Inhospitable Earth: Environmentalist killjoys pretend that this is the worst time in history to live on Earth

Jonah Golderberg writes at National Review:

You just can’t out-gloom an environmentalist. The Atlantic invited some luminaries to answer the question “How and when will the world end?” Some contributions were funny. Others were simply plausible — a volcanic eruption from underneath Yellowstone National Park is frightfully overdue. But only an environmentalist like Bill McKibben could be a killjoy about the apocalypse itself.

The environmental activist and writer declares the question moot: “In a sense, the world as we knew it is already over. We have heated the Earth, melted the Arctic and turned seawater 30 percent more acidic. The only question left is how much more fossil fuel we’ll burn, and hence how unfamiliar and inhospitable we’ll make our home planet.”

It’s difficult to imagine a more absurd overstatement. I’m not referring to the exaggerated claim that the Arctic has “melted.” And the acidification of the oceans is a real concern (though there’s reason to believe it’s not as bad as some say). But even Chicken Little wouldn’t call it proof the world is already over.

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7 thoughts on “Inhospitable Earth: Environmentalist killjoys pretend that this is the worst time in history to live on Earth”

  1. luis

    If Churchill had been told of global warming, I’m sure he’d have approximated your post.

  2. Never has so much ignorance prevailed amongst so few.
    I”m not sure if anyone in history made this quote famous or whether I just made it up, but I like it 🙂

  3. Living amongst people like Bill McKibben indeed makes this the worst time in history to live on Earth.

  4. And it is buffered.

    It would have been acidic if it were entirely made of distilled water, at any concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. This is the gist of the misdirection used by scoundrels who tour university campuses with lectures on ocean acidification. Their audience typically includes chemists and biologists, but no resistance is offered. Not one rotten egg incident that I know of.

    I tell everybody who believes this crap: take a jug of seawater, stick a pH probe and a sparge in it, and exhale through it. See how far you can “acidify” it. The crooks use distilled water when they care to give demos.

  5. Aaaceentuate the positiiiive, eeeliminaaate the negative, and you get a pH of 12.
    I don’t know how significant this change in pH is or how widespread. I’d expect ocean life to be tolerant of a range of conditions. I’d also ask how deep the change in pH extends and I’d question what role humans have played in it.
    But then McKibben is a cluck, so I spend very little time worrying over anything McKibben says.

  6. As a chemist I understand pH values. To say the ocean has become “30% more acidic” is to say that the pH has decreased by 0.1 pH units. Not only is this insignificant in comparison to the ‘noise’ (global marine pH values vary by 0.4 pH units, from 7.8 to 8.2, a variability of 150% in the concentration of the ‘acidic’ hydrated hydrogen ion, because pH is logarithmic!), but nowhere is the ocean ‘acidic’ with a pH less than 7.0 – the ocean is alkaline.

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