“Enough of a climate crisis for you?” author should check his sources
In “Enough of a climate crisis for you?”, the author claims in paragraph three that “the IPCC says we have just a decade left to phase out fossil fuels or we will have ‘catastrophic’ climate change, which will cause ‘global economic collapse’ followed by ‘societal collapse'”.
Said author may need to check his sources. In a full-text search of the most recent complete IPCC report (AR5, 2014) and the most current interim IPCC report (October, 2018), the word ‘catastrophic’ and phrases ‘global economic collapse’ and ‘societal collapse’ are nowhere to be found. Searching both Google and the IPCC website for “global economic collapse” reveals no case where the IPCC has used that phrase in an official statement. My search easily found multiple letters to other newspapers using the exact same wording as our local correspondent, however. Someone seems to be sharing the talking points.
The remainder of the letter draws upon a polemic work (“Uninhabitable Earth”) from an author well-known for exaggerating the likelihood of worst-case projections. If we are to make policy on worst-case projections, then the threats of supervolcanoes, asteroid impact, superbugs, World War III, nuclear proliferation, or idiocracy are no less dire. Personally, I worry most about jihadists with nukes, and that’s just one Pakistani coup away from happening.
We should pursue all reasonable measures to reduce our CO2 output taking advantage of all available options, from reforestation to greater use of nuclear energy. Engaging in scare tactics only leads to polarization and harms the credibility of more reasonable voices.
Steven J. Willing, MD
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