Are Climate Warriors Giving Up?

Climate change warriors have transitioned from being motivated and enthusiastic to despondent and fatalistic. A Washington Post article this week headlined, “We only have a 5 percent chance of avoiding ‘dangerous’ global warming.” It looks to me like they have thrown in the towel. We are beyond the point of no return, whatever that means. The apocalypse is imminent.

Does that mean we can stop with the climate change talk and get on to repealing Obamacare, building the wall and cutting taxes? Doubtful. Despite the climate movement’s new fatalism, don’t expect them to give up and move on. Being 3 touchdowns down at the two-minute warning, they want to keep the starters in hoping for a miracle. Rather than accepting defeat and looking toward the next game.

The Washington Post article cites two recently published studies full of pessimism. They conclude, “There’s little chance of the world will stay within prescribed climate limits.” Specifically, “There’s only a 5 percent chance that the world can hold limiting below 2 degrees Celsius and a mere 1 percent chance that it can be limited below 1.5 degrees.”

Why are these temperature limits important? Two degrees is the threshold for “dangerous climate change.” A point beyond which recovery may be impossible. They go further stating that 1.5 degrees is, “how much global warming the world has already committed to.” In other words, 1.5 degrees of warming is a given, baked in to the future. It’s that last half degree that is either our salvation or our doom.

As if the planet’s temperature never before rose by a few degrees over a period of time. How did those ice ages ever end?

There is only one solution, they say, other than playing the odds and drawing to an inside straight, meaning that by some miracle temperatures spontaneously decrease. The answer is “negative emissions.” Or “technologies that withdraw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.” They bemoan the fact that such “technologies don’t exist yet at the relevant scale.” Really?

Ever hear of trees? Or grass, farms or other forms of plant life? What about photosynthesis, the process where plants convert carbon dioxide to oxygen? And to food for humans and animals. Trees cover 30 percent of the Earth’s land surface, all providing “negative emissions.”

Carbon dioxide also dissolves into the oceans, which cover 70 percent of the Earth’s total surface. Another source of “negative emissions.” Plants and oceans are how the Earth was designed, specifically to convert oxygen into carbon dioxide and vice versa, allowing plant and animal life to co-exist and flourish.

Planet Earth was “sustainable,” endowed with “renewable energy” long before these terms became fashionable among the socially conscious classes on the left.

What if the scientists cited by the Washington Post are wrong in their predictions? Or as one of the scientists admitted, “I think it’s possible that the future might be completely different.” No kidding. Most of us know from first-hand experience that the future is often not what we expected or predicted.

Remember how head honcho climate change warrior Al Gore predicted in 2006 that that, “unless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return.” How did that prediction turn out? Did we truly hit the “point of no return” last year? The scientists in the Washington Post article think so. Is there a good definition of what this “point of no return” actually is?

The New York Times assuredly predicted, “The end of snow” in 2014. Really? Snow skiing this year extended into summer in Colorado and California.

ABC News in 2008 told viewers that by 2015, New York City would be under several feet of water due to rising sea levels. As well as $9 per gallon gas and $13 per gallon milk. Not quite. 

Even heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, in July 2009 told an audience that we had just 96 months to save the world.  Meaning that the world should have ended a few weeks ago. Oh well.

Despite all these predictions which turned out to be wrong, there are plenty of threats out there besides climate change that could destroy the world: asteroid impact; gamma ray burst; rogue black hole; giant solar flare; super volcano; global epidemic; natural and man-made disasters.

Most of these are neither predictable nor preventable. Just like temperatures in ten or a hundred years. Why fatalism about climate change but not any of the other potential mass extinction events?

If the future is all but certain, filled with gloom and doom about rising temperatures and flooded cities, then why keep harping on it? If destruction of Planet Earth is a fait accompli, as these scientists believe, then stop with the complaints and virtue signaling as it won’t matter.

Unless, of course, the fatalism is just the latest act in the global warming melodrama, another tactic to guilt Americans into relinquishing money and power to some bureaucrats to redistribute according to their whims.  

So which is it? Are we beyond the point of no return? In which case, we should just accept our fate. Or is this just the latest scare tactic in the game of trying to predict a phenomenon beyond our ability to understand or control? Can’t have it both ways.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn and Twitter.

