A Critical Examination of the Six Pillars of Climate Change Despair

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From Watts Up With That?

Doug R Rogers

Introduction

World still ‘on brink of climate catastrophe’[1]
World close to ‘irreversible’ climate breakdown[2]
Large regions of the world are becoming unlivable – lethal for 3 to 5 billion of us[3]
…slaughter, death, and starvation of 6 billion people[4] – Roger Hallam, Extinction Rebellion

    In 2023 it’s hard to avoid seeing images and headlines like these. The result for many is a deep seated fear[5], anxiety[6] [7], and pessimism[8] [9] about the future. The topic of Climate Change (CC) has seeped into nearly every facet of our lives, and never in a positive way. It’s always present as a dark cloud hanging over society; a source of guilt for those who indulge in some of life’s most basic pleasures, the basis of moralistic judgments by those who like to signal their concern, and the cause of nihilism[10] [11] and hopelessness[12] felt by many in the youngest generations.

Why does CC have such deeply negative connotations and harmful effects on people’s mental well being?

Because we are constantly reminded of the six dark and destructive consequences of CC:

      1) heat will cause millions to die or live in misery

      2) tens of millions (some say billions) will be forced to migrate

      3) a million or more species will become extinct in just a few decades

      4) sea level rise will have disastrous world-wide consequences

      5) agricultural production will be devastated, causing widespread famine

      6) humanity will suffer floods, droughts, and other terrible natural disasters

These are the six pillars of climate change despair that activists and the media obsess over. The activists do it because they think they are saving the planet; the media do it because bad news gets more clicks than good news. Plus, they both do it to appear virtuous. They both keep ramping up the rhetoric so that with each passing year the predictions about each of these consequences become even more frightening and apocalyptic. There are some lesser concerns (eg. Arctic and glacier melting), but these six are the catastrophic ones.

No wonder so many people are depressed and pessimistic about the future. It shouldn’t be surprising there’s an epidemic of “climate change anxiety”.

But is it in any way justified?  What is the truth (if any) behind these catastrophic predictions? That’s what I want to examine here. The fact is, every one of these pillars is made of sand, and crumbles apart when subjected to the slightest critical scrutiny.

First though, here are my operating assumptions:

 I refuse to always use worst case scenarios. They are attention grabbing but not an accurate reflection of the science. But neither will I try to minimize the estimates. I’ll set my baselines on what the scientists really say, as opposed to what the headlines scream.  My arguments are solid enough that they hold true even under pessimistic scenarios. I don’t want to get bogged down quibbling over the starting premises, so although I don’t agree with these, I’ll grant all the following “reasonable” worst case assumptions, which are based on SSP3-7.0 (High GHG emissions), and sometimes RCP 8.5 (the now rejected[13] [14] baseline, but the one still used as the basis for many of the most alarming scenarios):

       • CC is mostly, if not completely, caused by human activity. (There may be other causes, but OK.)

       • CC has been happening since 1850[15] [16]. (Less than 3% of carbon was burned by 1900[17], but OK.)

       • the planet has warmed by 0.9 – 1.2ºC since then; I’ll use the worst extreme: 1.2ºC [18]

       • most models project 2-4ºC[19] increase by 2100, I’ll use 3.6ºC (IPCC SSP3-7.0) [20]

       • CO2 has risen from 280ppm to 420ppm[21]

       • CO2 is expected to rise to 670ppm by 2100 (3.5ºC scenario)[22]

       • sea level is expected to rise 1.01m by 2100 (IPCC AR6, SP5-8.5)[23]

Keep in mind the consensus is that CC started in 1850, so it’s already been happening for 170+ years.  CC since 1850 has caused a 1.2ºC rise and 0.2[24]-.24[25] m sea level rise. So we’re already nearly 25% into the ‘disaster’. Shouldn’t we have seen a significant number of the gloomy predictions manifesting themselves by now?  Where are the extinctions, the climate migrants, the agricultural collapse? The drama always starts in the future, even though we’ve already had CC for over 170 years.

Why do most CC predictions stop at 2100? For several very justifiable reasons:   

       • the models already have huge error bars on their predictions, and by all rights shouldn’t even be extended to 2100. But projections 100, 200, or even more years into the future are science fiction. The error bars out that far in the future could go from an ice age to land becoming molten lava.

       • even more difficult than modeling the climate that far in the future is making predictions about technology, and society as a whole. By 2100 perhaps humans will have mastered fusion power, or some completely new, clean source of energy. Or at least all fossil fuels may well have been burned up by then. “Peak oil” has been predicted to happen by 1939, ‘46, ‘52, ‘58, ‘66, ‘76, ‘92, 2000, ‘10, ‘20, ‘40…[26] [27] Maybe by 2100 that always shifting prediction might finally have come true.

       • the one thing that is slightly safer to predict (though still somewhat uncertain) is that the population will peak at approximately 10.4 billion sometime around 2086[28] and begin declining after that[29] [30] [31]. What will happen to CC when population starts to decrease is highly uncertain, but it will be an encouraging turning point.

 So given these assumptions, let’s proceed with this critical examination of the six pillars of climate change despair.

1) Heat from CC will kill millions, and will make life intolerable for the survivors

“…as our planet warms to unthinkable temperatures…”[32]
“Every year heat kills tens of thousands of people”[33]
“Extreme temperatures kill 5 million people a year”[34]

We are constantly being told that the coming warming of 3.6ºC by 2100 will result in millions of deaths, and a miserable life of suffering for the survivors[35] [36]. It’s claimed that many of those deaths will be the direct result of heat[37], and that’s what I’ll focus on here.

What a 3.6ºC Rise Really Means

When people are told the world will be unbearably hot in the year 2100 because of the 3.6ºC increase they probably imagine the hottest place on earth on the hottest day, add 3.6ºC to that, and then suppose that’s what the world will be like everywhere, all the time. This is reinforced by images of the planet in flames, and slogans such as “we are cooking the planet” and “our house is on fire”.  When an author writes about “unthinkable temperatures” one has to ask “Is it really that hard to think about temperatures of 33.6ºC instead of 30ºC? Is that unthinkable?” Of course not. When a headline screams that CC kills 5m per year, or nearly one out of ten deaths from all causes (cancer, heart disease, and everything else) it’s over-the-top hyperbole, the standard language of climate change despair.

To picture the reality, start with the simple case of the whole world becoming evenly 3.6ºC warmer, everywhere, all the time. Of course CC won’t be that uniform, but whether it’s 2ºC here or 4ºC there isn’t critical to the overall point here. We have a world where the winter, spring, summer, and fall are all approximately 3.6ºC warmer, day and night, everywhere. Most would agree that for most of the year a little bit of warming would actually be a good thing. Only the peak days of the hottest, driest months of the year would be more uncomfortable than in the past. And what would people do?  Cool off as they do on most other hot days, but a little more – stay indoors (just like on the coldest days of winter), run the fan or AC longer, and at higher settings. (To those who say “But poor people don’t have fans!” see the next section on climate refugees). People have known how to adapt to heat since the dawn of humanity, and it’s even easier in the 21st century.

Most of those who write about how “unbearable” the heat will be live in Europe and the US, countries where many would consider 30ºC uncomfortably hot, whereas for much of the world’s population that’s quite normal. In fact, most of the fastest growing cities in the US are in the hottest states: Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Texas and Florida[38], where the temperatures are routinely over 30ºC. Obviously that kind of heat is not actually “lethal” or even “unbearable”.

Humans and their Relationship with Heat

Heat Map of the Earth Population Density Map of the Earth

Throughout history, humans have shown a preference for living in hot climates. Even now, much of the world’s population lives in the hottest areas of the planet[39]:

CountryPopulation (million)Population RankAvg Temp (hottest month)Avg High (hottest month)Record  HighTemperatures Location
Brazil215723.129.037.0Sao Paulo
Nigeria219628.532.240.0Lagos
The Sahel63(23)3439.346.1Ouagadougou
Pakistan236531.835.547.8Karachi
India138023237.944.5Madurai
Bangladesh168829.133.742.2Dhaka
SE Asia333(3)29.234.641.1Ho Chi Minh City
Indonesia270427.231.135.6Jakarta
Arizona35.341.445.9Phoenix

Notes:  SEAsia = Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar
Sahel =  all or parts of Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Niger, Cameroon, Cent African Rep, Chad, Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia

These include 6 of the 8 most populous countries, more than 1/3 of the Earth’s total population. Even within countries which have perfectly habitable cooler regions many of the largest cities are in the hottest regions (Karachi, Delhi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phoenix). Clearly, if the human race was repelled by hot climates, and if heat was a major source of deaths, the global population would be more concentrated in the northern and southern zones, away from the tropics.  

The last line in the table shows that Phoenix, one of the fastest growing cities in the US, is hotter than any of the countries listed. How can humans tolerate such heat? Simple: fans and air conditioning.

