The toxic rhetoric of climate change

Reposted from Dr Curry’s Climate Etc.

Posted on December 14, 2019 by curryja

by Judith Curry

“I genuinely have the fear that climate change is going to kill me and all my family, I’m not even kidding it’s  all I have thought about for the last 9 months every second of the day. It’s making my sick to my stomach, I’m not eating or sleeping and I’m getting panic attacks daily. It’s currently 1 am and I can’t sleep as I’m petrified.”  – Young adult in the UK

Letter from a worried young adult in the UK

I received this letter last nite, via email:

“I have no idea if this is an accurate email of your but I just found it and thought I’d take a chance. My name is XXX I’m 20 years old from the UK. I have been well the only word to describe it is suffering as I genuinely have the fear that climate change is going to kill me and all my family, I’m not even kidding it’s  all I have thought about for the last 9 months every second of the day. It’s making my sick to my stomach, I’m not eating or sleeping and I’m getting panic attacks daily. It’s currently 1am and I can’t sleep as I’m petrified. I’ve tried to do my own research, I’ve tried everything. I’m not stupid, I’m a pretty rational thinker but at this point sometimes I literally wish I wasn’t born, I’m just so miserable and Petrified. I’ve recently made myself familiar with your work and would be so appreciative of any findings you can give me or hope or advice over email. I’m already vegetarian and I recycle everything so I’m really trying. Please help me. In anyway you can. I’m at my wits end here.”

JC’s response

We have been hearing increasingly shrill rhetoric from Extinction Rebellion and other activists about the ‘existential threat’ of the ‘climate crisis’, ‘runaway climate chaos’, etc. In a recent op-ed, Greta Thunberg stated: “Around 2030 we will be in a position to set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control that will lead to the end of our civilization as we know it.”  From the Extinction Rebellion: “It is understood that we are facing an unprecedented global emergency. We are in a life or death situation of our own making.”

It is more difficult tune out similar statements from responsible individuals representing the United Nations. In his opening remarks for the UN Climate Change Conference this week in Madrid (COP25), UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that “the point of no-return is no longer over the horizon.” Hoesung Lee, the Chair for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said “if we stay on our current path, [we] threaten our existence on this planet.”

So . . . exactly what should we be worried about? Consider the following statistics:

  • Over the past century, there has been a 99% decline in the death toll from natural disasters, during the same period that the global population quadrupled.
  • While global economic losses from weather and climate disasters have been increasing, this is caused by increasing population and property in vulnerable locations. Global weather losses as a percent of global GDP have declined about 30% since 1990.
  • While the IPCC has estimated that sea level could rise by 0.6 meters by 2100, recall that the Netherlands adapted to living below sea level 400 years ago.
  • Crop yields continue to increase globally, surpassing what is needed to feed the world. Agricultural technology matters more than climate.
  • The proportion of world population living in extreme poverty declined from 36% in 1990 to 10% in 2015.

While many people may be unaware of this good news, they do react to each weather or climate disaster in the news. Activist scientists and the media quickly seize upon each extreme weather event as having the fingerprints of manmade climate change — ignoring the analyses of more sober scientists showing periods of even more extreme weather in the first half of the 20th century, when fossil fuel emissions were much smaller.

So . . . why are we so worried about climate change? The concern over climate change is not so much about the warming that has occurred over the past century. Rather, the concern is about what might happen in the 21st century as a result of increasing fossil fuel emissions. Emphasis on ‘might.’

Alarming press releases are issued about each new climate model projection that predicts future catastrophes from famine, mass migrations, catastrophic fires, etc. However these alarming scenarios of the 21st century climate change require that, like the White Queen in Alice and Wonderland, we believe ‘six impossible things before breakfast’.

The most alarming scenarios of 21st century climate change are associated with the RCP8.5 greenhouse gas concentration scenario. Often erroneously described as a ‘business as usual’ scenario, RCP8.5 assumes unrealistic trends long-term trends for population and a slowing of technological innovation. Even more unlikely is the assumption that the world will largely be powered by coal.

In spite of the implausibility of this scenario, RCP8.5 is the favored scenario for publications based on climate model simulations. In short, RCP8.5 is a very useful recipe for cooking up scenarios alarming impacts from manmade climate change. Which are of course highlighted and then exaggerated by press releases and media reports.

Apart from the issue of how much greenhouse gases might increase, there is a great deal of uncertainty about much the planet will warm in response to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide – referred to as ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’ (ECS). The IPCC 5th Assessment Report (2013) provided a range between 1 and 6oC, with a ‘likely’ range between 1.5 and 4.5oC.

In the years since the 5th Assessment Report, the uncertainty has grown. The latest climate model results – prepared for the forthcoming IPCC 6th Assessment Report – shows that a majority of the climate models are producing values of ECS exceeding 5oC. The addition of poorly understood additional processes into the models has increased confusion and uncertainty. At the same time, refined efforts to determine values of the equilibrium climate sensitivity from the historical data record obtain values of ECS about 1.6oC, with a range from 1.05 to 2.7oC.

With this massive range of uncertainty in the values of equilibrium climate sensitivity, the lowest value among the climate models is 2.3oC, with few models having values below 3oC. Hence the lower end of the range of ECS is not covered by the climate models, resulting in temperature projections for the 21st century that are biased high, with a smaller range relative to the range of uncertainty in ECS.

With regards to sea level rise, recent U.S. national assessment reports have included a worst-case sea level rise scenario for the 21st century of 2.5 m. Extreme estimates of sea level rise rely on RCP8.5 and climate model simulations that are on average running too hot relative to the uncertainty range of ECS. The most extreme scenarios of 21st century sea level rise are based on speculative and poorly understood physical processes that are hypothesized to accelerate the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. However, recent research indicates that these processes are very unlikely to influence sea level rise in the 21st century. To date, in most of the locations that are most vulnerable to sea level rise, local sinking from geological processes and land use has dominated over sea level rise from global warming.

To further complicate climate model projections for the 21st century, the climate models focus only on manmade climate change – they make no attempt to predict natural climate variations from the sun’s output, volcanic eruptions and long-term variations in ocean circulation patterns. We have no idea how natural climate variability will play out in the 21st century, and whether or not natural variability will dominate over manmade warming.

We still don’t have a realistic assessment of how a warmer climate will impact us and whether it is ‘dangerous.’ We don’t have a good understanding of how warming will influence future extreme weather events.  Land use and exploitation by humans is a far bigger issue than climate change for species extinction and ecosystem health.

We have been told that the science of climate change is ‘settled’. However, in climate science there has been a tension between the drive towards a scientific ‘consensus’ to support policy making, versus exploratory research that pushes forward the knowledge frontier. Climate science is characterized by a rapidly evolving knowledge base and disagreement among experts. Predictions of 21st century climate change are characterized by deep uncertainty.

