I was amused to watch a climatologist explaining himself on the news today. The thrust of what he was saying was: weather systems are very complex and it's supremely arrogant of us to think we can predict how they will behave. When I tuned in I thought he was talking about global warming. It turns out he was explaining why we're so unprepared for the current cold snap. "Climate chaos" is now the official phrase, I think. This is obviously because "global warming" has become a bit counter intuitive.
Unlike most of my colleagues in the media I haven't made my mind up on global warming yet, let alone whether or not we're the ones causing it. It frustrates me that the issue is now so politicised that it's difficult to say you don't know what's going on without being cast as a 'flat earth,' 'denier,' who hates baby polar bears.
Here's a quote from Discover magazine which perfectly sums up the problem:
"It’s bitter cold this week, even for January. Beijing had its coldest morning in almost 40 years and its biggest snowfall since 1951. Britain is suffering through its longest cold snap since 1981 [AP]. The southern United States is in the grip of freezing weather; the Midwest has seen dangerously cold wind chills far below zero. Trying to stave off the inevitable “where’s your global warming now” chants, the AP and other news sources rushed to run pieces trying to get across—one more time—that weather isn’t climate". FULL ARTICLE HERE.
Firstly the tone of the above paragraph is patronising. Secondly the point it is implicitly making is that news agencies are fighting a propaganda war. And then the final four words are, of course, absolutely right. This leaves me, someone who doesn't know, in the position I've been in for some time. As usual it turns out I don't agree with anyone.
I can either side with people who see it as their solemn moral duty to programme the 'stupid' general public into understanding that they're causing the bad weather or I can jump onto the bandwagon of those who either deliberately or ignorantly mix up the facts to make a point.
People used to think that if they behaved badly the Gods would punish them with bad weather. Sacrifices needed to be made to appease them. The ideas behind man made global warming do seem to be inherent in human nature. On the opposing side, why would 90% of the scientific community lie to us about something like this? They can't all have been bought off by grants and funding, can they? That said, most of these environmentalists are really annoying and smug, I don't want to be one of them. I'd hate that as much as I would discovering I'd accidentally turned into a 4x4 driver who wants to put the 'great' back into Britain.
You can see why I was so drawn in by the bloke on the telly who seemed to be parroting my almost unheard of line that: weather systems are very complex and it's supremely arrogant of us to think we can predict how they will behave.