Climate apocalypse warnings unjustified and unhelpful

The more extreme warnings of mass extinctions and the collapse of civilisation due to climate change are not supported by science or common sense, and are likely to be more damaging to the important measures we should be taking too reduce emissions and pollution, and limit the destruction of important habitats and ecosystems.

There are reports that some young people suffer from anxiety over what apocalyptic events could happen, while it is likely that many people will turn off to the whole climate issue, to an extent at least.

The worst case scenarios that some are promoting as inevitable in the near future are likely to be wrong. Humans have had an impact on the Earth’s environment for a long time, increasingly as the population has exploded and industrialisation has introduced major adverse effects. But we have also been adaptable and resourceful. Most of us will likely survive climate change, and in some ways some of us will benefit.

It is still worth reducing energy consumption and food consumption and pollution, as we will benefit, as will our planet.

Michael Shellenberger (Forbes):  Why Apocalyptic Claims About Climate Change Are Wrong

Environmental journalists and advocates have in recent weeks made a number of apocalyptic predictions about the impact of climate change. Bill McKibben suggested climate-driven fires in Australia had made koalas “functionally extinct.”  Vice claimed the “collapse of civilization may have already begun.”  Extinction Rebellion said “Billions will die” and “Life on Earth is dying.”

The name “Extinction Rebellion” sounds as extreme as there warnings. They have protested in New Zealand recently, but failed to attract much support.

Few have underscored the threat more than student climate activist Greta Thunberg and Green New Deal sponsor Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The latter said, “The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.”

Says Thunberg in her new book, “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.”

They have wider (worldwide) support but specifying years that catastrophe will strike or will become unavoidable seems like nutter territory.

Sometimes, scientists themselves make apocalyptic claims. “It’s difficult to see how we could accommodate a billion people or even half of that,” if Earth warms four degrees, said one earlier this year. “The potential for multi-breadbasket failure is increasing,” said another. If sea levels rise as much as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts, another scientist said, “It will be an unmanageable problem.”

They sound like vague but extreme guesses at best.

Apocalyptic statements like these have real-world impacts. In September, a group of British psychologists said children are increasingly suffering from anxiety from the frightening discourse around climate change.

In October, an activist with Extinction Rebellion (”XR”) — an environmental group founded in 2018 to commit civil disobedience to draw awareness to the threat its founders and supporters say climate change poses to human existence — and a videographer, were kicked and beaten in a London Tube station by angry commuters.

And last week, an XR co-founder said a genocide like the Holocaust was “happening again, on a far greater scale, and in plain sight” from climate change.

There was quite an adverse reaction to that.

Climate change is an issue I care passionately about and have dedicated a significant portion of my life to addressing. I have been politically active on the issue for over 20 years and have researched and written about it for 17 years. Over the last four years, my organization, Environmental Progress, has worked with some of the world’s leading climate scientists to prevent carbon emissions from rising. So far, we’ve helped prevent emissions increasing the equivalent of adding 24 million cars to the road.

I also care about getting the facts and science right and have in recent months corrected inaccurate and apocalyptic news media coverage of fires in the Amazon and fires in California, both of which have been improperly presented as resulting primarily from climate change.

Attributing single weather events like storms and hurricanes to climate change is common, and stupid. There’s no way of measuring long term effects against single events, which have had complex influences.

It’s as stupid to claim, as is common Kiwiblog and The BFD, that some snow somewhere somehow proves climate change isn’t happening (heavier snowfalls and worse cold storms are predicted effects of climate change).

Journalists and activists alike have an obligation to describe environmental problems honestly and accurately, even if they fear doing so will reduce their news value or salience with the public.

There is good evidence that the catastrophist framing of climate change is self-defeating because it alienates and polarizes many people.

And it provides fodder to the ‘nothing is happening, we don’t have to change anything’ brigade.

And exaggerating climate change risks distracting us from other important issues including ones we might have more near-term control over.

I think that’s the biggest problem with overstating and scaremongering.

“I want the issues I’m about to raise to be taken seriously and not dismissed by those who label as “climate deniers” or “climate delayers” anyone who pushes back against exaggeration”

I feel the need to say this up-front because I want the issues I’m about to raise to be taken seriously and not dismissed by those who label as “climate deniers” or “climate delayers” anyone who pushes back against exaggeration.

