UN Secretary-General António Guterres bludgeons us with his paraphrase of the conclusion of yet another UN report on the climate emergency crisis catastrophe Armageddon thingy: “We are nearing the point of no return, of overshooting the internationally agreed limit of 1.5°C of global warming. The facts are not in question. Our actions are. We are at the tip of a tipping point. But it is not too late.” Indeed it is not too late to admit that you’ve been fearmongering irresponsibly, and calling other people science deniers when you’re the one ignoring science, because a major alarmist publication conceded in February that the 1.5°C warming limit was just made up to scare people: “here’s the thing: 1.5 degrees, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, isn’t based on any scientific calculation.” Just polling data more likely, and with nonstop headlines like “Earth to Hit Critical Warming Threshold by Early 2030s, Climate Panel Says” it’s evidently working, if the aim is to sell papers at the expense of what’s left of your credibility.
Thus the New York Times shouts:
“Earth is likely to cross a critical threshold for global warming within the next decade, and nations will need to make an immediate and drastic shift away from fossil fuels to prevent the planet from overheating dangerously beyond that level, according to a major new report released on Monday.”
And of course this “critical threshold” is the totally arbitrary political 1.5°C, though the story leaves out the bit about it being arbitrary. Though not the bit where “There is still one last chance to shift course, the new report says.” Oh no. Not another one.
Oh yes. Under the headline “A clear message from science”, that same paper’s “Climate Forward” tells us:
“‘There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all (very high confidence).’ This is the most striking sentence in a 37-page summary, issued today, of the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”
As for striking sentences, “Climate Forward” bangs them out relentlessly. This report:
“lays out the present impacts and imminent risks of climate change and it offers a number of options to both adapt to an inevitably hotter planet and prevent Earth from getting unmanageably hotter still. It calls for a swift, sharp reduction in fossil fuel use if the world is to stay within a relatively safe planetary boundary. That is, to limit the global average temperature to within 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, above preindustrial levels. It plainly warns that the world is on track to exceed that threshold, at least temporarily, in the first half of the 2030s…. The Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, called it a ‘how to guide to defuse the climate time bomb.’”
Over at NBC, more of those famously skeptical journalists who speak truth to power are at it again, under an image of a polar bear just to emphasize their indifference to inconvenient scientific realities. Their dispassionate “Climate In Crisis” section says “Now or never: One of the biggest climate reports ever shows time is running out”. And that we have about a decade to save our souls from fiery perdition. Oh yeah. As always.
It seems that “The chance to secure a livable future for everyone on Earth is slipping away.” And without livability we’ll all be dead, right? Or wishing we were. Anyway:
“That was the dire message from a United Nations report released Monday, the culmination of more than six years of work by thousands of climate scientists contributing to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. ‘There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all,’ the report’s authors wrote.”
For all. Who could say no? But we must act and act fast, as the last chance for a closing window of livability slams on our rhetorical capabilities:
“The technology needed to adapt to climate change and keep harmful emissions at bay is available, the report said, arguing that a clear path exists to a more sustainable world and a stable climate…. The panel also found that a key aim of the landmark Paris climate agreement – to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius – may be out of reach.”
Then aren’t we doomed? Yes and no:
“More than 190 countries agreed to strive for that mark — equivalent to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit of warming — in 2015 in order to stave off the most catastrophic consequences of climate change. Eight years later, scientists say nations’ commitments still leave a ‘substantial’ gap and it’s ‘likely’ global warming will exceed the 1.5-degree threshold…. That transformation must come now. To limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, greenhouse gas emissions would need to be cut nearly in half by 2030, according to the report…. Manish Bapna, president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the IPCC report is an urgent call for global action. ‘This is the stone cold truth laid out in unassailable science by the world’s top climate experts. We’re hurtling down the road to ruin and running out of time to change course,’ Bapna said in a statement.”
So we’ve got the stone cold hurtles. Brutal.
So not to be outdone, U.S. President Joe Biden told an interviewer:
“Mother Nature let her wrath be seen over the last 2 years. For example, I have traveled on helicopter over more forest area burned to the ground than the entire state of Maryland. That’s how much is burned to the ground. Floods, droughts, all the things. And so people can’t deny it any more. If we don’t keep the temperature from going above 1.5 Celsius, raised, then we’re in real trouble. That whole generation is damned. I mean, that’s not hyperbole”.
Noooo no no no, not hyperbole. We’re literally on fire and damned as we tip into breakdown of extremityism. Indeed apparently it’s even worse than Florida’s legislation to limit sex education in the early grades, and gender reassignment for kids, which Preacher Joe merely called “close to sinful.”
Still, since one of the 10 Commandments was not to lie, we cannot help thinking that continuing to present as science a target that is quite openly not science is also liable to get St. Peter drumming his fingers irritably. And if there wasn’t a Commandment “Thou shalt not babble nastily” it is presumably because it was so obvious it didn’t need saying.
Or did it?