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Climate science is making you miserable Hysterical experts give the wrong impression

People are not fruit flies. Marcos del Mazo/LightRocket/Getty Images

People are not fruit flies. Marcos del Mazo/LightRocket/Getty Images


April 11, 2024   7 mins

There’s a thing in movie franchises called a crossover, where a character from one franchise appears in another. You know the sort of thing: Alien vs. Predator; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The entire and seemingly interminable Marvel Cinematic Universe series, the total runtime of which is now officially longer than some small wars.

For studios, the financial appeal is pretty obvious. Each character has its devoted fanbase; if you put two characters in one movie, you can get both of them along to the cinema at once. And because the draw is the characters, not the quality of the movie itself, you can skimp on a decent script or convincing effects.

I was thinking about this as I read The Weight of Nature: How a Changing Climate Changes Our Minds, Brains and Bodies, by Clayton Page Aldern. At the risk of sounding cynical, it struck me as a cinematic crossover event. What are people worried about? Climate change. What else are people worried about? Modern life and mental health! What if we got someone to write a book about… how climate change is damaging our mental health? Then we’d get the climate worriers and the mental healthers buying the same book!

Aldern is not the first person to think of this, and to be fair, climate anxiety is a real problem. Every few weeks a newspaper will run an article by someone saying they won’t have children out of fear that the world won’t be fit to live in, and a global 2021 survey found that more than half of the 10,000 young people surveyed agreed with the phrase “humanity is doomed”. For what it’s worth, I think they’re entirely wrong about that — climate change will have a lot of negative effects on the world, and it’s reasonable to be worried about it, but it’s not going to kill everyone.

“Climate change will have a lot of negative effects — but it’s not going to kill everyone.”

On the whole, though, he wants to say something both more subtle and more ambitious than “people are worried about the future”. He wants to say that climate change itself is damaging our brains. He wants to say it’s doing this in obvious ways — we get grumpier and stupider when it’s hot — and in more insidious ones, with the spread of unpleasant diseases and neurotoxins, and, most poignantly, by causing us grief and displacement and loss of identity and all these things which then have various impacts on our brain.

He does this with the weight of academic authority behind him: he is a “neuroscientist turned environmental journalist”, according to the blurb. (Although he does only have a master’s degree in neuroscience. I did a philosophy MA in 2005 but I would feel a bit of a fraud calling myself a “philosopher”.) This makes the book’s flaws all the more baffling, until you remember that it’s a crossover event.

There’s a certain kind of pop-science book that relies on a particular format: story, study, lesson. Christopher Chabris, a psychologist, first noted it in the work of the disgraced science writer Jonah Lehrer. But it’s a staple — you’ll notice it in Malcolm Gladwell books, for instance. You tell some moving, heartwarming or inspiring story; you recount the results of some study which apparently explains what’s going on in people’s brains in those situations; and then you draw them together to give the reader some pat little take-home message.

I rather thought that we had progressed beyond those books, at least in the upper-mid-market pop science titles that might get reviewed in The Times and New York Times, or excerpted in The Guardian. The “this study on 17 undergraduates at Ohio State University shows that actually creativity stems from our right anterior superior temporal gyrus” stuff so rarely withstood the scrutiny of the replication crisis in science that almost all of them turned out to be essentially content-free.

But Aldern follows the formula to the letter. Each chapter starts with a desperate anecdote: a child dying from an amoebic brain disease caught from a swimming pond; a father whose family burned to death in a wildfire. Then there’s a study, usually in zebrafish or fruit flies, showing us how changes to our environment make us forget, or how living near mountaintop-removal mines is associated with higher rates of depression. Then there’s a flowery lesson presented in conclusion: “The weight of nature presses, but we get to press back. A depression is a state, but it is also a refuge, a place from which to come forth.” OK then.

But what people want from these books isn’t science per se, with its nagging uncertainty and its boring on-the-one-hand-on-the-others. What people want, I think, is vibes: a thrilling sense of fear and sadness, like watching a horror movie or a weepy. (A crossover event between Nightmare on Elm Street and The Bridges of Madison County, perhaps.) That’s my theory, anyway, which would explain why this book can contain claims that are not only under-evidenced but obviously, screamingly false, and still have E. Annie Proulx call it an “important watershed book”.

For instance, Aldern cites one study which looked at the children of mothers who were caught up in Superstorm Sandy in New York and New Jersey in 2012. It found, he said, that among other things, boys who were exposed in utero to the stress of climate change saw a 60-fold increase in ADHD. Think about that for five seconds. What is wrong with that picture? This study found that the prevalence of ADHD in US children and adolescents in 2022 was about 10%. A 60-fold increase in that prevalence would mean that 600% of boys exposed to storms while in utero get ADHD!

In Aldern’s defence, and to my surprise, the study really does claim a 62-fold increased risk specifically for ADHD in boys. But it’s obviously nonsense, a product of small sample sizes made even smaller by chopping them up into bits — boys, girls, boys with ADHD, girls with depression — and picking the most dramatic results. It is the sort of number that should make your eyebrows shoot up immediately. (And in fairness, the study itself only mentions that clearly implausible number down in the results section, and leads on somewhat more credible, though still pretty mad, ones.) Nomura’s study “almost beggars belief”, Aldern says, coming close to, but not quite reaching, an insight.

Aldern also, hilariously, says that a local brewery “saw a gap of 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-3°C)” between indoor and outdoor temperatures at one point. How, you might wonder, can a difference in temperature be positive in Fahrenheit but negative in Celsius? Easy: if you’ve put 25°F into an online temperature calculator and just copied-and-pasted the result. Yes, if the temperature outside is 25°F, that means it’s -3.9°C and pretty nippy. But if the temperature goes up by 25°F, then it can’t go down in Celsius. Again: this stuff should be obvious to anyone who’s paying attention, and that makes me think that no one involved in the book was paying attention.

But this book isn’t a serious effort to find stuff out. Maybe I, as a crashingly literal bore who wants to know how much we know, am the wrong audience. This is a book for fans of the climate crisis and the mental health epidemic, and anything that can bring the two heroes into the picture at the same time is fine.

For instance, Aldern says that “climate change causes amnesia”, because a changing environment triggers forgetting to aid learning. He backs this up with a study in fruit flies and then extrapolates from it to say that people who live near a vanishing glacier in Iceland are therefore… developing amnesia? Except he doesn’t quite say that: he slips into flowery gesturing language. (He often does, usually when it seems like he doesn’t know exactly what point he’s making: “History can be an act of elegy, but perhaps it can be an act of evolution, too.” Righto.) But I’m left baffled. Is the claim that people who live near this glacier will remember things less well, or not?

To be clear, climate change certainly is changing our brains, because our brains change with every new experience we have. That’s what learning and memory is: the subtle rewiring of our brains to store new information. But for most people, climate change — at least so far, in most of the world — is subtle; bad, but subtle. The changes it has wrought in most of our lives so far are minor. The Covid pandemic or the war in Ukraine driving up petrol prices will have changed our environment far more in recent years.

Or, to be honest, much more quotidian things than that. If you’ve moved house or changed jobs, had a child, started a new relationship or ended an old one, you will have felt the world around you change much more dramatically than anything that climate change has (so far, for most of us) done. And maybe these events do cause us to forget more, or cause our identities to “slip”, as Aldern claims climate change does. But we don’t tend to think of them as fundamentally eating away at who we are. No one’s going to write a book called The Weight of Moving House about the neuroscience of having to remember which box you packed the duvets in.

Climate change is real and will cause real problems. And some of those problems will be psychological: no doubt a lot of people have suffered and will suffer trauma, as changing weather patterns mean their crops die or their houses flood or burn. But this isn’t mystical or subtle, it’s just bog-standard “horrible events are unpleasant to live through”. You don’t need studies about transient forgetting in fruit flies to explain it.