With that out of the way, let’s look whether the science supports what’s being said.

First, no credible scientific body has ever said climate change threatens the collapse of civilization much less the extinction of the human species. “‘Our children are going to die in the next 10 to 20 years.’ What’s the scientific basis for these claims?” BBC’s Andrew Neil asked a visibly uncomfortable XR spokesperson last month.

“These claims have been disputed, admittedly,” she said. “There are some scientists who are agreeing and some who are saying it’s not true. But the overall issue is that these deaths are going to happen.”

“But most scientists don’t agree with this,” said Neil. “I looked through IPCC reports and see no reference to billions of people going to die, or children in 20 years. How would they die?”

“Mass migration around the world already taking place due to prolonged drought in countries, particularly in South Asia. There are wildfires in Indonesia, the Amazon rainforest, Siberia, the Arctic,” she said.

But in saying so, the XR spokesperson had grossly misrepresented the science. “There is robust evidence of disasters displacing people worldwide,” notes IPCC, “but limited evidence that climate change or sea-level rise is the direct cause”

What about “mass migration”? “The majority of resultant population movements tend to occur within the borders of affected countries,” says IPCC.

It’s not like climate doesn’t matter. It’s that climate change is outweighed by other factors. Earlier this year, researchers found that climate “has affected organized armed conflict within countries.

However, other drivers, such as low socioeconomic development and low capabilities of the state, are judged to be substantially more influential.”

So should be getting more attention and resources.

Last January, after climate scientists criticized Rep. Ocasio-Cortez for saying the world would end in 12 years, her spokesperson said “We can quibble about the phraseology, whether it’s existential or cataclysmic.” He added, “We’re seeing lots of [climate change-related] problems that are already impacting lives.”

That last part may be true, but it’s also true that economic development has made us less vulnerable, which is why there was a 99.7% decline in the death toll from natural disasters since its peak in 1931.

In 1931, 3.7 million people died from natural disasters. In 2018, just 11,000 did.  And that decline occurred over a period when the global population quadrupled.

Also, far fewer people now die from medical epidemics. While the death toll from measles in Samoa is alarming and tragic, it is not anywhere as as bad as The 1918 influenza pandemic: “The total number of deaths attributable to influenza was later estimated to have reached 8500, or 22% of the population. According to a 1947 United Nations report, it ranked as ‘one of the most disastrous epidemics recorded anywhere in the world during the present century, so far as the proportion of deaths to the population is concerned’.”

What about sea level rise? IPCC estimates sea level could rise two feet (0.6 meters) by 2100. Does that sound apocalyptic or even “unmanageable”?

Consider that one-third of the Netherlands is below sea level, and some areas are seven meters below sea level. You might object that Netherlands is rich while Bangladesh is poor. But the Netherlands adapted to living below sea level 400 years ago. Technology has improved a bit since then.

What about claims of crop failure, famine, and mass death? That’s science fiction, not science. Humans today produce enough food for 10 billion people, or 25% more than we need, and scientific bodies predict increases in that share, not declines.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) forecasts crop yields increasing 30% by 2050. And the poorest parts of the world, like sub-Saharan Africa, are expected to see increases of 80 to 90%.

Those predictions of increased food production may be affected by climate change – but those effects could be positive as well as negative.

Nobody is suggesting climate change won’t negatively impact crop yields. It could. But such declines should be put in perspective. Wheat yields increased 100 to 300% around the world since the 1960s, while a study of 30 models found that yields would decline by 6% for every one degree Celsius increase in temperature.

Rates of future yield growth depend far more on whether poor nations get access to tractors, irrigation, and fertilizer than on climate change, says FAO.

So more tractors could be more important than more electric cars.

All of this helps explain why IPCC anticipates climate change will have a modest impact on economic growth. By 2100, IPCC projects the global economy will be 300 to 500% larger than it is today. Both IPCC and the Nobel-winning Yale economist, William Nordhaus, predict that warming of 2.5°C and 4°C would reduce gross domestic product (GDP) by 2% and 5% over that same period.

IPCC reports are rubbished by some, but that is usually superficial dissing based largely on cherry picking and ignorance.

Does this mean we shouldn’t worry about climate change? Not at all.