Cold is far more deadly than heat 

Although heatwaves get more press, cold temperatures are usually deadlier than hot ones.[40]

    It is well documented[41] [42] that cold weather kills far more people than hot. Yet almost all coverage of weather-related deaths focuses on heat waves. This is highly misleading. If only articles about heat related deaths are published, it’s easy for people to think it’s only heat that kills, but cold is in fact 10-20 times[43] [44]  more deadly. Because of this each degree of warming saves far more lives from cold than are lost due to heat. So when the latest IPCC report says “Certain extremes, such as extreme cold, will be less intense and less frequent with increasing warming”[45] why isn’t that considered a good thing?

2) Climate refugees / mass migration

Activists who wail about climate refugees claim that millions[46] (some say billions[47]) of people will uproot themselves from the places their ancestors have lived for centuries and move to northern countries such as Europe, Canada and the US to escape the “intolerable heat”[48]. They also say it will be to escape floods, droughts, and other environmental changes[49] resulting from CC. They declare millions will be “sea level refugees”. For others CC will destroy local agriculture, and the victims of this will need to move to “where the food is”. All these claims are ridiculous.

 It’s undeniable the world is currently flooded with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, but CC has almost nothing to do with it. The number one reason people move is to relocate from rural areas to cities, where there are better opportunities for work, education, and social progress[50]. Others are motivated to move to more wealthy countries for education, economic reasons, and to flee political instability. People leaving the Sahel aren’t moving in droves to Zambia, where the climate is similar to what they lived with for many generations before the changes due to CC. They’re moving to Sweden, where they’ll freeze for six months of the year, but they’ll get good jobs, schools, and health care. Who wouldn’t want that? It’s delusional to think they move to cold northern countries for the climate.

“Intolerable” heat

If people in, say, northern Nigeria, have put up with average highs of 32.2ºC during the hottest months for centuries, is it likely that a rise over four generations to 35.8ºC during a few days in the hottest months will turn them into climate refugees?  To Europeans the thought of living for a few weeks at 35.8ºC might seem unbearable, but for Nigerians that will simply seem like a somewhat hotter than normal summer; not something to justify uprooting themselves from their homeland. And if they can’t stand the heat isn’t the most sensible thing to move to the coast, or to a large city such as Lagos where they can have access to electricity, fans, and perhaps even air conditioning?  Why move to a European country where no one speaks your language, few people share your religion, where you have no family or relatives, and where you have to deal with ice and snow in the winter?

   As for the rest of the world – those not living in the hottest places on the planet – a rise of 3.6ºC will indeed mean hotter summers, so they’ll have to run their fans or air conditioners longer; but also warmer spring and fall, and shorter, less bone chilling winters. Not many will complain about that. 

Environmental changes

  These days every deviation from Garden of Eden weather is blamed on CC. A bad storm in Pakistan – climate change! Completely ignoring the fact the Indian subcontinent is subjected to – correct that, has welcomed – the monsoons for millennia. Even the IPCC reports state that storms will not increase in frequency, but may increase in intensity by a few percent due to CC[51]. Can you imagine people in Karachi deciding “Well, that last storm was clearly 5% more severe than the ones we had when I was a kid, so it’s time to relocate to northern Europe…”

Sea Level Rise Is Causing Frightening Waves of Climate Refugees?

     It’s often claimed hundreds of millions of people will be migrating because of sea level rise.[52] For most people this conjures up images of waves of climate refugees carrying all their possessions on their backs, trekking over deserts or crossing the sea in overcrowded dinghies, heading toward Europe or the US. Apparently millions of families living near the coast in Bangladesh and elsewhere are saying “Sorry my children, but the sea has risen by 30cm since I was born, so we need to move to Canada.”

But in a moment of candor, António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, admitted “Most of the people affected will remain in their own countries. They will be internally displaced.”[53]  In other words, these sensational claims are simply acknowledging the fact that over the next three generations a lot of people will be moving somewhere.

That’s not news.

The world is seeing unprecedented levels of migration from rural areas (which include small coastal communities) to cities[54]. But people are moving for reasons[55] [56] which have nothing to do with the slow increase in sea level.  And those who do want to stay near the coast will simply relocate a few dozen meters inland as the sea rises by 30 cm each generation. These people are also, by the UN’s definition, “migrants”.

We are being led to believe that it’s a humanitarian crisis when people living in ramshackle homes perilously close to the sea move to more modern housing a few dozen meters further inland.  That’s not a crisis, it’s progress. Are people in developed countries insisting that their own grandchildren stay in the same 80 year old homes their grandparents grew up in? No, only poor people in less developed countries are expected to do that.

Agriculture

     The notion that people have to move “to where the food can be grown” is completely out of touch with reality. The majority of current migration is from the countryside to the city, and that’s not because it’s easier to grow crops in cities. The world has undergone revolutionary changes in food production and distribution. Now a few farmers can produce food for many, and a huge share of many nations’ food is imported from other countries. Russia is the world’s third largest producer of wheat[57], and the main destinations of Russian wheat exports are Egypt, Turkey, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Pakistan[58].

There are effective, sensible, and genuinely helpful ways to reduce migration

  • Provide power, infrastructure, and cooling appliances

Developed nations are proposing to spend tens of trillions on climate change mitigation, all with the goal of limiting global warming to 1 or 2ºC.  Instead, a 1GW solar power station could be built in the Sahel for $605 million, in three years[59]. Add in a free cooling fan for each of the 15 million[60] families in the region at a cost of $225 million (or for $1.3 bn more, generously provide AC[61] units) and they can enjoy a level of comfort people in developed countries take for granted.

For less than one thousandth of the price of mitigation families can improve their lives where they are instead of having to leave. What if the potential migrants were asked this question: “Would you prefer the developed world spend trillions so that your maximum temperatures are lowered by 2ºC, or they spend one or two billion to provide you with electricity and fans to cool your homes?” It’s obvious what the answer would be.

  • Provide irrigation

Even the ancient Egyptians knew about the power of irrigation to transform lifeless desert into productive agricultural land. Large scale irrigation projects have been built for centuries, and they continue to be planned and built now.  So if it’s true that people are being forced off their land because CC is rendering it unproductive then the most direct way to solve this problem is by providing irrigation to that land. Doing this would cost a tiny fraction of the resources which are being pledged to slow global warming.  Irrigation allows people to stay in their homelands, makes their land far more productive, provides them with more income, and increases the greening of the planet.

Critics of this plan might say that for some lands the scale of irrigation needed is completely impractical to implement. In other words, that territory is so parched and beyond recovery that it’s not practical to do anything to restore it. That leads to an obvious conclusion: the people attempting to live off that barren land should migrate.  Some places simply aren’t meant to be cultivated. 

3) Millions of Extinctions

By 2100, half of all species on Earth could be threatened with extinction[62]
Half of plant and animal species at risk from climate change[63]
Biologists think 50% of species will be facing extinction by the end of the century[64]

Most predicted extinction rates are wildly out of touch with reality

Although estimates vary widely, many agree there may there may be around 8 million species on the planet[65]. In 2004 one of the most cited papers[66] on extinctions due to CC stated: “we predict, on the basis of mid-range climate-warming scenarios for 2050, that 15–37% of species … will be ‘committed to extinction’.”  This article inspired sensational headlines in newspapers everywhere[67]. Taking the middle range of the prediction (24%), and assuming their model (SAR) is a factor of 5 too high[68] [69], that still means it predicts  8m x 0.24 x 0.2 = 384000 species extinct by 2050, and assuming a roughly linear rate of extinction that means we should have seen around 150,000 extinctions by 2023 due to climate change. The headlines above are even worse, implying even more extinctions by 2023.

The reality

The IUCN Red List[70] is considered the most comprehensive database on threatened species.  It states there have been approximately 902 species extinctions from 1500-2023, from all causes[71] [72] Virtually all of them became extinct before 2004. Something doesn’t make sense. Time to ask the experts.

I did that from Oct-Nov 2022.  I wrote to 7 natural history museums, 6 zoos, 4 foundations/institutes, and 25 researchers and authors on papers related to species extinctions[73].  Only 12 responded.  None could name even one species besides the Bramble Cay melomys[74] I had mentioned in my emails.

    The mismatch between the apocalyptic headlines and the observed reality is scandalous. Yet the headlines continue to be repeated over and over, with never the slightest corrections or retractions. Once the rhetoric ratchets up it never goes down, no matter what the facts on the ground show.

Shocking Headlines from Squishy Statements

  One reason for the widespread belief climate change will cause massive extinctions is the sensational headlines and articles derived from scientific papers and interviews. After an alarming headline the article which follows often starts with a statement which appears scientific and specific, such as:

“Scientists predict that up to 50% of species may be threatened with extinction by 2100 due to habitat loss, pesticides, and climate change.”

