The Extinction Rebellion’s hysteria vs. climate science

Summary: The Extinction Rebellion and the Green New Deal arouse fears of extinction for other species, and humanity. Only the complicit silence of climate scientists makes this possible. Compare the alarmists’ claims with what scientists said in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). Too bad that journalists don’t.

Climate disaster: man walking across a parched ruined land
ID 25163217 © Ben Goode | Dreamstime.

Climate hysteria goes mainstream. Climate scientists are silent.

The Extinction Rebellion – “Life on Earth is in crisis: scientists agree we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown, and we are in the midst of a mass extinction of our own making. …see how we are heading for extinction.” See their evidence here.

If Politicians Can’t Face Climate Change, Extinction Rebellion Will” by David Graeber (prof anthropology at the LSE) in a NYT op-ed – “A new movement is demanding solutions. They may just be in time to save the planet.” Also see “Extinction Rebellion and Momentum join forces on climate crisis” by Martha Busby at The Guardian.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is interviewed by Ta-Nehisi Coates at an “MLK Now” event in New York. Video here.

“Millennials and people, you know, Gen Z and all these folks that will come after us are looking up and we’re like: ‘The world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?’”

Planet Earth Is Doomed. How Do I Go On?” by Liza Featherstone at The Nation.

Andrew Samuels, a Jungian psychoanalyst and a professor at the University of Essex, tells me that therapists are increasingly hearing from patients who are deeply disturbed by climate change and are struggling to cope.”

We Need Radical Thinking on Climate Change” by columnist Kevin Drum at Mother Jones – “{The Green New Deal} would only change the dates for planetary suicide by a decade or so.”

The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink by journalists Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank (2018).

The Uninhabitable Earth” by journalist David Wallace-Wells in New York Magazine – “Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: what climate change could wreak – sooner than you think.” Expanded into a book: The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming (2019).

The five ways the human race could be WIPED OUT because of global warming.” By Rod Ardehali at the Daily Mail. H/t to the daily links at Naked Capitalism. Promo for Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? (2019) by journalist Bill McKibben.

The media overflows with credulous stories about this hysteria. It must be having a bad effect on America. Activist Naomi Klein wants journalists to deliver even more alarmism and less science. There is almost no basis for these fears.

Update – First fruits of the Extinction Rebellion’s climate hysteria: the UK parliament declares a “Climate Emergency.” Some say this puts the UK on a “war footing”, always a useful way to increase a government’s power over its people.

How much more warming can we expect?

The IPCC is the “gold standard” source showing the consensus of climate science. Here is the scariest graph from the Working Group I of the IPCC’s AR5: figure 12.5, projections of global temperatures to 2300 under four scenarios (showing the increase from the 1986–2005 average).

Graph 12.5 from WGI of the IPCC's AR5: global temperatures to 2300

This is good science, although speculative. It is a weak basis public policy. First, the worst case scenario, RCP8.5, gets most of the attention – and dominates this picture. But it is either unlikely or impossible (also see this), as a good worst-case scenario should be. A table shows the result more clearly, without the worst case scenario dominating the picture. See Table SPM.2 of the Summary for Policymakers from Working Group I. The increase is from the average of 1986–2005.

Table 2 of the Summary for Policymakers of Working Group I the IPCC's AR5: temperatures through 2100 by scenario

This shows the second weakness of that graph: hiding the most likely results. The projections through 2065 for the center two scenarios show a 0.9 to 1.8°C increase. The world and humanity have experienced such swings during the past 3,000 years, and will again no matter what we do (even the carefully curated proxy reconstructions show a swings of ~1°C from 1000 to 1600 AD).

Third, climate models’ ability to make multi-decade predictions has not been validated, let alone proven by experience. Forecasts past 2065 rely on assumptions about factors that range from difficult to predict (e.g., global fertility) to unknowable (e.g., economic growth and technological progress). Forecasts past 2100 are imaginative exercises in modeling.

About the coming extinctions!

What does the Working Group II of AR5 say about extinctions? Its Summary for Policymakers gives a bold warning.

“Extinction risk is increased under all RCP scenarios, with risk increasing with both magnitude and rate of climate change.”

That is politics, meaningless rhetoric, not science. It tells us nothing about timing and magnitudes of changes compared to temperature increases. Turn to the full report for answers. First, the good news – they give a rebuttal to the hysteria about the mass extinctions supposedly occurring now due to climate change (more details here).

