Would you stop it? There’s a new study out about where malaria will strike in Africa that is totally useless because it doesn’t take into account stuff like dams and irrigation. And because it says malaria goes with heat which is untrue; the worst 20th-century outbreak was in Russia, with even Siberia a major coldbed of this debilitating disease. And because… wait for it… the study is based on RCP8.5, the busted emissions scenario where coal use increases five-fold because countries become so rich they ignore the environment which collapses taking their economy with it as it expands. Can you really not scare us with anything else?
Malaria is scary, of course. And the link between malaria and heat seems obvious: Malaria is transmitted by mosquitos and mosquitoes usually prefer warm weather. But the link between temperature and malaria is anything but clear. As IPCC expert Professor Paul Reiter informed the British House of Lords, or tried to, some years ago, the worst malaria outbreak in recorded history, and here we concede that in most of the world through most of history such things were not counted credibly if recorded at all, happened in the Soviet Union in the 1920s, with over half a million deaths, and 13 million cases per year, including many of both in Siberia.
Reiter also noted that the British Houses of Parliament were built on a malarial swamp and that Britain is not famous for its warm climate especially during the Little Ice Age. More generally, the world map of malaria in 1900 and 2007 does not show an increase in places that we are assured have become much warmer. But it does show malaria disappearing in places that get wealthier so they can afford better housing. And it gets worse.
As Eric Worrell complains, “The study is based on RCP8.5, which is vanishingly unlikely to occur, and the study uses fine grained model hydrological projections.” Regrettably climate models make an even bigger mess of cloud cover than they do of, well, temperature or atmospheric CO2, which is saying quite a bit. And “Given climate models disagree wildly with each other and with observations about the extent of global cloud cover, it is difficult to see how you can infer anything useful from current climate model projections of future rainfall patterns.”
Even if you could, you couldn’t because RCP8.5 is a worse than worst case scenario and they know it, as we have repeatedly observed, including in our new “Fact Check” video “The RCP 8.5 Cheat”. As we have also repeatedly observed, including in the discussion threads on our site, we do not believe in conspiracy theories including that climate change is a hoax, scam or plot. It is clearly congenial to a certain mindset to believe that most humans are dull and wicked and must be saved from themselves by Thomas Sowell’s “anointed”. But it would be a profound mistake to think that these people are cynical in saying climate change requires them to seize power in this crisis. On the contrary, they are driven by terrible sincerity.
In his masterful A Conflict of Visions Sowell quotes Joseph Schumpeter that “The first thing a man will do for his ideals is lie...”. This claim is potentially misleading, as well as unhelpful in that if relied on it tends to lay a discussion waste in all directions. But it also highlights an important truth: when people are powerfully convinced of a certain big idea, they can become culpably careless with what they consider small details, and start preferring “truthiness” to actual truth. And continued reliance on RCP8.5 is in that category.
On that subject, and in the spirit of the historian who looks at climate change, we here quote another historian, John Lukacz, from his masterful At the End of an Age, about the very real difficulty in being fair-minded about evidence without succumbing either to the naïve epistemology of his youth and the relativism to which he initially fled from it: “it is possible (and there exist, fortunately, examples of it) for a historian or a scientist or, indeed, for any thinking man to present evidences, from a proper employment of sources, that are contrary to his prejudices, or to his politics, or indeed to the inclinations of his mind. Whenever this happens, it manifests in his decision to present (which usually means: not to exclude) evidences not supporting his ideas or theses. Something – not merely by the external material evidence, but something internal and spiritual – compels him to do so. I prefer not to name this kind of intellectual (and moral) probity ‘objective’ (or even ‘detached’). ‘Objectivity’ is a method: I prefer the word honesty, which is something else (and more) than a method: within it there resides at least a modicum of humility (and in history, being the knowledge that human beings have of other human beings, even a spark of understanding, of a human empathy).”
So we call on alarmist scientists and most activists, who know RCP8.5 is not business as usual and indeed is not possible, to stop secreting it in the foundations of terribly alarming claims, for policy and indeed internal and spiritual reasons.