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Ross Clark: Stop terrorising the young with climate doom

April 1, 2023

By Paul Homewood



We are not going to drown, starve or die of thirst because of climate change. Rather, the most immediate danger lies in exaggerating the threats and rendering an entire generation incapacitated by fear.

Who are the greatest victims of climate change? People flooded out of their homes? Subsistence farmers affected by drought? I would suggest an alternative group: the 56 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds who, according to a 2021 poll, think humanity is doomed by a changing climate. You can see it in tearful schoolchildren boycotting lessons, in Just Stop Oil activists earnestly telling us that billions of people are going to starve, in those who say they will never have children because, in the words of one 27-year-old woman quoted in The Guardian, “I feel I can’t in all conscience bring a child into this world and force them to try and survive what may be apocalyptic conditions”.
Having been a child for the second half of the Cold War I know all about growing up with the threat of doom hanging over us. But I don’t recall my contemporaries traumatised by the prospect of nuclear war. We indulged in black humour, and some went on CND marches and shouted things, but I never saw anyone reduced to a gibbering wreck, as some seem to be over climate change.
The young who feel doomed are not direct victims of climate change, of course, but the hysteria surrounding it. They have been fed daily predictions of doom by people they feel they can trust. Who can blame them after listening, for example, to the climate security secretary, Grant Shapps, who yesterday launched the government’s latest net zero plans by asserting that “polluting sources of energy are destroying our planet”; or to the UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, as he launched the “synthesis report” of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last week: “The climate timebomb is ticking,” he said. “Humanity is on thin ice and that ice is melting fast.” Language that until recently was only uttered by activists has become commonplace among political leaders.
What had provoked Guterres’s catastrophising? The IPCC synthesis report contained no new science — the scientific report was published 18 months ago. This was the edited highlights, skewed towards the bad news. That bad news was then hyped by Guterres and further exaggerated in some of the reporting. One headline claiming “scientists deliver ‘final warning’ on climate change” turned out to have come from a Greenpeace spokesman.
It is difficult to reconcile Guterres’s remarks with the content of the IPCC scientific report. This declares that it was “unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land” and that rapid changes in climate have occurred as a result; but in no way does it support the assertion that we are heading for what is now commonly called an “unliveable Earth”. It is a measured document, reviewing mountains of climate research, acknowledging where evidence is strong or weak, and revealing that while some climatic trends are harmful to human societies, others are benign or even helpful.
You would never guess, for example, from listening to Guterres nor from the reporting every time a storm strikes the US that the IPCC scientific report concluded there has been no increasing trend in the number of hurricanes making landfall in America since 1900, although they cause more damage now because the coastline is more developed. The same is true of tornados such as the one that flattened parts of Mississippi last week: no increasing trend.
Neither, from the regular prophecies of agricultural Armageddon, would you guess that the IPCC failed to detect an increasing trend in the frequency or severity of meteorological drought, except for a few regions in Africa and South America. The synthesis report asserts that “climate change has reduced food security” — yet goes on to concede that agricultural production continues to increase. The UN’s food and agriculture organisation data shows, for example, that wheat yields are up 9.8 per cent and maize yields up 11.9 per cent in the past decade. Among common crops only cassava is down, by 8.5 per cent in a decade — but yields are up 47 per cent over six decades.
The IPCC’s synthesis report flags an increase in global mortality from heatwaves. You have to dig deeper to find the whole truth. A widely quoted figure claims that five million people a year are dying from extreme temperatures. It comes from a respectable source: a study by Monash University, Australia, in 2021. Yet what tends to get missed out is that 90 per cent of those deaths were from extreme low temperatures. This is true even in Africa. Moreover, while the incidence of deaths from high temperatures shows a slight increase as the world warms, deaths from extreme low temperatures are falling at a faster rate. So, for the moment at least, climate change is leading to an overall fall in temperature-related deaths.
There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about climate change. From Britain’s point of view, sea levels are rising at around 3mm a year. Extreme rainfall events are increasing, though this does not always translate into greater flood risk. The most comprehensive study on flood trends quoted by the IPCC looked at more than 3,500 rivers around the world and measured changes in their maximum annual flow between 1961 and 2005, a time of warming temperatures. It found that maximum flow, and therefore flood risk, had increased in just 7.1 per cent of them, and decreased in 11.9 per cent of them.
Yet even if sea levels do rise by the half a metre expected by the IPCC this century and flood risk increases in some areas, that hardly amounts to an existential threat to humanity — more an engineering challenge.
Guterres, along with some political leaders and some prominent scientists, appears to be playing the same game as Matt Hancock did with Covid, when he said in a WhatsApp message he wanted to “frighten the pants” off the public. Perhaps he thinks that apocalyptic tones will nudge us all into action. But as we found with Covid, weaponising fear can be counter-productive. If you frighten people into thinking the world is going to end, whatever we do, what incentive does anyone have to tackle climate change? If you think you are doomed, you might as well do what some did on the Titanic: carry on carousing and go down in style.
The reality, though, is that we are not doomed. We should reduce, and as much as technology allows us, try to eliminate carbon emissions. But we are not going to drown, starve or die of thirst because of climate change. Rather, the most immediate danger lies in exaggerating the threats and rendering an entire generation incapacitated by fear.

