The headline of a 24 October 2023 article in Forbes reads ‘We Are Afraid’: Scientists Issue New Warning As World Enters ‘Uncharted Climate Territory.’ My first thought, even before I read the article: Afraid? Really? And you call yourselves scientists?
After all, scientists claim to be objective. This objectivity is rooted in the means by which science is conducted, and it is designed to minimize or remove emotions from the analyses and conclusions.
The article’s lead paragraph reads thusly: “A distinguished international team of scientists on Tuesday issued the starkest warning yet that human activity is pushing Earth into a climate crisis that could threaten the lives of up to 6 billion people this century, stating candidly: ‘We are afraid of the uncharted territory that we have now entered.’”
The following paragraph contains this information: “Writing in the journal Biosciences, the coalition of 12 researchers, spanning North America, Europe and Asia, state in unusually stark language: ‘As scientists, we are increasingly being asked to tell the public the truth about the crises we face in simple and direct terms. The truth is that we are shocked by the ferocity of the extreme weather events in 2023.’”
My response: Of course, you are being asking to tell the public the truth. You rarely do so, however. I cannot imagine this time will be any different. In fact, the notion that “up to 6 billion people” will die this century is rooted either in ignorance or untruth. If even a significant proportion of 6 billion people die, the subsequent loss of aerosol masking will lead to the demise of the remaining people, which number more than 2 billion. I suppose the thought of humans going extinct is too scary for Forbes and also the peer-reviewed paper mentioned in Forbes. Never mind that at least eight other species in the genus Homo have already gone extinct, primarily as a result of abrupt climate change. We would recognize each of these species as very close cousins. We would call them humans.
Let’s move on to the second paragraph of the article in Forbes, which contains this line: “The truth is that we are shocked by the ferocity of the extreme weather events in 2023.” Apparently, not one of the 12 authors of the peer-reviewed paper referenced in the article in Forbes is aware of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s findings in Global Warming of 1.5o. That report, issued on 8 October 2018, found that: “These global-level rates of human-driven change far exceed the rates of change driven by geophysical or biosphere forces that have altered the Earth System trajectory in the past … even abrupt geophysical events do not approach current rates of human-driven change.” This IPCC report cited two peer-reviewed articles in reaching this conclusion, which indicates ongoing rates of human-driven change far exceed those that occurred in the wake of an interstellar body striking the Yucatán Peninsula about 66 million years ago. This event drove the dinosaurs and many other species to extinction. It was responsible for a Mass Extinction Event.
In other words, we are in the midst of a Mass Extinction Event that is driving species to extinction at an unprecedented rate. This conclusion comes from the IPCC, an international political organization that was designed to fail, according to Michael Oppenheimer, the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University. Oppenheimer’s conclusion was posted on the Environmental Defense Fund’s website on 1 November 2007. Oppenheimer concluded that the IPCC was designed to fail because the IPCC was created during the Reagan administration in the United States. The IPCC replaced the Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases, which warned of “rapid, unpredictable and non-linear responses that could lead to extensive ecosystem damage” once the planetary temperature reached 1o C.
As I indicated, the article in Forbes referenced a peer-reviewed paper in the renowned journal BioScience. The peer-reviewed, open-access paper is titled: The 2023 state of the climate report: Entering uncharted territory. It was published on 24 October 2023 in advance of the December 2023 issue of BioScience.
The article in BioScience begins with an abstract from which I will read directly: “Life on planet Earth is under siege. We are now in an uncharted territory. For several decades, scientists have consistently warned of a future marked by extreme climatic conditions because of escalating global temperatures caused by ongoing human activities that release harmful greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, time is up. We are seeing the manifestation of those predictions as an alarming and unprecedented succession of climate records are broken, causing profoundly distressing scenes of suffering to unfold. We are entering an unfamiliar domain regarding our climate crisis, a situation no one has ever witnessed firsthand in the history of humanity.”
The second paragraph of the abstract continues: “The trends reveal new all-time climate-related records and deeply concerning patterns of climate-related disasters. At the same time, we report minimal progress by humanity in combating climate change. Given these distressing developments, our goal is to communicate climate facts and policy recommendations to scientists, policymakers, and the public. It is the moral duty of us scientists and our institutions to clearly alert humanity of any potential existential threat and to show leadership in taking action. This report is part of our series of concise and easily accessible yearly updates on the state of the climate crisis.”
I’d like to read those final two sentences again: “It is the moral duty of us scientists and our institutions to clearly alert humanity of any potential existential threat and to show leadership in taking action. This report is part of our series of concise and easily accessible yearly updates on the state of the climate crisis.”
I take issue with the 12 scientists who authored this peer-reviewed paper. There is no mention of the aerosol masking effect, the best-kept secret in climate science. There is no mention of the results of nuclear facilities imploding, which include the stripping away of stratospheric ozone and therefore a stunningly rapid rate of planetary overheating. This phenomenon was illustrated in the 2021 film Finch. Apparently, filmmakers know more about climate change than people who call themselves climate scientists.
An article in The Guardian comes a bit closer to the truth than the article in Forbes. Published 24 October 2023, the same day as the article in Forbes, The Guardian article is headlined Earth’s ‘vital signs’ worse than at any time in human history, scientists warn. The subhead: Life on planet is in peril, say climate experts, as they call for a rapid and just transition to a sustainable future.
Here’s the lede: “Earth’s ‘vital signs’ are worse than at any time in human history, an international team of scientists has warned, meaning life on the planet is in peril.”
The following paragraph indicates “that 20 of the 35 planetary vital signs they use to track the climate crisis are at record extremes. As well as greenhouse gas emissions, global temperature and sea level rise, the indicators also include human and livestock population numbers.”
The article continues by pointing out that: “Many climate records were broken by enormous margins in 2023, including global air temperature, ocean temperature and Antarctic sea ice extent, the researchers said. The highest monthly surface temperature ever recorded was in July and was probably the hottest the planet has been in 100,000 years.”
A lead author of the report said, “Without actions that address the root problem of humanity taking more from Earth than it can safely give, we’re on our way to the potential collapse of natural and socioeconomic systems and a world with unbearable heat and shortages of food and freshwater.”
Another author of the report said, “Life on our planet is clearly under siege. The statistical trends show deeply alarming patterns of climate-related variables and disasters. We also found little progress to report as far as humanity combating climate change. Our goal is to communicate climate facts and make policy recommendations. It is a moral duty of scientists and our institutions to alert humanity of any potential existential threat and to show leadership in taking action.”
I agree, obviously. Yet, I don’t see relevant actions being taken by any of the authors of this report. Nobody involved indicated that civilization is a heat engine, regardless of how civilization is powered. Nobody involved indicated that we are in the midst of a Mass Extinction Event. Nobody involved indicated that we are in the midst of abrupt, irreversible climate change. “It is a moral duty of scientists and our institutions to alert humanity of any potential existential threat and to show leadership in taking action.” So, do it. Tell us, please, that we are in the midst of a Mass Extinction Event. Tell us, please, that there is no known way out. Tell us, please, the full truth so that we can live our personal lives accordingly.
Collectively, the scientists said, “We are shocked by the ferocity of the extreme weather events in 2023, [which caused] profoundly distressing scenes of suffering to unfold. We are afraid of the uncharted territory that we have now entered.”
Rather than telling us you are afraid, tell us the truth. Better yet, tell us the full truth, complete with the aerosol masking effect, abrupt, irreversible climate change, and an ongoing Mass Extinction Event.
Fear is no solution. Evidence lights the way for each of us. Stop withholding the evidence.
"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