Ignoring science to convince the public that we’re doomed by climate change

Summary: The news has become stranger since the climate policy debate has decoupled from the IPCC. Ludicrous claims of certain doom and nightmarish futures splash across the headlines, seldom with rebuttals (climate scientists are complicit in their silence). This one-sided flow of “news” will shape public opinion slowly but surely, creating support for bold measures by President Clinton. Activists are panicking the public for political gain.

“I think looking at grief is quite appropriate, as I believe we are facing human extinction”
— Comment by a reader on the FM website.

Earth as inferno

“The more immediate danger is runaway climate change. A rise in ocean temperatures will melt the ice caps and cause the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide from the ocean floor. Both effects could make our climate like that of Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees.”

— Nobel laureate physicist Stephen Hawking on “Good morning Britain on NBC News’ U.K. news partner, ITV News in May 2016.

This was reported as “Earth DOOMED by climate change which could burn us alive, warns Stephen Hawking” by Sean Martin in The Daily Express, 31 May 2016.

We have heard this story before. The BBC hinted at it last year; Hawking has said it before. There is no support for this in the IPCC’s reports and little (perhaps none) in the peer-reviewed literature. There are papers clearly saying the opposite, such as “Low simulated radiation limit for runaway greenhouse climates” by Colin Goldblatt el al, Nature Geoscience, August 2013 — Gated. See the press release here. Excerpt…

“The so-called `hothouse’ climate of the Eocene is the most useful constraint for anthropogenic change. With the solar constant 1% less than today and a few thousand ppmv CO2, the mean temperature was 10 K warmer than today. With CO2 and temperature both higher then than we expect in the foreseeable future, this implies that an anthropogenic runaway greenhouse is unlikely.

“…As the solar constant increases with time, Earth’s future is analogous to Venus’s past. We expect a runaway greenhouse on Earth 1.5 billion years hence if water is the only greenhouse gas, or sooner if there are others.”

While peer-reviewed analysis is good, it is obvious that Earth cannot become Venus in any policy-relevant time. See the NASA fact sheets for Venus and for Earth. They explain that…

  • Venus is closer to the Sun. Venus is aprox. 0.72 AU distant from the sun (72% of Earth’s), with a total solar irradiance (TSI) almost 2x that of Earth.
  • Venus has a denser atmosphere. The pressure on Venus is 93x that of Earth, the equivalent of almost 1 kilometer under the ocean. This is probably the largest factor causing its high temperature.
  • The clouds of Venus are mostly sulphuric acid (not water vapor) — a powerful greenhouse agent.
  • The atmosphere of Venus has nearly 3000x more CO2 than Earth’s atmosphere. Venus is 96.5% CO2 by volume vs. 380 per million for Earth (0.038%). Goldblatt el al say that with CO2 at 30,000 ppm Earth would have “no stable temperate climate.” That would require burning 10x more than Earth’s estimated fossil fuel resources.

A bizarre, even fun example of our mad news media

“Humans? In 2300? At the rate we’re going odds are there WON’T be many of them and the ones that are there will be far too busy trying to survive to bother over history, other than to curse us.”
— Comment by Bruce J. at the website of Brad DeLong (Prof Economics, Berkeley).

Take a look at “When Did the End Begin?” by Robert Sullivan in New York Magazine — “A scientific debate that’s oddly amusing to entertain: At what point, exactly, did mankind irrevocably put the Earth on the road to ruin?” The title is irrelevant to the article, which discusses dating the point at which the “Anthropocene Era” began, if the designation is approved. That is, when human impacts are the predominate force shaping Earth. It does not imply the beginning of the End Times.

Sullivan gives us the real-world version of an incident in Berkeley Breathed’s great “Bloom County” comic strip. It is not funny when played out in real life.

Bedfellow: “Hello, Bloom Beacon! This is Senator Bedfellow! What’s with this headline? … There’s no story, just a headline!”

Milo: “Which headline?”

