The climate hysteria was revived one year ago (when Greta Thunberg was chosen by Soros-funded groups to become a truly religious mascot of this insane movement) – and it has reached unprecedented levels. Not only scientifically illiterate but literally illiterate kids have "read" somewhere in the IPCC reports that the world will end in 12 years (although the IPCC is dominated by crazy crooks, it's not there). How many people believe in these doomsday scenarios?
A week ago, Scott Rasmussen published results of a poll. The percentage of the Americans willing to believe claims about the possible imminent extinction of the human race is between 1/2 and 1/3. The most shocking numbers say that 51% of the younger voters under 35 believe it is "somewhat likely for humanity to be wiped out [by anything] in a decade". Similarly, 45% of urban residents think "humanity may be wiped out by climate change in 10-15 years".
The stupidity of the underlying assertions is breathtaking and the percentage of the people willing to endorse them is terrifying. And the opposition to the cattle and fossil fuels – our most important source of energy – could be just the beginning. Once the staggering stupidity of the masses becomes normal, you may promote even crazier and more devastating superstitions. There seem to be no limits to the stupidity right now.
In most countries, the willingness to believe in these doomsday claims is higher among the urban population. Many of these people haven't spent an hour in the forest or the mountains for years. They haven't seen a coypu, edible frog, jay, stork, deer, hare... because they haven't looked outside their streets – but I assure you that our Nature is full of them now. They are willing to imagine that most of the animals and maybe even plants have already died over there. They're completely disconnected from reality outside the cities.
Meanwhile, the farmers and the rural population know that nothing much has happened – at least relatively to the normal events and fluctuations that were always taking place.
Another, overlapping subgroup of the doomsday believers are the young people. This effect may be partly explained by the correlation between the urban and young populations – the countryside tends to be the home of the elderly while their young descendants are more likely to move to cities – and partly by the immense brainwashing that the young people were exposed to in recent years or a decade or two.
Some of the Friday kids in the streets are there simply because any excuse to skip the classes is wonderful news. They don't really believe that the world may end anytime soon. The truly irresponsible people are the principals and other adults that allow these bastards to avoid the education process, of course.
But many of the people must genuinely believe these comments. And the percentage of such people may be between 10% and 51%, too, at least within some demographics. The lack of critical thinking that is needed for such a conclusion is terrifying and such brain-dead people – who still have the right to vote and other rights, despite their brain death – may be abused not only for the climate panic but for hypothetical policies that are even more devastating.
Quantifying the temperature change
First, it's easy to figure out that the carbon dioxide (CO2) – the alleged devil – quickly spreads all over the Earth. The concentration of CO2 is basically the same everywhere across the Earth. The greenhouse warming caused by this CO2 is therefore more or less uniform across the Earth. It's 410 ppm or so near the surface globally – and this number increases by some 2 ppm a year. There might be some feedbacks that are non-uniform etc. but it can't be a big deal and the variability cannot be substantial at the very short distance scales. So the CO2 can't possibly increase the frequency of tornadoes, hurricanes, and other things that depend on the non-uniformities of the temperature, pressure, and other things – the degree of non-uniformities is clearly unaffected by the CO2, at least in the first approximation. All the claims that the CO2 causes local weather events are exactly on par with the medieval superstitions promoted during the medieval witch hunts.
So if CO2 causes something, it's a uniform increase of temperature everywhere. The graphs show that the rate of warming is some 1.5 °C a century. It doesn't make much sense to argue whether we expect 1 °C or 2 °C in the next century. People may push the claims in one direction or another but I won't do that. It's totally plausible that the warming in the next century will be somewhat smaller or somewhat higher than the 1.5 °C expected from the extrapolation of the recent decades. The climate models aren't terribly trustworthy or useful for the predictions of the temperature trends. Their uncertainties are too high – and we have observed the temperature for many decades to see that the rate 1.5 °C per century is pretty much visible and somewhat constant according to the graphs. The extrapolation of this observed trend of the recent decades is a more reliable way to project the future than some complex, uncertain, and possibly deliberately distorted climate models.
Most of the arguments between "alarmists" and "skeptics" are about the attribution of this 1.5 °C centennial trend. But I will avoid even that. While I think that it's probably not mainly man-made, it hypothetically might be. I don't have any solid enough argument proving that the current rate of CO2 increase can't generate more than 1.5 °C per century. It hypothetically could. Instead, the bulk of the insanity – as I see it – isn't in whether the 1.5 °C per century is man-made; it's about the question whether it's dangerous.
Great. What can this 1.5 °C of warming per century do? Well, in the 10-15 years when the doomsday is supposed to occur, we will see some 0.15 °C or 0.20 °C, by the rules of proportionality. Can 0.20 °C of warming cause the extinction of the human race?
