Jonathan Franzen's made-up climate change model sparks online pile-on

‘As a non-scientist, I do my own kind of modelling,’ claimed the author in the New Yorker, sparking a flurry of mockery online

It’s been almost a year since a Jonathan Franzen pile-on, so we were undoubtedly due another. This time round, the novelist – Mr “Oprah’s book club choices are ‘schmaltzy’”, Mr “I considered adopting an Iraqi war orphan”, Mr “I write in the dark with a blindfold on”, Mr “It’s doubtful that anyone with an Internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction” – is under fire for declaring the fight against the climate crisis to be hopeless.

Citing the “consensus among scientists and policy-makers” that we will pass the “point of no return” for the planet “if the global mean temperature rises by more than two degrees”, Franzen writes in the New Yorker of how “as a non-scientist, I do my own kind of modelling”. He has, he says, “run various future scenarios through my brain” and “count[ed] the scenarios in which collective action averts catastrophe”.

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