Accuracy in Media

Fast Company plays fast and loose with weather and climate damages. Well, fast and loose is one way of describing it – misinformation, even disinformation are the others. They tell us that this past year had extreme levels of climate damage:

“Climate disasters cost the U.S. more than $165 billion in 2022, Including 18 disasters that each caused more than $1 billion in damage, 2022 was the third-most-expensive year on record for climate costs.”

Now, we all know what that means, right? Climate change is causing those $165 billion in costs, which is nonsense.

We also know what happens when someone says that snowfall means that global warming isn’t happening. We’re immediately shouted at that climate and weather are not the same thing. Which is, of course, entirely true. But that’s also true here. Those are the costs of weather, not climate. It has always rained, flooded, and snowed, while forests burn and so on. Even if we are going to suspect that climate change is involved, it is the extra number of these things that is important, not the total amount. There is always some that is just, well, you know, weather.

This isn’t what Fast Company is implying, now, is it? Instead, they’re trying to convince us that the $165 billion is about climate instead of weather.

There’s another error here too. “It was also the third-costliest year, compared to past years adjusted for inflation, due primarily to Hurricane Ian’s widespread damage in Florida. “ No, that’s not right.

The inflation rate they’re using is Consumer Price Index. Which tracks the prices of things we buy in stores. But what is damaged by storms and fires and floods? Well, largely, it’s property. House prices increased by 10.1% in 2022. CPI was up 6.5% in 2022. This mistake is true of all of the past years as well, making the gap much larger. Since it is property that is damaged by the weather, then it needs to be the property inflation rate that is used, not the goods and services rate. It even says this on the government source ( disaster events affected the United States (CPI-adjusted).)

Several scientists wrote about the year’s weather disasters and connections to climate change.

It’s entirely possible that some scientists did so. Pity that Fast Company decided to play fast and loose with the facts – to the point of publishing disinformation.

Fast Company ranks 261 in the list of news and media publishers in the U.S. It has about 7.7 million visits a month. It also specializes in the business of tech – or even the tech of the business world.

So, it’s a pity that Fast Company decides to run such wholly misleading propaganda about the perils of climate change. It is not true that all weather-related damages are part of climate change, so don’t say they are. Well, not if you want to do journalism, which speaks truth to power. This is propaganda at best.

https://www.fastcompany.com/90834205/climate-disasters-cost-the-us-more-than-165-billion-in-2022




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