Yes, climate change is bad — but scientists must ‘chill’ when it comes to doomsday scenarios, experts say

‘Right now, not as many climate models focus enough attention on middle scenarios. That should change.’

BOULDER, Colo. — There are many studies out there warning people that climate change could lead to the end of our world. Yes, climate change is very real and poses a serious threat to the health of our planet. However, researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder have a simple message for scientists who focus on the most dire effects of global warming: chill out.

In a letter in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the authors write that many scientists are focusing way too much of the worst-case scenarios of climate change and environmental shifts all around the globe. While the team notes that these problems are real, constantly preaching impending doom is counter-productive and overshadows the more likely outcomes of global warming. These more-likely outcomes fall into the middle of the climate change conversation — not good, but also not extremely bad.

“We shouldn’t overstate or understate our climate future,” says CU Boulder assistant professor Matt Burgess, a fellow at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), in a media release. “People need to think in terms of gradations, not absolutes. Yes, we need to be aware of the extremes, like climate solutions that get us to net zero before mid century, or on the flipside, global catastrophes. But it’s what’s in the middle that is more likely. And that deserves more research.”

The letter answers back to a recent study in PNAS called “Climate Endgame.” Led by the University of Cambridge’s Luke Kemp, the report argues that catastrophic climate futures need to be the main focus of climate research — including scenarios that predict human extinction.

Preaching catastrophe ignores what will likely happen

One of these worst-case scenarios is a climate change model called RCP 8.5. However, the CU Boulder team says there are many other models which will likely become reality over the next century. “Right now, not as many climate models focus enough attention on middle scenarios,” Burgess says. “The SSP2-3.4 scenario, which might be one of most plausible emissions scenarios, wasn’t featured at all in the IPCC’s latest impacts and physical science reports. That should probably change.”

Burgess admits that it’s still important to know what more severe climate change models say.

“We want to know what might happen in extreme scenarios, and physical climate cycle feedbacks might make warming worse than emissions would suggest. But for the emissions in that scenario to happen, all the regions in the world in 2100 would need to have over $100k GDP per capita, with no climate policy the whole century, all-in on coal, despite facing unlivable heat in tropical regions with the warming that scenario produces. That’s just not realistic.”

At the same time, the researchers note that models which come in on the low-end of the climate change spectrum are probably going to be incorrect too. These forecasts predict that temperatures will only rise by less than three degrees by 2100.

“That would be a daunting task to keep us that low—we are almost there now,” Burgess explains.

Where will climate change take us in the future?

The new report notes that several experts agree that temperatures will likely rise by 3.6 to 5.4 degrees by 2100. By focusing on these “middle-ground scenarios,” the team says scientists can focus on how that change will impact local communities and humanity as a whole. This includes the impact of more severe heat waves and the shrinking number of areas seeing snow in the winter.

Researchers also note that “climate catastrophism” has a significant impact on the youth mental health crisis. Over 40 percent of young adults say they dwell on climate change issues, and it negatively affects their daily lives.

“We don’t want to ignore the possibility of catastrophic societal collapse or human extinction, but it shouldn’t be our main focus right now,” Burgess concludes.

YouTube video


  1. When 1 climate model accurately reflects historical and current conditions, then I will believe the predictions but not one is even close. But the politicians who seek power over us are pushing the false narratives and gloom and doom prophecies in order gain power, that is not science but religion, the new religion of the left. At least this article does understand that the likely scenarios are far from those the media and climate hucksters focus upon. It is simple, follow the money, there is no money today in the truth, the gate keepers have created their lies, and they hold everyone accountable who questions their conclusions. Do your own research, such as the temp models are so flawed due to urban heat islands, over 95% of monitoring stations violate NOAA standards, yet they are still in use, wonder why? Because the truth does not include the so called record heat the corrupt left needs.

    1. Hi Walter,
      You watch that video and you realize how smart and prescient George Carlin was. One of the funniest and insightful commentaries I have seen.

      Who says art doesn’t imitate life?

  2. Rain on this parade. WSU’s scientists found an “Alta Mira Climate Flip”. They dug the sunken city of Italia, nearby. We are now fifty years into the present 300 year long climate flip. These are 3500 years apart. Civilizations worldwide get flatlined every 3500 years. Prof Fryxell, a geologist attached to the Anthropology Dept. was trying to tie our Palouse Prairie to Alta Mira and found Marmes Man. But this pushed his research into the shadows. Then later, along comes Sitchin’s books on a binary vs dwarf solar system which is creeping up on us.
    Perihelion seems likely in 2100 to 2121. Mainstream science denies any proof of this interloper, but seeds and pollen grains, from deep beneath Italia, spilled the beans, pardon the pun! In 1971, I saw a statue of Nero in the Maria Theresa Gardens in Seville, Espana. As my T A noted, it looks just like the Hollywood comic actor, Zero Mostel!
    The last flip is recorded in Exodus, and the one before was around 5000 B C, or 7000 years ago. The Super Volcanic eruption of Toba, in Indonesia was twenty flips ago. Sumarians called this “ Giant Comet” the Destroyer and carved images into stone tablets for their cosmology. Is our c Guvment going to admit this incoming catastrophe??? Nah!

  3. “Temperature increases of only 3 to 5 degrees will lead to worldwide starvation.”
    500 A.D.: “Hold my beer.”

  4. The best theory I’ve come across based on ice core samples is thus- every ice age was preceded by a period of warming. This melts the Greenland ice sheet which desalinates the Atlantic Ocean cutting off the Caribbean current that keeps the northern hemisphere temperate warm. This starts a fairly long period ice age that is cyclical based on paleoclimatology. Where I currently sit 11,000 years ago was a over mile thick glacier that when melted helped create Lake Superior. Facts are facts not based on “Feelings”.

    1. The 70s were more about inflation and getting out of Vietnam. That, and trying to keep up with the fantastic music and movies that came out of that decade. Sex and drugs were gaining popularity without all the over dose deaths we have today.

      There were also books such as the “Population Bomb” and think there was one or two that predicted a looming new ice-age. …. rather chilling eh wot?

      The 70s was my all time favorite decade. That was the decade in which I grew up … took a few kicks to the groin and learned from it.

  5. The alarmism on both sides of the political isle is a sad state of the country. From ‘they are going to take all the guns away’, ‘that’s socialism’ to ‘the world is going to end if we don’t switch to electric vehicles right away’ and ‘you’re the worst person in the world if you don’t call me they’. When there is a crisis there is an opportunity to control.

    1. Can you explain more about the dishwashers? This is news to me. We paid a lot for a new one and primarily use it as a drying rack.

  6. AGW is a $CAM . CO2 is Plant Food . Climate Change is a Natural Repeating Cycle .
    Paying ever increasing carbon taxes to the global elite will NOT Solve a problem that does NOT Exist !

  7. If we were being fed worse case scenarios, what are the scenarios on the other end of the spectrum????

  8. In the 1970s either “overpopulation” or “global cooling” was going to result in mass starvation.
    Still waiting for that mass starvation. Still waiting.

  9. Hey JR. What is your scientific training and what do you do for a living? I find it interesting to know the background of a human being who can be so self righteous and dogmatic, especially when speaking about a subject that has so much uncertainty and complexity built into it. From what basis to you derive your “credentialed” opinions? Or perhaps you are simply a bot? Do tell.

  10. This vapid airhead just can’t wrap its head around the fact that climate chain isn’t very real and isn’t an existential threat to the planet.
    Peak severe cognitive dissonance

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