What would be more interesting to examine, perhaps, is the nature of climate anxiety itself. It makes sense to worry about it — as mentioned, it’s big and unsettling, and full of unknowns. But in the West, I think, there’s also a nagging sense of guilt: we drove the cars and built the factories, we polluted the atmosphere, and we got rich doing so. I do wonder if books like this are a manifestation of that guilt: we buy them to show that we’re the good guys, we worry, the climate plagues our thoughts.

The irony is that — precisely because, for most Western people, climate change is still a relatively distant concept — the real impacts of climate change on mental health come via the media, including books such as Aldern’s. But the case that climate change is “changing our minds and bodies” in some subtle, insidious way — any more than all the other changes in our environment — is, to put it mildly, not convincingly made.

But it’s not there to convince us, any more than Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is meant to convince me that King Kong is really on the loose. It’s just a crossover. Love climate change? Love mental health? Then you’ll love The Weight of Nature!


Tom Chivers is a science writer. His second book, How to Read Numbers, is out now.

TomChivers

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Santiago Excilio
Santiago Excilio
1 month ago

Well thank you, Tom, for reviewing this kaleidoscopic disarrangement of a book and saving us all the trouble of ever going near the thing.

I think there is a far greater impact on mental health from social media, where various studies (ahhh, those studies again) have found strong links between heavy social media consumption and increased risk of depression, anxiety, loneliness, self harm and potentially even suicidal thoughts.

And I also suspect that social media bears a significant portion of the blame for the hysteria and anxiety around climate change as well. I am rather more sanguine about the impact of and dangers arising from it than I suspect you are; however, as you say, guilt is a powerful emotion and playing on it can make people do all sorts of things they otherwise might, on cooler reflection, not do. The Catholic Church has exploited this tendency quite well for nearly 2000 years, and the climate doom-sayers have only been at it for 30 or so, so we might have to put up with it for a time yet.

Ernesto Candelabra
Ernesto Candelabra
1 month ago

Very odd to say that the Catholic Church has exploited guilt as it offers reconciliation as a sacrament and furthermore subscribes to the Augustinian view of sin as a universal phenomenon; therefore individual guilt can never be felt too heavily and there is always a solution in the sacrament. I say this as an actual Catholic; not someone watching with a pair of binoculars.

There can always be poor Christian teaching, but it was the Pharisees who promoted guilt and punishment, not Jesus.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
1 month ago

Thanks Ernesto, for making this point.
When people talk about Catholicism in these terms, it’s not really that they don’t want the ‘guilt’. It’s rather that they don’t want the responsibility. They want to do whatever suits them, without considering that they have any moral obligations whatsoever. And blaming the Church helps them forget all this.
So the guilt is theirs. The Church offers absolution. But first you have to admit to your sins. And they don’t want to do that.

Paul
Paul
1 month ago

No everlasting burning lakes in Judaism that I’m aware of. Have you a source?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 month ago

I’m 65. The climate catastrophists have been at this for as long as I can remember.

Santiago Excilio
Santiago Excilio
1 month ago

We are of a similar vintage, however you may recall that in the 1970’s it was all about global freezing and the new ice age, where we would all end being polar bear food. Similar song I grant, but a different gospel.

Dr E C
Dr E C
1 month ago

I could send links to research showing how wrong you are, but facts make little difference to ideologues.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Dr E C

Publish them then. Your post is typical of a Green argument – no data but abuse of the opponent.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago

They started saying we were heading for an Ice Age. Mind you the Greens were also telling us we’d run out of oil in 1999. In fact it’s really hard to find anything the Green’s have a hand in that doesn’t turn out to be bad. Palm Oil, Bio-diesel, Woodburners, windmills, solar panels, EVs etc. Just love Drax – the woodburner. It burns prime US Forests that have been transported across the Atlantic and now they want to spend £4 Bn to stop the pollution it produces!
Best thing to do is the opposite of whatever the Greens suggest.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
1 month ago

Sunny Hostin, one of the co-hosts of the talk show “The View”, claimed on Monday that the solar eclipse, the New York City area earthquake and the arrival of cicadas was all due to Climate Change. It seems halfwits and imbeciles have finally taken over the Climate discussions and declare: “The end is nigh”! You better plaster the planet full of windmills and solar panels, switch off your heat, deindustrialise your country and hope Gaia forgives you for the last 150 years of fossil burning and prosperity.
Last Summer even the UN Secretary General told us, that the “Era of Global Boiling has arrived”…
The new Religion is supported by big business with lucrative contracts and Global politics. Any scientist, who dares to object, is blocked and ridiculed, like Dr. Clauser, winner of the Nobel Price for Physics in 2022, who was supposed to give a speech at the IMF, and was promptly disinvited as he called most churned out reports by the IPCC pseudoscience. So no wonder, that increasing mental health is also blamed on the Climate Warming phenomena, and the author of the above book is certainly also catching a ride on the Climate Bus.
Btw. I highly recommend to all UnHerders to watch the great recent film “Climate: The Movie” on YouTube, if it is still available…

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago

Real climate scientists have tremendous incentives to make their research as scary as possible.

https://www.thefp.com/p/i-overhyped-climate-change-to-get-published

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago

The movie is exactly the same kind of nonsense as the book described in this article.

Sisyphus Jones
Sisyphus Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I wonder if Robbie has ever tried looking for evidence that *contradicts* his passionately held beliefs, just to make sure that, you know, he’s not ate up with confirmation bias?

mr Bee
mr Bee
1 month ago
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  mr Bee

Yes indeed. Good movie.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
1 month ago

It’s probably for the best that halfwits and imbeciles have finally taken over, since it was all getting a bit totalitarian in tone and effect when it was just careerist scientists, cynical politicians and money-hungry NGOs driving the debate.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago

The View is extraordinary, isn’t it? A kind of Brains Trust panel on which the panellists have about four brain cells between them. How did the richest people on the planet get so dumb?

Nick Collin
Nick Collin
1 month ago

Well said Stephanie. The excellent “Climate the Movie” by the heroic climate-change sceptic Martin Durkin really is an eye-opener. Everyone should watch it on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A24fWmNA6lM. Then watch this encouraging discussion between Martin and Tom Nelson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUAJ2_fe_IE . For the first time in years I’m cautiously optimistic that the tide might be turning against all those insanely misguided ideas such as “Climate Emergency “, “Net Zero” and “Carbon Footprint”, even the whole “Green” movement/religion.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Nick Collin

Maybe you should read this before you get too excited.
https://skepticalscience.com/climate-the-movie-a-hot-mess-of-cold-myths.html

Ddwieland
Ddwieland
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Ah, Skeptical Science, which omits the intervening “of” and is committed to smearing everyone of note who doesn’t buy into the hoax. Of course they dismiss that movie — as well as the data that contradicts alarmism.

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Why does the IPCC specifically exclude solar activity from its data?
Also, you still haven’t answered why the sea level has risen 400 feet since the last glacial maximum yet the next 3 feet of rise is undoubtedly down to AGW.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

These things have absolutely nothing to do with the matter, this is really basic stuff Paul.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

That’s a really powerful set of data you haven’t put into that post.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

It simply restates all the myths with no backup. As Prof Koonin points out, you can go and look at the original data.
The fact that the Greens don’t argue but ‘damn’ the sceptics and want things banned should be the biggest red flag to their myths. IF they can’t argue the facts, then ban it isn’t science..

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 month ago

Ah, I see you, you’re having us on. Ha ha very funny.

What? She really said that? She said that an eclipse and an earthquake were due to global warming? Now come on, you’re pulling our legs.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago

I don’t know how they managed 100 years ago when 10 times as many people died from climate related disasters. The Industrial Revolution and fossil fuels have made us much safer from the climate and all natural disasters. When there is a disaster today that causes tremendous hardship, it’s almost always in very poor counties – and these counties are poor because they don’t have access to cheap, reliable energy.

