Climate and the Hysterical And Confused Media

On Climate, Don’t Listen To The Hysterical And Confused Media

Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

Journalists have been herniating themselves unnecessarily in covering a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finding that global temperature might increase by another 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit sometime between 2030 and 2052.

The truth is, any reporter with a fifth-grade education could have made the same calculation last week, last year or 10 years ago by applying the standard climate-sensitivity estimate (in use since 1979) to the standard emissions forecasts.

The IPCC foresees heat waves, rainstorms, and floods, but heat waves, rainstorms, and floods have always happened, and it isn’t clear what the report is really saying.

The New York Times notes an estimate that an additional 0.9 degrees will cost the global economy $54 trillion but fails to say over what period.

For the record, the global gross domestic product is expected to hit $100 trillion in 2020, and virtually all experts see global GDP continuing to grow faster than global climate costs mount up.

The climate cognoscenti, meanwhile, are understandably more focused on what an important report, due in 2022, will say about the 40-year-old, unsatisfying climate-sensitivity model that underlies so many fuzzy forecasts reported in the media as fact.

Today’s IPCC is mum but does specifically acknowledge two studies this year that greatly play down the likelihood of catastrophic climate outcomes, including one described in this column in February.

Bottom line: The U.S. media once again proves itself largely useless to anyone interested in the climate conundrum.

“Planet has only until 2030 to stem catastrophic climate change, experts warn,” went a CNN headline, announcing yet another deadline that is sure to be missed.

Unmentioned is the “or else”: We’ll have to adapt to some measure of climate change in a climate that is always changing even as the economy evolves toward greener technologies.

Or take a recent Washington Post piece that hyped a Trump administration estimate that the earth might warm by 7 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, which was found buried in an environmental statement related to fuel-economy mandates.

Again, this merely applies the standard climate-sensitivity envelope to previously forecast future emissions, as any reporter could have done.

The Trump document, in fact, is no different from Obama documents showing that the pending Obama fuel-mileage rules produce virtually no climate benefit—less than 0.0072 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.

The Trump analysis also states plainly what the IPCC only muffles: “Drastic reductions” in greenhouse gases are not “currently technologically feasible or economically practicable.”

Who among U.S. politicians might be considered the anti-Trump? Here is California Gov. Jerry Brown making exactly the same point, more colorfully, to the Nation magazine’s Mark Hertsgaard: “Brown lurched forward, nearly leaping from his couch to denounce what he clearly viewed as the activists’ naive demagoguery. ‘What if I could snap my fingers and eliminate all gasoline in all California gasoline stations?’ he demanded. ‘What would happen? Revolution? Killings? Shootings? … There would be mass chaos. You’d never get close to [leaving oil in the ground] before the public reaction stopped it.’ ”

Read more at Wall Street Journal

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40 thoughts on “Climate and the Hysterical And Confused Media

  1. I’m sure the dutiful media will be asking Democrats how far they are willing to go to address climate change, and then hammering them if it’s not far enough to address what they say is a serious problem.

  2. With no reaction in the bond or stock markets it is clear that the IPCC report is unimportant.

    No-one believed it. No-one believed anyone would be foolish enough to act on it.

    The few who say they still do are now a tiny minority.

    • If someone told you…don’t eat that it’s deadly poisonous
      …and you caught them eating it

      Would you believe them?

      No one knows this s c a m better than the UN/IPCC….and that’s exactly what they have done

      CO2 is deadly poisonous….but the vast majority of countries get to increase their emissions

  3. ‘What if I could snap my fingers and eliminate all gasoline in all California gasoline stations?’ he demanded. ‘What would happen? Revolution? Killings? Shootings? … There would be mass chaos. You’d never get close to [leaving oil in the ground] before the public reaction stopped it.’

    Bingo. Once the measures advocated by the alarmists begin to hurt, the public reacts. As long as it doesn’t hurt, the public and politicians are willing (are are cowed) to give it lip service. Several provincial governments are now fighting (Canadian) Prime Minister Trudeau’s carbon tax. None of those governments is actually coming out and disputing CAGW but actions speak louder than words.

    • Yes and no. The public reacts when the bite gets hard enough, but a slow bleed of solar and wind subsidies and quotas and interference in economic reality such as bogus energy efficiency standards or subsidized loans for energy retrofits will still do horrendous but unseen damage to the economy over time.
      Witness the article on redesigning agriculture to mitigate climate change. These morons want to mess with an extremely efficient and complex system for providing cheap, high quality food to the world. Anyone remember Stalin’s collectivisation?

