National Geographic: “Why we won’t avoid a climate catastrophe”

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Journalist Elizabeth Kolbert thinks a climate catastrophe is inevitable, but seems even more worried that through technology and genetic engineering humans will find a way to escape the consequences.

Why we won’t avoid a climate catastrophe

By not doing enough to fight global warming, we’re trashing the planet. Innovation may save us, but it will not be pretty.


This story is part of the pessimistic argument for the future of the planet in our special issue on Earth Day. Read the optimistic argument and the rest of our stories here.

 “A unique day in American history is ending,” Walter Cronkite intoned on the CBS Evening News on April 22, 1970. The inaugural celebration of Earth Day had drawn some 20 million people to the streets—one of every 10 Americans and a way bigger crowd than the man who’d dreamed up the occasion, U.S. senator Gaylord Nelson, had anticipated. Participants expressed their concern for the environment in exuberant, often idiosyncratic ways. They sang, danced, donned gas masks, and picked up litter. In New York City they dragged dead fish through the streets. In Boston they staged a “die-in” at Logan International Airport. In Philadelphia they signed an oversize, all-species “Declaration of Interdependence.”

“Earth Day did exactly what I had hoped for,” Nelson, a Democrat from Wisconsin, would say later. “It was truly an astonishing grassroots explosion.”

I’m old enough to have been around for the first Earth Day, and though I have no recollection of having joined in the festivities, I’m very much a product of that “unique” moment, with its die-ins and its declarations. I spent the seventies protesting in the rain, trying to persuade my classmates to recycle their soda cans, wearing bell-bottoms printed with giant purple flowers, and worrying about the future of the planet.

Last year I wrote an obituary for a snail named George. George was about an inch long, with a gray body and a shell ringed in beige and brown. He’d spent his entire 14-year life quietly slithering around a terrarium in Honolulu. Researchers with Hawaii’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife had tried to find him a mate—George was a hermaphrodite but needed a partner to reproduce—and when they failed, they concluded he was probably the last of his kind, Achatinella apexfulva. A few days after George’s death, the division posted a eulogy under the heading “Farewell to a Beloved Snail … and a Species.”

“The essential, interconnected web of life on Earth is getting smaller and increasingly frayed,” said ecologist Josef Settele of Germany’s Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, and a cochair of the report.

Of course, Settele and his colleagues may be wrong, and for the same reason Downs was. Perhaps people will perfect pollen-carrying drones. (They’re already being tested.) Perhaps we’ll also figure out ways to deal with rising sea levels and fiercer storms and deeper droughts. Perhaps new, genetically engineered crops will allow us to continue to feed a growing population even as the world warms. Perhaps we’ll find “the interconnected web of life” isn’t essential to human existence after all.

To some, this may seem like a happy outcome. To my mind, it’s an even scarier possibility. It would mean we could continue indefinitely along on our current path—altering the atmosphere, draining wetlands, emptying the oceans, and clearing the skies of life. Having freed ourselves from nature, we would find ourselves more and more alone, except perhaps for our insect drones.

Read more:

Even after all this time I still find the ugly anti-humanism of leading greens deeply shocking.

Most people I know would be happy about the possibility that humans might find a way to survive, no matter what. But greens like Elizabeth Kolbert dance to a different tune, they appear to find the possibility we could innovate our way out of trouble “even scarier” than the possibility our tampering with nature would lead to our extinction.

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March 29, 2020 2:13 am

Greens like Elizabeth Kolbert dream of a major culling of the human race. They prefer to ignore all evidence and investigation that countermands their Alarmist beliefs that CO2 will instigate a collapse of the World’s weather and climate. They make Public Enemy Number One look like a Charity Worker.

john in cheshire
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
March 29, 2020 3:16 am

Have you noticed, though, that the culling never includes them?

Reply to  john in cheshire
March 29, 2020 4:00 pm

Nature would have culled her out of the human race about 3,000 years ago … for failing to innovate her way out of famine and pestilence.

paul courtney
Reply to  john in cheshire
March 29, 2020 5:41 pm

john: they never consider it, but imagine her surprise when she wakes up and finds she’s been … culled.

Rachel Miller
Reply to  john in cheshire
March 30, 2020 6:08 am

This always reminds me of the gentleman protesting against animal testing in Oxford a few years ago. He was asked whether he did or would take medicine that had been developed using animal testing. Yes, he said, because ‘the animals need me alive to fight for them’. It’s always someone else’s burden!

