Dreaming of Doom While Missing the Mysteries of Life
A Rebuttal to Roy Scranton’s Climate Change Daughter Dystopia
On July 16, 2018, in the New York Times, Roy Scranton introduced a new method of child abuse to the world in the form of an article on climate-change-birth-regret. He tells us he cried when his bundle of joy was born and then in sorrow because he and his partner had doomed their baby to life on a dystopian planet.
Roy. Welcome to life.
Aside from having forever tagged his daughter with his morbid, self-absorbed, monologue of wildly exaggerated climate hysteria, Roy winds it up even more: “Some people say the mistake was having a child in the first place.”
She’s going to feel good about that, Roy. Every time she succeeds at something — her first step, her first word, her first dance or math competition, her graduation — and you say “Congratulations” she will have to wonder “Does my Daddy mean that? Or… am I just a mistake of my parent’s selfishness? He’s just trying to make me feel good. Cause my Dad wrote in an article about welcoming me into the world and said: ‘Indeed, taking Wynes and Nicholas’s argument seriously would mean acknowledging that the only truly moral response to global climate change is to commit suicide.’”
Engaging in speculative realism, Scranton drags us through a dark vision of the future, but one that rests entirely on science fiction. Who am I to say that? I’m a critical thinker. I work with many climate scientists and Professional Engineers and have interviewed numerous people in the field of climate science and policy. I’ve read a very broad range of academic literature on the subject. I have also written several papers related to the psychology of the alleged 97% consensus. When people tell me apocalyptic things, I investigate to see if it’s true. Usually it’s not. I am a fan of history and have read a great deal about earlier warm and cold periods and how dystopian life was pre-fossil fuels.
In fact, chances would have been good that Roy’s daughter or childbearer might not have survived the birth back then, but let’s not quibble about reality. Let’s deconstruct Roy’s science fiction.
Roy leans heavily on his child-bearer’s-regret by referencing the work of Wynes and Nicholas, a widely cited paper published under the Open Access option of IOP.
First of all, this is a paid-to-publish article. Effectively, this type of publishing in the US under postal and Federal Trade Commission rules, constitutes a paid advertorial, even if it is peer-reviewed and about science. By paying for publication, the journal ensures open access — meaning everyone can read and download it (rather than being paywalled) so of course, with such controversial personal planet-saving concepts, like have one less child, don’t have a car, don’t fly, and eat plants, this has become a widely cited article.
Rather than regretting he had a child…regretting having a daughter no less…a woman capable of creating even more carbon-based life-forms, let’s hope Roy gets on to teaching her some critical thinking skills.
For instance, let’s just look at one fragment of the Wynes and Nicholas paper. They write:
“We recommend four widely applicable high-impact (i.e. low emissions) actions with the potential to contribute to systemic change and substantially reduce annual personal emissions: having one fewer child (an average for developed countries of 58.6 tonnes CO2-equivalent (tCO2e) emission reductions per year), living car-free (2.4 tCO2e saved per year), avoiding airplane travel (1.6 tCO2e saved per roundtrip transatlantic flight) and eating a plant-based diet (0.8 tCO2e saved per year).”
Wynes is a grad student at University of British Columbia (UBC). Vancouver gets some 70% of its fruits and vegetables from California. “California currently supplies about 70% of all of British Columbia’s imported fruits and vegetables yet over the last few years; California’s main agricultural region has faced a number of significant climate-related challenges; including an increase in average temperatures, a decrease in rainfall, and unexpected occurrences of flooding. “ 
These fresh products come by just-in-time fossil fuelled transportation.
So these authors are advising people to use more fossil fuels, in order to eat more plants, that are grown with the help of often illegal labour in a desert that is mostly maxed out of water. How’s that for convoluted climate justice?
Roy, are you aware that the land subsidence in California’s San Jochim Valley is some 28.5 feet (8.5 meters) due to ground water withdrawals — most of this for agriculture?  Some agricultural suppliers in California are turning to Mexico to meet supply, even farther away!
Are you aware that in the space of a single decade, Californians created the largest single point source of alkaline dust by diverting the tributaries to Owens Lake and turning it into a desert. This was a lake that had been in existence for 850,000 years, according to Wikipedia: “Owens Lake was up to 12 miles (19 km) long and 8 miles (13 km) wide, covering an area of up to 108 square miles (280 km2) average depth of 23 to 50 feet (7.0 to 15.2 m).”
Humans did that, through ignorance at the time and stupidity. Not climate change.
California is effectively a desert, Roy, one that experienced 100 and 200 year droughts during the Medieval Warm Period. Do you think it wise to push the limits of such a fragile land, just to be sure that people in Vancouver can go vegan to save the planet? Is it not odd that the authors proposing these sweeping societal changes and the incorporation of these four pillars into school curriculums failed to consider these facts?
Roy, the real threat here is that someone might take Wynes and Nicholas seriously and start teaching their four principles in school — to your daughter!
That’s why you need to teach her to think critically about these issues, not think regretfully about being alive!
Vancouver, where author Wynes studies, is a port city with Canada’s largest port and the most diversified in North America. Just 16 container ships emit the equivalent noxious emissions of all the cars in the world, Roy.
So — not having your child would not have made a difference to ‘save the planet.’ Rejoice in your daughter, Roy. Rejoice!