Conversely, our wealth and privilege have made us weaker and less resilient. When people don’t face true adversity, they start worrying about little things – things they couldn’t afford to worry about when they were poor.

Sayantani G
Sayantani G
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

You are very right. It’s what GK Chesterton said that a loss of religion leads to the embracing of newer fads with the same if not more zealotry.
Climate gloom and doom has become an entire industry. One reads about ECHR stepping in to consider it human rights violation if ” global warming” is not stopped.
This is frankly going from the banal to the ridiculous.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
1 month ago
Reply to  Sayantani G

And to the downright dangerous!

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
1 month ago
Reply to  Sayantani G

Don’t turn your back on zealots.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Exactly!! Well said.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I usually agree with you but China’s coal-based industrial revolution is heating up the planet. The evidence is there in warmer climates from the Mediterranean countries southwards.
The fact that the West nods the CCP along in without impunity has emboldened the other BRICS to be carbon dirty at a significant level for the planet’s ecology and the sustainability of civilised human societies. New industrial development on that stage should not be acceptable, especially coming from an authoritarian communist system.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

Totally agree – less than 100 organisations are responsible for over 70% of carbon emmissions. This has to be tackled on a global scale.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I don’t know who these 100 organizations are, but I suspect they sell products used by billions of people – products essential for the wealth and privilege we take for granted today.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Of course, and perhaps you now may understand why BP invented the ‘carbon footprint’, which cynically passed responsibility for carbon control from the top level to the consumer.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

You may get your wish Robbie. It won’t be long before some court somewhere in the west forbids fossil fuel companies from selling their product. Then we will see how short and brutish life will be without the products you demonize.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I haven’t demonized anything, or called for fossil fuels to be banned, but nice strawman.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

‘nice strawman’ but ‘cynically passing responsibility to the consumer’
Gimme a break. The head of BP is no more or less responsible for greenhouse gas emissions than are you or I. We all happily participate in the modern world.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

You’re missing the bigger picture. These petrol companies have consistently funded the multi million dollar sceptic industry, and pay people like Lomborg and Curry to produce publications to sow doubt. It’s utterly dispicable and criminal.

Paul Vardy
Paul Vardy
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Just exactly where is Lomborg wrong? He puts context around the issues rather than the progressive lefts religious zeal. We should all remain open to scientific evidence and debate rather that simply following a narrative without any thought.

Terry M
Terry M
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

You are not even wrong. Just irrelevant.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Terry M

Then why did you reply ;o)

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

ROFL – multi-million $ sceptic industry?
All you need to know about the Green Scam is that they call sceptics ‘deniers’ – that is supposedly eminent scientists. They want to shut down discussion. Yet science is always about scepticism – even Einstein was proven wrong when it came to Quantum Physics.
Here’s another great Physicist on Science. Richard Feynman
“Science is the organized skepticism in the reliability of expert opinion.”
So the sceptics are the real scientists – now prove them wrong. Tho’ this famous one doesn’t rate Climate Science.
https://dailysceptic.org/2023/07/14/nobel-physics-laureate-2022-slams-climate-emergency-narrative-as-dangerous-corruption-of-science/
The truth is out there, BUT Greens don’t want anyone to find it out. PS The model data does NOT match the actual data. Here’s Prof J Christy (NOT fiddling the data as Mann so famously was caught doing in the East Anglia Climategate emails)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttNg1F7T0Y0

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Have you actually read either of them? Have you looked at the data Prof John Christy provides on ‘real data’ v ‘model predictions’?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttNg1F7T0Y0
The very fact that you can claim ‘scientists’ disagreeing with you as ‘despicable and criminal’ destroys any scientific credibility you may lay claim to.
IF your science is ‘right’ then argue the case, prove Lomborg’s data is flawed. Provide evidence that Prof J Christie’s data is flawed.
Watch this film, don’t ban it, and list ALL the errors and come back here and debunk them.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A24fWmNA6lM
In fact you could start by explaining how a 1.5c rise is going to destroy the planet & kill us all when mammals evolved when the planet was 7c warmer and there was life in abundance.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/385SHpTG5M25Xr6G3FSMJTG/seven-things-that-happened-when-the-planet-got-really-really-hot

Jim White
Jim White
25 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

And what precisely is wrong with skepticism? Don’t you demand proof before you believe something?

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Of course the consumer is responsible.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Without CO2 we’ll all die – it is as Happer claims, the gas of life. IF it falls to around or below 180ppm (IIRC) then Photosynthesis stops AND green plants , followed by everything else almost, will die.
I laugh when I’m told 1.5c rise by burning fossil fuels will kill us all. The BBC even have an article up that tells us life was abundant AND mammals evolved at 7c warmer!
Then, back to evil fossil fuels! Erm, do they not know what a fossil is? It is the remains of living organisms. SO ALL that fossil Carbon was free in the atmosphere AND life was abundant because it was incorporated in the living animals that became the fossil fuels! Now we are putting back into the atmosphere some, BUT we are so far away from putting even a fraction of that Carbon back it is insanity to claim it is going to kill us all!.
What WILL kill us in the UK and elsewhere, is Net Zero insanity. Without a modern Grid, we are back over 100 years. BUT we at least had coal, gas etc. Labour are committed to ‘decarbonising’ the grid by 2030. Well, they won’t be doing it via Nuclear power stations in that timescale, so the morons are thinking windmills / Solar will do it!
As I type Grid Demand is 32Gw (about 16% lower than weekdays) We have 30Gw of installed wind capacity (ie windmills) it’s windy here. Yet that 30Gw is currently producing 13.14Gw – great, it is 41% of demand BUT it is only 33% of Capacity! AND it costs a fortune!
Solar? 14Gw installed reputedly ,it is producing? 0.11Gw – in about 20 minutes that’ll be 0Gw.
So Labour in 5 years are expecting THAT lot to provide the UK with a modern, reliable Grid. Dream on. A failing Grid is going to destroy the economy AND lead to food shortages, spoilage AND Hunger – maybe even starvation.
Why? Because the UK population is claimed to be 70m – I’ll accept that for the purpose of argument but there is reason to believe it is far beyond that (perhaps why sewage systems overflow so often?)
With no working grid, no we are heading back toward pre-industrial economy. The UK could only support about 10M population – that’s 60M fewer than we have. The Tories are little better, they plan to decarbonise by 2035.
This is the least talked of potential disaster in the list of UK political party disasters. IF you don’t believe me. Here is a simple experiment you can carry out for yourself.
FIll up your fridge, freezer and then go and switch off power as the mains and live for a week with no electricity.
Vote Reform IF for no other reason than they are NOT wedded to decarbonising the grid next parliament AND not even wedded to Net Zero insanity.
To finish, here is a link to a sub-stack on blackouts.and two quotes from Doomberg
https://davidturver.substack.com/p/wait-for-the-blackout
“Energy is not an input into the economy, IT IS THE ECONOMY.
Calls to “end fossil fuels,” are the equivalent of demanding suicide on a billion-person scale.”

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Tackled by whom and to what end? Will it be the same people and bureaucracies that often fail in their basic tasks? And what does victory in this instance look like so that it might be recognizable, or is this one more example of “do something” that becomes a permanent function dedicated mostly to its own self-perpetuation?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Can you provide a citation for that? Seems highly implausible.

Saul D
Saul D
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

There are discussions of carbon footprints prior to 2004, particularly in relation to more generalist ecological footprints. BP just picked up on what ecologists were already measuring and assessing. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1010050700699
And, who knows, BP’s calculator could have been part of the package of green outreach funding that included sponsorship of CRU or involvement in other green initiatives: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1066793800800639
(I’m not endorsing this, but you have to be very wary about the activist’s anti-Big Oil plays, when there are actually genuine questions and issues in the climate debate that need to be discussed that are entirely rational and need to be asked. Many of the oil majors were in renewables and alternative energies post 1973 – they stepped back steadily from the 1990s when they couldn’t make renewables work without large-scale subsidies).