    • This is some lovely comment! Brown acknowledges something that I’d bet he would not. And yet the media are quiet or even push forward the very idea.

      So part of the mad green crowd knows well you can’t leave it to the ground, and part thinks this is exactly what must be done.

  4. The press has pretty much thrown their masks off across the board – the face of the gorgon is openly visible.

  5. ” … pending Obama fuel-mileage rules produce virtually no climate benefit—less than 0.0072 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.”

    And this assumes the insanely large, physics defying climate sensitivity claimed by the IPCC and the self serving consensus it contrived around the reports it generates.

    The ECS needs to be corrected. It’s beyond comprehension that it’s been so difficult to get right, as the physics is unambiguously clear that it’s bounded to a value less than the claimed lower limit, below which even the IPCC will admit that no action is necessary. This is the clearest possible example of how the power of fake news can so easily subvert the truth.

    • The mandate wasn’t going to be met anyhow. Goalposts were going to be moved closer before then. It was just feel-good legislation for Obama…unrealistic with timing long after he’d left office.

    • Clyde,
      Like Michael Caine, actor, speaking his words in groups of three?

      Are you, like me, still waiting for a definitive, quantitative, observation-based peer-reviewed paper in a reputable journal that finally establishes that there is a link between atmospheric temperature and CO2 content, later than Henry’s Law and the Ideal Gas Law? Geoff

  6. “……Who among U.S. politicians might be considered the anti-Trump? Here is California Gov. Jerry Brown making exactly the same point, more colorfully, to the Nation magazine’s Mark Hertsgaard: “Brown lurched forward, nearly leaping from his couch to denounce what he clearly viewed as the activists’ naive demagoguery. ‘What if I could snap my fingers and eliminate all gasoline in all California gasoline stations?’ he demanded. ‘What would happen? Revolution? Killings? Shootings? … There would be mass chaos. You’d never get close to [leaving oil in the ground] before the public reaction stopped it.’ ”…….”

    If I understand the tweets on the 350.org Twitter page correctly, Bill McKibben and his ilk are demanding that fossil fuels remain in the ground. I guess that’s why McKibben has been critical of Gov. Moonbeam lately. It is truly amazing and incredible when such demands are made with little or no regard for the consequences to human societies. The chaos and anarchy (and probably deaths) that would follow would be on the heads of the radical hardline greens like McKibben.

    And all of it for what? A questionable and disputable theory that was used to scare the you-know-what out of the the masses. Humanity has always paid (or risked paying) a very heavy price when we choose to listen to the wrong people throughout history. When will be ever learn to stop doing that?

    • Doesn’t Moonbeam have some connection to an oil company? Oil in California is a $111 billion industry.

      • Much of the oil from California is heavy oil that is some of the most carbon- intensive ( I apologize for using that term) on the planet. More so than Alberta oil sands.

        • In my opinion, the oilsands is a natural disaster and Canada needs all the help they can get to clean that mess up. We need to burn that oil first so Canada can have the financial resources available to keep that oil from leaching outwards any further.

          This is a real problem that can be alleviated somewhat by a pipeline for more efficient transportation of the oil that’s not where it could be a benefit rather than a detriment.

          My rant to an XL protestor that actually may have worked. Maybe.

        • No John. The Canadian oil sands are the worst, the absolute worst, the most planet-destroying threat to our future that you can conceive of, short of president Trump, of course. Everyone says so (well, all the alarmists say so, and that’s all that matters).

          IMHO the real reason they don’t like the oil sands has nothing to do with their carbon content. It’s because there’s an awful lot of them. Energy for our future. That’s got to be bad, right?

          They don’t seem to be perturbed about Venezuela’s oil sands. Perhaps because Maduro is doing such a good job of “leaving it in the ground”.

    • Leaping from a couch is not convincing enough. When Gov Moonbeam starts jumping up and down on the couch like Tom Cruise, then I’ll give up my car, meat, electricity, imported products and anything else they tell me to give up. I’ll just sit in the house, do nothing, and wait until doomsday arrives. That’s our moral obligation, right?

      Or we could just ignore McKibben & Moonbeam and go about our business. They’re going to keep flying around yelling at people, and basking in media adoration, but neither one of them produces anything useful. Chicken Littleism is not a legitimate philosophy, nor is stoking panic over scant data, and recommending economic suicide as a remedy.

      • you could always wait until Moonbeam give up his own use of ‘evil fossil fuels ‘ .although that may be a very long wait .

