From ‘unbearable to unliveable’: The case for ‘radical decarbonisation’

By Tiara Walters 16 October 2020

Mercury level likely to rise by between 6°C and 8°C in South Africa, say experts in response to new Daily Maverick climate report

You may have heard the words “climate hotspot” — a term used by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to classify regions likely to warm substantially more than the global average. 

Southern Africa is such a hotspot and, without global efforts to slash planet-heating gases, parts of the region may become “unliveable”, several hundred viewers tuning into Daily Maverick’s “The Climate Risks We Face” webinar heard Thursday.

“The future climates in the Limpopo Valley — without global efforts to mitigate climate change — will become unliveable,” ecologist Professor Bob Scholes told fellow panellists Kevin Bloom, a senior investigative journalist with Daily Maverick, and grassroots environmental activist Makoma Lekalakala. 

“As South Africans we like to think we’re tough… you know, ‘We can do hot weather,’ ” quipped Scholes, ranked among the top 1% of cited natural scientists globally. Scholes has more than three decades’ fieldwork experience and works as a professor of systems ecology at Wits University’s Global Change Institute (GCI) in Johannesburg. “But, in the coming decades, we’re looking at something like a 6°C to 8°C rise without mitigation. Been to Musina in Limpopo? On a summer’s day, it’s pretty unbearable already. Add 8°C to that and it becomes, essentially, unliveable.”

The veteran ecologist added that, to secure “a future for any food or economic development in that area, whether it’s tourism, cultural or livestock-based, we have to get the world to reduce climate change”. 

Daily Maverick Webinar.

Scholes was expanding on a compendium of insights compiled for The Climate Risks We Face in the 21st Century, a 17,000-word GCI report commissioned by Daily Maverick’s Our Burning Planet unit. Generating a “top five” list of interactive risk clusters and consequences almost certain to reorganise the lived realities of contemporary South Africans, the new report was finalised through a rigorously scored, multiround process involving 12 experts from various disciplines. 

Threat Multiplier: The top five climate risks likely to hasten our descent into a hellscape

It was produced as an authoritative, open-access reference document to support climate communicators working in the region. In need of urgent, short-term interventions, the report’s top-rated risk factors warn of “food insecurity and the viability of the agricultural sector”; “shortages of clean water”;  a “badly handled transition to low-carbon energy”, “heat stress” and “disrupted ecosystems and loss of biodiversity” — these dynamics all feed into each other, effectively working as threat “multipliers”. 

Exposed by Bloom in his “Killing the Holy Ghost” investigations into Limpopo’s Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone (SEZ), an example of just such a multiplier were plans to build a Chinese-backed 3,000-megawatt coal-fired power plant that would only serve the SEZ, Scholes stressed.

“We have no moral traction, if we go to a mechanism like the Paris climate agreement and say, ‘You’ve got to cut down on your emissions — but, by the way, we’ve just opened this long-lasting coal-fired power station, which will increase our emissions for the next 50 years,’” said Scholes in his assessment of the project, underlining the “subtle nature” of the argument, which was less about regional, “direct impacts”, and more about South Africa forfeiting legitimacy at the emissions negotiating table. 

“It’s about the loss of leverage that we need to get the world to do what it absolutely has to do — not only to save the Limpopo Valley, but to save South Africa as a whole and most other parts of the world,” said Scholes, urging a move towards a “radical decarbonisation path”. 

“Put another way, if more of our ecosystems are obliterated to make way for more mines and Special Economic Zones, if we fail to see how our inflammatory rhetoric mirrors the various conflagrations in the natural world, if we don’t back up our legal and environmental holding actions with the type of inner transformation that only psychospiritual work can bring,” Bloom wrote this week in his article on the report, “we are destined for a hellscape of untold proportions.” 

Speaking to the other panellists from the Musina-Makhado SEZ, Lekalakala, also director of grassroots NGO Earthlife Africa, said that she considered the project to be unconstitutional.  

“It tells me that this is kind of an insane project that is being proposed there,” she said, with possible consequences for food security and even “uprooting traditional systems” — from ancestral graves to sacred trees like baobabs, marulas and mopanes. 

