Accuracy in Media

With Hurricane Michael beating down on the Florida panhandle, several media outlets have begun to tie the record-breaking storm to climate change.

“One way we’re each experiencing climate change today is in the form of extreme weather,” writes Axios’ Andrew Freedman in “Cheat sheet: How climate change affects our weather.”

“According to numerous studies, climate change is making some events, like heat waves and heavy downpours, more intense and more likely to occur. These can be deadly, damaging and expensive.”

He says not to think of climate change as causing hurricanes but rather as “an aggravating factor.” Climate change is “like diabetes for the planet,” according to his Axios colleague, because it aggravates pre-existing conditions.

Scientists “have the most confidence when it comes to making a connection between heat waves and global warming,” he writes.

They’re almost as confident in saying heavy downpours and global warming are linked “since a warmer atmosphere carries more water vapor.”

As for hurricanes, “We know that climate change is melting land ice, which is causing sea levels to rise.”

He does not note that ice melts and sea level rise is slowing from the previous 100 years.

Wildfires “have increased in recent decades” because of hotter temperatures drying out the forests and firefighters extinguishing the blazes keeps some forests from being destroyed.

The Guardian blamed the storm on Gov. Rick Scott’s support for Trump’s environmental policies. It quoted, without question, the president of the Florida branch of the Sierra Club, “which links rising sea temperatures to an increase in the frequency and ferocity of major hurricanes.”

Scott allegedly made the seas warmer by supporting Trump’s decision to “unilaterally withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, [banning] the use of the phrases ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’ from state documents, websites and office discussions and approved Florida’s so-called ‘anti-science law,’ which critics say was aimed at allowing legal challenges to the teaching of the realities of climate change and global warming in the state’s classrooms.”

Scott failed to increase power generation from renewables above the 1 percent currently provided, has not moved the state toward electric vehicles and electrification of Florida’s transit system, and he has built roads, which promote sprawl and pollution.

But a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change avoids any of these claims of climate chanage causing hurricanes to be more frequent or more severe.

As the Daily Caller’s Michael Bastach reported, the new report says “The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s newly released climate report, once again, found little to no evidence global warming caused many types of extreme weather events to increase.

The report shows that there is only low confidence regarding changes in global tropical cyclone numbers under global warming over the last four decades and cited “a decreasing trend in the global number of tropical cyclones and/or the globally accumulated cyclonic energy.”

As for the droughts reportedly causing wildfires in the western U.S., “the IPCC admits there is ‘low confidence in the sight of drought trends since 1950 at global scale’” and that “there are ‘likely to be trends in some regions of the world,’ including increasing droughts in the Mediterranean and decreasing droughts in parts of North America.”

And as for sea level rise, the rate has slowed from eight inches over the last 140 years to about 4 inches per century now.

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