A local site I will not name, but a site with a predilection for climate change coverage, had the headline "2021 is a make-or-break year; UN warns dramatic climate change action needed."
My first thought was just how many times has that warning been issued? And how many times does it get issued before it’s a cry wolf special and people roll their eyes? Or have they already cried wolf and we already are rolling our eyes?
That's before we get to that mad march last week as angsty teenagers yet again hit the streets to proclaim we are already at the exit, the last offramp, and it's already too late.
At this point I looked up a few alarmist headlines to check dates. I was sure they used to tell us we only had until the end of the century, as in 2000, before it was too late.
First thing that popped up, "the hellish monotony of 25 years of IPCC climate change warnings.” Believe me; once you start looking, it’s a rabbit hole.
This story was published March of 2014. It starts "island nations rendered uninhabitable, millions of people to be displaced by floods, uncertainties over global food supplies, and severe impacts on human health across the world."
It went on, "changes in the availability of food, fuel, medicine, construction materials, and income are possible as these ecosystems are changed."
The day this story was published, 2014, was the day of the latest block buster IPCC report. But the aforementioned alarmism wasn’t actually from that report.
It was taken from the one in 1988, 26 years earlier, and first published in 1990, 24 years previous, or 30 years as of now.
So, for over a generation, the alarm bells have been ringing. This isn't to say there isn't an issue, and let's not get into whose fault it may or may not be.
But what is unavoidable is that most of what they said would happen, hasn’t.
The calamity has not come to pass. We still have our medicines, we still build our houses, and really, most of the efforts we have made towards addressing these crimes have come to little. If anything, more than a few documents cobbled together out of international gabfests concluded with the obligatory communique that in the following years gets largely ignored.
To get a message across you need credibility. Thinking of the worst thing that can happen, whether it will happen or not, and yelling it loudly has no credibility.
The fact we are still doing this 30 years after our so-called destruction, demise, and ruin, lays that truth out pretty clearly.
Perhaps it's time the zealots checked themselves and tried something a little less alarmist, and a little more realistic.
Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings.
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