  1. Tonyb permalink
    April 1, 2023 6:11 pm

    I have Ross Clark’s “NOT Zero” on the desk beside me in the Queue ready to read after the one on the threats China poses (The UK’s new pact in the Pacific is of huge geo political significance to the West) and a book on Ukraine.

    Ross’s novella on Climate change ‘The Denial’ was brilliant which I would place on a par with Orwells 1984 in its dystopian message.

    • Thomas Carr permalink
      April 1, 2023 6:34 pm

      He had a half page in The Times yesterday – under Comment. Clark has a highly effective swipe at Guterres . Nothing less than Paul would expect.

    • April 1, 2023 8:45 pm

      Lies, damned lies, statistics and worsening climate threats.
      Defund the UN-2not wortg the money if it lies.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      April 2, 2023 11:45 am

      Can recommend Booker’s ‘Scared to Death’ – but based on what you’re reading I’d guess you already have it.

  2. Up2snuff permalink
    April 1, 2023 6:16 pm

    I agree. It is a form of child abuse and should be stopped right now.

  3. Ian Wilson permalink
    April 1, 2023 6:34 pm

    Much of what Ross Clark writes is highly sensible but it is by no means certain, as he states, that “we should try to eliminate carbon emissions.” The Oregon Petition Project, signed by 31,487 scientists including 9,029 PhDs and such great names in physics as the late Edward Teller, stated there is no scientific evidence human originated gases cause climate warming.
    At the recent 15th International Conference on Climate Change two scientists, Patrick Moore and geologist Ian Pilmer suggested it would be beneficial if the CO2 level in the atmosphere INCREASED, as it would boost world food output.
    A similar point was made in the World Climate Declaration.

    • Nigel Sherratt permalink
      April 1, 2023 6:53 pm

      Indeed, real scientists such as W A van Wijngaarden and W Happer show that the fundamental assumptions are incorrect. Any warming is a net benefit as is the increase in photosynthesis. More CO2 will keep us away from the dreaded 180ppm extinction point.

    • Micky R permalink
      April 1, 2023 7:02 pm

      ” Much of what Ross Clark writes is highly sensible but it is by no means certain,”
      Ross Clarke is demonstrably a believer in the belief that humans are responsible for climate change, although I’m uncertain if he believes that humans are responsible for dangerous climate change.

      • ThinkingScientist permalink
        April 2, 2023 10:31 am

        Sadly we have reached the point (and Ross Clark knows) where to attempt to challenge the underlying IPCC climate science of CO2 = warming x water vapour feedback will get you labelled “climate denier” and de-platformed.

        To remain with a platform you have to at least pretend that humans cause warming and the models are true.

        The known physics of CO2 (and as very carefully re-calibrated by Wijngarden & Happer recently using HITRAN) shows the effect of CO2 doubling is just about 1 degC (actually I think they calculate about 0.92 degC per doubling). Water vapour feedback in the models results in a positive feedback of about 3x this value, but this is a hypothesis not physics and the model results in this regard seem to be disproved by data eg absence of tropical tropospheric hotspot; changes in humidity not consistent with water vapour feedback models.

        The evidence that disproves the climate model physics being correct is in plain sight but simply ignored. Sea level rise and glacial retreat are one set of disproving data. The Holocene period back to 12,000 years ago is another. Finally the models themselves significantly under-predict warming 1910-1945 and over-predict warming post 1990.

      • Micky R permalink
        April 2, 2023 1:01 pm

        @ ThinkingScientist, I can see the basis of your argument, but to accept the flawed belief that humans are responsible for dangerous climate change is to then be drawn into “how much anthropogenic dangerous climate change is permissible?” .

