Climate scientists of the apocalyptic persuasion are melting faster than Greenland ice sheets. They sob, they rage, they suffer from what shrinks now call “environmental melancholia” or “pre-traumatic stress disorder” — mental anguish about stuff that hasn’t happened. They just can’t understand why the public – i.e. the befuddled Australian electorate – laughs off computer-generated scenarios of the end of civilisation and, maybe, the end of the human species.
The doyen of Australia’s rising catastrophists, Dr Joelle Gergis, disclosed to August’s edition of The Monthly how she sobs about the climate peril during her kerosene-fuelled air travel. Then she switches to “volcanically-explosive rage” because the hoi polloi don’t want to pay for windmill electricity fantasies.
Environmental scientist Dr Katharine Wilkinson is quoted by Mother Jones (circ. 200,000): “For some, it’s anger or rage. For me, it’s deep grief… There is no way for me not to have a broken heart most days.” At a recent panel discussion, she blurted, “I have no child and I have one dog, and thank God he’ll be dead in 10 years.”
Senior weepniks include Yvo de Boer, former Executive Secretary of the UN group controlling the IPCC. Running the Bali UN climate summit, he had to be led off the podium in tears after losing a procedural motion “as he worked round the clock to get a deal to protect the Earth from warming.”
The scientists’ pals in the media have got infected too: “Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist turned journalist, has written about his own efforts to contend with climate-change–induced depression: ‘It’s only getting worse. I confess: I need help.”
Mother Jones featured interviews last month with top climate scientists about their mental well-being in the face of public indifference. In a piece headed, It’s the End of the World as They Know It: The distinct burden of being a climate scientist, Washington oceanographer Sarah Myhre talks of her “profound daily grief”. She doesn’t have clinical depression, she explains, just “anxiety exacerbated by the constant background of doom and gloom of science”. She asked a senior climate scientist how he communicated to ordinary folk about the “frightening scenarios” of CO2 emissions. “I don’t talk to those people anymore,” she remembers him replying. “F*** those people.” After that, Myhre went to her hotel room and wept.
Psychologists now swarm among climate scientists suggesting meditation, yoga and therapy. New York magazine wrote that climate scientists are living a “surreal existence”:
One psychologist who works with climate scientists said they suffer from ‘pre-traumatic stress,’ the overwhelming sense of anger, panic, and ‘obsessive-intrusive thoughts’ that result when your work every day is to chart a planetary future that looks increasingly apocalyptic. Some climatologists merely report depression and feelings of hopelessness. Others, resigned to our shared fate, have written what amount to survival guides for a sort of Mad Max dystopian future where civilization has broken down under the pressures of resource scarcity and habitat erosion.
Meanwhile, let’s take a quick reality check on how the planet’s actually doing after warming by one degree since 1890.
# World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim: “Over the last 25 years, more than a billion people have lifted themselves out of extreme poverty, and the global poverty rate is now lower than it has ever been in recorded history. This is one of the greatest human achievements of our time.”
# Global average life expectancy (72 years) increased by 5.5 years between 2000 and 2016, the fastest increase since the 1960s.
# World grains production in 2018-19 (2,685m tonnes) is close to record highs; wheat is a record 770m tonnes; and so is rice at 517m tonnes.
# In real terms, the world food price index has been flat for the past 60 years, despite population soaring from 3 billion to 7.5 billion.
# CO2 emissions have not only contributed to crop yields but have greened the planet to an area equal to two-and-a-half times Australia’s, according to a massive study in 2016 with CSIRO involvement. A newer satellite-based study has found even more massive greening effects, with 25 to 50 per cent of the globe’s vegetated regions now greener than in the 1980s.
# Weather extremes are not worsening and are not generated by global warming, regardless of claims by snake-oil salespeople wearing their “climate scientist” hats. If in doubt, check the IPCC itself.
# The world’s 76 best-quality, long-term tide gauges, according to a new study this year, show negligible sea rise acceleration in the past 120 years and no sign of the climate models’ predicted sharp warming of the oceans.
Now let’s get back to the psyches of Australia’s top warming spruikers. Geographers Professor Lesley Head (Melbourne University) and Dr Theresa Harada (Wollongong University) have published a breakthrough paper in the peer reviewed journal Emotion Space and Society. It’s called “Keeping the heart a long way from the brain: The emotional labour of climate scientists”. This includes insights about climate-panic people’s “emotional labour” from “feminist perspectives” in which the scientists combat “a strong climate denialist influence”. The authors, straight-faced, found that our climate scientists use emotional denial to suppress the consequences of climate change. Guilt-free, they can then continue “extensive use of long-distance airplane trips throughout a scientific career”.
