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Climate Signals

Edward A. Reid Jr.
Posted On:
Oct 30, 2018 at 5:54 AM
Climate Change


New York City has recently placed several illuminated road signs throughout the city in cooperation with the Climate Museum as part of a program called “Climate Signals”. The signs are an attempt to call attention to the issue of climate change. The messages on the signs include:


  • 50,000,000 CLIMATE REFUGEES

The individual messages are so short as to leave their meanings confusing and uncertain. They might easily be taken out of context, except that there is no context provided.


Climate Denial Kills

“CLIMATE DENIAL KILLS” is perhaps the most ridiculous and misleading of the signs. First, almost no person with even a modicum of education denies that the earth has a climate, so there are not many potential killers around. Second, there is no record on anyone who has been killed by climate denial, or climate change denial, or anthropogenic climate change denial or even catastrophic anthropogenic climate change denial. There is no evidence, but it is the seriousness of the charge. (HT: Tom Foley, D WA)


Climate Change at Work

“CLIMATE CHANGE AT WORK” is probably the least effective sign, since viewing it against the view of the city in the background gives no indication that anything is actually happening, other than the normal activities of life in the city. The climate cannot be seen or felt to be changing, or to be effecting change in anything else.


Abolish Coal-onialism

“ABOLISH COAL-ONIALISM” is perhaps the most difficult to understand. I do not understand any link between coal and colonialism. The largest coal consuming nation is not now, nor has it ever been, a colony. The second and third largest coal consumers were colonies at one time, but that was decades or centuries ago.


50,000,000 Climate Refugees

“50,000,000 MILLION CLIMATE REFUGEES” is a prediction made by the United Nations Environment Programme in 2005 for the year 2010. There are still no documented climate refugees and the one documented attempt by an individual to have himself declared a climate refugee failed.


Fossil Fueling Inequality

“FOSSIL FUELING INEQUALITY” could mean a lot of different things, or it could be meaningless. Nations’ fossil fuel resources and production and distribution infrastructures are unequal. Per capita consumption of fossil fuels is unequal. The fractions of national energy consumption provided by fossil fuels are unequal. People’s needs for energy, fossil fuel or other, are unequal. The values of fossil fuels are also unequal. There might be a meaningful issue involved, but I do not understand what it is; and, I suspect most of those who will view the signs won’t either.


Alt Facts End Now

“ALT FACTS END NOW” is confusing at a fundamental level. Something is either a fact or it is not. Regarding climate change, there are very few facts in evidence and those facts are fundamental:

  • global climate is changing, as it has throughout the history of earth we have been able to study;
  • sea level is rising, as it has been since the end of the last ice age;
  • human activities are releasing CO2 and other “greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere;
  • land use changes are affecting the albedo of the earth; and,
  • the earth is greening, partially as the result of increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

Beyond those fundamental facts, there are estimates, hypotheses and unverified models.

These illuminated signs are intended to be thought provoking and compelling. However, they are unlikely to be any more compelling than the multitude of “scary scenarios” hyped by the mainstream media. It is a wonder the City of New York bothered.