The high-profile activist is known for invoking South African courts to stop a controversial Russian nuclear deal in 2017. She pointed to section 24 of the Constitution, which noted that “everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or wellbeing” and “to have the environment protected”.  

Scholes said he thought it “was very telling that the president of China [Xi Jinping], just a few weeks ago, announced that China was committing itself to carbon neutrality in the first half of the century. How would China achieve that? By exporting all its emissions to South Africa? And why would we be such suckers as to accept that?”

Covid-19 is widely cited in the GCI report — which alludes to the fact that zoonotic diseases also act as threat multipliers, especially in concert with climate.

Widely accepted to spill over from bats, as well as pangolins as potential intermediaries, the virus that causes Covid-19 pointed to a “general risk forecast many years ago”, said Scholes. No one, he hastened to add, could predict the resultant pandemic would arise in the city of Wuhan at a particular time — nevertheless, humans had been “chipping away at the natural-disease regulation mechanisms in ecosystems, which are fabulously complicated things”. 

Scholes noted that the world had seen a “whole series of zoonotic episodes over the last couple decades” — HIV was but one example, “emerging from human-primate interactions in central Africa”. And, all of these “fabulously complicated” ecosystems were being dangerously simplified by human industry. This, in turn, made them more vulnerable to macro changes such as climate change, shifting vector ranges into uncharted territory. 

However, Lekalakala pointed out that the Covid-19 pandemic had shown how decisively nations could act in the face of the massive, border-ignorant, cross-generational threat that the climate emergency represented (although with varying degrees of success), and how quickly communities could adapt to a new sense of normal. 

“If we take lessons from how we reacted to the pandemic, that is how we can react to the threat of climate change,” she said, but Covid-19 also exposed systemic weaknesses when confronted by natural disaster, such as rank inequality and the limited availability of nutritious food for survival. Both of these issues are, for instance, highlighted within the GCI report. 

Will it take a global climate event on the short timescale of Covid-19 to force humanity to make the changes our ecosystems and societies are crying out for?, webinar participant Marc Leroy asked. 

“Unfortunately, when you look at the history of human action, that is almost always the case — but as these disasters like hurricanes and wildfires become a daily occurrence, it becomes much harder for governments to push them into the background,” said Scholes.

Released mid-October, the GCI report paints a hard-hitting picture of aspects of South African society set to unravel under a business-as-usual emissions regime: that is, delivering future generations into a chaotic scenario in which short-term profit attempts to steamroll ahead without transforming the way societies worldwide create and consume energy. 

A just and meaningful transition would require an unmatched effort across hemispheres, the panellists said, not just a regional one — such a grand scheme may even seem an impossible goal to all except the most doggedly optimistic. 

For his part, despite his 10,000 and more hours at the coalface of global change, Scholes remained steadfastly hopeful that significant tools remained at our fingertips. 

South Africa’s world-renowned water-allocation legislation had key provisions yet to be enacted. As for biodiversity management, South Africa was considered a world leader.

“Africa is rich in renewable natural resources and biodiversity — all things the green economy will be built on. As the big-picture solution, that should be our top priority, rather than trying to apply Band-Aids post facto,” he said. Recognising indigenous wisdom’s emphasis on humans as intrinsic to the global biosphere — rather than the Western view enforcing our separateness — represented a vital rethink for the 21st century.  

“I see germs of that movement sprouting all over the world,” said Scholes. “For many of our immediate problems, we have the germs of technical solutions. We know how to generate energy in a decarbonised way. We know how to grow crops under water-stressed situations, but we need to make sure those become the norm, rather than the exception.” DM/OBP

Read the full report, The Climate Risks We Face in the 21st Century, in Kevin Bloom’s Our Burning Planet article: Threat Multiplier: The top five climate risks likely to hasten our descent into a hellscape.

