Guest essay by Vijay Jayaraj
Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) is fairly popular. Even people in far eastern countries like India and Australia know about it.
But little do we hear about Climate-Change Derangement Syndrome (CCDS) and another new syndrome emerging from it.
CCDS is a behavioral pattern in which a section of our society responds irrationally to any trend in global temperatures that contradicts its narrative of a dangerous rise in global temperatures, without regard to the actual data.
For example, recently a group of 60 scientists, journalists, politicians, activists, and others signed an open letter saying they won’t debate anyone who denies either that climate change is human induced or that it is dangerous and needs to be prevented, even if preventing it costs trillions of dollars otherwise available to solve other problems.
In the past 20 years, those with CCDS have used all means to attack those who do not share their views on climate change.
Rather than accurately representing what skeptics think and presenting evidence to the contrary, sufferers of CCDS caricature skeptics as denying any human contribution to warming or even as denying any warming at all.
Those who are new to the climate controversy might be surprised to learn that almost 100% of climate skeptics within academia acknowledge the current warming trend in our world.
The earth experienced a very cold period during the 16th and 17th centuries. Dubbed the Little Ice Age, this period was brutal for the Northern Hemisphere. It was followed by a natural rise in global temperatures, long before the Industrial Revolution grew enough to add enough to the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide content to make any significant contribution to temperature.
The warming that began during this phase continues to date, and scientists call the current phase the Modern Warm Period. So, all the academicians agree on the current warming phase.
However, by repeated attacks on skeptics through a complicit mainstream media, those with CCDS have led much of the public to believe skeptics deny all warming—or at least all human contribution to it.
In reality, most skeptics (both within academia and outside it), remembering the undeniable evidence about the existence of similar warm periods in recent climate history, question not whether the world is warming, or even whether human activity contributes to the warming, but how much, and in what relation to natural causes, and whether the proposed changes in global energy policies are worth the effort.
One variation of CCDS we might call the Global Temperature Plateau Syndrome (GTPS). It afflicts those who are in constant denial of the approximately 19-year trend of reduced, possibly even completely absent, warming.
This trend is fascinating because it coincides with an unrelenting increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration that should, according to alarmist theory, have driven warming much faster than actually observed. This slowdown in warming, acknowledged by the staunchest climate alarmists, like Michael Mann, puts to rest the most popular hypothesis in the media—that temperatures increase in correlation with atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. The climate system is more complex than sufferers of GTPS, who continue to deny the trend, recognize.
Frustrated by academic scientists’ failure to toe the line, GTPS sufferers increasingly turn to politics rather than science to enforce their views. Consequently, we are likely to witness (if it is not already evident) political institutions and international policy-making bodies exerting their power, through funding and other means, to enforce compliance with their views in the academy.
With an increasing desire to control the public dissemination of scientific information and open declarations about persecuting those who differ from their false narrative, those who suffer from GTPS will cause permanent and lasting damage to the field of climate science and stifle progress in our efforts to understand our climate system.
The real intensity of GTPS, however, will be revealed if global temperature prolongs the downward spiral of February 2016–February 2018, during which global average surface temperature dropped 0.56˚C—the biggest two-year drop on record. (The runner-up was 1982–1984, with a drop of 0.47˚C.) Global temperature in the ensuing six months has fluctuated without a clear trend.
If there is anything we can learn from our knowledge about past climate, it is that cold phases are not conducive to human flourishing. From what it appears, it is not good for those with GTPS either.
Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), Research Associate for Developing Countries for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, lives in Chennai, India.