12ft | Faster Than Expected: Why Climate Scientists Are So Scared | by Alan Urban | May, 2023 | Medium
“Climate scientists are all a bunch of lying doomsayers! They’re just trying to scare you so they can get more funding, enact a carbon tax, control your life, create a socialist dictatorship, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…”
I’ve heard these claims thousands of times, and I used to believe them until about 10 years ago. For most of my life, I was convinced that climate change was a leftwing conspiracy created by elites in order to control our lives and enrich themselves. (Read this to learn why I changed my mind.)
Recently, I realized something: If climate change were made up, then scientists wouldn’t be saying it’s happening “faster than expected.” Rather, they would be saying it’s happening “slower than expected.” Let me explain…
I’ve fallen for a lot of conspiracy theories over the years (I won’t tell you which ones because it’s too embarrassing), but fortunately, I discovered the concept of scientific skepticism in my early thirties, and that’s when I finally started questioning my beliefs.
I soon realized that nearly every conspiracy I believed didn’t hold up to scrutiny. They all relied on cherry-picked evidence or logical fallacies, and the proponents were usually either lying or delusional.
One logical fallacy I learned about is called special pleading, or moving the goalposts. This is where someone always demands more evidence, no matter how much you give them.
For example, let’s say you’re debating someone who believes the Earth is flat. They tell you that they’ll need hard evidence before they believe the Earth is round.
So, you print a bunch of photos of the Earth from outer space and show them to the flat-earther. They say, “That’s not good enough. These photos could be fake. I need scientific evidence.”
So, you try explaining the scientific evidence for a spherical Earth. You talk about how lunar eclipses always have a round shadow, how star patterns look different in the opposite hemisphere, and how Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the Earth over 2000 years ago.
The flat-earther says, “How do I know that science is accurate? How did they collect their data? How do I know it’s not all made up? I need better evidence.”
But every time you provide evidence, they just move the goalposts and demand even more evidence. If you took them up in a space shuttle so they could look down at the globe with their own eyes, they’d probably demand evidence that they weren’t in a high-tech flight simulator.
Now let’s return to the idea that climate change is a conspiracy. If that were true, then climate scientists would be proven wrong on a regular basis, and every time they were, they would move the goalposts. What would that look like?
Imagine an alternate reality where climate change is hoax. It’s June 23rd, 1988, and world-renowned climate scientist James Hansen is testifying to Congress. But in this reality, he makes a bold claim: “By the year 2000, most of Florida will be underwater.”
The year 2000 comes along and Florida is still very much above water. When confronted with this fact, Hansen says, “My calculations were slightly off, but it will definitely be underwater by 2010.”
So 2010 comes along, and once again, Hansen is confronted by skeptics. He says, “It would be underwater if it weren’t for all the climate policies we’ve enacted. But if we don’t do more, it will certainly be underwater by 2020.”
Then 2020 arrives and Florida still isn’t underwater, and on and on it goes. No matter how many times he’s proven wrong, he just moves the goalposts farther into the future. Meanwhile, the Internet is full of headlines like, “Climate impacts taking longer than expected.”
Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Now let’s look at actual reality. Have climate scientists been making wild claims and moving the goalposts when proven wrong?
No. In fact, the opposite is happening. Rather than moving the goalposts farther into the future, they’re bringing them closer. That’s why we keep seeing headlines with the phrase “faster than expected.”
That phrase is now so common, it’s become a meme. Although the average global temperature has risen in line with forecasts made decades ago, the impacts have been more severe than scientists anticipated.
For example, scientists were shocked by the Pacific Northwest Heatwave of 2021, when Canada’s high temperature record was beaten by 5°C. When Sir Brian John Hoskins, a climatologist based at Imperial College London, heard the news, he didn’t believe it. When he read the news story himself, he said, “Oh my god, that’s really scary.”
He’s right. It is scary because heatwaves like that weren’t supposed to happen for decades. The effects of climate change are arriving much sooner than expected. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at some headlines from the past few years:
NASA: Earth is trapping ‘unprecedented’ amount of heat, warming ‘faster than expected’
Climate scientists shocked by scale of floods in Germany
Frequency, Intensity of Extreme Weather Surprises Climate Scientists
Climate change already worse than expected, says new UN report
It’s 70 degrees warmer than normal in eastern Antarctica. Scientists are flabbergasted.
Climate change already causing storm levels only expected in 2080
Climate change is hitting the planet faster than scientists originally thought
Scientists say temperatures are getting ‘hotter faster’ than their tools can calculate
There are hundreds more. If climate change were a hoax, we wouldn’t be seeing headlines like these. We’d be seeing headlines like “Climate Change Not As Bad As Expected” or “Global Warming Less Severe Than Previously Thought.”
Have you ever seen a headline like that? Even once? Of course not. The last 8 years were the 8 hottest years in history, and it’s still getting hotter.
Even if the planet stopped getting warmer right now, we would still be in big trouble. The ice caps would keep melting and sea levels would keep rising. Look at what’s already happening at a mere 1.2°C of warming:
Antarctic Ice Sheet Is Melting Way Faster Than Expected, Scientists Warn
Climate change: Arctic permafrost now melting at levels not expected until 2090
Antarctica And Greenland’s Ice Sheet Melting On Track With “Worst-Case Scenario”
Red alert: Portions of the Arctic are warming much faster than we thought
Satellite imagery shows Antarctic ice shelf crumbling faster than thought
Arctic warming is happening significantly faster than previously thought, study finds
What’s going on with the Greenland ice sheet? It’s losing ice faster than forecast
Greenland’s glaciers are melting 100 times faster than estimated
But of course, warming isn’t going to stop at 1.2°C. Because of the heat we’ve already trapped in the atmosphere, and because we continue to emit huge amounts of greenhouse gases every year, the climate is warming exponentially.