But what does that precise-sounding sentence actually say?  Let’s break it down:

Scientists predict – this is what might happen, a model.  Unlike “Observations prove” – the reality

up to 50% – that’s anything less than 51%.  30%, 5%, or even 1% all fit this. They’re all less than 50%

of species – of all species? of a specific species? of species on an islandmicrobesplants?

may be – or maybe not. “may be” is totally squishy. “will be” is definitive – and that’s why it’s not used

threatened with extinction – every species is threatened with extinction – there’s always the chance of an asteroid impact. Who decides what “threatened” means? “Will become extinct” is unambiguous

due to habitat loss, pesticides, and climate change – “and climate change” can be tacked onto any list of valid extinction causes: “due to overhunting (99.99%)… and climate change (0.01%)”

     So even if only one species goes extinct before 2100 the statement above is still “true”, but only in the most lawerly sense imaginable. Another trick is to use the term “local extinction” – meaning the species is only gone from one area, something far less dramatic than the total elimination of a species.

The Real Causes of Extinctions

There are five causes of extinction[75] [76] [77] which are orders of magnitude more significant than CC:

Habitat Destruction:  Much of this is human caused, in the form of agriculture, urban development, and infrastructure development. While a temperature rise of 0.05ºC per year might very gradually transform a habitat, a Brazilian farmer or a freeway project will completely destroy many acres of habitat in less than a year. It’s this kind of habitat destruction that leads to extinctions, not the barely perceptible changes due to CC.

Excessive Harvesting and Hunting: Over-harvesting (for food) and/or hunting (killing for sport) has already rendered several species extinct and brought others close to the point of extinction.  These causes have nothing to do with CC.

Invasive Species: This can be caused by humans either intentionally by introducing species which they thought would be beneficial in some way, or species can be accidentally introduced via ships and other forms of transportation. Some of this can be a result climate change, but again, the vast majority is due to modern transportation, bad decisions, and natural processes.

Chemicals such as pesticides and other pollutants:  This is another threat which can be almost completely blamed on human activity, but not CC.

Natural disasters, weather extremes, diseases: A forest fire can wipe out every member of a species in a small ecosystem. So can an extremely harsh winter, rare freezing spells, prolonged heat waves, droughts, sea level rise, or a volcanic eruption. A highly contagious disease, such as Dutch Elm can take out a species relatively quickly. Yes, the argument can be made that CC has either caused or exacerbated some of these tragedies. But it’s also true that these natural disruptions have occurred throughout the history of the planet. Only a fraction of them can be exclusively blamed on CC.

    Compared to every one of these causes, the extremely gradual changes which result from CC are utterly insignificant. CC involves temperature rises of one degree spread over many decades. The very gradual habitat changes this causes are completely dwarfed by the rapid trauma of agricultural and urban development, hunting and harvesting, and chemicals in the environment.

Other Considerations

 Any species with a habitat in Canada, the northern US, northern Europe, Siberia or northern China survives annual temperature swings from +25ºC in the summer to -25ºC in the winter. And sometimes (long before CC) there would be heat waves and cold snaps making the extremes even worse. Yet apparently a gradual warming averaging 0.05ºC each year is enough to cause mass extinctions?

    Furthermore, for nearly every species cold kills far more than heat:

“There are several factors that can contribute to winter kill. One is extreme cold temperatures and prolonged heavy snow cover, which can force deer to expend energy and burn fat at higher rates.”[78]

“wet surface conditions promote a chilling effect that may cause mortality among all age and sex classes of deer including stronger animals. Hypothermia and exposure are the main causes of death”[79]

“In fact, wildlife can succumb to frostbite and hypothermia, just like people and pets.” [80]

“Birds may find it harder to find their normal food in winter… Badgers…have a tough time finding their favourite food of earthworms when the ground is frozen… Toxic gases can build up in frozen ponds, killing fish or frogs that may be hiding at the bottom.”[81]

 The IPCC says “Certain extremes, such as extreme cold, will be less intense and less frequent”[82] Almost all life would benefit from winters which start later, end earlier, and are less harsh.  Thanks to CC many species are less likely to become extinct. Do headlines ever mention that?

4) Sea Level Rise and Its “Disastrous Consequences”

 It’s hard to know how much sea level rise (SLR) to expect in 2100 from CC. As with most things related to CC the number you get depends on where the information source lies on the political spectrum. A conservative site may say 0.2m[83]; a government site may say 0.8-1m[84]; an environmental site will say “as much as 1.3 m[85]”; while eco-fanatic sites may say 2.4m[86] to 5m[87].  I’ll use the high end of the most recent (AR6) IPCC SSP5-8.5 projection[88] of 1.01 meter (~3 feet) by 2100.

Sea level has gone up and down throughout the Earth’s history. After the end of the last ice age it rose 120 meters over 10,000 years, then was stable for several millennia[89]. It began to rise again around 1850[90] at about 1 cm per decade until approximately 1940. Since then the rate has been accelerating. Given that 1850 is well before the invention of the automobile and electricity generated from coal, and the world’s population was less than 1/6 of what it is today, the rise from 1850-1900 can barely be blamed on burning fossil fuels[91].  So there must be some other underlying causes[92] for at least some fraction of SLR. Also, in many coastal cities and river deltas the problem of subsidence (sinking) is at least as big a factor as CC[93] [94]. This shows that even if there was no CC, SLR would still be an issue humanity would have to address eventually – CC just speeds up the timetable.

What exactly is the problem with SLR? Well, in the next 80 years all coastal cities, ports, coastal infrastructure, and seashore communities are going to have to deal with the possibility of over a meter of sea level rise. That sounds dramatic, and the headlines certainly like to make it seem so. But note that every major urban center in the world – not just the coastal ones – has undergone massive changes and redevelopment in the last 80 years. Only 11 of the top 100 skyscrapers in NYC were built before 1943[95], and at that time many of the world’s other major cities were only a small fraction of their current size. No serious port facilities are still using docks and cranes from 1943. The story will be similar 80 years in the future: virtually all the buildings and infrastructure in seaport cities will have been redeveloped and modernized by 2100 regardless of CC. However, because of the possibility of sea level rise, all new designs should be required to have provisions for 2 meters of SLR. With this policy in place structures which incorporate that requirement into their designs will progressively replace the older, obsolete ones. There isn’t an urgent rush. SLR is a very slow process, giving time for calm, gradual adaptation.

     What about the rest of the world’s coastlines? The smaller towns, communities, and low lying land? 

As an example of what is possible, consider the US coastline, which has a length of around 100,000 km[96] (not including Alaska). A large fraction of that is uninhabited or would be basically unaffected by 1-2 meters of SLR because of topography (eg. much of the west coast). So in reality there might be a need for perhaps 65,000 km of 2-3m “sea wall”. At first glance that may sound nearly impossible. But the US Interstate Highway system has a total length of 78,000 km. It was started in 1956 and was 85% complete 24 years later. When finished it cost $535 billion[97] (2020 equiv). A “sea wall” would in most cases be trivial compared to the construction of a 4-10 lane divided freeway system with 50,000 bridges[98]. And “sea wall” is an ugly term for what would be tastefully integrated engineering and landscaping.  The Netherlands’ “sea walls” (Delta Works) are breathtaking and beautiful flood control structures which are also used for highways, bike paths, and energy generation.

In some places where there are homes in low lying areas it will be better to simply let the homes age and then demolish them – few homes will last 80 years these days anyway. Then let the sea turn those areas into new wetlands. This is what should be done now in many flood-prone areas regardless of CC.

    It’s undeniable the situation is more complicated in some other countries. Bangladesh is probably the most glaring example.  Bangladesh, which has a 580 km coastline[99] along the Indian Ocean will need engineering comparable to that in the Netherlands, which has a 480 km coastline[100], is 26% below sea level, and is 59% vulnerable to flooding from high tides and sea storms[101]. It’s been done[102]. It’s just a matter of funding it (total cost of the Delta Works was € 5bn[103]) and building it. And when their system of dikes, locks, flood controls, and power generation systems is complete Bangladesh will not only be protected from rising seas, it will also have a modern water management system for protection from storms, typhoons, and floods, and to provide power and irrigation. Rising sea levels just gives more incentive for something that should be done anyway.

Fortunately for the US and Netherlands, both of their massive engineering projects were built in the 50s and 60s, when people had a powerful “Can do!” attitude about solving huge problems.  Sadly, we now live in a time when too many people are gripped by a “Can’t do!” mindset. “It’s too hard!” – the US built 75,000 km of interstate highways – do you think that was easy? “It’s too expensive!” – the entire Dutch flood control system cost less than $15 billion, about 1/1000th of the proposed spending over the next decade or two on ridiculous plans to cool the planet by 2ºC.  Wouldn’t that money be better spent helping Bangladesh control floods the way the Dutch have?  “We don’t have time!” 85% of the Interstate system was built in 24 years, while we have many decades to deal with climate issues. “It’s change, and that’s scary! We have to keep things the way they always were!”  Then you should go back to living in a cave and let the rest of us get to work to make the world a better place.

