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Our Five Biggest Delusions about Climate Change


Our Five Biggest Delusions about Climate Change

David Wallace-Wells

The extreme weather of the last year has been so terrifying, and so very extreme, that it is tempting to look at the string of disasters around the world and think: Climate change is here. Certainly that’s what Jerry Brown meant when he described the wildfires ravaging California in the fall as “the new abnormal.”


The end is near. Only the number of zeros has yet to be determined. Based upon the “life” expectancy of the sun, there should be nine. Based upon humanity’s ability to get its act together, ? With that thought:


By the end of the century, if warming continues unabated, wildfires could burn 64 times as much land in California as they did last year, which was more than a million acres.

Anyone today writing an article and talking about the “end of this century” is giving a huge clue
that they don’t understand what’s going on with Global Warming – or they’re denying it.

Without a miracle, we are about to begin feeling the damage done to the planet after 1969 –
and that’s because there was at the least a 50 year gap in our beginning to feel the effects of
the harm done to the planet by Capitalism’s exploitation’s.

As the Secretary General of the United Nations recently made clear, in the next two years we
may begin to experience “runaway Global Warming” … and that would be the beginning of the

The temperature of the human body is 98.6.
And we all know that our car air conditioners are barely able to keep up with what’s
happening right now with heat which is bringing us more and more East Coast days
in April in the 90’s. Nor can our home air conditioners keep up with the heat as they
are also subject to “brown out’s” and total knock out of electricity on very hot days.

The thing about last year’s weather was the COLD here on the East Coast – and I
note that room heaters have become very popular and some great new models.

But almost everything we do relies on what happens at the end of that PLUG.


In the good news sort of department, I have enormous faith in the abilities of humankind to survive, and also of rats and cockroaches.

That said, my best guess is that we’re going to see peak humans. We see starvation fueling wars in the Middle East through Sub-Saharan Africa. The forecast is for the Arctic to melt and then the world’s wheat belts will go cloudless and extremely hot.

We know from the historical record that Eaarth regularly has many such positive feedback loop events. Big jumps are driven by small forcing events and mass extinctions are driven by large forcing events. This is a whopper of a forcing event.

The real good news is that I see humankind fighting this megafire. First we need one of those ozone depleting chemical treaties, this time for greenhouse gases. Let’s get to work there. Second we need an R&D Manhattan-style project on about five different fronts, and hold the corporate corruption please. BTW, if there’s nothing filling in for a treaty and we’re not doing the R&D proactively, there is no third item at all on this list. The third item, whatever it is, would be a delusion.


If by “east coast” you mean mid-Atlantic and northeast, then both average and extreme temperatures were warmer than historical averages. But the trouble is that humans perceptions are like the proverbial frogs in a pot or water. What seems “cold” is still above the historical averages. In particular, nighttime lows are much above average.

We are having some strange weather right now though. It’s 54F and partly sunny in Pittsburgh but 14F and heavy snow only 130 miles to the northeast.


Binary??? He must mean linear.
And…of course it is actually an exponential function for which we lack the data to develop an appropriate equation. My guess would be that the actual rate constant implies far faster growth that we have anticipated.


HI WiseOwl, that was lovely, Thank you. Almost as lovely as sitting outside and having a squirrel jump down from the tree and take a peanut from my hand. : )

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Proof? Gopherit


You mention the COLD weather events. Now some denialist troll is going to say something like…well it’s winter isn’t it or some other sort of nonsensical simpleton remark. Yeah yeah, Al Gore.

None of that directed at you Greenwich, but I just wanted to chime in on what is happening with the extreme changes in the polar vortex, with the significant changes starting to occur just several years ago. The changes being seen and felt to this most significant part of the global climate system, if seen on a geological timescale has happened in just an instant i.e., this should be shocking to anyone with half of a functioning brain.

