Why Apocalyptic Claims About Climate Change Are Wrong

Forbes
Climate scientists are speaking out against grossly exaggerated claims about global warming. Forbes | James Alexander Michie

Climate scientists are speaking out against grossly exaggerated claims about global warming. GETTY

It should be noted that journalists and environmental defenders have made in recent weeks a series of apocalyptic predictions about the impact of climate change. Bill McKibben suggested that the fires caused by the weather in Australia had made the koalas “functionally extinct”. Extinction Rebellion said “Billions will die” and “Life on Earth is dying”. So Vice claimed the “collapse of civilization may have already begun”.

Certainly, sometimes, the scientists themselves make apocalyptic statements. “It’s difficult to see how we could accommodate a billion people or even half of that” if Earth warms four degrees, said one earlier this year. “The potential for multi-breadbasket failure is increasing”, said another. If sea levels rise as much as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts, another scientist said, “It will be an unmanageable problem”.

Undoubtedly, apocalyptic statements like these have impacts in the real world. A clear example of this is that in September, a group of British psychologists said that children are increasingly anxious about the terrifying discourse about climate change.

Honesty and precision above all

It is important to mention that both journalists and activists have an obligation to describe environmental problems honestly and accurately, even if they fear that this will reduce the value of news or notoriety with the public. And there is good evidence that the catastrophic climate change framework is counterproductive because it alienates and polarizes many people. Likewise, exaggerating the risks of climate change distracts from other important issues, including those over which more control could be taken in the short term.

It should be noted that no credible scientific body has said that climate change threatens the collapse of civilization and much less the extinction of the human species. “Our children are going to die in the next 10 to 20 years”. What’s the scientific basis for these claims? BBC’s Andrew Neil asked a visibly uncomfortable XR spokesperson last month.

“These claims have been disputed, admittedly” she said. “There are some scientists who are agreeing and some who are saying it’s not true. But the overall issue is that these deaths are going to happen”.

It is necessary to clarify that it is not that the weather does not matter. Is that climate change is compensated by other factors. Earlier this year, researchers discovered that the climate “has affected organized armed conflict within countries. However, other drivers, such as low socioeconomic development and low capabilities of the state, are judged to be substantially more influential”.

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Source: Michael Shellenberger | Forbes

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