The plot against fracking

I’m not supposed to agree with Matt Ridley!! Or else I’m not green.

However having followed fracking in the UK all this decade I struggle to disagree with what Ridley has written here

I totally agree with what he says about GMOs and not the opposition to them by Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Christian Aid and ER.

I waver a bit about the Russian connection but…………

Protesters at Cuadrilla’s Blackpool site (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The plot against fracking

How cheap energy was killed by Green lies and Russian propaganda

The first coffee house in Marseilles opened in 1671, prompting the city’s vintners to recruit a couple of professors at the University of Aix to blacken their new competitor’s reputation. They duly got one of their students to write a pamphlet claiming coffee was a vile foreign novelty made from a tree favoured by goats and camels. It burned the blood, dried the kidneys and attracted the lymph, inducing palsies and impotence. “From all of which we must necessarily conclude that coffee is hurtful to the greater part of the inhabitants of Marseilles.”

Thus does novelty run up against vested interests. Today similar pseudoscience is used to blacken the reputation of almost any new development. Usually, as was the case with coffee, the campaign fails. But these days the anti-innovation forces have deep pockets and few scruples and have won some big battles. We now know that the opposition to genetically modified crops in Europe has resulted in more pesticide use than would otherwise have been the case, yet that opposition was very profitable for the big green pressure groups.

They fanned the flames of opposition, coining terms such as “Frankenfood”, and nimbly hopped from one fear to the next as each myth was busted: biotechnology was going to poison people, damage ecosystems, cause allergies, impoverish small farmers, boost corporate profits, and so on. They turned Monsanto into a pantomime villain and forced it to contemplate a strategy (making plants that could not breed true so the plants could not spread in the wild) that activists then criticised as a “terminator technology” designed to prevent small farmers saving seed, thus forcing them to rely on Monsanto.

 

Eventually, the issue lost its ability to yield donations and media interest, so the green business blob moved on. As Mark Lynas, a prominent anti-GM campaigner, now ruefully admits: “We permanently stirred public hostility to GMO foods throughout pretty much the entire world, and — incredibly — held up the previously unstoppable march of a whole technology. There was only one problem with our stunningly successful worldwide campaign. It wasn’t true.”

Cameron’s government projected gas prices would either rise fast, medium or slow – In fact they fell

More than a decade later, environmentalists hit upon another money spinner: opposition to fracking. When the shale gas revolution first came along, some environmentalists welcomed it, and rightly so. It “creates an unprecedented opportunity to use gas as a bridge fuel to a twenty-first-century energy economy that relies on efficiency, renewable sources, and low-carbon fossil fuels such as natural gas,” wrote Senator Tim Wirth, a prominent environmentalist. And so it has proved: the country that adopted shale gas first and most — the United States — is the country that lowered its carbon dioxide emissions first and most, because gas displaced coal, a much higher-carbon fuel.

But then the vested interests got to work. Renewable energy promoters panicked at the thought of cheap and abundant gas. Their business model was predicated on the alleged certainty that prices would rise as fossil fuels ran out, making subsidised wind and solar power look comparatively cheap. David Cameron’s coalition government produced three projections about what might happen to gas prices: that they would rise fast, medium or slow. In fact they fell, a possibility the government had entirely ignored.

It is hard to recall now just how sure almost everybody was in 2008 that natural gas was running out. Its price had risen as gas fields in North America and the North Sea began to run dry. Peak gas was coming even sooner than peak oil or peak coal. Yet in the suburbs of Fort Worth, Texas, something was stirring. Engineer Nick Steinsberger, working for a company called Mitchell Energy, tried different ways to fracture shale rocks deep underground so that the gas would flow. Hydraulic fracturing had been invented the 1940s, generally using petroleum gels, but it did not work in shale, which contained an enormous amount of gas and oil. Nobody much minded you pumping gels down into rocks in those days. After all, the rocks themselves are — by definition — already soaked in toxic mixtures of oil and gas.