Absa OBP

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All Comments 12

  • This really demonstrates why the current process – apparently already initiated – for determining SA’s emissions pathway or mitigation objective for 2030 is so crucial to aligning all investment with our collective survival. Under the Paris Agreement, and reaffirmed in the United Nations General Assembly, we have committed to setting a more ambitious objective for 2030 than in our now outdated policy – through a process that should reach Cabinet by mid-next-year for adoption in preparation for COP26 in Glasgow next November (2021).

  • Once again I am proud that South Africa, and Limpopo as specifically named, will lead the world in ambient temperature rising by 8 degrees. (not specified by when but assumed within a 100 years or so giving leeway.) Now James Hansen in 1988 led the AGW climate change initiation by predicting a 10 (ten) degree rise in temperature by now. Since this has not happened I am glad that Bob Scholes and the GCI are now taking over his reins (reigns?) of scaremongering but ameliorating the rise to a still outrageous 8 degrees. The best theoretical prediction (2020) to date is of 1.2 degrees rise in 100 years by the never quoted by Media but renowned Russian Academy of Mathematical Sciences INM-CM5. This fits also the past data well unlike the equivalent, always quoted by IPCC, CMIP-6 program This for interest, when using its RCP-2.5 input parmeter set also predicts a rise of about 1 to 2 degrees. The quoted results use the outrageous RCP-8.5 input “thoughts” which leads to a prediction of about 4 degrees. Wherefrom 8 degrees? Please Bob and Wits GCI tell me what climate program you are using and your input number of free parameters (many). (With just 3 free you can draw an elephant! (von Neumann) and with 4 he can make it wiggle its trunk.)
    So, for your interest, I decided to review temperatures suffered by the planet over its 4.5 billion year life to date but limited to post 1 billion years following “Snowball Earth”.
    Taking the full period of Phanerozoic of 560 my (million years) I find a maximum post Cambrian temperature of 12 degrees above present, that is 500 my ago and over the entire lifespan with a possibility of equivalent during the Silurian / Devonian period!
    Then going to the Karoo extinction 300my ago I find a level of 400 p.p.m. during an extensively glaciated ice age.
    Lets proceed to the Jurassic period 180 my ago, including the luxurious “Green Planet” when life flourished and the temperature was about 2 degrees hotter than now and CO2 was at about 1 000 p.p.m. rising to 2 000 p.p.m. during the late Cretaceous “Hothouse” period that followed 100 my ago being some 2 degrees hotter again. (4 degrees above present)
    The impact of the recently confirmed asteroid 65 my ago led to the catastrophic extinction of the Dinosaurs and many life forms leading to the cocestor state of appearance of the mammals and in particular later, the hominims. (i.e. Homo Habilis and Us!). This impact led to a temperature drop to about 6 degrees below current.
    On immediate recovery 60 million years ago to thefollowing Phanerozoic saw the temperature drop to the present liveable conditions within our current Ice Age definition which we are in. During this time we saw the impact of the Milankovic Epicentric (100 000 year) Cyclical effect bring on 4 glacial periods considerably colder than now over the past 500 000 years.
    We came out of glaciation some 12 000 years ago to enter the current Holocene period with a temperature rise of about 4 to 5 degrees over the transition period of 2 000 years from glaciation.
    The hottest is has been in the past 10 000 years (Holocene) has been 2 degrees above present 5000 years ago since when the global temperature has dropped slowly to the present by 2 degrees. (The warm Roman period 2000 years ago was hotter than the present when Romans grew vines in Scotland and CO2 had dropped dramatically to about 250 p.p.m.)
    We are fortunately coming out of that worrying low level as no life is sustained below a level of 160 p.p.m.) We are now still emerging specifically the from Little Ice Age (Maunder Minimum) some 400 years ago.
    What imagination is demanded to even whisper about a rise of 8 degrees in the Limpopo!? This is classic scaremongering unworthy of an Academic Institute….and my Alma Mater!

