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Photo by Evan-Amos, CC BY-SA 3.0

I rely on two renowned, British corporate media articles for this video. The first was published on 8 May 2024 in the Guardian. Titled We asked 380 top climate scientists what they felt about the future … They are terrified, but determined to keep fighting. Here’s what they said.

The second article was published the following day, 9 May 2024, by the BBC. It is titled Hurricanes, heatwaves and rising seas: The impacts of record ocean heat. I’ll briefly address each article.

The lede for the article published in the Guardian quotes a climate scientist: “Sometimes it is almost impossible not to feel hopeless and broken. After all the flooding, fires, and droughts of the last three years worldwide, all related to climate change, and after the fury of Hurricane Otis in Mexico, my country, I really thought governments were ready to listen to the science, to act in the people’s best interest.”

Apparently, this climate scientist does not know the definition of hope. I turn again to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary: “to cherish a desire with anticipation: to want something to happen or be true.” As I have indicated a few dozen times in this space, I want a lot of things “to happen or be true.” So far, wishing has not made them happen.

Again, I turn to one of my peer-reviewed, open-access papers, this one published in the May 2019 issue of Clinical Psychology Forum. Titled Becoming hope-free: Parallels between the death of individuals and extinction of Homo sapiens, I wrote this paper upon invitation from the editor. I’ll read the short Abstract: “The belief in a positive future, or hope, is not useful when presenting a person with a terminal diagnosis. Wishful thinking is no route to recovery, and it might interfere with the ability of a person to complete relationships during their final days. Hospice is a particularly effective strategy for palliative, end-of-life care. Similarly, hospice is an obvious strategy to address the near-term demise of Homo sapiens.”

The peer-reviewed, open-access paper in Clinical Psychology Forum then turns to a quote from Stephen Jenkinson, long-time practitioner of palliative care: “The great enemy of grief is hope. Hope is the four-letter word for people who are unwilling to know things for what they are. Our time requires us to be hope-free. To burn through the false choice of being hopeful and hopeless. They are two sides of the same con job. Grief is required to proceed.”

As I have pointed out frequently in this space, grief is not only “required to proceed,” it can be positively addressed. As I learned via the Grief Recovery Workshop in January 2014, just as physical pain can be solved with medical intervention, the emotional pain known as grief can be solved with intervention. I have often recommended the Second Edition, 20th Anniversary issue of The Grief Recovery Handbook and the simple exercises therein. This book was published in 2009. Perhaps a friend or two would have avoided suicide had they read this short book and completed the attendant exercises.

Back to the article in the Guardian, and the Mexican climate scientist quoted in the lede: She refers to a meeting she attended in Singapore. At that meeting, she listened to other experts describe the connections between rising global temperatures, heatwaves, fires, storms, and floods. She said, “that was when everything clicked.” She went on to say “There is not a safe place for anyone.” In the following paragraph, she is quoted: “I think 3C is being hopeful and conservative. 1.5C is already bad, but I don’t think there is any way we are going to stick to that. There is not any clear sign from any government that we are actually going to stay under 1.5C.” Considering governments of the world already agreed we passed the 2 C Rubicon, I’d say it’s quite unlikely we’re “going to stay under 1.5C.”

The article in the Guardian refers to a survey conducted by the Guardian that included these findings: (1) “77% of respondents believe global temperatures will reach at least 2.5C above preindustrial levels, a devastating degree of heating; (2) “almost half – 42% – think it will be more than 3C” and (3) only 6% think the 1.5C limit will be achieved.” My brief comment on each of these three findings: (1) of course Earth “will reach at least 2.5C above preindustrial levels”, although the number is considerably less important than the rate of environmental change, an issue not addressed in either of the articles I’m discussing in this video; (2) the 42% that think Earth is headed for “more than 3C” have reached a conclusion consistent with reality; and (3) the “only 6% [that] think the 1.5C limit will be achieved” are not only ignorant about Earth having passed 2 C, they are also living in a fantasy.

The take-home message from the article in the Guardian comes from three experts who chose not to be identified: One said “I find it infuriating, distressing, overwhelming.” Another said “I’m relieved that I do not have children, knowing what the future holds.” Interestingly, I reached that same decision in 1979, after completing a couple of biology courses during my first year in college. The final quoted scientist said “The world’s response to date is reprehensible – we live in an age of fools.”

I turn now to the article in the BBC, again published 9 May 2024 and titled Hurricanes, heatwaves and rising seas: The impacts of record ocean heat. Here’s the lede: “Record ocean temperatures suggest the seas are warming faster than expected, and the impacts will be felt from polar ice shelves to coastal cities across the globe.” That’s an easy conclusion to reach, considering habitat is already being lost, and rapidly, for human animals on Earth.

The article in the BBC contains considerable misinformation. We read the same, old lies about 1.5 C or 2 C lying in our future. There is, of course, no mention of the importance of the rate of environmental change. There is the oft-asked question I’ve addressed before: “This rapid heating raises a puzzle for scientists: why is recent ocean warming even greater than models suggest?”

The response comes from another scientist, this one a Professor at Newcastle University in the UK: “The fact we can’t simulate these step-change increases and understand why it’s happening is terrifying.” Again, I point out that models assuming gradual, linear change are missing the point. Again, I point out that terror is an inappropriate response from a self-proclaimed scientist.

The articles in the Guardian and the BBC are filled with misinformation. They are also replete with comments about hope and despair. They demonstrate yet again the importance of turning to peer-reviewed science for reliable knowledge about climate change, and probably everything else.


"Dr. Guy McPherson is an internationally recognized speaker, award-winning scientist, and the world’s leading authority on abrupt climate change leading to near-term human extinction. He is professor emeritus at the University of Arizona, where he taught and conducted research for twenty years. His published works include 14 books and hundreds of scholarly articles. Dr. McPherson has been featured on TV and radio and in several documentary films. He is a blogger, cultural critic, and co-host of his own radio show “Nature Bats Last.” Dr. McPherson speaks to general audiences across the globe, and to scientists, students, educators, and not-for-profit and business leaders who seek their best available options when confronting Earth’s cataclysmic changes." source

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