'James Anderson (Prof of Atmospheric Chemistry at Harvard) gave a speech. It fed the daily doomster news from the Left. “There Is No Time Left” by Robert Hunziker at Counterpunch. Journalist Jeff McMahon, presented it at Forbes as yet another in the endless series of deadlines: “We Have Five Years To Save Ourselves From Climate Change.” (see lists of such deadlines going back many years: here, here, here). But, as usual, Grist went into deep clickbait.
Professor Anderson believes that we have only 55 months left to “fix climate change” or we will go extinct. Some of the predictions in his speech rely on the work of other scientists (e.g., more and stronger storms in a warmer world, as predicted by Professor Michael Mann). His doomster prediction has little support from the IPCC’s reports.
Anderson’s speech and the resulting stories are is typical of the news today. The campaign to get extreme public policy action to fight climate change has run for 30 years. This year it went full-doomster, doubling down on warnings of nightmarish consequences. There are three oddities to this. The first two are widely recognized; the third is seldom mentioned – and perhaps the most important.
First, ignoring the IPCC and major climate agencies.
The IPCC’s Working Group I reports (the physical sciences) were rightly described by activists as the “gold standard” description of climate research and the most reliable statement of scientists’ consensus. But by 2011 activists were saying they were “too conservative.” This became a widespread response by activists to the release of AR5 in 2013 (e.g., Inside Climate News and Yale’s Environment 360). Now activists explicitly attack the IPCC’s integrity, advocating it twist the science to support activists’ agenda. For example, see this March 2019 paper in Bioscience.
Now activists and their journalist supporters focus on individual papers, seldom replicated by other scientists, and increasingly wild statements by scientists. The major climate science institutions are ignored.
Second, what about those confident predictions?
Scientists making confident predictions about climate seldom mention the many false predictions. We have seen false predictions of “the end of winter.” False predictions that the California drought (now over) would be permanent (or very long). False predictions of more and stronger hurricanes since Katrina in 2005. False predictions about the melting of the Arctic Ocean. Despite the almost daily hype, most forms of extreme weather have not increased (esp. see Judith Curry’s new essayabout this). See more failed predictions. These have, logically, eroded the public’s confidence so that climate change is ranked low among American’s public policy priorities (e.g., surveys by Gallup and Pew Research).
Read more: Listening to climate doomsters makes our situation worse
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