Damaging emissions

A dramatic increase in the number of wild and sometimes accurate stories about global warming is predicted during the coming decade, reaching danger level by at the latest 2025, according to the latest research.

Those living on the edge of knowledge are in most danger of hot-air inundation and would be crazy not to move, government figures reveal.

Low-lying Miami has recently been swamped by an article written by the science editor of The Observer, its local paper, which claims that the city – and south Florida generally – will be “swallowed as sea levels rise”. The problem, it continues, “is that the city is run by climate change deniers”.

I’m sorry, but that is not the problem. It’s not even true.

Almost no-one denies climate change. It is quite obvious that climate change is happening, has happened repeatedly in the past and will continue to happen. What is in dispute is the cause of climate change.

So what is the problem? It is the emotive use of such ludicrous phrases as “climate change denial” – the object being to present those holding such views as ridiculous. But the phrase itself is ridiculous, and those who use it should share the ridicule.

The article in question tells a horrific story of the effect on Miami of sea level rises, and I have no reason to doubt what it says about that. But what is the cause? Carbon emissions? Some think so (many of them with no knowledge at all of the science), and they are the ones the article is aimed at.

Look at the way quotations are twisted to put certain people in a bad light.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, about whom I know next to nothing, is quoted as saying: I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it.”

The next paragraph of the article continues: “ Not surprisingly, Rubio’s insistence that his state is in no danger from climate change has brought him into conflict with local people.”

But Rubio has just been quoted as affirming “these dramatic changes to our climate”. How does that make him a climate change denier, which is how he is described?

The real challenge for Miami – as for many areas in the world – is to combat the effects of climate change. We can argue about the causes, but name-calling and deliberate distortion only put a fence between those who would otherwise work together in an attempt to ensure people’s safety.

We have to stop these damaging journalistic emissions before the effect on the atmosphere is irreversible. Oh, sorry. It already is.