Last weeks IPPR report made several claims relating to climate.
I thought you might be interested in a piece I wrote for Farmers Guardian about the report.
Note this is not climate-change scepticism but heartfelt disappointment at how useless much scientific communication is. Was this more about publicity than fact checking I wonder?
We're All Doomed!
Climate Climate change hysteria has hit the headlines again this week.
A report by the Institute for the Institute of Public Policy Research was picked up by several media outlets making statements such as "This [environmental] destabilisation is occurring at speeds unprecedented in human history and, in
some cases, over billions of years.”
I find claims such as these curious, and do tend to treat them with a huge dose of scepticism. This
is not to deny human induced climate change, but as I have written here before, the hysterical
language used does nothing to explain or promote policies which will protect the environment.
The report, quoted on the BBC News website claimed, “… since 2005, the number of floods across
the world has increased by 15 times, extreme temperature events by 20 times, and wildfires seven-
fold”. The problem is that there is no base year given for these claims; to what are we comparing?
They are reproductions of statements made in other papers with no indications as to the
uncertainties expressed by the authors.
It seems that we have entered a new period of alarmism where the screaming has passed beyond
climate-change, and is now the environment as a whole.
News organisations are complicit in promoting the more extreme outcomes predicted by such research documents, I suspect with the
aim of increasing readership and gaining a higher ranking in search engines.
Again I stress that my point here is not to wholly dispute the findings of a the paper, but rather to
question the willingness of the press the regurgitate quotes and statements without reference to
data sources or baselines of the information being compared.
If the BBC were to adopt a policy of referencing all data quotes within their news stories readers
would be more able to fact-check statements and arrive at their own conclusions.