As noted in a recent paper co-authored by Dr. Tim Palmer of Oxford University, https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2019/11/26/1906691116.full.pdf, there is “deep dissatisfaction with the ability of our models to inform society about the pace of warming, how this warming plays out regionally, and what it implies for the likelihood of surprises.” “Unfortunately, [climate scientists] circling the wagons leads to false impressions about the source of our confidence and about our ability to meet the scientific challenges posed by a world that we know is warming globally.”

We have not only oversimplified the problem of climate change, but we have also oversimplified its ‘solution’. Even if you accept the climate model projections and that warming is dangerous, there is disagreement among experts regarding whether a rapid acceleration away from fossil fuels is the appropriate policy response. In any event, rapidly reducing emissions from fossil fuels to ameliorate the adverse impacts of extreme weather events in the near term increasingly looks like magical thinking.

Climate change – both manmade and natural – is a chronic problem that will require continued management over the coming centuries.

We have been told that climate change is an ‘existential crisis.’ However, based upon our current assessment of the science, the climate threat is not an existential one, even in its most alarming hypothetical incarnations. However, the perception of manmade climate change as a near-term apocalypse and has narrowed the policy options that we’re willing to consider. The perceived ‘urgency’ of drastically reducing fossil fuel emissions is forcing us to make near term decisions that may be suboptimal for the longer term. Further, the monomaniacal focus on elimination of fossil fuel emissions distracts our attention from the primary causes of many of our problems that we might have more success in addressing in the near term.

Common sense strategies to reduce vulnerability to extreme weather events, improve environmental quality, develop better energy technologies and increase access to grid electricity, improve agricultural and land use practices, and better manage water resources can pave the way for a more prosperous and secure future. Each of these solutions is ‘no regrets’ – supporting climate change mitigation while improving human well being. These strategies avoid the political gridlock surrounding the current policies and avoid costly policies that will have minimal near-term impacts on the climate. And finally, these strategies don’t require agreement about the risks of uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions.

We don’t know how the climate of the 21st century will evolve, and we will undoubtedly be surprised. Given this uncertainty, precise emissions targets and deadlines are scientifically meaningless. We can avoid much of the political gridlock by implementing common sense, no-regrets strategies that improve energy technologies, lift people out of poverty and make them more resilient to extreme weather events.

The extreme rhetoric of the Extinction Rebellion and other activists is making political agreement on climate change policies more difficult.  Exaggerating the dangers beyond credibility makes it difficult to take climate change seriously.  On the other hand, the extremely alarmist rhetoric has frightened the bejesus out of children and young adults.

JC message to children and young adults: Don’t believe the hype that you are hearing from Extinction Rebellion and the like.  Rather than going on strike or just worrying, take the time to learn something about the science of climate change.  The IPCC reports are a good place to start; for a critical perspective on the IPCC, Climate Etc. is a good resource.

Climate change — manmade and/or natural — along with extreme weather events, provide reasons for concern.   However, the rhetoric and politics of climate change have become absolutely toxic and nonsensical.

In the mean time, live your best life.  Trying where you can to lessen your impact on the planet is a worthwhile thing to do.   Societal prosperity is the best insurance policy that we have for reducing our vulnerability to the vagaries of weather and climate.

JC message to Extinction Rebellion and other doomsters:  Not only do you know nothing about climate change, you also appear to know nothing of history.  You are your own worst enemy — you are triggering a global backlash against doing anything sensible about protecting our environment or reducing our vulnerability to extreme weather.  You are making young people miserable, who haven’t yet experienced enough of life to place this nonsense in context.

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106 thoughts on “The toxic rhetoric of climate change

  1. I have simplified, for the “nonscientific unwashed masses” response on my blog http://www.climate4kids. blogspot.com.

    There are several posts concerning fear and how the government instills this fear, now and in the past. Most are very simple and don’t involve the IPCC or their scenarios, which many people have zero understanding of.

  2. Thank you, Dr Curry. It is valuable to point out the extreme CAGW end-of-world is predicted not by IPCC ARs, but these organizations which take AGW as a kind of cult.

    Be calm, young person, there is no reason to fear the future. Humans are very good in solving problems. In the case of climate change, there is absolutely no reason to expect an abrupt end, in fact my best guess is the common peak panic will be over before you turn 35. Have kids, and if you are feeling anxious, google for residences in Fairbanks, Alaska. Look at the weather. The easiest way to decide there is no reason to flee north. I’ll head south, so my place will be freed.

    • Hugs, you can’t help this young person with hugs. She says “I’m a pretty rational thinker but now I sometimes wish I hadn’t been born”. This is not a rational thought, this is evidence of a behavioral problem that is not being dealt with.

      • A young person or any person who is capable of rational thought can only reason based on the information put in front of to them (“the science is SETTLED” etc.).
        If all they’ve been told are lies or, at best, mistaken information, then their conclusions can only be faulty.
        Hugs gave a good response.
        That young person needs to dig beyond “Grrrreta” and the MSM rhetoric.

      • Ron, this young person doesn’t exist. Judith’s email is part of a dis-information campaign created in the fevered mind of a bored teenager.

      • Yes, if that email is real then it’s infinitely sad. It is certainly not rational. Surely the only rational response would be to look into the data and the science with open eyes. If she could do that then she would realise that humanity – and the planet – are prospering as never before. If there really are many cases like this – of young people being badly damaged by these imaginary terrors – then the perpetrators are not just wrong, they are evil. I hope to see some of them behind bars – but I’m not holding my breath.

        I thought about Judith Curry’s five points, and I’ve jotted down my first version of something similar. Here it is (I’ll add the supporting sources later):

        1. The planet is becoming dramatically greener, due primarily to increased CO2 and also global warming. This has been confirmed by a major NASA peer-reviewed study and also by the BBC’s Roger Harribin.

        2. The Little Ice Age, which ended in 1850, represented a global cooling of about one degree C. Since 1850 the total global warming has been about one degree C. In other words, most of the modern global warming was caused by the planet emerging from the LIA. As the LIA was a terrible time for humanity, this warming has been a massive benefit for the wellbeing of humanity and the planet.

        3. Human deaths caused by weather-related disasters have been falling dramatically in recent decades. There has been no increase in extreme weather, and the overall intensity of Atlantic hurricanes has been falling over recent decades.
        Globally, and in the US, the overall intensity of wildfires has been falling in recent decades. In the US, by far the worst period for droughts, wildfires and heatwaves was in the 1930’s, during the Dust Bowl.

        4. Human wellfare has been increasing over the centuries and actually accelerating in recent decades. All global measures (e.g. food per head of population, average lifespans, GDP per head of population) have been increasing significantly in recent decades.

        5. There is nothing unusual about the modern global warming. Data from proxies and ice cores clearly shows that warm periods have been occurring remarkably regularly, roughly every thousand years. These periods were all warmer than the current warm period: the Minoan period (about 1500 BC), the Roman period and the Medieval Warm Period. These were all times of great advancement for humanity – it was the cold periods in between when humanity suffered (e.g. the Dark Ages), and virtually all of the great historical civilisations failed during cold periods.

