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Have a cool one

25 Nov 2020 | News Roundup

According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, whose famous doomsday clock has been minutes away from midnight since, er, 1953, some parts of the Midwest and Louisiana will become virtually uninhabitable in 20 to 40 years. Which will come as a disappointment to all the people streaming into New Orleans to buy luxury homes. Of course if the doomsday clock has only moved about 5 minutes in 67 years, there’s still time to debunk this one. Start with our video on the RCP8.5 scam. Or this one in which a match is struck, and lights an ominous fire in the background, a sombre narrator intones that “The world is getting warmer… Drinking water may be rationed” then, amid scenes of urban chaos, the narrator says “We must act now” by writing to politicians and donating money. Except in this case, just as the planet bursts into flames, the call to action is replaced by a snide… “enjoy the sunshine” and then a kangaroo cracks a cool Foster’s Ice and sighs contentedly while “Global Cooling” shimmers across the screen. That ad, to be sure, is not new. But it rekindles hope that too many hysterical predictions of climate disasters may render alarmism not just tiresome but funny.

The ad was embedded at the bottom, as an afterthought, of Eric Worrall’s takedown of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists article. And the treatment Worrall metes out is well-deserved; the piece is full of the usual lurid exaggerations or outright untruths: “America’s West is facing massive wildfires. Its coasts are being inundated by sea level rise. Its desert cities and farms are stressed by ever-increasing demands for air conditioning and water. The Southeast faces increased hurricane risks. The heartland is seeing extremes of both heat and precipitation. In relatively cool places like Alaska and northern Minnesota, temperatures are rising even faster than elsewhere, melting the tundra and turning forests into savannas.”

With a touch of Schadenfreude, the piece notes that the callous culpable rich are dooming themselves: “The wealthiest Americans can build bunkers or buy private islands. They can pay security guards and private schools. They can access the best medical treatments the world has to offer. They can buy solar panels and Teslas. But they can no more escape climate change than they can stop breathing. They cannot purchase their own atmosphere or their own ocean.”

Having trashed the capitalists, he notes, the BAS turns on the regular sheeple too dumb to get it. “Because many Americans do not yet recognize climate change as an emergency, some are still migrating into harm’s way. America’s coastlines and desert cities continue to swell with new arrivals and new housing developments.” Right. Almost as though buyers, real estate agents and investors don’t believe the hype.

The BAS insists that “By 20 to 40 years from now, under a high-emissions scenario with no policies to mitigate global warming, everyday temperatures in the US South and Southwest will be extremely hot, according to an analysis by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine of Rhodium Group research. In that scenario, some counties in Arizona will be above 95 degrees for half the year, and some parts of the Midwest and Louisiana will be so humid for about 18 days of each year that humans will need air conditioning to stay cool enough for survival.”

Which is all pretty scary until you realize that needing AC in Louisiana for two and a half weeks isn’t quite the apocalypse and might, to many people, feel like more of the same. And as you no doubt guessed, this “high emissions scenario with no policies to mitigate global warming” is yet again RCP8.5, dead but too dumb to lie down. (And you’d be right; see the very end of this piece referenced by the BAS.) People might understandably say we’ll wait to see those temperatures before we panic. But what’s really revealing, to us, is that for all this hectoring and hysteria, for all the silencing of dissent in academia and in politics, for all the name-calling and bullying of “deniers”, more and more people aren’t just refusing to “get it”. They’re laughing at it. Even in some corporate headquarters.

Of course Foster might not dare make that ad now. But when you contrast what people tell pollsters about their concern about climate change and what they’re actually willing to pay to try to stop it, you realize that past a certain point an endlessly nagging dismal message of insulting doom, instead of wearing down the targets, puts their authors in the sights of the most dangerous political weapon in the civilized world: laughter. (On which note we cannot resist pointing to this satirical account of the day Greta Thunberg woke up to a petroleum-free world.)

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