No Need to Abandon Our Way of Life to Adjust to Climate Change

Our knowledge of the environment and how it evolves has improved to the point where we can make rational judgments regarding future energy consumption and food output with computer models. 

However, during the previous four decades, some used these models to forecast disasters in the case of inaction by governments. 

While many of these predictions have proven incorrect, scaremongers continue to warn that humanity only has 12, ten, or even fewer years to rescue civilization.

Findings Not Always Factual

These models reflect our best knowledge of how the climate operates at the moment.

They have received a favorable assessment from the World Climate Research Programme. However, they are not always right. 

For instance, a team of researchers at the University of Alabama in Huntsville discovered anticipated temperature trends were more than double those observed in the tropical earth’s atmosphere. 

Other published research demonstrated these simulations overestimate global average surface temperatures.

This results in observed global average temperature trends falling within the model’s predicted range.

Even as far back as the late 1980s, the NYT predicted world temperatures would climb 3 to 9°F by the end of the century.

It also projected sea levels would rise by between one and four feet. Concerns were expressed that climate change would exacerbate droughts and floods. 

The reality, however, has been quite different from these doomsday forecasts.

The Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates more mild warming (less than 1 degree Fahrenheit) and significantly less sea-level rise (8 inches from 1900, per NASA).

Additionally, where extreme precipitation or drought has increased, model reliability is poor, according to the same analysis.

Inaccurate Findings

Other grave forecasts have been demonstrated to be false, such as that regions of the world will be largely snow-free by 2020, the North Pole will be ice-free by the mid-2010s, and that Mount Kilimanjaro’s glaciers will vanish by the mid-2010s.

In the late 1980s, severe famines and the collapse of world agriculture were projected for the early years of the 21st century. Since that projection, agricultural output in the Midwest has grown by nearly 20%.

Finally, recent research has shown forecasts that acidification of the oceans would kill fish populations were likewise incorrect.

Does all of this excellent news imply that we may disregard models or that studying them is pointless? Obviously not. They may be the most effective instruments we have. We just need to evaluate their findings in light of their limitations. 

The data should not be sensationalized when people only look at the most implausible alarmist forecasts in the range of possible outcomes. In the absence of solid evidence, we should oppose their alarmism.

Given its relatively poor track record of model forecasts, we should not be scared into adopting draconian measures that jeopardize our whole way of life and well-being, particularly those that would disproportionately affect the world’s poor.

Instead, we should find ways to adapt to climate change, which can be done most quickly through entrepreneurial ideas made possible by free markets.