Slate’s Emily Yoffe Joins the Climate Confused

Slate‘s Emily Yoffe shows just how successful the Denyers’ disinformation campaign has been. Here is what she wrote in the Washington Post today:

Since I hate the heat, even I was alarmed by the recent headline: “NASA Warns of 110-Degrees for Atlanta, Chicago, DC in Summer.” But I regained my cool when I realized the forecast was for close to the end of the century. Thanks to all the heat-mongering, it’s supposed to be a sign I’m in denial because I refuse to trust a weather prediction for August 2080, when no one can offer me one for August 2008 (or 2007 for that matter).

There is so much hubris in the certainty about the models of the future that I’m oddly reassured. We’ve seen how hubristic predictions about complicated, unpredictable events have a way of bringing the predictors low.

It’s also hard to believe assertions that the science on the future of our climate is settled when climate scientists can’t agree about the present — or the past (there is contention about the dates, causes and even the existence of the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age that followed).

Sad that a smart writer like Yoffe would buy into 4 or 5 major Denyer talking points by my count, including the infamous: “we can’t predict the weather, therefore, we can’t predict the climate” — a favorite of Michael Crichton’s.

These myths are all debunked here, a valuable resource I will comment more on later in the week.

Note that Yoffe is right that “hubristic predictions about complicated, unpredictable events have a way of bringing the predictors low” — but that could just as easily apply to predictions (like hers) that we don’t have to worry about climate change. I’ll stick with the predictions of climate scientists, especially since they have so far underestimated climate impacts and feedbacks.

5 Responses to Slate’s Emily Yoffe Joins the Climate Confused

  1. danny bee says:

    Polar cities in the far distant future to house remnants of humankind
    who survive the apocalypse of devastating global warming? The casual
    reader might think I am an alarmist or a mere scare-monger, but I am
    neither. I am a visionary.

    Polar cities are proposed sustainable polar retreats designed to house
    human beings in the future, in the event that global warming causes
    the central and middle regions of the Earth to become uninhabitable
    for a long period of time. Although they have not been built yet, some
    futurists have been giving considerable thought to the concepts

    I know, I know, the very thought of “polar cities” sounds like some
    science-fiction movie you don’t want to see. But it might be
    instructive to think about such sustainable Artic and Antartic
    communities for the future of humankind. If worse come to worse, and
    things fall apart, perhaps by the year 2500 or the year 3000, we must
    might need polar cities. And perhaps the time to start thinking about
    them, and designing and planning them (and maybe even building, or
    pre-building them), is now.

    Here is more food for thought, from an entry in Wikipedia:
    “High-population-density cities, to be built in the polar regions,
    with sustainable energy and transportation infrastructures, will
    require substantial nearby agriculture. Boreal soils are largely poor
    in key nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, but nitrogen-fixing
    plants (such as the various alders in the Artic region) with the
    proper symbiotic microbes and mycorrhizal fungi can likely remedy such
    poverty without the need for petroleum-derived fertilizers. Regional
    probiotic soil improvement should perhaps rank high on any polar
    cities priority list. James Lovelock’s notion of a widely distributed
    almanac of science knowledge and post-industrial survival skills also
    appears to have value.”

    Oh, I know it’s fashionable to mock global warming alarmists and doom
    and gloom futurists with no credentials except a keyboard and a blog,
    but there’s a method to the madness of thinking about polar cities.
    Maybe, just maybe, if enough people hear about the concept of polar
    cities and realize how serious such a possibility is, maybe, just
    maybe, they will get off their tuches and start thinking hard and fast
    about how we humans are causing climate change by our lifestyles and
    inventions and gadgets and need for cars and airplanes and trains and
    ships and factories and coal-burning plants across the globe — and
    then maybe it won’t be fashionable to mock global warming alarmists

    The future does not look good. But we can do something now. No, not
    building polar cities now. That’s for the future to decide. What we
    can do now is stop what we are doing now and start planning in a more
    sane way for the future of the species. If we even care. I do. We must
    stop all human acitivity that is responsible for emitting carbon
    dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere. Now. It’s getting later earlier
    and earlier, I tell you.

  2. Joe says:

    The first link above isn’t right, and I confess I don’t get the video.

  3. danny bee says:


    Webposted: July 1, 2007

    Environmental activist Dan Bloom has come up with a solution to global
    warming that apparently no one else is talking about: polar cities.
    That’s right, Bloom envisions future polar cities will house some 200
    million survivors of global warming in the far distant future (perhaps
    in the year 2500, he says on his blog), and he’s lobbying on the
    Internet for their planning, design and construction — NOW!

    “Sounds nutty, I know” the 58-year-old self-described “eco-dreamer”
    says from his home in Asia, where he has been based since 1991. “But
    global warming is for real, climate change is for real, and polar
    cities just might be important if humankind is to survive the coming
    ‘events’, whatever they might be, in whatever form they take.”

    Bloom, a 1971 graduate of Tufts University in Boston, says he came up
    with the idea of polar cities after reading a long interview with
    British scientist James Lovelock, who has predicted that in the
    future, the only survivors of global warming might be around 200
    million people who migrate to the polar regions of the world.

    “Lovelock pointed me in this direction,” Bloom says. “Although he has
    never spoken of polar cities per se, he has talked about the
    possibility that the polar regions might be the only place where
    humans can survive if a major cataclysmic event occurs as a direct
    result of global warming, in the far distant future. I think we’ve got
    about 30 generations of human beings to get ready for this.”

    Does Bloom, who has created a blog and video on YouTube, think that
    polar cities are practicial?

    “”Practical, necessary, imperative,” he says. “We need to start
    thinking about them now, and maybe even designing and building them
    now, while we still have time and transportation and fuel and
    materials and perspective. Even if they never get built, the very idea
    of polar cities should scare the pants off people who hear about the
    concept and goad them into doing something concrete about global
    warming. That’s part of my agenda, too.”

    For more information:
    GOOGLE: “polar cities”
    WIKIPEDIA: “polar cities”
    BLOG SEARCH: “polar cities”