        6. The alarmism and hysteria is almost entirely based on climate models which have consistently failed to conform to reality. Over thirty years or more (the minimum time for assessing climate) the models have predicted up to three times more warming than actually occurred. Even if scientists had a perfect understanding of the climate – which they do not – it would still be impossible to make meaningful long term predictions, due to the chaotic nature of the weather and climate (this is confirmed in an IPCC report).

        7. The rate of sea level rise is very small, about 1 to 2 mm per year. Crucially, this rise started at the end of the Little Ice Age (1850) and it has been remarkably constant ever since with no sign of acceleration. The rate of rise today is no larger than during the Boer War. It’s unlikely that anyone would actually notice a rise in sea level over their lifetime.

        Chris

    • The IPCC actually said, last I looked, that AGW might ding GDP by 2.9% when it’s assumed the GDP by that time will be ninefold higher than today. My dog is yawning.

      Thanks, JC, for a terrific rebuttal to the moral panic.

    • Did you Dr. Curry sell your car? Move to a town with good transit bussing? Start riding bike? Walk to the store for groceries? If not, then shut the hell up!!!

      • Big T,
        I haven’t done any of that either and I am not going to.
        So, you can shut the hell up!!!
        There is no crisis, except that in your head.

  3. My response on the Curry site
    “Judith you say ” We have no idea how natural climate variability will play out in the 21st century, and whether or not natural variability will dominate over manmade warming.” This is simply untrue. Given the last 15 years of Solar activity and temperature date, simple common sense suggests that a Millennial Solar activity peak was reached in 1991 +/- and a corresponding global temperature and turning point from warming to cooling was reached at 2004+/-.It’s not “rocket science” or a “wicked problem” in the long term. Short term weather forecasting is much more difficult.
    Here is the Abstract from my 2017 paper linked below
    “This paper argues that the methods used by the establishment climate science community are not fit for purpose and that a new forecasting paradigm should be adopted. Earth’s climate is the result of resonances and beats between various quasi-cyclic processes of varying wavelengths. It is not possible to forecast the future unless we have a good understanding of where the earth is in time in relation to the current phases of those different interacting natural quasi periodicities. Evidence is presented specifying the timing and amplitude of the natural 60+/- year and, more importantly, 1,000 year periodicities (observed emergent behaviors) that are so obvious in the temperature record. Data related to the solar climate driver is discussed and the solar cycle 22 low in the neutron count (high solar activity) in 1991 is identified as a solar activity millennial peak and correlated with the millennial peak -inversion point – in the RSS temperature trend in about 2003. The cyclic trends are projected forward and predict a probable general temperature decline in the coming decades and centuries. Estimates of the timing and amplitude of the coming cooling are made. If the real climate outcomes follow a trend which approaches the near term forecasts of this working hypothesis, the divergence between the IPCC forecasts and those projected by this paper will be so large by 2021 as to make the current, supposedly actionable, level of confidence in the IPCC forecasts untenable.”
    These general general trends were disturbed by the Super El Nino of 2016/17. The effect of this short term event have been dissipating so that “If the real climate outcomes follow a trend which approaches the near term forecasts of this working hypothesis, the divergence between the IPCC forecasts and those projected by this paper will be so large by 2021 as to make the current, supposedly actionable, level of confidence in the IPCC forecasts untenable.”
    See my 2017 paper “The coming cooling: Usefully accurate climate forecasting for policy makers.”
    http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0958305X16686488
    and an earlier accessible blog version at
    http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-coming-cooling-usefully-accurate_17.html
    And /or My Blog-posts http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-millennial-turning-point-solar.html ( See Figs)
    and https://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-co2-derangement-syndrome-millennial.html
    also see the discussion with Professor William Happer at http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2018/02/exchange-with-professor-happer-princeton.html

    • What is your definition of large in “…the divergence between the IPCC forecasts and those projected by this paper will be so large by 2021 as to make the current, supposedly actionable, level of confidence in the IPCC forecasts untenable.”?

      • Scissor
        My comment says “These general trends were disturbed by the Super El Nino of 2016/17. The effect of this short term event have been dissipating so that “If the real climate outcomes follow a trend which approaches the near term forecasts of this working hypothesis, the divergence between the IPCC forecasts and those projected by this paper will be so large by 2021 as to make the current, supposedly actionable, level of confidence in the IPCC forecasts untenable.”
        Check the RSS data at http://images.remss.com/data/msu/graphics/TLT_v40/time_series/RSS_TS_channel_TLT_Global_Land_And_Sea_v04_0.txt
        I pick the Millennial turning point peak here at 2005 – 4 at 0.58
        I suggest that if the 2021 temperature is lower than that (16 years without warming ) the crisis forecasts would obviously be seriously questionable and provide no secure basis for restructuring the world economy at a cost of trillions of dollars.
        The El Nino RSS peak was at 2016 – 2 at 1.2
        Latest month was 2019-11 at 0.71
        However the whole UNFCCC circus was designed to produce action even without empirical
        justification. See
        https://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-co2-derangement-syndrome-millennial.html
        ” United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, later signed by 196 governments.
        The objective of the Convention is to keep CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that they guessed would prevent dangerous man made interference with the climate system.
        This treaty is a comprehensive, politically driven, political action plan called Agenda 21 designed to produce a centrally managed global society which would control every aspect of the life of every one on earth.
        It says :
        “The Parties should take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the
        causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects. Where there are threats of serious or
        irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing
        such measures”
        Apocalyptic forecasts are used as the main drivers of demands for action and for enormous investments such as those in the new IPCC SR1.5 report .”

  4. I wonder how the Pilgrims would have reacted if the “climate scientists” had told them that the average temp would rise 4 degrees over the next 400 years? Because, for me, I could handle 2 or 3 degrees warmer right now.

    • Everybody I know has bunches of clothes to keep warm. Deaths from cold are 20 times deaths from heat.

      The most state records for the hottest day was in the 1930s, 24 records still stand. As a comparison, there were 2 state records for the hottest and coldest day in the 2000s and 2010s each.

      Also, because the H20 cycle with water vapor a greenhouse gas 100 times as potent as CO2 is not able to be forecast it makes forecasting temperature impossible. They don’t know if it will be cloudy and hot like Venus or clear and cold like Mars.

  5. The trouble is that the models do not take into account historical data. Thus they do not account for the Eemian , the Minoan, the Roman and the Mediaeval warms. Each of these peiods at its peak was warmer than the present. In between it was colder than the present. As CO2 is believed to have been roughly constant since the commencement of the Eemian, there must be some ‘natural’ ie, not understood, cause for the temperature variation. It has been gradually warming since the bottom of the ‘Little Ice Age’, and the CO2 content of the atmosphere has only been sharply rising since around 1950 – or you can stretch this back to about 1920 if you like, but we cannot tell how much warming is due to this natural oscillation in temperature, and how much due to CO2, if any.

    Note that there are, in addition to the roughly 500 -1000 year oscillation in global temperature, many short term oscillations which produced the warm period for the 1920/1930s the cold 1945-1975 period and the warm since, plus the ‘pause’ from 1998 to 2015. Add in the effects of the El Nino and La Nina, even shorter term and unpredictable, and the system appears to be completely chaotic, and incapable of being estimated as to future changes.