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
March 29, 2020 3:24 am

In Boston they staged a “die-in” at Logan International Airport.

This just shows how completely cynical and unhinged this group have become. At a time when people ARE actually dying by the tens of thousands world wide from a REAL problem, they are still doing their infantile theatrics of pretending to die from a fake problem in a computer model a century into the future.

The only thing that surprised me was that they did not call for us to shut off all those ventilators for an hour last night to “save the planet”.

Eric Worrall:

they appear to find the possibility we could innovate our way out of trouble “even scarier”

The objection was not that we may find our way out of trouble but that we disconnect from the natural web of life rather than avoid damaging it. I would have thought that even EW would have been able to understand that but apparently missing the point makes for a better rant.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 29, 2020 4:37 am

Elizabeth Kolbert has a faithful audience, ……… and it pays her damn well.

Just like College Administrators and Professors, …. and damn near every Politician.

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
March 29, 2020 10:16 am

This is the same Elisabeth Kolbert who a few years ago penned the ridiculous book “The Sixth Extinction.” Reading that piece of trash nearly killed me, it was so full of lies and misinformation. I would give zero credence to anything she says.

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
March 29, 2020 2:38 pm

+ 100 Samuel

Reply to  Greg
March 29, 2020 2:50 pm

I think they were describing something they did in 1970 when it came to Logan International.

Emily Daniels
Reply to  Greg
March 31, 2020 5:48 am

Um, the reference to the die-in was a retrospective on the first Earth Day in 1970, not a recent event.

Old orange
Reply to  Emily Daniels
March 31, 2020 11:47 am

You should qualify such remarks. Its like quoting an interest rate without a compounding period. One might assume you meant every hour or every day. Frankly 10’s of 1000’s are perishing from all kinds if diseases, and many other things. Statistically higher than this event. Millions a year really, just in the US. And that statistic does not include the tragedy of elective killings -23 million a year in china alone for example. But we only are concerned with one isolated disease right now. Raised unnecessarily up to hysterical proportions. Too bad this is not like a 9/11 or Pearl Harbor event where we throw ourselves together into sacrifice for others and our country by working more and harder and increasing necessary production, and forgoing a few extras and some creature comforts, and not hoarding, for those fighting on the front lines who need supplies. Isolating under strict authoritarian orders is not a good or patriotic solution nor a sacrifice equal to that kind of sacrifice by those in WWII. My dad, a wwii vet, had copd, fell and cracked a hip, yet tragically died in the hospital from mrsa. Like the vast majority of these current deaths, there was a pre existing condition. Where was the ny gov then?

Mr Reynard
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
March 29, 2020 4:09 pm

It is all about Shekels extorted from silly goyim !

March 29, 2020 2:33 am

Why do those who call for drastic population reductions due to environmental reasons never seem to volunteer to lead the way?

Reply to  Centre-leftist
March 29, 2020 1:56 pm

Not quite off topic but former prime minister Gough Whitlam (Australia) was addressing a crowd about policy promises when a heckler cried out: “What about abortion?”
Gough replied: “In your case sir, I would make it retrospective”.

March 29, 2020 2:44 am

They are all unhinged there is a rather funny exchange going on with Dr Naomi Wolf about Australia parliament which is shutdown until August and she basically is claiming it is a coup

Now she is getting trolled that yep it was a coup by right groups

Phase 1:
1.) Suspend parliament … check
2.) Ban all gatherings and protests … check
3.) Suspend or limit all universities the hiding place of left/green … check
4.) Destroy all part time jobs uni students rely on … check
5.) Destroy all inner city yuppie retail business … check
6.) Ban all gatherings at inner city coffee shops … check
7.) Make sure all actors and arts lefties have no jobs and no platform … check
8.) Make sure mining companies are exempt from shutdown … check
9.) Install new corporate control board under guise of helping … check
10.) Enter complete lockdown for phase 2 … due

Phase 2:
1.) Build new Coal Power station under guise of national emergency need.
2.) Make permanent structural changes to all universities
3.) Ensure recovery is wipes out all inner city yuppies.
4.) Work out further measures to make sure all left/greens are contained.

