In science, numbers are everything. If you can't put a number on the things you are describing you are just telling stories. So when veteran Warmist journalist Seth Borenstein asked for numbers, he inadvertently exposed the hollowness of the Warmist assertions about global warming being the cause of recent climate extremes in parts of the USA. Background:
Press Conference & Report on Heat Waves and Climate Change
On June 28, 2012, Climate Communication hosted a telephone press conference on the connections between heat waves and climate change. The press conference was accompanied by the release of a new science update from Climate Communication, Heat Waves and Climate Change, a summary of the latest peer-reviewed literature on climate change and the recent increase in temperatures — a contributing factor to wildfires. The report can be read and downloaded on our website.
Moderated by Director Susan Hassol, the press conference featured a panel of scientists who discussed how climate change contributes to the extreme weather events unfolding now, their public health impacts, and how similar risks could multiply in the future. The expert panelists were Dr. Steven Running, Dr. Howard Frumkin, and Dr. Michael Oppenheimer.
Download and listen to the full recording of the press conference
From the transcript:
Seth: Okay, can you hear me? In terms of – let me try and put you more on the spot, Mike and Steve, I know there’s no attribution - you haven’t done attribution studies, but if you ballparked it right now and had to put a percentage number on this, on the percentage that the heat wave, the percentage of blame you can put on anthropogenic climate change, on this current heat wave and on the fires, what percentage would the two of you use? Aren’t you lucky, Howard, this isn’t part of your question?
Dr. Michael Oppenheimer: Come on, I’m not going to answer that. Yes I will answer it, and my answer is: I won’t do it. You know, we have to do these things carefully, because if you don’t, you’re going to end up with bogus information out there. People will start disbelieving because you’ll be more wrong, more often. This is not the kind of thing I want to do off the top of my head. Nor do I think it can be done, you know, convincingly, without really taking - doing careful analysis, so I’ll pass on this one and see if Steve has a different view.
Dr. Steven Running: (Laughter) Well, I already got way too hypothetical in my last answer. Yeah, it’s… it’s probably really dangerous for us to just lob out a number. I - We could certainly lob out some guess, but it wouldn’t be based on the kind of analysis and statistical rigor that we want to put out into the public arena.
Seth Borenstein: Okay let’s make it easier. 50% line…how about 50% line: Is it more than 50%, do you think, or less? Just, you know, on one end. More or less?
Susan Hassol: Seth, most of the scientists I talk to say it’s a contributing factor and that’s what we can say and that it’s really not even really a well-posed question, to ask for a percentage, because it just - what you’re asking really is for a model to determine the chances of this happening without climate change or with climate change and models are not very good at that. And so –
Seth: I understand, I’ve been covering this for 20 years, I understand. I don’t need a lecture, thank you very much. What I’m asking for is when the fingerprint – when the attribution studies are done, two or three years later, it’s already beyond people’s memory. I’m just looking for whether you could say this is - global warming was the biggest factor, more than 50 – most of the factor, you know, either more or less than 50%...
Dr. Michael Oppenheimer: I honestly don’t think you can really put a number right on it. what I honestly think is global warming has in general made this part - that part of the world - warmer and drier than it otherwise would be, and that makes it fertile ground for fire events like the one we’re seeing. So did global warming contribute? Yes. Can I really make any sort of estimate – numerical estimate- about how much? Not really sitting here on a telephone at my desk, and maybe not even if I had six months.