Steinsberger noticed water worked a bit better than gel. In 1998, he tried sending water down first, then some sand to prop open the cracks and — whoosh! — out came a lot of gas. And it kept on coming. “Slick-water fracking” had been invented, using far fewer chemicals than previous methods, allowing vast shale reserves around the world to be exploited.

Most experts said shale gas was a flash in the pan and would not much affect global supplies. They were wrong. By 2011 America’s declining gas output shot up and oil soon followed suit. The US has now overtaken Russia as the biggest gas producer in the world, and Saudi Arabia as the biggest oil producer. Cheap gas brought a stream of chemical companies rushing back from Europe and the Persian Gulf to manufacture in America. Gas import terminals were rebuilt as gas export terminals. The Permian basin in Texas alone now produces as much oil as the whole of the US did in 2008, and more than any Opec country except Iran and Saudi Arabia. This — not wind and solar which still provide only 2 per cent of world primary energy — is the big energy story of the past decade.

One country that should have taken sharp notice is Britain. As late as 2004 Britain was a gas exporter, but as North Sea production declined it rapidly became a big net importer, dependent on Norway, Qatar or Russia. As Britain was paying far more for its gas than America, that meant that our huge chemical industry was gradually moving out.

Russia Today television ran endless anti-fracking stories, including one that “frackers are the moral equivalent of paedophiles”

Fortunately, it then emerged that Britain has one of the richest and thickest seams of shale: the Bowland shale across Lancashire and Yorkshire contains many decades of supply. Fracking it would mean drilling small holes down about one mile, then cracking the rocks with millimetre-wide fractures and catching the gas as it flowed out over the next few decades. Experience in America showed this could be done without any risk of contaminating ground water, which is near the surface, or threatening buildings. The seismic tremors that have caused all the trouble are so slight they could not possibly do damage and were generally far smaller than those from mining, construction or transport. The well pads would be hundreds of times smaller than the concrete bases of wind farms producing comparable amounts of energy.

Still, friends of the earth, which is effectively a multinational environmental business, spotted a chance to make hay. Despite being told by the Advertising Standards Authority to withdraw misleading claims about shale gas, it kept up a relentless campaign of misinformation, demanding more delay and red tape from all-too-willing civil servants.

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Poor Bosworth was shown up on the BBC by claiming sand was the carcinogen, hence the seaside meme , more here from the culprits of the complaint on FoE! https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/friends-of-the-earth-fck-it-up/

The industry, with Cuadrilla fated to play the part of Monsanto, agreed to ridiculously unrealistic limits on what kinds of tremors they were allowed after being promised by the government that the limits would be changed later — a promise since broken. Such limits would stop most other industries, even road haulage, in their tracks.

The Russians also lobbied behind the scenes against shale gas, worried about losing their grip on the world’s gas supplies. Unlike most conspiracy theories about Russian meddling in Western politics, this one is out there in plain sight. The head of Nato, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said the Russians, as part of a sophisticated disinformation operation, “engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations — environmental organisations working against shale gas — to maintain Europe’s dependence on imported Russian gas”.

The Centre for European Studies found that the Russian government has invested $95 million in NGOs campaigning against shale gas. Russia Today television ran endless anti-fracking stories, including one that “frackers are the moral equivalent of paedophiles”. The US Director of National Intelligence stated that “RT runs anti-fracking programming … reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability.” Pro-Russian politicians such as Lord Truscott (married to a Russian army colonel’s daughter) made speeches in parliament against fracking.

As night follows day, Tory politicians lost courage and slipped into neutrality then opposition

No scare story was too far-fetched to be taken up and amplified. Tap water would catch fire (no: though it’s a natural phenomenon in some places in America where gas naturally contaminates ground water). There would be significant gas leaks (no: there are more gas leaks from natural sources and pipelines). The water that comes out of the well is dangerously radioactive (no: it is not). Fracking uses a lot of water (a lot less than farming). And so on. The unelected quangocracy that runs these things on behalf of taxpayers, mainly in the form of the Environment Agency, appeared at times to be taking its instructions directly from Friends of the Earth. So, of course, did the BBC.

