- Worst year ever for ____________ (insert fires, flood, locust plague, whatever)I keep wondering how long the little boy can cry “wolf”. Judging by the ZERO participants in a DC climate rally this summer, the cry is losing its effect. Sea levels rise centimeters, not meters, American heat waves declining—all problematic. Chants of “It will come” just make the speakers look foolish—like a psychic trying to overcome failed predictions.
- Climate change is a threat to national securityThis is one of the stupidest statements to date. The only threat to national security is the idiot making the statement. Next, gravity will be a threat to national security, then darkness, then sunshine. Incredibly stupid is the only term I can find for this.
- Climate change makes apples less crisp (colossal waste of money on that study), drives women into prostitution, makes politicians dumber (okay, I made that one up—and it could be true), increases crime, will necessitate mass migrations inland and vastly increases Facebook and Twitter traffic. It’s like God—omnipresent and responsible for everything.
- Anyone who questions AGW is a “denier” (yes, there are degrees of skepticism and one can disagree with parts of AGW, but the general usage is to apply it to anyone who even questions the science)The term is oft said to be attributed to likening skeptics to Holocaust deniers. Since the Holocaust is historical and climate change involves predicting the future, it seems misapplied. Currently, it is hurled about in the same fashion “communist” was in the McCarthy era. All it took was the word, the accusation—no evidence, no proof—to smear someone’s life. The term is currently hurled at congresspersons to try to ruin their reputations, with limited success. (This is PURE politics, no science whatsoever.) The “jokes” about tying people to tailpipes for an hour to demonstrate the toxic CO2 gas are no less threatening than in the McCarthy era threatening to turn in your neighbor as a “commie” if he did not agree with everything you wanted him to.
- The use of sacred texts (aka peer-reviewed journals)I am certain there will be outcries over the use of such terms. However, peer-reviewed journals are to climate science what holy books are to religion. They are the works of the god of science—nearly infallible, rarely questioned, and constantly quoted from. The journals contain the truth about the universe. All other journals and studies are without value and may constitute an affront to climate change science. It’s taken on faith that scientists who write in these journals are the only humans capable of understanding the great mysteries of the universe. Thou shalt trust no other texts in place of these.
- Climate change increases extreme weather.Extreme is a scary word which means the event lies far outside the normal. There was one study that looked at “extremes” and climate change done by NOAA in 2011 that was quite interesting. However, the media rarely seems interested in the distinctions between “extreme” and “just another naturally occurring storm” and blames every flood, drought, etc on climate change (see Watching the Deniers for examples). Al Gore made an entire presentation featuring disaster photos (plus said Cat 6 was being introduced for hurricanes—it is not). Scientists, if they were interested in accuracy, would have insisted this stop. At least the head of the IPCC stepped up and said no blaming tornadoes on climate change. More of this needs to be shouted out repeatedly if climate change science is to be considered to be science, not politics.
- It’s another record-breaking _________________. (Fill in the blank)Records fascinate people. They want to know the longest heat wave, the tallest building, the fastest car, who can eat the most hot dogs in 60 seconds. In all except the first case, there is little significance attributed to the record and people watch for the records to be broken.In climate change, however, records have huge significance—IF they go in the direction of warming (or maybe any directions, since warming can cause cooling). The longest heat wave is harbinger of doom. Hottest days in a summer of record-breaking temperatures predict a coming meltdown (or migration from the equator, minimum). There are millions, probably billions, of records in temperature, rainfall, drought. Records routinely get broken. If you limit these to the last 30 years, still, thousands are broken daily. Searching for patterns is said to allow us to predict weather. At one time, I thought this was true, too. Now I have learned that patterns can be pulled out of many sources, yet yield no useful predictions. Climate is supposed to vary—vary widely. We humans want it to have patterns—it seems nature did not. Looking for patterns can sometimes lead to predictable outcomes, but the more variables involved, the greater the chance of useless predictions. Records set in climate are just records—no magic, no crystal ball.
Watch for the marketing language—don’t let it steer your gaze from the actual data and methods. It’s not about flashy language—it’s about repeatable empirical (not model) data and results.