Catastrophe relativism

The Sky Is Falling (fable) is an old fairy tale whose age tells you something about proclivities for doom and gloom anticipation. The recent IPCC scandals about glacial ice and other environmental catastrophic predictions is just an example. Trying to get a realistic handle on global warming and other such phenomena to place them in an appropriate perspective can be difficult with all the Chicken Little like cries. Not many stop to realize that the global warming claims are all based on a matter of a degree Fahrenheit or so over a typical lifetime and try to contrast that sort of change in changes you experience over your lifetime.

See level changes with dire predictions of massive flooding of big cities is another claim. Put in perspective, this also loses the catastrophic edge. PhysOrg reports The sea level has been rising and falling over the last 2,500 years:

“Over the past century, we have witnessed the sea level in Israel fluctuating with almost 19 centimeters between the highest and lowest levels. Over the past 50 years Israel’s mean sea level rise is 5.5 centimeters, but there have also been periods when it rose by 10 centimeters over 10 years. That said, even acute ups and downs over short periods do not testify to long-term trends. An observation of the sea levels over hundreds and thousands of years shows that what seems a phenomenon today is as a matter of fact “nothing new under the sun”, Dr. Sivan concludes.

It is worth noting that not only the ‘common man’ suffers from Chicken Little’s anxiety. Even distinguished climate scientists have succumbed and joined the parade as can be seen by their attacks on skeptics and defensive rhetoric. It does not take much of a step back to consider the basis for the predictions of catastrophe in light of easily available references to see just how extraordinary they are.

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