Terry M
Terry M
1 month ago
Reply to  Saul D

WORD!

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

The Wildfires myth. The fires in Greece were more down to arsonists with matches in an Aleppo Pine forest.
Some info on those pines. First it is a Pyrophyte (tho’ compared to Eucalyptus, it is more passive – see later for what the really ‘active’ one achieves) – what does that mean? Some detail
 Aleppo pine is a pyrophyte, that is to say, a plant that has realized a “strategy” to tolerate the effects of fire (quite frequent in maquis and pinewoods) and/or benefiting their own descendants. It is the heat that causes the opening of the cone scales and the release of the seeds; in this way the seeds of the Aleppo pine germinate on a mineralized soil free from any competing species
Now why so many Aleppo pines (often an ‘invasive species”) around so much of the Med?
A medium-sized Aleppo pine can produce 3-4 kgper year of resin which is used to get from it turpentine and derivatives (turpentine essence and rosin) as well as to produce varnishes,
Turpentine – put a match to turps and see what happens. Ask a fireman what he thinks about a fire in a paint/turps warehouse.
Southern France and Italy are also Aleppo pine areas. Tho’ they had fewer arsonists out and about last year.
Spain and Portugal on the other hand introduced the Aussie Eucalyptus. This is an ‘active’ Pyrophyte. What does that mean?
Active pyrophytesSome trees and shrubs such as the Eucalyptus of Australia (and thanks to their commercial introduction into the Iberian peninsula, now large parts of Spain and Portugal) actually encourage the spread of fires by producing inflammable oils, and are dependent on their resistance to the fire which keeps other species of tree from invading their habitat.
Eucalyptus even has a bark that once caught alight ‘detaches’ from the tree in a mild breeze (you get a bit of that in a fire) and basically sets alight anything it lands on – basically the arsonists accomplice.
Yet you won’t find the media telling you any of this. Just like that ‘record temperature’ they touted of 48c – they didn’t tell you it was a ground temperature. At least not until after the lie had spread, then they didn’t say it very loudly.
Temperatures are taken about 3 metres above ground for the very reason that ground temps can be 10+ more degrees higher. Try this simple experiment (It also helps understand Urban Heat Island & how they screw up temperature data)
Next hot sunny day, find a stone/concrete path surrounded by grass. Remove your shoes and stand on the grass. Then step onto toe concrete. What burns? Your ears or your feet?
Or go to the beach sunbathe on a sunbed for an hour or so then step onto the sand in your barefeet.
Malthusian Greens lie so often IF they were Pinocchio they’d not be able to turn their head in a full Wembley stadium without putting the eyes out of thousands.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

No – the ultimate consumers of the productive output of those organisations are responsible for those CO2 emissions (not “carbon” please, it’s CO2).

And there is no need to “tackle” it in any case.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Thank heaven for those responsible. The planet – especially the poorer more arid areas have ‘greened’ greatly thanks to it.
The Green Myth is dying because lies are always exposed, and now our global elites have been found to be the world’s most prolific Truth Economists blind faith in those myths is evaporating.
Note how in history Krakatoa affected climate and sunsets in particular because if fired cubic kilometers of cooling ash and pumice into the atmosphere that cooled the weather for years.
The 2022 Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai eruption – a modern day Krakatoa is hardly mentioned Why? Because it didn’t eject cubilc kilometers of cooling ash and pumice. It sent incredible amounts of ‘warming’ water vapour into the stratosphere. So much that NASA thought its instruments broken. But don’t worry, most of that water is coming down now in my backyard. Only taken 2 years, I expect it may take another 1 or 2 for it all to level out.

Christopher Michael Barrett
Christopher Michael Barrett
1 month ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

Ahh yes, let’s make sure to hold back developing countries via any means necessary to keep their people in poverty and energy insecurity.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

I never said the planet wasn’t warming. It’s just not some imminent catastrophe. Although decarbonization is good, you get there through technological advancement, not by making people poorer.

R.I. Loquitur
R.I. Loquitur
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Why is a warmer climate bad? Obama and his buddies are still buying beachfront property so I guess their warnings are just for the rest of us! A warmer world is highly beneficial to food production. We could all use some relief at the grocery store. Regardless, the earth has gone through warming and cooling phases many times without any human involvement. It’s likely that it will continue doing despite human activity! [Could the fact that the earth’s orbital path around the sun varies over time have anything to do with that? Nah.]
Somehow Chicken Little has convinced half the world that a period of melting icebergs–or are they growing again?–mean the end of the world. SMH

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  R.I. Loquitur

Are you saying that when the temperature reached 152 F in Iraq last year (the highest temperature ever recorded) it would be good for agriculture? Would it be good for anything?

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

The temperature did not reach 152f.
What the report was about was a “feels like” combo of 104f plus high humidity at an airport in Iran, not Iraq.

R.I. Loquitur
R.I. Loquitur
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

A couple extra degrees where they already grow nothing (it’s a desert) in exchange for a couple extra degrees where they grow a lot (mid-West, Ukraine) thereby increasing total food output, seems like a good deal to me. And besides, the real cause of climate “change” is the fact that the Earth’s orbit around the sun varies. When we’re closer, its hotter and vice versa. You know, why we have seasons. What do you propose we do to change that?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Are you saying that when the temperature reached 152 F in Iraq last year
Which it didn’t.

Terry M
Terry M
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

From 1993 to about 2015 the amount of greenery measured by satellite increased by 14%. Apparently so-called climate change will help feed the poor.
More CO2 increases growth of plants, that’s why it is pumped into greenhouses.

Dr E C
Dr E C
1 month ago
Reply to  R.I. Loquitur

The proud ignorance on display here is stunning. Yes, the Earth *has* gone through warming and cooling phases many times without human involvement. The human body could not have withstood physically many of those times. Do you also think groceries come from supermarkets? Or do you know that food is grown in fields, is reliant on soil, water, sunlight, the right temperature, insects & other animals?

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Dr E C

What exactly was your point? ”right temperature?” Such as what? As long as the plant has water and nutrients and CO2 temperature (hotter) isn’t as sensitive. The world was supposed to have ended at 1.5c – well mammals evolved at a temperature 7c higher.
There is no climate apocalypse due to man released CO2. There is a grant explosion from those who want to stop us doing anything and Climate Change is a great way of doing it. Except the myths are no longer believed.
As Doomber points out
naïve calls to “end fossil fuels,” are the equivalent of demanding suicide on a billion-person scale.”
The 3rd world isn’t having any of that, AND once the UK plebs (like me) realise what ‘decarbonising the grid’ is going to mean for their lives, they won’t have any of it either.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Warming is better than cooling, – who wants a glacier wiping out their home, starting in the ‘Lake District’ no doubt.

Chipoko
Chipoko
1 month ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

Meanwhile UK is going to shaft its citizens with its Net Zero policy that will contribute almost nothing … err net zero? … to tackling the China problem that is heating up the Planet!

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Chipoko

China isn’t heating up the planet. The planet is coming out of an ice age, that means it warms up. IF it didn’t we’d be going into an ice-age AND climate isn’t from 1970 – it spans millions of years AND we have ice-ages, inter-glacials etc AND all without industry doing anything. The other elephant in the room – CO2 lags warming.

