Climate change – fact and fiction

So as the end of last year approached and perhaps with thoughts of the End of Days, Dr Google was on hand to offer the latest reports on the impacts of climate change. In seconds I found I was in a crowd – 335,000,000 to be exact. 373,000 – in 30 seconds. That came as a shock but that’s the impact of war – on this occasion the Infowars raging on google and other search engines about this issue. Here’s an explanation from one website about what’s happening and who is out to discredit the objectivity of science on this matter:

‘Throughout 2017, billionaire-backed climate deniers gamed Google’s ad-placement network to put ads that defied the scientific consensus and sowed doubt at the top of searches for “climate change.” These deniers have deep war-chests thanks to the hydrocarbon barons who’ve invested heavily in denying the scientific consensus on climate change in order to eke out a few more billions before the world burns and they retreat to their luxury bunkers’.

‘In retrospect, it’s easy to see how this could happen. The people promoting the scientific consensus on climate are devoted to making web-pages and other information resources on the looming crisis. The people denying the consensus are devoted to figuring out how Google works and defeating its countermeasures. Because one group is devoted to climate and the other is devoted to tricking Google, even small insights gained by the latter team will translate into huge gains in the search results. (Google has long maintained that people who want to be highly ranked on its pages should focus on “making good sites,” not figuring out Google’s ranking systems)’.

If you searched for the words “climate change” into Google, until earlier this week you could have gotten an unexpected result: ads that call global warming a hoax. “Scientists blast climate alarm,” said slashdot.com, one that appeared at the top of the search results page during a recent search, pointing to a website, DefyCCC, that asserted: “Nothing has been studied better and found more harmless than anthropogenic CO2 release.” Another ad proclaimed: “The Global Warming Hoax — Why the Science Isn’t Settled,” linking to a video containing unsupported assertions, including that there is no correlation between rising levels of greenhouse gases and higher global temperatures. These references were first reported by The New York Times.

Trouble for any climate change deniers are some of those pesky things, facts. Here’s a few from the World Meteorological Organization last year:

Global average temperature for the first ten months of this year was nearly 1°C above the pre-industrial baseline (1850-1900).

Greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide concentrations reached new highs. 

Ocean heat – the highest or second highest on record. Global Mean Sea Level from January to July 2018 was around 2 to 3 mm higher than the same period in 2017.

Tropical Storms – 70 reported by 20th November, compared to the long-term average of 53. Many casualties.

Floods and rainfall: Widespread and often fatal, the same for lingering drought and massive wildfires.

World hunger – climate events had the biggest impact on acute food insecurity and malnutrition in 2017, affecting 59 million people in 24 countries and requiring urgent humanitarian action.

And one last one: A 2016 paper based on a half a dozen independent studies by the authors, concluded that… “the finding of 97% consensus [that humans are causing recent global warming] in published climate research is robust and consistent with other surveys of climate scientists and peer-reviewed studies.”

But the war rages on and the climate continues to change, though ideology doesn’t.

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Paul Smith

Paul is a veteran journalist, non-fiction author and writing mentor. He has also served on boards ranging from TVNZ to UNESCO.