This, by Johann Hari, is unpleasant tripe:
"Back in 2001, I wondered out loud – and in print – if it would take "an environmental 9/11" to finally break the corporate brake that is holding up all action on global warming in America. Since then, New Orleans has drowned, the South-east has dried up so severely the city of Atlanta is nearly out of water, and the skies over California have been turned red by the worst wildfires since records began.
More than a thousand people have died, and more than $70bn worth of property has been destroyed. Seeing Americans huddled together in refugee camps is something that no longer shocks us on the nightly news. Yet still the political debate in the US remains stuck far short of the drastic cuts in carbon emissions we need now if we are to stop this Weather of Mass Destruction.
The science is clear: these apocalyptic weather-events are unlikely to be freak one-offs. While it's hard to link any single hurricane or vast fire to global warming, Katrina and California's wildfires fit into the wider warming pattern of increasingly freaky weather predicted by climatologists as the world gets warmer."
DK points out that patterns of both rainfall and hurricanes have been pretty good over the last few years. Rainfall was poor last year but that was an exception rather than fitting some rule while hurricanes are actually at a historic low.
So far the pattern of hurricanes has been this:
The number of hurricanes could go up more, it could go up less, it could continue to fall. However, looking at the graph like that it is pretty clear that there is no reason to blame global warming. It would still look like a pretty random process.
However, I don't think that will stop some people claiming it as evidence for global warming. I think they'll present the pattern (not necessarily graphically) as:
They'll probably do this by saying something like: "the number of hurricanes has doubled in the last three years". Worse, someone - probably Dr. Someone - will do this:
The light-grey line is a projection and it pretty quickly leaves the historical range. An economist will be found to turn this into a prediction that the associated costs will be some astronomical portion of world product. A new scare story will have been born. Some lonely voices will point out that the trend described is misleading but they won't be able to make much of a difference.
Maybe I'm being too cynical but when a man can get a Nobel Prize for his documentary the same weak it is judged, in court, to have fatal flaws something has probably gone very wrong with the debate itself. What particularly angers me is that it might well be Johann Hari himself deploying the new 'increase in the number of hurricanes' as part of his rhetorical case. If he can get away with falsehoods now what is to stop him getting away with mere misleading statements in future?
What is even more infuriating is that I can see this coming but there's nothing that can be done about it. All we can do is hope that there are still bloggers around to point out the deceit and that someone is listening to them.