The world has just missed its last chance to avoid “climate chaos,” if the prediction made by the French foreign minister holds up. It’s been 504 days since Laurent Fabius declared we had only 500 days to save the Earth from catastrophe.
“We have 500 days to avoid climate chaos,” Fabius said on May 13, 2014. “And I know that President Obama and John Kerry himself are committed on this subject, and I’m sure that with them, with a lot of other friends, we shall be able to reach success in this very important matter.”
Ironically, the United Nations climate summit set for Paris this November will take place 565 days after Fabius declared there were only 500 days to avert “climate chaos.” There was another UN summit that took place in Lima, Peru last year, but it was not expected to yield any global warming treaty.
Fabius’ 500-day warning was even embraced by the White House last year. When asked about the dire prediction in a press conference, then-Press Secretary Jay Carney pointed to a government report which he argued “made clear in the view of the science that climate change is upon us and the effects and impacts of climate change are being felt today.”
The National Climate Assessment, the report Carney touted, argued that “frequency and duration of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes have increased since the early 1980s” and that “[w]inter storms have increased in frequency and intensity and have shifted northward since the 1950s,” according to CNS News. The report also warned of increased flooding and droughts as warming increases.
But 504 days out from Fabius’ dire warning, it’s hard to conclude the world is undergoing “climate chaos.” For one thing, the U.S. is in the middle of a decade-long hurricane drought — no Category 3 or higher storm has made landfall in the country for the last 10 years.
In fact, globally this year’s hurricane season has been weak. In early September when hurricane season is supposed to peak there were no “tropical storm, depressions, or hurricanes anywhere on Earth,” according to the science blog Watts Up With That. There are, however, lots of wildfires raging across western U.S. states.
Yet even as Fabius’ prediction of “climate chaos” falls flat, others are already issuing dire warnings about what will happen if countries don’t immediately being phasing out fossil fuels.