The endless delays imposed by regulators played into the hands of shale gas’s opponents, giving them time to organise more and more protests, which were themselves ways of getting on the news and hence getting more donations. Never mind that few locals in Lancashire wanted to join the protests: plenty of upper-middle class types could be bussed in from the south.

As night follows day, Tory politicians lost courage and slipped into neutrality then opposition, worrying about what posh greens might think, rather than working-class bill-payers and job-seekers. A golden opportunity was squandered for Britain to get hold of home-grown, secure, cheap and relatively clean energy. We don’t need fossil fuels, the politicians thought, we’re going for net zero in 2050! But read the small print, chaps: the only way to have zero-emission transport and heating, so says the Committee on Climate Change, is to use lots of hydrogen. And how do they say most of the hydrogen is to be made? From gas.

After genetically modified crops and fracking, what innovation will be next to get stopped in its tracks by vested interests? Vaping, I reckon. It’s an open secret that the pharmaceutical industry pours money into anti-vaping campaigns because the technology is a threat to their lucrative nicotine patches and gums, which they have been getting doctors to prescribe to smokers trying to quit for years. Unlike e-cigarettes, which are the most effective aids to quitting yet found, Big Pharma’s products don’t work very well. So they are worried. Next time you hear somebody arguing that e-cigarettes (like coffee) burn the blood, dry the kidneys and attract the lymph, ask who benefits.

 

Christmas Carols or Climate Carols?

Well Advent is here and to make Christmas Green, some Green  (which type of green?) have written some Green Christmas Carols. They are from Christian Climate Action who were the ones who climbed onto commuter trains as part of their contribution to Extinction Rebellion in London.

I will not comment on them and let readers make up their own minds.

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And an Advent Sunday service outside Horse Hill oil well in Surrey

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Alternative Carols for Christmas

And the words

https://christianclimateaction.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/alternative-christmas-carols.pdf?sfns=mo

 

Christian Climate Action Manchester
Salford Hub

climatecarols
Alternative Christmas carols and songs
Words ‘refurnished’ by Grace Thomas

Ding Dong Merrily on High
Ding dong merrily on high
The temperature is rising
With all the carbon in the sky
It isn’t that surprising
Fa-la-la…..
Our lifestyles are excessive ( x2)
E’en so here below, below,
The life on earth is dying
And “Io, io, io!”
The future’s terrifying
Fa-la-la…..
Pray you, dutifully go
And partake in truth telling
May you beautifully show
Concern for this, our dwelling
Fa-la-la…..

Silent Night
Silent night, holy night!
All are quiet, to the plight
On the TV, little is said
Of the crisis up ahead
Put our heads in the sand
Put our heads in the sand
Silent night, holy night!
Children quake at the sight.
Those in power show little concern
Fossil fuels continue to burn
When will voices be heard?
When will voices be heard?
Silent night, holy night!
May the world see the light.
Share the wisdom, start to act
And respond to science and fact
For the sake of this earth
For the sake of this earth

Hark the Herald
Hark the herald rebels sing!
Let the sound of protest ring
East to West, and every child
Old and young are reconciled
Joyful, all ye nations, rise
Join the peaceful rebel cries
With th’ angelic host proclaim
Life can never be the same
Hark, the herald rebels sing
Let the sound of protest ring
For too long we have ignored
The great earth we all adore
Now the time has come for all
To respond to this great call
In our shared humanity
Hail the great calamity
Silent can we be no more
Rise as one, we all must soar
Hark, the herald rebels sing!
Let the sound of protest ring

Hail, The earth in all its grace
Hail! The beauty in this place
Light and life we strive to see
In bio-diversity
Join together, sing as one
Till our work is fully done
Till we’re taken seriously
In this stark emergency
Hark, the herald rebels sing!
Let the sound of protest ring

12 years of crisis
On the first year of crisis, inaction gave to me
A forest without any trees
On the second year of crisis, inaction gave to me
Two hurricanes
And a forest without any trees
On the third year of crisis, inaction gave to me
Three heatwaves, two hurricanes and a forest without any trees
On the fourth year of crisis, inaction gave to me
Four crop failures, three heatwaves, two hurricanes and a forest without any trees.
On the fifth year of crisis, inaction gave to me
Five rising seas.
Four crop failures, three heatwaves, two hurricanes and a forest without any trees.
On the sixth year of crisis, inaction gave to me
Six nations starving.
Five rising seas.
Four crop failures, three heatwaves, two hurricanes and a forest without any trees