“{O}nly a few recent species extinctions have been attributed as yet to climate change (high confidence) …” {p4.}

“While recent climate change contributed to the extinction of some species of Central American amphibians (medium confidence), most recent observed terrestrial species extinctions have not been attributed to climate change (high confidence).” {p44.}

“Overall, there is very low confidence that observed species extinctions can be attributed to recent climate warming, owing to the very low fraction of global extinctions that have been ascribed to climate change and tenuous nature of most attributions. (p300.)

Looking to the future.

Much of the report discusses possible results of 4°C warming above preindustrial levels – as of 2018, we are now ~1°C above preindustrial (likely 0.8 – 1.2°C). Supposedly a raise of over 0.5°C will prove disastrous (i.e., over the 1.5°C red line). A further increase of 3°C is wildly improbable by 2065 (the visibility limit of reliable forecasting), and unlikely even by 2100 (i.e., that is in the middle of the range for the improbable RCP8.5 scenario).

WGI used a recent baseline for temperature comparisons: the average of 1986–2005. WGII measured from preindustrial temperatures, defined as before 1750 (WGI occasionally uses preindustrial, such as for historical analysis). Comparing with preindustrial has advantages for climate alarmists.

  • It measures warming from close to the trough of the coolest period for thousands of years.
  • There is no instrumental record for global temperatures in 1750.
  • Most valuable, it allows conflating the natural warming from 1750 to WWII with the mostly anthropogenic warming (AGW) since WWII. So, to the public, all ill effects of this warming become effects of AGW. The Extinction Rebellion explicitly gives a similar lie: “Human activities have caused the planet’s average surface temperature to rise about 1.1°C since the late 19th century.”

What does WGII say about extinctions resulting from AGW? They give many scary findings. But, like the headline conclusion given above, most either lack meaningful details, or are given low confidence, or both.

“Models project that the risk of species extinctions will increase in the future due to climate change, but there is low agreement concerning the fraction of species at increased risk, the regional and taxonomic distribution of such extinctions, and the timeframe over which extinctions could occur.” {p67.}

“Within this century, magnitudes and rates of climate change associated with medium- to high-emission scenarios (RCP4.5, 6.0, and 8.5) pose high risk of abrupt and irreversible regional-scale change in the composition, structure, and function of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, including wetlands (medium confidence).” (p15.)

“From a global perspective, open ocean NPP {net primary productivity} will decrease moderately by 2100 under both low- (SRES B1 or RCP4.5) and high-emission scenarios (medium confidence; SRES A2 or RCPs 6.0, 8.5) …. However, there is limited evidence and low agreement on the direction, magnitude and differences of a change of NPP in various ocean regions and coastal waters projected by 2100 (low confidence).” (p135.)

“There is a high risk that the large magnitudes and high rates of climate change associated with low-mitigation climate scenarios (RCP4.5 and higher) will result within this century in abrupt and irreversible regional-scale change in the composition, structure, and function of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, for example in the Amazon (low confidence) and Arctic (medium confidence), leading to substantial additional climate change.” (p276.)

WGII discusses bad impacts on some specific kinds of creatures, such as corals. Nothing about extinction of humans. The 1,150 pages of WGII have a remarkable lack of specificity about what we can expect from the various scenarios. There is one exception, a paper that WGII cites 22 times. It was published ten years ago, with no mention of its replication or follow-up research. This is an example of what Andrew Revkin condemns as the “single study syndrome” (e.g., here and here).

“Fischlin et al. (2007) found that 20 to 30% of the plant and animal species that had been assessed to that time were considered to be at increased risk of extinction if the global average temperature increase exceeds 2°C to 3°C above the preindustrial level with medium confidence, and that substantial changes in structure and functioning of terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems are very likely under that degree of warming and associated atmospheric CO2 concentration. No time scale was associated with these findings.” (p278.)

“All model-based analyses since AR4 broadly confirm this concern, leading to high confidence that climate change will contribute to increased extinction risk for terrestrial and freshwater species over the coming century. Most studies indicate that extinction risk rises rapidly with increasing levels of climate change, but some do not. …There is, however, low agreement concerning the overall fraction of species at risk, the taxa and places most at risk, and the time scale for climate change-driven extinctions to occur.” (p300.)

AR5 describes the assessed likelihood of an outcome or a result: “virtually certain 99–100% probability, very likely 90–100%, likely 66–100%, about as likely as not 33–66%, unlikely 0–33%, very unlikely 0–10%, exceptionally unlikely 0–1%.”

Skull on a sea, sad and bad weather background.
ID 76204718 © Panya Kuanun | Dreamstime.