    Essential Note:- The core of the basic physics model that a doubling of CO2 will cause a warming of 1.2 º C, as estimated in the Charney Report of 1979 and ALL Models to date have not been able to improve on that prediction which is a critical parameter in any calculational situation, but now ranging from 1.5 degrees to 4 degrees, for DOUBLING OF CO2 to 800 p.p.m..
    In the recent “World Climate Declaration” of 900 International Scientists (CLINTEL) handles scientifically the realities surrounding climate physics and should be perused together with all other original scientific data available from NASA and NOAA etc and not following the Media rich trail of Greta (I have sympathy for her being used as a now 17 year old child mascot totally unaware of the Clausius Clapyeron radiation equation!) before following the major global scam that this is becoming. (See previous UN Scandal of its failed and corrupt “Oil for Food” movement (aimed at being support for Iraq some 20 years ago. The “I” in “IPCC” stands for “INTERGOVERNMENTAL PCC” which defines its political ambitions unlike the equivalent “NIPCC” which stands for “NONGOVERNMENTAL INTERNATIONAL PCC” being of scientific base and is worth consulting being of equivalent extent by far greater depth and lack of alarmist dogma.
    Please smell the roses and celebrate the greening of the planet and not carry on further polluting the economic survival of homo sapiens!

    • Hi Don, I find it fascinating that an apparently scientific veteran could be so at odds with the mainstream scientific position. As a layman, I cannot interpret your wall of text that seems to include reference to scientific facts. I can assure you that you will not have the impact you seek on the average DM reader…

      However, I noted one thing on another one of your comments (here: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-10-12-threat-multiplier-the-top-five-climate-risks-likely-to-hasten-our-descent-into-a-hellscape/) – that you refer to ‘true scientific origins’ such as NASA, rather than ones with ‘political ambitions’ like the IPCC. However, a simple search on the matter led me to this page: https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/ Then, it seems that even NASA has been captured by the political agenda you attach to IPCC?

      I find it ironic that a climate change denier such as yourself makes reference to a political agenda. Surely, you must recognise the economic agenda of the fossil fuel industry? It makes sense to anyone that those who have invested heavily in any industry will do their utmost to ensure that those investments are preserved – regardless of the long-term impact on the habitability of our planet.

      It would be great if you could explain why even NASA seems to assert the following:

      1) Since 1750, the average amount of energy coming from the Sun either remained constant or increased slightly.
      2) If the warming were caused by a more active Sun, then scientists would expect to see warmer temperatures in all layers of the atmosphere. Instead, they have observed a cooling in the upper atmosphere, and a warming at the surface and in the lower parts of the atmosphere. That’s because greenhouse gases are trapping heat in the lower atmosphere.
      3) Climate models that include solar irradiance changes can’t reproduce the observed temperature trend over the past century or more without including a rise in greenhouse gases.