On the seventh year of crisis, inaction gave to me
Seven flood disasters, six nations starving.
Five rising seas.
Four crop failures, three heatwaves, two hurricanes and a forest without any trees
On the eighth year of crisis, inaction gave to me
Eight coral die-offs, seven flood disasters, six nations starving.
Five rising seas.
Four crop failures, three heatwaves, two hurricanes and a forest without any trees
On the ninth year of crisis, inaction gave to me
Nine glaciers dwindling, eight coral die-offs, seven flood disasters, six nations starving.
Five rising seas.
Four crop failures, three heatwaves, two hurricanes and a forest without any trees
On the tenth year of crisis, inaction gave to me
Ten displaced peoples, nine glaciers dwindling, eight coral die-offs, seven flood disasters, six
nations starving.
Five rising seas.
Four crop failures, three heatwaves, two hurricanes and a forest without any trees
On the eleventh year of crisis, inaction gave to me
Eleven wildfires raging, ten displaced peoples, nine glaciers dwindling, eight coral die-offs,
seven flood disasters, six nations starving.

Five rising seas.
Four crop failures, three heatwaves, two hurricanes and a forest without any trees
On the twelfth year of crisis, inaction gave to me,
(sing slowly) No turning back (pause)
Eleven wildfires raging, ten displaced peoples, nine glaciers dwindling, eight coral die-offs,
seven flood disasters, six nations starving.
Five rising seas.
Four crop failures, three heatwaves, two hurricanes and a forest without any trees

Once in Sweden’s capital city
Once in Sweden’s capital city
Stood a lowly girl on strike
Climate breakdown was her worry
World inaction she disliked
Strong she stood, placard in hand
With a message for her land.
It took time, for all to listen
To the worries she conveyed
Some did sneer, scorn with derision
Undermined the points she made
Resolute, she did persist
Unwilling to be dismissed
And the eyes of many opened
To the science that she shared
Children gathered in accordance
To show all, that they, too cared
And she leads the movement on
Worldwide voices speaking as one

O come all ye faithful
O come all ye faithful
Active and defiant
O come ye, oh come ye
And take a stand
Come and behold this
Climate crisis
O come let us demand change
O come let us demand change
Oh come let us demand change
For the world
Sing choirs of protests
Sing in exultation
Sing all ye citizens of this great world
Treasure creation
Let us now preserve it
O come let us demand change….

We wish for a greener Christmas
We wish for a greener Christmas
We wish for a greener Christmas
We wish for a greener Christmas
And a low carbon year
Sad tidings we bring
To you and your kin
We wish for a greener Christmas
And a low carbon year
We all want meaningful action
We all want meaningful action
We all want meaningful action
So bring some out here
We won’t stop until we’ve got some
We won’t stop until we’ve got some
We won’t stop until we’ve got some
So bring some out here
We wish for a greener Christmas….

If all that is too much, then they could have sung  aversion of

O christmas Tree

christmastree

frackingcarol

My own comments.

The last O Christmas Tree was written as a joke and a parody, but the others are in all seriousness which has me worried.

I can see the point of parody, but not twisting Carols for ideological ideas however sincerely held.  There is something about the self-righteousness and virtue signalling of climate activists which gets me.

 

There are better ways of caring for the planet.

A review of Answers in Genesis’s ten best evidences for a young earth — summary and conclusion

Since 1961 (and before) Young Earth creationists have been churning out supposed scientific evidence on why the earth is only 6000 to 10000 years old.

all are bunkum

Here is a blog exposing some of their so-called Scientific facts

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How old is the earth?

Over the past five months, I have been examining the claims in the Answers in Genesis series, The 10 Best Evidences from Science that Confirm a Young Earth. This is as good a place to start as any in evaluating YEC claims: since these are what they consider to be their best arguments, we can assume that they are representative of the standards that they maintain in general, and that the other arguments that they are making will not carry any more weight.

