Commentary Magazine


Balmy with the Likelihood of Mass Death

Global-warming prophets have stepped up their predictive skills. Calling the next hundred years of weather was kids’ stuff. They can now tell you how many people are going to die annually from the temperature rises they see in man’s future (hint: it’s a big, fat, round number) and what it’s going to cost the survivors. “By 2030, climate change will indirectly cause nearly one million deaths a year and inflict 157 billion dollars in damage in terms of today’s economy, according to estimates presented at UN talks on Friday,” the AFP reports. Here’s the “peer-reviewed” meteorological mumbo-jumbo that makes it all perfectly clear:

“No amount of (greenhouse-gas) mitigation will prevent at least another 0.7 degree (Celsius, 1.26 degrees Fahrenheit) of temperature rise over the next two decades,”  he [a researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development] said.

“In the last century we have already seen a 0.7 degree (1.26 F) rise. So we are headed for 1.4 (2.5 F) almost certainly.

“If emissions carry on their current pathway then we may in the longer term be headed for three or four degrees (5.4-7.2 F), which is practically impossible for everybody to adapt to.”

Sorry if I’m not shaken to my depths by the grim reapers of greenhouse gas, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that the talks began as follows:

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, invoked the ancient jaguar goddess Ixchel in her opening statement to delegates gathered in Cancun, Mexico, noting that Ixchel was not only goddess of the moon, but also “the goddess of reason, creativity and weaving. May she inspire you — because today, you are gathered in Cancun to weave together the elements of a solid response to climate change, using both reason and creativity as your tools.”

She called for “a balanced outcome” which would marry financial and emissions commitments from industrialized countries aimed at combating climate change with “the understanding of fairness that will guide long-term mitigation efforts.”

“Excellencies, the goddess Ixchel would probably tell you that a tapestry is the result of the skilful interlacing of many threads,” said Figueres, who hails from Costa Rica and started her greetings in Spanish before switching to English. “I am convinced that 20 years from now, we will admire the policy tapestry that you have woven together and think back fondly to Cancun and the inspiration of Ixchel.”

And to think some people doubt global warming.