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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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Positives and negatives of global warming

What the science says...

Select a level... Basic Intermediate Advanced

Negative impacts of global warming on agriculture, health & environment far outweigh any positives.

Climate Myth...

It's not bad

"By the way, if you’re going to vote for something, vote for warming. Less deaths due to cold, regions more habitable, larger crops, longer growing season. That’s good. Warming helps the poor." (John MacArthur)

At a glance

“It's not going to be too bad”, some people optimistically say. Too right. It's going to be worse than that. There are various forms this argument takes. For example, some like to point out that carbon dioxide (CO2) is plant-food – as if nobody else knew that. It is, but it's just one of a number of essential nutrients such as water and minerals. To be healthy, plants require them all.

We know how climate change disrupts agriculture through more intense droughts, raging floods or soil degradation – we've either experienced these phenomena ourselves or seen them on TV news reports. Where droughts intensify and/or become more prolonged, the very viability of agriculture becomes compromised. You can have all the CO2 in the world but without their water and minerals, the plants will die just the same.

At the same time, increased warming is adversely affecting countries where conditions are already close to the limit beyond which yields reduce or crops entirely fail. Parts of sub-Saharan Africa fall into this category. Elsewhere, many millions of people – about one-sixth of the world’s population - rely on fresh water supplied yearly by mountain glaciers through their natural melt and regrowth cycles. Those water supplies are at risk of failure as the glaciers retreat. Everywhere you look, climate change loads the dice with problems, both now and in the future.

Please use this form to provide feedback about this new "At a glance" section. Read a more technical version below or dig deeper via the tabs above!

Further details

Most climate change impacts will confer few or no benefits, but may do great harm at considerable costs. We'll look at the picture, sector by sector below figure 1.

IPCC AR6 WGII Chapter 16 Figure FAQ 16.5.1

Figure 1: Simplified presentation of the five Reasons for Concern burning ember diagrams as assessed in IPCC AR6 Working Group 2 Chapter 16 (adapted from Figure 16.15, Figure FAQ 16.5.1).


While CO2 is essential for plant growth, that gas is just one thing they need in order to stay healthy. All agriculture also depends on steady water supplies and climate change is likely to disrupt those in places, both through soil-eroding floods and droughts.

It has been suggested that higher latitudes – Siberia, for example – may become productive due to global warming, but in reality it takes a considerable amount of time (centuries plus) for healthy soils to develop naturally. The soil in Arctic Siberia and nearby territories is generally very poor – peat underlain by permafrost in many places, on top of which sunlight is limited at such high latitudes. Or, as a veg-growing market gardening friend told us, “This whole idea of "we'll be growing grains on the tundra" is just spouted by idiots who haven't grown as much as a carrot in their life and therefore simply don't have a clue that we need intact ecosystems to produce our food.” So there are other reasons why widespread cultivation up there is going to be a tall order.

Agriculture can also be disrupted by wildfires and changes in the timing of the seasons, both of which are already taking place. Changes to grasslands and water supplies can impact grazing and welfare of domestic livestock. Increased warming may also have a greater effect on countries whose climate is already near or at a temperature limit over which yields reduce or crops fail – in parts of the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, for example.


Warmer winters would mean fewer deaths, particularly among vulnerable groups like the elderly. However, the very same groups are also highly vulnerable to heatwaves. On a warmer planet, excess deaths caused by heatwaves are expected to be approximately five times higher than winter deaths prevented.

In addition, it is widely understood that as warmer conditions spread polewards, that will also encourage the migration of disease-bearing insects like mosquitoes, ticks and so on. So long as they have habitat and agreeable temperatures to suit their requirements, they'll make themselves at home. Just as one example out of many, malaria is already appearing in places it hasn’t been seen before.

Polar Melting

While the opening of a year-round ice-free Arctic passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans would have some commercial benefits, these are considerably outweighed by the negatives. Detrimental effects include increased iceberg hazards to shipping and loss of ice albedo (the reflection of sunshine) due to melting sea-ice allowing the ocean to absorb more incoming solar radiation. The latter is a good example of a positive climate feedback. Ice melts away, waters absorb more energy and warming waters increase glacier melt around the coastlines of adjacent lands.

Warmer ocean water also raises the temperature of submerged Arctic permafrost, which then releases methane, a very potent greenhouse gas. The latter process has been observed occurring in the waters of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf and is poorly understood. At the other end of the planet, melting and break-up of the Antarctic ice shelves will speed up the land-glaciers they hold back, thereby adding significantly to sea-level rise.

Ocean Acidification

Acidity is measured by the pH scale (0 = highly acidic, 7 = neutral, 14 = highly alkaline). The lowering of ocean pH is a cause for considerable concern without any counter-benefits at all. This process is caused by additional CO2 being absorbed in the water. Why that's a problem is because critters that build their shells out of calcium carbonate, such as bivalves, snails and many others, may find that carbonate dissolving faster than they can make it. The impact that would have on the marine food-chain should be self-evident.