Conclusions

The Left has incited hysteria about climate change for political gain (the Green New Deal is their maximum dreams given form). Their claims go far beyond consensus climate science, with little basis in the work of the IPCC. Climate scientists and their institutions have remained silent for years as the Left’s claims grew more extreme and less grounded in science. This is irresponsible, perhaps even professional malfeasance.

Making these issues into an irrational crusade makes rational public policy far more difficult to achieve. We cannot prepare for future climate change, or even the inevitable repeat of past extreme weather.

Only one can win in the fight of the Extinction Rebellion vs. climate science. But both can lose. We all can lose.

An ignored warning from long ago, a path not taken

Here is a remarkable op-ed in the BBC: “Science must end climate confusion” by climate scientist Richard Betts, 11 January 2010.

“Of course, we know that these things {extreme weather} happen anyway, even without climate change – they may happen more often under a warmer climate, but it is wrong to blame climate change for every single event. Climate scientists know this, but still there are people outside of climate science who will claim or imply such things if it helps make the news or generate support for their political or business agenda. …

“{D}o climate scientists do enough to counter this? Or are we guilty of turning a blind eye to these things because we think they are on ‘our side’ against the climate sceptics? …Climate scientists need to take more responsibility for the communication of their work to avoid this kind of thing. Even if scientists themselves are not blaming everything on climate change, it still reflects badly on us if others do this.”

Other posts about climate scientists’ culpability through silence

  1. About the corruption of climate science.
  2. The noble corruption of climate science – Falling prey to the Nobel Lie.
  3. A crisis of overconfidence in climate science.

For More Information

Important – Media phenomena like Greta Thunberg don’t just happen. They result from careful work by powerful special interest groups. See how she became an icon for the climate apocalypse: “Greta Inc.” by William Walter Kay at Friends of Science.

Ideas! For some shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information see The keys to understanding climate change and these posts about climate propaganda. The good news is that the very bad news is wrong.

  1. A look at the workings of Climate Propaganda Inc.
  2. What you need to know about hurricanes and their trends.
  3. Wildfires and climate change: fake news in action.
  4. Scary but fake news about the National Climate Assessment.
  5. A new book with unexpected good news about polar bears – Refuting the doomster propaganda.
  6. New climate porn: it forces walruses to jump to their death!
  7. Weather porn about Texas, a lesson for Earth Day 2019.
  8. Terrifying predictions about the melting North Pole!

Books about the crisis in climate science

The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters & Climate Change by Professor Roger Pielke Jr. (2018).

The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened by Susan Crockford (2019).

Disasters and Climate Change
Available at Amazon.
The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened
Available at Amazon.

 

55 thoughts on “The Extinction Rebellion’s hysteria vs. climate science”

  1. Leslie Johnson

    There is also empirical evidence. To date, less than 800 species have documented extinctions, since 1500 (IUCN).This is indistinguishable from a supposed background extinction rate of 1.6/million species/year.

    The extinction rate peaked, then fell, after 1900. It fell again in 1950.

      1. Leslie Johnson

        Good article. It pretty well articulates the issues with extinctions. It also has some references new to me.
        Appreciate it.

    1. See just released UN CBD report: extinction rate tens to hundreds times higher than in the past; one million species facing extinction.

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    1. Ron,

      I complain about this to the climate scientists I know. Why am I doing this, instead of climate scientists (who are, of course, better able to do so)? They shrug. The retired ones are burned out. The ones still in the game do not want to be burned down.

      It will get worse before it gets better.

      1. Larry,
        I questioned Dr. Curry on her blog about it. I asked something to the effect, Why are most using RCP 8.5 when we are running at about RCP 4.5? Her reply was that’s what I’m trying to get across.
        Maybe her and the other scientists left in the game should do a better job. The IPCC report is being abused by global alarmists and the MSM.
        Also, this piece of garbage takes RCP 8.5 (return to coal) to new heights, back to trees as fuel;
        https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/

      2. Ron,

        “Maybe her and the other scientists left in the game should do a better job.’

        I personally know Dr. Curry. She has done the best she can, and paid an enormous personal price in her career for it.

        As for the majority of climate scientists, they are just individuals. As such, as always, weak before the powerful political forces working to corrupt climate science for political gain. This is the story of America today, repeated in a thousand tales. Until we learn to stand together, we will be pawns.