One of the reasons I work on climate change is because I worry about the impact it could have on endangered species. Climate change may threaten one million species globally and half of all mammals, reptiles, and amphibians in diverse places like the Albertine Rift in central Africa, home to the endangered mountain gorilla.

But it’s not the case that “we’re putting our own survival in danger” through extinctions, as Elizabeth Kolbert claimed in her book, Sixth Extinction. As tragic as animal extinctions are, they do not threaten human civilization. If we want to save endangered species, we need to do so because we care about wildlife for spiritual, ethical, or aesthetic reasons, not survival ones.

And exaggerating the risk, and suggesting climate change is more important than things like habitat destruction, are counterproductive.

Scientists overwhelmingly warn of climate change risks, but some are concerned about the over-egging.

Climate scientists are starting to push back against exaggerations by activists, journalists, and other scientists.

“While many species are threatened with extinction,” said Stanford’s Ken Caldeira, “climate change does not threaten human extinction… I would not like to see us motivating people to do the right thing by making them believe something that is false.”

I asked the Australian climate scientist Tom Wigley what he thought of the claim that climate change threatens civilization. “It really does bother me because it’s wrong,” he said. “All these young people have been misinformed. And partly it’s Greta Thunberg’s fault. Not deliberately. But she’s wrong.”

And media who have promoted Thunberg as some sort of messiah should be more careful about the message they send.

Part of what bothers me about the apocalyptic rhetoric by climate activists is that it is often accompanied by demands that poor nations be denied the cheap sources of energy they need to develop. I have found that many scientists share my concerns.

“If you want to minimize carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in 2070  you might want to accelerate the burning of coal in India today,” MIT climate scientist Kerry Emanuel said.

“It doesn’t sound like it makes sense. Coal is terrible for carbon. But it’s by burning a lot of coal that they make themselves wealthier, and by making themselves wealthier they have fewer children, and you don’t have as many people burning carbon, you might be better off in 2070.”

There have been similar ‘counter-intuitive’ arguments here about the problem with shutting down cleaner gas recovery which pushes is to rely more on dirtier energy from elsewhere.

Emanuel and Wigley say the extreme rhetoric is making political agreement on climate change harder.

“You’ve got to come up with some kind of middle ground where you do reasonable things to mitigate the risk and try at the same time to lift people out of poverty and make them more resilient,” said Emanuel. “We shouldn’t be forced to choose between lifting people out of poverty and doing something for the climate.”

Happily, there is a plenty of middle ground between climate apocalypse and climate denial.

Can our politicians put more focus and efforts in this middle ground?

And while our media has moved recently to not provide publicity to denialist cranks, they should apply the same sort of restrictions to apocalypse cranks. Neither are supported by most science, nor by common sense.

Leave a comment

54 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  1st December 2019

    Does anyone read the daily alarmist crap Stuff publishes? None of it allows reader comment or criticism so it is pure propaganda and a disgrace to journalism.

    We will just have to wait for the Western world’s media to get over their moral panic fad before there can be any sensible discussion of the issues. Shouldn’t take long.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  1st December 2019

      Some does allow comment, but they close it down almost at once.

      I read that a lot of Swedes are tiring of little Greta’s hectoring and arrogant attitude.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  1st December 2019

        I wonder who really wrote the tiresome brat’s new book, and who’ll read it.

        And how she justifies the use of the resources that made it.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  1st December 2019

          Shes a ‘brand ‘ now. However she might last longer than previous teenage climate sensations, who no one now remembers, as she has had good PR people from the beginning….that and Twitter
          The Climate Apocalypses is a perfect problem for the young generation to think are solving. Everything is pushed to the future to make it sound easy …and tidy.
          So much better than solving todays messy problems tomorrow.

          Carless days starting on Jan 1 would show ‘we’ mean business.. now hahahahaha

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  1st December 2019

            My aunt was in NZ then, and said that they were better than what was happening in Ulster where they’d never know if any given garage had any petrol left or whether they’d be stranded somewhere. At least with carless days, that didn’t happen.

            I am surprised that Little Miss Thunderbox has lasted as long as she has, but if her own people are tiring of her, her time may be up.

            It’s odd that despite her aversion to fossil fuels, she has no qualms at all about using products made from these, the little hypocrite. I have heard other people saying this, and her bossy manner is a real turn-off. She orders other people not to do what she’s doing herself.

