Where Is The “Climate Emergency”?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I listed some of the following in my previous post, and a commenter said they were important enough to deserve a post on their own … I agree.

Despite my asking over and over in a host of forums, to date nobody has been able to tell me just what this supposed “CLIMATE EMERGENCY!!” actually is and where I might find evidence that it exists. Here are some facts for the folks that think that the climate is a real danger to humanity.

Deaths from climate-related phenomena are at an all-time low. If you think deaths from climate-related catastrophes are an emergency, please point in the graph below to the start of the “emergency”.

Storminess has not gone up, and there’s been no increase in hurricane strength or frequency … no “emergency” there.

Even the IPCC says there’s only one chance in five (“low confidence”) that global droughts are increasing (see the end notes). Nor have the “wet areas been getting wetter and the dry areas getting drier”. No flood or drought emergency.

Droughts in the US have been decreasing, not increasing.

Global weather disaster losses as a percentage of assets at risk (global GDP) are decreasing, not increasing.

Alarmists keep posting scary-looking graphs of the loss of polar ice, like this one of Antarctica.

Or this one, from Greenland.

Those look totally frightening and emergency-like … until you realize that they ignore the reality of just how much ice there is in those locations. Here are the corresponding changes in total ice mass for the two locations.

Tide gauges show no increase in the rate of sea-level rise, and the claimed acceleration in satellite-measured sea level is merely an artifact of changing satellites.

Polar bears, once considered to be the “canary in the coal mine” for the “climate emergency”, are doing very well, thanks.

Yields of all major food crops continue to rise, and humans are better fed, clothed, and housed against the vagaries of weather than at any time in the past.

Land temperatures have already risen more than the dreaded 2°C, with no cataclysmic consequences … there has been no historical “climate emergency” despite temperature increases.

None of the endless serial doomcasts from the climate alarmists have come true …

There has been no global increase in the number of wildfires … here’s the NASA satellite data.

Increasing CO2 is causing increased plant growth all around the globe, which is increasing the food supplies of humans and animals alike. Here’s the data from NASA.

Honest people, including IPCC officials, have admitted that the “climate emergency” is just an excuse to redistribute global wealth.

Very hot days in the US, over 100°F (38°F) were much higher in the 1930s than at any other time in the last 125 years.

There’s no sign of the “50 million climate refugees by 2010” confidently predicted by the United Nations in 2005.

Coral atolls are not sinking below the seas, in fact many are increasing in size.

Strong tornadoes in the US are decreasing.

There’s no sign of the fabled “Sixth Wave Of Extinctions”.

Climate models have routinely predicted far greater warming than has actually occurred.

This should not surprise anyone—the intractability of climate predictions has long been recognized even by the IPCC, viz:

“In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible”

IPCC Third Assessment Report, The Scientific Basis 14 2 2 2, p.774

Next, all of the weather risks dramatically foretold by climate alarmists have been with us forever—flood, fire, famine, drought, heat waves, hurricanes, tornadoes, all are as ancient as the hills. We are protected from the vagaries of weather by one thing—wealth. It is the poorest of the world who are most at risk from flood, fire, and famine. When I was born, about three-quarters of the world lived on less than $1.90 per day. Now, it is less than 10% of the world living in those conditions.

This increase in wealth has been driven and fueled by one thing … energy, mostly in the form of fossil fuels.

So if we wish to keep insulating people from the age-old destructive effects of weather, we need to maintain and increase the amount of cheap energy available, especially to the poor. If you insist on fighting the imaginary climate menace, at least have the kindness and the human decency not to do it on the backs of the poor by increasing energy costs, whether by “carbon taxes” or in any other way. I discuss this most important issue in my post “We Have Met The 1%, And He Is Us.”

Next, here is the radical change in downwelling radiation at the surface from the increase in CO2 that is supposed to be driving the “CLIMATE EMERGENCY!!!”

The changes in downwelling radiation from the increase in CO2 are trivially small, lost in the noise …

Finally, an “emergency” is defined in the dictionary as “a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action.” Alarmists have been warning us over and over about the purported impending “emergency” for 50 years, so it is hardly “unexpected”. None of their endless predictions of imminent tragedy have come true, and despite decades of warning, no significant “immediate action” has been taken … so by definition, it can’t be an emergency. 