These huge waves in the formerly stable polar vortex are getting “stuck” and allowing a mass of Arctic air to plummet much further south than what has been normal for the last hundred thousand years or so, or more. And, these patterns get “stuck” in place for sometimes weeks on end. Like Yunzer points out, on one side of the new polar vortex phenomenon in the Winter, it might be 40 degrees above normal, and on the other side, it might be 30 degrees below normal. Many more high wind events are occurring because of this new lovely dynamic in the atmosphere. Give it another 10 years with a few large methane burps, and this nonsense about “by the end of the Century” is going to be considered idiocy.

This author is making the rounds, and although I don’t want to question his motive, I can’t help but be annoyed at how he is on the one hand ostensibly sounding the alarm, and then on the other hand making nonsensical statements about how things can be mitigated for improvement, or neglected for worse from decade to decade, in some kind of fantasy that the gases already in the atmosphere haven’t already set in a climate change worsening timeline for decades and generations to come, no matter if zero carbon emissions were reached tomorrow.



Yunzer –

Could be confusing you – by “last year’s weather” I didn’t mean 2018 where we only
had a few days of one digit coldness. I meant 2017 where we had a good deal of
really frighteningly cold weather difficult to cope with.

I’m in NJ – thinking of Boston, etal in winter 2017.

Yes, this past winter/2018 was milder, so far.

Two days ago, we had strong winds come in –
found myself in a grocery store parking lot chasing carts around with others doing the
same. The carts were sucked out of the bins and any number of us chasing them.
When you got ahold of them – that’s all you could do – you couldn’t direct them anywhere.
Quite a few minutes of holding onto them before the gusts/winds stopped for a bit.

Some 4-5 carts that had been left out of the bin but side by side were actually blown over
by gusts of wind all on top of one another.

My sister was telling me last year about a train in Switzerland blown over onto its side by
wind gusts. Again, that’s winter 2017 - I think!

So far, no snow beyond a few inches followed by a 55 degree day!
Hope it stays that way.


Pysch –

I know – my husband always says the same thing.
But you have to keep telling them how confused they are – explain that waterways
aren’t freezing over and clouds pick up the water and when they reach land it comes
down as snow – more snow that ever.

Plus this is the story of “The earth in balance” – like our own body systems (run by
the brain) the earth’s systems will be activated to try to keep things in balance.

When we have a bad cold the body sometimes raises a FEVER. Same thing.

Global Warming has the power to change weather systems –
The gulf Stream – El Nino, La Nina – were said to have been much rarer than they are
now – actually once in every 1,000 years.
(See: The Heat is On! by Ross Gelbspan - an older book possibly at your library.)

And now “extreme changes to the polar vortex” which we’re all now trying to look at and
understand. It is shocking! Recall that only 15 years ago, our scientists began to say
they had to scratch those predictions of Global Warming’s harm over a few hundred years …
because the glaciers were melting beneath their feet and falling!
But the scientists have always said in their warnings that there is no way to tell how all of
this harm to earth and its systems will compound.

My sister in Ireland last year (2018) was telling me about a train in Switzerland knocked
over by the wind. I was just reciting two days ago trying to grab grocery carts in a parking
lot blown out of their bins along with many other shoppers. When you grabbed them all
you could do was hold onto them – you couldn’t control them … until the wind died down.

Agree with your last paragraph which is why I didn’t read beyond his “end of the century”

This is now a very difficult subject to try to discuss with any young people with families or
planning them. Amazing the destruction just since Columbus, the coming of "Christianity
here thanks to him and its system of Capitalism which has had the power to destroy so
much so quickly. Native people had been here 13,000 years. Something wrong with
humans who don’t speak out when they see insane systems being put in place.
Wondering if we’re here at this particular time because we had something to do with that?


There’s a good book that’s about fifteen years old now called “The Coming Global Superstorm” written by Art Bell and Whitley Strieber. What’s interesting about this book is every other chapter is fiction and every other chapter is non-fiction and written by climatologists from NOAA and other agencies and universities that study meteorology. The scientists discuss what happens as the various systems such as the Gulf Stream, various atmospheric systems such as the polar vortex and jets streams break down, the the fiction parts have a continuous story progressing that describes society breaking down and the other problems caused as the climate changes. The movie “The Day After Tomorrow” was based on the fiction section of this book. It’s a pretty good read for anyone interested.