            Reply
  2. Pink David

     /  1st December 2019

    “Can our politicians put more focus and efforts in this middle ground?”

    No.

    Reply
  3. Corky

     /  1st December 2019

    ”And while our media has moved recently to not provide publicity to denialist cranks,”

    What’s a denialist crank? Someone who questions the science and the lies told in support of climate change?

    Reply
    • Pretty much all scientists question ‘the science’, that’s what science is, so not them.

      So those who claim things they disagree with re ‘lies’ perhaps.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  1st December 2019

        ”Pretty much all scientists question ‘the science’, that’s what science is.”

        Do you mean that’s what science should be when it’s devoid of consensus opinion, politics and money?

        Reply
  4. I posted on this at The Standard. Funny to see Robert ignore the article and take a petty swipe to me. Sacha also, he seems almost have been assigned to dump on me at TS.

    No arguments or commentary on the topic of course.

    https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-01-12-2019/#comment-1670060

    Reply
    • Pink David

       /  1st December 2019

      You post it at a site full of zealots and they react like zealots. They view climate change as the chance to take power and change society to their Marxist heaven, they won’t appreciate any diversion.

      Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  1st December 2019

      The dumping was very puerile indeed.

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  1st December 2019

      Garn, come on Pete! Poking at a wasps’ nest. You know before you even post there you’re going to get sniped at with snarky, childish schoolyard-like comments whatever you’ve had to say. You’re not in their gang. Or in their corner. You’ll always be on the outer there.

      Reply
  5. Dennis Horne

     /  1st December 2019

    https://insideclimatenews.org/news/27112019/climate-tipping-points-permafrost-forests-ice-antarctica-greenland-amazon-nature

    Climate Tipping Points Are Closer Than We Think, Scientists Warn
    From melting ice caps to dying forests and thawing permafrost, the risk of ‘abrupt and irreversible changes’ is much higher than thought just a few years ago.

    Humans are playing Russian roulette with Earth’s climate by ignoring the growing risk of tipping points that, if passed, could jolt the climate system into “a new, less habitable ‘hothouse’ climate state,” scientists are warning ahead of the annual UN climate summit.

    Research now shows that there is a higher risk that “abrupt and irreversible changes” to the climate system could be triggered at smaller global temperature increases than thought just a few years ago. There are also indictations that exceeding tipping points in one system, such as the loss of Arctic sea ice, can increase the risk of crossing tipping points in others, a group of top scientists wrote Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature*.

    “What we’re talking about is a point of no return, when we might actually lose control of this system, and there is a significant risk that we’re going to do this,” said Will Steffen, a climate researcher with the Australian National University and co-author of the commentary. “It’s not going to be the same conditions with just a bit more heat or a bit more rainfall. It’s a cascading process that gets out of control.” [continues]

    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03595-0

    Wilkinson. When you have a paper in Nature I’ll stop regarding you as an insufferable ignoranus.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  1st December 2019

      Thinking I care about your opinion of me just adds to your crippling delusions, Dennis.

      Can you tell us when we ever had control of our climate? You don’t even have control of yourself.

      Reply
      • Dennis Horne

         /  1st December 2019

        Not even deniers like Richard Lindzen say we haven’t changed the climate.

        Judith Curry says we don’t know yet. Well, we do.

        Reply
  6. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  1st December 2019

    Greta seems to have shifted focus from Climate change per se…

    After all, the climate crisis is not just about the environment. It is a crisis of human rights, of justice, and of political will. Colonial, racist, and patriarchal systems of oppression have created and fueled it. We need to dismantle them all. Our political leaders can no longer shirk their responsibilities.

    https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/climate-strikes-un-conference-madrid-by-greta-thunberg-et-al-2019-11

    Oh dear, looks like the Revolution is on the way….. somehow I don’t think we will all be sharing our resources and the fruits of our production in a happy globalist state.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  1st December 2019

      She’s mouthing platitudes, ‘…full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’ How can anyone give this tiresome child a platform for this twaddle ? I notice that she offers no solutions, just issues orders.