        Being deplatformed by some medjia could be turned to an advantage, as it demonstrates how unsure the believers are. A well-briefed Julia Hartley-Brewer could lead the way here, although it really needs an almost robotic approach to avoid being dragged into the mire of graphs etc.

        The argument should be simple: “Why is the UK governmet inflicting economic pain on UK citizens when there is no proof that humans are responsible for dangerous climate change ?”

    • Caro permalink
      April 2, 2023 12:27 pm

      I find this quite a lot, a sensible article is spoilt by the author still maintaining that carbon dioxide causes a problem, yet they never explain why they think 16 parts per million of man made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can cause climate change. I can see ThinkingScientist’s point, but someone has got to have the courage soon to put an end to this nonsense.

  4. catweazle666 permalink
    April 1, 2023 6:40 pm

    “We should reduce, and as much as technology allows us, try to eliminate carbon emissions”


    The increase in atmospheric CO2 is responsible for a significant portion of that increase in crop production and from a quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

    Increasing atmospheric CO2: effects on crop yield, water use and climate


    Probable effects of increasing global atmospheric CO2 concentration on crop yield, crop water use, and world climate are discussed. About 430 observations of the yields of 37 plant species grown with CO2 enrichment were extracted from the literature and analyzed. CO2 enrichment increased agricultural weight yields by an 36%. Additional analysis of 81 experiments which had controlled CO2 concentrations showed that yields will probably increase by 33% with a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration. Another 46 observations of the effects of CO2 enrichment on transpiration were extracted and averaged. These data showed that a doubling of CO2 concentration could reduce transpiration by 34%, which combined with the yield increase, indicates that water use efficiency may double.

    Several theoretical models have predicted that the doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration will increase the earth’s temperature by 2–3°C, which could seriously disrupt agricultural production. More recent empirical evidence suggests that the warming may only be about 0.25°C, so the primary effects on agriculture are likely to be the beneficial increases in crop yields and water use efficiency.

    Carbon Dioxide Fertilization Greening Earth, Study Finds

    • April 1, 2023 7:05 pm

      So many are still stuck in this absurd mindset that carbon and carbon dioxide are ‘pollutants’ They are not. They are essential chemical ingredients for life on earth AND they are recycled and sequestered by natural cycles. This idea that relatively small amounts of anthropogenic carbon emissions are building up in the atmosphere to ‘dangerous’ levels is unscientific and absurd. It really is time that these anti-science zealots were confronted with actual science, because their ‘science’ bears little or no resemblance to reality.

  5. Broadlands permalink
    April 1, 2023 6:42 pm

    “We should reduce, and as much as technology allows us, try to eliminate carbon emissions. ”
    Ok, but not until we have completed the transition to renewables and electric transportation. We need conventional vehicles to make that happen. Solar and wind projects don’t install themselves. Climate protestors screaming “Just stop oil” don’t understand that.

    • Nigel Sherratt permalink
      April 1, 2023 6:55 pm

      Poor people cannot afford this luxury belief/obsession. Their lives are nasty brutish and short without affordable energy from hydrocarbons (that we buy from them for our own use!).

  6. johnbuk permalink
    April 1, 2023 6:53 pm

    Defund the Universities (stop guaranteeing student loans), issue school/education vouchers and let the great unwashed (voters) choose where they wish their offspring to get their education.

  7. ghornerhb permalink
    April 1, 2023 7:07 pm

    From 15 years of fascination with the “AGW/Climate Change” theory… and extensive reading of the multitude of claims of doom, that fly in the face of the observations… I have come to the conclusion that both CO2 and Oxygen, are leaving the Earth’s atmosphere. A long term decline, to be sure, but that is what I read. We know CO2 is one of the 3 most important elements for life on earth… we should embrace the small increase humans have added… and realize, if we continue to replace the CO2 that has been lost… we might just increase the time life can exist on this planet.

    • Broadlands permalink
      April 1, 2023 7:30 pm

      Neither CO2 nor oxygen is leaving the planet. Both are constantly recycled by the natural carbon cycle. Photosynthesis uses CO2 and water to make biomass and oxygen. Aerobic respiration uses the oxygen to return the CO2 and water. Biomass that is buried away from oxygen will survive to become fossil fuel. This has been taking place for billions of years. Why some people want to disrupt that huge source of energy is a puzzle. Maybe they don’t understand the cycle?