Melting Glaciers

The effects of glaciers melting are largely detrimental and some have already been mentioned. But a major impact would be that many millions of people (one-sixth of the world’s population) depend on fresh water supplied each year by the seasonal melt and regrowth cycles of glaciers. Melt them and those water supplies, vital not just for drinking but for agriculture, will fail.

Sea Level Rise

Many parts of the world are low-lying and will be severely affected even by modest sea level rises. Rice paddies are already becoming inundated with salt water, destroying the crops. Seawater is contaminating rivers as it mixes with fresh water further upstream, and aquifers are becoming saline. The viability of some coastal communities is already under discussion, since raised sea levels in combination with seasonal storms will lead to worse flooding as waves overtop more sea defences.


Positive effects of climate change may include greener rainforests and enhanced plant growth in the Amazon, increased vegetation in northern latitudes and possible increases in plankton biomass in some parts of the ocean.

Negative responses may include some or all of the following: further expansion of oxygen-poor ocean “dead zones”, contamination or exhaustion of fresh water supplies, increased incidence of natural fires and extensive vegetation die-off due to droughts. Increased risk of coral extinction, changes in migration patterns of birds and animals, changes in seasonal timing and disruption to food chains: all of these processes point towards widespread species loss.


Economic impacts of climate change are highly likely to be catastrophic, while there have been very few benefits projected at all. As long ago as 2006, the Stern Report made clear the overall pattern of economic distress and that prevention was far cheaper than adaptation.

Scenarios projected in IPCC reports have repeatedly warned of massive future migrations due to unprecedented disruptions to global agriculture, trade, transport, energy supplies, labour markets, banking and finance, investment and insurance. Such disturbances would wreak havoc on the stability of both developed and developing nations and they substantially increase the risk of future conflicts. Furthermore, it is widely accepted that the detrimental effects of climate change will be visited mostly on those countries least equipped to cope with it, socially or economically.

These and other areas of concern are covered in far more detail in the 36-page Summary for Policymakers from the IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report, released in March 2023. The report spells out in no uncertain terms the increasingly serious issues Mankind faces; the longer that meaningful action on climate is neglected, the greater the severity of impacts. The report is available for download here.


Last updated on 21 April 2023 by John Mason. View Archives

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Further reading

National Geographic have an informative article listing the various positives and negatives of global warming for Greenland.

Climate Wizard is an interactive tool that lets you examine projected temperature and precipitation changes for any part of the world.

A good overview of the impacts of ocean acidification is found in Ken Caldeira's What Corals are Dying to Tell Us About CO2 and Ocean Acidification

Denial101x video

Here is a related video lecture from Denial101x - Making senses of climate science denial


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Comments 401 to 405 out of 405:

  1. DPiepgrass, (and with my apology for multi-paragraph reply) :

    @400 , you ask: What is the source of this claim  [which I paraphrase as: that in the future we can expect heatwaves to cause five times as many deaths than the warmer clime would reduce cold-caused deaths].

    As you point out, the Basic / Intermediate / Advanced versions of the OP are considerably different.  Not different in a contradictory way . . . but different.  (Like very condensed versions of non-identical essays.)

    In the Basic version, the quantified "five times" is carried along in a single sentence.  It gives the impression - at first glance - that "heat deaths" would be five times the "cold deaths".  But on closer reading , that is not the actual meaning written ~ as I hope my expansion [in square brackets, above] can convey with more precision.

    Worse, the very following sentence tends to imply that a significant portion of these heatwave deaths include an insect-vector disease linkage.  Though it does not actually convey that.

    It is all too condensed, for it to be capable of a knowledge-full conveying of information.  Quite possibly it would be correct ~ yet it is unsupported within the Article.

    DPiepgrass , I do not think I can concisely answer the question behind your question.  Are/will heat deaths be exceeding cold-caused deaths?  Obviously the answer must stretch across a wide spectrum  ~ of degrees of climate warming ; of frequencies / extents / and intensities of heat waves ; of regional localities.  It would be a very difficult task to scientifically assess the outcomes even in hindsight , let alone in future projection.  Speaking for myself, I would not like to touch the task even with a 12.2 meter barge pole.

  2. DPiepgrass :  (to continue)

    Allow me to add a little anecdote : On another forum (not nearly so calm, logical and scientific as this one) there is a certain frequent poster who very often states that hospital / coroner / & other studies show that currently cold is a far greater threat to humanity, because cold deaths greatly exceed heat deaths.  And as he never fails to mention, his own name is in authorship on one of these studies.

