Earlier this week, the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson wrote a great column connecting the recent heat waves to climate change. As one of the very few mainstream journalists willing to do so, he deserves kudos, or props, or big-ups, or whatever kids are calling them these days.
However, much like the rest of the tiny handful of journalists making the connection, he felt the need to include this disclaimer:
This is the point in the column where I’m obliged to insert the disclaimer that no one event -- no heat wave, no hurricane, no outbreak of tornadoes or freakish storms -- can be definitively blamed on climate change. Any one data point can be an anomaly; any cluster of data points can be mere noise.
This kind of thing drives my friend Brad Johnson crazy. In an email, he says it's "just false, and not useful."
This gives me an excuse to make a point about media coverage of this stuff. In a nutshell, I agree with Brad that it's not useful -- not useful for climate advocacy purposes, but also not useful as journalism -- but disagree that it's false.