Absurd Headlines and Articles

 A Business Insider article[104] is titled “8 American cities that could disappear by 2100” and it goes on to say “Rising sea levels threaten to submerge entire cities by 2100.” The list includes: New Orleans,  Miami, Houston, Atlantic City, New York City, and Boston.  Another article by the Environmental Defense Fund says something similar: With a water level that much higher [in 2100] than it is today, major coastal cities such as Boston, New York and Miami are sure to be below sea level.[105]

For the record, Boston’s official elevation, as measured at Logan International Airport, is 5.8m (19 ft) above sea level. Its average elevation is 26m (85 ft)[106]  New York City’s is 10m (33feet)[107]  Houston’s is 15m (49ft)[108]  The IPCC, NASA, and numerous other agencies estimate sea level will rise around 1m (3 ft) by 2100. Yet all of these cities will disappear, “entirely submerged” by 2100? It gets worse.  An article entitled “Cities that could be underwater by 2030”[109] lists Amsterdam, Venice, Ho Chi Minh City, Kolkata, and Bangkok as cities the could be underwater in seven years. Someone should tell the engineers working on the Amsterdam’s Zuid Station[110], Venice’s MOSE Project[111], Ho Chi Minh’s massive new subway system[112],  One Bangkok[113], and Kolkata’s East-West Metro[114] that they should all pack up and go home since all their projects will be underwater by 2030.  They probably spent many millions on hydrological and geological research to anticipate future situations and the engineering required to solve potential problems. But apparently they didn’t read the issue of Time Out tourist magazine that made those grim predictions – they could have saved billions.

    Climate change despair has normalized outrageous lying.  If you’re writing about climate change, you can write anything you want and it will be published or posted without question – as long as it’s negative.

5) Agricultural “Collapse”

When you look at huge redwood trees, a lush rainforest, or a field of corn, virtually everything you see – the mighty tree trunks, the forest canopy, all those ears of corn – are made almost entirely from two things: carbon dioxide and water[115] [116].  Many people think most of that plant matter – especially the strong wood trunks and branches – is created from dirt sucked out of the ground, but in fact the soil provides only a tiny fraction of the material in plants[117]. Throw a heavy piece of wood on a campfire and what’s left after a couple of hours? A heavy pile of dirt? No. Just a wisp of ash you can blow away with a puff of air. The rest has returned to the atmosphere, mainly in the form of CO2 and water.

    The formula for how plants grow reveals how this works:

    6CO2 (carbon dioxide) + 6H2O (water) + heat and light ® 6O2 (oxygen) + C6H12O6 (glucose)

Plants “eat” CO2, and “drink” water, to create oxygen and glucose, a sugar which is used to make all the parts of a plant. This is the magic of photosynthesis and the Calvin cycle. Most plants need to be rooted in the ground mainly for three reasons: to anchor them so they don’t blow away, to extract water, and for minuscule quantities of essential minerals. But they are primarily made of CO2 and water.

Climate change increases the three main things plants need to thrive

CO2 – the essential building block of plant life

There are hundreds of studies, papers, and real world experiences that prove how beneficial increased CO2 is to many kinds of vegetation:

“On an average, elevated CO2 (627ppm) increased rice yields by 23%.”[118]

“The benefits of carbon dioxide enrichment to about 1100 parts per million in greenhouse cultivation to enhance plant growth has been known for nearly 100 years.”[119]

“Through stimulation of root growth, increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration may facilitate access of crops to sub-soil water… crops are more water use efficient under elevated CO2.”[120]

“We show a persistent and widespread increase of growing season … over 25% to 50% of the global vegetated area… CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend”[121]

“Studies have shown that higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide affect crops in two important ways: they boost crop yields by increasing the rate of photosynthesis, which spurs growth, and they reduce the amount of water crops lose through transpiration”[122]

“a quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The findings are based on computer models and data collected by NASA and NOAA satellites. The greening represents an increase in leaves on plants and trees equivalent in area to two times the continental United States.”[123]

Water – Vital to all forms of life

Water vapour content increases approximately 7% per 1ºC of global-mean surface warming[124] Fortunately for us and for all the plant life on the planet, CC is expected to warm the planet by 3.6ºC by 2100, meaning there will be 15-25% more moisture in the air.  This is a gift we should be grateful for.

 We’re getting massive amounts of free desalinated water lifted from the ocean and delivered to the land, where it falls in the form of precipitation. True, it isn’t delivered in gentle sprinkles precisely where it’s needed; it’s dumped in bucketloads, sometimes too much, sometimes in the wrong places. But we should quit complaining!  We should be grateful for the free delivery of so much fresh water. We simply need to do what humans have done for thousands of years:  channel the deluge with flood control systems, build dams and reservoirs to capture it, distribute it to irrigation systems, and do one other thing the Egyptians didn’t know how to do: generate massive amounts of hydroelectric power. Instead of spending trillions to stop the rain, we should spend a few billion to get maximum use from this precious gift.

 Is it naive to think these structures can be built? It’s being done right now: Libya is building the Great Man-Made River[125], the world’s largest irrigation project: 2,820 km of pipelines and aqueducts, more than 1,300 wells, most over 500 m deep. It supplies 6,500,000 m3 of fresh water per day. Meanwhile China is building the $80bn South-North Water Transfer Project: three huge 965km long canals to supply the north with 44.8 billion cubic meters of water every year.”[126] And the Chinese also built the 1,776 km Grand Canal, the longest canal or artificial river in the world. They’ve been using it for a while: the various sections were first connected during the Sui dynasty (581–618 AD).[127] We’ve done these things before, and we can do them again – as long as we aren’t paralyzed by fear.

Warmth – necessary for all metabolic processes (within limits)

The Sahara is not barren of life because of the heat – life thrives in heat, look at the rainforests on the equator.  The deserts in the Sahara, the Gobi, Atacama, and the American Southwest exist because weather patterns deprive these areas of water. There are numerous examples[128] [129] [130] of irrigation transforming deserts into productive agricultural land. Heat is not a problem for many types of agriculture – in fact, it helps a wide diversity of plants thrive. One of the main reasons greenhouses are used is to provide warmth: “Ideally, a greenhouse should be between 27ºC and 29.4ºC … summer crops thrive when temperatures reach up to 32ºC”[131]

 Furthermore, on a the planet that is 3.6ºC warmer year round winter will start a little later, and end a little earlier – ie. we get a longer growing season. The depths of winter won’t be so harsh, so livestock and pollinators have a better survival rate. And land which previously could not be cultivated due to cold temperatures and lack of water becomes potential farm land.

Summary

 So we have: more CO2, the food plants use to grow; more moisture, essential for life to thrive; more warmth, which helps metabolic processes; longer growing seasons and less harsh winters; and more land to cultivate.  Have any of these benefits materialized in the real world? The evidence is overwhelming: the planet is greener thanks to CO2, and record crops are being harvested[132] [133] [134] [135]. Food scarcity in the the few places it still exists is a political problem, not an agricultural one.

 But if you search for “Effect of CC on agriculture” virtually every site tries to make the case that CC is a disaster for agriculture. Out of 40 sites visited, hardly any suggested that CC could be beneficial to agriculture. An environmental site gloomily states: “Clouds that can dump a lot of rain are more common in a warmer atmosphere”[136] as though that’s a bad thing.  This is a gross distortion of reality. The day will come when people will look back on this time and wonder what madness had gripped the environmental movement to make them oppose every good thing CC can do for agriculture. The time when they begged to have less rain, passionately fought for shorter growing seasons and colder winters, and screamed that CO2 – the essential building block of all plant life – should be reduced. What were they thinking?

6)  Storms, Floods, Fires, and other natural disasters

    It’s rare for there to be a flood, hurricane, drought, or large fire without without headlines and articles putting the blame on climate change. Scientists and experts are generally more cautious about such unequivocal attribution, but cautious statements don’t get clicks and sell papers, so they aren’t mentioned much. Obviously CC can’t be blamed for all these natural disasters – they’ve been happening throughout the history of the planet.

    Contrary to the impression given by sensational headlines, the fact is deaths from natural disasters of all kinds have fallen dramatically in the past few decades.[137] This is in spite of the fact CC has been in progress since the early 1900’s, and accelerating since the middle of the last century. According to the doomsayers the curve should be rising, not falling at an astonishing rate. How is this possible? Human ingenuity, determination, and industriousness.

