Thursday, 26 July 2018

A new mainstream, liberal climate change denial

The new climate change denial


We have long had climate denialism paid for by powerful corporations and preying on the minds of ignorant and clueless people.

Now we have a sophisticated climate change denial that uses language and sophistry to say that what is real, actual and present has “nothing” to with climate change (or “may, might..”)

One example is the Guardian which has traditionally been a good source on climate change.

Until recently.

The article below says climate change might be "part"of the explanation. It may, according to the author, be explained by "other" causes - such as the jet stream.

Or it might "just" be the weather.... after all we've had heatwaves before.

The fact that this is a global phenomenon with the whole of the northern hemisphere (and part of the southern - witness the devastating winter drought in New South Wales) would have nothing to do with it.

Report it in a disjointed way with no contextualisation (or very little, as in the case of the Guardian article) and refuse to join the dots or quote relevant research and you can pull the wool over the eyes of even (or perhaps, especially) the liberal readers of the Guardian.

I suppose if you are talking about “their”climate change (the nice gradual one with a pretence of reducing carbon emissions and transitioning to “a new economy”) as opposed to the real one that’s true.
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 Now see the tosh that the Guardian is coming up with.


But why is so much of our world currently being afflicted with blisteringly hot weather? What is driving the wildfires, the soaring temperatures and those melting rooftops? These are tricky questions to answer, such is the complex nature of the planet’s weather systems. Most scientists point to a number of factors with global warming being the most obvious candidate. Others warn that it would be wrong to overstate its role in the current heatwaves, however.

Yes, it is hard not to believe that climate change has to be playing a part in what is going on round the globe at present,” said Dann Mitchell of Bristol University. “There have been some remarkable extremes recorded in the past few weeks, after all. However, we should take care about overstating climate change’s influence for it is equally clear there are also other influences at work.”

One of those other factors is the jet stream – a core of strong winds around five to seven miles above the Earth’s surface that blow from west to east and which steer weather around the globe. Sometimes, when they are intense, they bring storms. On other occasions, when they are weak, they bring very calm and settled days. And that is what is occurring at present.
They are still able to report the reality but then although this is current reality with a little bit of sophistry you can turn it into something happening in the future.

Here's more of the Guardian's "brilliant" analysis.

What ever happened to their environmental correspondents of the past one might ask?
Scientists say this ‘extreme’ weather in the northern hemisphere may soon be the norm
Partly, it’s just the luck of the weather. The jet stream – the west-to-east winds that play a big role in determining Europe’s weather – has been further north than usual for about two months. A stationary high-pressure weather system has left the UK and much of continental Europe sweltering. Iceland, by contrast, has been hit with clouds and storms that would normally come further south.

The jet stream’s northerly position may have been influenced by temperatures in the north of the Atlantic, which have been relatively warm in the subtropics and colder south of Greenland.

The current hot and dry spell in the UK is partly due a combination of North Atlantic ocean temperatures, climate change and the weather,” said Len Shaffrey, a professor of climate science at the University of Reading.

The influence of climate change on the jet stream is still being explored.

Is climate change good or bad for Britain?

Longer-term (sic0, the green and pleasant landscape of the UK may vanish if rainfall patterns change because of global warming. “People might like a Mediterranean climate but it will be very different. For wildlife, a change of that magnitude could be very traumatic because it has nowhere to go,” said Allen.

Is this a sign of things to come?
Yes. “It’s a warning of what we will have to deal with,” said Stott. Michael Mann, a US climate scientist, tweeted: “What we call an ‘extreme heatwave’ today we will simply call ‘summer’ in a matter of decades if we do not sharply reduce carbon emissions.”

I can’t really make up my mind which is worse.

***

Apart from the dreadful American media the worst has to be the New Zealand media.

Try doing a search for coverage on the ongoing heatwave anywhere in the world. You just won't find it.

I did a quick search on DuckDuckGo


From the "serious" broadcaster Radio New Zealand, the silence on the matter is deafening. 

New Zealand TV1 showed an item on the iceberg that is close to a village in Greenland and managed to make it into what is called a "human interest story", managing, not only to avoid mentioning the elephant in the room but even to suggest that it was just a "natural phenomenon"

Well, I suppose a calving of an iceberg is an phenomenon of Nature and they've happened before.

