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« Paterson at the GWPF | Main | Carbon cycle: better than we thought »

The great cat catastrophe

It has been observed many times in the past that there are many aspects of the global warming debate that reasonable people should be able to agree on: carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, the temperature has gone up a bit, that sort of thing.

I think we can now add to the list the idea that Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway are a few cherries short of the full Bakewell, right down there with Peter Wadhams as representatives of the full-on-bonkers wing of the green scientivist academy. I say this after reading a review of their latest opus by Martin Lewis, a confirmed global warming believer. Here's an excerpt:

As the book claims to outline the “not only predictable but predicted” (p. 1) consequences of a fossil-fuel-based energy system, I will begin by examining the author’s actual foretelling. As it turns out, most of it is hyperbolic, going far behind even the most extreme warnings provided by climatologists. Consider, for example, Oreskes and Conway’s most grimly amusing nightmare: the mass die-off of dogs and cats in the early 2020s. Lest one conclude that I am exaggerating here, a direct quotation should suffice:

 [B]ut in 2023, the infamous “year of perpetual summer,” lived up to its name, taking 500,000 lives worldwide and costing nearly $500 billion in losses due to fires, crop failures, and the deaths of livestock and companion animals. The loss of pet cats and dogs garnered particular attention among wealthy Westerners, but what was anomalous in 2023 soon became the new normal (p. 8-9).

Within a mere nine years, global warning could produce temperature spikes so elevated as to generate massive cat mortality? The idea is so ludicrous that I hardly know where to begin. Domestic cats, as anyone who has spent any time around them surely understands, are heat-seeking creatures; native to the Middle East and North Africa, they thrive in the world’s hottest environments. Yet Oreskes and Conway expect us to believe that within a few decades “normal” temperatures across much of “the West” will exceed the tolerance threshold of the house cat? ...

The great cat catastrophe of 2023 is by no means the only instance of risible fear-mongering found in the book. It would seem that there is no limit to the horrors that global warming will spawn, including a resurgence of bubonic plague (p. 30) and the creation of “viral and retroviral agents never before seen” (p. 25). Even typhus is predicted to make a major comeback owing to “explosive increases in insect populations”

The review is magnificent. Do read the whole thing.

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Reader Comments (91)

Re Nullius, 10:53PM.
A piece of the jigsaw falls into place. Oppenheimer psychotic.

Oct 14, 2014 at 11:37 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Jamesp (Oct 14, 2014 at 8:57 PM)

And farts may well contribute to AGW, if you believe the CO2 hypothesis …
Not if you're a farm animal living in France. The lower house of the French parliament has just passed a law on Energy Transition which promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, and by 75% by 2050. An MP successfully tabled an amendment proposing that emanations from farm animals should not be counted.
So when is CH4 not CH4? When it comes out of the bum of a French cow. Let's hope that the IPCC has taken note of this change in laws of chemistry...

Oct 14, 2014 at 11:51 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

"Although it may seem paradoxical, my focus on the green extreme stems precisely from my conviction that anthropogenic climate change is a huge problem that demands determined action."

"I hesitate here as well, as I do not want to imply that the gains of climate change could somehow cancel the losses."

The quiet desperation to stay on message in the face of overwhelming reality and undeniable (!) evidence of green lunacy and repellent ideology is fascinating.

Mr Lewis, if you don't believe this stuff, sorry, but you are a climate sceptic. As you yourself point out, so many greens cheer this sort of stuff rather than condemn it.

Oct 14, 2014 at 11:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

@Nullius in Verba

"Dead Heat: The Race Against the Greenhouse Effect" by Oppenheimer and Boyle is a must read... if you are an econut.

Oct 15, 2014 at 12:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

About those cow emissions. Not farts, burps. Cows are 150-200 litre fermentation vessels on legs, and the bacterial broth that enables them to digest the indigestible emits methane mostly from the front.

Oct 15, 2014 at 1:01 AM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

As one who spent his 6th form days at school in Bakewell back in the mists of time, I must put on my pedant's cap and gown. Cherries have never featured in the composition of a Bakewell Pudding. Perhaps the correct analogy should be "Several cherries short of a Black Forest Gateau". (Ah those heady days of the 70s with the classic menu; Shrimp Cocktail, Steak and Black Forest Gateau.)

