Another year, another step towards mass annihilation. This is it folks, this is the article where I give all of you a vague, vapid, everlasting and never-ending alarm about how the world is going to end—or is it?
Is our planet really nose-diving into oblivion? Is this remarkably overblown? There seems to be a rather interesting contention on this matter; and I think I know which side I’m on—the facts, of course! But a very unconventional fact, a fact that doesn’t seem suited to the main discourse surrounding climate change, but nonetheless, seems to be catching up. I’m talking about how climate change hysteria is more overblown than we would like to think.
A caveat before we continue onwards. This article is not about how climate change is a hoax or is not man made. Man certainly is contributing to it, and all you need to do to prove it is to stand next to your local bus stop, where, after you inhale the fume, it gets you angry enough to imagine 9.5 billion metric tons of CO2 being released every year by fossil fuels. Not a small amount indeed. This is enough to do a lot of damage, am I right? Well… yes, and no.
Back in the early 2000s, the mascot of global warming was a polar bear clinging on to an iceberg. This sparked a lot of emotional response from people all across the globe, the West, to be precise. That picture presented itself as if it was the end of the polar bear; this however was not even close to reality. According to H. Sterling Burnett, managing editor of Environment & Climate News, the number of polar bears was increasing, and not decreasing. The number, still to this day, continues to rise.
Now, this isn’t sufficient evidence either, but it’s a start. There have always been claims regarding how effectively global warming will kill off half of the species in half the century. These claims sound good—in a bad way—but they are, factually, false. Micheal Shellenberger states in his book, Apocalypse Never, that the extinction is exaggerated. Since the 1500s, we—the planet—have lost 0.8 percent of the 112,432 plant, animal, and insect population. Doing my own research, I found that, over the last 100 years, we have lost 500 species; and in 2020 we found 503 new species. This doesn’t come as a surprise, considering the word “extinct”, for our ape brain, feels like a threat; but this process has been a part of our planet for millions of years. That is not to say we let them all go one by one, or let crucial animals like the one-horned rhino or the African elephant go extinct. By all means, we need to conserve, but if one day the panda ceases to be a diplomatic animal, it will go extinct. Let’s be real here, it is a clumsy animal that would have never survived without the support of the Chinese government.
The other argument is forest burning down to the ground and leaving nothing but ashes for us to sweep once we are done blaming one another. Well, the best example I can give you is the Amazon forest burning back in 2019. This was a fantastic opportunity for average people and celebs to show their Insta followers how much they do for the environment (by sharing photos with a message of course!) In reality, the forest fires in amazon weren’t even that worse compared to previous fires. Micheal Shellenberger notes this as well in his book that some images used by celebs and the media weren’t even of the same forest or of the same date. In fact, we as species—not Nepali at the moment, but we will get there—have been quite efficient when it comes to growing food after the green revolution. We use less in order to grow more; less land to grow more food; less steel for houses; less tin for cans, etc.; in turn, using less of our forests.
Oh, and by the way, the Amazon, it gives us effectively zero oxygen; 60% of the oxygen produced will be consumed by the plants themselves, and the rest will be consumed by the microbes. This, however, is not an invitation to start burning it down, obviously. With the right governance—not the one Brazil currently has—the amazon can go unscathed in the future. This can only to be accomplished if the country turns its poverty situation around, which is a different story. Not to mention that CO2 contributes to more effective plant growth, and scientists have seen a significant growth of about 40% in the world’s forests. So, even the idea that forests are disappearing is tentative.
Forest fires are nothing new, most of which are weakly correlated with climate change. California’s forest fires could have been avoided by clearing up dead wood and managing the forest properly, so that a small spark doesn’t turn into a full-on conflagration. Surprisingly, this was the 45th president Donald J Trump’s idea; which was considered to be wrong at the time. But, applying this method of forest management, did wonders in mitigating forest fires.
The amount of CO2 in the air supports our agricultural demands, as well. Combing genetically modified plants with pesticides and CO2 emissions have led the world to produce food that can feed 10 billion people. All of this progress still doesn’t mean we should be directly exposed to fumes that are released by our vehicles and industries; this only lowers our life expectancy and puts us at risk of all sorts of diseases, such as strokes and lung cancer. This can be mitigated, however, by strengthening our economy and increasing the standard of living, whereby we can counter these issues.