    Eventually I found this too tiresome, so I followed his citation(s)  . . . and there was some truth to his claims (though limited to data from three small regions).   And as I followed, his cited studies referenced other studies, and they in turn led to other studies ~ many of which came to the opposite conclusion i.e. that heat deaths are greater than cold deaths.

    I threw my hands in the air, for there were many confounding factors of tropical/non-tropical ; urban/rural ; First World / Third World regions.  Not to mention the validity of reportage and sampling.

    So, DPiepgrass , we will have to fall back on some armchair speculation on these matters, rather than use scientific precision.  Whatever the present-day circumstances, my "bet" would be that a hotter world will increasingly progress to kill more frail elderly living in poverty ( in the Global South, versus the Global North ).

    Good luck finding a comfortable armchair plus a Socrates/Aristotle.

  3. dpiepgrass & Eclectic

    If you don't mind, could you please use the Google form linked above in the "Argument feedback" box to provide this feedback on the rebuttal? It's then easier for us to track instead of trying via the comment threads. Thanks!

  4. DPiepgrass @400,

    The accounting of deaths due to hot/cold weather is not at all easy. While I have no idea as to the source of the OP statement "deaths attributable to heatwaves are expected to be approximately five times as great as winter deaths prevented," there is a source that puts the 'prevented' total across 49 large US cities at 100/y while projecting "that changes in extreme hot and extreme cold temperatures would result in 9,300 additional premature deaths per year by 2090."  So that is approaching a whopping 100-to-1.

    But, to repeat, the assessment of the level of death due to hot/cold weather is not a straightforward exercise. If you're curious as to why that would be, see this Jeff Masters web-page (which does mention the numbers yielding that 100-to-1 finding), an account that sets out some of the difficulties.

  5. While it is true that climate change can cause these things to happen or have already caused it to happen. In my opinion, I still think some of these that you provided are just speculations which I'm not denying in any way. I also noticed that there are way more negative effects than positives which is why I support the effort of mitigating climate change and global warming.

  6. Hello, this is my first post. I've already taken the edx101 denial course and have been prebunking and debunking climate change myths since 2016. /waves

    I was posting and was called out as being an "alarmist" on another website. First, I would like a second opinion. Afterall, I could simply be incorrect.

    Second, if I am correct, I could use some help debunking the claim of a climate minimalizer.

    I claimed that there were five million annual deaths from climate change. Referring to the link above from theindependent which references a lancet peer reviewed article, linked below. The other person went to the peer reviewed article and rebutted by saying the theindependent was incorrect and the lancet article does not state there is five million deaths and concluded there were zero deaths from climate change.

    I then posted other articles about how many climate change deaths annually there are with a range between 150,000 and 8 million if you include co2 pollution deaths.

    Anyways they got real technical which I wasn't prepared for. Focusing on association as opposed to causation. I think the correct answer is five milllon from climate change and eight from fossil fuel emissions. They say zero deaths. So who is correct am I being alarmist or are they being a denier, or are both of us incorrect? Thank you. :)

  7. PollutionMonster @406 ,

    you are getting down into a snake pit, if you aim to argue on the basis of AGW causing today's excess heat deaths / hurricanes / wildfires / tropical diseases / etcetera.   Best not to go there.

    Sure, basic science and common sense tells you that these problems will worsen in the future as global warming increases.  (Though I gather that hurricanes are expected to get fewer but stronger.)  And the tropical zone has large populations of great poverty who will struggle to achieve the necessary medical treatments, house-cooling, and other counteractions to deal with a hotter local climate.

    But the current statistics are very noisy, and it is easy for a "bad faith actor" to cherry-pick and confuse the situation.  (And some even believe their own propaganda.)  Every lot of data you supply will rest on a poor statistical foundation ~ and both you and he simply cannot get a knock-out "win".   You will need great skill to extricate yourself from the pig-trough of Mine Versus Yours versions of recent & historical data.   Find a better battleground !

  8. PollutionMonster @406,
    I think I concur with Eclectic's 'snake pit'.
    Zhao et al (2021) is a paper those climate deniers would find useful as it does show that for the period 2002-18 globally there was a decrease of 275,000/y deaths correllating with cold weather while the increase due to hot weather rose 113,000/y, simplistically suggesting AGW is 'good', although as today cold deaths are found to be much greater (4.6M/y) than hot deaths (0.5M/y), this finding is not so surprising.

    In terms of this sort of analysis, this is very early work and likely an inaccurate account of the impact of "non-optimal ambient temperatures" on mortality. Note that a similar study Burkart et al (2021) drew criticism for its methods which found 1.3M/y cold deaths & 0.34M/y hot.