      • Steyn, I really value your response as it gives me a chance to further my 25 years of climate associated research work top assist you in attempting to answer your good questions.
        Firstly I refer to NASA and NOAA specifically so that you may take the opportunity to look up their graphs (on the same scale) of global temperature over the past 200 years as seen in their 2001 report where there is a major dropping of temperatures from earlier times by a large amount in a step wise fashion. (can send you the original data if you want.) Then look at 2009 period with another “harmonisation” effort and then 2015 with their “Pause Buster” further modification to try to discourage the pause that was being observed. In all comparing the 2020 plot with the original data from pre 2000 you will find a “Modification”, “Manipulation” bring about the disappearance of the 1940 to 1975 cooling period by almost a degree as well as the demise of the extremely hot period registered during the 1930’s. Gavin Schmidt of GISS of NASA has a lot to answer for and so I refer to the original documentation and not the media hype stated without deep understanding. Then go to NOAA on the same issue and see the drastic change when they changed from the UNHCN data bank (which still runs UNMODIFIED and shows no warming) to their current display where they demonstrated the inclusion of the “Pause Breaker” modifications to data, all in one direction. Thank you, NASA has indeed been captured by the political audience as you say. Spot on. I can elaborate at length including their recording (NOAA 2019) in plot as well as detail of the hottest US State temperatures over the past 100 years. (Allow me to duplicate for decade periods:- <1920 (7), 1920's (2), 1930's (23), 1950's (4), 1960's (3), 1980's (4), 1980'w (5), 2000's (2), which leaves 2010's to accept the remaining remaining 50 accepting that there were no others of other years missed out. IPCC would try to tell you that this is possible? Have you asked? The extreme temperatures of the 1930's are obvious and looking at the original records (Not Manipulated at all) in 1934 were as high as they are today. So much for National Data Banks when subjected to close examination. I have not tickled the surface. (As an aside, look up the UNHCN (difficult to find now but available) as they have continued plotting the raw non-harmonised-modified-adjusted data showing that the USA has actually not warmed from 60 years ago.
        Your concern of the sun shows total lack of knowledge of solar impacts in detail, having swallowed the IPCC reports AR3, AR4 and AR5 in particular. The sun hardly varies its radiation output level by more than 1/4 % which is well known. However the roles played by the 11 and 22 year solar cycles of sunspots; the associated solar wind which modifies the protective geomagnetic field shielding the earth when then allowing cosmic radiation to enter the atmosphere and serve to nucleate rain and clouds. These clouds impact on the surface IRRADIATION level of the sun. (Walk into the shade and feel the difference.) This has been totally neglected under the IPCC as they follow the primary naïve concept of sun shines and heats as you prescribed!!!! The sun has in producing its spots a regular change in internal magnetic currents of which there are two of different frequencies, a main one and a poloidal component which beat and have led right now to the 350 year cycle of the Grand Solar Minimum of the ultra quiet sun which we are entering right now. This in line with the activities of the sun registered during the Little Ice Age of the Maunder period 350 years ago and that experienced 350 years before that. (do you want detail?). This heralds the onset of a similar cold period ahead over the next 40 years of solar quiet (Agreed by NASA and NOAA) and cooling further from our current ice age that we are in. (and seeing the slowing of the global warming.) Then to layered measurements up to the troposphere by UAH (of NOAA) one sees indeed that the troposphere is cool which is in direct conflict with the CMIP-6 (most recent) climate model of the IPCC which includes the use of an equatorial tropospheric warming to enhance a CO2 GHG effect by water vapour. This together with a further variety of free input parameters used makes me highly suspicious of the 4 degree warming that the latest predictions present. Please study the Russian Climate Model that I mentioned in detail to understand. Unfortunately the structured atmospheric height GHG impacts are more complex than you make out. Your third point has been answered already. I am impressed by your concept of the sanctity of the IPCC and all its UN well funded acolytes and renewable energy vested interests against the "dastardly foul and lack of integrity" of the Fossil Fuelled Industry who produce life giving CO2 but for whom I give little direct support while recognising their vital need for a reliable, dispatchable baseload provision while being a nuclear man myself. This is but trivial component of my concern for the political and financial aspirations of Al Gore, Michael Mann et al and their fellow Governmental travellers in abusing the scientific discipline.

        • Steyn, Please pardon but there is so much that I missed out on. For example you state my being at odds with the mainstream scientific position. Firstly scientific challenges are never decided by consensus. Indeed progress is usually achieved working outside of the “herd”. Then I am most certainly IN THE SCIENTIFIC MAINSTREAM in being a member (of 4 in South Africa) of the 900 professional scientists from the world who set their positions in Globally Released Statements such as the very recent “World Climate Decalaration” of the Clintel Organisation which I recommend to you. https://clintel.org/world-climate-declaration/
          Indeed I am in the heart of scientific mainstream having backgrounds at Yale, Cal Tech, Bell Labs., UKAEA, and locally Wits and Pelindaba from Astrophysics to Nuclear Technology Applications and with Climate and energy being my deep scientific interests and activities of the past 18 years of retired life. I appreciate highly your inquisitiveness to having asked!
          What is interesting also is that while temperature and CO2 levels are fairly well correlated, that they are causally related in an inverse way to the IPCC popular thinking inn that temperature under large deviations is consistently seen to lead CO2 emissions, not the other way round! (The ocean holds 80% of earth’s CO2 which is temperature dependent and on heating releases the dominant amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. (Clear documented evidence if you want it but never referred to by the IPCC for good reason!) In addition I am threatened and warned and blasnketed from giving talks in many domains by the AGW and alarmist movements as they recognise when they are beaten by facts and do not allow counter argument. (Wikipedia has banned recording of any Anti Climate Change comments as has Facebook. Just try!) For this reason I am most grateful to the Daily Maverick for allowing me to report my own scientific representations in contrast to the extreme bias of the BBC, CNN, NYT, WaPo, The Guardian ….. you name them all of the consistent proseletyising media ……but there will come a RICO reckoning to sort out this prevaricating belief structure coupled to physical disruption by threats such as by Climate Revolution. We need to move from a much vaunted and mass believed Geocentric dogma to a Heliocentric reality of scientific integrity. There are many scientists working towards this who do not have the freedom of the Maverick to explain their understanding and not belief of what lies ahead.

