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The problem with climate prophecies

climate change, global warming
Unsplash/Bob Blob

It can be quite a daunting task to grasp the wide range of opinions on climate change shared in mainstream and social media. Doing so gets more complicated when the opinions tend to be highly partisan and the policies based on them begin to govern our everyday lives.

Climate policies now dictate how much we pay for our gas and power, what kind of farming materials one can use, how much greenhouse gas businesses are allowed to emit, and how economies must prioritize climate action over other issues.

Unfortunately, most of these proposed actions on climate are based on highly questionable theories published by political entities like the UN, not on actual scientific observations. For faithful individuals in church who seek to see God’s kingdom and love manifest in this world, it is important to separate the wheat from the chaff, i.e., truth from falsehood.

If those who are called to be the salt and light of this earth slumber in this critical hour, there will be a rapid degradation of society, affecting every aspect of people’s lives around us. The real threat to society is extreme climate policies, and not climate change itself.

My aim here is to give you a basic introduction to the erroneous nature of widespread beliefs about climate change.

Climate science and IPCC

When it comes to public policy making, the discussion on climate change is usually centered on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its climate claims.

Most mainstream media and elected leaders consider the IPCC the authoritative body on climate science and regard their recommendations as the best available scientific advice for policymakers.

However, the IPCC was constituted with the specific aim of substantiating the evidence for man-made global warming and warning the world about it. That is not how climate science works. Science works by testing proposed theories against available evidence and then establishing facts. Climate science especially is still in its infancy, with scientists constantly improving their understanding of the complex climate system.

This insufficiency of knowledge (in climate sciences) is reflected well in the world of computer climate models, where scientists try to simulate the global climate system and forecast future temperatures. More than 90% of existing models have failed miserably.

Not only past models but the current crop of climate models also exaggerate warming. Why? Because modelers falsely assume that warming is driven predominantly by man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Nonetheless, these erroneous models (and the IPCC reports based on them) guide international and domestic policymaking on climate and energy. As a result, we have restrictive energy policies that increase energy costs while providing no real climate benefits.

The water gets murkier when it comes to other factors often used as evidence for a climate emergency. While polar bears are claimed to be in danger of extinction, their numbers have increased in recent decades. While the media claims that both the Arctic and the Antarctic are in danger of melting completely, the polar ice levels are at some of their highest levels in the past 10,000 years. While politicians and media say extreme weather events like hurricanes have increased, the actual cyclone frequency and intensity data show no such increase.

The biggest lie, however, is that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases (like CO2, N2O, and methane) are increasing the global average temperature to dangerous levels. In the real world, satellite temperature measurements from the University of Alabama, Huntsville, show only minor warming of 0.25 degree Celsius between 2002 and 2022. 

Further, the trend of warming has been at 0.13 degree Celsius per decade since the satellite measurements began in 1979. At that decadal rate, the total warming at the end of the century would be around 1.04 degree Celsius higher than what it is today, and that is not dangerous warming by any means. In fact, warming of this nature will be beneficial as it will aid in plant growth, eventually helping humans and other life forms to thrive.

If we are to consider a longer period — like the past two millennia — we know that the world faced warm periods in the past that were as warm as the 20th-century warming. The Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period occurred well before man-made CO2 emissions. Even the current warming began before emissions from the industrial era.

One can conveniently ignore these climate falsehoods as esoteric scientific disputes, but their impact on the world’s poor is real, large, and harmful. Imagine being told to reduce the use of electricity in your home because polar bears are dying, when in truth polar bear populations are increasing. Imagine being told to live in abject poverty because a network of scientists and public policymakers chose to blindly trust models that erroneously predicted a climate doomsday. 

It’s time to wake up to these things.  So, when it comes to climate change, choose the right path: If you know a farmer, support his right to use nitrogenous fertilizers (which governments are trying to ban). If you are living in a relatively wealthy economy, convey to your lawmakers your support for reliable energy sources like coal, natural gas, and nuclear, not for wind and solar, which will keep people in poverty. If you are a parent, guard your children against the pseudo-scientific climate doomsday propaganda.

Vijay Jayaraj is a Research Associate at the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, VA., and holds a master’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of East Anglia, UK. He resides in Bengaluru, India.

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