    And given the numbers involved with global mortality, it is not difficult to establish large numbers of deaths in such simplistic correlations. The premature deaths due to pollution resulting from fossil-fuel-use is a case in hand. And when these studies point in the direction of 'hot is bad' or visa versa, they will be happily wielded by either 'warmists' or 'deinialists' with little thought to what is being 'wielded'. (Regarding 'visa versa', note Wu et al (2022) from the same team as Zhao et al finding an increase in excess deaths over the same period (2000-19) of +0.16M/y due to "short-term temperature variability".)
    Much of this 'wielding' is remarkably poor. Note this Bloomberg headline - the 'subscriber only' article also covers Zhao et al (2021) and the actual account may be less ridiculous than the headline.

    The impact of temperature directly on mortlity is surely today not as great as the indirect impacts described in the OP above although quantifying it all will be always controversial. (But should they be. I recall an argument we presented to a UK enquiry over an off-shore wind farm. Using even the smallest estimates of AGW deaths, we suggested the wind farm [Navitas off the Dorset coast] would globally save a very significant number of lives globally, that is very significant to such enquiries. Sadly the denialists won the day with the enquiry although the reasons given for the decision were entirely flawed.)

    However, the direct impact of temperature should be a concern. Zhao et al point out "At a global level, the results indicate that global warming might slightly reduce net temperature-related deaths in the short term, although, in the long run, climate change is expected to increase the mortality burden." And the question, of course, is how big that "increase" will become. Myself, I would add that if AGW were allowed to intensify to +6ºC, we can say that the tropics will become a death zone for anybody outside an air conditioned environment. And +6ºC is not such a crazy number if we do nothing about AGW.

  9. Eclectic@407 and MA Rodger@408

    Thank you both for the detailed responses. :) I am impressed. On other websites I may have been ignored or riduculed. Thanks again I read both posts entirely. This answers my question.

  10. PollutionMonster @409 ,

    Good luck with your battle against the science-deniers.  As you have noticed, they use all sorts of poor logic and see-the-tree-but-ignore-the-forest stuff.  They are emotionally driven ~ as you must be, if you wish to entertain yourself by crossing swords with them in public.

    Your task of course is to persuade the onlookers, not the intransigent Denialists.   My humble advice is to Keep It Simple.

    A/  The observed Stratospheric Cooling is a great argument : being proof that it is not The Sun causing modern global warming.  And the Stratospheric Cooling was successfully predicted by "models" of 80-ish years ago.

    B/  The observed sea level rise is great proof of actual global warming (Denialists try to deflect on to the gray area of "but the rise is not accelerating" or the rubbishy "it's just rebound from the Little Ice Age".)   Also you can mention the coastal measurements by Kulp & Strauss [2019] showing that a 1 meter sea level rise would displace 230 million people (Denialists hate the idea of refugees & migrants).

    C/  When pressed to declare what the perfect climate is ~ I state the climate of 1950 A.D.  (Easy to defend.)

    These sorts of arguments suit my simple brain, and are difficult to counter by sophists, bloviators & other trollish propagandists.

  11. Eclectic @410

    Right now I am talking with a person who's position is ambiguous. The individual claims they are not a climate denier. Yet, they make many of the denier's talking points. Similar to dog whistling. My guess is they are a climate change denier, but won't admit it.

    Instead, hiding behind how much the "working class" is harmed by "rip off merchants". Sample argument below:

    "But I'm not a Trump supporter or a climate change denier I'm concerned about costs to the working classes you claim you are also yet you sound exactly like one of the rip off merchants who feign concern over the planet yet profit significantly from forcing people into green schemes they cannot support, you have no explanation on how it's in anyway reasonable to expect people to pay for electric cars or solar panels, you also want to punish them further by insisting they cycle long distances to work in every sort of condition." sample probably climate change denier argument

    This seems like classis motte and bailey strategy to me. My advice to you is push a little further than you feel comfortable into the innermost motte by pushing climate change action. Giving no place to retreat, this advice is from the skeptics guide to the universe book by Steven Novella, MD.

    I've found very few climate change deniers will straight out deny warming. Instead, hiding behind more "moderate" stances. The result is the same whether a hardcore or moderate denier, slothful climate action. Anti-vaxxers do the same, "I'm not anti-vaxx I am anti-mandate and mask".

    I. Ban Gasoline leafblowers. One of my favorites to show climate change mitigation can be very small. Many people want to get rid of them anyways.

    II. Transfer fossil fuel subsidies to renewable. Showing the true cost of fossil fuels.

    I think you are 100% correct about persuading the onlookers. Good points on A, B, and C I will try them. C seem very interesting the part about denialists hating the idea of refugees and migrants. :)

  12. PM @411...  Many who claim not to be a climate denier are merely stretching the definition to make that claim. As in, "I don't deny the earth has a climate." And then if you point out the absurdity of that definition and clarify they're a climate change denier, they respond with, "But I don't deny that the earth's climate changes; in fact it's always changing."