The authors accept, no questions asked, that 33-50 per cent of the world’s petroleum and over 80 per cent of coal should be left in the ground. Even so, they fret we’re set for maybe 6degC warming and transformation of society. From this bland starting point, they sample four female and nine male Australian climate scientists — half of a group of 26 rated “the nation’s leaders in this field”. Tragically, the names of this band of bedwetters are withheld. The 13 interviews are wrapped with references to nearly 70 prior academic papers.
The study took at least three years. The scientists were surveyed from mid-2014 . The paper was submitted in May 2015 and re-submitted after revisions in July 2017. It was funded from part of an ARC research grant of $2,467,256 [you read that right: nearly $2.5m] for “cultural dimensions of environmental sustainability and human-environment interactions, including climate change.”
The interviewees’ particular terror was the “strong climate denialist movement [that] was a source of pressure and a cause of anxiety”. Into the bargain the denialist discourses were “seen to undermine the legitimacy of science authority”. The authors seem unaware that Australia’s leading “denialist” is Joanne Nova, one-time professional science educator and now a housewife in outer suburban Perth with a global reputation. Her only resource is her intellect and her only income is from her blog’s tip jar. No $2.5m taxpayer grants for Joanne…
The paper’s “Table 1” lists “Common themes from interview data”. It is not clear how much the 13 Australians contributed. Climateers were keen on self-preservation, the table said, since they “recognised their privileged positions (Western, well-educated, generally wealthy)”. Thus they scrabbled around “formulating strategies for escaping the consequences of climate change (dual passports, housing in alternative locations)”. The scientists hurry home to “engage in everyday banal activities (e.g. reading detective novels, gardening) to reduce stress.” To counter the denialists, these climate warriors can “(a) develop a thick skin — ignoring media criticism” and “(b) Avoid public advocacy for fear of retaliation”.
Our troops, police, paramedics and casualty workers must be in awe of climate scientists’ stress levels in the cauldron of faculty clubrooms!
The paper also sheds light on climateers’ ungainly social life. When interviewee “Karen” knocks off from predicting the death of human-kind, she goes home “to read trashy novels and have cups of tea”. She says, “Oh God I never tell them [in a social situation] that I’m a climate scientist, it usually descends into them shouting at you, or yeah, like telling you either you’re not doing enough or you’re doing too much.” The authors add, shrewdly, “This quotation illustrates how Karen aligns herself with the scientific community as opposed to the ‘them’ of the broader community.” Them = deplorables?
Another interviewee, Susan, argues,
Once you become convinced that the world, the way it’s going, is doomed, the human race is doomed, I don’t see how you can do anything other than keep trying and work in this area. I don’t understand why all scientists aren’t working on climate change. I honestly don’t, because if you don’t have a habitable planet, it doesn’t matter … nothing else matters … We really are screwed if we all give up.
Nice thought, Susan: the world’s only science should be climate change. Cancer research? Pfft!
In one respect Professor Head and Dr Harada hit the nail on the head. “Being a good parent”, an ethical climate scientist refrains from discussing the implications of climate change with their kids, to avoid passing on the “anxiety and fear”. Today in contrast. kids are dragooned as shock troops for anti-CO2 campaigns (Sweden’s damaged 16-year-old Greta Thunberg to the fore). These kids risk being inflicted with actual depression.
In 2014, Joe Duggan, an aspiring Masters student in Canberra, appealed to Australia’s warmist leaders to pen hand-written letters about their emotional traumas. “The result is 20 beautiful and heartbreaking letters that clearly display the frustration, guilt, anxiety and anger that plagues the researchers who have access to all the data, but can’t make people listen to their warnings.” The scrawls were put on display in Melbourne for National Science Week, rather like a cathedral’s relics of saints. Note the elitism of those keen to raise the fossil-fuel costs of working families:
# Alex Sen Gupta, Senior Lecturer (Oceanography), UNSW: Scientists who have spent years or decades dedicated to understanding how it all works are given the same credibility as poleticians, [sic] media commentators and industry spokes people with obvious vested interests and whose only credential is their ability to read discredited blogs.”
# Dr Ailie Gallant, Monash: “I often feel like shouting… but would that really help? I feel like they don’t listen anyway. After all, we’ve been shouting for years. How can anyone not feel an overwhelming sense of care and responsibility when those so dear to us are so desperately ill? Perhaps I’m the odd one out, the anomaly of the human race. The one who cares enough, who has the compassion, to want to help make her better. Time is ticking, and we need to act now.”
# Associate Professor Katrin Meissner (UNSW): “Knowing that I am one of the few people who understand the magnitude of the consequences and then realising that most of the people around me are oblivious … It makes me feel sick.”
