by Thomas O’Dwyer
Before we can save the planet, we need to expose and stop the willful planet killers. They’re not difficult to identify – it’s the usual science-hating suspects and their followers. Shortly after the United Nations released its shocking scientific report on climate change last week, one of my acquaintances who has a sharp eye for ready-made answers to inconvenient truths, forwarded me an email. These Fwd: Fwd: messengers never share their own researched and crafted opinions – there’s an industry that creates cookie-cutter thinking for its email warriors. The report in the news is from the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This UN climate-science organisation, founded in 1988, has 195 member countries and every seven years it publishes a state-of-the-climate update, summarising current, peer-reviewed research on the science of climate change and its effects. To write this latest IPCC summary, 234 scientists read more than 14,000 research papers.
The gist of the scoffing email I received was that the UN report was alarmist, exaggerated and too negative. UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ warning that the report was “code red for humanity” was an overstatement. Behind the entire effort was “a political agenda” in which “some” politicians falsely proclaim an existential threat to the world by mixing politics and science. The writer admitted that they had not read the report, only “a couple of articles about it,” but assured us that far from heralding planetary catastrophe, climate change would bring “great commercial opportunities” (which the email did not specify). This vague prediction did contain the grudging admission that climate change is real — a couple of years ago, these emails were in full Trumpian cry proclaiming it a left-wing hoax. Now there’s a shift among the former purist deniers —it exists but it comes bearing bounty (more wealth for the wealthy). Read more »