07.5.2019

How the Media Corrupted Climate Policy

temperature increase of more than 11 degrees Fahrenheit. Not one mentioned that the assessment relied on an emissions scenario, known as RCP 8.5, so extreme that it implies much bigger problems for future humanity than just a warmer climate. Instead, just about every U.S. news story satisfied itself with shrill adjectives suggesting the report promised a climate doom that it didn’t. It might interest you to know that, of the two-dozen-plus climate models consulted by scientific bodies, only one model, that of the Institute of Numerical Mathematics in Moscow, accurately simulates past climate changes. It also forecasts the least warming, about 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit, under realistic emissions assumptions. If the Trump administration is guilty of anything in this instance, it’s guilty of paying attention. All too routine has become the habit in official reports of piling up worst-case assumptions and extending them for a century, in hope of producing a headline number the media will misreport as it did in last November’s fiasco over the National Climate Assessment. I mean every word of the following: Ignore climate-science reporting in major U.S. news organs. The press has given up wrestling with the limits of knowledge or accurately relaying the caveats tied to highly abstract computer models. If a worst-case scenario materializes, humanity will have recourse to relatively cheap geoengineering solutions to attempt to mitigate warming. In the meantime, there is no reason to believe the world will forcibly wean itself off fossil fuels. At the same time, the relentless hunt for efficiency and progress of technology will continue to reduce the carbon intensity of our industrial civilization. It’s even possible to think of cost-effective, pro-growth policies that would accelerate this progress. Unfortunately these lack the faux-heroic scale and price tags that excite the virtuous left nowadays. The media, for whatever reason, has chosen a role for itself as a cheerleader for climate boondoggles. And the more specialized the media—the website Inside Climate News is your example here—the more completely it will devote itself to misleading the public about the true nature of the climate challenge in our democracy. This article appeared on the Wall Street Journal website at https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-the-media-corrupted-climate-policy-11562360829]]>

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