Time Magazine recently ran a futuristic essay set in 2050 that can only be described as a climate change disaster vision combined with a fantasy about a Democratic landslide in the 2020 election due to a heavy focus on the dangers of global warming. The combination of self-flagellation and exuberant exaltation of the Green New Deal makes it seem like an unlikely sequel to 50 Shades of Grey.
The author, Bill McKibben, is a co-founder of 350.org, an organization that is working for the stabilization of CO2 level at 350 ppm, which it claims is the threshold for irreversible climate disaster.
In his vision of the future, pain from climate change is only a decade away. By the end of the 2020s, climate change will cause forest fire season all year round, even though climate scientists agree that warming leads to more rainfall. Boiling oceans are supposedly going to create super typhoons well outside hurricane seasons, even though the IPCC acknowledges that there has been no increase in extreme weather events.
In tropical regions, he claims that drought and desertification will lead to millions of climate refugees. Again, science says the opposite. Increased CO2 is greening the planet at a record rate due to the fertilization effect, and deserts are retreating all over the world. As trees and vegetation grow, they provide shade and actually have a cooling effect due to evaporation. Forests produce clouds and rainfall that further cools the area.
How do we know this? In Borneo, excessive palm tree oil extraction and strip mining had removed the vegetation and caused desertification. When biologist Willie Smits took steps to re-build the forest, the rain returned and temperatures fell by up to 10 F. Flooding and wildfires disappeared.
In addition to being an inspiring lesson in how the local climate can be improved by simple steps, it also illustrates how blatantly wrong McKibben gets his facts.
But the Time story has a happy ending – at least in his mind. All the raging climate problems are solved by recognizing that the nation-state is a failed model, and only a global world with a massive redistribution of wealth and government intervention creates the equality and fairness that makes the world a happy place where people live in harmony with each other and nature.
By an extraordinary coincidence, the solution to climate disaster happens to be a carbon copy of the progressive socialist world view. Who could have imagined?
As with so many other things, McKibben also gets this wrong. To the degree that there is a global trend in politics, it is toward increased nationalism and skepticism towards global institutions. Come 2050, chances are that climate hysteria will be an embarrassing part of the past. The planet will be greener and healthier than ever. Fossil fuels will still be king, but with a growing nuclear power sector.