Fact Check By: Craig Jones, Newswise
Climate change applies to any change in the weather. If it rains, it's climate change, if there is a storm, it's climate change. Record snowfall? Climate change. This is the most dishonest campaign in modern history, deliberately distorting science and lying to push an agenda.Claim Publisher and Date: Twitter (Peter Clack among others) on 2021-12-17
A retired journalist questioned the legitimacy of climate change policy by saying that any weather phenomenon can be loosely attributed to climate change. The tweet reads, "Climate change applies to any change in the weather. If it rains, it's climate change, if there is a storm, it's climate change. Record snowfall? Climate change. This is the most dishonest campaign in modern history, deliberately distorting science and lying to push an agenda." We find this claim false. Weather and Climate are two different things. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, "Weather refers to short term atmospheric conditions while climate is the weather of a specific region averaged over a long period of time. Climate change refers to long-term changes."
This is not to say that certain repeated extreme weather patterns cannot be attributed to climate change. Such events like megadroughts and powerful hurricanes could likely be the result of a changing climate. For example, back in March 2020, a panel of hurricane experts reviewed more than 90 research studies on the observed and projected changes in tropical cyclones (tropical storms, hurricanes, and typhoons) for an updated summary of what the science says about the human influence on these devastating storms. Their assessment: climate change is probably increasing the intensity of tropical cyclones.1 According to a report by NOAA, Climate change contributed to some of 2020’s worst weather.2
David Rapp, a professor of learning sciences and psychology at Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy, who recently published a study on false balance and climate change, has this to say in response to tweets like this...
People hold misunderstandings about scientific ideas, like climate change. So inaccurate tweets like this could reflect intentional attempts to misinform, misunderstandings of climate science, or even jokes or layperson co-opting of the idea.