Listening to Al Gore, Jim Hansen and Ban Ki-moon talk about climate change recently it is easy to see why some people call the whole climate change movement extremist and alarmist.
Al Gore recently compared those countries who have refused to act, to those that refused to take action to stop Adolf Hitler.
However, despite a growing number of honorable exceptions, too many of the world’s leaders are still best described in the words Winston Churchill applied to those who ignored Adolf Hitler’s threat: “They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.”
And Jim Hansen recently compared trains car filled with coal to the train cars filled with jews on their way to death camp during the holocaust.
Recently, after giving a high school commencement talk in my hometown, Denison, Iowa, I drove from Denison to Dunlap, where my parents are buried. For most of 20 miles there were trains parked, engine to caboose, half of the cars being filled with coal. If we cannot stop the building of more coal-fired power plants, those coal trains will be death trains – no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species.
Holocaust analogies are always a bad idea, as pointed out by Chris Mooney at DeSmogBlog “because even if you explain what you really mean–and even if, once explained, it isn’t actually so offensive–you still can’t get away with it. Moreover, such analogies are pretty well guaranteed to distract people from the point you are trying to get across“.
But if that wasn’t bad enough UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that humanity was at an end if we fail to confront climate change
Ban said the time to act was now. “The situation is so desperately serious that any delay could push us past the tipping point, beyond which the ecological, financial and human costs would increase dramatically,” he told delegates.
“We are at a crossroad,” he added. “One path leads to a comprehensive climate change agreement, the other to oblivion. The choice is clear.”
It is true that climate change will likely cause huge costs, and displace and kill millions, but it wont send humanity to oblivion. Although we will be faced with a large bill and millions dead, humanity will survive.
Tackling climate change isn’t a fight for our survival, and these types of extremist alarmist statements simply detract from the real issue, and the science behind it. So enough already!
I call bull sh!t .
Too bad you’re not a member of the international political elites. Possessing common sense disqualifies one from being a member.
Finally a Progressive Blogger that isn’t a partisan hack. Refreshing read!!!
In fact, why aren’t people looking closer at the BENEFITS of climate change? A big bill? Well just look at all the minerals we’ll be able to mine up in the north now.
Probably at least party because the estimated costs far outweigh the estimated benefits.
You’re right, climate change is nothing like Nazis, it’s worse. No species ever went extinct because of the holocaust. Not one.
Am I denying the terrible human tragedy of the holocaust? No. But it should give you some pause to know that while Jews are still alive and thriving today, many other species will NEVER give birth to a young one again. Not ever.
When the last of the polar bears goes, there will be no chance for recovery. It’s gone forever.
While the holocaust was and remains a giant wound in the collective psychology of people, it will, one day, heal. Extinction, on the other hand, can never be healed. There is no undoing it.
How many species are threatened with extinction because of Climate Change again?
I’d like to hear more analysis from you about how climate change will be impact humanity. For example, what are the likely effects of a 2 degree Celsius rise in global average temperature? What about a three degree rise or a 5 degree rise in global average temperature?
How, also, is climate change currently impacting people in the north? What are northern peoples saying? How is it impacting island cultures? Are these cultures likely to survive if their islands are under water? How might it impact the growing of food, the distribution of disease, the distribution of clean fresh water?
Your downfall, Dan, is to take global warming in isolation of the other problems with which it is interwoven. You also have to factor in overpopulation, resource depletion, species extinction, deforestation, desertification, soil and water pollution and a number of other problems that don’t fall within the narrow rubric of global warming. Taken out of context, global warming isn’t the end of the world. However, absent context, you can’t get the true measure of this problem. These problems, cumulatively, are abjectly ruinous.
@Mound of Sound
You are absolutely right, all those other factors must be considered when calculating the costs of climate change (and those costs must include much more than than the financial costs), but I still don’t think that all of those costs will send humanity towards oblivion. While humanity will survive even if we do nothing, millions of people will likely be killed as a result of climate change, and the rest will be burdened with the other enormous costs. Simply put the costs of inaction are likely to be much higher than the costs of action. That is the reason to act now to tackle climate change.
Why would you want my analysis on how climate change will be impact humanity? I am no expert.
A good place to get answers to the questions you asked would be the IPCC working group II report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability
The distinction I am making (and probably many others) is that Human life is more valuable than non-human life. That is why the holocaust worse than climate change. It is also worth noting that making a comparison to the holocaust tends to distract people from the point you were trying to make. It is to much of an emotional issue to expect people not to have an emotional response to such comparisons, instead of a much more useful rational response.
That being said I do believe that one of my biggest worries regarding climate change is that it will accelerate the current rapid loss of biodiversity.
Dan, I really don’t think the scope of this comprehensive threat is limited to millions of lives. Tens of millions, yes. Several hundreds of millions, quite likely. Beyond that, who knows? There are very real global security issues that arise from the environmental and humanitarian fallout of this amalgam. Even the public documents released by the Pentagon and the British Ministry of Defence hint at the measure of violent intervention that they expect to be triggered. And that’s their public documents. IPCC doesn’t begin to venture into the ambit of the defence world but I’m not willing to dismiss the Pentagon or the Brit MoD as nutty alarmists either.
@Mound of Sound
I think it is suffice to say that climate change threatens far to many lives. Is it millions or tens of millions hundreds of millions or more I am not going to venture a guess. And while agree with all the issues you mentioned I still believe that humanity will still survive despite those factors.
The human race will go on.
Well said, Dan.