Well, the new report is out from the IPCC, the Indefatigable Predictors of Climate Catastrophe. It’s our last-chance must act now warning of upcoming Thermageddon … I think we’re up to Last Chance Warning Number Thirty-Seven or something like that.
And the UNFCCC, the United Nations Foundation for Collecting Climate Cash, point out that the IPCC report is full of all kinds of dire warnings like the following:
The IPCC’s special report clearly states that the world has already warmed by 1ºC due to human activity. As a result, climate change is already affecting people, ecosystems and livelihoods across the globe, with impacts such as floods or droughts disproportionately affecting the poorest and most vulnerable. Some of the most affected areas are small islands, megacities, coastal regions and high mountain ranges.
Their new push is that shooting for 2°C of warming is not alarmist enough, it’s sooo last week, so now they’re aiming for a maximum warming of 1.5°C … in passing, let me note the hubris in thinking that we can actually control the temperature of the planet to the nearest half-degree. But I digress.
All of this, of course, is justified on the basis that warming hurts the “poorest and most vulnerable”. I mean, what more noble cause can there be than keeping the poorest and most vulnerable from further harm?
In that respect, let me offer up a couple of graphs. For your first graph, here’s the Berkeley Earth estimate of the change in temperature since 1850.
Now, we can argue about the details, and the warming may not be as great as shown. But clearly, the earth has steadily warmed, in fits and starts, over the last century or so.
And for your second graph, here’s Max Roser’s look at the change in the number of people living in extreme poverty around the planet during that time.
Now, looking at those two graphs, can anyone tell me with a straight face that increasing global temperatures harm “the poorest and most vulnerable”???
It gets worse. The majority of the warming to date has occurred in the extratropics, in winter, at night … I don’t think too many people in Vladivostok or New York City will be hard hit if the winter nights average a couple of degrees warmer. Which is OK, because in general, excess cold kills more people than excess heat.
And having spent a couple of nights sleeping out on a New York City sidewalk, with my pants and shirt stuffed with newspaper and my hands burrowed into my pockets, I can assure you from painful experience that I wouldn’t have minded a bit more warmth …
So the next time someone starts up with the usual garbage about how we have to stop using fossil fuels to save the poor from a slight warming in 50 years … point them to these graphs and ask them …
If warming is so bad for the poor, how come the world has steadily warmed over the last century and the lives of the poor have steadily gotten better?
Here, we’re having the last days of summer. Me, I’m a tropical boy, I don’t like the cold weather … but a crisp fall day is just about heaven …
And finally, if you’re interested in more than climate science, let me invite you to join the discussions at my blog, or to follow me on Twitter,@WEschenbach.
Best regards to everyone,
PS—When you comment, please quote the exact words you are referring to, so we can all be clear what you are discussing.