    • Thank you for posting this. I have suspected this for some time. We are long past the point where appeasement on the AGW issue is acceptable. It’s time to flatly reject the hypothesis on the basis of utterly inadequate proof and substantial evidence that non-natural warming does not exist.

    • Henry David Thoreau was one of the first major philosophers to worry about mankind’s effect on the natural world, and to recommend stepping back from rampant desires to a more contemplative outlook.
      “Our lives are frittered away in detail. . . simplify, simplify,” he recommended.

      Now that conservation has morphed into environmentalism, and every chicken, egg, grocery bag, and mechanical device has become politicized, we have to ramp up the alarmism or no one will pay attention. Updated paraphrase: “Our lives are not second-guessed or panicky enough. . . falsify, falsify!”

  7. When you care so little for verifiable truth compared to participation in a so-called ‘historic’ cause to give your life some sort of meaning, expect to be consumed in the inevitable fuss-budgeting exercises of such vanity.

  8. Who knew that the UN would grow into an evil menace of global policy distortion while maintaining its day job as a non factor in peace and security.

    • Yep, apparently stopping ongoing disease, starvation, corruption, genocide, and ethnic cleansing, are no longer a worthwhile use of their time.

    • I think these days the cynic in me asks ‘why would it not?’

      Why would the media not lie in pursuit iof that which makes money and pleases their advertisers?
      Why would green organisations get subverted by injections of cash and activist members from the very people they sought to oppose?
      Why would politicians not sell their souls and lie for anyone prepared to enhance their lifestyles?
      Why would scientists not falsify data and create junk science to justify their grants?

      With very few real productive jobs left, people who are essentially parasites have to learn how to make a living.

  9. “The IPCC foresees heat waves, rainstorms, and floods, but heat waves, rainstorms, and floods have always happened, and it isn’t clear what the report is really saying.”
    That’s easy; they are saying that weather is now interchangeable with climate. Before, weather was just weather. You just have to learn the language of Climate Numptyism.

    • That as been true for a long time,when the claim has supported AGW . No idea how it works but weather is climate when it suit and weather is not climate when it does not .

  10. Meanwhile back at my attic insulation project, I completed the DIY addition of R32 insulation based on the credible forecasting track record from WeatherBell as opposed to the biased free forecasts from others in hot, scary world policy and media land. Sure you could say the insulation benefits in warm weather as well, but the trigger to make the expenditure and the hard labor DIY effort was driven by the non-consensus science of competent forecasting without agendas. Bring forth reality and fact checking–along with unadulterated weather.

  11. The IPCC foresees heat waves, rainstorms, and floods, you forgot rains of frogs , the rivers turning into blood and a two headed calf being born.
    Might is such a great word and fits very well in climate ‘science’ as it allows you to make great claims with needed to prove a dam thing and at the same time the get-out to claim you never said ‘would ‘ so events failing to happen do not disprove you claims .

    The end is always ‘nigh ‘ for a reason .

  12. The IPCC is a social group that holds annual parties at exotic locations financed by the UN. This stuff is produced by a computer.

  13. Regarding the UN and its justification for existing, I am old enough to remember the previous International body. “The League of Nations. It was a mostly white skinned body, although they did have Haile Selacie of Abersiniaa, because of course Mussillini invaded it. Tute Tute, one should not do that. Japan of course walked out over its invasion of China.

    But just like the present UN, it was overall quite useless .

    MJER

  14. The hysterical and confused media have, AFAIK, never presented a graph that carries the message this one does.
    http://www.geoffstuff.com/trendsetter.jpg

    When time series creators in climate change make statements about the effects of adjustments, usually they talk about the magnitude of an adjustment for homogenization, like 0.5 degrees C, and/or the duration, such as ‘applied for the previous 10 years’, or the sign (as in ‘the number of positive adjustments are the same as the number of negative adjustments, so they canel out’). But I have never seen an attempt to use the leverage of the adjustment, as in how far in time it is from the pivot point of the changining trends.
    This graph takes any convenient temperature/time series, then adds a (large, so you can see it) adjustment of 3 degrees C over 3 consecutive years, in three examples, one at the beginning of the series, one near the middle and one near today. The change in trend that each one gives is different, in magnitude as well as sign.
    The whole homogenization scene needs a re-examination in which the overall effect of adjustments is analysed in terms of magnitude, duration, sign and position in time as I have just illustrated.
    This would complement some of the deficiciencies in series such as HadCRUT4 that Dr John McLean posted about recently.
    Come on BEST, Hadley, Goddard NASA, etc. Time to run the proper test, no?
    Geoff.

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