Why are Climate Scientists Freaking out about Climate Change?

In 1895 Rudyard Kipling, the novelist, short-story writer, poet, and journalist, famously wrote a Poem titled “If”. It is perhaps one of the most parodied poems ever written, and so of course there is this variation of it…

If you can keep your head and remain calm while everybody around you is running about with their hands in the air screaming in raw panic, then clearly there is something going on that you have completely failed to grasp.

On Sun Nov 6, Day1 of COP27, the World Meteorological Organization presented a report on the State of The Global Climate in 2022. It’s provisional because 2022 is not done yet, but the story so far is indeed dire reading.

It is titled “Eight warmest years on record witness upsurge in climate change impacts“, so clearly they are pulling no punches here, and are spelling it out.

The WMO Press Release: Link

The Full Report: Link to PDF via here. It is readable, it runs to 26 pages.

What does it tell us?

I’ll keep this really very simple …

  • Fact 1: The past eight years are on track to be the eight warmest on record
  • Fact 2: Our fossil fuel emissions are causing this warming
  • Fact 3: In 2022 the extreme heatwaves, drought, and flooding has impact millions of people and cost billions
  • Fact 4: The global average temperature is now 1.15 C above pre-industrial times
  • Fact 5: The greater the warming gets, the greater the impacts will be
  • Fact 6: 2022 has seen unprecedented melting of glaciers in Europe and elsewhere
  • Fact 7: Sea level is rising. The rate at which it is rising is now double the 1993 rate
  • Fact 8: Ocean heat is now at record levels

As this continues, it will impact everyone and everything on the planet, not just hundreds, but thousands of years.

We still have choices and so we must act now to radically slash greenhouse gases. We must invest on more adaption

If that was too many words, then there is also their Movie

This is not Birth of a Nation, but instead is just 1 minute and 18 seconds long, so yes, you really can digest the latest details of our (so far) successful efforts to walk the road towards extinction …

How do they know all this?

Robust observational data.

This is a distillation of information that has been sourced from a large number of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and associated institutions, as well as UN partners, the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service and Regional Climate Centres.

If you disagree with their conclusions then be aware that your argument is not with those presenting the report, nor is it even with the many many subject matter experts who checked, double checked, triple checked, prayed that they were wrong, and then discovered they were not. Instead, your argument is with the laws of physics.

That is not an argument you will ever win.

When it comes to things like floods, droughts, heatwaves, and storms, the phrase “Record Breaking” is fast becoming the new normal.

Worried yet?


Now you can proceed to get on board with the idea of proceeding to freak out and demanding an end to “Business as usual”.

The very worst case, doing nothing, is a road to utter catastrophe.

The best case, completely resolving it, is also now beyond us.

Something between those two extremes is how this will pan out long term.

Right now, today, we still have choices to avert the worst and so slow things down so that we grasp a shot at being able to adapt.

“Emissions are still growing at record levels. That means our planet is on course for reaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible. We need to move from tipping points to turning points for hope.”

António Guterres, UN secretary-general

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