Climate Activists Dispute Study Claiming Warming Is ‘Past Point of No Return’


USA Today and other media outlets are publicizing an alarmist climate study claiming Earth has passed a “point of no return” for unending global warming. The study is so flawed that even climate activists are criticizing it. Americans deserve better climate reporting.

A pair of researchers from the Norwegian Business School published the study, claiming, “In this paper we report that in the ESCIMO climate model the world is already past a point-of-no-return for global warming. In ESCIMO we observe self-sustained melting of the permafrost for hundreds of years, even if global society stops all emissions of man-made GHGs immediately.” [emphasis in the original]

This new study projects a climate future so bad, even prominent climate alarmists like Katharine Hayhoe are criticizing it:

It is noteworthy that even Hayhoe criticizes the study as “doomerism.” Hayhoe and her peers have been preaching climate doom for decades, yet even she realizes the new study is indefensible.

The real issue climate alarmists have with the new study is that the general public has to think climate change is enough of a problem to be motivated to “act now” and make reductions in lifestyle to slow CO2 emissions. But this new study about the future, suggesting zero-emissions energy use will have no effect in our lifetimes discourages even the most fervent climate action supporters, who will likely lose interest and lapse into apathy.

After all, if we are already past the “point of no return,” why spend time and energy on the issue now? Even the much-ballyhooed Paris Climate Conference, from which President Trump wisely withdrew, has been shown in a 2015 study by Bjorn Lomborg to have virtually no effect on future temperatures, as seen in Figure 1, below. Lomborg observes:

“Current climate policy promises will do little to stabilize climate and their impact will be undetectable for many decades.”

Figure 1: This figure adapted from Lomborg (2015) validates the fact that cutting carbon emissions will have minimal impact on future climate.

The bottom line, whether it is elections, stock markets, or climate change, we would be wise to heed the advice of the great Yogi Berra: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Anthony Watts is a senior fellow for environment and climate at The Heartland Institute. Watts has been in the weather business both in front of, and behind the camera as an on-air television meteorologist since 1978, and currently does daily radio forecasts. He has created weather graphics presentation systems for television, specialized weather instrumentation, as well as co-authored peer-reviewed papers on climate issues. He operates the most viewed website in the world on climate, the award-winning website


  1. Actually I believe the climate alarmists are a damn sight more worried at what the governments might think. Perhaps if they believe the future is al ready set in stone, they will decide it is pointless making huge research grants to said alarmists, & the gravy train could run out of steam.

    Now that would be a true catastrophe.


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