July 31, 2012
It’s been hard to be a man-made climate change believer since the Angola email leak. But adherents rejoiced Saturday when Koch-funded scientist Richard Muller wrote about his study bolstering claims of man-made catastrophic climate change in the New York Times.
While the editorial has been widely reported, many in the media need to read the whole thing. They especially need to read where he calls out climate change alarmism.
Hurricane Katrina cannot be attributed to global warming. The number of hurricanes hitting the United States has been going down, not up; likewise for intense tornadoes. Polar bears aren’t dying from receding ice, and the Himalayan glaciers aren’t going to melt by 2035.
Someone should tell US News, who reported on the story, to read the whole thing and correct
their scaremongering piece published earlier this year Climate Change Could Cause Killer Hurricanes in NYC.
Then they should hit up ThinkProgress, who also reported on the story, so they can correct their Joplin disaster spurs media whirlwind on link between climate change, extreme weather, and tornadoes piece.
Perhaps USA Today can retract their piece on the decline of polar bear populations.
And finally it would be great if the Guardian would address their piece claiming the Himalayas are two seconds from melting.
Then maybe everyone can read where Muller explains that draconian regulation on American businesses won’t fix the problem as long as China continues on its path to industrialization and prosperity.
I expect the rate of warming to proceed at a steady pace, about one and a half degrees over land in the next 50 years, less if the oceans are included. But if China continues its rapid economic growth (it has averaged 10 percent per year over the last 20 years) and its vast use of coal (it typically adds one new gigawatt per month), then that same warming could take place in less than 20 years.
Each one of these stories is based on supposedly reputable climate science. I have a challenge for both the climate-change-believing community and the media: check your facts.
Scaremongering by attempting to link climate change to unrelated problems harms the credibility of climate science and climate reporting.
With an upcoming election and economic malaise occupying people’s attention, and since nearly all suggested fixes will raise energy prices and stall economic growth, there’s a huge burden of proof on proponents of man-made climate change. You can’t afford to be sloppy and lose more credibility if you want people to believe there’s a problem and actually consider your solutions.
The American mainstream has mostly stopped reporting on climate change lately, those at the helm realizing that no one cares right now. The only reason this story is making waves is because of the Koch connection. But if and when it starts up again, be professional enough to be embarrassed by your previous reporting, own up to your mistakes, and check your facts going forward.
Photo by Scott Baldwin.