In a world increasingly driven by headlines and 30 second blurbs and/or videos, there is clearly an emerging vanguard of alarmist journalist and/or activists that play it very fast and loose with scientific language and concepts – at complete odds with their overarching narrative that we all should be following “the Science”.
As most of us know, science deals in facts and precise language, and wherever a claim is made there is evidence attached or reference to what will be done to try to prove the claim, trying to ensure maximum transparency and accuracy.
Yet, despite shouting about and referring back to “the Science” in most of their arguments, alarmists of all description generally do everything other than speak in facts and use precise, accurate language.
A perfect case in point is the article about wine regions, referenced below.
Starting with the very common approach of using a presumptive headline that suggests that the writer is about to unfurl an argument or story appealing to alarmism (completely true in this case), this article features multiple comments, phrases and claims with absolutely no accompanying evidence, data, comparisons, references, etc. etc.
You know, the sort of stuff that if Trump or some other conservative politician tried to pull the mainstream media would immediately start labelling as ‘baseless’ or ‘evidence-free’ or ‘misleading’.
Some examples here, here, here and here…
But when an alarmist uses such an approach, relying on anecdotes or circumstantial evidence or “the vibe”, there’s amazingly a complete vacuum of critical analysis and searching for data and evidence to back up the overarching claims – what a surprise!!
As such, statements like “the trends are absolutely clear, according to Dr Greg Jones, a climatologist who specialises in grape production and wines and is himself the owner of a winery, Abacela, in Oregon in the US” just float on through the publication’s fact checking net and sit, proud and unchallenged on the internet for the rest of eternity, with not even a counter-position or reference to anything resembling an actual study or research.
Imagine if a skeptic said something similar, from the opposite side (eg. “the trends are not clear at all, but chaotic and records aren’t long enough to draw an accurate picture”) – do you think that would have been left alone, unchallenged and un-ridiculed?
Such an unbalanced, biased approach may pass through the filters of many readers and, unfortunately, publishers, but at least some of us are watching…
PS: Note the amazing final quote below, where more frequent frosts in spring (ie. colder weather) are evidence of warming, or just an ‘extreme climate’, or something…. just wow…
Climate change: ‘We’re making wine in Norway’
Bjørn remembers the fjord freezing over in winter during his childhood, but he says that never happens now. He’s noticed other changes in the weather over the years.
“I can see when it’s raining, it’s raining more, but when it’s warm, it’s warmer too.”
But while climate change may be providing an opportunity for producers in previously unchartered territory, it’s providing a serious challenge for those in many of the world’s more established wine-making regions.
“I did an analysis of 25 of the top places in the world, growing grapes, looking at their long term historical temperature data,” says Dr Jones “And every single place warmed during their growing season. And during the winters, there were no places that were not warming, there were no places that were cooling.”
“We’ve had three spring frosty periods in the last five years since I’ve been here. And before that, probably they hadn’t had one for 20 or 30 years. So these extreme climatic events seem to be more and more common. And that is what is difficult.”