Unfounded fear of extinction drives climate hysteria


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A new poll says that fear of human extinction is widespread among climate alarmists. This is very surprising but it explains a lot of the extremes we are seeing in alarmism. No wonder these people are so determined. Where is this completely unscientific idea coming from?

The poll was taken by the respected Rasmussen polling company, working with the Heartland Institute. They used their usual methods and got about 2,000 responses, so the results as credible as these polls get.

First the good news. Roughly half of those polled think that global warming is natural, not human caused. Thus they are skeptics of AGW, although that question was not asked. That something like half of Americans are skeptics is a standard poll result, and very good news.

Then it gets really disturbing. They get asked this incredible question: “If global carbon-dioxide emissions continue to increase at a rate comparable to what occurred during the past decade, how many years do you think it will take for humans to become completely or nearly extinct due to climate change?”

4% say an unbelievable 10 to 20 years to extinction

13% pick 20 to 50 years

20% give us 50 to 100 years

This is unreal! A whopping 37% of respondents say we will be extinct in less than a century, due simply to our CO2 emissions.

I have to think that some of these answers are a joke. Especially the ones where humans become extinct in ten to twenty years. But enough are likely real to be cause for very serious concern.

Where is this wacky idea coming from? What do these people have in mind, if anything? How do we fight this nonsense? We need a bit of research here.

I know of nothing in mainstream alarmist science about human extinction. They just project an increase in things like droughts and floods, heatwaves and hurricanes, plus sea level rise of course. None of this is a threat to human existence.

It is however true that some leading alarmists have taken to referring to climate change as “an existential threat”. This term is used in the vaguest possible way. There is no stated mechanism or scenario of extinction, just the abstruse term “existential”. Is this the source of what appears to be a widespread irrational fear?

There is also the well known radical group called Extinction Rebellion. I have not paid much attention to their propaganda, but maybe we should, if it is part if a serious public panic.

There is one combination of poll numbers that is actually contradictory, or seems to be. This may be because “I don’t know” was not an option. Roughly half of the respondents said that global warming was mostly natural, while a similar number then said human caused warming will eventually lead to human extinction, at some time after 100 years.

Mind you these are all people who said extinction was not a threat in the next 100 years. Perhaps this unspecified time over 100 years from now was just a way of saying “I don’t know” or even of opting out of the poll.

In any case the large number of people saying they fear extinction in less than a century is potentially a serious cause for concern. No wonder our children are afraid of their future. We clearly need to know more about this absurd situation.

There is no science supporting the irrational fear of human extinction due to climate change. Fear of extinction is mass hysteria.

Details on the poll can be found here:

https://www.heartland.org/news-opinion/news/rasmussenheartland-poll-climate-change

https://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/partner_surveys/climate_change_liberal_media_viewers_think_we_re_doomed

  • David Wojick, Ph.D. is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy. For origins see http://www.stemed.info/engineer_tackles_confusion.html For over 100 prior articles for CFACT see http://www.cfact.org/author/david-wojick-ph-d/ Available for confidential research and consulting.

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