Oct 15, 2014 at 1:02 AM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

The reality is that Naomi Oreskes will expire from heat before the house cat does.

And, while I'm more a dog person than a cat person, I'm in no way an Oreskes person, so I'd consider this a perfectly reasonable outcome.

Oct 15, 2014 at 5:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterJEM


Archaeological evidence show that cats were domesticated as far back as the Neolithic.

Oct 15, 2014 at 9:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterRightwinggit

I’m sorry, Your Bishness, but I have to take issue, here:

…carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas…
Can you be sure of this? Surely, it might be better to say; “CO2 is a gas that absorbs radiation in the infra-red spectrum, thereby causing some heating in that parcel of gas under observation in a laboratory.” Is there any conclusive proof that CO2 – or, indeed, ANY gas – acts as a “greenhouse gas” in real conditions in the atmosphere?

Oct 15, 2014 at 10:42 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Personally, I'm wondering when the ebola threat will be blamed on global warming. Mind you, it is starting to be used as a money-raising, people-scaring issue and bringing in AGW might rock that boat a bit!

Oct 15, 2014 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

Jack Cowper/Salopian

Dissolve 2 or 3 Phenacetin tablets (500mg active) in warm milk. (Crush first for faster dissolving).

Place outside where opportunistic cats can find it.

Repeat until your cat problem sleeps soundly.

Oct 15, 2014 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3


That's one less Christmas card then!

Happily, Phenacetin is no longer prescribed in the UK (and banned in the US and Canada), so I'm not sure where you're getting yours, unless you're a cocaine user...

Oct 15, 2014 at 11:13 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Anyone else noticed that visions of the future are almost always pessimistic. In all I've read and seen I can only remember the original Star Trek showing some positivity about the future. Are these watermelons pre-conditioned by the mass media to be pessimistic or is it the other way round?

Oct 15, 2014 at 12:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG


It's probably a variant, but there does appear to be such a thing as a Cherry Bakewell, and I have to admit that I would find it very hard to refuse one from the almost edible Pippa Middleton.. :-)

Oct 15, 2014 at 12:19 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

JamesG, I found the Culture series of books by Ian M. Banks to be an entertaining example of non doom-laden science fiction. A good antidote to the IPCC and associated catastrophists.

Oct 15, 2014 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

So..... its going to be... a ........ CATastrophe....!

(Wasted, I am - wasted, I tell you....0

Oct 15, 2014 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

The connection of the green movement with the authoritarian wing of politics is very apt. One only has to view even elected green representatives how poor is their grasp of the issues but, how intolerant they are of informed opinion. The "gliterati" have given Naomi Klein a platform, and yet she has no academic qualification in anything apart from being a journalist.I, and probably many on this blog have two degrees relevant to the subject of climate change and while I would not claim any particular expertise I do object to quack theories having a platform when my views are viewed as perverse by our utterly useless political class.

Oct 15, 2014 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterTrefor Jones

Feline mortality delayed for 18 years... it's the cat's pause.

Oct 15, 2014 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter S


Paracetamol is equally toxic too cats and by the same mechanism - renal failure, but is far too slow to be considered humane. 22 hollow point expanding ammunition is instantaneous and perfectly legal for dealing with ferals.

"Archaeological evidence show that cats were domesticated as far back as the Neolithic."
Yes, but in the Middle East/Asia, and the genetics of modern domestic cats in the UK indicate they mainly originated from there. Once they go feral, they are an invasive species. Apart from the two incidents of bovine TB transmitted to humans via cats this year, there is growing concern that hybridisation with native wildcats is wiping out the latter; it is very likely that attitudes to the right of cat-owners to allow their animals to roam free are about to change.

Oct 15, 2014 at 5:00 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Climate Change great news for jive talking sex addicts and the local pimps in the hood.

