Where the Media Go Wrong on Climate Change

by | Sep 1, 2019 | Jane Shaw Stroup, The Environmental Blog

No one has ever been killed by human-caused climate change.

Roy Spencer is a meteorologist, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and the U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer on NASA’s Aqua satellite. He recently discussed misinformation in the media.

On Amazon fires:

The rainforest itself does not burn in response to global warming, and in fact warming in the tropics has been so slow that it is unlikely that any tropical resident would perceive it in their lifetime. This is not a climate change issue; it’s a farming and land use issue.

On Greenland melting:

During the summer months of June, July, and August there is more melting of the surface than snow accumulation. The recent (weather-related) episode of a Saharan air mass traveling through western Europe and reaching Greenland led to a few days of exceptional melt. This was widely reported as having grave consequences.Forbes decided to push the limits of responsible journalism with a story title, Greenland’s Massive Ice Melt Wasn’t Supposed to Happen Until 2070. But the actual data show that after this very brief period (a few days) of strong melt, conditions then returned to normal.

On weather-related deaths:

As far as we know, no one has ever been killed by human-caused climate change. Weather-related deaths have fallen dramatically — by over 90% — in the last 100 years.”

On climate models:

There is an increasing trend toward passing off climate model projections as actual observations in news reports. This came up just a few days ago when I was alerted to a news story that claimed Tuscaloosa, Alabama is experiencing twice as many 100+ deg. F days as it used to. To his credit, the reporter corrected the story when it was pointed out to him that no such thing has happened, and it was a climate model projection that (erroneously) made such a “prediction.”

On the media generally:

An old mantra of the news business is, “if it bleeds, it leads.” If someone was murdered, it is news. That virtually no one gets murdered is not news. That, by itself, should tell you that the mainstream media cannot be relied upon as an unbiased source of climate change information.

Photo by Florian GIORGIO on Unsplash[/caption]

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