- Boston reached 72 degrees on Wednesday, breaking the previous record for the date by 9 degrees, as 24 East Coast cities set all-time record highs for the entire month of February.
- Portsmouth, NH broke its record high temperature for the day by an insane 20 degrees and Mount Washington tied its all-time highest winter temperature. Both times Mt. Wasington has hit 48 in Dec/Jan/Feb have come in the last 5 years.
- God bless WHDH’s Jeremy Reiner, the only person working for a Boston TV or radio station who wrote anything about climate change. Reiner points out 4 of 5 of Boston’s warmest February days ever have come in the last two years. Isn’t that crazy? Imagine how much extra energy we’re adding to storms. Whatever extra it may cost for solar, onshore wind & offshore wind energy, isn’t it still a bargain?
- The Boston Globe’s Dave Epstein mentioned global warming in his forecast. But the Globe had three news reporters write two articles on the record high temperatures and not one of those reporters. The Globe did have room for an entire article on “5 ways to get fit fast for spring.” John Henry can print whatever he sees fit, but the “give us your money to stop Trump, liberals” sales pitches ring a little hollow.
Boston has been keeping temperature records for the last 146 years. It never once hit 70 in February in its first 113 years of record keeping. But if forecasters are right about today, we’ll have done it twice this week and three times in the last two years alone. We’re forecast to break today’s 112-year-old record high by an incredible seven degrees.
And not a single journalist in Boston is connecting the dots to global warming, according to my Google News search.
Many journalists still falsely cling to a now-disproven line that no one extreme weather event can be connected to climate change. First, scientists are now directly connecting weather disasters to global warming. Second, there’s plenty we can say right now about today’s weather:
- Global warming is dramatically increasing our odds of record-breaking heat. Over the last year in America, 2.22 high temperature records were broken for every 1 cold record, according to ClimateSignals.org. As recently as the 1950s, it was still close to even at 1.09/1.
- Global warming is loading the dice for extreme weather, worsening heat waves, strengthening storms, deepening droughts, and adding fuel to wildfires.
So what should these stories say? Here’s a line that’s true & relevant for any extreme weather story, any time of year: “Scientists say this kind of record-breaking extreme weather is exactly what we can expect more of as manmade carbon pollution warms our climate.” That’s it! Easy!
One of the problems is that journalists only go to local government scientists as their sources, as the Boston Globe’s climate-silent story shows. Local government scientists have strong incentives to not say anything interesting, never mind controversial. So you get this:Temperatures in February normally average around 29 degrees, [National Weather Service meteorologist Lenore] Correia said, “but it’s really just the wind patterns.”
Oh! Just the wind patterns! Around the entire planet, endlessly getting warmer! Nothing to see here! Please don’t fire me, Trump administration!
Then there’s the head in sand approach. Here’s a list of ways Boston Magazine finds to talk about the record heat while never mentioning climate change or global warming:
- “unseasonable warmth”
- “mild weather”
- “incredibly rare”
If you’re a reporter with national ambitions, why would you talk about global warming? As Media Matters has documented, national TV networks ignore climate science almost completely.
Even when the “cold” returns tomorrow, we’ll still be 10 degrees above our 20th-century normal. As humans, we can enjoy the brief warmth and when the frost returns Thursday night, we’ll barely even notice. But the flowers sprouting too soon won’t be so lucky – as Mike Campbell writes at WBUR, magnolias getting fooled into opening early and then getting immediately killed by frost is becoming an annual tradition. There are also countless tiny critters that have emerged from their winter hiding spots – but if their food hasn’t emerged too, the wasted energy may leave them struggling to make it to spring.
We need to act faster on clean energy, both to curb global warming and to take advantage of the growing clean energy economy as states like New York and New Jersey get more ambitious.
Please take a moment right now to ask your legislator to pass the omnibus clean energy bill.