Climate change warriors have transitioned from being motivated and enthusiastic to despondent and fatalistic. A Washington Post article this week headlined, “We only have a 5 percent chance of avoiding ‘dangerous’ global warming.” It looks to me like they have thrown in the towel. We are beyond the point of no return, whatever that means. The apocalypse is imminent.

Does that mean we can stop with the climate change talk and get on to repealing Obamacare, building the wall and cutting taxes? Doubtful. Despite the climate movement’s new fatalism, don’t expect them to give up and move on. Being 3 touchdowns down at the two-minute warning, they want to keep the starters in hoping for a miracle. Rather than accepting defeat and looking toward the next game.

The Washington Post article cites two recently published studies full of pessimism. They conclude, “There’s little chance of the world will stay within prescribed climate limits.” Specifically, “There’s only a 5 percent chance that the world can hold limiting below 2 degrees Celsius and a mere 1 percent chance that it can be limited below 1.5 degrees.”

Why are these temperature limits important? Two degrees is the threshold for “dangerous climate change.” A point beyond which recovery may be impossible. They go further stating that 1.5 degrees is, “how much global warming the world has already committed to.” In other words, 1.5 degrees of warming is a given, baked in to the future. It’s that last half degree that is either our salvation or our doom.

As if the planet’s temperature never before rose by a few degrees over a period of time. How did those ice ages ever end?

There is only one solution, they say, other than playing the odds and drawing to an inside straight, meaning that by some miracle temperatures spontaneously decrease. The answer is “negative emissions.” Or “technologies that withdraw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.” They bemoan the fact that such “technologies don’t exist yet at the relevant scale.” Really?

Ever hear of trees? Or grass, farms or other forms of plant life? What about photosynthesis, the process where plants convert carbon dioxide to oxygen? And to food for humans and animals. Trees cover 30 percent of the Earth’s land surface, all providing “negative emissions.”

Carbon dioxide also dissolves into the oceans, which cover 70 percent of the Earth’s total surface. Another source of “negative emissions.” Plants and oceans are how the Earth was designed, specifically to convert oxygen into carbon dioxide and vice versa, allowing plant and animal life to co-exist and flourish.

Planet Earth was “sustainable,” endowed with “renewable energy” long before these terms became fashionable among the socially conscious classes on the left.

What if the scientists cited by the Washington Post are wrong in their predictions? Or as one of the scientists admitted, “I think it’s possible that the future might be completely different.” No kidding. Most of us know from first-hand experience that the future is often not what we expected or predicted.

Remember how head honcho climate change warrior Al Gore predicted in 2006 that that, “unless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return.” How did that prediction turn out? Did we truly hit the “point of no return” last year? The scientists in the Washington Post article think so. Is there a good definition of what this “point of no return” actually is?

The New York Times assuredly predicted, “The end of snow” in 2014. Really? Snow skiing this year extended into summer in Colorado and California.

ABC News in 2008 told viewers that by 2015, New York City would be under several feet of water due to rising sea levels. As well as $9 per gallon gas and $13 per gallon milk. Not quite. 

Even heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, in July 2009 told an audience that we had just 96 months to save the world.  Meaning that the world should have ended a few weeks ago. Oh well.

Despite all these predictions which turned out to be wrong, there are plenty of threats out there besides climate change that could destroy the world: asteroid impact; gamma ray burst; rogue black hole; giant solar flare; super volcano; global epidemic; natural and man-made disasters.

Most of these are neither predictable nor preventable. Just like temperatures in ten or a hundred years. Why fatalism about climate change but not any of the other potential mass extinction events?

If the future is all but certain, filled with gloom and doom about rising temperatures and flooded cities, then why keep harping on it? If destruction of Planet Earth is a fait accompli, as these scientists believe, then stop with the complaints and virtue signaling as it won’t matter.

Unless, of course, the fatalism is just the latest act in the global warming melodrama, another tactic to guilt Americans into relinquishing money and power to some bureaucrats to redistribute according to their whims.  

So which is it? Are we beyond the point of no return? In which case, we should just accept our fate. Or is this just the latest scare tactic in the game of trying to predict a phenomenon beyond our ability to understand or control? Can’t have it both ways.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn and Twitter.

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