Monday, 3 February 2014

Cry Wolf

There have been a lot of jokes recently aimed at environmentalists, because it's extremely difficult for ordinary people to take the threat of global warming seriously when they are frozen and buried in snow. Having self righteous clever people call them idiots for not understanding that this weather is a direct consequence of climate change is not going to help.

If you want the masses to understand climate you have to explain it, not make fun of them.

But I'll tell you what else isn't helping: the media. I came across 3 articles recently that are very unhelpful.

When you get to the details, you discover several issues here. One, this dry lake bed appears to be covered in grass. So this didn't happen as recently or quickly as stated. Two, its demise was clearly hastened by having a new water storage facility nearby.

This is blatantly dishonest reporting, and really does nothing to help the cause.

This was being flashed on Facebook as "frightening" data. When I watched it however, I was struck by how it wasn't predictive, but actually data from the last 60 years. I have been here for over 50 of them, so it's a little surprisng I hadn't noticed this dramatic thing happening.

If you want to frighten people with data, first make it plain which decades you are referring to, and then explain why it's not obvious.

There are so many things wrong with this idea, I'm not sure quite where to begin. There are good reasons why it's not happening, that any engineer can explain, and it's no solution to anything. I grow weary of ideas like this that appear to be magical solutions to such a large problem, presented as realistic to a public who simply don't understand.

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