"hey dude you wanna see some really really hot pussy"

Oct 15, 2014 at 5:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

In Australia feral cats have virtually wiped out both native rodents and the smaller marsupials. They thrive even in extreme desert areas where summer air temperatures are regularly in the high forties and ground temperatures even higher.

And global warming is supposed to be lethal to them in ... nine years from now?

Oct 15, 2014 at 5:23 PM | Unregistered Commentertty


Hopefully, once UK politicians have got over their pre-election nerves and seat-saving; they will adopt the same measures to controlling domestic cat ownership and dealing with stray and feral cat populations that their Australian counterparts have done. It's not just about effects on wildlife, but biosecurity - no point in killing badgers if BTB is being spread to cattle and humans by domestic/stray/feral moggies.

Oct 15, 2014 at 6:01 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

"no point in killing badgers if BTB is being spread to cattle and humans by domestic/stray/feral moggies."

No point? If the overwhelming proportion of case of cattle infection are due to badgers, of course it makes sense to deal with the badgers.

Salopian - I think your dislike of cats is getting the better of you.

Cases of TB in domestic cats and cat-to-human transmission: risk to public very low

There have been no further cases of TB in cats reported in Berkshire or Hampshire since March 2013. PHE has assessed the risk of transmission of ‘M. bovis’ from cats to humans as being very low.

Professor Noel Smith, Head of the Bovine TB Genotyping Group at AHVLA, said:
" Testing of nearby herds revealed a small number of infected cattle with the same strain of ‘M. bovis’ as the cats. However, direct contact of the cats with these cattle was unlikely considering their roaming ranges. The most likely source of infection is infected wildlife, but cat-to-cat transmission cannot be ruled out."

press release:
Public Health England and Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, 27 March 2014

Oct 15, 2014 at 9:55 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A

Strange that this 'press release' post-dated Owen Paterson, reporting to a Select Committee investigation into the failed 2013 badger cull, that although DEFRA had confirmed the transmission BTB to humans via domestic cats "they had not yet found out how it had been transmitted from badgers to cats" - his words, not mine.

Oct 15, 2014 at 10:49 PM | Unregistered Commentersalopian

Martin A

BTW if as you suggest, " the overwhelming proportion of case of cattle infection are due to badgers, of course it makes sense to deal with the badgers."

So how come the infection rate in Wales has been reduced to 48% by annual herd testing (which is not done in England) and no badger culling - it's down to BIOSECURITY, which means controlling vermin and ferals not native species!

Oct 15, 2014 at 11:10 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Salopian - please be kind enough to quote what I actually said.

You quoted me as saying " the overwhelming proportion of case of cattle infection are due to badgers...."

I actually said "If the overwhelming proportion of case of cattle infection are due to badgers...."

Oct 16, 2014 at 12:33 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

97% of cats who expressed a preference believed global warming was a direct threat to their survival as a species. That's according to John Cook who speaks fluent moggie.

Oct 16, 2014 at 1:54 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Never mind climate change species extinction, Australia hosts 15 million feral cats who munch their way through 75 million native species each day ....

ENVIRONMENT Minister Greg Hunt has called for research into a virus to eradicate feral cats amid expert advice that wild felines kill around 75 million native animals each night.
Mr Hunt this morning responded to a landmark CSIRO-published study which found mammal extinctions were 40 per cent higher than previously thought and identified feral cats as the major cause of population decline, way ahead of climate change.

Dr John Wamsley mathematician/environmentalist had the right idea - shoot 'em and wear 'em

I shoot as many as I can, but ammos expensive and it's not having much of an impact anyway.

Oct 16, 2014 at 3:30 AM | Registered CommenterGrantB

Feral cats are a huge issue in the US as well. Feral cats and hogs are the two greatest threats to our native animal populations.
Trapping cats seems to work best here, as cat fanatics have made it largely illegal to cull feral cats, even in Texas.

Oct 16, 2014 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

By the way, reading the reviews for this latest bit of Oreskes fiction at Amazon is eye opening, to say the least.

Oct 16, 2014 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

My cat has been meowing at me all morning. Perhaps she is trying to warn me of the coming eco-catastrophe that is Global Warming. Or perhaps she wants more food.