    There is another problem. Water vapour – H2O – is also a greenhouse gas, and there is up to 100 times as much H2O as there is CO2. The H2O absorption band largely overlaps the CO2 absorption bands so the effect of CO2 is largely obliterated by the effect of water vapour. As a result, the effect of CO2 is completely undetectable.

    Third problem. Is it possible to continue burning coal oil and gas so that the atmospheric content could reach 820 ppm? This would require burning about three times as much as has already been burnt (remember it started from a high base level of around 280 ppm). Coal reserves are probably enough – it is estimated Australia has enough coal for 300 years at the present rate of use – but oil and gas?

    Fourth problem. Many of the reserves are going to be more and more expensive to mine, which means that nuclear fuels are going to be relatively cheaper. Further, can there be any breakthrough in solar panels, or in windmills, which will make then much cheaper? And is there any ‘cheap’ way to store energy to be used on demand, other than hydro electric plants? Virtually all existing energy storage plants are either very expensive, or of very limited capacity. Batteries are probably reaching their physical limits, but are still expensive.

    Fifth problem. Do we really want to reduce the CO2 cotent of the atmosphere? So far the increase has been very beneficial as regards crops, and if there is any real warming, this will enable lands presently too cold for crops to be brought into production.

    • I agree,see comment at 9:49 above. If we actually stop CO2 from increasing and then reduce CO2 concentrations we will begin to reverse the greening of the earth which has taken place over the last 30 years, and make it more difficult to feed the growing population. Reduced energy use will also prevent any rise in living standards for the worlds poorest.

      • Without the use of nuclear energy, does anyone that is technically competent really believe that it is possible to reduce net CO2 emissions (notwithstanding all out nuclear war or some other calamity)?

        • Yes, there are substitute sources for heat that nuclear, coal and other fossil fuels provide. Although the current sources are the most cost effective producing the most energy, the most reliability for most people on demand.
          Solar and wind not so much, even biomass produces more power than these.
          Throughout the western United States there are magma hotspots close to the surface which could be used to produce most of the nations power that will last right through the next Ice Age. Powered by continental drift.
          Soon, when technology advances to enable robots to roam the surface of Venus, we will have the technology to lay in the infrastructure a few miles down in temperatures that exceed a 1000°.

          In April 20, 2010 Deepwater horizon drill rig had an incident. I never watched the movie but I remember one of the reasons that containment failed was excessive head pressure beyond containment capabilities. 60,000 to 80,000 psi? That’s enough pressure to turn 20 turbines producing power to provide electricity for most of the gulf coast! (That is without burning any of the oil) The oil from deep in the earth is also very hot, when diverted into a heat exchanger, it could power a few more turbines.
          The Alaska pipeline was built to service thick heavy crude oil that had 30,000 psi pressure on the north slope. It was projected that the oil would run out in about 30 years with decreasing artesian pressure. It’s been almost 50 years and the head pressure is still 30,000 psi. The moose and caribou thrive eating grass under the heated pipeline year around.
          When mining companies figure out how to tap volcanic ocean vents for power and heat, underwater communities and then cities will soon follow.
          If plentiful ice is found on the moon, mirrors reflecting 250°F solar energy on to boilers will provide 14 days of continuous power. If a better source of energy is not found, there will be a power cable laid around the circumference of the moon to provide continuous supply of energy to enable lunar outpost/ colonial settlement to get through the 300° below zero, 14 days of night.

  6. “I’m not stupid”

    You are, if you believe every hyped up story in the news, without questioning whether their value on shock entertainment overrides their value on truth.

    “I’m a pretty rational thinker”

    No you are not — a “pretty rational thinker” would not talk like you, with such dread, obviously fashioned by your constant attention to only the messages of doom.

    “but at this point sometimes I literally wish I wasn’t born.”

    I’m truly sorry that you feel this way, but you are experiencing an extreme reaction to irresponsible adult doomcasting that might require counseling by licensed professionals with a more balanced perspective.

    I am NOT such a licensed professional, but I suggest that you stop watching popular news outlets, stop reading popular literature and social media sites, and start doing some serious research on the very basics of climate, the underlying physics, data analysis, and trend research. This is a tall order that will require a good bit of your time, but this time spent will remove the time you spend worrying. Spend your time learning, in other words, rather than worrying, and, if you do, then I’m confident that the resulting perspective you gain will lessen your fears and make your life more enjoyable during your youthful years and for many years to come.

    There’s an even simpler solution, once offered by an old-person comedy star that you’ve probably never heard of, and so I won’t even mention his name, but his basic message to those experiencing such mental discomfort was simply, STOP IT !

  7. People talk about climate as if it is a thing. It’s simply a descriptor of long-term weather-related phenomena. Climate can’t hurt or kill anyone or anything.

    • Right — been trying to point this out for some time. Weather might hurt you (especially cold weather), but climate is a math abstraction.

  8. People talk about climate as if it is a thing. It’s simply a descriptor of long-term weather-related phenomena. Climate can’t hurt or k!ll anyone or anything.

    • Exactly. “Climate change” can’t cause anything; it’s a RESULT of changes over long period of time.

      Saying “climate change caused X” is like saying “Wet sidewalks caused the rain.”

  9. No Tricks Zone website shows papers calculating 2xCO2 outcomes at 0.4C and 0.04C over today in 2100. Keep quite calm everybody.

  10. So we’ve gone from children somehow being able to show resilience while huddling in the underground while their houses are being blown to bits during WWII, to children showing resilience while practicing “duck and cover” drills during the cold war to children who can’t deal with…the weather.

    God help us.

  11. As much as I appreciate all the wise comments of Dr. Curry and all the others critical of what passes for climate science, this is having little effect. In order to make the message more influential it has to be short and simple. KISS has to be the operative approach:
    So the science is settled: why can’t climate scientists tell me exactly how much does the temperature rise with each increase in CO2?

    Would you trust an economist predicting what the stock market will be in five years time? Then why would you trust the climate model prediction for 2100 strongly promoted by the IPCC that is based on the assumption that there will be no future technological developments, coal will be the major source of energy, and population will continue to grow rapidly?

  12. To supplement this here is a youtube from Gapminder showing that the most educated countries have the worst understanding about the state of the world. Gapminder does not include questions on the Earth’s weather here, but if the majority of so called educated people manage to get all of these questions wrong then why would they be right about anything else?

    The Terrible Results from the Misconception Study 2017

  13. Perhaps the best thing to do is turn off and maybe get rid of the television, and go with online searches for blogs like WUWT that provide an alternate and more sensible point of view about the whole business – and it IS a business – of climate change. There is too much political nonsense attached to the left-leaning side of that coin and it seems to become more rabid and emotionally charged as time goes by.

    When I see extremist political groups like XR pretending to be ecohippies, when they are nothing but a front for communism and extreme left socialism, that concerns me more than any of the blather about badly done science reports from the grant grabbers.

