On September 27, the very day the youth of today demanded bold action to stop all this hot weather we’ve been having, parts of western North America were barraged by as much as three feet of snow, wreaking havoc with Alberta traffic and prompting a declaration of emergency in Montana (i.e. a real climate emergency) and a blizzard of commentary about the gap between rhetoric and reality on the climate front including… including… Say. Where is all the commentary?
One might have expected to hear the usual refrain that this snowfall is just the weather we get whereas climate is the weather we expect to get. Or, how shall we put it delicately, the weather we’re definitely not getting, whether we expect to get it or not. Or the weather we’re having inside computers. Or the weather we’re supposed to be going to be having (calling to mind Neil Postman’s warning in Building a Bridge to the Eighteenth Century that “The future is, of course, an illusion. Nothing has happened there yet.”) By now even this attempt to dismiss data curtly seems to have been abandoned in favour of never letting it in to begin with.
Increasingly, contumacious facts are just ignored. If climate change predicts more forest fires, just keep saying there are more forest fires rather than explaining why the actual number is going down. If climate change predicts floods and droughts, say millions are dying even though they aren’t. And if a howl of outrage against runaway warming is accompanied by Mother Nature’s ironic blast of unseasonable cold, run news stories about something else. Anything will do.