It’s not often that we come across an article here at Climate Realism that’s so wrong and outrageous that it deserves the title “Not Even Wrong,” but Washington Post’s (WaPo) Scott Dance managed to do just that Article: A New Climate Reality: Less warming but worse impact on the planet
The phrase “not even wrong” used in science, as defined by WikiPedia, “…is often used to describe pseudoscience or bad science. It describes an argument or explanation that purports to be scientific but uses flawed arguments or speculative premises…”
There is a plethora of false claims and flawed reasoning in Dance’s article. For the sake of brevity, this rebuttal focuses only on the two most prominent ones.
First the main heading and the subheading:
A New Climate Reality: Less warming but worse impact on the planet
The worst climate change scenarios now seem less likely, but extremes are still poised to overwhelm societies, scientists say
Ever since global warming, aka climate change, became a media issue, the unanimous message has been that more warming equals worse future impacts, but we are now expected to believe that we are dealing with less future warming will have even worse repercussions than before .
What Dance failed to mention was the fact that the future climate impact scenarios are based on computer model projections, i.e. Representative Carbon Pathways (RCP) as shown in Figure 1 below, which show projections of temperature rise consistent with the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere.
Based on computer models, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that elevated levels of carbon dioxide are to be expected:
These changes will affect our food supply, water resources, infrastructure, ecosystems and even our own health.
According to media pundits and government-backed climate science, the message is clear; Elevated levels of carbon dioxide will bode for the future of the planet.
Dance omits a critical point. The RCP8.5 worst-case scenario, shown in red in Figure 1, has long been the accepted poster child for future climate change. But, and here’s the rub — it’s been discredited as impossible by climate science itself.
From the January 2020 article in the renowned scientific journal Nature:
Fortunately – and this is a word we climatologists rarely use – the world presented in RCP8.5 is becoming, in our view, more and more implausible with each passing year. Emissions pathways to get to RCP8.5 generally require an unprecedented five-fold increase in coal consumption by the end of the century, an amount greater than some estimates of recoverable coal reserves.
Translation: Even if we burned all the coal on the planet, we could not achieve the disastrous future effects that RCP8.5 predicts.
However, Dance suggests that moving away from the worst-case climate model will somehow result in larger future impacts due to warming. This is absurd and implies that Dance is lying to save the climate narrative. Why? Because when smart people realize the future isn’t as ominous as they’ve been told, they may stop caring about the climate.
The second outrageous point in the WaPo article has to do with a quote from an even more crazy scientist from Switzerland:
“People are already dying from climate change,” says Sonia Seneviratne, a professor at the Institute for Atmosphere and Climate at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. “We’ve started to see near-zero probability events occurring without human-caused climate change.”
People are dying from climate change? For real? Where from? When was the last time you saw a coroner’s report that said “cause of death: climate change” or a headline that said climate change killed someone?
The best answer to this kind of nonsense is scientific data. People like Seneviratne seem to think that every weather event is now the same as climate, when in fact there is no connection at all between the two. In Climate at a Glance: Deaths from Extreme Weather, current science refutes Seneviratne’s claim:
- Extreme weather events are often attributed to climate change, but weather and climate are not the same thing.
- Show real-world data no significant increase in extreme weather in the last 100 years.
- Existing data shows many Extreme weather events have decreased significantly during the recent period of modest warming and Deaths from extreme weather events have decreased dramatically.
But the real debunking of the future demise comes in a peer-reviewed scientific paper by Dr. Bjorn Lomborg. In this paper, Lomborg shows that despite global warming, the number of deaths from climate-related events has fallen to an all-time low and is now approaching almost zero. See Figure 2 below. Climate Realism has discussed this fact in several posts, for example here, here and here.
Real world data shows there has been no increase in drought or heat waves; no increase in flooding; no increase in tropical cyclones and hurricanes; no increase in winter storms; and no increase in thunderstorms or tornadoes or associated hail, lightning and extreme winds from thunderstorms.
This, plus the ability to warn people of extreme weather events, mitigate them, and respond quickly to emergencies, is why the number of deaths from so-called climate-related weather disasters has actually decreased. Clearly, Seneviratne’s view of a climate-change-driven future of death is not just wrong, it’s utterly wrong.
Unfortunately, this is the kind of nonsense we get from the media and researchers who have replaced the scientific method with political science and activism. They accept the worst-case scenarios as fact, even though there is no science or data to back it up. They live in a doomsday fantasy world that they created themselves.
Anthony Watts is a Senior Fellow in Environment and Climate at the Heartland Institute. Watts has been in the weather business since 1978 both on and off camera as an on-air television meteorologist and currently makes daily radio forecasts. He has created weather graphics presentation systems for television, specialized weather tools, and co-authored peer-reviewed articles on climate issues. He runs the world’s most visited climate website, the award-winning website wattsupwiththat.com.