Mazzuca: Cherry-picking with a purpose
Cherry-picking is defined as the action or practice of choosing and taking only the most beneficial or profitable items, opportunities, etc., from what is available. So, let’s see how this might play out in real-life situations.
You’re at a party and you overhear a good-natured debate about which NFL team is the greatest of all-time. The fellow with the Boston accent argues that it’s the New England Patriots citing the Pats’ phenomenal winning percentage of .781 (125-35 record) over the past 10 years.
However, you’re an NFL fan yourself and realize the Pats have been around for 60 years, and their record since the team’s inception is 514-397-9 (a winning percentage of .564) and that three other teams, the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, all have better all-time winning percentages.
The Bostonian can’t be accused of lying because his statistics were accurate; rather he was “cherry-picking” his information in order to “prove” his point, just as the U.S. Global Change Research Program has done with the media and policymakers.
The U.S. Global Change Research Program publishes the National Climate Assessment annually. In 2018, the NCA comprised 1,487 pages, which was a bit long for the non-scientific community, so instead the non-scientists in the media and congress were provided with selected, i.e. “cherry-picked,” parts of the assessment including its main page, comprising a series of charts and graphs illustrating how a changing climate is affecting the planet.
Each graph indicated an adverse trend in some aspect of climate, i.e. longer heat waves, melting Artic sea ice, increasing numbers of wildfires, rising sea levels, etc. But there was one aspect of the graphs that should have set off alarm bells, especially in the media, but it didn’t.
The heat wave graph began in 1960, the start-point of the melting Arctic sea ice graph was 1979, the wildfires graph had a starting date of 1983, and sea levels were depicted graphically from 1920 forward.
Meanwhile, the National Climate Assessment also contained information about warming spells, heat wave magnitude indices and warmest daytime temperatures, but that information was not given to the media; and even more interestingly, these measurements were taken beginning in 1900 which revealed that the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s were much warmer than the years beginning in 1960, yet the focus was on heat waves from 1960 forward only.
The Arctic sea ice graph was similarly sensationalized; the NCA depicted shrinking sea ice since 1979, but as the International Panel on Climate Change noted in a report to NOAA, man has been mapping sea ice by satellite since the ’60s and the report even specified, “… in 1972-1975 sea ice was significantly less,” so why only show measurements from 1979?
At the same time, the NCA graphs indicated that wildfires have become more numerous and intense since 1983; but had the folks at Global Change Research chosen to use a graph beginning in 1900 we would have seen wildfires have decreased by 80%, over the course of the last 90 years.
And sea levels? Well this metric is especially interesting because while the data shows sea levels rising at an average rate of 2.84 millimeters per year since the 1920s, they’ve risen at an average rate of 2.84 millimeters per year since the American Civil War!
Sea levels have been rising for about 20,000 years when they were roughly 120 meters lower than today. Anthropologist postulate that’s what enabled humans to migrate from Asia to the Americas across the Bering land bridge 20,000 years ago. But when an organization with an agenda limits its graphic representation to coincide with increased CO2 emissions it makes for a much more compelling narrative.
A few years ago, Dr. Ottmar Endenhofer, an International Panel on Climate Change co-chair, stated for the record, “We (the UN-IPCC) redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. … One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.”
I don’t deny the earth’s climate is changing, but this matter is no longer about the environment. As Vladimir Lenin once said, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” And this is precisely what’s going on today — as the left, the media and our schools indoctrinate our children (does Greta Thunberg and her legions of striking students ring a bell?) everything else will begin falling into place.
Quote of the day: “Global warming provides a marvelous excuse for global socialism,” — Margaret Thatcher.
Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, writes biweekly for the Vail Daily. Follow him on his blog at butchmazzuca.com.
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