  3. Comment received by email

    hi! I’m a grad student who’s been involved in the extinction rebellion organising and I just wanted to say thank you for this EXTREMELY RELIEVING blog. I get the sense this blog is designed more to make fun of than comfort panicked individuals like myself but its comforted me a lot regardless and I feel like I have my life back after weeks of panicking nonstop.

    Being involved in XR, I have been surrounded by people with a really disturbing attitude toward humanity, progress and civilisation. But because I’m totally scientifically illiterate, I haven’t been able to respond to that in any way other than just feeling uneasy about it.

    I have no idea if you’re any more correct than them but I’m choosing to believe you are, because being scared all the time is boring.

    Cheers!

    1. Larry,

      Congrats! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; if I could turn one alarmist around, I’d go to the grave a happy soul. Still trying :(

      1. Ron,

        “Congrats!”

        Not deserved. This is, imo, an important post: comparing the claims of the Extinctionists to those of the IPCC. Yet, so far as I can tell, nobody has done so. Yet this is getting little attention (i.e., it is running average pageviews). That tells us something, but I don’t know what.

        My guess is that people are no longer interested in fact-rich balanced material. This touches on some “skeptical” points, but is based on the IPCC as an authority. Worse, unlike most climate articles these days, it isn’t fun. Both sides want propaganda, just as rats raised on garlic-flavored water won’t drink anything else (normal rats hate garlic).

        Hysteria ‘R us. Neither side wants articles like this.

  4. There is another aspect of these “hysteria” not many are aware of: Regardless of which-ever scenario / timeline one chooses, after this prescribed time is out a funny thing happens: Disconfirmed expectancy – When Prophecy Fails.

    A hypothetical scenario: I’d bet on the members of IPCC (it is curiously not named IPAGW — even that is what it currently represents) will remain “in office” when all their predictions (Prophecy) fail and, after a series of “years without summer,” would, with the same zeal, support the CAGC (Cooling).

    Foreword of Dr. Novella’s article about a real scientific controversy (re: Younger Dryas). There is a bit about real extinction:

    “I love raging scientific controversies. I am not talking about vaccines and autism, global warming, evolution, or homeopathy; these are not actual scientific controversies. They are political controversies intruding onto science.”

    1. Jako,

      “There is another aspect of these “hysteria” not many are aware of: Regardless of which-ever scenario / timeline one chooses, after this prescribed time is out a funny thing happens: Disconfirmed expectancy – When Prophecy Fails.”

      I don’t understand. The four scenarios (RCPs) used in the IPCCs AR5 describe forcings in 2100 from 2.6 to 8.5 W/m2. Through the next 50 years, we are almost certain to be warming along a path within that range. What is the “prophecy” that fails?

      After 50 years, the range of possibilities expands. But even breakthroughs like cheap clean fusion probably would keep us in the low end of that range (of course, that’s just a guess based on an as yet imaginary tech).

      Dr. Novella: “I am not talking about vaccines and autism, global warming, evolution, or homeopathy; these are not actual scientific controversies. They are political controversies intruding onto science.”

      Got to be one of the dumbest things I’ve read in a long time. Even for medical doctors, whose self-esteem often assumes delusional levels, that is a pretty nuts. That the world is warming, and has been since the 19thC, is beyond dispute. That anthropogenic factors have been the dominant drivers since roughly 1950 is the belief of almost all climate scientists (see some of the surveys up to 2015; there have been more since).

      The debate among climate scientists concerns the reconstruction of past climate (using proxies), and the dynamics of climate – clouds, CO2, etc – which determine the factors producing the natural warming of the past and the evolution of climate in the future.

      1. Regarding a forcing of 2.6W per meter squared. Just to impart a little perspective, keep in mind that a square meter of sunlit surface receives up to 1400 W of radiant energy. That’s the energy dissipated by 14 100W bulbs versus the energy dissipated by a flashlight bulb, the incandescent kind, not the LED.

        The larger figure of 8-plus W is phenomenally unlikely, as it is predicated on unlikely if not impossible CO2 levels and feedback loops that are demonstrably not happening.

      2. Scott,

        “The larger figure of 8-plus W is phenomenally unlikely, as it is predicated on unlikely if not impossible CO2 levels and feedback loops that are demonstrably not happening.”

        Please point to some peer-reviewed research showing that.

        There is, as my posts have shown, quite a bit of research showing that there probably isn’t sufficient economically recoverable fossil fuel reserves for the RCP8.5 scenario. Also, the population and tech progress assumptions require reversal of long-term trends. Such assumptions are appropriate for a worst-case scenario – which illustrates what happens if we get unlucky. But that also means that it is unlikely.

