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Climate Catastrophism Is Worse Than Climate Change

November 17, 2022

Climate Change Weekly #453

climate-change-protest-girl

Earlier this week I noticed an editorial in the Colorado Springs Gazette describing the harm being caused by “climate change catastrophism,” which I think of as climate alarmists’ equivalent of the Chinese water torture: mainstream media platforms’ daily drip, drip, drip of demonstrably false or grossly exaggerated claims about potential harms from climate change. My colleague Linnea Lueken, a research fellow with The Heartland Institute’s Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy, wrote about the editorial for Climate Realism after I brought it to her attention.

Essentially the editorial and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) article on which it is based make a critical point, as the Colorado Springs Gazette states: “Enough with climate-change scare tactics. They hurt people, possibly more than they will suffer from climate change.”

This truth echoes what we have said repeatedly at Climate Realism, Climate at a Glance, and Climate Change Weekly: the data does not support claims that extreme weather events are becoming more severe or more frequent. Policies to prevent a climate disaster that will never arrive are likely to produce worse harms than climate change itself. Prominent authors made the same points in three bestselling books released in the past couple of years: False Alarm, by Bjorn Lomborg, Ph.D.; Unsettled, by Steven Koonin, Ph.D.; and Apocalypse Never, by Michael Shellenberger.

In the meantime, these claims are doing untold damage. Children’s psyches are being horribly scarred as climate catastrophism has created whole new category of psychological disorder, “climate grief,” generated by fearmongering politicians, activists, and the mainstream media. This condition has spawned a new area of psychological practice: “ecopsychology.” Meanwhile, slavery, child labor, and environmental destruction are the foundations of the green energy technologies being pushed to replace fossil fuels to prevent climate disaster.

The Colorado Springs Gazette sums up the PNAS article thus:

In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists warn of too much focus by the scientific community on unlikely worst-case scenarios—including imminent extinction of human life—rather than more plausible outcomes that fall between Armageddon on one extreme and “no worries” on the other. Alarmism, they explain, leads to impossible goals of ending all fossil fuel consumption by mid-century, social disarray, and mental health problems.

Specifically a team of three international researchers wrote in the peer-reviewed PNAS,

[H]istory also shows risks in overemphasizing the likelihood of calamity. Mindful of this, we argue Kemp et al. understate the degree to which recent scientific and public discourses already prioritize catastrophic climate scenarios. …

Simultaneously, IPCC reports also overemphasize catastrophic scenarios, as does broader discourse. …

Overemphasized apocalyptic futures can be used to support despotism and rashness. For example, catastrophic and ultimately inaccurate overpopulation scenarios in the 1960s and 1970s contributed to several countries adopting forced sterilization and abortion programs, including China’s one-child policy, which caused up to 100 million coerced abortions, disproportionately of girls. Past and present fascist and neofascist movements frequently use fears of environmental catastrophe to promote eugenics and oppose immigration and aid.

The PNAS article then discusses one fact that is truly alarming: surveys show the overemphasis on apocalyptic climate projections has resulted in 45 percent of the world’s youth feeling climate change is negatively affecting their lives, and because of that, approximately 40 percent of the youths surveyed say they are considering not having children. That is truly tragic.

Whether people choose to have children is none of my business. However, an entire generation should not be misled into rejecting having children based on a false climate alarm suggesting that any kids they have will be a burden on the Earth or be condemned to a lifelong struggle in an environmental wasteland. Both of those claims are lies. All the available evidence suggests the future for humans and the environment will be better than the past.

I’ll conclude with a quote from Lueken I think sums up the issue quite well:

Climate alarmists exaggerate the rate of recent warming and the risks of extreme weather to motivate radical political actions. The editorial board of the Colorado Springs Gazette and the PNAS should be thanked for making this point. The Earth’s climate does change, and will continue to do so, and it is wise to meet this change with realistic mitigation efforts. An overcorrection imposed by world governments, like banning fossil fuels, is likely to cause far more harm and destruction than climate change itself.