Reply to  LdB
March 29, 2020 5:47 am

Someone sent me this unattributed article, allegedly written by an American-Italian romance author named Giacomino Nicolazzo who now lives in Lombardy, Northern Italy. The only website where I found it was a militia website – for the record, I’m not big on militias and such.

The article explains how the coronavirus became so well-entrenched in Northern Italy – if true, it is a rational explanation of how this happened. It is also consistent with my own observation that far-left politicians typically operate in their own deeply-corrupt self-interest, and are commonly bribed to take actions that severely harm their countries and their people.

When we see (typically far-left) politicians taking actions that are nonsensical and destructive, the simplest and best explanation is they are personally “on the take” – see “Occam’s Razor”.

Regards, Allan

To be brief.. China was getting away with purchases and acquisitions in violation of Italian law and EU Trade Agreements with the US and the UK.. and no one in either of those countries (not Obama in the US or Cameron in the UK) said a thing in their country’s defense. As a matter of fact, much of it was hidden from the public in all three countries.

In 2014, China infused the Italian economy with ,5 billion through purchases of companies costing less than ,100 million each. By the time Renzi left office (in disgrace) in 2016, Chinese acquisitions had exceeded ,52 billion. When the dust settled, China owned more than 300 companies.. representing 27% of the major Italian corporations.

The Bank of China now owns five major banks in Italy.. all of which had been secretly (and illegally) propped up by Renzi using pilfered pension funds! Soon after, the China Milano Equity Exchange was opened and much of Italy’s wealth was being funneled back to the Chinese mainland.

Chinese state entities own Italy’s major telecommunication corporation (Telecom) as well as its major utilities (ENI and ENEL). Upon entry into the telecommunication market, Huawei established a facility in Segrate, a suburb of Milano. It launched is first research center there and worked on the study of microwaves which has resulted in the possibly-dangerous technology we call 5G.

China also now owns controlling interest in Fiat-Chrysler, Prysmian and Terna. You will be surprised to know that when you put a set of Pirelli tires on your car, the profits are going to China. Yep.. the Chinese colossus of ChemChina, a chemical industry titan, bought that company too!

Last but not least is Ferretti yachts.. the most prestigious yacht builder in Europe. Incredibly, it is no longer owned by the Ferretti family.

But the sector in which Chinese companies invested most was Italy’s profitable fashion industry. The Pinco Pallino, Miss Sixty, Sergio Tacchini, Roberta di Camerino and Mariella Burani brands have been acquired by 100%.

Designer Salvatore Ferragamo sold 16% and Caruso sold 35%. The most famous case is Krizia, purchased in 2014 by Shenzhen Marisfrolg Fashion Company, one of the leaders of high-priced, ready-to-wear fashions in Asia.

Throughout all of these purchases and acquisitions, Renzi’s government afforded the Chinese unrestricted and unfettered access to Italy and its financial markets, many coming through without customs inspections.

Quite literally, tens of thousands of Chinese came in through Milano (illegally) and went back out carrying money, technology and corporate secrets.

Thousands more were allowed to enter and disappeared into shadows of Milano and other manufacturing cities of Lombardy, only to surface in illegal sewing shops, producing knock-off designer clothes and slapping ‘Made In Italy’ labels on them. All with the tacit approval of the Renzi government.

It was not until there was a change in the governing party in Italy that the sweatshops and the illegal entry and departure of Chinese nationals was stopped. Matteo Salvini, representing the Lega Nord party, closed Italy’s ports to immigrants and systematically began disassembling the sweatshops and deporting those in Italy illegally.

But his rise to power was short-lived. Italy is a communist country.. socialism is in the national DNA. Ways were found to remove Salvini, after which the communist party, under the direction of Giuseppe Conte, reopened the ports. Immediately, thousands of unvetted, undocumented refugees from the Middle East and East Africa began pouring in again.

Access was again provided to the Chinese, under the old terms, and as a consequence thousands of Chinese, the majority from Wuhan, began arriving in Milano.

In December of last year, the first inklings of a coronavirus were noticed in Lombardy.. in the Chinese neighborhoods. There is no doubt amongst senior medical officials that the virus was brought here from China.

By the end of January 2020 cases were being reported left and right. By mid-February the virus was beginning to seriously overload the Lombardy hospitals and medical clinics. They are now in a state of collapse.

