William Briggs: 1 Billion To Die By 2030 – Global Warming’s Deadly Rampage!
You read that number right, friend. One billion—that’s billion-with-a-Carl-Sagan-B—fresh corpses will pile the streets by 2030. A billion! During these same years, global warming will be among us, hiding, seeking; also lurking. Is this a coincidence? Draw your own conclusions. Go ahead: draw.
Drawn them yet? Then let me give you another alarming statistic, one more frightening than the last! Between now and 2030, two billion—yes, billion again; but doubled, friend; timesed by two—fresh babies will push into view. And don’t forget that this will be the same time period when climate catastrophe starts its ballyhoo in earnest. Coincidence?
If my arithmetic is right—and this is me we’re talking about—there will be a balance of one billion bodies; not dead ones, alive ones. Global warming thus appears to aid fecundity. Conclusion: climate change is good for making babies.
I emphasize that this is my arithmetic. For there are other groups with different math. For example, Reuters reported on a report conducted by the “humanitarian organisation” DARA, which said, “A combined climate-carbon crisis is estimated to claim 100 million lives between now and the end of the next decade.”
DARA is silent on the important question of the number of births, but in their Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2nd Edition they boast climate change is “a leading global cause of death.” And you guessed it: minorities and women are the most “vulnerable.” (Perhaps sweaty white men are able to keep cooler?)
How about that discrepancy in deaths? DARA’s numbers are an order of magnitude cheerier than mine, though theirs are couched in far gloomier language. What gives?
Here is how I calculated my deaths. Every day people die. Lots of them. They have been doing so since our species made its way onto Mother Earth. And this remains true even though many earnest people have tried to “raise awareness” of the various causes of death. From this we learn that raising one’s awareness of a cause does not actually remove that cause. But never mind.
About eight people for every 1,000 hand in their dinner pails yearly, a number which has diminished by half this last century, but will not, because of the human condition, ever fall to zero. Now there are about seven billion of us roving to and fro over this temporary home of ours, and there are 18 years before 2030, numbers which taken together show that about a billion of us won’t live to see Super Bowl LXV.
It is also inescapable that each of those billion souls will have died of something: some by heart attacks, others by cancer, still more by direct and indirect acts of government, etc. Also true is that those who make it to 2031 will also eventually keel over and add tick marks to the columns of causes of mortality. These tidbits may be summarized thusly: he who is born dies. Some live longer, some shorter, but none escape.
DARA says that 100 million funerals in the next eighteen years will be chalked up to climate change. And this might even be right because, as we have just agreed, everybody has to die of something and that something may as well be “climate change.” Plus, DARA’s people are earnest and caring, and earnestness and caringness are all that counts in these kind of calculations.
But DARA also suggests that if “investments” are made—the current favored euphemism for government spending—these 100 million lives will be “saved.” And this is false. No power short of Omnipotence will save these lives, nor can anything save the other 900 million who tickets are already pre-punched.
There is a colloquial sense in which to “save somebody’s life” makes sense (you pull them from the path of a speeding bureaucrat, say). But this always strictly means “to extend somebody’s life so that they die later.” Discussing “saving lives” in the statistical sense is never right, particularly in cases like DARA’s report which is based on models which themselves are cobbled together from a series of assumptions, guesses, maybe-sos, rules-of-thumb, and nobody-said-this-was-wrongs.
We have already seen that, in absence of catastrophic climate change and given historical trends, about a billion people will die by 2030. Similar calculations show that about two million will be be born: a surplus of one billion. Since DARA’s moral calculus is merely numbers of bodies, to make its case it has to show how its model changes these background rates, including the births. Do they mean 100 million more than the one billion scheduled will die? Or do they mean the cause of death of the 100 million the billion will be put down to climate change? Or is it some combination? How many of the two million to be born won’t be? Or will births increase? How many people will live longer because of climate change? Or do they claim that every human must live a shorter life (something that is extraordinarily impossible).