      Reply
    • Dennis Horne

       /  1st December 2019

      Another right-wing nut job who cannot accept “incontrovertible evidence” (American Physical Society) evidence and irrefutable science (no one has refuted it, it’s a delusion held only by cranks and those who read their websites).

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  1st December 2019

        The cranks are those that think evidence human activities affect climate proves that alarmist fantasies are real.

        Reply
        • Dennis Horne

           /  1st December 2019

          The fantasies are yours, Wilkinson, not the IPCC’s. A decade to plan a steep reduction in emissions.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  1st December 2019

            They have been saying ‘only a decade ‘ since well ..forever they have had their
            various scares going.
            1970 The First Earth Day
            “. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

            Climate has replaced all the earlier apocalypses…we must be heading for peak apocalypse on that one.

            Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  1st December 2019

            That was when they decided 2 deg C wasn’t alarming enough so they would aim for 1.5 deg C instead wasn’t it, Dennis?

            And thousands of scientists immediately agreed?

            Reply
      • Maggy Wassilieff

         /  1st December 2019

        Another right-wing nut job
        Same old abuse eh?

        I’m the daughter of a dunny-cleaner, raised in Castlecliff, Wanganui.
        I live in Kaiti, Gisborne.

        You are a joke, Dennis.

        I’m no more right-wing than you with your entitled privilege.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  1st December 2019

          Oh, where in Castlecliff ?

          We lived in Puriri St for some years when I was in my teens, it was middle-class then. Some people called it Gonville. It depended which end you were at.

          Reply
          • Maggy Wassilieff

             /  1st December 2019

            Manuka St.. amongst the lupins and boxthorn.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  1st December 2019

              Boxthorn ! I remember treading on some and ending up in hospital with a foot swelled up like a balloon.

              I can’t place Manuka St.

              I was at Wanganui Girls’ College; were you ? Good school, naff uniforms stuck in a time warp. My mother’s school was worse; they were still wearing cloche hats decades after these had been in fashion.

            • Maggy Wassilieff

               /  1st December 2019

              I can’t place Manuka St.

              At the end of Polson and Thatcher St, crosses Cornfoot St and runs down to the Beach Domain.

              WHS

        • Gezza

           /  1st December 2019

          I got irritated last night by Melissa Stokes telling the nation the Labour Party conference was being held in Funganui. That’s not what it is called by Whanganui & Taranaki Maori. But it was always going to happen given that wh is almost universally pronounced as an f these days.

          Reply
          • Maggy Wassilieff

             /  1st December 2019

            Well, what can you do?
            I put in a submission saying that west-coast Maori would lose their dialect as East-Coast (Ngati Porou) pronunciation seems to be what is officially taught throughout schools and Public Service institutions.

            I never heard words like fare (whare), kofai (kowhai) etc, until I was in my 40s.

            Now I’m on the East Coast, wholks just have to put up with my pronunciation….

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  1st December 2019

              There’s nothing one can do. My older brother’s a linguist & says the kaumatua in some Taranaki hapu iwi marae bemoan their rangatahi’s incorrect pronunciation & the impending loss of their local dialect, but the f pronunciation seems to be the one pushed by the Maori Language Commission. There’s a good reason the early translators used a wh instead of an f or a ph to render the aspirated h they were hearing in words like Whanau & Whanganui. They clearly weren’t hearing an f in many places.

              I suppose in the overall scheme of things it doesn’t really matter that much if the language pronunciation eventually gets standardised. My mum was a primary school teacher & taught us that what, when, where, which, & why should technically all be properly pronounced with aspirated h’s. But even she accepted they were now uniformly pronounced in NZ as wot, wen, weer, witch & wy.

              I just wish the early translators used an f or a ph instead of wh where f is what they heard.

            • Spoken language (languages) continually evolve. Written language attempts to be an accurate snapshot at the time it is put on paper, but inevitably falls behind common usage. And it struggles to account for regional variations.

              English has so many regional variations that few people care about the variations.

              I think we should try to approximate what we think is correct Maori pronunciation, but there can be no perfection in practice. I think that has to be accepted.

              Ironically the more te reo is promoted and learned the more variations there will be, especially when people with a variety of linguistic backgrounds learn them. I think it’s impossible to stop Maori with English accents, Maori with Kiwi accents, Maori with Indian, Asian, variuos European and other accents.

