Monday, April 01, 2019

Extreme weather news may not change climate change skeptics’ minds

The article below treats it as a puzzle that recent weather events do not have everyone believing in global warming.  It's not exactly a mystery. Even Warmist reporting often admits that we have had bad events before and that there is no way to tie weather events to global warming.  The IPCC itself says that.  It's just self-deluded fanatics writing below.  I reproduce only the first part

The year 2018 brought particularly devastating natural disasters, including hurricanes, droughts, floods and fires – just the kinds of extreme weather events scientists predict will be exacerbated by climate change.

Amid this destruction, some people see an opportunity to finally quash climate change skepticism. After all, it seems hard to deny the realities of climate change – and object to policies fighting it – while its effects visibly wreck communities, maybe even your own.

News outlets have hesitated to connect natural disasters and climate change, though these connections are increasing, thanks to calls from experts combined with more precise data about the effects of climate change. Media voices like The Guardian advocate for more coverage of the weather events “when people can see and feel climate change.” Harvard’s Nieman Foundation dubbed 2019 “The Year of the Climate Reporter.” Even conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh worried that media predictions about Hurricane Florence were attempts to “heighten belief in climate change.”

But a recent study from Ohio State University communications scholars found that news stories connecting climate change to natural disasters actually backfire among skeptics. As someone who also studies scientific communication, I find these results fascinating. It’s easy to assume that presenting factual information will automatically change people’s minds, but messages can have complex, frustrating persuasive effects.

Investigating how skeptics hear the news

Social scientists have an unclear understanding of how climate change news affects public opinion, as not enough research has specifically explored that question. To explore the question, researchers from Ohio State recruited 1,504 volunteers. They divided them into groups who read news stories about natural disasters – fires, hurricanes or blizzards – that either emphasized or omitted the role of climate change.

Cleverly, the researchers recruited participants from geographic areas most likely to experience the disasters they read about; for instance, participants in hurricane-prone areas read the news articles about hurricanes. Further, the researchers ran the study in fall 2017, during hurricane and wildfire season, when these sorts of disasters are presumably top of mind.

After reading, participants answered 11 questions meant to measure their resistance to the article, including “Sometimes I wanted to ‘argue back’ against what I read” and “I found myself looking for flaws in the way information was presented.”

It turned out that climate change skeptics – whether politically conservative or liberal – showed more resistance to the stories that mentioned climate change. Climate change themes also made skeptics more likely to downplay the severity of the disasters. At the same time, the same articles made people who accept climate change perceive the hazards as more severe.

The study findings suggest that reporting the relationship between climate change and hazardous weather may actually increase the skepticism of skeptics, even in the face of blatant contrary evidence. Psychologists call this the boomerang effect, because the message ultimately sends people in the opposite direction.


Sea Rise - Oct. 6, 1871 New York Daily Tribune

Schumer: ‘The Terrible Kinds of Disaster--Flooding, Tornadoes, and Wildfires--We Have Had Will Continue’

Chuckie is right.  Extreme weather events will certainly continue.  America has always had them and always will

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) warned on the Senate floor on Wednesday after the chamber voted on the Green New Deal that manmade climate change was real and that “flooding, tornadoes, and wildfires” would continue.

“Temperatures will still go up. The oceans will still rise,” Schumer said. “The terrible kinds of disaster--flooding, tornadoes, and wildfires--that we have had will continue.”

Earlier in the day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a motion to bring Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal up for a vote, which would require getting 60 senators to agree to cloture. Fifty-seven members—including 54 Republicans and 3 Democrats—voted to block the vote on the Green New Deal.

Rather than vote in favor of having a vote on the Green New Deal, 43 members—all Democrats—voted “present.”

Schumer then gave a speech saying that “McConnell’s stunt” had “boomeranged on him.” He also applauded McConnell for telling reporters later that he believed that manmade climate change was in fact taking place.

Here is an excerpt of what Schumer said:

“McConnell's stunt, again, boomeranged on him and his colleagues, and they finally had to discuss this issue rather than do what they have liked to do for the last 5 years and sweep it under the rug.

Yesterday, the day before, today, and continuing in the future, we ask our Republican colleagues three simple questions to which they owe an answer to their constituents. First, do you believe climate change is real? Second, do you believe climate change is caused by human activity? And third, do you believe Congress has to act immediately to deal with this problem?

We are finally getting some answers, thanks to McConnell's trick that he eventually played on himself. No less than Leader McConnell was asked by the press yesterday afternoon at his Ohio Clock press camp if he believes in climate change, and he said he believes it is real and he believes it is caused by human activity. Well, there is one more step if you believe all that: What is your answer--not what you are against but what you are for?

I want to commend Senators Roberts, Alexander, and Murkowski. They came to the floor and stated unequivocally and clearly that climate change is real and caused by humans. Make no mistake, in this glacial atmosphere controlled by the Republicans, when it comes to climate change, this is real progress, but, of course, it is not close to enough.

As to the third question, Leader McConnell offered no solution. All we got was a sham vote that he voted against. So I ask Leader McConnell: What is your plan? Some Republicans now seem to admit the challenges of climate change. OK, that is good. Now, what is your solution?

Turning the Senate floor into a campaign ad studio is not a solution to climate change, nor is it very effective even for their own purposes. Several Senators seemed to suggest that this problem can simply be solved by funding for more research. I support funding for research. It should be part of any climate plan. Yet I say to my friends--particularly, those from coal States--that is not going to solve the problem. Dealing with coal sequestration and coal technology will, at best, solve 1 percent of the problem. So I say to my friends:

What about the other 99 percent, because 1 percent isn't enough? Temperatures will still go up. The oceans will still rise. The terrible kinds of disaster--flooding, tornadoes, and wildfires--that we have had will continue. To simply say that you are doing some research into how to deal with coal is not close to solving the problem. …

I am glad that finally, though--this is the good news here--some of my colleagues are starting to see the light and admit that it is real and admit that it is caused by human activity. Now, they need to put their money where their mouth is and work with us to take action that matches the scale of the problem.


