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SCALLAN: RTÉ needs to get its story straight on climate change

Anyone who knows RTÉ could have seen their take on the summer heatwave coming from a mile away. We all know their MO quite well at this stage.

As they reported over the weekend:

“The heat is on: increasing heatwaves in a warming climate”

In fact, they decided to interview one French gentleman in the Phoenix Park about how “concerning” the nice weather was due to climate change. And I’m absolutely sure someone with that view was found totally at random, and not cherry picked to reinforce the point at all.

Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to predict that the same State broadcaster which is partnered with a climate change activism group would be very eager to link a hot July to some broader global crisis.

After all, this is the same site which issued a grovelling formal apology for not linking hot weather last year to climate change. And this is despite the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) saying that determining whether any “specific, single extreme weather event” is due to climate change is “difficult, if not impossible.”

RTÉ apologises for climate change reporting

Now, far be it from me to deny natural climate change. Basically everyone accepts that the climate changes over time – this is not controversial.

For example, if you’re reading this in Ireland, 130,000 odd years ago the place you’re sitting would have been covered by a glacier or ice sheet around a kilometre thick. Today, it’s obviously not. Therefore, over the millennia, the climate in Ireland has clearly changed.

Basically nobody disputes this – it’s self-evident and a matter of common sense. The climate has always changed and will no doubt continue to do so.

But the real question here is, is there anything that is not the result of climate change in RTÉ’s estimation? Because at a certain point it just starts to become silly in the extreme. They lash out the climate label on anything and everything that happens like confetti.

According to the State broadcaster, climate change causes hot weather, cold weather, snow, wind, droughts, rain, flooding, cyclones, earthquakes, wildfires, tsunamis, and every other possible weather permutation.

The mad yokes even tried to claim that Covid-19 was caused by climate change. I kid you not.

Embarrassingly, last year they brought on a climatology expert to ask him if Storm Barra was caused by climate change – only for him to smack them clean in the face with a freshly baked pie by saying there was no evidence of a link at all. Ouch.

Expert tells RTÉ “no evidence” storms caused by climate change


Now, RTÉ would likely defend this view by saying that the climate of an entire planet like the earth is a complex system, and that the impact of increasing temperatures is not easy to predict. And to a certain extent that’s not unreasonable.

But the point here is this, and simply this: if all of these things prove climate change, it sort of weakens the credibility of the point a smidge, no?

This year, the summer is especially hot, and RTÉ says it’s due to climate change. But if it was especially cold, we know they would say that was climate change as well.

If there was flooding, they’d say that confirmed their view. But if there was drought, that would be proof as well.

If there’s a wildfire happening anywhere in the world, that confirms their theory. If there was hurricane halfway across the planet, that means they’re right. If a tsunami hits somewhere in South East asia, they’re vindicated.

And if everything is calm and mild, then that’s just a glitch to be ignored.

Essentially, RTÉ’s view is, if there’s any weather at all, anywhere on earth, no matter what it is, that proves their point.

Even if we take the claims of the climate lobby at face value, this is obviously a preposterous and unscientific way to approach any theory. At best, being charitable, you could say RTÉ is in sort of a “Boy Who Cried Wolf” situation, where their non-stop alarmism over years has weakened their case considerably. If you say that absolutely everything that happens is a result of climate change, from losing your car keys, to getting rejected by your crush, you start to look like a load of spoofers.

What’s more, before we all start crying and soiling ourselves in terror, we have to ask: is RTÉ being consistent and following their own standards here? Or are they being hypocritical?

For example, let’s consult an article that RTÉ published just 8 months ago entitled “5 common climate change myths debunked.”

In the article RTÉ “debunks” the idea that one can glean anything noteworthy from one single weather event:

“Climate is a measure of average weather variations over time. One day or one week of snow is therefore not enough to prove that average temperatures are not rising over decades.”

So, taking this to its logical conclusion then, if one can’t disprove climate change from one odd bout of weather, then surely you can’t use odd weather to prove it either? They can’t have it both ways.

In 2020, as RTÉ themselves reported, the summer was absolutely crap. Rainfall was above the summer average everywhere in the country, and the amount of sunshine received was below average in every part too.

Now, if someone in 2020 was to say “The summer was crummy this year – therefore that’s evidence that climate change isn’t real,” RTÉ-types would be the first one’s to say that person was a moron.

“You idiot,” they’d say. “That’s weather. We’re talking about climate. One cold summer proves nothing.”

And yet apparently, one hot summer proves everything. The evidence is only taken as valid if it confirms what they already believe.

It’s not like we’ve never seen summers like this. The 2003 heatwave in Europe, 20 odd years ago, saw regions in places like France hitting temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius. Yet notably, going back through the RTÉ archives I found no mention of “climate change” in reporting on it though – back then it was just considered an unusually hot year.

That’s probably why, in 1987 into the late 90s, France had the program “40° à l’ombre” – “40 degrees in the shade” – where presenters went around different seaside resorts in Europe. They apparently didn’t think of that temperature as unheard of or bizarre.

Going back even further, in 1902 across Ireland and Britain, there was a heatwave which saw temperatures reaching 36 degrees Celsius – in September.

If RTÉ had been around back then, one can only imagine their reaction. And yet here the world is, more than 120 years later, still ticking along quite comfortably.

Whatever kernel of a point the climate crowd might have, all RTÉ’s hysterical hyperventilating achieves is giving people terror exhaustion and trying to make every family day at the beach with ice cream seem like a world-ending nightmare. It’s tedious, and probably partly explains why licence fee non-payment is as common as it is.


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