So it’s not all bad news. Apparently climate change has made baseball more interesting by causing about 50 extra home runs a year since 2010 by making air hotter and thus thinner. (Which is, we admit, bad if you’re a pitcher even if fans prefer it, although surely the same condition gives you an extra yard on your “heater” at the risk of reduce the “bite” on the breaking stuff.) But if global heating has already ruined America’s National Pastime then the bad, as well as good if you’re Mighty Casey, effects of climate change kicked in nearly 15 years ago. Which is one more sign that you can say just about anything if it involves climate, and that the issue of whether climate doom is here, merely looms, or both at once continues to fuddle alarmists.
For instance New Zealand’s climate minister and Green party co-leader James Shaw recently loosed a great wind over cyclones, telling his nation’s parliament:
“I don’t think I’ve ever felt as sad or as angry about the lost decades that we spent bickering and arguing about whether climate change was real or not, whether it was caused by humans or not, whether it was bad or not, whether we should do something about it or not, because it is clearly here now, and if we do not act, it will get worse.”
Note that he’s having it both ways, with terrible effects already here and poised to hit. That cyclones are not in fact increasing in frequency or intensity is a bagatelle to him. And who can deny a man who’s mastered time travel the capacity to logic travel as well?
Shaw insists that the devastating impact is already here as well as looming:
“There will be people who say it’s ‘too soon’ to talk about these things … but we are standing in it right now. This is a climate change-related event. The severity of it, of course, made worse by the fact that our global temperatures have already increased by 1.1 degrees.”
And we all know the fabulous dynamic resilience of nature can’t handle that sort of roasting. But remember also that if we give people like him a lot more money, power and blind obedience, they will forestall the disaster we’re already standing in.
This tendency to blur present and future is all too common among activists like, say, the British government propaganda outfit. Thus the BBC tried to scare the ice out of its audience with “Up to 15 million people face risk of catastrophic flooding from glacial lakes which could burst their natural dams at any moment, a new study finds.”
Face risk. Here now. But the actual story went on and on about a paper in Nature Communications about how:
“As the climate warms, glaciers retreat and meltwater collects, forming lakes…. ‘There are a large number of people globally exposed to the impacts of these floods,’ said Rachel Carr, a glaciologist at Newcastle University and an author on the paper. ‘It could happen at any point – that’s what makes them particularly dangerous, because it’s hard to predict exactly when they will happen.’”
Uh, you can’t predict it but know it’s just around the corner. Nice logic-traveling. Naturally social justice is also in the picture:
“The authors say those facing the greatest threat live in mountainous countries in Asia and South America…. In Asia, around one million people live within just 10km of a glacial lake…. Lakes formed by melting glaciers have natural dams of loose rocks and ice that can fail suddenly and unpredictably. The floods that follow come thick and fast, in many cases being powerful enough to destroy vital infrastructure.”
Terrible. Horrible. Shaw save us. And you have to read literally to the last sentence of the BBC doom-a-thon, past teasers to a house-of-horrors collection of stories like “How Pakistan floods are linked to climate change” and “All of Africa’s glaciers to be lost by 2050 – UN” and “World’s glaciers melting at a faster pace”, to discover that it’s all speculation: “While scientists expect that glacial floods will increase as a result of human-induced climate change, there has as yet been no such increase.”
So it’s not here. In a typical way, like the story about how “Floods, droughts and major storms that wash out highways, damage buildings and affect power grids could cost Canada’s economy $139 billion over the next 30 years, a new climate-based analysis predicts”, not to mention NBC’s “Rare subtropical December storm may form in Atlantic for first time in nearly a decade” which promptly didn’t happen.
By the way, the BBC story concedes in its second-last sentence that “Research shows that an increase in floods which began in the early 20th Century and peaked in the 1970s could be a lagged response to climatic changes in the past” exactly as though climate were complex, poorly understood and naturally variable. And as though weather might have been worse when it was cooler and that sort of thing.
An article in The Conversation offering a “Welcome to the new abnormal” had the gall to claim that:
“The most recent international climate assessment from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found significant increases in both the frequency and intensity of extreme temperature and precipitation events, leading to more droughts and floods.”
It links to another piece in the same outlet, which touts “Academic rigour, journalistic flair”, that in turn links to the Working Group I report in the IPCC’s AR6, which we in turn examined in some detail when it appeared back in 2021 that found gaps in the data and increases in rain in some places and decreases in others, and similar things with regard to droughts and so on, rather than this relentless unmistakable increase. But most people don’t read the technical stuff from the IPCC including, it seems, the author who misrepresented what it said.
Likewise a publication called Grist asserts that:
“Droughts and floods are already intensifying as the world warms, putting solid observational data behind a trend scientists have long predicted and one that’s becoming increasingly visible to ordinary people. Over the past 20 years, there’s been a sharp increase in both the wettest and driest weather events on the planet, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Water.”
But in addition to the other dubious aspects of this claim, for instance that the drastic effects of climate change that threaten us if we don’t mend our ways also hit at least two decades ago when the total temperature increase since 1850 was well under a degree, if nature is variable then one may confidently predict that various 20-year periods will see more or less of something bad, or good, without constituting a secular trend. What of the BBC’s flooding peaking in the 1970s? Down the history hole it goes.
Speaking of New Zealand, some outfit called Stuff offers us a cartoony “Hot Air Sucks” explanation “Latest IPCC climate change report: The world is changing rapidly. See for yourself” that admits “Climate change can seem a long way away when we’re going about our everyday lives working, cooking or meeting up with friends” but “our heating planet is slowly but surely hitting some of our favourite things including brunch” because of such horrors as New Zealand’s Northland and Bay of Plenty becoming too weathery for avocadoes (no, really, the punchline is “weather in these places is already changing” without any effort to say in what manner) and clearly avocadoes, being “tropical” according to the piece, hate warmth.
Part of the difficulty with this world-view is that it assumes we know where and how plants and animals should be flourishing. Including the prevalence of avocadoes in New Zealand, we note snidely, and how much rain there “should” be somewhere and what’s the right temperature for the planet. But there’s actually a remarkable amount we don’t know about what is “natural”.