# Prof Brendan G. Mackey, PhD (Griffith): “Dear Earth, just a quick note to say thanks so much for the last 4 billion years or so. It’s been great!… I’m really sorry about the last couple of 100 years – we’ve really stuffed things up haven’t we! I though we climate scientist might be able to save the day but alas no one really took as seriously…”
It’s become fashionable for lightweight journalists to highlight the troubled souls of climate scientists. The Guardian UK’s environment reporter, Roger Harrabin, did a radio interview on ballyhooed “ocean acidification” with an un-named woman professor of ocean geology. The broadcast was titled, Is it ok for scientists to weep over climate change?
Her passion for the oceans triggered tears…’Stop recording now,’ she said. ‘I can’t be crying on the radio. It’s demeaning to women scientists.’ I argued that the audience would be moved by her commitment, and the interview continued with tears flowing… A colleague was moved by her passion: ‘That was really powerful. She almost had me crying too. I persuaded [the professor] to let me broadcast the tearful radio interview but she truncated a subsequent TV interview when she became overwrought again.
Other weepniks include Michael E. Mann, author of the notorious “Hockey Stick” study of 1998 with source data that, for some reason, he insists must remain secret to this day.
He was talking to students, so it got to him. They’re young, it’s their future more than his. He choked up and had to struggle to get ahold of himself. ‘You don’t want to choke up in front of your class,’ he says. About once a year, he says, he has nightmares of earth becoming a very alien planet. The worst time was when he was reading his daughter Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax, the story of a society destroyed by greed… She burst into tears and refused to read the book again. ‘It was almost traumatic for her.’ His voice cracks. ’I’m having one of those moments now.’ Why? ‘I don’t want her to have to be sad,’ he says.
Mother Jones quotes Kim Cobb 44, a climate professor at highly-regarded Georgia Tech, on her tearful epiphany on Christmas Island in 2016 when she saw a lot of dead coral allegedly caused by warming seas and/or President Trump.
I was diving with tears in my eyes,” she recalls. In a row house made of cinder blocks on the tiny island, she monitored the American election results. When she saw Donald Trump’s victory, she felt shock and soon descended into severe depression… Back home in Atlanta, Cobb entered what she now calls “an acute mental health crisis.” Most mornings, she could not get out of bed, despite having four children to tend to. She would sob spontaneously. “How could my country do this? I had to face the fact that there was a veritable tidal wave of people who don’t care about climate change and who put personal interest above the body of scientific information that I had contributed to.
Jacquelyn Gill, a paleontologist at Maine University, says, “Being constantly angry is exhausting.” It takes a certain resilience to be a scientist in America, the interview continues: “There are so few jobs, so few grants. You’re always dealing with rejection. You have to have a built-in ability to say ‘f*** it.’”
I’m bemused about her “so few jobs and grants” bit. In the two decades to 2014, the US spent $US166b on climate change work (in 2012 dollars), almost as much as on the entire Apollo moon program. The IPCC last year called for $US2.4 trillion a year spending until 2035 against global warming. This is not a field short of money. Another climate scientist remarks: “An accurate representation would have more crying and wine.”
An Esquire writer finishes on a note reminiscent of Euripedes’ Trojan Women: “However dispassionately delivered, all of this amounts to a lament, the [climate] scientist’s version of the mothers who stand on hillsides and keen over the death of their sons.”
If we’re into classical allusions, I’d go for the flagellants of Perugia, 1259 whipping themselves over drought and famine. The distinction today is that the tenured climate scientists want to whip us, not themselves. #
Tony Thomas’s new book, The West: An insider’s tale – A romping reporter in Perth’s innocent ’60s is available from Boffins Books, Perth, the Royal WA Historical Society (Nedlands) and on-line here
 The Terrible Truth of Climate Change, August 2019
 For example, from the 2015 report: Current datasets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century … No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin…There continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale.”
 Here’s the real deal from warmist Professor Andy Pitman, UNSW: “…this may not be what you expect to hear. But as far as the climate scientists know there is no link between climate change and drought. That may not be what you read in the newspapers and sometimes hear commented, but there is no reason a priori why climate change should made the landscape more arid.”
 “Australia is one of the Western countries where consistently high levels of climate change denial [sic] have been recorded.”
 Mackay broke the rule and typed his letter, so it lacks the others’ pizzaz
 Asked by the New York Times in 2015 for an example of a species hurt by ocean acidification, NOAA’s acidification expert Dr Shallin Busch privately responded, “Unfortunately I can’t provide this information to you because it doesn’t exist.” See Thomas, Tony, That’s Debatable, Connor Court, Brisbane 2016, p164: The fishy “science” of ocean acidification.”
 Mann last week lost his nine-year-long lawsuit against sceptic Dr Tim Ball who had called him a fraud.
 “When the End of Human Civilization Is Your Day Job.Among many climate scientists, gloom has set in. Things are worse than we think, but they can’t really talk about it.”