    Now, I generally try to skip all the inanities and go straight to the full scientifically accepted definition that... human activities, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels, are responsible for most or all of the warming of the past 50 years and best estimates show the earth will warm ~3°C per doubling of CO2 concentrations

    If they deny that, they're a climate denier. Plain and simple.

  13. "It's Not Bad" is quite a general topic, and covers many Denialist areas.

    "Denier" is a handy short label for those who are opposed to taking action for fixing the global warming problem.  They themselves dislike it, and whinge greatly about the label : but after all, a label usually doesn't matter much ~ since every reasonable person can recognize an alligator / crocodile / caiman by sight, regardless of its exact label.

    No point in joining the bunfight at the famous blogsite WattsUpWithThat.   WUWT is 98% echochamber, and shows the interesting range of deniers ~ extending from the studious intelligent ones who are crippled by their own motivated reasoning . . . to the crackpots who deny CO2-physics and/or deny there is any true warming occurring.  And through to the paranoid political wingnuts who deny any AGW (or alternatively, claim that AGW is good for us and we should have more of it).

    At WUWT  there is a kaleidoscopic churning of all sorts of "reasons" why we should stay on fossil fuels and avoid renewables.  #Now, during the past decade (as car lithium batteries have soared in number)  WUWT  has ranted about the need to increase coal usage to: "lift those poor Africans out of poverty" . . . and even more particularly: "EV batteries are causing small Congolese children to work in slave-like conditions in the cobalt mines".

    The "poor Africans" argument I find remarkable, as it typically comes from American wingnuts who oppose any decent governmental help to their own American poor ~ and who themselves for the past half-century have have not lifted a finger personally to aid the African poor.  And even now they still do nothing to help these children ~ and they completely fail to see that it is sheer poverty which forces African parents to send young children to the mines.  Fixing the Root Cause is unthinkable.

  14. Rob Honeycutt @412

    That's an awesome example. "I don't deny the Earth has a climate." I love it! Thank you. :)

    Eclectic @413

    Thanks this helps me a lot.

    ""Denier" is a handy short label for those who are opposed to taking action for fixing the global warming problem. They themselves dislike it, and whinge greatly about the label"  Eclectic

    I won't visit or even mention the name of the website you mentioned. I figure it is just giving them more ad revenue. As for the part about Africa, I call what the climate change denier is doing as concern trolling. This argument also relies heavily upon climate myth #3 it is not bad.

    Sometimes the denier takes the moral grandstanding route, angry, and insulted when I implied they are a climate change denier. I usually, just apologize to be nice, but sometimes I think I apologize too much. Anti-vaxxers do this too.

    Caricature of a climate argument.

    me: "climate change can be prevented without pitting the enviorment versus poor people. I recommend the websites and crankyuncle."

    Sample denier argument: "You are calling me a climate change denier by linking to the two links above. How dare you insult me! Calling me a climate change denier is an ad hominem and dehumanizing language. You should be ashamed of yourself. I will not stand for such harassment, abusive hate speech, I am highly offended!!!"

    This moral outrage type of argument can be quite difficult to stomach. More so if they catch you off guard. Let's check my message, wait what? Let alone if I show any emotion especially anger.

    me: "Wow, this is tin foil hat level of conspiracy thinking gish gallop."

    Climate change denier: "Enough with the attitude! I wrote twenty pages and you dismiss my claims with a single sentence. You ignore all of my claims and make no effort. What do I get in response, snark? I find this disrespectful. Nobody listens to me. How dare you! "

    Pay attention to the self-pity in the above paragraph. I can practically hear them playing a violin.

    With your example of Africa the climate change denier tries to peg the skeptic as a member of the cabal, the denier as a member of the army of light, and everyone else as sheeple. That's why I think #3 its not bad is such an important myth to dispel.

    The idea that proponents of climate change action are cast as the villains and deniers the heroes bothers me. Taken a step further the climate change denier sometimes resorts to abusive ad hominems and even threats. Justifying their nasty remarks and threats because in their warped sense of reality they are heroes defeating a horrific villain and saving the sheeple.

    I call the tactic attack the skeptic. Sometimes I get a little scared when a denier uses violent rhetoric and graphic threats. At first I thought it was funny because it was so over the top. I though he was just poeing to be funny.

    Poe's Law

    Pretty scary because this has been going on since about May 2022, I though if I ignored him he would just go away.

    But I guess that's pretty normal if you debunk climate myths long enough you are going to attract a tin foil hat Young Earth Creationist Christian zealot who really thinks God is on their side believes in Qanon and views the opposition as a satanic threat. How common is this?

    In conclusion, I think #3 myth it is not bad is a pretty good place to focus because climate change deniers love to declare themselves the heroes and vilify anyone who pushes climate change action.

    Simplest form:

    Climate change action advocate: "We should do something about climate change."