              If wider usage is sought and encouraged then wider variations should be accepted.

            • Gezza

               /  1st December 2019

              That’s true, PG, but it is also the reason kids & new English language learners ask, for example, wy is there a h in some English words, like why and where, that you don’t pronounce?

              And the French are just as bad, there are quite a few letters they don’t pronounce – you just have to learn to ignore them in speech, but remember to write them when spelling.

              I don’t know enough about other languages to know how common such apparent oddities are.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  1st December 2019

              German is very regulated as to what it may or may not do.How surprising. Dutch isn’t quite so regimented.

              One of my French lecturers was at an Embassy do when the ambassador was Comte someone (pron ‘cont’) One addresses a comte as M*. le Comte, but a woman who seemed to think that the last letter is silent in all French words kept addressing him as M. le Con…in other words, Mr Cunt.

              * Monsieur, but when it’s followed by a name, it’s always ‘M.’ .

              Marian P still collapsed with mirth every time she thought of this.

              Spanish varies a bit from district to district; Panama uses Castilian, I think. I could understand it, but it wasn’t what we learned at Vic.

              Italian’s fairly straightforward.

              I don’t know enough Roumanian to know if it has anomalies.

              Latin…well, the pronunciation’s fairly straightforward, but the people who made the grammar had far too much time on their hands.

            • “German is very regulated as to what it may or may not do”

              Standard German perhaps. But there are a lot of dialect differences that can be just about incomprehensible to those unfamiliar with them. Swiss German reverses some of the High German pronunciation rules. German regional dialects can vary a lot.

              German dialects are dialects often considered languages in their own right and are classified under the umbrella term of “German”. Though varied by region, those of the southern half of Germany beneath the Benrath line are dominated by the geographical spread of the High German consonant shift, and the dialect continua that connect German to the neighboring varieties of Low Franconian (Dutch) and Frisian.

              The German dialects are the traditional local varieties. They are traced back to the different Germanic tribes. Many of them are hardly understandable to someone who knows only Standard German, since they often differ from Standard German in lexicon, phonology and syntax. If a narrow definition of language based on mutual intelligibility is used, many German dialects are considered to be separate languages.

              The variation among German dialects ranges. In regions with dialects are being in the same dialectal region, pronunciation, syntax and words particular to specific towns even only a few miles apart can create even more variation. In the Black Forest region alone, there was a newspaper request for people to report what word they used for the term “Dragonfly.” Sixty words were collected as reported from responders for the term[1].

              Low German, most Upper German, High Franconian dialects and even some Central German dialects when they are spoken in their purest form are unintelligible to those versed only in Standard German.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_dialects

            • Gezza

               /  1st December 2019

              Here’s the correct way to pronounce Whanganui in the Whanganui/Taranaki dialect. The interesting thing for me is that the old “Wanganui” sounds closer to the correct pronunciation than Funganui does.

              https://www.whanganui.govt.nz/About-Whanganui/Our-District/How-we-say-Whanganui

            • Maggy Wassilieff

               /  1st December 2019

              We were taught that the Latin C is hard….

              Kikero (Cicero )

              Kaiser (Caesar)

              I wasn’t a great Latin scholar…
              very foolish of my LatinTeacher to ask me to decline Fortress/Citadel.(Arx, Arcis)

        • Dennis Horne

           /  1st December 2019

          @Maggy Wassilief: “Oh dear, looks like the Revolution is on the way….. somehow I don’t think we will all be sharing our resources and the fruits of our production in a happy globalist state.”

          Right-wing conspiracy ideation.

          NASA, NOAA and many other sites explain the science but you prefer cranks and cretins at wattsupwiththat, not alotofpeopleknowthat and notrickszone.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  1st December 2019

            What a charmer, you will be a real asset to YNZ.

            Reply
          • Dukeofurl

             /  1st December 2019

            Explain the Science then…
            Whats the Climate Sensitivity.. precisely please.
            The expected temperature rise from the CO2 increase would be well known by now …surely as the CO2 numbers are known

            Reply
          • Maggy Wassilieff

             /  1st December 2019

            Right-wing conspiracy ideation.

            Not at all… I’m saying the push to treat Climate-change by overthrow of our political systems is not a Marxist/socialist plot…. the revolution is not being led by workers or peasants.

