The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a new report over the weekend with some pretty dire predictions. Increasing fossil fuel consumption, the panel warned, could, as the NYT puts it, “threaten society with food shortages, refugee crises, the flooding of major cities and entire island nations, mass extinction of plants and animals, and a climate so drastically altered it might become dangerous for people to work or play outside during the hottest times of the year.” The panel’s report pointed to a target of zeroing out greenhouse gas emissions by 2100—a tall order, indeed—but said that the costs of this transition will be lower than one might expect, at least when compared to the costs climate change will run up if we do nothing.But lost in all the hand-wringing and calls for (what remains highly unlikely) international action that the IPCC’s report has kicked off was news that one of the paper’s lead authors had castigated the environmental movement’s penchant of overstating the science. The Telegraph reports:
Some claims that non-governmental organisations have made about climate change “have undoubtedly been exaggerated”, Professor Myles Allen, one of the lead authors of a major new report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said. “NGOs have at times been alarmist over climate change… but the IPCC has been very clear and measured throughout. I think alarmism on any issue is unhelpful.”
Indeed. Climate change is a real problem, but exaggerating the dangers it poses or insisting that the science behind it is somehow “settled” when time and again we see that it is anything but, does nobody any favors. Climate alarmists are one of the leading causes of climate skepticism, and though the IPCC itself has not exactly always been clear and measured, we’re glad to hear one of the IPCC’s own acknowledging the fact.