  5. Larry,

    OK, here is the explanation:

    (i) US will not go for the GND (as per Ms. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) and in twelve years there will not be The End (as described by her) — what will a good portion of today’s hysterical extinctionalists do? They will continue preaching the doom as it is easier to live with that, rather than admitting their error (cognitive dissonance at work).

    (ii) You and I will likely not live to witness 2050 and surely not the 2100, but I think the IPCAGW prognoses will still be available on (frozen) hard copies then and Dr. Mann’s hockey stick will come quite handy on the icy Everglades!
    ;-) Well, no, I don’t really believe that; it just came easier (and funnier) to convey the fact, that however moderate increase of “global temperature” — whatever that means — may not go according to the predictions, proving once again that weather, let alone climate, are, with current “understanding” and associated “modeling,” quite impossible to predict accurately.

    As about Dr. Novella — did you read the article? It takes a few minutes and it is a good shot.
    You see how some people regard some others? I was declared an arrogant ignoramus here, so I should perhaps feel honored, nicht wahr?
    OTSH, if the global worming was really a pure scientific affair, would IE Dr. Curry pay “an enormous personal price in her career for it?”

  6. I’m not really sure what “Extinction Rebellion” means. Are its supporters rebelling against policies and practices that they think will cause human extinction? If so, how does that square with some of the more fanatic eco-terrorists who believe that the only way the planet will be saved is if humans become extinct anyway.

    Back in the 70s I taught a course in energy and environmental policy at a college in the Midwest–from a different perspective than that typically done in such courses. My intent was to get my students to realize that policy choices had opportunity costs, and that “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” While I researched reading materials to assign, lo and behold I came across first this offering by Howard Wilcox, who was way ahead of his time in claiming “global warming”:

    https://www.amazon.com/Hothouse-earth-Howard-Wilcox/dp/027552910X/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=howard+wilcox+hot+house+earth&qid=1556844959&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull

    And then I found this by Lowell Ponte, who thought we were all going to freeze to death:

    https://www.amazon.com/Cooling-Has-Next-Already-Begun/dp/013172312X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=lowell+ponte&qid=1556844753&s=gateway&sr=8-1

    I didn’t assign either to my classes, but I did tell them about both books and suggest that between the two we would come out even.

    There was also this science fiction novel by D. Keith Mano about how one man single-handedly averts voluntary human mass extinction:

    https://www.amazon.com/Bridge-D-Keith-Mano-1974-11-05/dp/B01K13C7L0/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=d+keith+mano+the+bridge&qid=1556845165&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spell

    1. Sestamibi,

      “And then I found this by Lowell Ponte, who thought we were all going to freeze to death:”

      I have Ponte’s book in my library. That’s not a fair summary. In the conclusion of the opening section he says:

      “In the following pages we will explore the evidence that leads many of the world’s leading weather scientists to say that the chances are one in ten that a Great Ice Age will be upon us in less than one hundred years.”

      In the conclusion he said:

      “Before we can respond intelligently to the possibility of changing climate …”

      Here is my post in 2009 that mentions Lowell Ponte’s book A look at global warming written in a cooler and more skeptical time, giving us a better understanding of climate science. Esp note the forward!

      You might find of interest these posts from 2009 about global cooling.

      1. Articles from the 1970′s about global cooling/warming.
      2. An important letter sent to the President about the danger of climate change — About global cooling.
      3. About the headlines from the 1970s about global cooling — Not what they seem.
      4. The facts about the 1970’s Global Cooling scare.
      1. Ron,

        GIGO. I’m always amazed that people who won’t read authorative sources gobble up misinformation.

        When creating the FM website, we expected to be debating values, information on the edge of the known, and different visions of the future. But most of the comments are about various kinds of misinformation: fake quotations, faux economics, faux history, fringe sources, pseudoscience, and fake news. Sad, really.

        No wonder we’re sliding down the toilet.

        I’m moderating future comments. Things other than climate denialism will go through.

      2. Larry,

        “GIGO. I’m always amazed that people who won’t read authorative sources gobble up misinformation.”

        I don’t understand. Are you saying Ball is not an authoritative source?

      3. Ron,

        Ball is speaking about matters on which he has done no research, are outside his expertise as a Professor of Geography, and in disagreement with almost the entire body of climate scientists.

        I suggest you start by reading reports of the IPCC Working Group I about the physical sciences. The Summary for Policymakers is quite clear.