How about co-author Nicholas from Lund University in Sweden? As with Vancouver, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization reported that for the approx. 9 million Swedes, “for fresh fruit and vegetables, the import share is…over 70 percent.” These crazy Swedes are importing bananas from Dominican Republic 8,139km away! Citrus fruits come from Italy, Spain and Israel. Get this: “Sweden is also a relatively large importer of kiwi fruit, all of which comes from Italy or New Zealand.”
New Zealand! 10,760 miles or 17, 316 km by AIR.
Yes, yes. Eat your fruits and vegetables. Save the planet.
But really, Roy. You should NOT worry about this GHG travel baggage that goes with your planet-saving fruits and vegs, because the moral philosopher of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), John Broome, informs us that “To fight climate change, the IPCC finds it necessary to hold meetings in remote corners of the world.” 
Look at all the grand places this Moral Planet Saver has been to:
“I have been to IPCC meetings in Lima, Changwon in South Korea, Wellington and Addis Ababa. In Europe, the IPCC has taken me to Vigo, Geneva, Oslo, Utrecht, Berlin and Potsdam. Kuala Lumpur and Copenhagen are still to come. I hope the other authors offset the emissions caused by their travel to these meetings; I am pleased to say that the British government pays to offset mine. All this traveling is not much fun; IPCC work is relentless, and I have had little time to enjoy the places I have been to.”
Aww. Too bad he didn’t have any fun. Work, work, work.
Wonder who gets rich on those offsets? Just imagine. WIRED reported that the Paris COP-21 event attendees emitted some 300,000 tons of CO2 just getting there! Hmmm 300,000 x $30/ton=$9,000,000 bucks! Of course, that pales when compared to the info in a 2007 Baker McKenzie New Zealand law firm power point that stated the World Bank and an unnamed private fund made USD$1.2 billion in 23 minutes trading Certified Emissions Reduction credits (CERs) on the pollution from a Chinese factory via the UN Clean Development Mechanism.
And Interpol’s “Guide to Carbon Trading Crime” reported that sometimes in various carbon trading schemes emissions are upped just so people can make more money!
Remember to teach your daughter, Roy, that “the carbon market is based on the lack of delivery of an invisible substance to no one.”
And — oddly none of these planet savers seem keen to take your advice, Roy. “If you really want to save the planet, you should die.”
Roy. Are you starting to get the picture?
While humans DO affect the planet, and human activities DO affect climate change (see the work of Roger Pielke, Sr.), there is little evidence that human carbon dioxide emissions are catastrophically going to end it all for us. Those predictions are based on climate modelled simulations — a cyber version of your dystopian fantasies, Roy. Freeman Dyson, renown physicist, says that climate models are very good at helping understand climate change, but very poor for predicting climate change. Relying on them is science fiction. Dr. Judith Curry testified to the US Senate, after the last IPCC AR5 report, that the case for human-caused global warming is weakened and carbon dioxide is not a control knob that can control climate.
In fact, it is far more likely that the Carbonbaggers are damaging the world in a serious way with the toxic process and unrecyclable remains of ineffective wind and solar farms (that need natural gas back-up anyway, so why build the wind and solar in the first place…oh right, they generate the tradeable Renewable Energy Credits for green billionaires).
And Roy, these same billionaires are funding environmental groups worldwide to create the kind of dystopian fears that you dwell on, so that ordinary people like you and your daughter will comply without question with these nonsensical climate and energy policies that make them rich.
That’s what you must teach your daughter, Roy. Teach her to question. Teach her to think critically. Teach her to follow the money. Teach her that if people tell you that you should die to save the planet, tell them “you first.” Teach her to be a geologist — set a little perspective on climate change throughout time.
Roy. You have a child! A daughter! You have a MIRACLE before you, one you can hold in your hands and love. A tiny little thing that appeared because of a statistically ridiculous chance that your partner’s egg and one of your sperm connected, sparked, and became life. A human being.
For God’s sake, man. Abandon these ‘end is nigh’ prophets who can’t think critically but can give you truckloads of useless, sometimes fatal (as it was for poor David Buckel), misinformation and advice that serves their bizarre ideologies or commercial agendas, and makes you think death might be preferable than… loving life. Your own daughter.
If you really want to save the planet, Roy, you should live, joyfully, every minute of the day. We’re not in the Anthropocene; we’re in the Meghalayan. Society did collapse in this 4,200 year period of time, but it was due to a mega-drought and cooling, completely unrelated to human use of fossil fuels.
Revel in your good fortune to live in a time and place where childbirth mortality is so low. Resist the urge to sacrifice your daughter in cyberspace, worshipping a modern day Ugaritic weather god Ba’al; choose life, Roy.
Be filled with gratitude that you are not one of millions of families grieving a miscarriage, a stillbirth, a neonatal death. I guarantee you that not one of them said “We have saved the planet” upon being told “Your baby is dead.”
Roy. Be grateful for your miracle. Stop being an ass about this climate change dystopia and your infant daughter.
 “The Great Warming” Brian Fagan
 Most people die from respiratory problems related to burning biomass indoors (dung and wood scraps) to keep warm and cook food. It is the lack of fossil fuels with proper modern emissions mitigation that is killing people. WHO