Extremes

December 29, 2022

I had been working in my office all morning listening to the wind howl outside.  The weather has been so cold lately that I wait until afternoon to walk Zena.  By 2 or 3 pm the temperatures have usually gotten into the 40’sF (4.5’sC).  It warmed up to the 60’sF (16.5C) yesterday and made for a pleasant walk.  Still, with the wind howling all I could imagine was the bitter cold and wicked “feels like” that it must be today.  I finally got up the nerve to check and see if our walk would be possible, especially since Zena has been in my office begging to go out for the last hour.  I braced myself and pulled up the weather app on my phone.  It was 74F (23C) outside, and even with the with our wind advisory, the “feels like” was also 74F (23C).  It seems our extremes are out of whack.

When I looked online, I found some social media users are sharing an Instagram post that claims Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was one of the many people whose plans were disrupted by recent winter weather extremes.  The December 25th post shows what appears to be a screenshot of an article from the Genesius Times with a headline that reads, “Greta Thunberg’s Global Warming Conference cancelled (sic) due to sub-arctic freezing temps.”  Exavier Saskagoochie is listed in the byline as the author.  At the time the post was shared, many parts of the U.S. were reeling from a winter storm that caused blizzard conditions and a dangerous drop in temperatures.  While many users appear to believe the article is authentic, it was published by the Genesius Times, an explicitly satirical news outlet.  The satirical article claims the canceled global warming conference was to be sponsored by the International Global Warming Trust, an organization that does not exist.  The picture of the article’s alleged author originates from a stock image website.  The article was originally published in 2019, then re-uploaded in December.  This was obviously fake news.

The Genesius Times is a satire website founded in 2018 by JSB Morse which delights in poking fun at the left.  Articles use fictional names such as Exavier Saskagoochie, the byline for the climate change satire.  The website does not disclose ownership and funding is derived through advertising and donations.  The text at the top of each page on the website labels it the “most reliable source of fake news on the planet,” while text at the bottom states, “We strive to provide the most up-to-date, accurate fake news on the Internet.”  In general, this is a satire source that would appeal to those on the right or perhaps those on the left with a good sense of humor.  The sources entirely use humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.  These are also clear that they are satire and are not an attempt to deceive the reader.  Apparently, some either fail to read or just do not get it.

THOUGHTS:  This is not the first time climate change skeptics have suggested cold weather proves global warming is not real.  Julio Friedmann, chief scientist at carbon-management firm Carbon Direct, previously said climate change is making the overall climate more volatile, meaning extremes of heat and cold events are both becoming more common.  Gerald Meehl, with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, previously said extreme cold events are being offset by twice as many extreme heat events.  While the Genesius Times may provide humor and satire, the extremes we experience will continue to get worse until the entire planet decides to act.  Act for all.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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