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Opinion

Climate alarmism has become a growth industry and the pandemic is making things worse, fueling fears of human extinction

Covid-19 has provided a window of opportunity for professional doom-mongers to spread fear by linking the virus to climate change and overpopulation. But we shouldn’t pay attention to their alarmist predictions for the planet.

Another day and another climate alarmist report that warns that human extinction is imminent. A study titled ‘Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future’ declares that the planet is confronted with a “ghastly future of mass extinction, declining health and climate disruption upheavals.”

Why am I not surprised by yet another scenario outlining a ghastly future of mass extinction? We live in a world where we are constantly fed a diet of climate alarmism through the media.

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FILE PHOTO: A protester holds a sign reading "Game over" as he takes part in the "March of The Century" (La Marche du Siecle) to demand answers to climate change on March 16, 2019 in Paris
When even eco-alarmists realise saying it’s ‘game over’ for the planet is crazy, it’s time to rethink climate change message

Advocates of ‘the end of the world is nigh’ attribute virtually every threat facing society to global warming. Large-scale forest fires, floods, global terrorism, mass migration, xenophobia and  mental health issues are just some of the problems that have been blamed on it.

Not surprisingly, the outbreak of coronavirus provided an opportunity to link global warming to it. The Harvard School of Public Health declared: “We don’t have direct evidence that climate change is influencing the spread of Covid-19.” However, the absence of evidence did not prevent it from stating that “we do know that climate change alters how we relate to other species on Earth and that matters to our health and our risk for infections.

And just in case you missed the message, it stated, “As the planet heats up, animals big and small, on land and in the sea, are headed to the poles to get out of the heat. That means animals are coming into contact with other animals they normally wouldn’t, and that creates an opportunity for pathogens to get into new hosts.”

Despite the lack of evidence, you are left in no doubt that man-made climate change and the pandemic are closely connected.

As I read the report ‘Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future’, I breathed a sigh of relief. For I discovered that one of its authors is the veteran professional doom-monger Paul Ehrlich. In his 1968 book, ‘The Population Bomb’, Ehrlich predicted an imminent population explosion leading to hundreds of millions of people starving to death. Like other scaremongers, he is not deterred by getting it totally wrong. He continues to ply his trade. Although he admitted that he got the timing wrong, he still stands by his original prophecy of doom.

What motivates Ehrlich and many of his climate-alarmist colleagues is their hatred of humanity. In the past, their misanthropy – dislike of humankind – was communicated in the language of population control. Today, their message is advanced through scaring people about planetary extinction, which they attribute to overpopulation.

For the population control lobby, human life has little meaning. Their scaremongering about ‘too many people’ is often based on a genuine dislike of people – especially those who are not like them. Paul Ehrlich personifies the misanthrope. His classic scaremongering text, ‘The Population Bomb’, reveals the author’s feelings towards his fellow human beings. Ehrlich’s account of an evening out on the town with his wife and daughter in Delhi helps explain his fear of ‘too many people’.

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FILE PHOTO.
Climate change will not cause our extinction. Life on Earth is better now than at any time – and will keep on getting better

The streets seemed alive with people. People eating, people washing, people sleeping. People visiting, arguing, screaming. People thrusting their hands through the taxi window, begging. People defecating and urinating. People clinging to buses. People herding animals. People, people, people, people. As we moved slowly, through the mob, hand horn squawking, the dust, noise, heat and cooking fires gave the scene a hellish aspect. Would we ever get to our hotel? All three of us were frankly, frightened… since that night I’ve known the feel of overpopulation.”

Those who are frightened by “people, people, people, people” find it difficult to endow human life with meaning. Uncontained by compassion and sentimentality for their fellow human beings, they regard life as cheap and as having no more value than other species. In this vein, the deep ecologist platform written by Arne Næss

and George Sessions in 1984 stated that a “substantial decrease” in human population is needed for the flourishing of non-human-life.

Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future’ also advocates fewer people as the solution to climate change.

Unfortunately, those who are frightened by “people, people, people, people” are winning the battle of ideas. They have managed to endow the term “human impact” with negative connotations. According to their play book, human impact is a negative and destructive force plaguing the planet. 

Yet history shows that on balance, humanity has played a constructive role in transforming the world. People are not the problem, but the solution to the challenges that lie ahead. Regaining confidence in our humanity is the precondition for securing a better future.

Ehrlich’s prediction in 1968 turned out to be wrong and I am confident that his speculation about a “ghastly future” will also turn out to be just that – speculation.

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