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22 May 2024 | News Roundup
  • According to Maclean’s, which just jumped onto a bandwagon so old and dusty we’re surprised the wooden-spoked wheels didn’t shatter, despair over climate change caused a young woman who never wanted kids to decide not to have any. The clincher was visiting the Pejar Dam in Australia in 2006, seeing it empty due to prolonged drought, and determining not to inflict children on a warming world. Though a bit of chippy local commentary on the Wikipedia page points out that Pejar was built in a bad location, has never lived up to expectations and is frequently almost empty while nearby Sooley Dam never went below 70% capacity even during the extended drought. But foregoing children in protest against government incompetence has less virtue-signalling value, so we’ll humour her by blaming it on climate change.
  • Fresh from their triumph in explaining how we can think like scientists, Scientific American presents a warning on how to detect conspiracy theories: “Dismissing traditional sources of evidence, claiming they are in on the plot. Claiming that missing information is because someone is hiding it, even though it’s common that not all facts are known completely for some time after an event. Attacking apparent inconsistencies as evidence of lies. Overinterpreting ambiguity as evidence: A flying object may be unidentified – but that’s different from identifying it as an alien spaceship. Using anecdotes – especially vaguely attributed ones – in place of evidence, such as ‘people are saying’ such-and-such or ‘my cousin’s friend experienced’ something. Attributing knowledge to secret messages that only a select few can grasp – rather than evidence that’s plain and clear to all.” Fine. Now apply that analysis to those who claim all bad weather events are due to climate change, climate skepticism is a lavishly-funded “Exxon knew”, a storm proves the weather is getting worse, I’m sure summer is coming earlier and “scientists say” so don’t you dare examine the evidence for yourself. Oops.
  • For instance “Tornado season is here again, with twisters striking in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Florida over the past few weeks. But while severe storms in spring are nothing new, there have been subtle changes in tornado patterns in recent years that portend a more dangerous future for communities across the country…. And even as the number of tornadoes has stayed relatively consistent in the last few years, experts say there have been key changes in their behavior over time that could have major consequences.” Coincidence, anecdote, hidden knowledge… it’s looking like a pattern. Never mind “The facts are that climate fluctuates over time for a variety of reasons, some of which are unknown.” The most ambiguous and incomplete evidence just proves how clever they are.
  • On climate you can say just anything. Such as “Mumbai should ‘drastically cut back’ on billboards, Indian author says after storm disaster/ Cyclones are getting more frequent in the mega city, and the built environment is making matters far worse.” In point of fact they are not getting more frequent in the region, and Mumbai itself has had precisely three cyclones in the last century; one in 1940, one in 1948 and one in 2020 (there’s even a YouTube video “Why Mumbai does not get cyclones”). Meanwhile the disaster in question, involving at least 14 fatalities, occurred when an illegal billboard “measuring 37 by 37 metres according to local reports” fell onto a gas station. At no time in history would such a structure have been safe there or anywhere. But when it’s climate, facts have ceased to matter.
  • Thus the New York Times can kick off a piece on insurance “As climate change gets worse, the immediate effects are becoming painfully obvious: More frequent and severe storms, wildfires, hurricanes and other types of extreme weather are wreaking havoc and pushing millions of Americans out of their homes each year.” Not one of these things is getting worse and careful long-term data shows that wildfires and hurricanes are becoming less frequent and serious in the United States. But once everybody knows, well, everybody knows. (Just as everybody knows that weather getting worse is an “effect” of climate change not an example of it, but nobody knows what this mysterious climate change is.)
  • There is nothing climate change cannot do. It is even, an alert reader points out, killing off the bees that aren’t even dying. “Large bees are in decline due to climate change” whines “Open Access Government”, an oddly-named journal. “Climate change is a decisive factor in bee mortality” howls “Bees4Life”, while oddly putting it sixth on their list of causes. And the publication UCDavis complains that “Climate Change Is Ratcheting Up the Pressure on Bees” before listing a wide range of totally unrelated issues like Varroa mites and pesticides. Still, there’s nothing climate cannot do, including be responsible for the death of things that are still alive.
  • From the settled science and economics department, “the macroeconomic damages from climate change are six times larger than previously thought” according to a paper from the American National Bureau of Economic Research. The social cost of carbon is $1,056 per ton if some unverified model is better than some other unverified model, “A 1°C increase in global temperature leads to a 12% decline in world GDP” and we were all too dumb to notice. Also “A business-as-usual warming scenario leads to a present value welfare loss of 31%” (and yes, it’s SSP8.5 though you have to do some sleuthing to pin it down). And the usual suspects pounced. But here’s something weird: University College London also says “Economic cost of climate change could be six times higher than previously thought”. But that was back in 2021, and the new claim was from May 2024. So is it now 36 times worse? Or are you all just screeching at clouds?

One comment on “Tidbits”

  1. Linnea Lueken has a Heartland Climate at a Glance re bees. Climate Change: Everything in the cosmos is in a state of movement or flux. Any object in those states must experience change.

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