Recently published in Nature is a comment article Why setting a climate deadline is dangerous by
Shinichiro Asayama, Rob Bellamy, Oliver Geden, Warren Pearce & Mike Hulme.
H/T Robert Walker, who explains in his post at Science 2.0 Should IPCC Openly Challenge ‘Only 12 Years To Save Planet’ Deadline Rhetoric? Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
Ever since the IPCC report in 2018, there’s been an increasing surge of doomist reporting, to the point that it is no surprise that there are many of our youngsters are naturally depressed and suicidal, thinking there is little point in life, and that they won’t live to be adults. Others are leading the way with politically unrealistic demands that we decarbonize completely within 12 years. These new requirements they are making are not supported at all by science, rather they are a result of emotional rhetoric, journalistic exaggerations, and junk science that they do not know how to evaluate correctly. The situation is indeed urgent. We are already doing much, we need to ramp up quickly, but we do not have only 12 years to do it. Also, the future does not risk collapse of civilization or human extinction on any scenario.
The paper is called Why setting a climate deadline is dangerous and it says in its subtitle / short abstract:
The publication of the IPCC Special Report on global warming of 1.5°C paved the way for the rise of the political rhetoric of setting a fixed deadline for decisive actions on climate change. However, the dangers of such deadline rhetoric suggest the need for the IPCC to take responsibility for its report and openly challenge the credibility of such a deadline.
Journalists have been saying that we have twelve years to act to save the planet. Now many are “upping the ante” and saying we have only 18 months, with the implication that if we don’t do very drastic action by 2020, then civilization will collapse and humans likely go extinct. They use very emotive words such as that this action is needed for our very survival. Many of our youngsters, and adults too, take this quite literally, they think that by the time they reach adulthood, in a little over a decade, the world will no longer have any humans in it, that our civilization and species will be gone. This is why I think it is a responsibility for science bloggers like myself and journalists to speak up against this.
But the authors say the situation has got so out of hand that the IPCC should say something to make it clear how badly they have been misrepresented in the media. They argue, basically, that to stay silent in this situation is the more political thing to do. It is to give tacit report to this doomist framing. This also is an important and valid point. I hear that a lot – if the journalists are wrong, scared people ask, why don’t the IPCC say?
If you listen to what the IPCC themselves say, they do not talk about a risk of human extinction or collapse of civilization. There is no mention of such ideas anywhere in the report, or the press conference the journalists attended, their response to questions or the short summaries by the co-chairs. That is all JOURNALISTIC INVENTION, HYPERBOLE, SIMPLIFIED CLIMATE SLOGANS, AND JUNK SCIENCE.