SOURCES: Colorado Springs Gazette; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; Climate Realism


IN THIS ISSUE …

TRUDEAU’S ‘CLIMATE EMERGENCY’ CLAIMS REFUTED BY DATA … ICEMAN DISCOVERY SUGGESTS ALPS GLACIERS NATURALLY WAX AND WANE … IN MEMORIAM: GEORGE TAYLOR


TRUDEAU’S ‘CLIMATE EMERGENCY’ CLAIMS REFUTED BY DATA

Engineer Ron Barmby, author of Sunlight on Climate Change: A Heretic’s Guide to Global Climate Hysteria, says Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should rescind his June 2019 declaration of a National Climate Emergency in support of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Barmby notes mounting evidence refutes the claim climate change is causing an increase in the severity or number of extreme weather events and that temperatures are not rising as fast as projected.

Citing a recent paper by Italian physicist Gianluca Alimonti and others, “A critical assessment of extreme events trends in times of global warming,” in The European Physical Journal Plus, Barmby notes Alimonti found “…on the basis of observational data, the climate crisis that, according to many sources, we are experiencing today, is not evident yet” (emphasis by Barmby).

Barmby cites several conclusions of the journal article, including the following, in his words:

  • Hurricanes: The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has stated ‘… it is premature to conclude … human activities have had a detectable impact on Atlantic basin hurricane activity.’ …
  • Tornadoes: The authors conclude ‘… strong to violent tornadoes … show no increase over time.’ …
  • Floods and Droughts: This increase in global precipitation ‘… does not translate into an increase in intensity or frequency of floods.’ Additionally, ‘… there is no evidence that the areas affected by the different types of drought are increasing.’”

Because extreme weather events aren’t worsening, much less an existential threat to humanity, Trudeau’s only remaining argument for declaring a climate emergency is a rising average global temperature, which available data shows to be an even more tenuous argument, Barmby argues.

The United States Climate Reference Network, established in 2005 to provide continental U.S. temperature data “using state-of-the-art triple redundant instruments in pristine locations unaffected by human activities,” has recorded no warming trend since the system was established 18 years ago, Barmby reminds those interested in facts. In addition, satellite data shows temperatures are no higher now than they were at their modern peak in 1998, and since 1979 they display only a 0.11℃ warming per decade, which is less than what the climate models have predicted and certainly not an emergency.

“In aggregate, this would suggest that in an open and fair scientific inquiry, Mr. Trudeau would be hard-pressed to defend a claim of a current climate emergency,” concludes Barmby. “It’s time to have a rational, dispassionate, and independent review of Canada’s climate emergency declaration. Canadians have a right to know the science.”

SOURCE: Climate Change Dispatch


ICEMAN DISCOVERY SUGGESTS ALPS GLACIERS NATURALLY WAX AND WANE

Peer-reviewed research published in the journal Holocene indicates glaciers in the Alps have expanded and retreated multiple times over the past 6,000 years, contrary to common claims. This indicates the present glacial decline is not historically unusual, and it casts doubt on the claim the current retreat is being driven by purported human-caused climate change.

Many experts have asserted that Ötzi, the ice-age corpse found at Tisenjoch in the Alps in 1991, was uncovered for the first time in 5,300 years only because the ice melted primarily due to human-caused global warming. This claim has now been refuted by a team of researchers from universities in Norway, Switzerland, and Austria.

When Ötzi was discovered, the initial lead investigator “hypothesised that the mummy with associated artefacts had been quickly covered by glacier ice and stayed buried until the melt-out in 1991,” the researchers write.

The research team examined evidence from other glacial archaeological sites; used an improved understanding of glacial ice balance, advance, and retreat developed since Ötzi was initially discovered; and more closely examined the biological remains and the materials found with and around Ötzi. They write,

[B]enefitting from increased knowledge gained from more than two decades of investigations …, it is likely that Ötzi was not permanently buried in ice immediately after his death, but that the gully where he lay was repeatedly exposed over the next 1500 years. Based on the available evidence, this ice is better understood as a non-moving, stationary field of snow and ice, frozen to the bedrock. The damaged artefacts found with Ötzi were probably broken by typical postdepositional processes on glacial archaeological sites, and not, as previously claimed, during conflict prior to Ötzi’s flight from the valley below.