          • I see that you have not as yet seemingly approved my response to Johan Buys and as a result I wonder if I can now respond to the follow up by Steyn Grobler???
            Steyn. You caste aspertions on the Clintel Declaration and as almost all true believers, do so without having looked at the 900 Scientific professionals who are members who are listed and come from the globe. Again you attack the people and not the science. Did you look up the listed 900 names by any chance before commenting on their credentials. The fact that you are unaware of the counter scientific arguments that you will also probably never have looked at such as the 3000 pages of the NIPCC report in answer to the IPCC which comes from NONGOVERNMENTAL INTERNATIONAL PCC (Scientific) as opposed to the INTERGOVERNMENTAL PCC (Political) or you would have been very familiar with their names, reputations and thousands of scientific publications ignored by the IPCC in their “wisdom”. The climate has always changed slowly and this little hill we ride is the same as that little hill some 1000 years ago of the Medieval Warming Period (coming out of the Little Ice Age) as well as the 2000 years ago of the Roman Warm Period when it was 2 degrees hotter than now and the people thrived. I am indeed highly concerned. But I am concerned at the destruction of the global economy in chasing alarmist ghosts of a set whose legitimacy you should rather challenge in depth before following the simplistic, single CO2 solution to a non CO2 problem. I love it … we are capable of modifying natural drivers of climate. The dangers and extent thereof are totally over-stated as at present

        • Are you asserting that there is not an extraordinarily rapid change in climate going on? We can argue till the cows come home about the cause : but just state whether you think the change in last 150 years is “normal” and no reason to be concerned? Sea levels are not rising, the ocean is not becoming more acidic, plant species are not moving to colder regions over millions of hectares, land based ice is not disappearing, perma frost is not thawing, the Sahara is not growing at a stupid rate, severe weather events are not more common, etc. If you agree that the changes are severe and accelerating : WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?

          • Good morning Johan and I appreciate your valued comments which allow me to reply. On the rate of warming, please check out that the period from 1910 to 1934 the planet warmed slightly faster than the period from 1970 to 1998 and which has slowed since even with the shenanigans of NOAA and NASA and others which I have referred to before. They have wiped out the cooling that took place from 1940 to 1970 when scientists globally were extremely worried about entering an ice age again. In the first half of last century CO2 was at the 250 p.p.m. level but the planet warmed so called “rapidly”. WHY and HOW? I have stated that the “acidification of the oceans is non-scientific as it remains highly alkaline having moved from a pH of 8.2 to 8.1. Acidic states start beyond neutral at pH of 7 and when it reaches 6.9 I will accede to the use of the word acidic! The GBR has recovered fully from its well established excursion. Sea levels are rising with good understanding at a rate of less than 3 mm per annum which relates to 30 cm in a 100 years. Tectonic plate movement alters this from place to place so use the satellite (UAH NOAA) data not ground level where UHI (Urban Heat Islands) affect the temperature recordings by clearly 2 degrees from associated rural measurements. Use the all covering UAH satellite observations for reference. Where’s the panic? “Panic?” “Don’t you dare!” comes at you every day so I understand.
            Greenland this year has had a significant growth in its landbased ice coverage. Stay with the times. Look at NASA for evidence of the greening of the planet by 14% over the past 20 years and you refer to the Sahara shrinking!!! The green plant leaf coverage has increased significantly over the southern regions in particular encroaching on the desert. (see NASA) Where does this desertification story come from? Severe weather events such as ultra cyclones have been diminishing slowly over the past 50 years and wild Californian fires are well known to have started from uncleared brushwood under tree tops so demanded by the Sierra Club of California and so expected. Look at the history and further back there were similar wild fire events in California of greater intensity. (do you want the reference?) May I settle your nerves a bit as the sea will not rise to the middle of the Statue of Liberty as was shown on the front page of the National Geographic some time ago with false data. Did you see the photo-shopped poor polar bear in Science magazine for which they apologised. etc etc etc. Did you see the apology of Sir Richard Attenborough as to his false polar bear alarms as well as later walrus death events featured on Netflix. (Sham, and shame on SirRichard who is a figurehead of the organisation but is prepared to cheat!) Be careful who you trust in this important issue of what is becoming clear to be vested interests in the political sphere rather than that of climate! Thank you again for your truthful concern much of which I, and thousands of scientists worldwide, can put to rest.

