A different perspective on pessimistic projections

As Donna Laframboise noted in a post, today:

We are routinely urged to heed climate scientists who say the world is in peril and that humanity must mend its environmentally damaging ways. What we’re rarely told is that these scientists are part of a long tradition.
Forty years ago, […] environmentalists, experts, and journalists were doing exactly what they do now. Brandishing impressive credentials, they were scolding us about our lifestyles and threatening dire consequences if their pessimistic pronouncements were ignored.
[…]it’s important to note that some experts are drama queens. For them, the glass is always half empty and everything is always a crisis (rather than a manageable problem). Unfortunately, drama queens tend to attract media attention. We therefore need to start noticing that, no matter what the specific problem has been, drama queen scientists have been pushing the same unpalatable solutions for 40 years: fewer humans, less consumption, less travel – and less freedom.

I’d like to introduce these “experts” to Dr. Hans Rosling … According to TED, he is:

A professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, his current work focuses on dispelling common myths about the so-called developing world, which (he points out) is no longer worlds away from the West. In fact, most of the Third World is on the same trajectory toward health and prosperity, and many countries are moving twice as fast as the west did.

What sets Rosling apart isn’t just his apt observations of broad social and economic trends, but the stunning way he presents them. Guaranteed: You’ve never seen data presented like this. By any logic, a presentation that tracks global health and poverty trends should be, in a word: boring. But in Rosling’s hands, data sings. Trends come to life. And the big picture — usually hazy at best — snaps into sharp focus.

Rosling’s presentations are grounded in solid statistics (often drawn from United Nations data), illustrated by the visualization software he developed.

Ah! Unlike the proponents of the infamous hockey-stick, Dr. Rosling uses “solid statistics” … let’s take a look:


I’m all for tradition, I think it’s a wonderful concept! But considering the outcome of the Cancun CarbonFest (and knowing that there will be another one a year from now in Durban, South Africa), perhaps in the intervening twelve months, the coterie of IPCC climate scientists should consider placing their activist “drama queen” acts on hold – and forego spreading their perennial gospel of gloom (that appears to increase with each new “paper” they produce) and inevitable doom.

Maybe they could talk to Dr. Rosling, who might introduce them to reality – of which their projections suggest they appear to be oblivious – and help them bring a little perspective to their pronouncements.


2 thoughts on “A different perspective on pessimistic projections

  1. Pingback: Forty Years of Drama Queen Scientists « NoFrakkingConsensus

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