    Denier: "You monster! Groups x,y, and z will be harmed by your immoral and reckless actions. We should be completely passive and do nothing because climate change is good."

  15. PM @414... Oh, you'd hardly believe the number of times I've seen that line used. And, used seemingly in ernest, no less.

  16. HI One World, and also Rob made some sea level comments as well.
    Im sorry I don’t have more time, and some of you commit large swaths of time here and I appreciate that.
    Using NASA data, presuming they have the best resources and equipment, satellites and those argo sea probes et al. to gather original data, they show sea level rising since 1993 to be 3.8 inches.
    But what I think you are trying to indicate, and what the graphs show mostly, are that the rate of sea rise increases as the warming continues higher and higher. An exponential effect is presented. So taking past temperature increases will not explain future expected gains. It is either an exponential increase or the suggestion is that the increase is delayed so that as we go up in temperature, the rise happens decades later and there is a build.
    I think we have finished with the run away suggestions for nature. The train bearing down on a child and all that. I see that as tactics to get people to listen and pay attention, but nothing true in our environment. Nature balances. She reacts. This Co2 rise is a reaction and right now she is reacting to this human population boom, which is unprecedented in history. And all the energy use associated with all these new counts of people on earth, living longer and healthier than ever, this is increasing Co2 counts and enriching our surface world in all the ways Co2 can do that.
    Nasa used 4-5 scales to predict sea rise, 1. tracking if nothing is done, 2. some is done and 3. complete zero new emissions is achieved ( which cannot happen until the population levels out in 60 or so years ).
    By 2100 there is Nasa modeling of .4 to .8 meter rise, using the data set of 2. some is being done. Doing what we can will be instrumental in keeping high tide from being higher than usual in that future time. I’ve tries to stay with the median predictions, so this is not discrepancy conversation of the outer 5%’s.
    Science American believes no new storms are made but the severity of moisture based storms may increase by 2-4 miles per hour. The threat of sea rise is about the most serious threat.
    I understand better where you are coming from. I still have the higher philosophical orientation to grapple with.
    If mankind has finally achieved the goal of conquering the mission of dreams pondered throughout the pain filled ages, of solving misery and pain and finding medical success beyond any expectations. Is this worth it? A sea level rise?
    The highest gain has been with infant mortality, which has plummeted from the high middle ages at 400-500 per thousand to 5.5 infants per thousand today. Think of all the occasions of birth deaths which also took the mother too, to quantify misery. That and antibiotics alone have caused this phenomenon of Co2 rise. Life spans have increased 61%, living conditions have soared, medicine is in a wonderland of abilities and birth to adulthood stats are beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. The question is; is that worth a side effect of sea level rising a foot and a half, maybe 2 feet at high tide.
    This endeavor appears to goad and cajole and shame people using fossil fuel and I suppose that is the fastest way to get attention. But I do not believe it to be honest. This appears to be unwittingly human caused and one must decide if it is worth the subsequent consequences ahead. It is not from derelict and wanton people, it is from the results of scientific achievement, sought after for ages and finally achieved within the science that coincided with the industrial revolution. The origin of this is important to be able to consider context to this issue. If I were there and had the choice in my hands, I’d have us standing exactly where we were today. Reducing Co2 is still important, but I wouldn’t be bullying any brothers from any mothers over this. It is important, but not that important all things considered.


    [BL] If you want people to read what you write, spending enough time to format it properly would help.

  17. peppers @416,

    A more extensive presentation of misunderstanding does not make it more reasonable or credible (no matter how many times you repeat it).

    You continue to try to promote the belief that the only factor is the 'population growth'. You have even said many times that as soon as the population stops growing the human impact problem will stop getting worse.

    Continuation of harmful activity will not stop when the population stops growing. It will not even stop when the population declines from its peak. But it can be reduced while the population grows.

    The harm being done will stop when there is no longer any people getting away with obtaining personal benefit from actions that are unsustainable and harmful to Others. Non-human life and the future generations of humanity are the easiest to harm because they have no vote, no legal power, no marketing power. Mind you, people in other legal jurisdictions can also be easy to harm because they also lack powers to govern/limit the harm being done in Other jurisdictions (and leaders of harmful jurisdictions often fight, in misleading ways and with the promotion of misunderstandings, against having higher level governing parties limit their harmfulness).

    In many previous comments on different SkS items you have also argued that if the different magnitudes of harmfulness is to be the basis for determining who is the major cause of the problem then larger populations of less harmful people 'are the more harmful problem'. In my comment @77 on the SkS item "The Big Picture", I have rationally refuted that resoundingly by explaining that that is like declaring that someone who is twice as harmful as everyone else 'is acceptable because 3 of those Other people are more harmful in total'.