Bedfellow: “The big headline on the front page!” ‘BEDFELLOW: THE SECRET LIFE OF A WIFE-SWAPPING ATHEIST’”

Mile: “Oh, that’s just a typo.”


“There will be no successor civilization. … Our planet had ONE shot at building a sustainable industrial civilization, and we humans f***ed it up, big time.”
— Comment by Redwood Rhiadra at website of Brad DeLong (Prof Economics, Berkeley).

A battle consists of phases. Both sides muster their forces, seize advantageous positions. Victory comes to the side that breaks through their foe’s lines. Then begins the pursuit phase, as the losers are chased away or destroyed.

Climate alarmists have followed this formula in the climate public policy debate. They built commanding positions in academia, the news media, ngo’s (such as foundations and the major science professional associations), and the relevant government agencies. With the funding and power so gained, they attack — abandoning the scientists of the IPCC (once called the “gold standard of climate science). Their articles are cheered and echoed by scores of organizations. Dozens of glitzy (well-funded) websites staffed by professionals propagate their messages, as do a flood of books and films.

Now they use their commanding position to say almost anything, however bogus, which pushes their message of climate doom. This campaign will reshape public opinion. For more information see Why skeptics will lose the US climate policy debate.

For More Information

Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information see The keys to understanding climate change, My posts about climate change, and especially these…

  1. Is our certain fate a coal-burning climate apocalypse? No!
  2. Manufacturing climate nightmares: misusing science to create horrific predictions.
  3. Despair about the fate of Earth: a win for the doomsters.
  4. Why skeptics will lose the US climate policy debate.
  5. Imagine the horrific fate of the losers after the climate policy debate ends.

To learn more about the state of climate change see The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change by Roger Pielke Jr. (Prof of Environmental Studies at U of CO-Boulder, and Director of their Center for Science and Technology Policy Research).

The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change
Available at Amazon.

22 thoughts on “Ignoring science to convince the public that we’re doomed by climate change”

  1. What “bold measures”? What is to be gained by this incessant hyperbole on this issue? I’m perplexed. When was skepticism abandoned in general or has it always been a bit unused?



  2. The quote at the start of “conclusion” is a rewrite of Fred Hoyle “It has often been said that, if the human species fails to make a go of it here on Earth, some other species will take over the running.

    In the sense of developing high intelligence this is not correct. We have, or soon will have, exhausted the necessary physical prerequisites so far as this planet is concerned. With coal gone, oil gone, high-grade metallic ores gone, no species however competent can make the long climb from primitive conditions to high-level technology. This is a one-shot affair. If we fail, this planetary system fails so far as intelligence is concerned. The same will be true of other planetary systems. On each of them there will be one chance, and one chance only. ” Of men and Galaxies 1964

    1. Palo,

      I don’t understand. While many of the easily obtainable resources are gone, many remain. Biofuels, which allow development of high tech on a smaller scale. Our cities will remain lodes of useful metals and minerals for hundreds of thousands of year. So even if civilization collapses, the surviving humans can rebuild.

      If you believe we’ll exterminate the species, you must not have read the post. Even a US-Russia atomic war would not do that.

      On larger time scales for evolution of new intelligent species, both mineral and fossil fuels are renewable resources. Fossil fuel deposits will regenerate. We have not consumed an atom of metals, just moved them around.

      Facile doomsterism is easy and popular! Fun, too. We all love drama. If it bleeds, it leads!

  3. “Soooooo, the fact that Venus is a literal molten hell because of extreme greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (including carbon dioxide and methane) is insignificant?”
    Comment by LRA posted at the FM website in 2009 to “The media doing what it does best these days, feeding us disinformation“.

    The “CAGW will make Earth like Venus” story has been terrorizing people for many years, one of many successful myths created by warmists.

    I’ve had hundreds of long conversations in threads about climate change. Once indoctrinated, terrified warmists can be moved neither by facts, the p-r literature, or the IPCC. Sad, really.

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