Earlier this week, President Obama claimed in the Vox interview that the media ‘overstated’ the risk of terrorism as compared to things like global warming. The White House was then forced to clean that up a bit with this statement from Josh Earnest, saying, more people were “affected” by issues of climate change, and then he hastily adds “or disease”. Note the squishiness of the weasel words such as “affected”.
Let’s start with it wouldn’t matter if the claim about climate change were true, that would not be a reason to disregard terrorism, or claim that the threat was being ‘overstated’ at the same time an American is being killed in the hand of ISIS. “Let’s ignore the robbery over on Main Street, because there are two robberies on Miller Street”.
But let’s look at the argument about ‘climate change’. Slate further clarifies where the White House and Obama are trying to go:
Which leads me to two points, the first of which the New Republic’s Rebecca Leber makes for me—the numbers back up Obama’s general take. A 2012 DARA International report, commissioned by 20 governments, estimated that climate change causes an average of 400,000 deaths each year—a total that could grow to more than 600,000 by 2030. “Inaction on climate change,” the report concludes, “can be considered a leading global cause of death.” Global warming’s reach grows exponentially larger when you consider more than just fatalities. According to DARA, “250 million people face the pressures of sea-level rise; 30 million people are affected by more extreme weather, especially flooding; 25 million people are affected by permafrost thawing; and 5 million people are pressured by desertification.”
What an astounding claim. 400,000 killed every year because of ‘inaction on climate change’, with more to come. ‘Climate change’ in their lexicon grabs anyone affected by weather, drought and now, by extension disease. No evidence of the link between the alleged man-made cause resulting in the change, leading to the death, however. That would be too logical.Just anyone killed by a flood or a hurricane is now automatically ‘killed by climate change’.
But even that is not enough, as the squishy language is now to include ‘disease’ as well, again no causal relationship to man-made ‘climate change proved’.
As Slate notes, they realize that talking about polar ice caps melting hasn’t been resonating enough with people (Al Gore false claims notwithstanding), so they are trying, consciously and deliberately, to link ‘climate change’ to people dying:
My second point is that we’ve actually heard a version of this public-health sales pitch from Obama before. During this past summer’s rollout of the EPA’s historic climate initiative, the president and his allies went to great lengths to reframe the climate change debate around the health of our children and the elderly, as opposed to the fate of the polar bears and the melting ice caps that have long served as the de facto mascots of the climate movement.
There’s evidence that was a smart move. A 2012 research report from Yale University’s Project on Climate Change Communication found that placing the conversation within a public-health frame was more likely “to elicit emotional reactions consistent with support for climate change mitigation and adaptation” than a traditional environmental frame, or even one focused on national security. More importantly was whom the health pitch spoke to loudest: Americans who to varying degrees haven’t made up their minds about just how pressing a threat man-made climate change is.
Because it isn’t about the facts, it’s about the emotion, and of course, it’s always about the children….