Anthony Watts at the invaluable Watt’s Up With That blog has investigated a weird statistical phenomenon in which everywhere is warming faster than the average. As with everyone believing they’re a better-than-average driver, the drumbeat of “twice as fast” warmings ought to have raised eyebrows. World Ends! Everyone Hit Hardest.
Now one might think in watching his video compilation that the main cause of warming is the need to sell newspapers. After all, it’s remarkable how it’s the Swedish paper that says Sweden is warming fastest, the Russian one that says it’s Russia, the good old CBC saying it’s Canada and so on. Even the Mountains were championed by the Pacific Standard with a nod to “mountain communities”. (We didn’t even know mountains formed communities, having mistaken them for large inert piles of rock.) Even New Jersey is warming “twice as fast as globe” if you believe, well, NJToday.Net, “New Jersey’s oldest weekly newspaper”. So are America’s national parks, the American west, Finland and blah blah blah. Anywhere with readers, basically. Alaska. Europe. The Northern Hemisphere. But also Singapore and Australia.
Now one suspicious feature, for those who have not lost their suspicion permanently, is that it’s invariably twice as fast or close to it. Why isn’t anywhere warming 2.5x as fast, or 1.5, or for good measure 3?
Obviously the real concern here is not to sell newspapers. It’s to sell alarmism. Tell people it’s going to hit them where they live, not that some other group of chumps is in trouble. Which sounds like a fairly cunning plan.
The problem is when your PR strategy makes you seem ridiculous it fails. Twice as fast as other people’s PR strategies, actually.