Martin Dunford
Martin Dunford
1 month ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

Climate changes. Period. There was malaria in parts of sub tropical England in the Middle Ages. Canterbury Tales remarks on it. The cheap, accurate thermometer was only invented in the 1700s! Satellites in the 1970s. That is a fantastically small sliver of recorded time. A statistical sampling interval so ludricously small nobody would use it to make a prediction.
CO2 is 0.04% of the atmosphere. 1 in 25 parts of which comes from man. That is 1 part in 62500 ! That is supposed to endanger us? Really?
Man made climate change is a preposterously unproven theory. I haven’t even got to wildly inaccurate computer models, the problems with broad brush stroke trends implied from ice core samples and tree rings etc. Or the huge financial vested interest in the narrative.
It is another world-is-ending, man as sinnner, mend-your-ways-or-suffer-hell -fire cult. Old time religion with a new veneer. Same old playbook.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin Dunford

Malthus would be proud of his followers.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

There is NO man made CO2 driven climate apocalypse. NO one denies climate change (well some may but they are certainly not STEM literate.) We holiday in the Lake District – IT was and is a classic Glacier formed landscape. I don’t remember Wordsworth worrying that the Glaciers were melting there. Why? Because they were long gone – ie the Climate changed. It warmed AND the Glacier District became the Lake District. Ice ages last millenia, exiting from them does too. We are in the later stages of an Ice Age, – so it will get warmer iF it is ending!
Tho’ if you are a Europhile you’ll tell us that it was no doubt caused by Woolly Mammoth farts. Sun had nothing at all to do with it all.
Or you might blame nasty CO2. The problem being that historically AND even now, CO2 rising has ‘followed’ NOT ‘led’ warming. That alone should ring alarm bells for anyone who wonders why this myth of Anthropological Climate Catastrophe is so widespread. As in most things, follow the money. Lovelock, when ‘recanting’ his Climate Alarmism said
“‘I made a mistake’
As “an independent and a loner,” he said he did not mind saying “All right, I made a mistake.” He claimed a university or government scientist might fear an admission of a mistake would lead to the loss of funding.”
Here are a lectures from eminent scientists and in the case of J Clauser, one who has a REAL Nobel Prize – unlike Prof Mann of the ‘fraudulent’ hockey stick graph who claimed he had one, but didn’t. So much so he was told to stop claiming it by the Nobel Committee.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSfdpmEafGI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttNg1F7T0Y0
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acyErLNL7kQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2nhssPW77I 
and a more cynical take down
https://twitter.com/wideawake_media/status/1676156584169205760?s=12
Then finally the film that the Green Malthusians want banned.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A24fWmNA6lM
IF you still doubt after all that, then here’s the BBC on how ‘abundant life was’ at 7c hotter.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/385SHpTG5M25Xr6G3FSMJTG/seven-things-that-happened-when-the-planet-got-really-really-hot

Jim White
Jim White
25 days ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

Correlation is not causation. CO2 and temperature are correlated about as well as sex and marriage. In 550 million years there has never been a temperature reversal preceded by CO2 change.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Indeed. We have the luxury of debating first-world problems, but unfortunately, lack the self-awareness to realize it.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

As people begin to notice that more government and the accompanying concentration of power and wealth are not actually delivering on the promises made on their behalf by ‘progressives’ then it becomes more and more important for those who live off the state to come up with new, more compelling reasons why we should not only tolerate their parasitism, but thank them for it. Climate change is perfect.

Andrew R
Andrew R
1 month ago

Tom, welcome back it’s been a while.

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Some of his articles during the Covid hysteria showed poor judgment, notably those calling for unrealistic and damaging measures against Omicron on 29 November 2021 and 14 December 2021. And his article here asserting that eating meat was as bad as beastiality was grotesque.

Andrew R
Andrew R
1 month ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

I do not agree with some of Tom’s opinions but I do enjoy his writing. He will offer you a reasoned argument and he does it in such a way that doesn’t demand that you should accept them (imo).

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
1 month ago

I was looking forward to this article, but I stopped reading at “climate change will have a lot of negative effects on the world…”, realising that this was going to be in the same, pernicious Overton window as all the other writers edging back from full-blown “climate change” hysteria but unwilling to challenge the core false narrative. Once more for those at the back… the CLIMATE ALWAYS CHANGES! The earth’s CLIMATE has been changing since time began. The idea that human beings can alter the earth’s climate is preposterous. The activity of the SUN controls our climate. Carbon dioxide has no affect on climate except for when the amount gets too low to support plant life and then everything dies, which fundamentally changes the way the elements interact. There are currently dangerously low levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Changes in climate (driven by the activity OF THE SUN) have both negative and POSITIVE effects. Warmer weather generally supports more life. Extreme cold kills more people and animals than extreme heat. The entire agenda behind the “man-made climate change” narrative is about MONEY AND POWER, not about caring for the planet or humanity. It weaponises compassion (that old playbook – remember “stay home to save lives?) It plays on people’s fears, it is manipulative, disingenuous and downright evil.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

For goodness sake, go back to school and learn some basics.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

These are EXACTLY the “basics” – as you put it – that I learnt at school. I went to school before the Antihuman agenda did its long march through our institutions. When we were taught real science, not propagandised nonsense.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
1 month ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

Perhaps it’s the rate of change, though, that we might want to be a bit leery of?
https://xkcd.com/1732/

Sisyphus Jones
Sisyphus Jones
1 month ago

Ya’ll have to check out Andrew’s link. When I was a kid we had animated entertainment on Saturday morning. Andrew has global warming cartoons that keep him informed. I’m proud of him.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago

Why?

Stephan Harrison
Stephan Harrison
1 month ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

What a silly post. Of course CO2 affects the climate. Go and read a physics book (not that you would understand it I guess). I’m happy to have a conversation about whether The Weight of Nature sounds sensible, but at least get the science right.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
1 month ago

if you were to read a physics good you would realize that the effect of CO2 saturates quite quickly and that further increases have no impact. You would also learn, if you read some biology, that CO2 is essential for the existence of life on earth: plants take in CO2 and produce Oxygen which is used by animal life. That’s known as the photoreaction cycle.

Stephan Harrison
Stephan Harrison
1 month ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

You don’t understand saturation of CO2. Show me a physics book that says “further increases have no impact”.

Santiago Excilio
Santiago Excilio
1 month ago

I’m afraid that Mr Strauss is correct. It’s do with the infrared absorption spectrum of the gas. CO2 absorbs the sunlight’s energy at certain parts of the infrared spectrum and then re-emits that energy again, in all directions (some downward), also as infrared thereby creating a ‘warming’ effect, although of course the energy eventually dissipates into space thereby maintaining the equilibrium between the amount of energy from the sun falling on the earth and the rate at which it subsequently radiates back into space. The point is that increasing the quantity of CO2 does not linearly increase the proportion of the spectrum absorbed as that is a finite quantity dependant on the suns output. So there is logically a point at which an increased CO2 proportion in the atmosphere will make no difference to the overall absorption, as all the energy that can be absorbed in that part of the spectrum has been. It’s a bit like painting a window black; one coat will cut out a lot of light, two coats a little more, three coats will make almost no incremental difference and so forth.

Ddwieland
Ddwieland
1 month ago

I strongly suspect, though with the state of atmospheric (or any) physics in recent decades I haven’t seen it suggested, that the contribution of CO2 to warming is trivial and due only to its being part of the mass of the atmosphere. It’s that mass that stabilizes temperature enough to support life. The Greenhouse Effect theory is supported only by models based on it and disproven by real world observations in aggregate.

Stephan Harrison
Stephan Harrison
1 month ago

Yes. The response is logarithmic. This has been known for ages. But that doesn’t mean “further increases have no impact”.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Man is currently destroying the world’s lungs—the Amazon. Burning and clear-cutting are a daily occurrence. Tens of thousands of acres have disappeared, and they will never be come back. This is all due to raising cattle and mining. What happens when the jungle is gone? What plant life are going to use all the CO2 and provide oxygen? Also, there are thousands of species, unique to the Amazon, that will be wiped out. Hundreds of plants from the jungle have been used to create medications. All gone, and it is a man made disaster. (The same thing is happening in the jungles of Asia.)

Santiago Excilio
Santiago Excilio
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

And this is a MUCH bigger risk and issue than CO2 emissions.

Simon Templar
Simon Templar
1 month ago

Stephan, what percentage of the earth’s atmosphere is CO2?

