Accuracy in Media

Wired publishes a piece of activist propaganda while leaving us with the impression that this is a reasonable projection and good science. It’s neither of those two, it’s both bad science and hysteria about the immediate future. That makes it great activist propaganda and appalling journalism.

The claim is that we’re currently in a La Niña period and we’re about to be in an El Niño. At which point all the climate change that has been delayed by La Niña will descend upon us and then society will be broiled.

“Global heating will set the stage for extreme weather everywhere in 2023. The consequences are likely to be cataclysmic.”

The Niña/Niño part is true. The rest is nonsense. The Niña/Niño part is about the distribution of warm water in the Pacific. Sometimes the winds blow one way and push that warm surface water one way – other times another. This then affects where storms and rainfall happen around the Pacific and sometimes further afield. All of that’s true.

But it has absolutely nothing to do with global heating. Because Niña/Niño doesn’t change global heat. It’s not, in short, climate change.

“The scary thing is that this La Niña will end and eventually transition into the better-known El Niño, which sees the waters of the equatorial Pacific becoming much warmer. When it does, the extreme weather that has rampaged across our planet in 2021 and 2022 will pale into insignificance.”

That’s just not good science. The effect changes the distribution of heat and weather, not the amount of it. This claim that now we’re about to get it good and hard is simply nonsense.

So why publish it? Well, it’s a good bit of activist propaganda, of course. And it seemingly comes from a useful source. Bill McGuire is a retired scientist after all. But he’s a vulcanologist. Volcanos are important, that’s real science and they do have an effect on climate change. But this isn’t his area of expertise at all. He’s also a supporter of Extinction Rebellion – those people gluing themselves to highways to demand immediate change right now in the UK. These are hopeless extremists, well over the horizon away from anything reasonable. And we might well say the same of those who support them.

Wired ranks at No. 36 in computers and tech outlets in the United States. It gains 21.5 million visits a month from this position. It’s a part of Conde Nast so, clearly, can do better than this if it chooses to.

The problem here is not that they’ve published something about climate change. It’s that they’ve published something so clearly wrong from an activist. They’ve given a platform to propaganda. While leaving us all with the impression that this is a realistic view from a scientist.

Why would they do that? Well, that’s up to them of course but we shouldn’t have to put up with it.




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