Summertime, and the Livin’ Is Rife with Climate-Change Hysteria

By David Marshall Published on July 8, 2024

It’s summertime! You know what that means – lemonade, watermelon, baseball, and fireworks! Also, once it gets hot, the Media blames our heat stroke on climate change.

However, they will do the same if it rains, hails, thunders, or floods. Did a snowstorm hit Montana in June? Has a hurricane been spotted churning up the Caribbean? Do the Mariners find themselves in first place? Whatever happens (or doesn’t happen), it is a sure sign of the ongoing climate apocalypse.

I deny that I am a “science-denier.” I teach critical thinking, and I try to practice it, too. And I am very fond of science. I read Steven Jay Gould, wander through geology museums, climb volcanoes when they’re not doing active things, and really do hug trees. (That may be why the bark is peeling off the salmon-colored birches at 8,000 feet on Mt. Fuji.)

I like to see fusses being made over the climate, because it gives me an excuse to study up on glaciers in New Guinea (there are – or were – some!), dragonflies in the Carboniferous period, and the weather on Titan (chilly, with a chance of slowly falling methane rain). I concede that Earth’s atmosphere has warmed over the past century and a half, glaciers have receded, and that human activity has made some difference. (Though glaciers have been receding since the nineteenth century, before humans invented internal-combustion engines. So clearly, natural cycles have also played a major role in planetary warming.)

And I don’t want to call you journalists “lying dog-faced pony soldiers” or be otherwise impolite. But if you could adjust your rhetoric to show more critical thinking, it would be easier to take all that rhetoric about how” the sky is falling, and it’s your fault!” more seriously. To help you gain credibility among those of us who still have questions, let me offer nine suggestions.

Helpful Tips

Dear Media Elites:

(1)Please ditch this new talk of “climate change,” and go back to warning us about “global warming.” Otherwise, one gets the feeling you just want to score political points regardless of what feast is toward in Climate’s eternal cell. (Snow! Sleet! Drought! Hail!)

You said things were getting hot. But if you stick your head outside the CNN window and declare any random downdraft to be “just what we expected, given climate change,” then to paraphrase Syndrome, “When every weather is incredible, then no weather will be.” A theory that explains anything explains nothing.

(2) Can you finally admit how embarrassing you find it that Al Gore won a Nobel Prize for his wildly uncritical bit of “global warming” propaganda, An Inconvenient Truth?

(3) When you mention a rise in deaths caused by heat, could you also note the far greater decrease in deaths from cold that anthropogenic global warming (AGW) also brings? Because otherwise, you’re just cherrypicking data — “convenient truths,” if you will — and ignoring the facts that hurt Chicken Little’s story. Maybe we should still fight AGW, but please show that you have looked both at data that supports your concerns and that which undermines them so we can know you’re playing fair with the evidence.

(4) Also, did you notice that deaths from extreme weather events have dropped dramatically over the past century? Every time there’s a flood anywhere in the world, you claim that’s “weather on the steroids” of climate change. Yet even as the world’s population has more than doubled since 1970, the number of deaths from “weather, climate, and water-related disasters” was cut to less than a third of the previous figure. That’s hundreds of thousands of lives saved overall. Your reporting on floods in southern China this summer notes that so far, 70 lives have been reported as being lost, and you blame climate change for that. But don’t you know that in the past, thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people died in such flooding on the Yangtze or Yellow rivers and their tributaries? The legend of the founding of China tells of Yu the Great who controlled China’s floods, which were already wreaking havoc millennia ago. And let’s not even talk about the death rate in Noah’s day.

Sorry if such perspectives don’t energize gullible youths to turn out on Election Day. But it seems Father Death now spends more days on his rocking chair playing checkers with his old pals Blizzard and Hurricane (even with that early Cat 5 in the Gulf) than out on the streets washing away communities. Still, if you mention this dramatic drop in fatalities from fire, floods, and freezing, your voice will sound more credible to those of us who care about facts. (Plus, you will be telling the truth, which rumor has it, might help in the afterlife.)

Even More Helpful Tips

(5) When you report on record-high temperatures, please distinguish between daily and all-time records! America alone has thousands of towns, and with 365 days in the year, with temperatures recorded for a mere century or two, on average one would expect many records to be set every day for that particular date. (Of course in practice, daily records come in waves.) The fact is, just as many of the present record highs for each state were set in the first 23 years of the twentieth century as in the first 23 years of the twenty-first century. (Depending on whether Furnace Creek, Death Valley sets a new record this week.) The biggest wave of all-time record highs came during the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s, when 22 state high-temperature records were set that stand to this day. Sorry if, again, such facts don’t frighten schoolchildren of all ages into complying with whatever expensive measures you want to pass in the state legislature.

But as Bill Murray asked in Groundhog Day, “Did you want to talk about the weather, or were you just making chitchat?”

(6) Can you occasionally mention the warming that occurred before humans emitted much greenhouse gas? Glaciers were already melting in the late nineteenth century, as those of us who have lived in the valleys from which they retreated (like Mendenhall, in Juneau, Alaska) may recall.

(7) I love blizzards, thunderstorms, and typhoons, so I don’t blame you for talking about storms like the early Category 5 in the Gulf. But when you talk about these things and the damage they do, don’t ignore Chris Landsea, the former NOAA hurricane research scientist (now at the National Hurricane Center), who has argued that there is no present and will likely be practically no future link between AGW and hurricane intensity in North America. And Seattle Times editors, please read the scathing
and detailed rebuttals of your habitual climate-change rhetoric and forest-fire alarmism published by the eminent University of Washington meteorologist Cliff Mass. Ignoring qualified critics really does sound like science denial.

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(8) Is global warming really as big a threat to the human race as, say, nuclear war or artificial intelligence? I, for one, find it hard to sweat about four inches of sea level rise in 80 years (pun possibly intended), while Putin, Xi, and the lunatics north of Korea’s demilitarized zone drum fingers on panels with bright red buttons and tech wunderkinds create programs to render humanity redundant. (9) After you attend to all that, if a little critical thinking doesn’t spoil your fun, and you still want to talk about “global warming,” please distinguish between the following four claims:

(A) Our atmosphere has warmed over the past century and a half (true).

(B) Human activity is responsible (partly true).

(C) AGW will cause and is causing global catastrophes of many kinds (probably exaggerated, even while positive benefits and the mitigating influence of technology are ignored).

(D) The trillions of dollars government is spending to calm AGW, from building high-speed trains to nowhere and shuttering coal mines to levying higher gas taxes, is a wise investment by far-sighted and compassionate political leaders to meet this emergency. (Pardon my diaphragm; it seems to be shaking for some reason, probably due to the rude cackling noises emerging from my mouth.)

Do all that, dear friends in the Media, and you may lose a few “clicks.” But some people will get the idea that you actually care about truth, and yes, “the science.” And they will respect you more and pay attention when you argue carefully and honestly, with a clear eye for costs and benefits, for how we should support the future health of our children and the environment in which they will dwell.

Even if you lose the world, you may gain your souls.

 

David Marshall, an educator and writer, holds a doctoral degree in Christian thought and Chinese tradition. His most recent book is The Case for Aslan: Evidence for Jesus in the Land of Narnia.

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