The Far-Left politicians sold out and betrayed the Italian people with open border policies and social justice programs. One of the reasons the health care system collapsed so quickly is because the Renzi government (and now continued under the Conte government) redirected funds meant to sustain the medical system, to pay for the tens of thousands of immigrants brought in to Italy against the will of the Italian people.

March 29, 2020 8:07 am

Check ZeroHedge, they have had articles going back a few years regarding the CCP infiltration through industry of EU, America, Africa and Central/South America. All Mainland Chinese “business” is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. Taiwan has been warning about and fighting against this for years, CCP propaganda has effectively silenced them as for as the average citizen is concerned.

March 29, 2020 4:39 pm

Allen, Australia too has sold of large tracts of land, businesses and residential properties to the Chinese. A friend of mine was renting a house when I used to live in Sydney. Her Chinese landlord owned 52 other rental properties on the Northern Beaches which is an expensive part of Sydney. It’s not uncommon for the Chinese to buy residential property and leave it empty.

Here’s where I say “one of our best friends is Chinese”, and that would be true, a friend of more than 40 years. I’ve yet to meet a kinder or more generous human being. But he has lived between China and Australia since he was a small child, worked here is entire life and has many Australian friends of different ethnic backgrounds.

On the whole, the Chinese that come here do not have the interests of Australians at heart, they are here only to benefit themselves and their beloved China. Australia really does need to be careful, with a population of only 25 million we would be easy pickings.

Reply to  LdB
March 29, 2020 9:18 am

5.) Suspend publication of National Geographic, if tripe like this is what it has become.

BTW, don’t trust ANYTHING to be “grass roots” anymore. “Astroturf” by paid activists as “influencers” is now the norm. Search “Media Matters” for an enlightening journey down the rabbit hole . . .

March 29, 2020 3:49 am

The author is, literally, delusional.
If she wrote about the inevitably of a literal rapture followed by magical dragons and demons she would be less delusional.
It is tedious to see literary or social science people compete with hyping pretend claptrap as if it were anything other than speculate fiction.

Ron Long
Reply to  hunter
March 29, 2020 6:01 am

hunter, if the author thinks dragging dead fish around the streets of New York City is a grand idea, she is probably somewhere way past delusional. Maybe psycho? Let’s hope the humans adaption solves this problem?

Mad Mac
March 29, 2020 3:59 am

Years ago I did three months on anatomical pathology (autopsies) during my residency. Here’s what I found doing autopsies on liberals/greenies.
You all probably know that a Y incision is made to access the abdomen and the chest cavity. The breast plate is then removed to access the organs in the chest.
Here’s what I found.
A tiny black heart! Wow! I didn’t expect that. I thought it would be a very large purple bleeding heart; something one would would think likely? Next I found that the lungs were full of very hot air! Wow again!
The spleen was huge! Probably from venting so often?
The digestive tract was opened and found to have copious amounts of green koolaid?
Looking at the genital area things were unidentifiable…probably one of the 97 genders but couldn’t tell which one.
Then the calvarium was removed and again wow! The brain was the size and shape of a shelled walnut! Absolutely amazing..but perhaps not when you think about it!
Just kidding…none of them would tell me their political affiliation.

D. Boss
Reply to  Mad Mac
March 29, 2020 6:07 am

I’d agree with the walnut sized brain …..seems to be a prerequisite for being a woke green nutbar!

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Mad Mac
March 29, 2020 7:56 am

“You all probably know that a Y incision is made to access the abdomen and the chest cavity.”

I watch “Doctor G, Medical Examiner” all the time. It’s a great show! The first thing she does is make that “Y” incision, after an external examiniation, of course. 🙂

I really have learned a lot about the human body from that show.

Michael in Dublin
March 29, 2020 4:04 am

This is the same National Geographic that two years ago (March 5, 2018) predicted a catastrophe for Cape Town: “Why Cape Town is running out of water.” Since then the Cape has had two good winter rainfall seasons and just before the start of this rainy season the main dams are 59.1% full. Articles like these in National Geographic totally discredit what was once a decent magazine.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
March 29, 2020 8:04 am

“Articles like these in National Geographic totally discredit what was once a decent magazine.”

Yes, and they have been doing this for years. They are a political magazine. That’s why I cancelled my subscription a long time ago. Along with all the other human-caused climate change promoting publications, like Scientific American. They all live in a delusional world where CO2 is dangerous. Talk about a Pandemic of CO2 delusion!