      4. Larry,

        Will do. I thought he did a good job in his presentation about CO2 not being the main control knob and temp doesn’t follow CO2. I believe Happer and Moore have similar views.

      5. Ron,

        You don’t have the expertise to determine of he “did a good job.” Creationists often win debates with biologists about evolution based on their simple stories and confidence.

        “I believe Happer and Moore have similar views.”

        I don’t know who they are. I suggest you ask a climate scientist about Ball and other “denialists.” They, like me, have lost interest in this debate.

        Also, that he says some things that match what practicing climate scientists say does not make the rest accurate. Did you need me to point that out?

        No more about this. Life is too short.

  7. Like hope, the end-of-the-world scenario springs eternal. I cannot keep them all straight, so many have there been in my lifetime.

    It’s almost too easy, because existential paranoia is built into us humans. it’s a feature, not a bug. It’s easy to trigger but dies a slow, lingering death once activated.

    Note that it’s mostly very young people who buy into the panic. To people who are new to life, it seems entirely plausible that everything could come crashing down because there is nothing in their life experience that says otherwise. Those of us who are older (mostly) know better.

    It bugs the hell out of me that we invest so much importance in the opinions and actions of those who are scarcely more than children. Of course some of them actually ARE children, witness the Greta phenomenon.

    Speaking of Greta, a little tidbit from Anthony Watts’ blog:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/05/02/quote-of-the-week-greta-thunberg-claims-to-be-able-to-see-carbon-dioxide-in-the-air/

    A little CO2 never hurt a planet. If anything, there is a nearly perfect positive correlation between CO2 and the abundance of life. The planet at the height of the PETM, 55 MYA, was an extraordinarily fecund place, and atmospheric CO2 levels were probably twenty or twenty five times what they are now.

    IMO last point really ought to be hammered hard, to counter the utterly fatuous carbon-is-poison narrative currently in vogue.

      1. Um, thank you, I think. I was trying to be humorous but also make a point. “It’s all in the dosage” happens to be a favorite expression of mine.

        CO2 is a poison like table salt is a poison. Or water or oxygen for that matter. Yeah they can all kill you, they just rarely do in real life.

        At the planetary level or the level of the individual organism, the “lethal dose” of CO2 is far, far beyond anything humans are likely to put into the atmosphere. It has been calculated that if every bit of economically recoverable carbon was burned, the level of atmospheric CO2 would go to a little less than 600 PPM, roughly twice the Pleistocene average, delivering, theoretically, about 1 point one-ish degrees C of surface warming without factoring feedback, a theoretical thing so far not actually observed. I’ll do my level best to track down the original citation for that estimate, but it has made the rounds on both Joanne Nova, a very trustworthy source, as well as WUWT.

        For at least the last few hundred million years, CO2 has correlated positively with life abundance. In no realistic sense is it a poison.

        The foliage called and said thank you for the extra carbon dioxide; please send more!

        https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth

      2. Scott,

        I no longer have any patience with denial of the “greenhouse effect” (i.e., warming produced by greenhouse gases). Or this bs about “CO2” is wonderful. I know many climate scientists, and they all — every one – disagree with you. That includes some eminent “skeptics.” We’re beyond the point where this can be tolerated. If you think they are all wrong, write up a paper. Fortune and fame awaits.

        More broadly, this arrogant “I know more than the experts” infection has spread widely in America, and is one aspect of our increasing dysfunction. In the past week you are the second commenter who believes that climate scientists don’t understand greenhouse gases. Another said that economists don’t understand Econ 101-level monetary theory. Another says that the senior justice dept officials of Sweden are “amateurish.” Such high self-esteem.

        I’m moderating future comments. Stuff other than this will be posted.

      3. Scott & Larry,

        I had kept quite a few links from my “days of involvement” in these issues, but most are gone — one I ran into recently I can share with you — it has a very little math and just a little-bit of physics — don’t get distracted by the name though, it doesn’t even attempt to do what it says ;)
        Science of Doom
        It is an older site with some fairly recent updates and some of the conclusions show it is lagging a bit; OTOH the basics are covered well and it doesn’t seem to “scream” too much.

        You see Larry, some people may have a kind-of real scientific background, some are even reasonably heeled in math and physics and therefore may have difficulties with some of the nonsense the politicians are coming up with. I don’t have a doubt about trace gases contribution to global worming; however, I would discount the IPCAGW claims as the “A” has the greatest significance along the CO2 line. The heavily modified and fudge-factored GCM’s may work with the wrong inputs in certain scenarios, but I wouldn’t bet a penny on the CO2 “drive” alone.