For five decades, we’ve been told every year that we only have five, ten, or twenty years before disaster … I mean, seriously, how can people still believe these serial failed doomcasters?

So before we spend trillions of dollars on an unachievable plan to totally redo the entire global energy supply, how about we wait until someone can actually let us in on the big secret—just where is this mysterious “CLIMATE EMERGENCY!!!”, and when did it start?

My very best wishes to all, and take a deep breath—there’s no impending Thermageddon™ just around the corner …


FURTHER IMAGES: If you have other images showing that the world is not experiencing a “climate emergency”, please link to them and I may add them to the head post. No guarantees.

MY REQUEST: When you comment, please quote the exact words you are discussing. This will avoid much of the misunderstanding that plagues the intarwebs.

THE IPCC VIEW: Here are some representative quotes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) regarding what the scientists have “low confidence” in (emphasis mine). Be aware that in IPCCSpeak, “low confidence” means that there is only one chance in five that a statement is correct … not odds you’d want to bet your entire economy on.


The impacts of changes in flood characteristics are also highly dependent on how climate changes in the future, and as noted in Section 3.5.2, there is low confidence in projected changes in flood magnitude or frequency.

There are inconsistent patterns of change in heavy precipitation in Africa and partial lack of data; hence there is low confidence in observed precipitation trends

There is medium confidence in projected poleward shifts of mid-latitude storm tracks but low confidence in detailed regional projections

There is thus low confidence in the level at which global warming could lead to very high risks associated with extreme weather events in the context of this report.

Low confidence in an observed global-scale trend in drought or dryness (lack of rainfall) since the 1950s, due to lack of direct observations, methodological uncertainties and choice and geographical inconsistencies in the trends

Low confidence in attributing changes in drought over global land areas since the mid20th century to human influence owing to observational uncertainties and difficulties in distinguishing decadal-scale variability in drought from long-term trends.

The IPCC AR5 (2013) stressed low confidence in a global-scale observed trend in drought, owing to lack of direct observations, dependencies of inferred trends on the index choice, as well as difficulties in distinguishing long-term climate change from decadal-scale drought variability

Tropical cyclones are projected to decrease in frequency but with an increase in the number of very intense cyclones (limited evidence, low confidence).

There is thus low confidence in the level at which global warming could lead to very high risks associated with extreme weather events in the context of this report.

Observed global changes in the water cycle, including precipitation, are more uncertain than observed changes in temperature (Hartmann et al., 2013; Stocker et al., 2013). There is high confidence that mean precipitation over the mid-latitude land areas of the Northern Hemisphere has increased since 1951 (Hartmann et al., 2013). For other latitudinal zones, area-averaged long-term positive or negative trends have low confidence because of poor data quality, incomplete data or disagreement amongst available estimates (Hartmann et al., 2013). There is, in particular, low confidence regarding observed trends in precipitation in monsoon regions, according to the SREX report (Seneviratne et al., 2012) and AR5 (Hartmann et al., 2013), as well as more recent publications (Singh et al., 2014; Taylor et al., 2017; Bichet and Diedhiou, 2018; see Supplementary Material 3.SM.2).

Consequently, the current assessment is that there is low confidence regarding changes in monsoons at these lower global warming levels, as well as regarding differences in monsoon responses at 1.5°C versus 2°C.

The IPCC AR5 assessed that there was low confidence in the sign of drought trends since 1950 at the global scale,

AR5 assessed that there was low confidence in the attribution of global changes in droughts and did not provide assessments for the attribution of regional changes in droughts (Bindoff et al., 2013a)

Such contradictions, in combination with the fact that the almost four-decade-long period of remotely sensed observations remains relatively short to distinguish anthropogenically induced trends from decadal and multi-decadal variability, implies that there is only low confidence regarding changes in global tropical cyclone numbers under global warming over the last four decades.

Likewise, CMIP5 model simulations of the historical period have not produced anthropogenically induced trends in very intense tropical cyclones (Bender et al., 2010; Knutson et al., 2010, 2013; Camargo, 2013; Christensen et al., 2013), consistent with the findings of Klotzbach and Landsea (2015). There is consequently low confidence in the conclusion that the number of very intense cyclones is increasing globally.