      • ghornerhb permalink
        April 1, 2023 8:44 pm

      • ghornerhb permalink
        April 1, 2023 9:01 pm

        Atmospheric CO2 has, over the last 600 million year, fallen from (chose your source) 7,000 – 9,000 ppm to the “modern” low of 280 ppm. That’s not counting the point at which it was 180 ppm during the last major Ice Age. Our current level is not close to the optimum for plant growth, 1,500 to 2,000 ppm, and is one of only 2 times over the time period mentioned above, that CO2 has been below 400 ppm. According to a press release from NASA’s Earth Observatory, “Earth’s atmosphere loses several hundred tons of oxygen each day.” Assuming this is true, if (in the long run) atmospheric CO2 levels are truly falling, that would it seems, affect plants ability to replenish oxygen levels. That would seem to make the case for continuing generation of CO2… we are merely putting back some of what has been lost.

      • Broadlands permalink
        April 2, 2023 2:02 am

        “The amount of oxygen (and hydrogen) lost from Earth’s atmosphere during these auroras is miniscule. Several hundred tons each day might sound like a lot, but it isn’t. In any case, photosynthesis helps restore oxygen.”
        In other words, not a problem. The percentage ratio of oxygen to CO2 is 525-to-one.

      • Gamecock permalink
        April 1, 2023 10:13 pm

        “Neither CO2 nor oxygen is leaving the planet. Both are constantly recycled by the natural carbon cycle.”

        Almost true. “Constantly” is problematic. Calcification in marine phytoplankton results in their precipitation to the ocean bottom when they die. Keyword: limestone. The CO2 WILL be recycled, in TWO BILLION years, when the plate is subducted and superheated.

  8. Harry Passfield permalink
    April 1, 2023 7:59 pm

    Ross writes a good article and points out the scare stories that the powers that be want to scare us with. But these are not new, just more sophisticated. I’m old enough to remember – at least in stories from the US – to recall the mantra of ‘Duck and Cover’ that schoolchildren were fed, especially as the Cuban missile crisis developed. But that was all small beer compared to where we are today. TPTB have learned: get the children on side. Pol Pot was a past master – and had no qualms about overuse of plastic (bags) when it came to dealing with the non-believers (maybe that’s why they’re trying to ban them now!). 🙂

    • Gamecock permalink
      April 1, 2023 10:17 pm

      “Duck and cover” was quite real. I grew up 8 miles from the U.S. principal nuclear facility in Aiken, SC. It was common knowledge that we were Russia’s #1 target. And #2 target. And #3 target.

  9. charles allan permalink
    April 1, 2023 8:12 pm

    I dont believe in the oceans rising 3mm is because of climate change – it is statistically and measurementally insignificant – you can see round the world how the water has been at the same level for 1000’s of years re paintings and water erosion on hard rock .

    • Gamecock permalink
      April 1, 2023 10:21 pm

      Yes, the whole schtick is ridiculous. The size of the basin is UNKNOWN. We can’t measure it. We don’t know what changes are occurring. There is a 40,000 mile line of volcanoes constantly adding to the basin. Plus other factors like accretion and sedimentation.

      Is the glass half full? Or is it half empty? The glass is two times bigger than it needs to be.

  10. Ray Sanders permalink
    April 1, 2023 8:14 pm

    The whole terminology of this scaremongering is quite risible. Obviously it is kinda hard to demonise a colourless, odourless and invisible gas (CO2) that we all exhale so they just make up absurd terms….what does “We should reduce, and as much as technology allows us, try to eliminate carbon emissions.” actually mean? What are “carbon emissions” – are they lobbing lumps of graphite about or dropping diamonds out of the sky? Oh no the term “carbon” is supposed to evoke dirt, filth and undesirable stuff supposedly like coal or tar.
    Clearly if this bogus science has to be represented in both incorrect and misleading terminology then it will ultimately be seen through for the BS it rally is. As Walter Scott pointed out “‘Oh what a tangled web we weave/When first we practice to deceive,”

    • catweazle666 permalink
      April 1, 2023 9:37 pm

      “Obviously it is kinda hard to demonise a colourless, odourless and invisible gas (CO2)”

      As you surmise, that’s why it has been renamed as “carbon” – nasty dirty black stuff – for the purposes of the Anthropogenic Global Warming – renamed as “Climate Change” so as to cover all eventualities – hoax .

    • Gamecock permalink
      April 1, 2023 10:23 pm

      “We should reduce, and as much as technology allows us, try to eliminate carbon emissions.”