Needless to say, it's utterly absurd. The weather is changing all the time. Several times a year, the temperature jumps or drops by 20 °C within a day – and that's 100 times greater change than 0.20 °C. And it normally occurs within a day i.e. much faster – not after a decade. The change of the temperature by 0.20 °C is utterly negligible. It is zero for all practical purposes. The change by 1.5 °C a century is potentially measurable – it's the minimum temperature change that people may feel through their skin. But the fact that they may feel it – if they focus a lot – is very far from representing a danger, let alone lethal danger, let alone the danger of the extinction of the whole humanity. In fact, even if you want to just measure this temperature and prove that it has changed in a century, you absolutely need all the following conditions to be met: precise thermometers, precision control over their position, averaging over most of the Earth, averaging over seasons as well as day-night cycles, solid statistical methods to average and to apply corrections. If a single condition isn't met, then even the warming from 100 years of CO2 emissions becomes indistinguishable from the noise, from the error margin!
There's no way how climate change could kill many people, let alone all people, even in the next century.
All my talks about the climate change issues have focused on the description of the natural phenomena that have contributed, still contribute, and will contribute to the climate change – and whose effect in 100 years may be comparable to the effect of the CO2. The number of such effects is large. Some of them are very interesting from a scientific viewpoint. Curious kids should be interested in them just because they're interesting facts about the Universe, the Earth, the biosphere, other things, and their relationships. They link some interesting knowledge of physics with that of geology or biology etc.
So I normally discuss the continental drift, the Solar System's changing position in the Milky Way, and a few more very slow processes that were still changing the Earth's temperature by a few degrees over some cycles. And I mention that the global mean temperature isn't really the most interesting global quantity – as Dick Lindzen likes to emphasize, the pole-to-equator temperature difference is a much more substantial variable describing the global climate change because that difference has been changing between 20 °C and 60 °C, i.e. in an interval that is 40 °C wide (the difference is around 40 °C now, i.e. in the middle of that historical interval), while the global mean temperature stayed in an interval that is some 10 °C wide which is much narrower (even if you increase it by the square root of two which you should because the first thing was a difference – think about the orthogonal bases). The very idea that the global mean temperature is the most important time-dependent variable describing or approximating the global climate change is just wrong.
But the truly practical, human-centered discussions about climate change only care about cycles that are at most several million years old – just like the homo sapiens species. So between 2.6 million and 12 thousand years ago, we had the Pleistocene. At the beginning of that period, the Earth apparently cooled down and started to periodically freeze over in the glaciation cycles.
(Holocene began some 12 thousand years ago and it is warmer than the previous Pleistocene. It coincided with the explosion of some human civilizations etc. – the disappearance of the continental ice sheets was clearly a good thing for mankind. It's totally plausible that the Holocene should be naturally interpreted as just another warm epoch or interglacial within the Pleistocene. The term "Anthropocene" is silly for many reasons – one of them is that "Holocene" is already the human-civilization-related recent epoch that has played almost the same role as "Anthropocene" but "Holocene" probably didn't sound anthropocentric enough to some crackpots which is why they invented yet another one.)
Since that time, in recent 2.6 million years of the Pleistocene, the temperature has changed many times – up and down – between maxima and minima that are some 8 °C apart. The changes weren't quite regular or periodic but there were roughly 100 of them. The graph above shows some 30 approximate cycles in the recent 0.8 million years. The human species has existed at all times of the graph above. Also, the graph shows the derivative of the temperature – and a theoretical prediction that is extracted purely from the somewhat irregular astronomical motion of the Earth (the eccentricity of the ellipse), planets (whose position affects the irregularities of the Earth's motion), and the tilt of the Earth's axis.
The agreement is clearly nearly perfect. It means that virtually all of these semi-regular changes in the glaciation cycles – changes that changed the temperature up-and-down within the 8 °C window – were driven by astronomical causes, primary causes that have nothing to do with the phenomena on Earth let alone organisms' free will concerning their management of gas emissions. Now, the human race has existed throughout the Pleistocene. This species – like millions of others – survived 100 cycles in which the temperature went up and down by as much as 8 °C. The idea that 2 °C of temperature change means "extinction" is beyond silly. Again, recall that the warmer periods were generally the hospitable ones, not vice versa.
