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Readings from climate alarmists and a denier: Surviving the debate

First word

TO get a handle on the subject of climate change (global warming), I now read regularly the statements/warnings of climate alarmists, as well as the debunking of global warming by deniers. I do not settle for getting the picture only from one side of the fence.

It’s like the time, when fresh out of university, I commuted between the works of Christian thinkers/apologists, and those of atheists and existentialists. All that reading then taught me the value of skepticism on matters of religion.

All the readings now on climate change keep me abreast with what’s happening in this big debate – both the sensible and the foolish.

I want to share today three readings, which reflect the situation on both sides of the fence. These are:

1. “On climate change, it’s time to start panicking,” by Matthew Rosxa (Salon, August 5, 2018)

2. “As panic sets in, I’m thinking about escape – to Canada,” by Emma Brockes (Guardian, August 10, 2018

3. “Failed Prognostications of Climate Alarm,” by Rob Bradley (WUWT, August 7, 2018).

I can’t reprint them in toto. I will only quote them at length to show their main points.

It’s time to panic

“On climate change, it’s time to start panicking” — Matthew Rosxa in Salon

It is time for us to panic about global warming. Indeed, a proper state of panic is long overdue.

This is one of those issues in which — because there are so many twists and turns and overwhelming details — it is easy to lose sight of a crucial fact: If we do not resolve the problem of manmade climate change, it could quite literally spell the end of human civilization.

“There will be and already is major consequences and they grow over time. It does not look good,” Kevin Trenberth, a distinguished senior scientist in the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, told Salon by email. “The effects are always local but there are more and more of them and the consequences are major. These includes floods and drought, heat waves and wild fires.”

…The good news is that humanity hasn’t passed the point of no return, at least when it comes to the total destruction of our species (we have definitely passed that point when it comes to avoiding any kinds of lasting consequences). If we are to stave off even worse examples of extreme weather than the hurricanes, wildfires, floods, droughts and heat waves we’ve already experienced, however, we need to start implementing intelligent policies — and do so now.”

Thinking of escape to Canada

“As panic sets in, I’m thinking of escape — to Canada” — Emma Brockes in the Guardian.

The summer of heat waves and forest fires leaves my friends feeling helpless and a little hysterical. And who can blame us?

The New York Times has devoted an entire edition of its magazine, some 30,000 words, to a terrifying piece about climate change. With 2C warming — an unlikely best-case scenario at this point, scientists were quoted as saying — the planet faces “long-term disaster.” With 3C warming, we are looking at “the loss of most coastal cities.” The possibility that the Earth might warm by 5C, wrote the author, Nathaniel Rich, had prompted some of the world’s leading scientists to warn of the end of human civilization.

There has also been some chatter about whether its gloomy prediction is an irresponsible piece of editorializing that will encourage already disengaged people to give up and leave the house with every light burning.

I was having lunch with friends in Brooklyn on Sunday, in a low-lying area that will be under water when all of this comes to pass and, political analysis aside, all we could focus on was: what on earth are we going to do? More specifically, how to ensure the survival of our children, and should it involve buying a compound in some remote part of Canada?

The difficulty is knowing how to recognize the klaxon call when it comes. Is this, the summer of forest fires and record heatwaves, the climate disaster equivalent to Kristallnacht (the night of November 9–10, 1938, when German Nazis attacked Jewish persons and property)? Or can we safely not think about it for another 10 years?

No one had any answers. One friend averred that, shabby as this line of thinking is, one had to assume that when climate change posed an imminent threat to national security, the entire US defense budget would be plowed into technology to reverse it, and we would be saved in the nick of time.

This seems to me optimistic, like the disaster movie in which a meteorite hurtling towards Earth is blown off course by a magic missile….

Eventually, we came back to the question of Canada. (Or in the UK, Scotland.) Assessments by climate scientists have suggested cities around the Great Lakes are viable — and, until everyone else panics, affordable!

Failed predictions

“Failed prognostications of climate alarm” — Rob Bradley, WUWT (WUWT.com is the world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change.)

“If the current pace of the buildup of these gases continues, the effect is likely to be a warming of 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit [between now and]the year 2025 to 2050…. The rise in global temperature is predicted to… cause sea levels to rise by one to four feet by the middle of the next century.” — Philip Shabecoff, “Global Warming Has Begun” (New York Times, June 24, 1988).

It has been 30 years since the alarm bell was sounded for manmade global warming caused by modern industrial society. And predictions made on that day — and ever since — continue to be falsified in the real world.

The predictions made by climate scientist James Hansen and Michael Oppenheimer back in 1988 — and reported as model projected by journalist Philip Shabecoff — constitute yet another exaggerated Malthusian scare, joining those of the population bomb (Paul Ehrlich), resource exhaustion (Club of Rome), Peak Oil (M. King Hubbert), and global cooling (John Holdren).

Dire predictions of global warming and sea-level rise are… being falsified — and by a lot, not a little….

Take the mid-point of the above’s predicted warming, 6 degrees. At the thirty-year mark, how is it looking? The increase is about 1 degree — and largely holding (the much-discussed “pause” or “warming hiatus”).

Turning to sea-level rise, the exaggeration appears greater. Both before and after the 1980s, decadal sea-level rise has been a few inches. And it has not been appreciably accelerating. “The rate of sea level rise during the period 1925–1960 is as large as the rate of sea level rise the past few decades,” says noted climate scientist Judith Curry. “Human emissions of CO2 mostly grew after 1950; so, humans don’t seem to be to blame for the early 20th century sea level rise, nor for the sea level rise in the 19th and late 18th centuries.”

The sky-is-falling pitch went from bad to worse when scientist James Hansen was joined by politician Al Gore. Sea levels could rise 20 feet, claimed Gore in his 2006 documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, a prediction that has brought rebuke even from those sympathetic to the climate cause.

In the same book/movie, Al Gore prophesied that unless the world dramatically reduced greenhouse gases, we would hit a “point of no return.” In his book review of Gore’s effort, James Hansen unequivocally stated: “We have at most 10 years — not 10 years to decide upon action, but 10 years to alter fundamentally the trajectory of global greenhouse emissions.”

Time is up on Gore’s “point of no return” and Hansen’s “critical tipping point.” But neither has owned up to their exaggeration or made new predictions — as if they will suddenly be proven right.

…Back in the late 1980s, the UN claimed that if global warming were not checked by 2000, rising sea levels would wash entire countries away

…If science is prediction, the Malthusian science of sustainability is pseudo-science. But worse, by not fessing up, by doubling down on doom, the scientific program has been compromised.

“In their efforts to promote their ‘cause’,” Judith Curry told Congress, “the scientific establishment behind the global warming issue has been drawn into the trap of seriously understating the uncertainties associated with the climate problem.”

….Even DC-establishment environmentalists have worried about a backfire. In 2007, two mainstream climate scientists warned against the “Hollywoodization” of their discipline. They complained about “a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”

If the climate problem is exaggerated, that issue should be demoted.


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