David Bufalo
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
March 29, 2020 8:44 am

NG has totally lost its way. I have been a lifetime member since about 1978. I have collected their magazines since 1966, all nicely secured in leather slip cases. The trend from factual observations about nature and geography to climate alarmism has been noticeable. In particular, I rediscovered an article about melting Alaska glaciers in the February 1967 edition of the magazine written by Maynard M. Miller, Ph.D. The article titled, “Science Finds New Clues to Our Climate in ALaska’s Mighty Rivers of Ice”. The article focuses on Taku Glacier. Dr. Miller observed a correlation between the ebbing and advancing of the glacier and sun spot activity. The correlation between climate and sunspot activity is still observed today. Nonetheless, one must remember that correlation is not necessarily causation.

March 29, 2020 4:08 am

National Geographic is on my exclusive list of Climate Whores

March 29, 2020 4:32 am

So I was wondering what we did to Achatinella apexfulva. The article doesn’t say, and the reader might be forgiven for thinking climate change done for it. Or perhaps all those pesky humans polluted the hell out of it. Or perhaps we chopped down its forest habitat to put up a parking lot. No, none of these things. What we did in 1955 was introduce an non-native snail, the rosy wolfsnail (aka the cannibal snail), in an effort to control crop pests. The rosy wolfsnail ate them all, as far as we know.

Mumbles McGuirck
Reply to  Charlie
March 29, 2020 9:13 am

I am amused by how she focuses on a single snail species. Thousands of species disappear every year just as thousands of new species come into existence each year. It’s called evolution. And climate change is just one stressor among many that drive evolution, even before there were SUVs.
Also she decries stripping the skies of species. Sounds like wind turbines to me.

Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
March 29, 2020 6:23 pm

You are so right Mumbles. Check out some of the recently discovered species of ‘peacock spider’ here in Australia. I never thought I’d call a spider exquisite but these are.

All the crazy leftists talk about is doom and gloom when there truly is so much wonder in the world. The video in the link is amazing!

March 29, 2020 4:32 am

It would mean we could continue indefinitely along on our current path … emptying the oceans …

I thought the current hysteria was sea level rise. Ms.Kolbert needs to review the CAGW talking points.

Flight Level
March 29, 2020 4:39 am

Ever wonder how NG 🆖 crews get here and there, often with humongous quantity of lithium batteries as accompanied cargo ?

John Bell
Reply to  Flight Level
March 29, 2020 5:19 am

Their travels are powered by fossil fuels, and I always get a kick out of someone flying in a helicopter to film something that they then tell us will vanish if we keep on using fossil fuels.

Flight Level
Reply to  John Bell
March 29, 2020 2:02 pm

Oh John, how holly true…

Nor what they use to brew coffee on their polar trips.
Once I got in hot waters for refusing on a sched an accompanied cargo case manifested as “75kg of portable equipment batteries”. Even if “mother” got the cargo guy crazed with insistent calls for “decision flexibility” as this involved a filming crew with NG.

It’s all a profitable show-biz after all.

Greg Locock
March 29, 2020 4:44 am

The snail is extinct because another snail was introduced to kill pests, and then set about the lazy Hawaiian snails. It has at most a slight relation to climate change, and in all probability none at all.

Tim Gorman
March 29, 2020 5:06 am

“Perhaps we’ll also figure out ways to deal with rising sea levels and fiercer storms and deeper droughts.”

What fiercer storms and deeper droughts? The lady truly lives in an alternate reality. That seems to be a common malady among those on the left.

Rising seas? When haven’t they been rising? Again, the lady lives in an alternate reality?

March 29, 2020 5:10 am

“Why we won’t avoid a climate catastrophe” Because there isn’t one, that is why we can’t avoid it. What a bunch of morons, need to be put to work hand digging coal till their brains begin to work.

March 29, 2020 5:24 am

Obviously Elizabeth is ignorant of the comimng avalanche of low carbon power generators in the form of molten salt nuclear reactors. She’s ignorant of a lot of things and has no clear idea just how many species come and go, and always have, for a variety of reasons. For some reason this moron thinks the loss of a “species” has some special significance. It doesn’t. It just means that Nature has
eliminated another species from the planet because of something tht prevented it from reproducing.
Is she also saddened by the thought that the corona virus species will eventually die off? People like her should not be given printspace to broadcast their idiocies

Richard Lambert
March 29, 2020 5:35 am

Elizabeth Kolbert makes a living out of gloom and doom. I thought it interesting that according to Wikipedia, “As of March 2017, Kolbert serves as a member of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board.”