Stephan Harrison
Stephan Harrison
1 month ago
Reply to  Simon Templar

About 0.04%. What’s that got to do with its radiative properties?

Sisyphus Jones
Sisyphus Jones
1 month ago

Because when we model CO2 influence on global temperatures, we’re way off. We don’t understand where natural variability ends and human influence begins. That’s the fact we keep pretending isn’t a fact.

Jon Morrow
Jon Morrow
1 month ago

If you clip your nails you can lose weight!!

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago

Concentrations of CO2 have gone from about 250ppm (millionths) to 420ppm (millionths) since the start of the Industrial Revolution. It was around 6,000ppm (.6%) when the dinosaurs died out; you know the giant lizards? How did these majority vegan animals live in this boiling, scorched earth with nearly 15 times as much CO2 as now??

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago

It lags and it saturates, but more to the point, the actual data on warming is way below the models predicted warming.
Here’s a Geologist on Climate Scientists (by the way any scientist who relies on ‘consensus’ and wants to ban scepticism while calling sceptics deniers is already damned by his own stance.
Science is NEVER ‘the truth’ it is always questioned, here’s Feynman on science.
“First you guess… if it disagrees with experience the guess is wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your guess is or how smart you are or what your name is. If it disagrees with experience it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.”
Well the Climate Models disagree with real data., and they are getting even more out of step as time goes by.
Another quote re the models/reality.
“For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”
Well, it’s happening, even Prof Lovelock recanted his “Climate Alarmism” AND his recanting exposed why so few joined him.
‘I made a mistake’
As “an independent and a loner,” he said he did not mind saying “All right, I made a mistake.” He claimed a university or government scientist might fear an admission of a mistake would lead to the loss of funding.
It’s a scam, and an insane scam.

Ddwieland
Ddwieland
1 month ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

The only point I quibble with is that the current CO2 level is “dangerously” low. That would be below 300 ppm. We should be grateful for the increase.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 month ago

“Three causes especially have excited the discontent of mankind; and, by impelling us to seek for remedies for the irremediable, have bewildered us in a maze of madness and error. These are death, toil, and ignorance of the future – the doom of man upon this sphere, and for which he shows his antipathy by his love of life, his longing for abundance, and his craving curiosity to pierce the secrets of the days to come. The first has led many to imagine that they might find means to avoid death, or failing in this, that they might, nevertheless, so prolong existence as to reckon it by centuries instead of units. From this sprang the search, so long continued and still pursued, for the elixir vite, or water of life, which has led thousands to pretend to it and millions to believe in it. From the second sprang the search for the philosopher’s stone, which was to create plenty by changing all metals into gold; and from the third, the false sciences of astrology, divination, and their divisions of necromancy, chiromancy, augury, with all their train of signs, portents, and omens.”

Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841).

Very many intelligent, powerful, educated people can, do, and always will, believe in things which, to an outside observer, appear to be so blindingly obviously false as to not even merit an attempt to debunk them. The list keeps growing and it includes relics, religious crusades, alchemy, witchcraft, eugenics, elixirs of eternal life in their traditional or mRNA forms, white privilege, and net zero as a form of secular salvation and expiation of our collective sin.

Intelligence and education is no guard against this; if anything, people with stronger and better-honed cognitive abilities are better able to deceive themselves with the motivated reasoning required to confirm their fashionably irrational beliefs. As Saul Bellow put it, “A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep”. (Credit to this excellent After Skool video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5Peima-Uw7w). Why Tom Chivers thought “we” had “progressed beyond” such things is beyond me.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago

Great to see Tom writing again on here.
Aldern’s book sounds a bit rubbish and is an obvious appeal to a certain reader. Unfortunately there is an opportunity for grifters to make some money out of this situation, and equally on the other side of the debate you have people like Lomborg and Curry producing similar trash.
All these type of publications achieve is a negative effect on the main focus.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Again with the pernicious smears of Lomborg and now Curry as well. When reasonable people are being smeared as grifters, you have lost the argument. Neither of them deny that CO2 is warming the planet.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Well they should, because it’s not. The sun warms the planet, not carbon dioxide.

Stephan Harrison
Stephan Harrison
1 month ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

So you think that you know more about atmospheric physics than the likes of Judith Curry, Richard Lindzen and Roy Spencer? Honestly?

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

Agree with you there, the data shows CO2 isn’t the issue. The data shows the Models are useless – which is reasonable. They claim to be able to predict the very system that gave us Chaos theory – explained to the layman as ‘The Butterfly effect’ – Discovered because of a computer and rounding errors! The Post Office Horizon system was probable more believable.

Ian_S
Ian_S
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

You’re triggered by Judith Curry?

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian_S

Lord no, have you seen her?

Ian_S
Ian_S
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

So you’re trying to make a joke about her looks. Speaks volumes.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Are you Michael Mann? That was his argument against Curry – if not, you and Mann should get together, you deserve each other.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian_S

In the defamation trial against Steyn by Michael Mann, Mann’s treatment of Judith Curry was exposed, and it was disgraceful. He lied and claimed she ‘slept her way to the top’. How that bloke is still in a job is beyond me.
The effect however was Mann’s reputation (did he have one?) ‘trashed’ by the trial he actually ‘won’. Well, he got $1 for defamation – if you think that is a win. I listened to the trial report and with actors reading the transcripts. All you need to know is that the Jury gave $1 for defamation. The only reason was to then punish Steyn with a $1 M ‘punitive damages’ for daring to point out the fraud of the hockey stick.
Quite frankly how that jury sleep at nights is beyond me. As is the fact the judge didn’t dismiss the case when Mann’s lawyers provide false data for his grants etc then claimed it was an error.
If Mann can’t even get an excel spreadsheet right, I wouldn’t trust his computer model.
He’s not a nice man.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Can you provide some examples of the ‘trash’ that Curry and Lomborg produce? How about links?

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
1 month ago

Climate hysteria is certainly impacting younger generations – anti-natalism as an example. Life is cycles, some longer, some shorter, many hard to predict. Our strategy should be adaptation in a considered, timely manner, not economic and emotional desecration through an impulse to ration, restrain, and repeal modern life. If we are what we think, then doomerism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 month ago

Coming to a bookshelf near you, a further triple-decker crossover:
The Weight of Nature: How a Changing Climate Changes Our Minds, Brains and Bodies and how Socialism can rescue us.
or
The Weight of Nature: How a Changing Climate Changes Our Minds, Brains and Bodies and how Trump can rescue us.
There are plenty of authors desperate to make a living by throwing stuff together as if it is meaningful, but really they shouldn’t bother. It often only confirms the biases of people who already ‘believe’ and just irritates everybody else.

sal b dyer
sal b dyer
1 month ago

Climate change has been great to me so far. I’m regenerating 2 acres of Queensland rainforest which has flourished under 4 years of semi-continuous rain- all due to climate change the sanctimonious sages on TV claim. The same claim will certainly be aired when the inevitable Australian hot drought comes. By then I’ll be lounging under luxurious cooling rainforest palms minus the mosquitoes the rain has brought. And feeling extra virtuous for planting so much CO2 munching greenery. I’ll offset it with some air miles to visit you poor suckers sweltering in your triple glazed ultra insulated boxes.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  sal b dyer

That’s kinda like realising your house is on fire then rather than putting it out grabbing some sausages and making a BBQ. That’s Ozzies for you I guess.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

In Australia the trees are arsonists – read up on the Eucalyptus for one – a pyrophyte.

DenialARiverIn Islington
DenialARiverIn Islington
1 month ago

“The sky is falling, the sky is falling, oh me, oh my”.

There. Middle Ages miracle play writers explained all of this to us a very long time ago.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 month ago

I posted about Climate the Movie on the Shriver article yesterday. Robbie K posted a couple of rebuttals, which looked convincing but complex to examine in detail.

