In the Wall Street Journal, Holman W. Jenkins Jr. offers some good news. Scientists are getting fed up with something too silly to ignore, namely the RCP8.5 catastrophe scenario we have repeatedly debunked in these pages. In short, while newspapers and politicians continue to proclaim that the end is nigh, “the climate community has been backing away from a worst-case scenario peddled to the public for years as ‘business as usual.’” Included in the list is Steven Koonin, whose credentials include a PhD in theoretical physics from MIT (does that make him a “climate scientist” even if he questions the “consensus”, we wonder?) and being “chief scientist of the Obama Energy Department”. So, hardly a fossil fuel industry shill. But he denies that there’s an “existential threat” and his forthcoming book Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters punctures climate change myths from flooding to hurricanes to economic catastrophe. More please, and faster.
One curious thing about RCP8.5 is that while it underpins many of the most lurid and unreasonable climate catastrophe scenarios that parade through the media, it rarely makes an appearance. Partly because the journalists who yammer on about what the experts say often have very little idea what the experts actually said and would struggle to comprehend it if they did. Which doesn’t really excuse them, since piling a Pelion of presumption on an Ossa of ignorance is not a boast. But the scientists do know, and some at least do have integrity even if many of them lack a taste for polemics and the ugly career consequences that can now result from disputing the orthodoxy.
Still the truth will out and it is. Though Jenkins notes a singular irony of the situation: “In a simple model of the world, authority figures say absurd and false things, and the media calls them out. The reverse happened this time, with the climate crowd reacting to the media’s botched coverage of the Fourth National Climate Assessment in 2018, itself a strained compilation of extreme worst-case scenarios that still couldn’t deliver the desired global meltdown.”
Then he lists scientists who have finally had it with the hijacking of their profession, beginning with Koonin. And it’s not just scientists. Jenkins also mentions David Wallace-Wells, author of the 2019 book The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming who is (all together now) not a climate scientist but of all things a historian. Yet despite the title of his book, which gives a fair idea of its contents and which was warmly reviewed by the “you’re not a climate scientist” crowd for its terrifying contents, he recently asked alarmists to be less alarming and more realistic.
Jenkins claims encouragingly that “The strain of holding realism at bay is starting to tell” on alarmists including John Kerry. And we claim even more encouragingly that even if an error gets out of the gate like a hare-brain, eventually the truth has, like the tortoise, more staying power.