Thanks are due to President Obama for articulating the current End of Days scenario so clearly:
“The grim alternative… more severe storms, more famine and floods, new waves of refugees, coastlines that vanish, oceans that rise,”
He said it is our “job,” our “task” to avert it. Duty, I guess. For the children…of our children. Sounds suspiciously like another prediction of which I am very fond:
We must arm ourselves with all the material and spiritual forces at our disposal … or else our culture is doomed to destruction. Extrapolation from our present condition … yields a vision of busting sewer mains and all waters of the world made as wormwood, unfit to drink. Mankind will be reduced to a primitive state of disunity, neighbor isolated from neighbor by vast surging cataracts of fluid, while the monument of our era’s accomplishments will gradually be submerged beneath festering pools of stagnant runoff. . . Men in their frenzy of despair and disbelief will turn the evil upon themselves, building houses at the bottom of hills, in marshes, and along oozing gulleys, while the Few Who Know will be the object of arrogant derision. And it is the folly of human inaction which will bring down on us this recapitulation of the Flood.*
*Hilton S. Korngold, “Toward an Interpretation of the Drainage,” Journal of Historicist Philosophy, 98 (October, 1972): 302 – 398.
More severe storms… Not much evidence of that. Climate scientists are very hesitant to say that a storm or set of storms can be attributed to climate changes, such as they are. We might have more severe storms – that’s what many predict – but that remains to be seen. Of course, it assumes that all their predictions are correct.
More famine… We seem to have our hands full with famine today, and have for some years now. Any scholar of famine will tell you that their causes have much more to do with politics and infrastructure than with weather. Our record dealing with those two issues is rather poor.
More floods… Another speculation. It’s not as though we haven’t had a hard time with floods for a long time, and done precious little about it. Are we supposed to think it’s a “real” problem because climate change supposedly is involved? We report more floods now – everything is reported more – and there is more property loss because humans continue to build heavily in areas that have been and will continue to be flooded. It could get worse, yes, but it’s bad now!
New waves of refugees… You guessed it, the same response as above. If we are not moved by the plight of refugees now, why is the notion of “climate refugees” more compelling? Shouldn’t we address the problems we have now? We might foreclose the possibility of worse ones later on. For instance, if people had enough land to grow their own food on, they might actually plan for the inevitable bad years… Just a thought.
Coastlines that vanish, oceans that rise… Coastlines vanish, then reappear. They just follow you inland if the sea rises. It will be a different coastline, but that happens now, much to the dismay of the Army Corps of Engineers which spends billions of dollars trying to hold back the seas so that municipalities can make money on beach tourism and property taxes. And just how much are those seas going to rise? And how fast? Must we take as gospel the most extreme projection, that assumes a “rapid ice-melt” of the Greenland ice sheet? How likely is that? Not very, given the recent data, but then, that’s just a bump on the road on the way to Armageddon.
Look, maybe the predictions are true, but if we are going to examine them rationally, they become less likely with each year. Would you invest your life savings on the basis of a projection for 2050 that had been shown wrong for the period 2002 – 2013?