Dumbing down ‘climate change’ results in confusion

boston snowGood Housekeeping is getting attention for its coverage of climate change. One critic thinks the article, while “short and sweet,” dumbs down a complex issue to the point where it’s misleading.

The magazine article says it’s tempting to dismiss all the talk as hype, but experts say not to fall for misconceptions like “this is all a natural cycle” and “if global warming were an issue, blizzards would be on the wane.”

Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger,” assistant director at the Cato Institute‘s Center for the Study of Science, spoke with OneNewsNow about the article.

“I don’t have an issue with the topic coming up in these places,” he offered. “Sometimes, though, there’s a tendency to sort of dumb down the science, making it too simple for the readership. That’s what I think is going on here. The Good Housekeeping piece is sort of short and sweet, but it’s inaccurate and misleading at the same time.”

Knappenberger explains climate change is a complex issue. “There are portions of it that are related to human activity, such as burning fossil fuels that produce the power behind our modern economy ‚Äì and there is also natural element to it,” he says. “The scientific challenge is breaking those things apart and figuring out the relative sizes of each.

“I come down on the side that there is a human impact, but it’s relatively modest and it will [continue to] be going forward.”

On the issue of snowfall, some people have been quoted over the years as saying snow would become a thing of the past due to “global warming.” Others have pointed to recent snowfall in places like Buffalo, New York, as evidence of global warming. The idea is that when the earth gets warmer, more water evaporates into the atmosphere. Warmer air holds more water, so when it’s cold, it gets dumped out as snow.

“This is a good example of this issue of environmentalists sort of pushing this issue far past the level of reasonable scientific knowledge,” says Knappenberger. “The year that it doesn’t snow, people blame that on global warming. The year that it does snow, people blame that on global warming.”

The fact of the matter is natural variability is what’s pushing all this stuff,” he adds, “and the influence of human fossil fuel emissions is very teeny tiny ‚Äì and besides that, science isn’t even sure what direction that’s acting.”

Over the long term, Knappenberger says a warmer climate will produce fewer blizzards in those areas that are inhabited.