Plastics seem to be one big evil contributing to our slightly warmer days, and I’m here to tell you that the alternatives are jarringly worse. All the alternatives take up much more energy to create, which increases our carbon footprint, subsequently erasing all our good intentions. Is there no alternative then? There will be, in the future, and we seem to be getting good at creating the best methods to solve these issues. For instance, it took scientists a year or so to develop a vaccine for COVID; now compare that to vaccines like polio that took 23 years. We are getting better at solving problems, and the golden age of science is actively reducing our dependency on witch hunting in response to famines.
A lot of people—mostly from developed parts of the world—have started to romanticize the whole ‘save the planet’ thing, which involves a rather autocratic approach of what other people can and cannot do. This mentality usually trickles down to educated parts of countries like ours. The zealots usually are trying to avoid nihilism more than they are trying to save the planet. One opportunity they take is to give flak to the way countries produce their energy. The way coal and oil are used to develop countries seems to be an evil amongst these cults, and this, I can assure you, puts poor countries at a disadvantage. Countries like Nepal need to develop rapidly. That would mean freeing up our economies, promoting entrepreneurship, and making sure we get to exploit our natural resources the best way we can. The first world already has done the aforementioned, and they seem to have the lowest emissions and the highest budgets for environmental protection.
In fact, these countries—after exploiting their resources—have their forests and green-lands in much better condition than ours. This is because they have already transitioned from their reliance on abrasive methods of extraction and production and are looking forward to their fourth industrial revolution, while we are stuck in a time zone where the first, second, and third industrial revolutions are in a quagmire. There is a reason why wolves are no longer considered to be in the brink of extinction, while lions and tigers are; the simple answer being that lions and tigers are found in poorer countries. Meanwhile, our prime minister deems environmental issues more important, than say, the saddening state of poverty in the country.
Now, my readers may be quick to point out—but we can do both! Well, the demands that are being made by climate change hysterics seem to mean that we stifle growth and not accelerate it. We need to make an economic convergence here people! we need to focus on being an economic miracle, like Japan or Singapore once was, in our way. We need the vast majority of people living in city areas, and not in villages, chopping wood and using timber to cook food. Our goal as a nation should be to focus on eradicating abject poverty and then settle the dispute on whether we should go vegan or not (because veganism is good for the environment or something like that). But, this is not going to work when children are starving in places where we go for hikes and take selfies.
Now I may have digressed slightly here from our initial topic of climate change hysteria. Truth is, there is no winning here, if it rains heavily, we blame it on climate change; if it’s scorching outside, we blame climate change; if it’s too cold, we blame climate change. The reality is that we exist on this planet and our goal isn’t just to survive, but to do better with the time we have here, and that means its going to impact the climate. No doubt, all the technological advancements and choices on the shelves of our supermarkets is going to have an impact. We should focus more on adapting to the climate that changes (like what Netherland—which is below sea level—is doing to protect itself from floods), rather than believing that there is a climate utopia, where every summer is mild, the rainy days drizzle just enough to water your favorite plant, and the winters are just right for us to rock a leather jacket on a rebellious short skirt.
I still am very much a layman on this topic and will continue making it a priority hobby; but this article hasn’t been able to scratch the surface of this convoluted and ever lasting topic. If you would like to know more, start by reading Apocalypse Never by Micheal Shellenberger; a fascinating book, with un-thought of arguments debunking myths of solar and wind energy, to how sweatshops actually save the planet. He isn’t alone in this journey, and it seems that there are more well-respected scientists that are in concurrence with his arguments.
I will leave the reader by saying, that the dooms day according to a lot of politicians and climate change activists (like Greta Thunberg) seem to be fleeting, due to a congestion of sob climate stories. There have been numerous cries of how the world will end in T-minus-whatever days; that’s mostly because fear sells, and if we can start by listening to people who are also trying to point us towards a better world, by showing us that the world is in fact getting better, we can avoid being another customer, in the mercatus of fear.