      Climate science is racist.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        April 2, 2023 10:17 am

        Yep and Buckyballs is a black porn star!

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        April 2, 2023 12:01 pm

        Something I’ve been saying for years, GC. They needed a bogeyman to frighten the children and what better than a black bogeyman? Although we know that CO2 is colourless, to many people, with memories of seeing clouds of dry ice, it is white.

    • April 2, 2023 1:00 pm

      Carbon dioxide is mostly oxygen so you might as well call it oxygen emissions. It is easy to spot the people you don’t need to take seriously – the ones talking about carbon emissions.

  11. April 1, 2023 10:05 pm

    How on Earth have the anti-CO2 fools managed to maintain such obvious nonsense?
    They owe more to Nazi-style and most UK politicians’ propaganda than to scientifically valid observations on nature.
    Corruption follows the money but not all can be corrupt, financially at least.
    I am amazed if the the Royal Society has evidently not damned these CO2. scaremonger dopes, despite “Nullius in Verba”, the RS’s motto.

  12. liardetg permalink
    April 2, 2023 9:43 am

    It would be nice to go back to ‘global warming’ instead of ‘climate change’. Which is the cause of ‘unprecedented Brazilian snowfall’.? And expose the absolute non-correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature vagaries. Clarke had a piece in this week’s Spectator shooting down Attenboro’s bug deaths claim on Telly.

  13. W Flood permalink
    April 2, 2023 11:39 am

    It is worth remembering that the mass of carbon on this planet in all its various combinations is exactly the same as it was when the earth was formed , apart from miniscule amounts produced by cosmic rays.

  14. April 2, 2023 1:05 pm

    The young who feel doomed are not direct victims of climate change, of course, but the hysteria surrounding it.

    A theory that I have outlined before is that the more protected we are from Nature, the more we are afraid of her. Young folks are so safe in the West that they believe they are in danger, to put it another way. They have not gained any self-confidence from interacting with the natural world. Couple that with an “original sin” style guilt complex, and you have quite a brew.

  15. April 3, 2023 3:44 am

    This is one of the comment sections of late that I have most thoroughly enjoyed reading – that of dealing with the crux of the basic problem of exposing the biggest scam in the history of mankind.

    When GB News started up I had high hopes that here, at last, was the saviour. When they employed the fearless, take-no-prisoners Mark Steyn and his guests, like the redoubtable Lois Perry, I was even more assured. But, sadly, it was not to be. He was callously and unceremoniously dumped (while away recovering from a brace of heart attacks), apparently for refusing to sign a new contract agreeing to pay, personally, any forthcoming fines by Ofcom who were investigating a couple of his shows which highlighted the damage to health done by the Covid vaccine. Thankfully he is recovering from his heart problems and is again continuing his shows – but now only on his own website.

    Mark Steyn was/is very capable of discussing/arguing the facts of climate change having already had a court battle with Michael Mann – and written a book about it: A Disgrace to the Profession. Other GB News presenters don’t engage with their interviewees (especially those promoting the climate change scam) with any sense of authority. They seem to hide behind their virtuous mantra of “see how unbiased we are on GB News? While I don’t agree with you, we give you an equal platform to air your views!” While I am pulling out what’s left of my hair and screaming at the television what I wish they would say! Facts, facts, facts.

    Ross Clark is a very good writer but, like several others I have seen and listened to, not the most convincing of speakers. What we need is a good, or better, an excellent, speaker to lead the way. Someone who has a mastery of the English language AND the facts of all aspects of the climate argument. Someone with a forceful personality. Not easy to find, I know.

    • Micky R permalink
      April 3, 2023 11:33 am

      ” Someone who has a mastery of the English language AND the facts of all aspects of the climate argument. Someone with a forceful personality.”

      Andrew Neil? Although his health is probably an issue. To master all the arguments would be difficult, the believers do like to ambush with many graphs that show correlation not causation.

      Mike Graham (TalkRadio), although he can be a bit rabid
      Julia H-B (TalkRadio), although she can screech.
      A turncoat James O’Brien (LBC believer) would work well!

      • catweazle666 permalink
        April 3, 2023 6:26 pm

        “the believers do like to ambush with many graphs that show correlation not causation.”

        Much of the time they don’t even do that, they’re still peddling Mann’s much-discredited Hokey Schtick as their prize exhibit.

  16. Spurwing Plover permalink
    April 7, 2023 3:49 pm

    Time for Greta to be seen and not heard

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