March 29, 2020 5:42 am

Elizabeth would probably identify herself as a humanist. There are some pretty strange ideologies out there

Reply to  DKR
March 29, 2020 6:17 am

She may self-identify as a humanist but I would identify herself as a creationist.

Reply to  DKR
March 29, 2020 9:36 am

A delusionist, surely?

March 29, 2020 6:43 am

Many of the spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions from Earth Day 1970 are being regurgitated on today’s social and news media outlets on the forthcoming demise of civilization from climate change. We’ll need to critique the 2020 unscientific doomsday predictions in the year 2050 and see if they were any better than those that failed from the first Earth Day 50 years ago!

Bill Hirt
March 29, 2020 8:22 am

No one seems to recognize climatologists grossly overstate the impact of fossil CO2 emissions on global temperatures. The world’s fossil CO2 emissions have increased from 22,674 Mt in 1990 to 37,077 Mt in 2017. A plot of global temperatures from 1850 to 2018 shows the temperatures increase from 1929 until 1945, before significant CO2 emissions, at the same rate as from 1970 to 2018. The temperature increased from1970 to 1990 at the same rate as from 1990 until 2018 despite the 70% increase in fossil CO2 emissions. Clearly global temperatures were not that sensitive to those emissions.

Also a plot of CO2 in the atmosphere showed CO2 increased from 320 parts per million (ppm) in 1960, to 396 ppm in 2014. Yet the rate of change from 1970 to 1990 was essentially the same as that for 1990 to 2014. Again despite the 70% increase in fossil CO2 emissions.

If increasing fossil CO2 emissions didn’t increase atmospheric CO2 ppm they could not be the reason for increasing global temperatures. The only rational explanation was global temperatures, driven by the sun were increasing CO2 out gassing from ocean surface.

Tom Abbott
March 29, 2020 8:26 am

It’s sad to imagine all these millions of people out in the world constantly worrying about CO2, and thinking CO2 is going to end the world as they know it.

When the world as they know it doesn’t end, I predict there are going to be a lot of new skeptics. Their mental health mode will switch from worry to anger at having been fooled.

A few dishonest climate scientists caused all these mental health issues. They started a “false reality” infection and it has spread all over the world.

Happily, some of us have natural immunity to the CO2 false reality delusion. I don’t have to sit around worrying about CO2 all the time because I am immersed in reality. And the reality is that there is no danger from CO2 and no evidence for such. None.

If an alarmist tells you there is evidence, they are either ignorant of the facts, or they are lying to you. The easy way to prove they are lying to you or ignorant is to demand they produce the evidence on which they base their claims. Appeals to authority are not evidence. Speculation is not evidence. Assertions are not evidence. And that is all the alarmists have to offer.

March 29, 2020 9:14 am

I suggest staunch Green advocates such as Elizabeth Kolbert, Prince Phillip (of viral reincarnation fame) and the like ought lead by example, and shuffle off this mortal coil, so that we plebians have a fine example of selflessness to emulate.

March 29, 2020 9:30 am

Funny (and ridiculous) about the snail. Personally, I get so fed-up w/slugs chewing off/killing my sprouting garden plants, I step on them whenever possible. Salt-sprinkling also gives satisfying results.

William Everett
March 29, 2020 10:27 am

A level of 4/100 of one percent of CO2 in the atmosphere has as much effect on global air temperature as that same level of CO2 in a CO2 fire extinguisher would have in allowing that extinguisher to have any noticeable effect upon a fire.

Matthew Schilling
March 29, 2020 11:02 am

Hopefully, this very serious time will lead to a rejection of this gaggle of completely unserious people and their non-issues. “Perspective and proportion” is vitally important to function as a sane adult. But, for many shallow First Worlders, the lack of a real problem looming uncomfortably close to them has left them with nothing with which to compare and contrast, and unable to prioritize.