    At the same time, the more information you have that provides the views that oppose each other, the more likely you are to choose the viewpoint that is least threatening and least harmful. No matter how much the left tries to squelch opposing viewpoints, they cannot silence all of the opposition.

    Turn off the TV. Get outside into the country and take a hard look around. If it’s cold and snowing, does that seem like the Earth is about to go up in smoke? (Physically impossible. you know.) The best remedy for fighting scare tactics and misinformation is finding out the truth, which IS everywhere if you look for it, and being informed.

    On a side note, this morning, Accuweather posted a brief video about a two-month-old puppy (dog, not wolf) that had lived briefly and died (possibly in a bog) in Yakutia (part of Siberia) 18,000 years ago, and was perfectly preserved in the bitter cold and ice and snows of Yakutia. The average winter temperature there is about -60F, sometimes worse, in case anyone was wondering. 18,000 years ago is about when the Middle East was green and fertile and people were learning to domesticate animals and cultivate plants. And we just went from there.

    It’s 17F in my kingdom this morning. Where is MY share of globull warming?

    • “When I see extremist political groups like XR pretending to be ecohippies, when they are nothing but a front for communism and extreme left socialism”

      Communists see XR as a capitalist invention

  14. The correct answer to the child whose email was quoted at the beginning of the post, is: “What you are describing is in fact a major clinical depression. Please go to a physician, preferably a psychiatrist skilled in the treatment of depression. They have many treatments for your condition including drugs such as Wellbutrin and Zoloft.”

    Please understand that there is difference between events that trigger depression, such as the death of a parent or a spouse, and the depression itself. The latter is treatable.

    Once you have treated your depression, please begin studying the actual problem of climate change and responses to it. Dr. Curry’s website and wattsupwiththat.com are excellent sources of rational information on climate, climate change, and responses to it.

  15. Like a cool drink of water after a long arduous track in the desert, Judith Curry’s words are a soothing antidote to the idiocy of climate panic. If only the media and the political classes would do their job and ask a few pointed questions, we might avoid the harm that is being done to the youngest and most at risk generations. Unknown numbers of the youngest generations are skipping school, avoiding planning their future, deciding never to have children and becoming a daily obstruction to the normal workings of what is, overall, a very successful human society in terms of both the well being of humans and natural world. All of this for nothing but the fad of fearing Armageddon just around the corner when, in fact, there is absolutely no evidence of anything but positive trends.

    I see waste as both a curse and a blessing. It is a measure of resources spent for no benefit, but it is also evidence of how much more can be achieved once the waste stops and positive actions commence. That said, how much of the youngest generation will we waste by frightening them into social, economic and political suicide? Imagine if instead, we harness the potential of those younger generations to solve the real problems in the world and to build an even better society in a health biosphere.

  16. “take the time to learn something about the science of climate change. ” – LOL. Good advice but I don’t think so. Let’s start with baby steps.
    1) Learn the scientific method (Predictions, predictions and more predictions. All of which much be correct). It is very easy to do (copy, paste, save and check back later to see if it happened), anyone can do it and we all should do it!
    2) Any time you hear someone called denier ask “What is the opposite of a denier?”. A believer. What has belief got to do with science? Nothing, zero, zilch, nada.
    3) Any time you hear “97% of the scientists agree” ask “What does consensus has to do with science?”. Nothing, zero, zilch, nada.
    4) Ask those using those terms “What predictions have come true to make you hold this position?”.

    • I would like to see a more rigorous use of the words “hypothesis”, “theory”, and “law.” “Hypothesis” and “theory” are often used interchangeably, which they are not . And I swear I saw a post a while ago where the author said a “law” was — I can’t remember how it was described — a law was implied to be something like a strongly probable answer to an hypothesis, rather than its actual place in scientific nomenclature.

  17. While I gave a great deal of respect, if not awe for Dr. Curry (she has faced enormous acrimony for her science), I disagree that the IPCC reports are a good place to start. Scientifically, the place to start is the null hypothesis – i.e. that there is no evidence of man-made “climate change” (at least not as peddled by the orthodoxy). There is virtually no discussion of confounding variables, among other issues. Attributing planet-changing effects to a trace gas should be treated with great skepticism. It isn’t. The uncertainty surrounding just about everything in climate science should be given much greater weight when evaluating public policy – especially the prohibitively expensive proposed public policy “solutions” such as the Green New Deal. Such enormously expensive public policy proposals have a large risk of the cure being worse than the disease. It’s not the end of the world. There is very little, if any, incontrovertible effect from the relatively small increase in trace atmospheric gases to date. What we need is more science, not “consensus”. Science is advanced by skepticism, not “consensus”, because skepticism causes theories to be tested. Testing and replication are the bed rocks of science, not “consensus”.

    • But, but, but – didn’t “The Team” during the climategate scheming propose that their version of “science” could sidestep the null hypothesis?

      “Falsify? We doan need no schtinkin’ falsify”

  18. Dr. Curry you state that “Climate change-both manmade and natural–is a chronic problem that will require continued management over the coming centuries.”
    Good grief! That some committee can “manage” the temperature of the nearest planet is the party-line of the control freaks.
    In the 1990s, Penn and Livingston who are solar physicists, concluded the the active Sun would head to towards another solar minimum. That was using internal dynamics.
    Other researchers using cycles have concluded much the same.
    Mankind and CO2 has virtually nothing to do with actual climate change. It is mainly orbital mechanics.
    Cooling with diminishing solar activity has been long accepted. However the amplitude of temperature changes needed further understanding.
    And that has been provided over the last decade by Svensmark and Shaviv’s work on cosmic rays and clouds.
    At least to the satisfaction of this old geologist.

    • I totally agree that that remark is giving completely the wrong message, the only change in Climate we need to be concerned with is it getting colder.
      The Earth and Humans have already experienced and survived much warmer conditions than we have now.
      St Greta stated at the UN COP 25 that Climate Change was killing people now.
      Climate Change is not killing anybody, weather is what kills people.

    • Maybe you are misinterpreting that comment. My immediate and automatic inference was that Dr Curry is talking about managing our response to ‘climate change’ not ‘climate change’ itself.
      Of course one could quibble with the use of the word ‘problem’ (chronic or otherwise) but surely it is pretty clear what she means, isn’t it?
      That notwithstanding I believe you are quite correct with your other points.

  19. “Consensus” is a political concept, and should not form part of scientific research. The framers of the Constitution warned us about the “tyranny of the majority”. History has shown us repeated instances of scientific theories that were broadly supported politically and then were shown to lack credibility. The worst of these is probably the “science” of eugenics. Skepticism of scientific or “scientific” theories is healthy and the cautious approach. Extraordinary claims (such as the Arctic being “free of ice in five years”) require extraordinary proof.

  20. I was wondering if anyone knows of any research that shows the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere from natural sources?

    • From memory of discussions here, I believe we contribute about 3% of CO2 each year by burning fossil fuels.