Oct 16, 2014 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterAkatsukami

The climate cat-astrophe had our little gigi meowing for her favorite kitty chow this morning as well.

Oct 16, 2014 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

83 comments and not a single one from Entropic Man. Presumably we can take that as tacit agreement with Oreskes/Conway.

As you yourself point out, so many greens cheer this sort of stuff rather than condemn it.
Oct 14, 2014 at 11:56 PM | NW

Or save their 'speaking in tongues' level insanity strictly for an in-group audience.

Oct 16, 2014 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

Jack Hate

I haven't read the book, or the review so I don't have an opinion either way.. Reading the comments so far, the silliness quotient from BH and yourselves is already high enough without any encouragement from me.

Oct 16, 2014 at 5:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

The French don't believe it is the end of cats. Currently sitting
in an in-laws apartment in Paris and two blocks away is a new
Restaurant following the latest "fashion" with cats wandering around the diners.

Oct 16, 2014 at 6:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Singleton

" Australia hosts 15 million feral cats"
Well, if the anti-cat people are right, they should be eating each other by now. There would be nothing else left.

You had me going there for a bit, Grant. :)

Oct 16, 2014 at 6:53 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

OK it's a crank book written by nitwits. But what to make of the reviewer? He is seriously entertaining the notion of mass movements of populations because of a possible 2C increase in global temperatures by 2100? Even though due to theorized polar amplification, much of that warming will distributed to cold regions of the planet already hostile to life, and the warming that does occur in more temperate climates, will mainly manifest itself as slightly warmer temperatures during the coldest periods of the day? E.g., the middle of the night.

Oct 16, 2014 at 11:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterWill Nitschke

Sean O'Conner: Made me laugh out loud! Well done.

Oct 18, 2014 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterUncle Gus

Just for the record here, here is Fred Singer on the junk science and odious smearing in her earlier book, Merchants of Doubt, back in 2011:

Her science is faulty; her historical procedures are thoroughly unprofessional. She is, however, an accomplished polemicist, who has found time for world lecture tours, promoting her book and her ideological views, while being paid by the citizens of California. Her book tries to smear four senior physicists -- of whom I am the only surviving one. I view it as my obligation to defend the reputations of my late colleagues and good friends against her libelous charges.

Hat-tip: Greenie Watch

Oct 23, 2014 at 3:50 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

"Lefties cannot run things, only bloat things up with their own gas."
@ptw Oct 14, 2014 at 11:10 PM

That made me roffle!

Dec 7, 2014 at 2:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterClunking Fist

My report on an illustrated talk by Adrian Davis, leading authority on Scottish Wildcats on 6 November at Paisley Museum.

Adrian opened with a fundamental issue in the study of the native wildcat. They apparently share the Scottish wilderness with another creature he referred to as a 'cat'. Under normal conditions, it is more or less impossible to tell the difference between a wildcat and a 'cat'. More fundamentally, a wildcat can't tell the difference either and will breed with anything with four legs and a tail, with the slightest resemblance to itself, usually a 'cat'. If a wildcat and 'cat' have offspring it's called a 'hybrid', also known as a 'cat'.

The wildcat is therefore, unusually in the annals of evolution, breeding itself into oblivion. With a wry smile, Adrian told us that after six months of a vastly expensive project funded by great Chieftain of Scotland, Alex Salmond, exactly ZERO wildcats had been spotted.

Skulduggery afoot !

Scotland's forgotten cat; fewer than 100 remain...

SNH have announced that 6 months of research across six areas of the Highlands revealed no wildcats, leading to them naming those six areas priorities for wildcat conservation. Much of this research was based on a genetics test from RZSS. RZSS have been criticised for knowingly breeding and marketing fake, hybridised, wildcats as the real thing only to neuter them a short while later, and defended their actions based on the same genetics test.

It's WORSE than we thought

Now conservationists have admitted that analysis of samples collected over 30 years of research on the critically endangered cat reveal none were 100 per cent genetically pure.
This may be the reason why, a catalogue of alleged skullduggery.

Dec 8, 2014 at 6:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterE. Smiff

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