    America’s Tennessee Valley Authority[138], China’s Three Gorges Dam[139], the Netherlands’s Delta Works[140], Britain’s Thames Barrier[141] – these are just a few examples of engineering wonders which not only have saved many thousands of lives through flood control, but also in many cases provide major sources of power, ship navigation, and irrigation. When people have the wherewithal and resources to do something they can largely tame natural disasters.

Storms and Floods

 In a world thirsting for fresh water, where aquifers are being drained, where cities and farms are fighting over limited water, and where countries are on the verge of war over this precious resource, shouldn’t increased rainfall be treated as something to celebrate and be grateful for?

 We need to view storms as fresh water delivery systems and take full advantage of them. Nature is doing the hard, energy demanding parts: desalination on a massive scale, and then transporting that much needed fresh water to the land.  It’s up to us to do the engineering and build the infrastructure to handle the less than ideal way nature is delivering it. We need to create the systems needed to protect people and structures from storms and floods, and to provide modernized water sanitation and management. Once that’s done we can reap the rewards of free delivery of desalinated water for decades afterward.

 Like storms, floods should be thought of as an opportunity not to be wasted.  If a country is threatened with devastation by floods, that’s a signal that country needs better infrastructure, not less rain. If people are dying and property is being destroyed by storms and floods, we shouldn’t blame nature or CC, the fault is in politics, money, poor planning and inadequate infrastructure. Wealthy countries have all done this and have rendered the tragedies of epic floods largely a thing of the past. Those same countries along with NGOs can either provide aid now to build these systems in countries that need them, or provide it later to the victims who suffered because robust infrastructure to handle floods wasn’t built.

 Finally, what if CC isn’t mostly caused by humans (either now or in the future)? If that’s the case the recommendations here will still protect us, making society more resilient regardless of the cause.

Hurricanes

 It’s undeniable that hurricanes can be devastating to people, structures, and some flora and fauna. But they also have many benefits: rainfall gives a boost to wetlands and flushes out lagoons, removing waste and weeds; hurricane winds and waves move sediment from bays into marsh areas, revitalizing nutrient supplies[142]; they also bring rainfall to areas that need it; break up bacteria and red tide; provide a global heat balance; replenish barrier islands; and replenish inland plant life[143]. Periodic flooding was essential to the well-being of ancient communities along the Tigris-Euphrates Rivers, the Nile River, the Indus River, the Ganges and the Yellow River, among others.[144]

 The issue is essentially moot however since the record shows there has been no increase in hurricanes/tropical cyclones and accumulated cyclone energy.[145] And according to the latest IPCC report “Fewer but more intense [by 1 to 10%][146] tropical cyclones[/hurricanes] are projected”[147] 

Droughts

 Of any populated place in the US, Yuma county in Arizona is the driest, the sunniest, has the lowest frequency of precipitation[148], and has the highest number of days per year (175) with a daily maximum of 32ºC or higher[149] This is one of the hottest places on Earth, and is in a nearly permanent state of drought. Nevertheless “Yuma County is responsible for 90% of all leafy vegetables grown in the United States, November through March… There are over 175 different crops grown in the Yuma area year round”[150] How is this possible? Irrigation.

 Israel provides another sterling example: two thirds of the country is basically desert, with arid, poor quality soil and a scarcity of water. Yet Israel has become a global leader in agriculture and water management.[151] The country has almost tripled the territory used for farming, and production has multiplied 16 times, enabling it to produce 95% of its own food requirements. Israel has developed numerous technological innovations to enable this transformation from desert to farmland.[152]

    If, in spite of 15% more moisture in the air, there are parts of the world which defy engineering ingenuity and can’t be irrigated, then we can simply accept the fact those regions are not appropriate for agriculture. There will be plenty of other places with all the water we can handle to keep us busy.     

Fires

  If your neighbor had an old house with bad electrical wiring, multiple extension cords plugged into every outlet, old newspapers all over the place, and six people living in each bedroom, all running heaters and burning candles, wouldn’t you advise him to do something about the problem? If a few weeks later you discovered he had put a giant dome over his property and was running massive air conditioners you’d ask him what was going on. “You were right about the fire situation – I’ve decided to cool the whole place down by a few degrees to decrease the chance of fire breaking out.” That would be nuts. Well, that’s what activists are proposing we do about the Earth’s fire problems.

 First, it needs to be acknowledged that periodic fires are a natural part of the ecosystem. “Many ecosystems, particularly prairie, savanna, chaparral and coniferous forests, have evolved with fire as an essential contributor to habitat vitality and renewal. Many plant species in fire-affected environments require fire to germinate, establish, or to reproduce. Wildfire suppression not only eliminates these species, but also the animals that depend upon them.”[153] Routine fires clear out underbrush and open the forest up to light, provide habitats, kill diseases, and create nutrient-rich ash[154] [155] [156]. In general they are natural and healthy events if they occur regularly and limit build up of flammable material.

 What is not natural is suppressing fires for decades so that the forest becomes a tinderbox ready for a catastrophic inferno.  What is not natural is having power lines running through forests, having roads with narrow shoulders covered with leaves and litter which catch fire when people toss cigarettes onto them, and having flammable buildings heated by fireplaces encroaching on the boundaries of forests everywhere. Fixing those issues by burying power lines, having wide, well maintained shoulders on the sides of roads, limiting encroachment on forest boundaries, and having a sane policy of fire suppression is the best approach. The worst solution is trying to cool the whole planet by 2 degrees.

Pathogens and Diseases

 A recent article in Nature states: “Climate change is making hundreds of diseases much worse”[157] That’s probably true since warmth helps many forms of life thrive, including some of the organisms that cause disease. Some of the worst mosquito borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and West Nile virus are made worse by climate change because mosquitos can breed better in warmer temperatures. All true, and problems we should be concerned about.

 But what season do most people associate with illness? Winter, of course. And that association is backed up by a long history of research, and most vividly by our recent experiences with covid:

“Colds, flus and other respiratory illnesses are more common in colder months. People are indoors more often, allowing viruses to pass more easily from one person to another. And the cold, dry air may weaken resistance.”[158]

“Viruses replicate better and are more stable in low temperatures and in the dryness, which is why they flourish in wintertime.”[159]

“In the winter in particular, the cold, dry air and lack of sunlight negatively affect our ability to stave off respiratory infections like the flu or the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus”[160]       

 This is why it isn’t a very common strategy for people to turn the heat down in their homes to prevent sickness. Isn’t trying to turn down the heat on the whole planet an equally irrational strategy?

 Instead of spending trillions to lower the temperature by a few degrees (making winters worse) isn’t it better to focus on directly fighting pathogens with water purification, new vaccines, antibiotics, and other direct interventions? In the past century humanity has made tremendous progress against the diseases which have plagued our species. For example: “The number of malaria cases and deaths had declined by 18% and 48% between 2000 and 2015. Similarly, the incidence and the mortality rate … declined by 37% and 60% in the same period. From 2000 to 2017 alone, 20 countries have eliminated malaria transmission and reported zero case for at least one year.”[161] This was done by attacking the problem directly, not by the ridiculouly inefficient strategy of lowering the temperature of the planet by a few degrees.  And it has all happened during the decades when CC has been warming the planet and was supposed to be making diseases worse. Once again, reality runs contrary to the dire predictions.

Conclusions

 Imagine 100 years from now, after we’ve finally changed our attitudes from fear of CC to one of tackling the challenges, innovating solutions, and taking advantage of it: sea level is 1 meter higher, but cities and coastlines have been modernized and engineered to accommodate double that rise; farmland has spread north and crops are flourishing with increased CO2 and moisture; heavier rains are providing water for cities, power, and irrigation… But then scientists come up with an inexpensive, safe, and easy way to reduce CO2 and cool the earth back down to the temperture it was in 1850. Winters would once again be longer and colder, rain would be reduced by 15%, plants would be stunted from lack of CO2… Would anyone want that? A few activists might take that position – it’s hard to understand their thinking – but the rest of the world would say: NoWe don’t want to go back to that!

As long as humanity is willing to tackle problems – as we’ve done countless times in the past – there is no reason for despair. We need to examine the situation rationally (ie. stop believing wildly exaggerated apocalyptic scenarios) and view the issues as the surmountable engineering problems that they are. We need to stop acting like frightened children, and we must stop taking guidance from overly emotional, uninformed children who have almost no life experience. Our point of view is important: are we going to treat CC as something to fear, and strangle progress in an attempt to slow its approach; or treat CC as problem we can deal with, and perhaps even use to our advantage? Are we a can do species, or one that gives up?

To be clear, none of this is an argument against renewables, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and other sensible and exciting innovations. They are certainly a valuable part of the mix for our future. But they have always made sense, long before advocates decided to use CC terror as motivation to adopt them. I’m not against green, I just don’t want the motivation to move in that direction to be the fact we’re treating CC like a gun to our head.