      Some use this as an argument that we only contribute 3% of all CO2, but this is disingenuous. We contribute 3% every year, so in 10 years we would contribute 30%, in 30 years 90%, if it remained constant.

      We may be adding more, and some (or a lot?) is sequestered in new growth, aka ‘greening’. I don’t think it’s simple, and I don’t think our ‘measurements’ (aka guess) of CO2 emissions are very accurate.

      For the record, I don’t think it’s a problem, and anyone who believes it is should embrace nuclear energy wholeheartedly or they are just a watermelon.

      • Zig Zag Wanderer
        “Some use this as an argument that we only contribute 3% of all CO2, but this is disingenuous. We contribute 3% every year, so in 10 years we would contribute 30%, in 30 years 90%, if it remained constant.”

        Following that logic, then nature contributes 97% of all CO2 every year, so in 10 years nature would contribute 970%, in thirty years 2910%, if it remained constant.

    • Ralph, there have been many discussion here on this issue. It is complicated by the fact that the carbon cycle includes the ocean and the biosphere (and lithosphere on longer time scales) as sinks and sources that exchange CO2 in large quanitities that dwarf human emissions. I am persuaded by the analyses that conclude about 4% of CO2 in the air has come from FF emissions.
      Some papers supporting this POV are from Berry, Humlum and Harde, summarized here:
      https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2018/04/13/who-to-blame-for-rising-co2/
      https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/clip_image004_thumb4.jpg?w=764&h=423

  21. The media in general are complicit with radical environmental activists. These people hate mining and anything that changes the natural world. They seem to ignore the simple fact that prosperity is based on mined products: metals, oil, gas, coal, minerals, everything that has produced our modern economy.

    They see lying about CO2 as defending the Earth. Young people frequently find out that the media are lying about a favorite cause, so this is nothing new. Yes we have built some wind turbines and electric cars, but so what?

    Life goes on, economies world-wide are expanding, prosperity increases, starvation and poverty decline, we are actually doing pretty well!

    “This, too, shall pass…”

  22. I highlighted this issue on this site some years ago. You need to better understand young people. I am an experienced teacher working in a British secondary school. Our young people are being totally bombarded with such rhetoric every single day of their lives. It’s not a case of simply not tuning into media or not believing people. Progressive educational systems have robbed a generation of knowledge. They’re told they don’t need to learn knowledge because they have google. We are now in a situation where majority don’t know how to read effectively, let alone critically. Research? Levels of literacy amongst this generation are appalling. They mostly don’t read; they watch Netflix or play video games that diminish their sense of empathy. The AGW message is so strong that you’re publicly verbally admonished and considered a fool to deny it; whether you’re a child or an adult. Young people typically don’t want to stand out; Greta can do that. It’s in their school curriculum across several subject areas, there are posters all around schools, eco councils organizing school climate strikes and well meaning liberal teachers who think they are doing the right thing by filling morning assemblies with videos of Greta and melting ice. If as much publicity and shaming were put into highlighting litter and pollution to young people then that would really help the environment but unfortunately it’s not as apocalyptic. Pollution doesn’t scare people enough. AGW is fed by fear, it’s a real life horror movie akin to the anxiety I suffered myself under the shadow of the mushroom cloud as a teen during the 1980s.

    • They’re told they don’t need to learn knowledge because they have google.

      It’s much worse than that. They now have listening devices (similar to Big Brother, but that’s another story) in their homes or on their phones. Asking these oh so helpful agents questions will return the TOP result only from a Google search or similar.

      This means that whoever controls the top slot in a search can control the minds of such people. The fact that this top slot can be bought, and indeed influenced by the generous providers of these search results (however biased), means that these people are doomed to be controlled.

      The only solution is to scrap social media and these silly manipulated search results and to start thinking for yourself. You’ll lose contact with indoctrinated friends and possibly even family members, but it’s well worth it IMO.

  23. It would be nice if one of these anguished, panicked, petrified young people would explain exactly HOW they are in danger. What specific climate-related thing do they think will kill them?

    Notice that the alarmist rhetoric is always in apocalyptic generalities. I always ask alarmists to give me a specific timeline, predict a specific event, explain the specific physical cause-effect principles involved. They either get quiet, or scream the generalities louder.

  24. There are probably a *lot* of people out in the world who are just like this poor person: scared to death about the future. The Climategate Charlatans must be real proud of themselves for pulling the wool over people’s eyes with regard to the Earth’s climate. This is their legacy.

    If you come to the climate debate for the first time, what do you see? You see just about every societal institution promoting human-caused climate change. What offsets these “authoritative” institution’s claims?

    About the only place you can get the “other side of the story” is a website like WUWT. Fortunately, if a person reads WUWT long enough, with an open mind, then they will eventually realize that the world is not ending, and there is plenty of time to adapt to whatever future we may have, CO2 warming or no CO2 warming.

    That’s my advice: Read WUWT until you get educated on the subject, and you will definitely be educated on the subject if you spend enough time on it because the experts are here.

    Ask a question. You will get an answer.

  25. The problem is that they are trained to listen to one side and never seek a second opinion, that of the skeptic.

  26. “You are making young people miserable, who haven’t yet experienced enough of life to place this nonsense in context.”

    Or, they are making young people prepared to become the next division of Brownshirts, most completely unaware of the disastrous role of propagandized young people in the last century.

  27. I see all kinds of postings by people frightened by climate disaster claims on a Facebook group called “Doomsday Debunked – MAIN GROUP”. The message form the young person JC quotes is typical for that group. Such fear is becoming very common now.

  28. I fear more the reactions to so called climate change, that will be more windmills, more solar panels, less coal, gas, oil and nuclear powerplants in Germany called “energy transition” to “renewables”.
    There is more danger than in climate change, where is no danger at all.

    • You’re right there. Renewables will collapse the economies of western nations while simultaneously destroying the environment. California has a homeless crisis partly brought on by their mad rush to renewables. I’m sure they once had the third biggest economy in the world but with the highest electricity prices in the U.S. industry is leaving. The main thing western nations export are jobs to China.
      My country, Australia, is well on the road to Venezuela. A resource rich nation that seems determined to impoverish its people.

  29. Around 2030 😐 I wonder who told her that “fact”…

    Greta Thunberg stated: “Around 2030 we will be in a position to set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control that will lead to the end of our civilization as we know it.”

  30. So far as toxins are concerned, the issue seems to be toxic activism being amplified by toxic and irresponsible journalism.

  31. The 20 year old is a pretty rational response to a lifetime,immersed in dooms day propaganda.
    The Cult of Calamitous Climate has been abusing children for the last 30 years.
    And they are proud of their behaviour.
    St Greta is their finest work.
    This callous attempt to take power,at any expense and by any means, by our own bureaucracies failed to convince voting adults.
    So our “experts” deliberately targeted our children.

    Children who have no learnt defences from lying government.
    Children who trust adults in authority,to do the right thing.
    Children who have yet to complete the sentence;”We are from the government,we are here to help you…” into slavery,servitude and poverty.