Before I started examining these claims, I outlined the Biblical and scientific basis for my…

View original post 1,575 more words

Holy Communion with the Devil at Cirencester

Yup, that’s it! When you go to Cirencester Parish Church you take communion with the Devil.

Cirencester is the capitol of the Cotswolds and an ancient market town going back to Roman times. We often stop there returning from the tumuli around Stonehenge. The centre of the town is the massive parish church dedicated to John the Baptist, which is apt considering the funding of the tower.

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A vast medieval  church like indicates one thing; WOOL. The wealth of England in the middle Ages was built on wool whether in the Cotswolds or the Yorkshire Dales. Many wool merchants became the equivalent of billionaires, but the downside was that the sheep munched all the wild flowers.

The chancel is the oldest part of the church. Construction started around 1115. It was widened in about 1180. The east window dates from around 1300. The original stained glass of the east window has long since disappeared and it is now filled with fifteenth century glass from other parts of the church in a patchwork quilt of glass with the Devil taking centrestage.

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To the north of the chancel is St. Catherine’s Chapel which dates from around 1150. It contains a wall painting of St. Christopher carrying the Christ Child, and vaulting given by Abbot John Hakebourne in 1508.

The nave was completely rebuilt between 1515 and 1530 and is a remarkable example of late perpendicular gothic architecture.

The tower is fifteenth century and remarkable for the large buttresses which shore it up at its junction with the nave. It was built with blood money as Henry IV gave money for it to say thanks for the heads of Richard II’s half brothers, which were sent to Henry on a platter  (or should have been, noting its dedication), after being beheaded in the market place outside the church.  And so construction began soon after the 1399/1400  “rebellion”, which was part of the Wars of the Roses.

The great south porch which adjoins the market place was built around 1500 at the expense of Alice Avening.

Oddly the nave was built last of all and so making one building connecting tower and nave, which is the highest of any English church, but not cathedral. (The downside today are the horrendous heating bills.)

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The vista is vast and I cannot think of a more massive parish church.

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The view down the aisle from the tower is impressive with a verger and churchwarden in the foreground. And thanks to the warden for giving me a guided tour.

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Walking down the aisle you see the rood screen with the altar, reredos and east window beyond.

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Now let’s say you are at a communion service and have come down the aisle to receive communion , the body and blood of Christ. Once through the rood screen, you see the the alter, which is rather large and not the plain wooden table of the Reformation.

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If you are from Garstang like us and irreligiously looking at the crazy east window you will see the arms of wool merchant Mr Garstang who’d moved south from Garstang to make his fortune. But your mind should be on higher things.

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A few steps more and you have a closer view of the alter and very ornate Victorian reredos, surprisingly not in wood.

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Then before you kneel at the altar rail, there is a devilish face looking at you from the east window. Yes, it is the devil seeking those who he/it can lead astray.

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Yes, it looks almost mischievous, but we know that sin, or whatever it is that makes us do wrong, humorously leads us in the wrong direction.

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At this point it is best to kneel and immediately the Devil has gone. As we receive the fortifying bread and wine, the body and blood of Christ , the devil is overcome as the early church thought. This is best seen as Jesus though the cross defeating evil and forgiving us and then through his rising again opening the way to a new life.

As Paul wrote to the wayward church in Corinth

The Institution of the Lord’s Supper

23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for[g] you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ 25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

and in Paul’s letter to the Colossians

 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

21 And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled[j] in his fleshly body[k] through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him— 23 provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.

I hope all who worship at Cirencester find this a great aid to their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

For me it made a very serious point on the human condition and its solution in a rather jokey way.

Perhaps we need more jesters explaining the gospel of Christ and fewer showmen and pretend academics.

Why Apocalyptic Claims About Climate Change Are Wrong

I get fed up with those scaremongers who say 6  billion people will die of climate change, and thus scaring youngsters into thinking they won’t die at a good old age but of all the downsides of climate change.

