Would you like to know exactly how long we have left to save the earth? If you’re in New York City and happen to be in Union Square, all you have to do is look up at the gigantic “Climate Clock” that’s been installed to commemorate Climate Week.
BREAKING: NYC just turned the giant Union Square clock into a #ClimateClock to hold governments and corporations accountable. We have 7 years and 102 days to dramatically reduce carbon emissions. Let’s do this! https://t.co/m2JSk0wpkB #ActInTime #GreenNewDeal #ClimateWeekNYC pic.twitter.com/qjUNR4h4Op
— TheClimateClock (@theclimateclock) September 19, 2020
Seven years and 102 days. That’s exactly how long we have. Not approximately. Not a rough guess. Not even wishful thinking. The clock purports to tell us the number of years, days, hours, and seconds we have left before the Sword of Damocles descends on Mother Earth and snuffs out the human race in a puff of smoke.
What passes for thinking among climate hysterics goes something like this: We only have seven years and change to take action to avoid catastrophic climate change. The clock is based on an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report telling us we have to keep our CO2 footprint under a certain level or we’re all doomed.
The report states that starting from 2018, a carbon dioxide budget of 420 Gt of CO2 gives us a 67% chance to stay under 1.5°C of warming.” The countdown shows, at current rates of emission, how long it will take to burn through the earth’s “carbon budget” or the amount of carbon dioxide that can be released into the atmosphere while keeping global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. “This is our deadline, the time we have left to take decisive action to keep warming under the 1.5°C threshold” the founders of Climate Clock state.
I’m sure the scientists making that prediction can trot out their calculations and graphs, and present learned papers on how they arrived at their conclusions.
I’m also sure they’re full of it.
If the earth’s atmosphere was a chart or a graph, they’d have it down cold. Unfortunately for their “predictions,” the atmosphere is slightly more dynamic than a piece of paper. It’s a living, breathing, churning, roiling thing affected by thousands of factors that no supercomputer or scientific genius could possibly account for.
To have the unmitigated arrogance to pretend to know how long we have left — or that such a thing can even be measured — is breathtaking.
Other interim predictions on warming have been nowhere near accurate, although they are accurate enough for models. Unfortunately, the world economy is not a model. And to propose siphoning $30 trillion in the next 20 years out of the economies of the West to deal with the problem of climate change doesn’t track. There must be some other reason to impoverish Western industrialized democracies. Could it be — dare I say — political?
Politicizing science is not new, and despite what they want you to think, scientists are not above serving a political agenda. But the absurdity of “predicting” anything so complex, so fraught with uncertainty and based almost exclusively on predictive modeling, makes their playing at politics dangerous to life and liberty.
What’s more, this isn’t the only Climate Clock that could be built.
Another slightly less aggressive benchmark from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 — nine years away — to give the Earth a 50% chance of not exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming.
This is the benchmark famously invoked by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2019 when she said “the world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change” — a quote which right-wing politicians and media pounced on.
Different time frame, different solution. There are probably a half-dozen other predictions with different time frames. Why this clock? Why not install clocks up and down that building so everyone can pick the day they want to die?
It’s fun to be able to look up at a clock and count down to your own doom.