That takes them off the hook and they don't need to mention that the sea ice is being melted from below by waters above zero, is super-thin and is breaking up.


There are fears an 11 million-tonne iceberg sitting dangerously close to a small village in Greenland could trigger a deadly tsunami.


Dozens of residents of the village Innarsuit were evacuated to higher ground last week due to concerns the iceberg might break apart, creating high waves that could wash away coastal buildings.
The iceberg is so huge that it can be seen from space and it's around the same height as London's Big Ben.
The European Space Agency released an image last week showing the giant iceberg just off the coast of Innaarsuit in northwestern Greenland.
The satellite image, which was captured by Sentinel-2A on July 9, 2018, provided by European Space Agency esa on Tuesday, July 18, 2018 shows a huge iceberg perilously close to the village of Innaarsuit on the west coast of Greenland. If the berg breaks apart, waves resulting from the falling ice could wash away parts of the village. (esa via AP)
A huge iceberg perilously close to the village of Innaarsuit on the west coast of Greenland. Source: Associated Press
Monster icebergs are not uncommon at this time of year, but the danger with this one is how close it is to land.
Watch the video HERE

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Some people, well outside the mainstream, are noticing this new denial


screenshot of BBC website
The BBC is reporting some pretty apocalyptic weather today. On the front page of its website, there are four major weather-related events.

There’s the collapse of a dam in Laos after “continuous rainstorms”. Hundreds of people are missing and thousands are homeless. In Greece, a massive wildfire has engulfed a resort village, killing at least 60 people. In Japan, at least 65 people have died from the heat in the last week alone. And in the UK, the heatwave continues, with some places having had no significant rain for 54 days.

What’s the connection?

What’s the connection between these extreme weather events? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has this to say [pdf,p41] about extreme weather:
While specific, local outcomes of climate change are uncertain, recent assessments project alteration in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, or duration of weather and climate extremes, including climate and hydrometeorological events such as heat waves, heavy precipitation events, drought, and tropical cyclones.

There is a clear pattern of increasing numbers of severe weather events over recent years, with many of these events attributable to human influence – that is, climate change.

Don’t mention climate change

And yet, to read the reports on the BBC, you might think that all these events are just an unfortunate coincidence. Not one of the four reports on extreme weather events around the world mentions climate change.
screenshot of BBC website

Nigel Lawson

The BBC has a pretty poor history when it comes to informing people about climate change. In August 2017, it invited notorious climate change denier Nigel Lawson to give his views on climate change in response to an interview with former US vice-president and climate campaigner Al Gore. Presumably, the BBC felt that Gore’s interview needed ‘balancing’ by Lawson’s – despite the fact that 97% of climate scientists agree that the earth’s climate is warming.
The BBC was slammed for giving Lawson’s views credibility. And in April 2018, communications regulator Ofcom ruled that the BBC had been wrong not to challenge Lawson on his claims.
Maybe that experience has led the BBC to believe that the safer path when it comes to climate change is that of omission. Don’t talk about climate change. Don’t mention the bloody great burning elephant in the room.

Two degrees?

Climate change is the biggest threat humanity faces. The Paris Agreement came into force in 2016 and has the support of 179 countries (the US has since said it is going to pull out). The signatories agreed to take action to limit the global temperature rise to 2C, but ideally to no more than 1.5C.
The way we’re going, however, even the 2C limit is starting to look like fantasy. According to Friends of the Earth:
Even if all parties met their current levels of ambition – which they clearly don’t have to – it would still add up to over 3° of warming. That’s catastrophic climate change.

Three degrees?

Three degrees would leave many cities underwater and lead to more droughts and hurricanes. Hundreds of millions of people would face disastrous flooding. Others face suffering catastrophic droughts, losing their homes to hurricanes, dying in heatwaves, or burning up in wildfires.
This is not fantasy. This is happening now, and we’re doing very little to stop it. I’m terrified for my child’s future and for the future of children in parts of the world without the resources to cope with what’s coming. Future generations will look back from the nightmare we’ve plunged them into, and ask why we didn’t act before it was too late. And perhaps people will ask the BBC why it wasn’t shouting from the rooftops about climate change.
Why are some major news outlets still covering extreme weather like it's an act of God?