The research indicates Ötzi died on the snow at a higher elevation, with the corpse only later sliding into the hollow where it was ultimately found. During alternating warming and cooling periods, the body and Ötzi’s equipment were repeatedly exposed and reburied by snow and ice, during which the body and tools were damaged.

The researchers detailed the evidence they found indicating Ötzi had been repeatedly exposed to and protected from the weather, writing in the journal article and for the Swiss online journal NZZ.

“The state of preservation also speaks against Ötzi being a time capsule from the ice,” the scientists write. “Twenty years ago, examinations of hairline cracks in the skull already showed that the corpse had repeatedly thawed and refrozen,” NZZ writes. “The part of the fur coat lying under the body was much better preserved than the rest, and on the back of Ötzi’s head—he was lying face down—the skin had disappeared. This also indicates that the body was exposed several times.”

In addition, had Ötzi remained undisturbed under the ice for 5,300 years, newer material from more recent ages would not have been found on, around, or underneath the corpse. Yet a large amount of material from more recent periods of time—such as plants, animal droppings, feathers, and a piece of wood, all from different time periods—were found with Ötzi. This strongly suggests the ice Ötzi was trapped in melted, refroze, and accumulated again repeatedly after Ötzi’s deposition in the hollow.

SOURCES: No Tricks Zone; The Holocene


IN MEMORIAM: GEORGE TAYLOR

It is with deep regret that I write that meteorologist George Taylor has passed away after a long battle with a degenerative illness.

After obtaining degrees in mathematics and meteorology, Taylor was director of the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University (OSU) from 1989 until he retired in 2008. Taylor became Oregon’s state climatologist in 1991, and he served as president of the American Association of State Climatologists from 1998 to 2000. Taylor published more than 200 reports, symposium articles, and journal articles.

Taylor was steadfast in his view that climate science must be grounded in data and the data did not support the claim human greenhouse gas emissions were creating a climate catastrophe. Because Taylor’s views on climate change were at odds with those of then-Gov. Ted Kulongoski, a nonscientist with no research experience on climate change, Kulongoski removed Taylor from the position of state climatologist in 2007.

After his retirement from OSU, Taylor founded Applied Climate Services (ACS), a consulting firm. He remained president of ACS until illness forced his retirement.

Over the course of his career, Taylor gave dozens of talks and presentations at meetings and conferences where climate science was discussed. Among these were the 2012 meeting of the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society and the first two International Conferences on Climate Change hosted by The Heartland Institute, where he discussed “Long-Term Variability in Temperature and Precipitation” in 2008 and “The Pacific Decadal Oscillation: A Dominant Mode of Climate Variability” in 2009.

Taylor’s illness prevented him from contributing to the climate debate in recent years, but before becoming ill he was active in refuting alarming claims about pending climate doom.

Wikipedia describes some of his views on climate change, based on his education, research, and experience:

[H]e has argued that "consensus in science doesn't really mean much. What matters is the truth. Often consensus is wrong." Taylor considers global warming to be primarily caused by natural variability, not human activity, though he acknowledges that both have played a role. In 2005, Taylor testified before the Environment Committee of the Oregon House of Representatives in opposition to a bill that would increase the fuel efficiency standards for automobiles in Oregon to match California's. In his testimony, he said, "I believe the effect of greenhouse gas is a relatively minor one," and "I really believe natural variation and natural factors are a bigger cause of climate change than you and I."

Even in the face of personal and professional persecution, Taylor never wavered in his commitment to using the scientific method informed by data to understand climate change. He will be missed by many.

SOURCES: Wikipedia; The Heartland Institute; International Conference on Climate Change 1; International Conference on Climate Change 2

Author
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is the Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
hsburnett@heartland.org
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