It took us about a century to raise the global thermostat by 1 degree Celsius, and we’re about to raise it another degree in just 20–30 years.
Think about that for a moment. Another century of global warming in just 2 or 3 decades. And we’re already seeing some of the worst heatwaves in human history, not to mention record-breaking floods, droughts, wildfires, and water shortages.
All of these climate-related crises are stretching farms to the limit, yet this is just the beginning. As crop yields decline and the population grows, we will see food insecurity get worse and worse until we’re in a global famine.
And that right there is why climate scientists are scared. They understand that human civilization was born during the Holocene, when global temperatures were very stable and stayed within a range of about 1°C.
As we push the planet out of that range and raise the temperature about 50 times faster than would occur naturally, it will become harder and harder to produce enough food to feed everyone, and this will lead to social instability, political upheaval, the worst migration crisis ever, and wars over resources.
Despite all of this, the climate deniers still insist that scientists are just trying to scare us so they can secure more funding. But if you think about that for a moment, you’ll see why it doesn’t make any sense.
There are tens of thousands of climate scientists around the world. Are all of them in on this vast conspiracy? Am I supposed to believe that everyone researching climate change is creating fake data and trying to scare us…just so they can get a little more funding?
It would mean that thousands of climate scientists have dedicated their lives to performing junk science that they know isn’t real, just for the money. Is that really plausible? Climate scientists aren’t exactly rich. Maybe a few people would do fake research in order to get a raise, but all of them?
I understand that most of the world’s conspiracies are about making money, but they’re usually about making big money — like millions or even billions of dollars — not small grants or funds for another year of research.
The idea of a vast global conspiracy made up of countless scientists and hundreds of organizations across nearly every major country and language, all working together just so they can make a little more money next year is ridiculous.
If you really want to “follow the money,” why not look at how much money the fossil fuel industry makes? Fossil fuel companies supply 80% of the world’s energy, make billions in profits every year, and get eye-popping subsidies from governments.
Could it be that they have a vested interest in spreading climate doubt and denial in order to slow climate action so they can keep making huge profits? Doesn’t that conspiracy sound a little more plausible? Especially since the same thing happened with lead, cigarettes, and countless other products?
Hell, some of the same exact people that worked for big tobacco, convincing people that cigarettes were safe, went on to work for big oil. Companies like Shell and Exxon knew exactly what fossil fuels would do the planet decades ago, but they ignored the science, spread misinformation, and continued to rake in mega-profits.
Considering all of this, is it really reasonable to believe that climate scientists are a bunch of shills whose primary motive is to make money? Or could they be motivated by something else? Perhaps love for the planet, or fear of societal collapse?
Take Dr. Peter Kalmus, for example. He’s a climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, and he has been warning of climate disaster for over two decades. Is he raking in gobs of cash from wealthy globalists and living the high life? Nope. In fact, he cut his own carbon footprint by 90%.
Kalmus is a member of Scientist Rebellion, and last year, they protested in front of the JP Morgan Chase building in Los Angeles since that bank funds more fossil fuel projects than any other.
With his hand chained to the entrance, he said, “We’ve been trying to warn you guys for so many decades that we’re heading towards a fucking catastrophe. And we’ve been being ignored. The scientists of the world have been being ignored. And it’s gotta stop. We’re gonna lose everything.”
Here’s the video:
Kalmus isn’t the only scientist who is scared of what will happen if the planet keeps getting hotter.
In 2021, Nature did a survey of climate scientists who helped author the latest IPCC report. They found that 60% believe the planet will warm by at least 3°C, an amount that could end civilization as we know it. Only 20% believed warming would stop at 2°C.
It’s hard to state how horrifying this is. In 2015, the Paris Climate Agreement established 2°C as the upper limit of warming we should allow, because going beyond it would cause catastrophes on a scale never seen in human history.
Since then, we’ve learned that climate change is even worse than we thought. Disasters that weren’t supposed to happen until we reached 1.5°C are happening now, so we can only imagine what will happen when we hit 2° or 3°C.
This is why top scientists from around the world are warning us that we face a ghastly future filled with untold suffering. They’ve been telling us over and over, year after year, summit after summit, that we have to stop burning fossil fuels as quickly as possible. But as you can see, the world keeps ignoring them.
GHG and Temperature Despite Climate Meetings
If climate scientists are all in on a vast conspiracy to enrich themselves and control our lives by phasing out fossil fuels, they’re not doing a very good job. They’ve been sounding the alarm for over 30 years, but as you can see, they’ve made virtually no progress.
This is one of the reasons I changed my mind about climate change. Ever since I was a child, I was told that climate science was fake and that globalists were going to use it to take my rights away. But when I grew up, I realized I had all the same rights my parents did.
No one forced me to stop flying or go vegan or buy an electric vehicle or give up my gas stove. If climate change were a real conspiracy, they would have managed to take at least a few rights away by now. But today, Americans have the right to expand their carbon footprint as much as ever.
The truth is much simpler: Greenhouse gases are trapping heat in the atmosphere, warming the planet faster than nature can adapt, and threatening civilization, while big oil is spreading misinformation so they can delay climate action and fill their pockets with as much money as possible before time runs out.
This is why the collapse of civilization is the most likely outcome, and that is why climate scientists are so scared. Because it’s way way worse than they thought, and most of the world still has no idea.
As James Lovelock said 15 years ago, “Enjoy life while you can. Because if you’re lucky it’s going to be 20 years before it hits the fan.”