AR5 assessed that under high greenhouse gas forcing (3°C or 4°C of global warming) there is low confidence in projections of poleward shifts of the Northern Hemisphere storm tracks, while there is high confidence that there would be a small poleward shift of the Southern Hemisphere storm tracks (Stocker et al., 2013). In the context of this report, the assessment is that there is limited evidence and low confidence in whether any projected signal for higher levels of warming would be clearly manifested under 2°C of global warming.

Collins et al. (2013) assessed low confidence in Antarctic sea ice projections because of the wide range of model projections and an inability of almost all models to reproduce observations such as the seasonal cycle, interannual variability and the long-term slow increase.

There was low confidence due to limited evidence, however, that anthropogenic climate change has affected the frequency and magnitude of floods. WGII AR5 also concluded that there is no evidence that surface water and groundwater drought frequency has changed over the last few decades, although impacts of drought have increased mostly owing to increased water demand (Jiménez Cisneros et al., 2014)

Reduced ocean upwelling has implications for millions of people and industries that depend on fisheries for food and livelihoods (Bakun et al., 2015; FAO, 2016; Kämpf and Chapman, 2016), although there is low confidence in the projection of the size of the consequences at 1.5°C

Evidence of a slowdown of AMOC has increased since AR5 (Smeed et al., 2014; Rahmstorf et al., 2015a, b; Kelly et al., 2016), yet a strong causal connection to climate change is missing (low confidence)

The magnitude of global sea level rise that could occur over the next two centuries under 1.5°C–2°C of global warming is estimated to be in the order of several tenths of a metre according to most studies (low confidence)

That is, although restraining the global temperature increase to 2°C is projected to reduce crop losses under climate change relative to higher levels of warming, the associated mitigation costs may increase the risk of hunger in low-income countries (low confidence)

Overall, no statistically significant changes in GDP are projected to occur over most of the developed world under 1.5°C of global warming in comparison to present-day conditions, but under 2°C of global warming impacts on GDP are projected to be generally negative (low confidence)

Moreover, daily rainfall intensity and runoff is expected to increase (low confidence) towards 2°C and higher levels of global warming

A collapse in permafrost may occur (low confidence); a drastic biome shift from tundra to boreal forest is possible (low confidence)

The number of investigations into how the tree fraction may respond in the Arctic to different degrees of global warming is limited, and studies generally indicate that substantial increases will likely occur gradually (e.g., Lenton et al., 2008). Abrupt changes are only plausible at levels of warming significantly higher than 2°C (low confidence) and would occur in conjunction with a collapse in permafrost

A single model projection (Drijfhout et al., 2015) suggested that higher temperatures may induce a smaller ice fraction in soils in the tundra, leading to more rapidly warming soils and a positive feedback mechanism that results in permafrost collapse (low confidence).

Given that scenarios of 1.5°C or 2°C of global warming would include a substantially smaller radiative forcing than those assessed in the study by Jiang and Tian (2013), there is low confidence regarding changes in monsoons at these low global warming levels, as well as regarding the differences between responses at 1.5°C versus 2°C of warming.

A tipping point for significant dieback of the boreal forests is thought to exist, where increased tree mortality would result in the creation of large regions of open woodlands and grasslands, which would favour further regional warming and increased fire frequencies, thus inducing a powerful positive feedback mechanism (Lenton et al., 2008; Lenton, 2012). This tipping point has been estimated to exist between 3°C and 4°C of global warming (low confidence) (Lucht et al., 2006; Kriegler et al., 2009), but given the complexities of the various forcing mechanisms and feedback processes involved, this is thought to be an uncertain estimate.

These changes may be classified as incremental rather than representing a tipping point. Large-scale reductions in maize crop yield, including the potential collapse of this crop in some regions, may exist under 3°C or more of global warming (low confidence)

Under 3°C of global warming, significant reductions in the areas suitable for livestock production could occur (low confidence)

Tropical cyclones are projected to decrease in frequency but with an increase in the number of very intense cyclones (limited evidence, low confidence).

Climate models now include more cloud and aerosol processes, and their interactions, than at the time of the AR4, but
there remains low confidence in the representation and quantification of these processes in models.

The release of CO2 or CH4 to the atmosphere from thawing permafrost carbon stocks over the 21st century is assessed to be in the range of 50 to 250 GtC for RCP8.5 (low confidence).

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