It seems that mere “climate change” was not nearly bad enough for the media scaremongers and the environmental activists so even the smallest upward blip in global average temperatures has became “catastrophic climate change”.
The increasing use of this pejorative term as well as “chaotic”, “irreversible”, and “rapid” climate change has altered the public discourse around climate change. So says Mike Hulme Director, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.
His commentary comes at an interesting point in environmental politics with protests mounting and a report presented to the UK government last week providing Tony Blair yet more ammunition and vote-building rhetoric than ever before.
The Guardian this year mentioned the phrase “climate porn” the apparent thrill of seeing new scientific results that protend natural disaster on a global scale. The media of course is almost entirely to blame for this state of affairs boulstered by anti-capitalist, anti-industry, and other misinformed groups, as well as the politicians hoping to make the most of their opposition’s positions.
Simon Retallack, the IPPR’s head of climate change, told The Guardian that “Currently, climate communications too often terrify or thrill the reader or viewer while failing to make them feel that they can make a difference, which engenders inaction.”
The spirit of his report is echoed by Hulme in this latest commentary.
There is no concensus on climate change catastrophic or otherwise. The South of England basked in the longest “Indian summer” on record this year, the warm spell that began as a warm but wet August faded into September didn’t entirely halt until the beginning of November. Is that an effect of global warming? Who knows? It’s been rather colder than you’d expect these last few days…perhaps there’s an ice age on the way. It’s a facile task to draw a straight line sloping one way then the other through a scatter of temperature plots in which the error margins are almost as wide as the problem being discussed. Couple the experimental issues with the limitations of computer modelling and throw in some oil company disinformation with a few ludicrous pronouncement from a Bush in denial (God moves in mysterious ways) and it’s no wonder the public is at once thrilled and scared sh*tless by all this hot air. The real catastrophe could be that in the confusion we continue to waste resources while whole nations and continents languish in poverty and disease. Whether or not climate change turns out eventually to be catastrophic or not is almost irrelevant when we are faced with so many other global ills.