A few years ago Tom posted a good article examining the latest IPCC report and contrasting what it said with the media hyperbole. I tried to look at the IPCC report at the time and was amazed at how huge the variations in probability are: if x happens there is a 40-80% probability of Y happening, repeated to the point of being unintelligible

I would really love to read an article by a relatively unbiased observer that calmly examined the major assertions of both sides. Climate the Movie is not that but the rebuttals seem to just rebuttals, not unbiased weighing of complex and contradictory evidence.

My biggest objection to the climate doom isn’t based on science at all. It’s based on my knowledge of human nature, the obvious attempts to silence one side and a tribal dislike of the Just Stop Oil/BLM/Trans Rights/Hate laws rent a mob.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

There really shouldn’t be two sides to this other than the debate on what action to take.
But you are definitely correct in suggesting there is so much misinformation and misunderstanding, and a huge knowledge gap.
To grasp the subject one has to understand the role of ‘energy’ becoming trapped in the world’s structures. Park all the other concepts about heat, sun and CO2 for a moment, once people get their head around how energy is retained in the global systems such as the oceans, and how it is building up over the long term then you will see the bigger picture. There are books explaining how this works but I’ll only get shot down.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

You might want to read Steven Koonin’s book: Unsettled: what climate science tells us, what it doesn’t and why it matters”. The case for the rise in CO2 (which is still at a historical low when looking a t the paleontological record) being due to man is very very weak. And lest you dismiss Koonin, just recall he is a very highly regarded computational physicist (member of the US National Academy of Sciences) and was the Deputy Secretary of Energy in the Obama administration (so not some ardent right winger).

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

There really shouldn’t be two sides to climate science? Seriously?

If something is held up to be beyond question, beyond doubt, then it’s not science, it’s faith. Of course there should be two, or more sides. The explanations in the books you’ve read might be wrong, biased, misleading, or incomplete. In fact they almost certainly are. That isn’t to say that they do not contain some valuable insights of course, but to believe that any one single theory or explanation is the “right” one on something as complex as this is wrongheaded. There are, obviously, credible challenges to the explanations that you’ve read. Please try and find a little more intellectual humility.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

You appear to have deliberately misinterpreted what I wrote. Having a two sided debate on whether climate change is happening or not is completely absurd, the debate should be on what to do about it.

Simon Templar
Simon Templar
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Half right. The debate is about how much climate change is attributable to man-made CO2 – or is simply a centuries-long variation post the last mini-ice-age.
If we ignore the blame-game for a moment and focus on how to help poor nations build successful economies that can provide energy for cooling and heating, we could all agree.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Simon Templar

That would be like debating flat earth theory – do it for fun by all means.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

That’s what you are doing yourself every time you defend climate politics.

Ddwieland
Ddwieland
1 month ago
Reply to  Simon Templar

The first question is whether there even is, on a global basis, observable climate change. The selected illustrations promoted by media disregard the broader picture (and scientific data) and pretend that a few years of somewhat unusual weather are a clear sign of climate change. Whatever happened to the claim that skeptics were mistaking weather for climate? Well, that’s what the alarmists are doing now. How does a gentle, longterm warming trend qualify as a true change in climate?

Dr E C
Dr E C
1 month ago
Reply to  Simon Templar

You remind me of those people who sit in their cars on a hot day, engines running for the luxury of the air con. The *irony*.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Please tell me you don’t believe that the politicians and bureaucrats who’ve given us one disaster after another for the past thirty years are going to fix the climate. If so, I have a rather handsome bridge to sell you.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Oh I’m with you on that, economic protectionism will win every time, which is why we’re screwed.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

we’re screwed.
Except we’re not. Climate related deaths have fallen by more than 90% over the past 100 years – thanks almost entirely to the technologies and fuels that you want to ditch.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

As so often is the case, my friend, what at first sight appears to be true is not so. I would agree having a debate about whether or the climate changes, and therefore is changing, would be absurd. It would be like debating whether there are ocean currents or winds or constantly shifting tectonic plates. What, exactly causes shifts over time in the dynamics of the winds, the ocean currents, and plate tectonics; and what, therefore, might happen to them in the future is another matter. Same with climate. Anyone who claims to have a good understanding of how such a complex system works, and what specifically can be done to influence it in one particular way or another and without material risk of unintended consequences, is either mad, deluded, or (more likely, perhaps) just trying to make a living in a profoundly corrupt world.

Just let go. You’ll feel better, believe me.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

I let go 25 years ago when it became obvious which direction we were heading.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Then that explains it. You haven’t looked at any of the facts since you made up your mind 25 years ago. That long ago I too believed in the simplistic model of higher CO2 driving a warming trend, but the vast amount of evidence to the contrary since has changed my mind.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  John Riordan

What evidence? Not supplied by Lomborg or Curry by chance is it? lol.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Oh look, polar bear numbers are increasing – there’s your proof that climate change isn’t happening.
face/palm

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

He has accurately understood what you said, and you’ve repeated it here again: you don’t believe there should be further debate on whether or not the politically-stated problem of climate change is real and serious.

This is flatly ludicrous and your position is outargeous.

Dr E C
Dr E C
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Gravity is also a fairly complex phenomenon. Should we have a debate on whether your mother did or did not drop you on your head as a baby?

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I might be tempted to buy the Koonin book recommended by Johan Strauss below. Give me a title from the other side.

At least I’ll then be able to generate hot air on here from a well read position.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

You can start by watching Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth. A lot of the claims made in the movie have since been debunked, but it really supercharged the alarmist movement. Watching it 20 years later might give you a good perspective.

You could also do an internet search for James Hanson climate speech to Congress. He did this in 1989 and it’s basically the birth of the entire climate change movement.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I suggest reading James Lovelock The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning.
That comes with a caveat – it’s not perfect and some of his predictions are a bit dramatic. The reason I recommend it however is that it describes the processes and concepts at work, such as the role of energy and reverse entropy in easy to understand form. When you put the book down you will have the knowledge to form a considered opinion on the matter.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Is this the same James Lovelock who admitted in 2012 that his climate change comments were too alarmist? This quote comes from NBC News of all places.

“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened,” Lovelock said.
“The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now,” he said. “The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almo
st constant, whereas it should have been rising — carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that,” he added.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/gaia-scientist-james-lovelock-i-was-alarmist-about-climate-change-flna730066 (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/gaia-scientist-james-lovelock-i-was-alarmist-about-climate-change-flna730066)

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Ha ha, right on time – knew you would roll that one out and as ever take it out of context. Maybe you should read that book Jim, I honestly think you will appreciate what you gain from it.

Santiago Excilio
Santiago Excilio
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Yes it’s an interesting book overall. His analysis of nuclear power as the only sensible clean energy solution for mankind is good, albeit it made him rather unpopular with quite a lot of the green lobby. And he is more focussed on the risk of eco system collapse (deforestation, subsistence agriculture, pollution etc) than on CO2. It got a bit melodramatic towards the end, but that’s what imaginary future scenarios are for really.

Santiago Excilio
Santiago Excilio
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

It’s a good book. I liked his analysis of nuclear as the only clean energy solution going forward (which didn’t win him many friends amongst the green lobby). And his focus on the damage being done to ecosystems through deforestation, pollution, poor farming etc. also very pertinent. However its more general human activity that he calls out rather than specifically CO2, and some of his imagined future scenarios are a bit on the dramatic side, but hey that’s scenarios for you.

