McKibben’s July 2012 Roling Stone article “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” tosses out scary numbers such as “Saudi authorities reported that it had rained in Mecca despite a temperature of 109 degrees, the hottest downpour in the planet’s history.” Really? In the history of planet Earth?!
Perhaps’ the hottest rain since Mecca started keeping temperature records of rainstorms. Before that, who knows? But say this was the hottest rain in a couple hundered years. What does that prove. Nothing actually. It simply indicates the world is likely hotter in th 21st centurey than in the 20th. But even most climate skeptics know this. And rain when it’s 109 — praise Alah. Terrifying math?
Checking on 350 — McKibben’s #1 Number
McKibben named his mass movement 350 — “The most important number in the world.” Did he get that right? He says scientist agree we must not exceed this level of carbon dioxide in the air — 350ppm. It’s worth doing the math to see who McKibben really is. It’s pretty simple. back in 1770, CO2 was at 280ppm. Ever since Jimmy Carter asked MIT to study global warming, climate scientist have been estimating their most important number — the climate sensitivity. Here it is: If you double the CO2 (from 280) the temperature will increase by 3°C. Now for the math:
- 350 – 280 = 70 (Bill’s limit on the CO2 increase)
- An increase of 280ppm would cause a 3°C temperature increase (science).
- An increase of 70 ppm would cause 70/280 = 1/4 as much temperature increase.
- Going to 350 would cause a global warming of 1/4 of 3°C = 3/4°C.
So McKibben is claiming that the scientific consensus tells us that we must hold the temperature increase to 3/4°C and no more.
In fact, the UN climate scientists refused to name any limit, although they hinted a limit of 2°C until 2013, and then, yes, they said 2°C just as expected.
That’s 2.7 times greater than McKibben has told his followers. Never once has he mentioned that most scientists disagree with him.