USA Today pushes climate panic


I recently described the all too often case where extreme computer modeling results feed the media into then feeding a public panic. A cascade of mindless fear. See my https://www.cfact.org/2020/04/27/tale-of-two-panics-covid-climate/.

USA Today has now provided a perfect example of promoting model based panic.

Here is their panicky title: “Unsuitable for ‘human life to flourish’: Up to 3B will live in extreme heat by 2070, study warns

Three billion people will live where humans cannot survive? Seriously? Will they become billions of climate refugees? That is the absurd idea, right?

USA Today is a trusted source for many people, but here they publish pure nonsensical alarmist speculation as accepted fact. Note that the headline does not say “study suggests”. No it is “study warns” as though this nonsense were real and something to act on. Perhaps a ten year lockdown is called for, or even greater green sacrifices.

The article merely mentions in passing that this is just another (hyperbolic) computer result, nowhere even hinting that this is not something even remotely real. There is no hint of scientific caution. No alternative view, no questioning analysis or opinion, nothing. The entire article is written as though this nonsense were somehow an established fact.

They even use a picture of the Sahara desert, which is more dry than hot. Three billion people who are now doing okay are going to find themselves in a new Sahara-like desert, in just 50 years? I think not. This is obviously pure alarmist junk.

But USA Today says it is so. Their prestigious endorsement is the real problem.

The question is how to change how the major news outlets report this stuff? We now have data about children being terrorized by climate change fears. Perhaps suing for an injunction against panic mongering?

There is of course freedom of the press. But there is also the well known limit that one is not allowed to cry “fire” when there is none. This is the law against creating false panics. This law needs to be brought to bear on the rampant climate alarmism, such as this USA Today panic mongering.

This “unsuitable” article exhibits what I call the one word hoax. Will versus might. This fallacy is the essence of AGW.

Then there is the legal issue of intent. Climate alarmist’s clearly intend to scare people, including children. Is intent an issue in an equity case? We are just calling for balance, which in this case means pointing out that this is just a computer speculation, against which there are other computers and opinions.

Mind you I would not rule out a suit for damages due to distress. Absent intent there is still negligence. This is negligent journalism. The virus panic should help make the point. Here scare filled journalism can ruin whole economies.

My favorite legal maxim is you can always sue. One need not win to make the point. I once zeroed a federal agency by suing them, then dropping the suit. The publicity was enough to win.

So maybe all we need is for frightened children to start suing the evergreen press for scaring them. Stranger things have happened.

  • David Wojick, Ph.D. is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy. For origins see http://www.stemed.info/engineer_tackles_confusion.html For over 100 prior articles for CFACT see http://www.cfact.org/author/david-wojick-ph-d/ Available for confidential research and consulting.

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