Democrats Taking a Nonsensical Approach to Climate Change

They don't act as if they believe in it
Imagine there’s a movie about a meteor heading toward earth. It will be here in 12 years. Following Hollywood convention, once you got past the part where the maverick scientist or precocious kid discovering it struggles to convince the world about the threat, you’d expect the president or the military to leap into action.

Congress is usually left out of such plots, but it’s not a stretch to imagine that Congress would race to authorize a plan to send astronauts into space to prevent Armageddon or a planetary deep impact. (If you don’t believe me, I refer you to the movies “Armageddon” and “Deep Impact.”)

The initial rollout of the Green New Deal, a sweeping proposal to overhaul the U.S. economy and, taken seriously, society itself, was supposed to follow a script like this. The United Nations opened the bidding by announcing last year that we had 12 years to keep the pace of climate change from accelerating too fast to contain the damage. Like a high school game of telephone, this quickly became a blanket statement that we have “12 years to save the planet.”

Climate change is a real concern, but if we did absolutely nothing to stop it, the planet would still be here in a dozen years. So would the human race and many other living things. In fact, if America did virtually everything the Green New Dealers propose, global emissions of greenhouse gases wouldn’t change that much unless China, India, Russia and all the African nations followed suit.

There are people who nonetheless believe that climate change is a world-threatening calamity and that exaggeration is a necessary tool to galvanize public opinion. If you Google the phrase “12 years to save the planet,” you’ll find people who think it’s literally true.

The problem is that we’ve heard these things before. In 1989, a U.N. official predicted “entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.” In 2008, Al Gore warned that the northern polar ice cap could be gone in five years.

Melting polar ice is something to worry about, but it’s not gone.

The reasons this is a political problem for climate-change warriors should be obvious. First, they are their own worst enemy when it comes to maintaining credibility. By working on the theory that they have to scare the bejeebus out of the public, they made it easy for people to dismiss them when their Chicken Little prophecies didn’t materialize.

Another problem, which compounds the first, is that they get greedy. Working on the premise that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, progressives have a long record of trying to throw other items on their wish list into the anti-climate change shopping cart. The Green New Deal, as presented by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, includes high-quality health care for everyone, guaranteed jobs, paid vacations, a living wage and retirement security.

Indeed, it’s worth remembering that environmentalists targeted the fossil fuel industry for early retirement long before concerns about global warming were on the agenda. The anti-oil campaign began with the Santa Barbara oil spill in 1969, back when concerns about another ice age were still taken seriously.

You can believe that climate change is a real problem and also be forgiven for thinking progressives are trying to pull a fast one. This is especially so when you consider that proponents of the GND also favor phasing out nuclear power, which could provide vastly more electricity than wind or solar (and more efficiently).

Which gets me back to where I started. Imagine there was a movie about an incoming meteor that could only be stopped with a nuclear warhead, and the heroes insisted that nuclear weapons are just too icky to use, even to save the planet. Audiences would scratch their heads.

They might also think they missed a crucial plot point if the protagonists proposed a sweeping government effort to stop the meteor and then, when given the opportunity to vote for it, voted “present” in protest. That’s similar to what happened this week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brought the Green New Deal to the floor for a vote, and Democrats refused to vote for it. Instead, they harangued McConnell for pulling a stunt.

They were right. It was a stunt. But sometimes it takes a stunt to expose an even bigger one


As Green New Deal ‘Withers,’ NYTimes Runs OpEd: People ‘Actually Like’ It

The Green New Deal plan got zero votes in the Senate this week. Z-E-R-O.  Yet progressives continue to claim people “like” the plan, with the help of the liberal media.

According to USA Today, a handful of Democrats joined the Republicans in voting against it in the procedural vote — killing it “for now.”

In spite of the plan’s failure to even get a single Democratic senator officially on board, The New York Times ran an op-ed that day promoting it.

The op-ed from left-wing Data for Progress co-founder Sean McElwee claimed, “People Actually Like the Green New Deal. The group is one of the progressive activist groups promoting such a plan and put out its own GND blueprint in 2018.

The subhead continued, “Mitch McConnell’s show vote in the Senate on Tuesday rejected the plan, but Republicans may come to regret their mockery.”

McElwee claimed that although his group is “a liberal organization that is supportive of the Green New Deal, we don’t let that cloud our polling.”

He claimed their polls showed that the plan wasn’t “toxic” and touted: “Forty-six percent of likely voters supported the policy and 34 percent opposed it. (The rest were unsure.)”

That isn’t even a majority! And tucked later into his op-ed it became clear that some of the most essential elements of a Green New Deal such as getting rid of all fossil fuels are actually unpopular.

The disliked elements he acknowledged included a “full shift to electric cars” and “phasing out of all power plants.”

It’s ridiculous for a headline to claim “People Actually Like” the plan with caveats like that.

He also whined that Fox News and the “Republican propaganda machine has already reshaped the narrative” against the Green New Deal, but insisted such a plan is “the future of the Democratic Party.”

His group, Data for Progress, is a project of the left-wing Tides Advocacy (formerly The Advocacy Fund).

According to a piece McElwee and long-time progressive activist Mark Egerman co-wrote for Dissent Magazine, they could envision a “point at which” left-wing billionaire George Soros “would be to the right of the center of the Democratic Party.”

They were criticizing the “power of monied interests” to the left and continued, “For now though, the main threat money poses to the left is largely through the Kochs and corporate PACs, rather than the insufficient liberalism of major donors.”



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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