The claim that July was the hottest month ever is likely no longer true after NOAA revised their temperature data, with updates.
Recently dozens of mainstream media outlets have been regurgitating a claim made in a press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that July 2021 was the hottest month ever recorded. This claim is not supported by data and is likely false.
(Note – I have not verified the claims made in the linked article. The author is a meteorologist who is skeptical of, not denying, aspects of climate change.)
This is how propaganda messaging often works – release false but plausible sounding reports – then update or retract them later. Seldom is the correction ever seen.
Most people only remember the first thing they learn about a topic, even if that information is later found to be false.
Second, research on social media has found that 60% of the time a news item is shared, the person doing the sharing only read the headline and never read the underlying article – which may contain caveats and limitations or alternative explanations and context.
Third, this type of sensationalized news headline is far more likely to be promoted on Facebook (see prior post on that) and seen by far more people due to how FB’s algorithms work. The effect is that Facebook acts as an amplifier of outrage and disinformation.
The comments above are not about climate change but how the media operates. The media loves sensational news headlines – when subsequent information tamps down the sensationalism, the media seldom issues a correct. This results in the public becoming misinformed.
NOTE NOTE NOTE NOTE NOTE NOTE
Any time anyone says anything about climate without toeing the narrative, we are going to be branded by some as heretics and climate Nazis. For that reason, I add this very lengthy disclaimer, copying from a post on my Coldstreams.com blog.
Personal Notes on Climate Realism
We are taking direct actions to reduce our CO2-equivalent emissions. In late 2019, we spent US$18,000 (before credits) to install a solar PV array that reduce’s our home’s annual grid-provided electricity to net zero (actually, we produce about 15% more power per year than we use – the excess goes to the grid to be distributed to others). Our utility generates 56% of its electricity by burning coal and 14% by burning natural gas (about half the emissions of coal). Solar PV directly cuts our portion of those GHG emissions to zero.
We just spent $5,000 to upgrade 40 year old R-19 attic insulation (which has settled such that it is less than that) to R-60 building code standards. For an all electric house, and before the updates, we already used 1/3d the amount of electricity of similar homes. We heat using locally sourced wood pellets and our home is cold every winter day.
While spending an amount similar to a low end electric vehicle, our solar and attic upgrades will have a far greater reduction in CO2 emissions than buying an EV.
Up to half of an EV’s lifetime CO2 emissions occur during its manufacturing and if you live where your electricity to charge your EV is generated by burning coal, your overall CO2 emissions reductions are small or non-existent. While EVs will generally reduce CO2 emissions, for many they are primarily a virtue signaling device (a survey by Volvo found about 75% of purchasers said this, and selected an EV because paradoxically it “helps them to feel better about making less environmentally conscious decisions in “other areas of life.”)
According to the International Energy Agency, the lifetime CO2-equivalent emissions of an EV are about the same as a hybrid car (e.g. Prius) or a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and only slightly less than an internal combustion engine vehicle of a similar size (which is likely a big surprise to those buying EVs and thinking they are “zero emission”).
I drive a Honda Fit averaging about 42 mpg.
Household Carbon Emission Calculations (For me)
There are many online carbon emission calculators to help estimate your own CO2e emissions for the year.
I used this one at the University of California, Berkeley and it estimates our household annual carbon emissions at about 20 tons of CO2e per year, or 62% less than the average American home. If we include that we send about 15% of our excess solar PV power production back to the grid, our carbon emissions footprint is even less.
We are very low because we have solar PV (net zero), fly rarely, drive efficient vehicles, and heat our home with locally sourced wood pellets. Wood heating is viewed as carbon neutral based on the idea that growing wood sucks carbon out of the atmosphere. Burning wood releases carbon to the atmosphere. As new trees grow, they again pull carbon back out of the atmosphere for a net zero contribution.
Obviously there is energy used to harvest and process and transport the pellets. Our local manufacturers used a combination of forestry management “by products” (blown down, cut down, damaged wood in the forest) and left over wood products (saw dust, left over cut wood from milling operations). Because we live in the Pacific Northwest, much of which is heavily forested, we have local manufacturers in our own city and in other cities within 2-3 hours transport time.
I post this at the end of each climate communications post because merely mentioning climate results in being called a climate denier or a Nazi.
Call me a climate realist but don’t call me a denier or a Nazi.