Indeed, the astronomical prediction of the global mean temperature isn't precise. The actual global mean temperature may deviate from it. Again, one can show that the deviations from the astronomical prediction has usually been as large as 1 °C or 2 °C, this is exactly what the Earth normally does. Long-term and short-term ocean cycles (1500-year-long cycles, PDO, AMO, ENSO i.e. El Niño and La Niña, ...), irregularities in the eruptions of volcanoes, non-constant solar activity, and things like CO2 emissions all contribute to some deviations that are comparable to this degree or two. There is absolutely nothing worrisome about these deviations. They have been the norm at every moment of the Earth's history simply because there are many effects that may push the temperature at least by "several tenths of a degree" and when you combine several of them, you may easily get "a degree or two up or down".
I just can't imagine how fudged up must be all the brains of the people who are unwilling or disinterested in looking for the basic relevant facts before they perform a hysterical outburst or prepare for the end of the world; or who are unable to find and deduce the basic information such as the information to above to see that any worries are clearly completely irrational. Not only it is a lunacy to be worried about the climate-caused extinction in the next 10-15 (or even 100) years. It is completely wrong to be worried at all. It is completely irrational to pay a single billion of dollars to mitigate a part of the warming because such mitigation clearly doesn't prevent us from anything tangibly bad.
Well, many young people are really stupid. But I have met even several physics PhDs who are just 100% incapable of thinking rationally about any of these questions. Their behavior was similar to the behavior of Christian fundamentalists in our Prague hostels who could code in C++ – but who suddenly looked brain-dead when some simple question touched their religious belief. I just can't understand how it's possible, how the indoctrination system could have selectively broken parts of their brains so that they can't think rationally about such a simple and common variable as the temperature behind the window. How old were you when you started to understand the thermometer? I was about 4 years old. They just taught me – and I could verify, by several experiments I performed – that the thermometer was handy. If it shows 20 °C, it's pleasant. 30 °C is tropical hot and you should be dressed as in Croatia. Below 0 °C, water starts to freeze, including the water on your skin. Below –20 °C, you don't want to be out there for too long, unless you are really heavily dressed, and so on.
It's clearly 10 °C of the temperature change that is needed to justify some qualitative change of the behavior. How many times did you really care whether the temperature outside was 14 °C or 15 °C? Why should you care whether the global mean temperature in 2100 – a much less consequential quantity for you, clearly, because it refers to a wrong place and a wrong time – will be 14 °C or 15 °C? Even 16 °C will be fine, right? It will still be much colder than what the humans find most comfortable.
Well, in my case, it's really 20 °C that is needed to change my clothes because I have no trouble to wear shorts in the autumn and sometimes I may have a sweater in the summer for a while, too. How can someone completely forget about all this kindergarten knowledge about the thermometer? How can someone abandon this basic kids' wisdom and accept some alternative reality in which 0.2 °C of warming in 10 or 15 years leads to human extinction? Or how can someone fail to ask the question "how much" when the supposed end of the world is said to be "due to warming"? It's insane. These people must be fundamentally incapable of using their brain. They have probably always parroted an arbitrarily insane nonsense that someone who was sufficiently politically powerful told them to parrot. Any sign of their independent thinking was probably always an illusion.
The idea that the observed recent warming is enough for extinction in 10-15 years is separated from reality by more than 2 orders of magnitude because it's self-evident that even 20 °C of warming wouldn't be enough to make humans extinct. You would really need 200 °C of warming (3 orders of magnitude higher than what we expect) to be sufficiently confident that it becomes hard for millions of people to survive. Even with 20 °C of warming, not only Antarctica but even parts of Siberia would still be way too cold. But once people's guesses about "what might happen" differ from any sane reality by two orders of magnitude, isn't their detachment from reality basically complete? Isn't it clear that they may believe in the reality and relevance of any claimed causal effect, even if its strength is 10 or 30 (or one googol) orders of magnitude too small?
Does astrology work? Does saying "illegal alien" causes a disruption of the Sun that may stop burning? All these things are more or less equally plausible as the "extinction of humans in 10-15 years by the CO2-caused climate change" – in particular, they are not plausible at all. Whole important large demographic groups in the U.S. have become so scientifically illiterate that they are probably stupider than the average dog by now (I have never met a dog who would be stupid enough to rally against the end of the world on Fridays). Can the human race preserve its superiority relatively to dogs under such circumstances? And should it? Isn't it better for life on Earth when this no longer "sapiens" species really goes extinct – to give dogs more room to evolve into a smarter species than the contemporary brainwashed young urban leftists?
But even if it's better for intelligent life on Earth, it's very hard for Nature to achieve this outcome. At any rate, if the future of mankind will be dominated by diseases such as Gretinism, extinction of the human race would be a good thing because at least in the Solar System, intelligent life doesn't have any Planet B. So don't count on me as a fellow warrior against extinction of the Gretinist mankind, Gretinists.