Some will say the sense of urgency inspired by the sensational headlines and articles (albeit ‘a little exaggerated’)  has resulted in accelerated efforts to use renewables, adopt electric vehicles and do other “green” things.  In other words, “the ends justify the means”. But do they? We have a world gripped with climate anxiety and pessimism about the future[162], young people who think they won’t live long enough to have children[163], deep political polarization on this topic, and a tendency to make rash decisions and rush technologies that may need more time to mature (for example, what superior battery technology is on the cusp of discovery?). And even more serious: if all the over-the-top hype is proven to be exactly that, what will people think about future pleas to believe “the science is settled” and “97% of scientists agree”? If the next threat truly is deadly serious, such as a highly lethal virus or a grave threat from AI, what will it take to restore people’s trust in science?

We are told that anthropogenic CC has been happening for 170+ years, and has been accelerating since 1940. Shouldn’t the apocalyptic catastrophes have begun? Here’s what has actually happened:

  • the relatively few deaths due to heat waves are the result of shameful lack of preparation, not CC

  • there are zero genuine climate refugees, and sensible measures can avert any in the future

  • only one species is known to have become extinct; there should have been over 150,000 by now

  • sea level has been rising since 1850 with no crisis. Current construction belies any crisis this century

  • agricultural harvests are setting records, not collapsing

  • no increase in severe storms; irrigation, fire, and flood management can mitigate other problems

    We don’t make the world better with fear, gloom, and pessimism, we do it with creativity, determination, and optimism.

Addendum:  The peculiarities of climate change “science”

I have a degree in physics and worked for many years as a NASA engineer, so I’ve been involved with science most of my life. In the science I’m used to it’s straightforward to look up facts which most sources agree on; many fields of science and sociology (including economics, demographics, etc.) make predictions about the near future but are more cautious about longer term ones; if observations are completely different from the predictions of a hypothesis that hypothesis is rejected; and it’s acceptable – usually even welcomed – when people to have different opinions and hypotheses…  But after spending hundreds of hours researching CC papers, data, and articles I’ve noticed climate change “science” is very different:

 • it doesn’t dare to make short term (5-10 year) predictions, but is very confident about predicting
     things 30-200 years in the future; in virtually every other field confidence drops with time
     (Could it be that it’s easy to disprove a 5 year prediction, but harder for ones 80 years in the future?)

 • wildly contradictory predictions are accepted without question – as long as they are all negative
      (eg. Will CC kill thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions per year?  Answer: Yes!)

 • many predictions have proven to be horribly wrong, but that’s OK, no adjustments needed
      (eg. 150,000 species should be extinct, but only one is known. Is there a problem with that?)

 • the “facts” and predictions vary with the political leanings of the source

 • there’s a common pattern in most climate predictions, no matter when “Present time” is:

 • most sciences converge on the truth, but the “settled science” of CC is all over the place

 • although CC affects countless aspects of weather, ecosystems, and society, apparently not a single
      one
 is positive. Even on the basis of simple statistics that would be very unlikely.

 • people who raise questions are branded “deniers” – a religious term not used elsewhere in science

     (Nowhere in this document do I deny the reality of climate change, but I will be branded a “denier”)

     Climate change science is like none of the other sciences. But it should be more like them.  All the “quirks” mentioned above are inexcuseable and need to be recognized and corrected.


[1]     https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/20/world-still-on-brink-of-climate-catastrophe-after-cop27-deal

[2]     https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/27/world-close-to-irreversible-climate-breakdown-warn-major-studies

[3]     https://www.npr.org/2022/08/27/1119795700/nomad-century-delivers-a-message-thats-sharp-and-jolting-about-mankinds-future

[4]     “Something Drastic Has To Happen” Roger Hallam | BBC HardTalk | Extinction Rebellion – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HyaxctatdA&t=989s  “I am talking about the slaughter, death, and starvation of 6 billion people this century—that’s what the science predicts.” Roger Hallam, BBC News, 17 Aug. 2019 https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2019/09/18/Climate-Crisis-Wipe-Out/

[5]     “More than two thirds of children between the ages of seven and twelve are worried about climate change, a new survey reveals. Anxiety about the state of the planet is on the rise – and young people are particularly vulnerable.”, Charlotte Elton, 24/11/2022 https://www.euronews.com/green/2022/11/24/7-in-10-young-people-are-worried-about-the-climate-crisis-but-they-also-want-to-make-a-dif

[6]     Climate change sparks new levels of concern and eco-anxiety in Britons”, https://www.euronews.com/green/2019/06/06/you-gov-climate-change-new-levels-of-concern-eco-anxiety-britons

[7]     “Climate anxiety in children and young people and their beliefs about government responses to climate change: a global survey”, Caroline Hickman, Lancet Planet Health, 2021; 5: e863–73

[8]     “5 Reasons To Be Pessimistic About Climate Change”, Ben Schiller, 12-16-14 https://www.fastcompany.com/3038523/5-reasons-to-be-pessimistic-about-climate-change

[9]     “The Case for Climate Pessimism”, The New Republic, Emily Atkin, October 9, 2018 https://newrepublic.com/article/151608/case-against-climate-pessimism

[10]   “The end is nigh-ilism”, The Boar, Hannah Matthews, Dec 18, 2021 https://theboar.org/2021/12/the-end-is-nigh-ilism/

[11]   “In the Face of Climate Nihilism, What Can One Do to Not Lose All Hope?”, The Link, Oct 4, 2022 https://thelinknewspaper.ca/article/editorial-in-the-face-of-climate-nihilism-what-can-one-do-to-not-lose-all-hope

[12]   “Generation Z is ‘traumatized’ by climate change—and they’re the key to fighting it”, Fortune, Sarah J Ray, Aug 19, 2020  https://fortune.com/2020/08/19/generation-z-climate-change-activism/

[13]   Climate Change: Worst Case Scenario Now Seen As ‘Extremely Unlikely’, BBC News. 29 Jan 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-51281986

[14]   Explainer: The high-emissions RCP8.5 global warming scenario, CarbonBrief, 21 Aug, 2019, https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-the-high-emissions-rcp8-5-global-warming-scenario/

[15]   “The period 1850-1900 represents the earliest period of sufficiently globally complete observations to estimate global surface temperature and, consistent with AR5 and SR1.5, is used as an approximation for pre-industrial conditions.” IPCC AR6 WG1 Summary for Policymakers, pg.  5

[16]   “The latest assessment (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) refers to a baseline of 1850–1900. This is a practical choice, since it includes the period of most reliable temperature records and less than 3% of total fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions had occurred by that time.” – https://www.forbes.com/sites/uhenergy/2018/09/07/exactly-how-much-has-the-earth-warmed-and-does-it-matter/

[17]   https://cdiac.ess-dive.lbl.gov/ftp/ndp030/global.1751_2014.ems

[18]   “Global surface temperature was 1.09 [0.95 to 1.20] °C higher in 2011-2020 than 1850-1900”, IPCC (2021). “Summary for Policymakers” (IPCC_AR6_WGI_SPM.pdf). The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, pg 5. ISBN 978-92-9169-158-6.

[19]   “Based on policies and actions in place as of Nov 2022, the global temperature increase is estimated to reach a median of 2.7 deg Celsius in 2100.”  https://www.statista.com/statistics/1278800/global-temperature-increase-by-scenario/

[20]   IPCC AR6 WG1 Summary for Policymakers, pg. 14  SSP-7.0  Estimating the timing of geophysical commitment to 1.5 and 2.0 °C of global warming | Nature Climate Change  https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-022-01372-y

[21]   https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/climate-change?tab=table&time=1500..latest&facet=none&hideControls=true&Metric=CO%E2%82%82+concentrations&Long-run+series%3F=true&country=~OWID_WRL

[22]   https://co2.earth/2100-projections    https://www.drroyspencer.com/2022/07/updated-atmospheric-co2-concentration-forecast-through-2050-and-beyond/

[23]   IPCC_AR6_WGI_TS.pdf, pg. 77

[24]   “Twenty-first century sea-level rise could exceed IPCC projections for strong-warming futures”, M.Siegert et al., One Earth Vol 3;6, 18 Dec 2020, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590332220305923

[25]   https://eng.geus.dk/nature-and-climate/adaptation-to-climate-change/sea-level-rise

[26]   We’ve Been Incorrectly Predicting Peak Oil For Over a Century, Matt Novak, Dec 11, 2014 https://gizmodo.com/weve-been-incorrectly-predicting-peak-oil-for-over-a-ce-1668986354

[27]   https://peakoil.com/geology/the-end-of-oil-and-gas

[28]   “The global population is projected to peak at around 10.4 billion in 2086”, Our World in Data, https://ourworldindata.org/world-population-update-2022

