Friday, May 23

Beware! Factoids!

It can be quite astonishing the life that some factoids - things that look like facts, but aren't what they appear and can easily be shown to not reflect the more complex story - continue to survive and thrive.

Current ones circulating wildly include:

Polar Bear numbers are increasing!
This is sometimes more accurately described as Polar Bear numbers in a number of populations are larger now than they were in 1960. Even more accurately, Polar Bear numbers in some populations, which recovered well after we stopped shooting them in an unregulated fashion, now appear to be under stress with climate change considered to be a significant factor. So what appears to be good news for the polar bear is not. So in short -
Polar Bears - cheer up, at least we haven't started shooting you from aeroplanes again!

No climate change since 1998!
Oh dear. Weather is what changes from day to day, month to month. Climate changes over a longer period. In the middle are cycles such as El Nino, which affect global temperatures on a short term period. There was a particularly strong one in 1998, which was significantly the hottest year on record. The years since have all continued to rank among the hottest on record.
Weather and climate are not the same thing!

Not all scientists agree with global warming - look at Bjorn Lomborg!
Anyone with a PhD can call themselves a scientist, it doesn't automatically make us right (hell, if it did, it should be a requirement for standing for election...). Having said that, the vast majority of scientists, and the very, very vast majority of scientists working in areas involving the climate who aren't employed by Exxon, agree that global warming is occurring, and is probably anthropogenic in cause. Including Lomborg - he just disagrees with most what we should do about it.

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