Chris Mooney has a good article about snow trolling, that is using cold snaps to promote the view that climate change is a hoax or has stopped or whatever the propaganda du jour happens to be. It’s worth reading and it brings up a great question for those of us on the scientifically demonstrated side of the issue. First a snippet from Chris’s piece:
MoJo — In one of them, published in the Journal of Politics in 2012, researchers used individual zip codes to examine the relationship between survey responses about climate change and the local weather just before those responses were given. The result was striking: “For each 3.1 ° Fahrenheit that local temperatures in the past week have risen above normal, Americans become one percentage point more likely to agree that there is ‘solid evidence’ that the earth is getting warmer,” the study found. And vice-versa: Cold weather anomalies were associated with decreased belief in global warming.
So the reason the usual suspects snow troll is because it works. The ethical question I pose is, should we do the same thing during heat waves?
My first reaction is to be purist, and say no, we should not. Not unless a specific heat wave can be duly attributed to climate change beyond the usual roll of the die cause and effect response. Then again, when record highs outnumbered record lows by three to one or more, and when the whole point of global warming is that that ratio is data, part and parcel to the record which demonstrates the planet is warming, and then you add that this is a Big Freakin Deal, it could destabilize global climate to the point that resources wars and weather events kill billions, I’m not so sure.
In terms of science and rationale, there is no evidence for global cooling to blame cold snaps on. There is sure as hell is evidence for global warming, so right there we’d be bullshitting way less if at all. But still, it doesn’t feel quite right does it? It’s the age old ethical dilemma, if one side is bullshitting their ass off and it’s working, should the other side bullshit a little bit?