Distinguished IPCC climate scientist Professor Hans von Storch wrote what to me appears to be a very twisted and disturbing statement at his Klimazwiebel blog. I’m really quite surprised by it.
Von Storch writes he got correspondence from a friend, who asked him how he personally thinks people can contribute to reducing climate change. HvS provides his “brief and spontaneous” answer by writing that a single person can’t really do anything and that technology needs to be developed to reduce CO2 emissions, and to do it economically.
So far so good.
He then writes that people installing solar panels on their rooves, though with good intentions, is in fact ineffective symbolism, and indeed is only merely spreading the illusion that one is doing something good. If anything, feel-good people are in fact impeding the development of truly effective approaches.
Then come his last two sentences, which I have translated below:
Die globalen Emissionen sind im letzten Jahr laut IEA um 3.2 % gestiegen. Ich glaube, das entspricht der jährlichen Emission von Deutschland, um und bei.
Die wirksamste Klimapolitik der letzten Jahrzehnte war die 1-Kind Politik in China, die der Welt ca. 400 Millionen CO2-Emittenden und Emittenden-Vermehrern erspart hat.
According to the IEA, global emissions last year climbed 3.2%. I believe that corresponds to the annual emission of Germany – roundabout.
The most effective climate policy of the last decade was the 1-child policy in China which saved the world from approx. 400 million emitters and emitter-reproducers.”
Denial of human life as an effective climate policy? Is he being cynical or has he totally lost his marbles?
I can only assume he is being cynical and is indirectly criticising what has been ineffective “climate policies” so far. (Personally, I don’t see how anyone can say “climate policies” have been ineffective when global temperatures have not risen at all over the last 10 years. Where’s the failure?). Cynical or not, that 1-child statement goes way too far. Unusual coming from a man who dislikes extreme views from either side.
It would be disturbing enough if HvS were just another climate scientist trying to get attention, but he is much more than that. He is professor at the Meteorological Institute of the University of Hamburg, Director of the Institute for Coastal Research at the Helmholtz Research Centre in Geesthacht, and a member of the advisory boards of the journals Journal of Climate and Annals of Geophysics. He is one Germany’s leading climate scientists.
And when the world’s leading scientists run loose and start spewing about the virtues of mass population reduction in scientific terms, then the rest of us really need to worry. Dangerous politicians have a nasty habit of gravitating in their direction.
Strangely, HvS wrote his short essay in German, and not in the usual English which one finds more often at Klimazwiebel. Perhaps the elimination of 400 million people just seems to come across better in the more authoritarian German.
Cynical or not, it’s time for the professor to retire. In the very least he’d be wise to call his statement a mistake and to retract it.