Although potentially “misleading” and “specious,” realizing the goal of fomenting “action” on climate change means uncertainties and caveats must be journalistically eliminated. Media outlets are pressured by “green groups” to opportunistically claim every extreme weather event – including the ensuing damage – is caused by human greenhouse gas emissions.
In recent decades there has been a deintensification of extreme weather (precipitation) events.
Image Source: Koutsoyiannis, 2020
Deaths and property losses from extreme weather events have also been on the decline in recent decades (Broccard, 2021).
Image Source: Broccard, 2021
Models cannot simulate extreme events and mechanistically attribute them to human activity (Bellprat and Doblas-Reyes, 2016).
Image Source: Bellprat and Doblas-Reyes, 2016
While they admit “climate-centric framings of disasters can be misleading and problematic,” Lahsen and Ribot (2022) nonetheless seem to defend the practice of journalists and media outlets systematically dismissing uncertainties and doubt in attributing extreme weather to humans. They even acknowledge that alarmism is coached.
Where is the science in this?
“Powerful science leaders hope that identification of the role of climate change in extreme weather events will ‘spur more immediate action’ to mitigate climate change.”
“[T]he progressive research and information center Media Matters for America regularly scolds U.S. media outlets for failing to mention that climate change is driving the conditions that create this ‘new normal’ of frequent crises”
“[L]eading climatology communications advisors associated with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) invoke examples from around the world to criticize media outlets for ‘far too often’ failing to seize on ‘clear opportunity’ to call attention to the climate as cause (Hassol et al., 2016). They coach experts to begin communications about such events by clearly defining climate change as cause, “[r]ather than starting with caveats, uncertainties, and what we cannot say,’ as scientists often do”