Climate change may not be to blame for weather extremes – new IPCC report

The UN IPCC now says it’s not sure extreme weather events are related to climate change.

In a new report published today, the IPCC is backing away from news media attempts to link hurricanes, tornadoes and floods to climate change.

“The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados… The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses,” reports the IPCC in its Special Report on Extremes.

Climate skeptics have long argued there’s no overall trend in weather extremes, and if it seems like there is it’s only because live TV broadcasts and an explosion of cellphone cameras and social media have made filming natural disasters much easier, making it appear as if things are getting worse.

Today’s report echoes some of what InvestigateDaily revealed last week – that the news media are largely focusing on climate change stories that, in truth, they don’t really understand, and which end up spreading misinformation.

From the “never let the facts get in the way of a good story” department, Australia’s ABC reports climate change lobby groups are trying to hide the decline in IPCC confidence about extreme weather.

“In a bid to warn the public against the dangers the Global Campaign for Climate Action has emailed hundreds of its support groups warning them to put aside the cautious language in the intergovernmental report and warn that climate change poses a greater threat than fires or earthquakes,” reported the ABC.

“The Global Campaign for Climate Action is an alliance of 270 green groups set up in 2006 to influence opinions and policy on climate change.

It sent its members an “action pack” setting out how to capitalise on what it calls the “opportunity” of the IPCC report.

The main aim seems to be the battle for hearts and minds.

It includes a talking points for proactive use section which provides advice and suggestions on using social media and what to tweet about the IPCC report.

It also has a reactive section for dealing with criticisms.

It provides sample responses to questions about the IPCC’s uncertainty on the link between some extreme events and climate change.

One suggested answer reads:

EXTRACT FROM GLOBAL CAMPAIGN FOR CLIMATE ACTION INFORMATION SHEET: Where there is low confidence or uncertainty it is a cause for alarm, not comfort. The risks posed by the uncertainties about climate change are far greater that the risks posed by earthquakes and fire.

That last claim is expected to go down badly with families of all those killed in earthquakes and tsunamis around the world last year, having just dealt with anniversaries of real deaths, not “risks posed by uncertainties”.

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