    Todays children are going to be the most cynical adults of several generations.

    Government and institutional “science’ have betrayed them and now they are being handed the bill, taxed to pay for their own abuse.

    Not only children are suffering this misery,convinced by “authority” that we are doomed,that their children shall have no future, but Doom by Cataclysmic Climate .
    Lots of miserable adults as well.
    Gullibility runs strong in the herd beast part of our nature.

  32. Another piece of advice I would give: find 50sqm of growing area where you can learn to grow vegetables. What you will learn over 5-10 years is that although every growing season is different, vegetable plants are pretty resilient if you learn the right times to sow, plant out and harvest. It also makes you tune in to what your local weather is like, since you will want to be alert to frosty nights, heavy rain, droughts, heatwaves etc.

    What I have learned is that attending to soil health has far greater impacts than interannual weather variability. Over five years I have created healthy, well-structured soil and crop yields have increased each year. Because soil temperatures vary much less than air temperature, you learn to be less worried about variations between 5C and 25C: variations from day to day and from dawn to late afternoon are much greater than deviations from monthly means….

    Another piece of advice is to just back away from the stressful research and trust that the world will still be here in six months without you reading up on climate science. I did that at the end of a PhD and my stress disappeared within two months and my health was perfect when I returned home from working overseas. The mind is a funny thing: sometimes just letting things incubate quietly for a few months can bring clarity…..

  33. The people behind the climate extremism are Marxists. They want power, and they state openly they want to “dismantle Capitalism”. They want revolution to gain power and they also state openly the way to bring on revolution is to generate chaos. When people are disillusioned with what they have, they look for alternatives. That’s part of the strategy on the Left.

    There is no compromise or solution. There is no reasoning with them. You might reach some of the fellow travelers before they are too far gone, but the committed are dangerous. They will do anything to achieve their goals.

    While they have been working mostly underground for decades, they smell they are close to getting what they want and have become more brazen. Also, they have had success in converting multiple generation to socialist thinking over the past century, and the parents of the latest batch of know-nothings can’t tell K12 is an utter disaster and should be tossed whole into the dustbin. There is no saving it.

    There is chaos in so many areas of society, induced deliberately, people can’t deal with it. So it’s not the individual pieces of society that are the thing to rectify, it’s the people who are behind chaos we must remove. Democrat officials, their deep state accomplices in government, Soros funding subversive organizations, those in charge of education at all levels, monopolistic social media corporations functioning in a growing fascist economy (where govt controls business – yes, govt does control them).

    This is a different kind of civil war we are in right now. We can no longer play nice. Criminals need to be arrested, charged, convicted, and jailed. We know they are guilty of serious felonies, but the DOJ will do nothing. Certain people skate. That should not happen if the Rule of Law means anything.

    We have Soviet tactics being used to attack people who have political differences, undermining the right of the people to vote for their representatives. We have a corrupt Judiciary complicit in erasing the meaning of the Constitution even when the original intent is well known. It depends on a population being uneducated and unable to tell when their rights are being taken. They are being given a lump of coal (welfare, dependence, false security, dull existence) in place of a diamond (freedom, opportunity, risk, achievement).

    They are a coordinated group. We are a collection of individuals without much of any direction. They know where they are going. We want to be left alone. But we are not going to be left alone, and our children are being stolen from us, their futures robbed.

    So we can pretend we are much more intellectually developed than the socialist mob. And even if we were, so what? The barbarians are already through the gates. Rome is burning. And I’m hearing fiddling from our side.

    Wake up. Organize. See the bigger picture. Do more than talk. I am. I am politically involved (elected and serving), talking to voters and trying to change some minds and have some influence at higher levels. Yes, it’s hard to get started, but do it.

  34. Nobody has mentioned the headline news from COP-25

    In her opening remarks for the UN Climate Change’s Conference this week in Madrid (COP25), Patricia Espinosa, its Executive Secretary, said …

    “If we stay on our current trajectory, it’s estimated that global temperatures could more than double by the end of this century. This will have enormous negative consequences for humanity and threaten our existence on this planet. We need an immediate and urgent change in trajectory.”

    https://unfccc.int/news/cop25-to-be-the-launchpad-for-significantly-more-climate-ambition-0

    A double in the global temperature! That would be an apocalypse. Did the audience run screaming from the auditorium? Or, perhaps, the bartender said “No more drinks for you, lady.”

    • That is terrifying, because it means that noone is critically listening or reading any of the pronouncements. Terrifying, but unsurprising. I made a copy of it and I bookmarked it because I am pretty sure someone will edit it out in the future. I hope wayback.org saves it for posterity.

  35. Tell the whiners like Greta we grew up with the real threat of nuclear annihilation. We are still here, fortunately. The climate threat is a political and economic threat, not an environmental or existential threat.

  36. Judith, as a tonic for someone chronically frightened about climate change, is not the worst person to consult, but she is not the best either. Imagine the state this young woman is in and reread JC’s complex, equivocal response.

    Judith rebelled against against the shrill alarmist team and fake hockey stick science but she is all-in as a warmest who, despite all the uncertainty she owns, can’t bring herself to countenance that we could just as easily head into a colder future. The logic of her beliefs, assessments of uncertainty, and understanding that it is a science in which natural variation is yet to be properly evaluated do not rule out catastrophic cooling.

    We had the unpredictable LIA (we are still perplexed by it today) which killed off perhaps 30% of Europeans and God knows how many from the rest of a world of much lesser technical and economic skills and we have perhaps only just emerged from it. It is this recovery from the LIA that we are hyping as dangerous global warming. Most of the warming we have had took place before 1940! We want to suck the CO2 back out of the atmosphere to restore the LIA! And then there is the big one, the hundred thousand year one of another glacial maximum that logic tells us is likely to repeat.

    The only palpable climate change that has occurred so far is “The Great Global Greening^тм and its spinoff – bumper crops that make CO2 orders of magnitude net positive in any sane cost-benefit analysis. Deserts are blooming, crops are becoming drought proof, natural habitat is expanding even in the developed world where crops are
    burgeoning on lesser acreage. Chances are good we are heading for my “Garden of Eden Earth ^тм” to coincide with peak population (85% there already) and global prosperity.

    Gee, Judith. Append my remarks to your beleaguered correspondent.

  37. I posted this comment on yet another piece of alarmist rubbish in The Sunday Times today, promulgated by a Climate ‘specialist’ employed by the British Government:

    “Kathryn Brown, head of adaptation at the government’s committee on climate change
    warned that the UK had already warmed by 0.8C and faced a further 0.7C rise by mid-century even if global emissions were cut sharply, because of the greenhouse gases already in the air.”

    That’s an increase of 0.233C per decade from now until 2050, which is a dramatic acceleration.

    “Without any cuts, she added, the UK could be 5-6C warmer by 2100 with devastating impacts on humans, wildlife and infrastructure.”

    Thats an average increase of 0.8C per decade in second half of the century.

    Absolute alarmist baloney.

  38. Going back a bit…

    So, The Netherlands is somewhat below sea level. Never hear a peep about problems thete.

