Catastrophe Corner

… meanwhile, in another part of the Graun our old friend Adam Corner – he who broke the story of Lew’s Moon Landing paper to an astonished world, and who now psychologises at Climate Outreach – wants weather forecasts to “tell it like it is” and bring climate change into the picture. As he says:

weather forecasters who guide everything from our clothing choices to our weekend plans seldom – if ever – mention the issue that is increasingly shaping our beloved British weather: climate change.

If I let the weather forecaster on French TV guide my clothing choices I’d be wearing a short little number, décolleté, bright red, designed to show off my curves to advantage in profile. (Well, maybe I am. Who’d know?)

Adam continues:

While the weather can’t always straightforwardly be equated with a changing climate, the impacts of climate change are no longer a hypothetical concern, or a discussion for the future. Climate change is with us now, and is manifesting through rising temperatures, more violent and unpredictable storms, and heavier rainfall.

After claiming that “the impacts of climate change are no longer a hypothetical concern, or a discussion for the future” Corner starts linking:

-“Rising Temperatures” links to an article which claims that droughts, heatwaves, bushfires and rising temperatures are driving ecosystems towards collapse – in Australia.

“Violent and unpredictable storms” links to an article on a cyclone in southern Africa. It starts: “Destructive power of storms likely to increase in future as world warms up.” So it is a discussion for the future, after all.

– And “Heavier rainfall” links to an article on floods and droughts in North America:

…it’s likely that some regions will experience both more drought and more flooding in the future (just not at the same time!)… Observations reveal more intense rainfalls and flooding in some areas. But in other regions there’s more evaporation and drying with increased drought. Some areas experience both.

And some experience neither. Which is more or less what the poor weatherperson is obliged to utter every evening: “Rain here, sunny there, and a bit of both, or possibly neither, elsewhere.”

Corner sounds a note of caution:

The social science of climate communication points to the importance of striking a motivating balance between hope and fear in public messages. In practice, this means not only raising the alarm about the often terrifying consequences of a changing climate, but also providing advice and support on what people can do to save more energy, waste less food, or lobby their MP to prioritise climate change.

…striking a motivating balance between hope and fear in public messages.”And we thought the job of weathermen, journalists, politicians, scientists and everyone else who has a public message to deliver, was to tell the truth, preferably whole and nothing but.

Clearly, our humble weather forecasters can’t do this all on their own. But the inspiring rise of the school strike movement is proof of the frustration and urgency with which young people view the issue that will define their lives, and suggests the era of side lining climate change as something that environmentalists worry about, while the rest of us get on with our lives, may finally be coming to an end.

So let’s give Adam and the Weathermen a hand. Let’s mention climate change everywhere, all the time, in any circumstances. The Guardian does. And so does Adam Corner’s colleague at Climate Outreach George Marshall. George has written a whole book about the embarrassing silences he’s provoked at dinner parties when he mentions climate change. Almost as embarrassing as the sales figures of the Guardian.

But when it comes to attributing this sudden massive surge in climate-related weather, where do we start? Is it attributable to the rise in global mean temperature of 0.5°C over the past half a century, or to the fall in global mean temperature of 0.5°C over the past two years or so? Or a bit of both? Or neither? Should we ask the scientists? (Oh, I forgot. The Science is Settled, and the scientists are out to lunch.)


  1. No different than a Madrasa or Bible School teaching that everything that happens is fulfillment of the favored scripture.


  2. Climate Outreach just got me iolved in a £5 million grant with Cardiff uni and others…. where is that Exxon cheque, must still be lost in the post…



    No different than a Madrasa or Bible School teaching…

    I know nothing about Madrasas but I went to Bible School. It’s worth reading Jordan Peterson’s article on his ban from speaking at Cambridge. I’m an atheist, but I find his underlying message about the importance of cultural heritage, including our religious heritage, intriguing, and maybe much more.

    There’s a tendency to believe that culture began circa 2000 when stuff began to be searchable on the internet. In the early days I was a big user of Gutenberg, which offered thousands of years of out-of-copyright culture free. It’s amazing how many classic texts have been lovingly downloaded a few hundred times, while any old cat video attracts millions of views. And our adversaries who make those climate catastrophe videos announcing the end of the world which are viewed a few hundred times will say the same thing: the world is going to the dogs because no-one cares. Madrasas and Bible schools still attract millions. This needs thinking about.


  4. “Earlier on today apparently a woman rang the BBC and said she had heard that there was a hurricane on the way, Well, if you are watching, don’t worry, there isn’t.”

    “The weather will become very climate changed for a while though as Storm Mann moves across the southern part of the country”.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Maybe weather presenters should tell the whole truth, e.g we are likely to see the highest March temperatures since 1975, or the heaviest September rainfall since 1952 (or whatever the actual facts are) so people realize that these events are just the sort of thing that happen from time to time and not a sign of impending climate breakdown, or anything to be worried about.


  6. Barry Woods:

    Cardiff and Climate Outreach. Nice little earner, some other links here:

    “A £5 million research centre has been part founded (sic) by the UEA to look at addressing climate change.”

    “The University of East Anglia is collaborating on the centre led by Cardiff University with the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST), Manchester and York Universities, and charity Climate Outreach.”

    Interesting Climate Outreach personnel:

    George Marshall is described as co-founder and director of projects, all sounds very charitable. There is a goodly collection of NGO people links and the academic advisory board has Ed Maibach as a member, from George Mason University in the States, a notorious propaganda outfit in itself.

    The CO advisory board also has Linda Steg, an “Environmental Psychologist” from Holland who was an author on the IPCC “12 years to disaster” document, the one feeding the kids strikes. She gained her PhD at the University of Groningen with a thesis entitled “Behavioural change to reduce car use”.

    Can’t wait for the first CAST recommendations on how to socially transform the populace to the New Religion, which will be swallowed wholesale by the politicians. Five million quid is just the start.

    Liked by 2 people

    21 Mar 19 at 11:18 pm

    “Madrasas and Bible schools still attract millions. This needs thinking about.”

    George has been thinking about it big time:

    “Our project with GreenFaith is, we believe, the first to test the same language across several faiths and seek the common ground.

    To approach our task, we conducted a series of structured interviews with climate communicators from each of the faiths. We then extracted a number of existing narratives from faith-based communications materials, speeches, and public statements. We also explored new narratives around climate change based on metaphors and images that are found through the teachings of all the faith traditions, exploring polarities around cleanliness and pollution, sleep and wakefulness, light and dark.

    We took these proposals to focus groups for each of the five faiths (with separate male and female sessions for Muslims).

    Although all faiths incorporate a strong environmental ethos, this is expressed through markedly different language and theology. The Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – believe in a creator God who has entrusted humanity with responsibility to be a caretaker or steward (Muslims prefer the word caliph) for Creation.”


  8. And a little bit more….

    From Climate Outreach Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 March 2018:

    “Our faith work has taken a major step forward with a joint project with longstanding partners Greenfaith to design and test messaging for the world’s five main faiths on communicating lifestyle change around three key areas: transport, 100% renewables and low/non meat diets.

    Climate Outreach also continued to support faith organisations with climate change messaging advisory work, as well as hosting a special event in Oxford with celebrated Christian climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe.”

    What a great mixture, George Marshall and Kate Hayhoe!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Telling weather like it is would be a pleasant and much needed reform.
    But what will the climate catastrophist dogma industry fo if their nonsense is no longer tainting weather reports?


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