    To conclude I will point you to the following informative report: "Emissions Gap Report 2022: The Closing Window – Climate Crisis Calls for Rapid Transformation of Societies". It is the first of many informative documents pointed to be the SkS item "New reports spell out climate urgency, shortfalls, needed actions"

    In my comment @4 on that SkS item I present a relevant point made in the "Emissions Gap Report 2022: ...". It points out the following regarding the most harmful people: "Super-emitters in the top 0.1 per cent (average 467 tCO2e/capita) and the top 0.01 per cent (2,531 tCO2e/capita) have seen the fastest growth in personal carbon footprints since 1990." and "... the bottom 50 per cent emit on average 1.6 tCO2e/capita".

    That revises things. Your argument that 'only the number of people matters' would result in claiming that a person who is 2531/1.6=1581 times as harmful as the average person in half of the global population is 'acceptable because 1582 of the average in the least harmful 50% of the global population would be more harmful than that one person'.

    The problem is, and always has been, the most harmful pursuers of personal benefit not being effectively governed/limited by Others. And the worst cases of that problem happens when the less harmful Others, but desire the benefits of being more harmful, are willing to be misled into supporting and excusing the most harmful misleaders.

    It is possible, and essential for the future of humanity, for more people to learn to be less harmful and more helpful to Others, be part of the solution rather than be misled into being part of the problem. They just have to choose to learn to be less harmful and more helpful at making amends for harm done, especially if they benefited from the harm that was done. And once enough political groups have chosen to be less harmful and more helpful they have enough collective power they will be able to limit the harmfulness of the trouble-makers who persist at fighting against learning to be less harmful and more helpful.

  18. Please note: the basic version of this rebuttal has been updated on April 20, 2023 and now includes an "at a glance“ section at the top. To learn more about these updates and how you can help with evaluating their effectiveness, please check out the accompanying blog post @

    Thanks - the Skeptical Science Team.

  19. This doesn't seem to help!  

    "Climate news can seem dire with little hope for a better world. Talk to climate scientists, engineers and researchers, however, and they see a different future – a positive one that's well within our reach.

    For Earth Day 2023, instead of imagining the worst, USA TODAY invites you to envision the best. Conversations with a dozen experts give a glimpse of what a time traveler from today might see as they experience life a generation from now in a United States that put its mind to solving climate change – no miracles or as-yet-uninvented technology needed."

    Is everything really coming up roses? I thought in order to keep temperatures below 1.5 degrees C it would require technology that can take massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere and finding a place to store it. If we let it go to 2 degrees C, can we relax?

  20. Hi -

    As has been remarked by others, arguably this "It's not bad" response is good, but may be trying to cover too much ground.  In particular, I'm here to request that the team consider writing a response to the related or subordinate myth(s), which are in my opinion arguably the most important myths not yet debunked on this site, that
    - nobody has died from climate change,
    - any claim of increased deaths can't be attributed to climate change.
    - and, therefore, calling this a "climate emergency" is exaggerating, alarmist and hysterical.

    I believe the science here would fall in the area of social science or biological sciences (i.e.: discussing increased mortality above what is expected per time period, and whether it is attributable, under established scientific practices, to climate change).  There are peer reviewed publications out there which may give some idea and basis for a proper rebuttal, though admittedly we could use more of such publications to lean on in the face of such arguments.  A couple of examples:
    Published: 31 May 2021
    The burden of heat-related mortality attributable to recent human-induced climate change

    1.  I think these two links relate to the same study published in Nature in 2021:

    Global Study Evaluates Heat-Related Deaths Associated with Climate Change
    By David Richards

    Also in 2021, this may be a completely different study (I can't tell for sure at a glance.  It seems to have been published in The Lancet Planetary Health.
    World’s largest study of global climate related mortality links 5 million deaths a year to abnormal temperatures
    08 July 2021

    Global, regional, and national burden of mortality associated with non-optimal ambient temperatures from 2000 to 2019: a three-stage modelling study

    Prof Qi Zhao, PhD
    Prof Yuming Guo, PhD
    Tingting Ye, MSc
    Prof Antonio Gasparrini, PhD
    Prof Shilu Tong, PhD
    Ala Overcenco, PhD
    et al.
    Show all authors

    Open AccessPublished:July, 2021DOI:

    These above are just one or two recent examples.  There are probably other credible-seeming ones if the team is able to look, in preparing a rebuttal, and they may vary as to which climate change impacts (heat, drought, rise in sea level, increased storms, etc.) have what mortality increase (or decrease, in some isolated cases, I suppose is possible) figures associated with them.  As to "associated", I think it's to the scientific papers to clarify what the correct approach is.

    Anyway, to simplify, please take a look at what I believe to be arguably the most important myth not yet addressed on this site.


    [RH] Shortened and activated links. You can do this yourself in the future. Just look in the tabs above the text box.