            It’s an ecofascist movement, being pushed by an elite group of individuals and institutions.

            Reply
  7. oldlaker

     /  1st December 2019

    You write: Neither denialist or apocalypse cranks “are supported by most science, nor by common sense”.
    Actually, a lot of science runs counter to common sense and is profoundly counter-intuitive. A prime example is that the earth has been shown to revolve around the sun when common sense and everyday observation supports the idea of the sun revolving around the earth.
    Common sense also doesn’t help understand the theory of man-made climate change being due to increased GHGs. A common sense approach would say that CO2, as a trace element making up 0.04 per cent of the atmosphere, cannot have the wide-ranging effects climate change theory ascribes to it.
    Similarly, common sense tells you that if the Mediaeval Warm Period saw temperatures much higher than today (including grapes being grown in the north of England) at a pre-industrial time when CO2 was much lower, then CO2 is unlikely to be the cause of rising temperatures in the 21st century.
    Common sense simply isn’t a good guide to interpreting the truth of scientific theories.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  1st December 2019

      Common sense can guide what should be tested. Data will decide truth.

      Reply
  8. NOEL

     /  1st December 2019

    Aw why shouldn’t this new generation have to face fear.
    Nuclear doomsday clock, acid rain, every fourth house to have an AIDs patient,,Y2K, I forget the order.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  1st December 2019

      You forgot the communist threat.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  1st December 2019

        My oath ! The commies were everywhere.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  1st December 2019

          And hardly anyone realised that the Cossacks were ferociously anti-Communist and would have been furious at being associated with Communism. They were on the side of the White Russians.

          Ferocious is the word;I read one of their punishments/tortures before I could stop myself in Gorky’s Taras Bulba and wished that I hadn’t.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  1st December 2019

            And hardly anyone realised that the Cossacks were ferociously anti-Communist

            That’s true. I never made that connection until years afterwards because at the time I just associated the fur hats & outfits with Russians & thought the ad was hilariously OTT.

            Reply
  9. Griff.

     /  1st December 2019

    And while our media has moved recently to not provide publicity to denialist cranks, they should apply the same sort of restrictions to apocalypse cranks. Neither are supported by most science, nor by common sense.

    You are wrong Pete
    Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against
    27 NOVEMBER 2019
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03595-0

    Politicians, economists and even some natural scientists have tended to assume that tipping points1 in the Earth system — such as the loss of the Amazon rainforest or the West Antarctic ice sheet — are of low probability and little understood. Yet evidence is mounting that these events could be more likely than was thought, have high impacts and are interconnected across different biophysical systems, potentially committing the world to long-term irreversible changes.

    Here we summarize evidence on the threat of exceeding tipping points, identify knowledge gaps and suggest how these should be plugged. We explore the effects of such large-scale changes, how quickly they might unfold and whether we still have any control over them.

    In our view, the consideration of tipping points helps to define that we are in a climate emergency and strengthens this year’s chorus of calls for urgent climate action — from schoolchildren to scientists, cities and countries.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) introduced the idea of tipping points two decades ago. At that time, these ‘large-scale discontinuities’ in the climate system were considered likely only if global warming exceeded 5 °C above pre-industrial levels. Information summarized in the two most recent IPCC Special Reports (published in 2018 and in September this year)2,3 suggests that tipping points could be exceeded even between 1 and 2 °C of warming (see ‘Too close for comfort’).

    Reply
    • There is risk of exceeding a tipping point, but I think that’s far from certain – it’s more of a hypotheses than anything. It’s very unclear when a tipping point might be reached and also any timeframe and severity that may result.

      There’s a risk but an unknown risk. we can’t plan for and allow for al possibilities.

      And suddenly changing our whole economic and political systems raise risks substantially, and could cause far more problems than whatever climate change eventuates.

      Reply
      • Griff.

         /  1st December 2019

        Pete.
        See the chart above .
        Without radical change we are presently on course for 3C or more.
        The risk is such that if the worse happens you will not be worrying about the economy you will be worrying about the next meal.

        Oh and Pete.
        I can make an educated guess why you have kept me on moderation for so long .
        I long ago achieved my goals on that issue .
        You have my honest commitment to no longer expose you to that risk. If I do so again on here you are welcome to permanently ban me .

        Reply

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