything?

  19. Just for fon, Dan Drezner’s piece in Foreign Policy:

    Night of the Living Wonks
    Toward an international relations theory of zombies.

  20. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Tom, I can’t help thinking of Alex bludgeoning Miriam Karlin with that ‘ornament’. I wouldn’t wish that on the worst climate zombie-or would I?

  21. tim bastable says:

    Ah – delightful piece – thanks so much again Mr Romm – as always you restore my faith in America and you made me laugh out loud – will be reposting this in the UK to let the rest of us know that there’s still intelligent life in America!

  22. Tom Lenz says:

    Yeah, let’s save the large ceramic phallus for the most hateful homophobes. Zombies just need to have their brain rations forified with facts and essential vitamins.