  21. Sorry, Jlsoaz @420 , but you would be on a Fool's Quest if you try to make the definitive Debunk of temperature-related deaths and suchlike measuring-sticks of what is (or isn't) an emergency or catastrophe.  The idea you put forward is quite fundamentally flawed.

    " Catastrophic" is a rubbery weaselword.   Too much room for semantic sophistries & lawyerly one-sided advocacy & "Gotcha" public debating of incomplete truths.   # Also there is the question of when  to use catastrophe  ~  is it only for right now today, or is it including major problems which are approaching us in the near- or mid-term future?   ( Or the approaching Heat Death of the universe? )

    Is it a catastrophe or calamity when you run your car off the road at high speed? . . . or only when your car overturns or strikes a large boulder, etc?    Or is it like the old joke about the optimist who experienced the catastrophe of falling off the top of the Empire State Building  ~  yet reassured himself by counting the number of floors he had fallen past without encountering a catastrophic outcome?

    A fool's game there, Jlsoaz.


    [ On  side-note : It is not only "premature deaths" but also many other adverse effects that now (or in the future) can be consequences of AGW.   In particular the "temperature-related deaths" that show up in studies of heat-related vs. cold-related deaths are rather poorly-documented for comparison purposes.   Cold-deaths are usually well-documented, while heat-related  deaths are rather poorly documented because they tend to occur more in a Third-World country, where the deaths are poorly recorded in cities & slums . . . and in the remoter regions, may not be recorded at all (in any medical/official assessment). ]

  22. Jlsoaz:

    Studies of excess heat deaths, etc, run into a common problem in epidemiology: you can't do controlled experiments, and analysis of data requires a rather convoluted mix of causes that need to be isolated through various models. In the end, you get probabilities, not explicit cause-effect relationships.

    Even in a "simple" autopsy, the cause of death is often a series of factors that combined to yield a fatal result. Did Covid cause that death? Well, he was elderly, had COPD and diabetes. The death certificate says his heart gave out. But he was living with those diseases and had prospects for many more years of life until Covid came along and hit him.

    The tobacco industry used this limitation to great effect: "you can't prove that this person got this cancer from smoking our cigarettes", etc.

    That's not to say that you suggestion is without merit. It will be considered, but I"m not sure how we might go about it.

  23. Regarding the discussion about cold- vs. heat-related deaths this current blog post from Andrew Dessler on his substack page "The Climate Brink" might be helpful. It is the 2nd of a 3-part series, with the 3rd part expected soon:

    Unraveling the debate: Does heat or cold cause more deaths? Part 2

    This is US-centric and Andrew Dessler points out that there will be a lot of differences across the globe.

  24. Hello Bob Loblaw,

    Thanks for the explanation, it makes some sense.  I have to say though that the consequences are looming large for all of us of not responding to denialists relying on the myths of
    "nobody has died from this". 
    "you can't attribute the deaths accurately"
    "causality is hard to establish, and amateurs misuse the word"

    I do think it would be useful to memorialize your own response into part of a new myth rebuttal.  Perhaps it would be useful to break the response down to bite-sized chunks like this:

    Myth: It is impossible for scientists to attribute any increase in deaths to anthropogenic global climate change, or to its related phenomena.

    Reality: Epidemiological science has these tools which allow for analysis of such problems in thus-and-such a way.  They do not allow for saying "x" but they do allow for saying "y".  Thus, while scientists have struggled to provide an accurate body count that can be attributed credibly to the change in climate, peer-reviewed papers over the last 20 years provide us with this range of estimates."

    In the rebuttal composition a place could also be made for helping readers understand what the difficulties are in the science (lack of controlled experiments, various complicating factors, etc.) but how it is a myth (I am thinking it is anyway) that these difficulties mean that science is powerless to help us understand anything about developing a body count estimate.

    I also think the tobacco industry point seems useful, but somehow that was overcome, right? 

  25. Also Bob Loblaw, I was writing too quickly before when composing the above response, but I'll add that I completely respect this particular area is in some ways harder to address than other areas, and that I may have myself, in my wording above, reflected some errors.  Always the site should stick to the science and reality, and so if I made any errors in the above, then they should not be heeded.  Perhaps it can be said that a challenge here is to state what the myths actually are, and then to have really good scientists help with composing a rebuttal that is strictly correct (even if it's nuanced and not pithy or easy to understand).

    With all of that said, when I as a non-scientist (though with a bit of physical and social sciences coursework decades ago) went to look around to see what I could find on some aspects of these myths to do with how many people have died attributable to AGCC, it seemed to me that it has been many years that denialists have been largely succeeding in avoiding all discussions of a body count estimate (or range estimate) for AGCC leading up to this point.  And how have they done this?  I think a big part of it is they're successfully relying on the high bar of difficulty that there is in science for attributing deaths to this or that cause.

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