    Until now:
    https://www.bis.org/review/r191211h.htm

    But the dikes seem to be holding and there was one brave kid who stopped the flooding.

    I now nominate the above banker to give the kid a break. It’s been awhile a this smarta$$ needs to prove his worth.

  39. I blame mobile phones (cell phones to you merry cans).

    Most kids have mobile phones and are glued to them. Facebook, Twitter, Google etc. all feed them adverts and news based on what they are already reading. If I read an article on CAGW my iPhone insists on presenting me with even more lurid articles on CAGW.

    Whilst I’m old enough to be able to sort out the wheat from the chaff, young minds are still capable of being moulded.

    The same principle applies to the type of newspaper you normally buy or which news channel you watch.

  40. “We have been told that climate change is an ‘existential crisis.’ However, based upon our current assessment of the science, the climate threat is not an existential one, even in its most alarming hypothetical incarnations. – Dr Judith Curry”

    Dear Dr Curry,
    I’m sorry but I couldn’t let this go. Our language is becoming meaningless as the common parlance is increasingly overrun by ideological jargon! The misuse of the ‘newspeak’ buzzword “existential” simply amounts to the mind-numbing Orwellian ‘doublethink’ we’ve long been warned about.

    Do you actually mean any of the following:

    1. That the climate threat is not a real threat?
    2. That the climate threat does not exist; only in the mind?
    3. Or that the climate threat is not a threat to existence?

    If you did intend the third option, despite what google says about the meaning of existential – this week – it has never meant “threat to existence” in the technical or denotative sense, nor in the connotative vernacular of the – less recent – past!

    Please just say what you mean!

    i.e. …the climate threat is not a threat to existence, even in its most alarming hypothetical incarnations.

    Even if we are both wrong about the meaning of a particular word, if we speak and write plainly, the meaning will be clear.

    “Any fool can write learned language. The vernacular is the real test. – C.S. Lewis”

    cheers,

    Scott

    • Correction: “If you did intend the third option, despite what google says about the meaning of an existential threat – this week – it has never meant…”

      To clarify further, existential means ‘real’ or ‘exists’ or the technical term meaning ‘immanent’ (i.e. In the mind only).

      • The first thing I did after reading your post, of course, was to Google “definition of extistentialist”, and by golly if it didn’t agree with you. Various links defined it as “concerned with existence, especially human existence as viewed in the theories of existentialism.” (Weren’t these writers taught you can’t use the word, or a form of the word, it its definition?)

        An “existential crisis” was defined, as a moment when one questions the meaning of their existence, and whether their life has meaning.

        But yeah, nothing about being “a threat to existence.”

        I learned something today. Thank you.

        • Quick! Unlearn it. It’s the terrible lesson of childhood language education.

          Teachers have to pretend there are static, inviolable rules in order for basic understanding of language to be taught. It’s just that a lot of the time, educators forget to pull back the curtain at the right point, and reveal that language is actually dynamic and alive.

    • Hey Scott:

      Any reputable linguist will tell you that language is constantly changing. Vocabulary more so than any other aspect. Resistance, my friend, is futile.

      Like it or not, option #3 has probably crossed the threshold of “acceptable usage, even by language scolds.”

      If you take a step back, it is actually a logical expansion of the use. It checks a few boxes: shorter to write, fewer syllables to speak, easily understood, no superior synonym already in use… it’s really not bad.

  41. Kids these days are bombarded, almost continuously, 24×7 with stories, which is all they are, about impending climate doom. This 20 year old should turn off the smartphone/PC and TV, disconnect from the internet, go out and have fun.

  42. “The extreme rhetoric of the Extinction Rebellion and other activists is making political agreement on climate change policies more difficult. Exaggerating the dangers beyond credibility makes it difficult to take climate change seriously.”

    Absolutely bonkers!

    Extinction Rebellion, Green New Deal, IPCC, UNFCCC, 350.org, etc. etc are all hyping a nonexistent threat!
    XR, GND, UN, IPCC and UNFCCC freely admit that their hyping the fears is to force the world into a global
    socialist tyranny.

    People, i.e. gullible people, who accept the death of Earth and all life from climate change are not rational!.
    They make zero effort to verify how dooms are prophesied.
    They make even less effort to learn about and fully understand doom avoidance XR, GND and UNFCCC are actually demanding.

    They mouth words like “zero carbon” in the same sentences as “vegan” without ever realizing the two are not related.
    “Zero carbon” without a viable or even close to viable replacement means no heat, no A/C, no machine spun and woven fabrics, no stretch fabrics, no refrigeration, no modern medicines, no hospitals, no paved roads, no easy cooking over electric or LPG burners, no transportation, no easily constructed houses, etc. etc. etc.

    It takes real blinkers or light blocking face masks to avoid reaching simple logical conclusions about what “zero carbon” means.

    Instead they feel that their half-derriered self satisfaction feel good social signal actions that only complicate real life.
    ******************

    As long as gullible delusional fools send lots of money to their personal favorite alarmist organization, the fear will be hyped to higher and higher levels.
    Just like horror and fright films, future releases must meet a higher ‘frighten me’ standard as people quickly get jaded to the old hyped fears.

  43. Go outside and spend some time exposed to nature. Notice the cycles, adaptations, and her ability to exploit and thrive in virtually any situation that comes up. Let her teach you, not simply confirm what you think you already know. Breathe, relax, chill. Stop listening to politicians with agendas. Not that difficult.

  44. The hope to secure trillions of dollars in redistributive change and control is a first-order forcing of [catastrophic] [anthropogenic] [sociopolitical] global cooling… warming… climate change

  45. It’s well written, but if Curry truly is trying to reach out to children then she should simplify the prose.

    “However, based upon our current assessment of the science, the climate threat is not an existential one, even in its most alarming hypothetical incarnations.”

    might be rewritten as…

    “Current science says that climate change will not kill off humanity, even if the worst predictions come true.”

  46. You “end of the world”people are out of your friggen minds. Just stop with the fake forecasts already. This young girl who has been fixated on climatastrophic delusions needs to give her head a shake and find something a tad more positive (and real) to focus on. The science by consensus approach is no longer fooling anyone, except those that want to believe. Sorry, folks. The struggle is over. Time to move on to a new, fresh end of world issue.

  47. If “Climate Change” *were* such a genuine threat – immediate or not – why, then, are demands for change called for from only “Western” countries (USA, Europe…), and not from major polluters, like China, India, and various African countries?

    I’m no scientist, but *that’s* why I call Bull on this Leftist hysteria.

    […and that’s setting aside the last 50 years of alternating “Global COOLING! No! Global WARMING!” panics]

  48. I love and respect Judith Curry with every fiber of my being. She is classy, smart, no-nonsense AND she avoids stupid, useless political buffoonery.

    Compare/contrast the rhetorical toilet that is “Lord Monckton of Brenchley,” for example, and the future hope of climate sanity becomes clear.

    Thank you for existing Ms. Curry. Live long and prosper.

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