By EMILY ATKIN

July 26, 2018
A record-breaking heat wave killed 65 people in Japan this week, just weeks after record flooding there killed more than 200. Record-breaking heat is also wreaking havoc in California, where the wildfire season is already worse than usual. In Greece, fast-moving fires have killed at least 80 people, and Sweden is struggling to contain more than 50 fires amid its worst drought in 74 years. Both countries have experienced all-time record-breaking temperatures this summer, as has most of the rest of the world.

Is this climate change, or merely Mother Nature? The science is clear: Heat-trapping greenhouse gases have artificially increased the average temperature across the globe, making extreme heat events more likely. This has also increased the risk of frequent and more devastating wildfires, as prolonged heat dries soil and turns vegetation into tinder.

And yet, despite these facts, there’s no climate connection to be found in much news coverage of extreme weather events across the globe—even in historically climate-conscious outlets like NPR and The New York Times. These omissions, critics say, can affect how Americans view global warming and its impact on their lives.

Major broadcast TV networks are the most glaring offenders. Media Matters reviewed 127 segments on the global heat wave that aired on ABC, CBS, and NBC this summer, and found that only one, on CBS This Morning, mentioned the connection between climate change and extreme heat. This fits a long-running pattern. As Media Matters noted, its latest annual study of broadcast coverage 

Is this climate change, or merely Mother Nature? The science is clear: Heat-trapping greenhouse gases have artificially increased the average temperature across the globe, making extreme heat events more likely. This has also increased the risk of frequent and more devastating wildfires, as prolonged heat dries soil and turns vegetation into tinder.

And yet, despite these facts, there’s no climate connection to be found in much news coverage of extreme weather events across the globe—even in historically climate-conscious outlets like NPR and The New York Times. These omissions, critics say, can affect how Americans view global warming and its impact on their lives.

Major broadcast TV networks are the most glaring offenders. Media Matters reviewed 127 segments on the global heat wave that aired on ABC, CBS, and NBC this summer, and found that only one, on CBS This Morning, mentioned the connection between climate change and extreme heat. This fits a long-running pattern. As Media Matters noted, its latest annual study of broadcast coverage found that “during the height of hurricane season in 2017, neither ABC nor NBC aired a single segment on their morning, evening, or Sunday news shows that mentioned the link between climate change and hurricanes.”

Legacy print and radio news outlets are generally much better at connecting these dots. In the last five years, the Times, NPR, and The Washington Post have built large teams of reporters dedicated to explaining climate science, dissecting climate policy, and showing how global warming affects communities. But when covering extreme weather across the globe, the outlets don’t often include references to climate change.

***
At least this article asks the question and quotes Jennifer Francis' research into the connection between Arctic melt and the behaviour of the jetstream.

For God's sake,this should be mainstream and not "controversial".

Paul Beckwith's response is entirely appropriate. 

Could be...
Could be...
Really?
Of course IT IS.
Has to be.
The Pole-Equator temperature difference is the reason the jetstream exists in the first place. So Arctic warming has to affect it...
Duh...



Couples look out to sea from Selsey Beach in Chichester during the hottest day of the year so far on Monday 23rd July




....One reason is that the jet stream—a fast-flowing river of air snaking continually round the northern hemisphere at altitudes of around 6 kilometres—has stalled over Europe since May, and could continue to do so, trapping regions of high pressure that are cloudless, windless and extremely hot.

It’s been a key player in the astounding heatwaves across the UK and Scandinavia this summer,” says Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University in New Jersey.

She says evidence is mounting that accelerated warming of the Arctic is a major reason why the jet stream keeps getting stalled. The stream is driven by collisions between cold air descending southward from the Arctic and warm air pushing northward from the equator.

The greater the temperature difference between the colliding air streams, the more powerful the jet stream. But the temperature gap—and therefore the power of the jet stream—is being weakened because the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, supplying the stream with increasingly warmer air.

Heatwaves over northern hemisphere continents in recent years fit the hypothesis that rapid Arctic warming is playing a role,” says Francis.
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While we are at it, in the current environment we have denial not only of the climate freight train bearing down on us but of just about anything of any significance.

Here are just a couple of examples.

Let me (mis)quote Guy McPherson: 

"At the edge of extinction only insanity remains"

In One Year, MSNBC Covered 'Stormy Daniels' 455 Times, 'War In Yemen' 0

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