Wednesday, January 30, 2019

"Midwest Freezes While Australia Burns: Weather Is Not Climate...Except When We Want It To Be

"Midwest Freezes While Australia Burns: Welcome To The Age Of Climate Extremes"
Front-page bullet-points:
    • "Heat and drought extremes are consistent with scientific consensus..."
    • "The extremely low temperatures this week in parts of the U.S. may also be a result of warming. Here’s the climate change connection."
Trump pointed to cold weather in the Midwest as evidence against global warming, and was ridiculed (surprise!)--his comments were called "disgusting." When the right does it, weather is not climate, science-denier! But the same arguments with the opposite conclusion have now basically become routine on the left. Which includes, of course, the media (as with the recent California wildfires). Above, the NYT tells us that heat and drought are "consistent" with scientific consensus...but, then, everything is. And the cold "may be" a result of GW.
   I'm not commenting on the actual science--which I'm not qualified to comment on. I'm commenting on the news media and its notable lack of objectivity. As I've said fairly consistently, there's not much we can do as laypeople other than more-or-less accept the scientific consensus. (Though also, I'd argue: accept some kind of left-bias discount...) But I'd believe it more if the media and the rest of the progressive left could try to be just a tiiiny bit more objective in the public discussion. I suppose it's largely just a psychological point, but it's tough for me to be rational about this when the cheating and bias in the public debate are so damn obvious. 
   And I think the left needs to take a cold, hard look at the "progressive" bias in science and the social- and quasi-sciences. If you're frustrated that people like me are skeptical, one way you could address that it is by working to eliminate the obvious leftward bias throughout the sciences. If science and social science weren't packed with it, a lot of skepticism in the center and on the right would evaporate.
   So, look, I'm trying to keep myself in line with the current climate consensus...but, honestly, this sort of stuff isn't making it easy. That's partially my fault...a result of my cantankerous and contrarian's not all my fault...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there really an equivalency here? It seems that the coverage of wildfires/hurricanes, etc has posited the connection to climate change due to changing/increasing patterns, and hence the connection to "climate" rather than "weather." But the cold snaps we're seeing aren't patterns in the same way. From what I can tell, we're averaging more large fires and storms, but we're not averaging lower temps. What am I missing?

8:59 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, I was wondering about that after I posted, but I have nothing against using *patterns* as evidence. But that's not what seems to be going on in that NYT headline/sub-headline. That seems more in the vicinity of the weather / climate confusion.

But there's no clear line here, is my thought. "We're having a hot/cold day" is not NO evidence for/against GW; it's just inconsequential. The more we move toward strings of hot/cold days, and, perhaps, extremes, the stronger the evidence becomes, right? And, I'd guess, the more extreme the extremes.

Obviously, I could be wrong basically anywhere in this.

9:44 AM  
Anonymous cb said...

I've got to ask - what would this article look like if it were written "objectively" and without "obvious left bias"?

I see an article citing specialists in the field and reputable pubs and organizations, detailing out a list of straightforward, verifiable facts and including relevant scientific interpretation. I've copied the closest passage I could find to what I think you're objecting to, but to me, this seems very straightforward and objective - tell me what I'm missing.

"Heat and drought extremes are consistent with scientific consensus: More greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere bring a greater likelihood of abnormally high temperatures. Also, broadly speaking, scientists say, a hotter planet makes extreme weather more frequent and more intense. The real-life numbers bear out the climate models. Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are higher than they have been in 800,000 years, and average global temperatures have risen. The last four years have been the hottest on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization, and the 20 warmest years on record have all come in the past 22 years. Ocean temperatures have broken records several straight years."

9:57 AM  

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