“But CAGW”

The central square in the ClimateBall bingo.


[BEN] Abrupt ecosystem collapse, 1.5°C climate catastrophe by 2025-2030, and mass extinction.

[BENJAMIN] Fact check: climate change is not an existential threat to humanity.

[JUNIOR] Why You Can’t Trust The Insurance Industry’s Secret Science On Climate Catastrophes

[TOBY] Climate doomsayers keep putting sell-by dates on their credibility

Objections and Replies

(Alarmism) To speak of catastrophe is alarmist
Reply. How do you know? Let’s look at a specific claim and see how it fares.

(CAGW) But all CAGW is
Reply. “CAGW” isn’t the scientific position but a contrarian strawman.

(Collapse) I don’t think that even 4C threatens extinction—
Reply. Many societies collapsed before, many related to climate events. Societal collapse may not imply the end of every future civilizations.

(Commonplace) I keep hearing the C word
Reply. Mostly by contrarians. How would you describe a 4C world by 2100?

(Existential) AGW is not an existential threat
Reply. That’s a low bar, and not exactly true: a 6 degrees world is still in the cards, and the last time this happened 97% of the species were wiped out.

(No strawman) It’s not a strawman, for here is
Reply. The caricature is suggesting that the established view is CAGW.

(Too late) In our model the world is already past a point-of-no-return.
Reply. Your model might have major flaws.


{CAGW} The acronym stands for Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. Contrarians added a “C” to “AGW.”

{Center} This square is connected to all the others but may not be compatible with all the other talking points, e.g. #ButWordChange.

{Contrarian Cutoff} 4C is a good contrarian cutoff, i.e. they usually stop responding at that point.

{Definition} The notions of catastrophe, collapse, and existential threat are not well-defined. They’re judgment calls. The evidence remains what it is.

{Economic Risks} As KenF suggests, if we accept that economies are so fragile that going for carbon zero may lead to societal collapse, climate change that impacts food security directly should increase those risks.

{No Goldilocks} If you can’t imagine anything non-luckwarm between “catastrophic” and “nothing to worry about” then you’re not thinking.

{Millenarism} This square is often connected with #ButReligion.

{Permian} The end of the Permian era has been tough for life on Earth.

{Warning} If you want to do something about AGW and your whole point reduces to “let’s talk more about CAGW” when the main freaking argument contrarians have is #ButCAGW, then your armchair quarterbacking sucks.


2010-06. Global Warming.
The NASA provides a good introduction.


2020-09. Thresholds for ecological responses to global change do not emerge from empirical data. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-020-1256-9

2019-09. Existential Risks: A Philosophical Analysis.
[The concepts of existential risk is far from being clear.]

2018-12. Temperature-dependent hypoxia explains biogeography and severity of end-Permian marine mass extinction. DOI: 10.1126/science.aat1327

2018-10. Hyperthermal-driven mass extinctions: killing models during the Permian–Triassic mass extinction. DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2017.0076

2018-06. The Planet Has Seen Sudden Warming Before. It Wiped Out Almost Everything.

2018-06. A solution to the misrepresentations of CO2-equivalent emissions of short-lived climate pollutants under ambitious mitigation. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41612-018-0026-8

2017-07. Young people’s burden: requirement of negative CO2 emissions.

2014-01. Climate change and the rise and fall of civilizations.
Droughts have been a bane to many earlier societies.

2009-04. The Worse-Case Scenario.

2008-11. Carbon is Forever.

2008-02. Stabilizing climate requires near‐zero emissions.