The Ignorance of Experts

The World Economic Forum surveyed ‘750 experts  from business, academia, civil society and the public sector.’ “Surveyed by the World Economic Forum for its latest Global Risks report, the respondents rank climate change as the gravest threat facing the planet over the next decade.”

This is insane. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change there will not be any impacts from climate change over the next decade. Sea level rise will be modest, temperature rises as well. Heat waves and storms, expected to increase in intensity and/or frequency starting around 2040,will not be an issue between now and 2026.

Why would they ignore the science?

“According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, the two greatest existential threats to human civilization stem from climate change and nuclear weapons. Both pose clear and present dangers to the perpetuation of our species, and the increasingly dire climate situation and nuclear arsenal modernizations in the United States and Russia were the most significant reasons why the Bulletin decided to keep the Doomsday Clock set at three minutes before midnight earlier this year.”

Hit the snooze button, will ya? This appeared in an article claiming that another potential disaster should be ranked along with climate change and the threat of nuclear war. Biodiversity!

The sixth extinction. The repercussions of biodiversity loss are potentially as severe as those anticipated from climate change, or even a nuclear conflict. For example, according to a 2015 study published in Science Advances, the best available evidence reveals “an exceptionally rapid loss of biodiversity over the last few centuries, indicating that a sixth mass extinction is already under way.”

Well, no. Although it is reasonable to suspect that more species are disappearing than in the recent past, (due to the invasion of alien species, habitat loss and over-hunting or over-fishing), we do not know. We are not even close to knowing.

We don’t know how many species there are. We don’t know how many species are going extinct now. We don’t know how many species existed at any period in the past for comparison. We don’t know how many species went extinct at any given point in the past. All we have are our suspicions.

Experts don’t seem… very expert.

However, the United Nations asked 7 million people across the world to list the top six things they want from life.

Here is what we want:

My world votes

Climate change is the last thing on peoples’ minds.

Someone tell the experts.  There’s a parade going in the other direction. There’s still time to jump in front of it so you can pretend you’re leading it–but you’ll have to act fast.

leading the parade

Lawrence K. Ho –– – 006070.ME.0409.ZAPATA.1.LH Marchers in costume leading the parade in the seventh annual march to commemorate the life and struggle of Mexican revolutionary Gen. Emiliano Zapata. LAWRENCE K. HO/LAT

6 responses to “The Ignorance of Experts

  1. This appeared in an article claiming that another potential disaster should be ranked along with climate change and the threat of nuclear war. Biodiversity!

    But, Tom, they’ve been grooming the now blooming “biodiversity” scare since 2010 [See: Biodiversity loss … TEEB on the march ]

    TEEB was – and may still be – the “bible” of a younger sibling of the IPCC, known as the IPBES, which was also “parented” by the UNEP (quelle surprise, eh?!) although in the intervening years, TEEB seems to have fallen off the radar.

    IPBES (International Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for the acronymically challenged) was waiting quietly in the wings for a few years but is “modelled” on the IPCC [See: Move over IPCC … here comes IPBES]

    In recent years, IPBES has come into its own – and has been making its voice heard (often more frequently – and louder than that of the IPCC)

    One thing we can always count on from the UN: if it’s not one damn scare, it’s another. Meanwhile, there are millions of real refugees in the Middle East whose plight, to a large extent, can be laid at the doorstep of … you guessed it … the UN.

  2. Tom, apologies if you’ve seen it before, but our mutual friend Mr Rice once outed himself as a believer in the non-ignorance of experts—that is, a disbeliever in the ignorance of experts.

    A denier of science, one might say.

  3. That’s kind of a Woody Allen Marshall McLuhan moment, almost…

  4. Hilary, thanks for pointing out the perverse contrast between the fear of imaginary evils and the indifference towards real ones.

    I’ve often thought (idly) that the worst possible thing for the climate movement would be for The Science to finally Come True. Not that it ever will, of course, but just imagine: if global warming actually started killing people—as we’ve long been promised—the alarmists would shrug and move onto the next phantom menace, wouldn’t they?

    If only we could somehow bring this about … 😉

  5. I love the comment about “sixth mass extinction already underway” Challenge those people to name even one species that has gone extinct through climate change. There isn’t one otherwise it would have been a poster child “remember the Spanish spotted newt’ type thing. It can’t be underway if it hasn’t started yet

  6. When the European imperialists sought public support for taking over some distant land, it was presented as the enlightened European saving the savages from damnation and bringing the glories of the enlightened beliefs to the ignorant. They imperialists would use experts- missionaries, doctors, educators, etc. to tell how the savages actually benefited. The climate imperialists are not very different.

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