        You say you’re tired? So are we. The time-scale may not allow us to say: “We told you so!” but I don’t care, I would never say that anyway — there are much funnier ways to make that point…

      4. Jako,

        As I’ve said before, if you are so super-duper-brilliant, write up your theories. Fame and fortune await when you prove the collective efforts of climate scientists wrong. Until them, the rest of us will attribute your beliefs to self-esteem.

        Until then, I’m moderating further comments. That will give you time to work on your paper without distractions.

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    1. Phil,

      That’s a powerful example of the ill effects of the climate hysteria campaign. For 50+ years scientists have warned about damage to the biosphere from pollution, habitat destruction, and excessive use (in ag, hunting, and fishing) – with a strong evidentiary basis (unlike the climate apocalypse). But there is little political juice for the Left in this issue, unlike climate change – for which they advocate giving themselves massive power, up to abolishing democracy and capitalism.

      I’ve written a lot about this issues. Here are two examples, about the oceans.

      1. Larry,

        And the ‘real’ climate scientists will remain silent again about such alarmist rubbish from the Guardian. They leave the dirty work to others less qualified that have no place here.

  10. Larry, I think the point of the reference to ‘When Prophecy Fails’ is a bit different. The Witnesses had a history of prophecies of the end of the world. Festinger and associates observed closely the life cycle of one of these.

    As I recall, they found a pattern as the day approached of the leadership getting more and more nervous and backing off, but unable to restrain the lower level enthusiastic members. Then, when the world failed to end, they looked at the enthusiasts, and found that their enthusiasm and belief had not dropped in response to falsification.

    On the contrary, the initial reaction is hostility to skeptics and renewed enthusiasm and defensiveness. Its only later that over time the beliefs gradually erode.

    We may be seeing the same thing in climate alarmism. The models clearly are being falsified – Christie has shown that in his Congressional testimony, as a for instance. The actions proposed by the alarmist are clearly not sufficient to have any effect on the problem, even if they are right.

    So if you follow Festinger, what you’d expect is that as the prophecies fail to come true, the belief of the lower level enthusiasts would increase, the climate science establishment would start to back off and cover themselves, and the level of criticism of skeptics among the enthusiasts would also rise. Attacks on skeptics should become more vicious, more personal.

    I think all this is happening. This is what Extinction Rebellion is a sign of. It will increase. And if the model continues to apply, what will happen is not a sudden conversion, rather the failure of anything prophesied to happen will fade out in a gradual loss of interest.

    Yes, you are right. It will get worse, more fanatical, more extreme, more alarmist, there will be more denunciations of the evil of skeptics, before it gets better. And when it does, it will fade away or be replaced by something else. It will not go out with a bang.

    1. henrik,

      Thank you for the explanation! That’s an interesting analysis.

      “The models clearly are being falsified ”

      Totally bogus. Current temperatures are within the one standard deviation range of the model mean, as run ten years ago. That’s only weak validation, for several reasons. It’s hardly evidence of “failure.”

      There is another aspect to this. Climate science debates tend to occur as if basic statistics had not been developed in the 19th century. Staring at a spaghetti graph and declaring that the models failed is nuts. The human eye is unable to discern simple statistical relationships (it wasn’t a necessary skill on the African veldt).

  11. “Current temperatures are within the one standard deviation range of the model mean, as run ten years ago.”

    OK, I shall have to do some research into this one.

    1. henrik,

      From memory, I believe the 12 month average is now quite close to the ensemble average, due to the El Nino-related heating.

      The trend from here will be important politically. Will there be another plateau (aka pause, hiatus), with little or no warming? Or will temps continue to rise?

      From a climate science perspective, all that is noise. The best measure of warming is ocean heat content, which continues is slow rise.

  12. The great “Extinction” propaganda has indeed come up with their own version of making an assertion that cannot be falsified. Just like climate alarmists now routinely state that all negative issues are a result of “Climate Change” (you can’t prove otherwise), the extinction alarmists have made claims entirely based on modelling that can never be disproved.

    In the latest UN report, some headline numbers advertise ‘1 million species at risk of extinction’. Now, as your other article noted and I have read elsewhere, there are only about ~1.3M documented species so far. Estimates (modelling) point to high possibilities of species that are yet to be discovered, but it would take hundreds of years to do so, assuming that they even exist.

    So here they have their perfect moment. They can model that 10,000s of species are going extinct every year, but almost none of those species have actually been discovered. Those species themselves were just modelled. We modelled that likely lived, and we modelled that we have killed them. But it can never be “disproven” that mankind didn’t cause their extinction. QED, alarmists win!