[29]   https://population.un.org/wpp/Graphs/DemographicProfiles/Line/900

[30]   https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/06/17/worlds-population-is-projected-to-nearly-stop-growing-by-the-end-of-the-century/

[31]   Population scenarios for 195 countries and territories from 2017 to 2100, Steing Vollset et. al., Lancet  VOLUME 396, ISSUE 10258, P1285-1306, OCTOBER 17, 2020  “global population was projected to peak in 2064 at 9·73 billion (8·84–10·9) people and decline to 8·79 billion (6·83–11·8) in 2100”

[32]   https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2022/11/28/animal-people-sex-climate-change

[33]   https://grist.org/climate/how-many-people-has-climate-change-killed-already/

[34]   “Extreme temperatures kill 5 million people a year with heat-related deaths rising, study finds”, Donna Lu and Lisa Cox, The Guardian, Wed 7 Jul 2021

[35]   https://theconversation.com/climate-change-how-bad-could-the-future-be-if-we-do-nothing-159665

[36]   https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html

[37]   https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/heatwaves-climate-change-global-warming “Up to 75 percent of people could face deadly heatwaves by 2100”

[38]   https://explodingtopics.com/blog/fastest-growing-cities

[39]   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_by_average_temperature

[40]   “Russia is using energy as a weapon”, The Economist, 22-11-26  https://www.economist.com/interactive/graphic-detail/2022/11/26/high-fuel-prices-could-kill-more-europeans-than-fighting-in-ukraine-has

[41]   “Globally, 5 083 173 deaths were associated with non-optimal temperatures per year, accounting for 9·43% of all deaths (8·52% were cold-related and 0·91% were heat-related)”, Global, regional, and national burden of mortality associated with non-optimal ambient temperatures from 2000 to 2019, Qi Zhao et al., Lancet Planet Health2021; 5: e415–25

[42]   Mortality, Temperature, and Public Health Provision: Evidence from Mexico, François Cohen and Antoine Dechezleprêtre, Oct 2019, Center for Climate Change Economics and Policy, working paper No. 305 ISSN 2515-5709,  London School of Economics and Political Science  “…89 percent of weather-related deaths are induced by cold (<10°C) or mildly cold (10-20°C) days and only 1 percent by outstandingly hot days (>32°C).”

[43]   Climate and health: mortality attributable to heat and cold, Keith Dear, The Lancet Journal, May 20, 2015  DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60897-2  “Although deaths attributable to cold are substantially more common in most places than are those attributable to heat, they attract far less public attention… cold-related deaths outnumbered heat-related deaths by a factor of nearly 20, overall ”

[44]   Lee S. Friedman et al, Clinical outcomes of temperature related injuries treated in the hospital setting, 2011–2018, Environmental Research (2020). DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.109882  “Although hypothermia made up 27.0% of all temperature related injuries, it comprised 94.0% of all deaths.”

[45]   IPCC_AR6_WGI_FullReport.pdf, pg. 1610

[46]   50m environmental refugees by end of decade (written in 2005) https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2005/oct/12/naturaldisasters.climatechange1

[47]   https://www.npr.org/2022/08/27/1119795700/nomad-century-delivers-a-message-thats-sharp-and-jolting-about-mankinds-future

[48]   https://time.com/6209432/climate-change-where-we-will-live/

[49] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2005/oct/12/naturaldisasters.climatechange1

[50]   “Urbanization is complex, however: there are many recognized benefits of urban settings (when developed successfully) including high-density of economic activity, shorter trade links, utilization of human capital, shared infrastructure, and division of labor.” https://ourworldindata.org/urbanization#populations-urbanize-as-they-get-richer

[51]   “They are becoming more damaging, but not more frequent”, https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2022/09/29/is-climate-change-making-hurricanes-worse

[52]   https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/09/migration-rising-sea-levels-climate-change-ocean-environment-poeple-movement/ states (with skepticism): “In 2011 it was estimated that up to 187 million people could be forced to flee their homes due to rising sea levels by 2100. Contemporary figures now place that at 630 million people.” based on this paper: New elevation data triple estimates of global vulnerability to sea-level rise and coastal flooding.Scott A. Kulp, et al. Nature Communications volume 10, Article number: 4844 (2019)     

[53]   https://www.climate-refugees.org/why The Problem — Climate Refugees (climate-refugees.org)

[54]   “rates of urbanization have been increasing rapidly across all regions (in 1800, less than 10% of people across all regions lived in urban areas); urbanization is expected to continue to increase with rising incomes and shifts away from employment in agriculture”  https://ourworldindata.org/how-urban-is-the-world

[55]   “The most prominent advantages of rural-to-urban migration are the increased educational and employment opportunities provided to migrants. With increased access to government services like health care, higher education, and basic infrastructure, a rural migrant’s standard of living can dramatically improve.” https://www.studysmarter.co.uk/explanations/human-geography/population-geography/rural-to-urban-migration/

[56]   “There are many examples — across broad areas of development — which suggest that, on average, living standards are higher in urban populations than in rural. Some examples include: in nearly all countries electricity access is higher in urban areas than in rural areas; access to improved sanitation is higher in urban areas; access to improved drinking water is higher in urban areas; access to clean fuels for cooking and heating is higher in urban areas; child malnutrition is lower in urban settings.” https://ourworldindata.org/urbanization

[57]   https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/08/top-10-countries-produce-most-wheat/

[58]   https://oec.world/en/profile/bilateral-product/wheat/reporter/rus

[59]   https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/renewables/ongc-plans-1-gw-solar-power-plant-in-rajasthan/articleshow/95189688.cms

[60]   https://globaldatalab.org/areadata/table/hhsize/BFA/

[61]   https://www.amazon.com/Portable-Conditioner-Evaporative-Humidifier-Ultra-quiet/dp/B099ZGNWQW/

[62]   https://www.theworldcounts.com/challenges/extinction

[63]   https://www.worldwildlife.org/press-releases/half-of-plant-and-animal-species-at-risk-from-climate-change-in-world-s-most-important-natural-places

[64]   https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/25/half-all-species-extinct-end-century-vatican-conference

[65]   “Number of species on Earth tagged at 8.7 million”, Lee Sweetlove, Nature, 23 Aug 2011

[66]   Extinction risk from climate change. Thomas C.D, et al. Nature. 2004a;427:145–148

[67]   “Scientists Predict Widespread Extinction by Global Warming”, NY Times, Jan 8 2004 https://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/08/world/scientists-predict-widespread-extinction-by-global-warming.html

[68]   Using the Species–Area Relationship to Predict Extinctions Resulting from Habitat Loss from Part IV – The Species–Area Relationship in Applied Ecology Simone Fattorini et. al. Cambridge University Press:  11 March 2021

[69]   Between Geometry and Biology: The Problem of Universality of the Species-Area Relationship Arnošt L. Šizling, et al,The American NaturalistVol. 178, No. 5 (November 2011), pp. 602-611

[70]   https://www.iucnredlist.org/

[71]   https://www.iucnredlist.org/statistics

[72]   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:IUCN_Red_List_extinct_species

[73]   Researchers: D.Biggs,  C.Aslan, H.Rowe, S.Pimm, J. Poulson, B.Sillian, J. Clark, Rosenblum, R. Best, L.Huntsinger, Beis, J. Dumbacher, D. Kavanaugh, C.D.Thomas, T.Benton, A.M.Dunn, J.Dyke, D.Colgan, L.Alves, M.Urban, D.Schoema, A.Law, D.Matthews, C.R.Palacios, M.Lim; Institutes/Foundations: David Suzuki, Climate Council-Australia, Smithsonian, Calif Academy of Sciences; Zoos: LA, Bronx, Detroit, Ohmaha, Cleveland, Lousiville; Nat Hist Museums: British, The Met, Tepapa (NZ), Musee NH (Paris), Field (Chicago), Smithsonian(DC), Melbourne

[74]   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bramble_Cay_melomys

[75]   https://ugc.berkeley.edu/background-content/extinction/

[76]   https://www.theworldcounts.com/stories/causes-of-extinction-of-species

[77]   https://www.amnh.org/explore/ology/biodiversity/going-going-gone/what-causes-extinction

[78]   https://www.realtree.com/brow-tines-and-backstrap/just-how-bad-has-winter-kill-been-on-deer-this-year

[79]   https://bds.org.uk/information-advice/issues-with-deer/deer-winter-deaths/

[80]   https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/animals-wildlife-winter-cold-180971315/

[81]   https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/seasonal/winter/wildlife

[82]   IPCC_AR6_WGI_FullReport.pdf, pg. 1610

[83]   https://judithcurry.com/2018/11/27/special-report-on-sea-level-rise/

[84] https://sealevel.nasa.gov/data_tools/18https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/50size.cfm

[85]   https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/02/sea-level-rise-could-be-worse-than-feared-warn-researchers