          • Thank you for your explanation, Don. I agree with Johan that, although seemingly motivated by scientific fact, as a layman, I can’t help but wonder about the pointy end of your argument – so what?

            It seems the science of the matter is extremely complicated. However, it also seems clear that regardless of what its underlying cause is, the climate is changing. Furthermore, these changes threaten the world’s must vulnerable populaces. We need to do something!

            The clintel.org you refer to seems quite low key, to put it mildly. I scheme it is because there is no message for any significant group of people to resonate with, other than ‘everything is fine, we don’t have to change anything’. That seems wishful to me.

            To me, a layman, it’s clear that the way our world makes the most important decisions is not with sustainability in mind. Then, it is no wonder why we are in a situation where we are using resources unsustainably. Do you disagree with that? It is exactly that that makes me so skeptical of any argument advocating stick to our current global trajectory.

            It seems to me that the thrust of your argument is that there is nothing to do – the way the world is is the way it should be. I cannot agree with that when I observe so much unnecessary suffering!

    • Sir, that is both an underwhelming and unsatisfying argument. It seems all we have to be afraid of is the global alarmist media. How very Trumpian. Readers are being terrorised by exclamation marks, a practice the wonderful Terry Pratchett described as “a sure sign of a diseased mind.” Ouch.
      It might well turn out that over-use of the exclamation mark is the cause of global warming. Nonetheless, in all conscience, I like my toast fuelled by a renewable source of energy, preferably one that won’t Fukushima the planet.

  • Don Mingay is a climate change denier who posts pseudoscience on every climate change or renewable energy article published in DM. As he mentions, his posts are removed from Facebook and Wikipedia.
    Unfortunately his academic career in nuclear physics and his jargon filled arguments may may sound credible to lay people (most of whom do not have the time, patents or inclination to research further into his arguments). The climate change deniers (with huge amounts of funding from fossil fuel companies) in all their forms have managed to sew enough doubt over the past 40 years to prevent any meaningful climate change action. The result is the mess we are currently in as per the article.
    I urge the DM to do what Facebook and Wikipedia have done: block Don or refer readers to sites about the climate change denial movement whenever he posts. The lie that he promotes, that there is debate among credible active scientists that human CO2 emissions are warming the planet, is a dangerous one. As you would probably not publish an opinion of the superiority of one race group of another, or that smoking doesn’t cause lung cancer, you should not allow his lies on your site

    • Hi Gareth. At outset, I am not a denier but a sceptical scientist who has spent 25 years following this topic closely.
      As usual, you attack the man with slander and without any reason and not the topic with a scientific insight..
      You would like to shut down any disagreement with you by shutting off the source which is exactly the way of, as you mention, Wikipedia and Facebook. Censorship and consensus is your way of power suppression. I thank Daily Maverick for letting me voice my knowledge and not belief.
      I cannot help. M as I would like to.


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