Sometimes I think the climate debate remains stalled because those who are most concerned refuse to ask the pertinent questions. Instead, they keep refighting old battles that are no longer relevant to a constructive discourse. The latest example is this survey by John Cook et al that is getting a lot of undeserved attention in the mainstream media. I say that because, questionable methodology aside, the survey tells us nothing new and is, as science journalist David Appell noted, “a meaningless exercise.”
The main finding, which was just published in the journal Environmental Research Letters:
A new survey of over 12,000 peer-reviewed climate science papers by our citizen science team at Skeptical Science has found a 97% consensus in the peer-reviewed literature that humans are causing global warming.
Here’s a trick question: Is climate journalism slanted? Before you answer, let’s look at a series of tweets by atmospheric science researcher Ryan Maue, who clearly has an opinion on this. We’ll start with this one from today:
The story he’s referring to is mostly about the second major blizzard in two weeks to hammer parts of the Midwest. The piece is straightforward reporting on a nasty winter storm, until near the end, when the journalist weaves in a climate change angle. Maue views the insertion as “left wing weather.” His next tweet emphasizes this point:
Leftist climate scientists are natural bedfellows for liberal journalists & all reporting should be seen thru partisan prism for bias.
This strikes me as a bit feverish, but hey, everybody is entitled to his own prism. At this point, I’ve read the AP story and actually, it does suffer from a bias. It’s just not a political one. Read More
A number of very smart people feel that the climate movement is making a similar miscalculation by hitching its wagon to the anti-Keystone XL pipeline cause. (See, for example, Jon Foley here and Michael Levi here, for two good arguments.) But the galvanizing symbolism of the pipeline cannot be easily dismissed. Read More
A panel at this year’s American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting was summarized afterwards in a AAAS press release:
Cable news junkies, take heart: if you love wall-to-wall coverage of hurricanes, wildfires and superstorms, your future viewing schedules will be jam-packed.
Researchers at the AAAS Annual Meeting said that wild weather events like Superstorm Sandy and the severe Texas drought are the new normal in North America, as human-driven climate change has made these events more intense and more frequent.
In his State of the Union Address last night, President Obama spoke forcefully about global warming. He said that, “for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change.” Notably, the President framed his case this way:
Now, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods — all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science — and act before it’s too late.
That’s about as direct a call for action by Congress on climate change as you will hear from a president.
Since no one expects Congress to act, President Obama promised:
I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.
He also cleverly reminded Americans that once upon a time–in the not distant past–top Republicans believed global warming was worth addressing, too.
The President’s strong play for action on climate change stands in remarkable contrast to what many were lamenting as his “climate silence” during the 2012 presidential campaign, and his failure to “connect the dots.” Those days are gone. Climate change activists must have been pinching themselves during the President’s 2013 State of the Union Address. Read More
It appears that certain media moguls and self-important, publicity-addicted narcissists are in good company when it comes to confusing climate and weather.
Yesterday, I was alerted to this press release, which starts off:
A University of British Columbia study of American attitudes toward climate change finds that local weather – temperature, in particular – is a major influence on public and media opinions on the reality of global warming.
The study, published today by the journal Climatic Change, finds a strong connection between U.S. weather trends and public and media attitudes towards climate science over the past 20 years – with skepticism about global warming increasing during cold snaps and concern about climate change growing during hot spells.
I went ahead and read the study, which is very interesting (alas, it’s behind a paywall). As the paper acknowledges:
Although past studies have suggested that a particular anomalous seasons, like the hot summer of 1988, influenced U.S. public opinion or media coverage of climate change (Shanahan and Good 2000; Zehr 2000; Boykoff and Boykoff 2004; Krosnick et al. 2006; Freudenberg and Muselli 2010), there has not as of yet been a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between climate variability and the variations in public and media opinion over time.
The media opinion/weather analysis is the aspect of the new paper that caught my eye. Its main finding surprised the researchers. Read More
I’m such a piker that I always think it’s neat when 10 or 20 people retweet me. Occasionally, when the planets are aligned, several dozen will retweet a piece of mine or something interesting I may have said in 160 characters.
I mean, it’s not like I’m Donald Trump, who has over 2 million followers. Oh, look, here’s one of his from yesterday that was retweeted 1,200 times: Read More
In his big speech earlier this week, President Obama put the American people on notice that he intends to make climate change a centerpiece of his second term. But is the nation with him on that?
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reports:
Dealing with global warming ranks at the bottom of the public’s priority list. Just 28% say it should be a top priority for the president and Congress, little changed from 2012.
That’s not an encouraging statistic for the climate movement. It also suggests that last year’s extreme and irregular weather events in the United States–such as the mild winter, scorching summer heat waves, and Hurricane Sandy, which, in the media, was often associated with climate change–did not appreciably move the needle on public opinion the way some assumed it did.
Incredibly, that was the facile theme of Piers Morgan’s latest (ridiculous) foray into the climate debate. Can somebody at CNN please bring Morgan into the 21st century? We are no longer debating whether global warming is real or not. That train has left the station.
And CNN having two activists on opposite ends of the spectrum holding forth on this does not advance the debate we should be having, which is: What energy policies would help us get off fossil fuels as fast as possible. Here’s the inane (and mercifully short) exchange, if you can stand it.
UPDATE: Randy Olson on why debating Marc Morano is “a no win situation.”