[86]   https://www.theworldcounts.com/challenges/climate-change/global-warming/sea-level-rise

[87]   https://earth.org/sea-level-rise-projections/

[88]   IPCC_AR6_WGI_TS.pdf, pg. 77

[89]   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Past_sea_level

[90]   Trends and acceleration in global and regional sea levels since 1807, S. Jevrejevaa, et al, Global and Planetary Change 113 (2014) 11-22

[91]   https://cdiac.ess-dive.lbl.gov/ftp/ndp030/global.1751_2014.ems

[92]   https://www.yonature.com/why-sea-level-rising/

[93]   “Tens of millions of people live on river deltas around the world, and many of them are subsiding (sinking), often at twice the mean rate of sea level rise.”  https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/148494/anticipating-future-sea-levels

[94]   “as coastal inhabitants are preferentially located in subsiding locations, they experience an average relative sea-level rise up to four times faster at 7.8 to 9.9 mm yr−1… We estimate that 51–70% of the total global-average relative SLR experienced by people is due to delta and city subsidence.”   A global analysis of subsidence, relative sea-level change and coastal flood exposure; Robert J. Nicholls, et al. Nature Climate Change volume 11, pages338–342 (2021) https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-021-00993-z.epdf

[95]   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings_in_New_York_City

[96]   ttps://www.americanoceans.org/facts/us-coastline-length/

[97]   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_Highway_System

[98]   https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/50size.cfm

[99]   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Bangladesh

[100] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_the_Netherlands

[101] https://netherlandsinsiders.com/how-much-of-the-netherlands-is-below-sea-level/

[102] Higgins, Andrew. “Lessons for U.S. From a Flood-Prone Land”. The New York Times. April 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/15/world/europe/netherlands-sets-model-of-flood-prevention.html

[103] https://www.dutchwatermanagement.com/delta-works-1997-netherlands

[104] https://www.businessinsider.com/american-cities-disappear-sea-level-rise-2100-2019-3

[105] https://www.edf.org/blog/2016/04/07/amid-dramatic-sea-level-rise-nature-itself-can-provide-much-needed-solution

[106] https://en-us.topographic-map.com/map-b4w14/Boston/

[107] https://elevation.maplogs.com/poi/new_york_ny_usa.210759.html

[108] https://elevation.maplogs.com/poi/houston_tx_usa.17961.html

[109] https://www.timeout.com/things-to-do/cities-that-could-be-underwater-by-2030

[110] https://www.railway-technology.com/projects/amsterdam-zuid-station-expansion/

[111] https://www.water-technology.net/projects/mose-project/

[112] https://www.globalconstructionreview.com/after-a-decade-of-work-ho-chi-minh-metro-to-be-completed-this-year/

[113] https://www.beca.com/what-we-do/projects/buildings/one-bangkok

[114] https://www.ice.org.uk/what-is-civil-engineering/what-do-civil-engineers-do/east-west-metro-kolkata/

[115] https://www.indefenseofplants.com/blog/2018/6/19/what-are-plants-made-of  “Some of these chains form glucose and some of that glucose gets linked together into cellulose. Cellulose is the main structural component of plant cells. From the smallest plants in the world (genus Wolffia) all the way up to the largest and tallest redwoods and sequoias (incidentally some of the largest organisms to have ever existed on this planet) , all of them are built out of cellulose. So, in essence, all the plant life you see out there is literally built from the ground up by carbon originating from CO2 gas.”

[116] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant#Structure,_growth,_and_development

[117] “Overall, the carbon, hydrogen and oxygen assimilated into organic molecules by photosynthesis make up ~96% of the total dry mass of a typical plant.” Marschner, H. Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants, 2nd ed. London, UK: Academic Press, 1995.

[118] “Rice production in a changing climate: a meta-analysis of responses to elevated carbon dioxide and elevated ozone concentration”, Elizabeth Ainsworth, 11 March 2008 https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01594.x

[119] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse

[120] “Elevated CO2 mitigates the effect of surface drought by stimulating root growth to access sub-soil water”, Shihab Uddin et al., PMID: 29902235 PMCID: PMC6002051 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0198928

[121] “Greening of the Earth and its drivers”, Zaichun Zhu, et al., Nature Climate Change 6, 791–795 (2016)

[122] https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/nasa-study-rising-carbon-dioxide-levels-will-help-and-hurt-crops

[123] https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/12226

[124] IPCC_AR6_WGI_FullReport.pdf, pg. 1526

[125] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Man-Made_River

[126] https://www.procore.com/jobsite/seven-of-the-worlds-largest-construction-projects-underway/

[127] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Canal_(China)

[128] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irrigation_in_Saudi_Arabia

[129] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irrigation_in_Iran

[130] “Farmer turns Pakistan’s sand dunes green”, The Third Pole, https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/climate/farmer-turns-pakistans-sand-dunes-green/

[131] https://greenhouseinfo.com/what-temperature-should-greenhouse/

[132] “Zimbabwe has recorded the highest wheat harvest in 56 years.”,  Anita Anyango, Farmers Review -Dec 20, 2022 https://farmersreviewafrica.com/zimbabwe-records-highest-wheat-harvest/

[133] “Russia is on track to for a record wheat harvest of 94.7mn tonnes, smashing the previous record of 84mn tonnes set in 2018.”, bne IntelliNews Aug 24, 2022   https://intellinews.com/russia-on-track-for-record-wheat-harvest-but-exports-down-by-a-quarter-in-july-august-254359/

[134] “Australia, one of the world’s largest wheat exporters, is poised to harvest another record crop this season”, Sybilla Gross, Bloomberg, Dec 5, 2022  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-12-05/australia-heads-for-record-wheat-crop-even-as-rains-hurt-yields#xj4y7vzkg

[135] “Farmers Tell USDA to Expect Record Soybean Yields”, Market Intel, Aug 12, 2022 https://www.fb.org/market-intel/farmers-tell-usda-to-expect-record-soybean-yields-but-corn-yields-are-lower

[136] Ilissa Ocko, Climate Scientist – https://www.edf.org/climate/climate-change-and-extreme-weather

[137] https://ourworldindata.org/natural-disasters

[138] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennessee_Valley_Authority

[139] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Gorges_Dam

[140] https://www.water-technology.net/projects/delta-works-flood-netherlands/

[141] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thames_Barrier

[142] http://www.hurricanescience.org/society/impacts/environmentalimpacts/aquaticimpacts/

[143] “5 Things Hurricanes Can Do That Are Actually Good”, Jonathan Belles August 29, 2017 https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/hurricane-landfall-benefits-2016

[144] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flood_control

[145] http://tropical.atmos.colostate.edu/Realtime/index.php?arch&loc=global

[146] https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/global-warming-and-hurricanes/

[147] IPCC_AR6_WGI_FullReport, pg. 142

[148] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuma,_Arizona

[149] “Mean Number of Days Maximum Temperature 90 Deg. F or Higher”. Comparative Climatic Data for the United States Through 2012. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: U.S. Dept. often Commerce. 2013.

[150] www.yumachamber.org/agriculture.html

[151] https://institute.global/advisory/how-israel-became-world-leader-agriculture-and-water

[152] https://www.factsaboutisrael.uk/agriculture-in-israel/

[153] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_ecology

[154] The Ecological Benefits of Fire | National Geographic Society https://www.nationalgeographic.org/article/ecological-benefits-fire/

[155] “The Ecological Importance of Severe Wildfires: Some Like It Hot”, Hutto, Richard L. (2008-12-01). Ecological Applications. 18 (8): 1827–1834. doi:10.1890/08-0895.1. ISSN 1939-5582. PMID 19263880.

[156] https://www.fire.ca.gov/media/5425/benifitsoffire.pdf

[157] https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-02167-z, 12 August 2022

[158] https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/winter-illness-guide

[159] https://www.cornerstoneuc.com/2020/01/10/why-do-people-get-sick-in-the-wintertime/

[160] https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/coronavirus-why-cold-winter-weather-makes-it-harder-to-fight-respiratory-infections

[161] https://malariajournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12936-021-03641-1

[162] “Respondents across all countries were worried about climate change (59% very or extremely, 84% at least moderately). More than 50% reported each of the following emotions: sad, anxious, angry, powerless, helpless, and guilty. More than 45% of respondents said their feelings about climate change negatively affected their daily life and functioning, and many reported a high number of negative thoughts about climate change (eg, 75% said that they think the future is frightening)”, Climate anxiety in children and young people and their beliefs about government responses to climate change: a global survey, Caroline Hickman et al., Lancet Planet Health 2021; 5: e863–73

[163] “Four in 10 young people fear having children due to climate crisis”, The Guardian, Fiona Harvey, Tue 14 Sep 2021 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/14/four-in-10-young-people-fear-having-children-due-to-climate-crisis