If you think the climate isnât changing, well, I've got some bad news for you. It is.
Of course the climateâs changing. It always does. The problem is on top of that incredibly slow natural variation, the climate is changing due to human influence, and itâs changing fast. Droughts, floods, ice caps melting, fires raging out of control, temperature records broken on a daily basis: This is the new normal.
That hasnât stopped people from denying the change and in fact seems to stoke them like dry air and heat waves stoke wildfires. Rebutting the reality-challenged challenges to reality is a full-time job, but Hank Green makes it look easy. Greenâone half of the Vlog Brothersâclaims he loves simple, powerful ideas.
I believe him. Iâve watched a lot of his videos, and his ability to discuss complex ideas in bite-size pieces is manifest. But he recently put out one which simply slams the door shut on 10 climate change denial arguments, elegantly and with much alacrity.
Nicely done! I laughed out loud when he covered âThe Sunâs getting hotterâ with a simple, exasperated âNo.â The Sun causing global warming is one of the sillier claims of the deniers, because in fact for the past decade the Sun has been less active than usual, but that same decade has been the warmest on Earth. The huge and rapid rise in temperature weâve seen on our planet isnât correlated with solar activity at all.
Yet some people still make this ridiculous claim, along with a legion of others. Thatâs why Iâm glad to see some steam gathering behind the idea of media not giving any air to fact-free opinions. I wrote about the L.A. Times decision to stop printing op-eds from climate change deniers (at least when they twist facts to support their position), and now DeSmogBlog notes that the Sydney Morning Herald is following suit.
Mind you, this is not a free speech issue, nor is it silencing reasonable but dissenting opposition. The point is that youâre allowed your own opinion, but not your own facts. You canât say that warming has paused, or the Arctic ice is rebounding, or whatever is the latest made-up fictoid* used by deniers. If you canât make your case without making stuff up, then you canât make your case.
That sounds quite logical to me. I applaud these venues for the decision, and hope it catches on.
Tip oâ the thermometer to @gateian on Twitter.
*I made that word up on the spot as I wrote this, then decided to see if anyone had thought of it before me. I see Iâm not the first; the Urban Dictionary has it listed, with precisely the meaning with which I use it here. Still, I like it, and I think Iâll continue to use it.