Even if you take the worst case of IPCC reports this just ain’t true, but doom-mongers like Bill McKibbin, Extinction Rebellion, most Christian Green groups are claiming this.

Here Mike Schellenberger, a leading eco-modernists , with his head screwed on tight tears these extreme argument to shreds.

extinctionrebellion

 

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

Few have underscored the threat more than student climate activist Greta Thunberg and Green New Deal sponsor Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The latter said, “The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” Says Thunberg in her new book, “Around 2030 we will be in a position to set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control that will lead to the end of our civilization as we know it.”

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

Today In: Business

Apocalyptic statements like these have real-world impacts. In September, a group of British psychologists said children are increasingly suffering from anxiety from the frightening discourse around climate change. In October, an activist with Extinction Rebellion (”XR”) — an environmental group founded in 2018 to commit civil disobedience to draw awareness to the threat its founders and supporters say climate change poses to human existence — and a videographer, were kicked and beaten in a London Tube station by angry commuters. And last week, an XR co-founder said a genocide like the Holocaust was “happening again, on a far greater scale, and in plain sight” from climate change.

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

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

Journalists and activists alike have an obligation to describe environmental problems honestly and accurately, even if they fear doing so will reduce their news value or salience with the public. There is good evidence that the catastrophist framing of climate change is self-defeating because it alienates and polarizes many people. And exaggerating climate change risks distracting us from other important issues including ones we might have more near-term control over.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s not like climate doesn’t matter. It’s that climate change is outweighed by other factors. Earlier this year, researchers found that climate “has affected organized armed conflict within countries. However, other drivers, such as low socioeconomic development and low capabilities of the state, are judged to be substantially more influential.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For example, Australia’s fires are not driving koalas extinct, as Bill McKibben suggested. The main scientific body that tracks the species, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, labels the koala “vulnerable,” which is one level less threatened than “endangered,” two levels less than “critically endangered,” and three less than “extinct” in the wild.

Should we worry about koalas? Absolutely! They are amazing animals and their numbers have declined to around 300,000. But they face far bigger threats such as the destruction of habitat, disease, bushfires, and invasive species.

Think of it this way. The climate could change dramatically — and we could still save koalas. Conversely, the climate could change only modestly — and koalas could still go extinct.

The monomaniacal focus on climate distracts our attention from other threats to koalas and opportunities for protecting them, like protecting and expanding their habitat.

As for fire, one of Australia’s leading scientists on the issue says, “Bushfire losses can be explained by the increasing exposure of dwellings to fire-prone bushlands. No other influences need be invoked. So even if climate change had played some small role in modulating recent bushfires, and we cannot rule this out, any such effects on risk to property are clearly swamped by the changes in exposure.”

Nor are the fires solely due to drought, which is common in Australia, and exceptional this year. “Climate change is playing its role here,” said Richard Thornton of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre in Australia, “but it’s not the cause of these fires.”

The same is true for fires in the United States. In 2017, scientists modeled 37 different regions and found “humans may not only influence fire regimes but their presence can actually override, or swamp out, the effects of climate.” Of the 10 variables that influence fire, “none were as significant… as the anthropogenic variables,” such as building homes near, and managing fires and wood fuel growth within, forests.

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

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

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

But don’t scientists and activists need to exaggerate in order to get the public’s attention?

“I’m reminded of what [late Stanford University climate scientist] Steve Schneider used to say,” Wigley replied. “He used to say that as a scientist, we shouldn’t really be concerned about the way we slant things in communicating with people out on the street who might need a little push in a certain direction to realize that this is a serious problem. Steve didn’t have any qualms about speaking in that biased way. I don’t quite agree with that.”

Wigley started working on climate science full-time in 1975 and created one of the first climate models (MAGICC) in 1987. It remains one of the main climate models in use today.

“When I talk to the general public,” he said, “I point out some of the things that might make projections of warming less and the things that might make them more. I always try to present both sides.”

Part of what bothers me about the apocalyptic rhetoric by climate activists is that it is often accompanied by demands that poor nations be denied the cheap sources of energy they need to develop.

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

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

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

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

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

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Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment” and Green Book Award Winner. He is also a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Washington Post

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