    1. It’s hard to tell if the alarmists are winning. I’ve read somewhere that climate change is six down on the list of what people care about.
      To me, because I’m zeroed in on this alarmist nonsense, it seems to be in the top three. Twenty Democrats are running on climate change alarmism, working to make it #1.
      Trump will have none of it, get ready for a long hot summer, you know who I’m voting for. Leaders in other countries like France, Germany, Australia, and Canada pushing the Paris accords and carbon taxes are on shaky ground.

      1. ROn,

        “I’ve read somewhere that climate change is six down on the list of what people care about.”

        Yes, as shown by many surveys of US public opinion. But that means little. Revolutions are won by building support in key institutions and laying the foundation for victory. Gaining public support is the last stage, not the first.

        The alarmists have completed all the steps to win. They need only a bout of extreme weather to panic the easily panicked America public. They need win only once.

  13. Pingback: Energy And Environmental Newsletter – May 13th 2019 | PA Pundits - International

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  20. Gary C Techentien

    I don’t find your argument convincing. The evidence presented by Extinction Rebellion is based on a review of current, cutting edge climate science.

    Moreover, they are careful to explain the slow, careful, conservative nature of the IPCC, how it takes years to produce a report and how that report is vetted by economists and politicians who are not climate scientists, makes it less than a true gold standard of climate analysis.

    They present descriptions of positive feedback loops involving the melting of polar ice and the release of methane from the melting of permafrost that can create nonlinear increases in average temperature that are not taken into account by the IPCC. Part of this evidence includes statements of highly regarded climate scientists who conclude that human extinction is a highly probable outcome, even if significant changes are made to reduce the release of greenhouse gases in the near future. I find their evidence highly credible, yet you dismiss it, claiming simply that the hysterics are focusing on the worst case scenario on the IPCC. You name a few climate scientists whom you characterize as beleaguered and burned out by the onslaught of hysterical climate propaganda, but frankly, I find your arguments fall far short of rebutting the evidence presented by what you term “alarmists.” The evidence presented by these alarmists comports far more with my experience of the climate than your complacent view. When I was a child, the only places that reached temperatures above 110 degrees Fahrenheit were deserts. Now temperatures rise higher in temperate zones every year. I live in Florida, now every year there are Category 5 hurricanes. The polar ice caps are melting. They will disappear if drastic measures are not taken to curb our burning of fossil fuels. Coral reefs are dying. Species are disappearing. What happens to weather on planet earth when there are no ice caps? Four mass extinctions have occurred over the last billion years, all from the release of greenhouse gases. You refute none of this. You seem to be a very comfortable person in a very comfortable position who doesn’t want his boat rocked. If you were yourself a eminent climate scientist I would be inclined to take your post more seriously, but your post comes off as dangerously out of touch to me.

    1. Gary,

      Almost every single statement in your comment is false. That’s amazing! That’s sad.

      “The evidence presented by Extinction Rebellion is based on a review of current, cutting edge climate science.”

      Nope. Neither the IPCC nor the more recent reports by the major climate agencies (NOAA in the US) agree with the wild claims of the E.R.

      “they are careful to explain the slow, careful, conservative nature of the IPCC, how it takes years to produce a report and how that report is vetted by economists and politicians who are not climate scientists”

      The Working Group I reports, the physical scientists, are not “vetted by economists.” Also, the political tilt is towards bolder more extreme statements. After all, that’s why politicians created the IPCC.

      “makes it less than a true gold standard of climate analysis.”

      Very very few climate scientists – the extreme activists – agree with you. Lots of surveys about this.

      “Part of this evidence includes statements of highly regarded climate scientists who conclude that human extinction is a highly probable outcome”

      Again, that is an unrepresentative extreme view. You’re just cherry-picking the very few whose views agree with your political bias.

      “Now temperatures rise higher in temperate zones every year.”

      That’s quite bogus as a justification for the extremist exaggerations of the E.R. The Earth is warming, and will continue to warm until either we get a change in the natural climate regime or tech revolution (which might be in its early stage today). But even the warming in the worst-case scenario used in AR5 (RCP8.5) does not come close to “extinction levels” – and RCP8.5 is either highly unlikely or impossible (as a well-designed worst-case scenario should be).

      I suggest sticking with the reports by the IPCC and major climate agencies, and not the cherry-picked then exaggerated papers fed you by far-Leftists.

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