Santiago Excilio
Santiago Excilio
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I have to disagree. In it’s most recent assessment report (number 6) the IPPC Working Group I, who look at the physical science (i.e. “The Science”) summarised their assessment of the emergence of climate impact drivers in a table towards the end of their report and the number of areas where they have high confidence of drivers (mean ocean temp, mean air temp, atmospheric CO2) have all increased, a bit, over the historic record period, however hardly any other drivers change very much even under the most extreme RCP8.5 scenario (which in simple speak is a temp rise of 4.5C by 2100), and the areas where they have no evidence or confidence in CID’s are quite extensive and don’t change under future scenarios either.
However, Working Group 2, who look at the impact of climate change – Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (i.e. “The Possible Effects”) went overboard in their report with predictions of near term increases in hazardous events, storms, rains, flooding etc etc.
The problem is these predictions don’t really align very well with ‘the science’ drivers from WG I.
Frankly when the authors of the reports for the body that is supposed to be the definitive word in neutral climate science appear to contradict each other one really has to wonder what on earth is going on.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Hmm. Navigating this issue can be a daunting task for sure. I would start by reading anything by people like Bjorn Lomborg, Judith Curry, Steve Koonin and Michael Shellenberger. All these people agree that CO2 Is warming the planet, and that it’s a problem we need to address. They simply dispute the hysterical claims of imminent catastrophe. Be warned, Robbie will trash Lomborg in a reply to this comment, for literally being too reasonable.

It’s important to remember this discussion is 35 years old now. There is a long history of alarmists making hyperbolic claims that have long since expired. All of these things were supposed to happen already:
*collapse of agriculture
*increase in severity of hurricane and storms
*coral island nation like the Maldives being submerged by rising seas
*ice free arctic
*0.6C warming per decade

Here is an article written by a climate scientist who details the reasons why he felt pressure to make his research as alarmist as possible.
https://www.thefp.com/p/i-overhyped-climate-change-to-get-published

Roger Pielke is another good scientist to pay attention to.
https://rogerpielkejr.substack.com/p/what-the-ipcc-actually-says-about?publication_id=119454&isFreemail=true

Here is a link to series of debates with Steve Koonin. Both sides of the issue are presented in each debate.
https://steamboatinstitute.org/the-campus-liberty-tour/

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Navigating this issue can be a daunting task for sure. I would start by reading anything by people like Bjorn Lomborg, Judith Curry, Steve Koonin and Michael Shellenberger.

As I observed previously, these authors should be considered in the same bracket as Aldern – they cherry pick datasets and specific examples in order to produce an appealing publication for a certain reader. These people have nothing of value to say and are merely selling a product.
It really is most peculiar why folks cling on to radicle views in the face of overwhelming research and science – but that’s the nature of biasses influenced by political leanings for you.

Saul D
Saul D
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

The condemnations always seem to rest on the basis of someone else’s secondary commentary like skepticalscience or desmog – both of which are activist blogs on the climate-crisis side that attempt to shut down even ‘lukewarmers’. Can you give some examples of cherry picking and lack of expertise? It’s very difficult to make an appropriate judgement when it’s all just a ‘look-over-there’ waving one activist side’s narrative against another.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Saul D

That’s merely a case of fighting fire with fire. As I alluded to somewhere on this page it’s all a ridiculous distraction from the primary focus of tackling the problem.

Saul D
Saul D
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

If we were trying to tackle the problem we’d have gone hell-for-leather for nuclear power 25 years ago. It would be a solved problem by now with cheap, clean, abundant electricity naturally displacing fossil fuels in under 20 years.
That we’re still only at around one third of electricity, not even of ‘energy’, and people demanding ludicrous things like eating bugs, banning meat, trying to stop farmers farming, seeking to add scarcity to products suggests the ‘tackling the problem’ is infected with politics and special interest groups taking us down the wrong paths. Not surprisingly then you get skeptical and rational actors pushing back at the madness. The counter then becomes extremists just shouting back labels like ‘deniers’ to avoid addressing sensible criticisms. That’s why you really need to tackle the arguments, not just throw activist sites and name-calling as if it proves something. Test your ideas by reading people who think differently.

Simon Templar
Simon Templar
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Thanks for your invaluable analysis. I will save your post.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 month ago

A neighbour’s 16 year old son told me that 1 degree C was a huge increase. His teacher had explained that the Earth’s average temperature was 15 degrees C, so 1 degree was nearly 7%.
I explained that, if somewhere had an average temperature of zero degrees C, then 1 degree would be a rise of infinity %! He got that.
I also explained that the Earth’s average temperature was 288 degrees Kelvin, so 1 degree C (also Kelvin), was a tiny %. He took my word for it.
What hope is there when that nonsense is being taught.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 month ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

I was just about to reply with the point about Kelvin while reading the first paragraph. I’m a fence sitter on climate change, but if that is being taught at schools, it’s clear indoctrination or truly poor teaching.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

A better explanation is what happens to the human body with a small rise in temperature, 4 degrees ultimately being death.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

What’s that got to do with the price of fish?

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Wow, how am I still alive? This year in winter temperature hit -6c it is now +10c – that’s more than 4 degrees!

Dominic Lyne
Dominic Lyne
1 month ago

It’s not just climate science that makes us miserable, it is most of the modern causes! All The liberal causes that drive us today, are the one-way-street pillars of modern society: so equality, diversity, climate change and, I guess, transgenderism, are all designed so that the headlines are obviously beneficial and worthwhile causes. But any conversation or dissidence as to how its implemented, is deemed as anti the objective, which looks terrible for the person who is trying to argue against it. I am an advocate for most of these pillars, but I think they go too far one way, there is no balance.
This is all hammered daily on social media and it becomes a collective mental trauma.

Rob Britton
Rob Britton
1 month ago

Every generation in history has preached an “end of the world is nigh” scenario. In past centuries it was religious-style armageddon. In the 60’s or 70’s it was nuclear armageddon; in the 10’s and 20’s it is climate armageddon. The basic problem seems to be that human beings cannot conceive of a world after they have passed away, so it must come to an end in one way or another.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob Britton

Only if you come from a Judeo-Christian culture.

I heard a talk from a Chinese sci-fi author years ago and in reply to a question about Western sci-fi works, he highlighted the obsession with end-of-world scenarios that are completely absent in their work. He said ‘Chinese people are maybe more optimistic ‘.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

The only Chinese science fiction I’ve seen is the Wandering Earth – seemed a bit ‘end of world’ as they knew it!

Mangle Tangle
Mangle Tangle
1 month ago

He’s just trying to make some money and a name for himself. If it’s good science or accurate, insightful and helpful – well, that’s not the priority for the author. Might get in the way of money and fame.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
1 month ago

Where to be green, famously, is to be communist red below the surface (hence the interest in and from modern China), this relatively new ideology has had an absolutely deleterious effect on the young, further driving their alienation which is giving rise to body dysmorphia (gender confusion today, rather than the food disorders and self-harm of yesterday).

Matt M
Matt M
1 month ago

We could do with some of this famous global warming in England this year. I’m still wearing my bloody thermals and have the electric blanket on at night in the middle of April and have had them on since October!

Alex Starling
Alex Starling
1 month ago

Very good article. But can I please take issue with the ‘climate change is real’ statement used as a proxy for ‘man-made climate change requires us to decarbonise’? Of course the climate changes, always has always will. Chivers should apply the same scepticism about peer-reviewed research that he displays in this article to the decarbonisation pseudo-religion.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
1 month ago

“But for most people, climate change — at least so far, in most of the world — is subtle; bad, but subtle. The changes it has wrought in most of our lives so far are minor.”
Tom Chivers can’t quite let go of climate change hysteria. It’s not simply that the changes so far are subtle or minor, but rather that they are non-existent. For the vast majority of people, whether living in the cold north or the warm south are vastly better off today than they were 20 years ago, let alone 100 years ago.

Arthur Berman
Arthur Berman
1 month ago

This is an excellent review. I take climate change quite seriously and write about as an energy expert.

“Alarmism” is among the tropes used to dismiss those who point out the gravity of climate change. It is a legitimate charge that does nothing to reduce the seriousness of the problem.

It seems that Aldern is more of an alarmist than many but the flaws in his journalistic honesty that you point out are more concerning. They lend weight to the alarmism trope.

I’d enjoy you writing a post on the psychology of climate change reactions!