Welcome to August, the annual peak of the “climate IS weather” phase of green propaganda. Every heat wave, every drought, every hurricane proves that the world is melting NOW and if we don’t immediately do whatever Al Gore is currently suggesting we are all going to die!!! Horribly.In the fall green propagandists begin their great annual migration to their winter feeding grounds and divide into two herds. Some greens take the point that climate isn’t weather in months that have ‘r’ in them; cold spells and blizzards are just random variations and should be ignored. Others go for the dialectical viewpoint: unusually cold weather just shows how hot it is getting. (In the southern hemisphere the cycle is reversed; right now, southern greens are explaining record snow in northern New Zealand as either irrelevant noise or ominous proof of ‘global weirding’.)It is all so clownish, stupid and predictable that the babble of conflicting and self-serving claims ultimately reduces green credibility.Noah Diffenbaugh, a climate scientist at Stanford, gets it right in an interview with the Washington Post:
As humans we’re very used to considering very long-term patterns and long-term trends within very noisy series of information about a system, and parsing our conclusions about the long-term patterns and the long-term trends within the context of that noisy series.A couple of real-world examples: If you look at the box score from last night’s baseball game, there’s a lot of risk in concluding which player is the best hitter on the team based on what you find in that one box score. We’re very used to seeing, say, player performance vary from game to game and making conclusions about the most productive player based on a large sample of observations, likewise with the stock market. We know that the stock market varies not only day-to-day, but hour-to-hour and minute-to-minute, and we can watch that variation online almost in real-time….We know that the stock market varies not only day-to-day, but hour-to-hour and minute-to-minute, and we can watch that variation online almost in real-time….There is a lot of risk in drawing conclusions about what the Dow Jones industrial average index value will be 10 years from now based on what happened yesterday.
In other words, don’t jump to conclusions just because it’s hot. It’s always hot in July. The climate discussion is different from weather chat.This is exactly right; you can’t tell what the tide is doing by measuring how far each individual wave gets up the beach.The second thing greens need to get is that the climate discussion is different from the policy discussion. If your policy ideas are unworkable it doesn’t matter who is right about the climate.Weather, climate, policy. Three different realms, three different conversations. Even greens should be smart enough to keep that in mind.