“We have no room for error…. Barring a major reversal in U.S. policies in the very next decade, come the 2020s, most everyone will know the grim fate that awaits the next fifty generations.”
“[The alternative to inaction] is a [later] massive, sustained government intervention into every aspect of our lives on a scale that far surpasses what this country did during World War II.”
Dr. Exaggeration… Dr. Doom… Dr. Wrong. Part I yesterday examined Joe Romm’s 1996 co-authored piece in The Atlantic Monthly, “Mideast Oil Forever?” Today’s post examines quotations and predictions from Romm’s book, Hell and High Water (Morrow: 2007).
The book’s opening quotation comes from James Hansen. “We are on the precipice of climate system tipping points beyond which there is no redemption.” And then Romm’s opening:
Imagine if inland United States were 10℉ hotter, with many states ravaged by mega-droughts and the widespread wildfires that result. At the same time, our coasts were drowning from a 5- to 10-foot increase in sea levels, which were relentlessly climbing 5 to 10 inches a decade or more toward an ultimate sea-level rise of 80 feet…. And it could come as soon as the second half of this century.
Romm’s “Planetary Purgatory” will become common knowledge, he states, when “the world comes to know that 20-foot sea-level rise is all but inevitable” (p. 2).
“Time is short,” Romm adds in the Introduction. “We have at most a decade to sharply reverse course.” The decade now up, Romm does not throw in the towel but states that the situation is just “increasingly desperate.”
Deep Ecology Premise
Romm’s nearly 300-page book is full of science-is-settled, alarmist climate science. But it is a lawyer’s brief, not a scholarly tome examining the best arguments on each side of the debate. And the kicker argument is the nature-is-optimal, nature-is-fragile deep-ecology view. Romm states (p. 64):
The earth’s climate system is “far from being self-stabilizing,” in the words of climatologist Wallace Broecker, but is “an ornery beast which overreacts even to small nudges.” Push it too hard in one direction, you get an ice age, in another direction, you get 80-foot-higher sea levels.
I have elsewhere challenged the hidden deep-ecology assumption behind the climate crusade.
Scary Predictions–but Plenty of Time
Some other Romm quotations from Hell and High Water follow:
We have no room for error…. Barring a major reversal in U.S. policies in the very next decade, come the 2020s, most everyone will know the grim fate that awaits the next fifty generations. (73–74)
[The alternative to inaction] is a [later] massive, sustained government intervention into every aspect of our lives on a scale that far surpasses what this country did during World War II. (74)
Sea-level rise of 20 to 80 feet will be all but unstoppable by mid-century if current emissions trends continue. (75)
In the 2030s, record-breaking heat waves and searing droughts will be the norm. Relentless super-hurricane seasons, coupled with the reality of accelerating sea-level rise, will change the landscape of the Gulf Coast and the eastern seaboard….. Politics as we know it will end. (236)
Bret Stephens in a New York Times op-ed, Apocalpyse Not” (February 8, 2018), stated:
If environmental alarmists ever wonder why more people haven’t come around to their way of thinking, it isn’t because people like me occasionally voice doubts in newspaper op-eds. It’s because too many past predictions of imminent disaster didn’t come to pass. That isn’t because every alarm is false — many are all too real — but because our Promethean species has shown the will and the wizardry to master the challenge, at least when it’s been given the means to do so.
Romm would say that the climate alarm is REAL and that human ingenuity is ready to solve it with the technologies on hand. But he is wrong on both counts, as slow-motion reality is indicating. Global warming is really global lukewarming.