"Scientists must rein in misleading climate change claims"

Via the New York Times's DotEarth, Vicky Pope, a meteorologist for the British government, has this to say:

...natural variability [of things like melting ice] has been ignored in order to support a particular point of view, with climate change advocates leaping on the acceleration to further their cause and the climate change sceptics now using the slowing down to their own benefit. Neither group is right and all that is achieved is greater confusion among the public.

Which I agree with and I only hope that (as a climate change advocate) I haven't added to. Not that I have incredible influence or anything, but being hypocritical is bad - no matter who's watching.

I can't deny that when I see a news story that seems to support the idea that climate change is already affecting the Earth, my first reaction is to call it that way. But in reality, these things aren't really climate change taking it's toll - but they are good examples of what may come down the line more frequently.

In the long term, there are two types of things that climate change will do.

One, it will tend to push extreme moments more towards the extreme, and increase them in frequency. This will probably be felt by humanity the most, since we care when hurricanes strike other countries, and our global food supply is hurt by droughts anywhere in the world.

Two, it will slowly change the foundations of ecosystems - more acidic oceans, higher temperatures, acceleration of the water cycle. We're pretty well insulated from the direct effects of these - our technology and our omnivore nature have let us be pretty adaptable. But species closer to their habitats, with fewer options open in terms of sources of nutrients, will feel this.

But, like Pope says, not yet.

So apologies if I've confused anyone.

Post-bedtime pre-sleep update:

It's a bad headline, though. Pope argues that not just scientists, but the media should be responsible for reining in the fervor. And in a lot of ways, our media systems are at fault, in all the old familiar ways.

But we can't place all of the blame squarely on the shoulders of the people who talk loudly. Just three-quarters of it, maybe. People have a responsibility to get informed. Period.

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