Bill Hirt
Reply to  Matthew Schilling
March 29, 2020 11:06 am

No one seems to recognize climatologists grossly overstate the impact of fossil CO2 emissions on global temperatures. The world’s fossil CO2 emissions have increased from 22,674 Mt in 1990 to 37,077 Mt in 2017. A plot of global temperatures from 1850 to 2018 shows the temperatures increase from 1929 until 1945, before significant CO2 emissions, at the same rate as from 1970 to 2018. The temperature increased from1970 to 1990 at the same rate as from 1990 until 2018 despite the 70% increase in fossil CO2 emissions. Clearly global temperatures were not that sensitive to those emissions.

Also a plot of CO2 in the atmosphere showed CO2 increased from 320 parts per million (ppm) in 1960, to 396 ppm in 2014. Yet the rate of change from 1970 to 1990 was essentially the same as that for 1990 to 2014. Again despite the 70% increase in fossil CO2 emissions.

If increasing fossil CO2 emissions didn’t increase atmospheric CO2 ppm they could not be the reason for increasing global temperatures. The only rational explanation was global temperatures, driven by the sun were increasing CO2 out gassing from ocean surface.

Bill Powers
March 29, 2020 11:04 am

Climate Change legislation will destroy Humanity (….SOB!)

Reply to  Bill Powers
March 29, 2020 12:41 pm

Didn’t US just pass a load of it in the form of a multi-trillion dollar virus package? I heard that CO2 credits were tied to business loans.

March 29, 2020 11:05 am

Define climate catastrophe

The climate changes and life successfully adapts. Government grants end. Climate busybodies have to find real work.

March 29, 2020 11:45 am

It is garbage like this that lead me to cancel my subscription, Nat Geo has become more a propaganda machine than true science.

March 29, 2020 12:51 pm

Reading this I just realised that we turned out lights out last night, and it might be misinterpreted. Actually, we lit the fire in the sauna and turned off the lights so the neighbours wouldn’t see us lounging on the back porch after in a 10 oC warm breeze.

Richard Shaw
March 29, 2020 12:58 pm

Considering that participation was mandatory in many U.S. schools the 22 million number is definitely overblown.

With National Geographic getting their start with sending an expedition to the Arctic to find the entrance to the center of the Earth, maybe they are just getting back to their roots.

March 29, 2020 2:48 pm

Greenies like Elizabeth, well pretty well all greenies come across to me as pessimists. Glass half empty for them, glass half full for rational people. A good friend of mine is deep green, its always, the world is going to end or words to that effect. I think the only reason we are still friends is the ability to laugh at each other.

Patrick MJD
March 30, 2020 1:51 am

Because we will weather it?

Al Miller
March 30, 2020 9:07 am

Ho hum. Global warming had way more than it’s 15 minutes- next!

Rudolf Huber
March 30, 2020 11:36 am

I grew up in the toxic Seventies. I was squeezed in between toxic paint on kiddies toys, rivers that carried no life (we are not even asking about fish) and sour rain that made our forests look thinned out like Joe Bidens hair. It was bad. Look around now. Even the dirtiest rivers have been cleaned up and all have fish in them, even trout. The air in an incomparable cleaner and sour rain has gone away. Things are a whole lot better than they were. And now, it’s all supposed to reverse. Yeah right.

March 30, 2020 3:13 pm

Dear Mr Worrall

Wait long enough and Ms Kolbert will be correct when the current inter-glacial comes to an end.

It will be pretty catastrophic when a large swathe of the northern hemisphere is under a few thousand feet of ice. One of the many poster children for the anti-carbon dioxide brigade, the Great Barrier Reef, will be back above the high water mark. The polar bears will probably be OK.

If the alarmists believe that carbon dioxide causes global warming, presumably they will have to back extensive burning of fossil fuels, which would be a good thing, because it will help keep many from freezing to death, even if it doesn’t actually stop the advancing ice sheets.


Andy Pattullo
March 30, 2020 6:40 pm

It seems that only after most of a society’s real problems (hunger, poverty, violence, child mortality etc.) are well managed that some people fall into a wistful fantasy that sees a pristine Garden of Eden before human contamination as the ideal outcome of history. It presumably is a fantasy in which the dreamer sees him or herself as outside the compass of criticism, but rather one of an exclusive virtuous minority who are left to prance through the garden benevolently patting the wildlife on their heads and admiring the virginal floral landscape while munching down kale salad and humanely sacrificed bean sprouts. It must be nice to live such a fact and guilt free existence where a society you condemn in every breath has already provided all the comforts you could want and left you the luxury to despise all the rest of your genetic family in peace.

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