“Eco-anxiety” is now a popular term. It is being increasingly used in the media to describe an anxiety condition resulting from the fears about the coming environmental destruction.
Climate Xchange for example, defines Eco-anxiety as a “feeling of stress, grief, helplessness, and fear of uncertainty associated with the grim outlook for our climatic and ecological systems if business continues as usual.” The American Psychological Association defines Eco-anxiety as “a chronic fear of environmental doom.”
In essence, it is a psychological condition wherein people are anxious about earth’s future and the changes in climate due to burning of fossil fuels. The mainstream media has been harping around the idea of eco-anxiety for quite sometime now. Interestingly, it has been associated more with the climate fears of the school-going generation.
The coverage of the student climate strike movement and dramatic speeches by celebrity child activists like Greta Thunberg has only added momentum to the eco-anxiety phenomenon among the younger generations.
A survey of 2000 children in the UK found out that 58 percent of them were worried about the impact of climate change on their lives. It also revealed that 1 in 5 of those children had nightmares about climate change.
The root of the eco-anxiety condition is the belief that the climate system is doomed because of anthropogenic global warming, a belief which depends entirely on predictions about the future state of climate.
But how much of these supposedly trustworthy predictions are actually trustworthy? Can eco-anxiety be justified and promoted on the basis of the available evidence?
Greenhouse Gases: Earth’s Temperature Control Knob, or Are they?
Among the various Greenhouse Gases (GHG) blamed for climate change, carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the key gases. Climate doomsayers believe that CO2 emission from anthropogenic energy sources are driving temperatures to dangerous levels and are likely to cause global catastrophe if CO2 emissions are not reduced.
However, this popular belief has failed to stand the test of time. While it is true that human GHG emissions do impact atmospheric temperatures, the extent to which they do is still unclear to scientists.
The world’s atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations rose rapidly between 2000 and 2019. But the change in Global Average Temperatures (GAT) did not follow the same rapid pattern. Instead, satellite temperature measurement show that GAT has remained largely stable since the year 2000, increasing at a rate that is much slower than the warming rate displayed between 1979 to 2000.
What Do We Know About Climate Predictions
The discrepancies between CO2 concentrations and the anticipated warming rates led scientists to admit that their computer climate models are faulty and incapable of reflecting real world temperature changes.
The models were originally designed to be highly sensitive to the increases in the atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and therefore consistently predicted higher than actual temperatures. Scientists term this as “hypersensitivity” of models to CO2.
The faulty nature of computer climate models (and their hypersensitivity) were testified before the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space & Technology in 2017. More recent analysis in 2020 revealed that these models exaggerate the warming rate by 4 to 5 times higher than the actual observations (1998 to 2014). Some models show a warming rate that is as much as 10 times higher than the actual warming rate.
These are the very same models that the alarmists and mainstream media use to scare us about the future warming. In fact, the model predictions are the primary justification used for the climate doomsday theory.
Unfortunately, the models have not been corrected for their errors in the past decade, and remain highly faulty. Even the next generation of climate models—known as CMIP6—are highly inaccurate with their prediction, exaggerating the warming rate similar to levels of their predecessor models.
Other False Fears about Climate
Though central to the climate doomsday movement, temperature has been just one of the many issues that the alarmists want us to be anxious about. Their scare-mongering has been centered around other factors that are influenced by climate. But sadly, they too do not stand a chance against ground reality.
Melting Poles: It is often said that the on-going global warming is melting the Arctic and Antarctic at unprecedented rates. But the truth is that the ice extent at both the poles are currently at some of the highest levels for the 10,000-year period. Besides, multiple claims about Arctic being ice-free did not come to pass and the fake news peddlers continue to deceive the masses.
Dying Polar Bears: When it comes to the emotional claims about the extinction of various species, it is again evident that illegal hunting and encroachment have been responsible for the decrease in population numbers, and not climate change or seasonal variations. Through conservation efforts, various popular species like Tiger and Polar bear have made a comeback in the wild.
Extreme Weather Events: Contrary to media lies, there has been no significant increase in extreme weather events owing to climate change. The United Nations—considered to be the chief authority on climate change—says that there is no significant correlation between temperature increase and extreme weather events.
Almost all the major scare-mongering about the climate and the ecosystem are false. If anything, the world has become a better place in the past 100 years, with unprecedented improvement in energy, agriculture, technology and management practices which has enabled us to efficiently utilize the natural resources for the benefit of society.
The notion that we are in a climate emergency or that we are headed towards a climate doomsday is completely unscientific and amateurish. Unfortunately, it has resulted in mass hysteria about climate, plunging millions of children and uninformed adults into an anxiety conditions that could have been averted.