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Category: Facts

Busted: “11 teens die a day from texting and driving”

Busted: “11 teens die a day from texting and driving”

An Internet meme says “11 teens die each day from texting while driving”. This claim, however, is false. In 2017, an average of 6 teens died each day from all vehicle accident causes. Cell phone usage falls within the distracted driving category. According to the government, distracted driving accounts for 9% of all crashes – therefore, cellphone usage is even less than this.

Climate communications: Time Magazine changes headline three times, uses false headline “How Asthma Inhalers are Choking the Planet”

Climate communications: Time Magazine changes headline three times, uses false headline “How Asthma Inhalers are Choking the Planet”

Time Magazine engaged in deliberate, and false, propaganda messaging to influence readers to take action. After contacting the magazine, they did, at least, revise the headline (for the 3rd time). They began with the accurate headline “How Asthma Inhalers are Contributing to Climate Change” but immediately changed it and promoted this rude and 100% false headline: “How Asthma Inhalers are Choking the Planet”.

First, making crude humor of asthmatics “choking” is not funny and is rude and insensitive. Second, it is physically impossible for inhalers to be “choking the planet”. In homes where someone uses an inhaler, annual inhaler usage produces about 1% of the total CO2-equivalent gases emitted by the home and life activities during the course of a year. If all inhalers were eliminated tomorrow, there would be no measurable impact on weather or climate over the next 100 years. A worst case inhaler, using data cited by Time and BMJ, produces about half the CO2-equivalent GHC as does a person breathing and exhaling CO2. Seriously. Just breathing is a bigger threat than using inhalers.

Time eventually changed the headline to the better, but still misleading “How One Commonly Used Asthma Inhaler is Damaging the Planet”. Their fiction story also referenced the wrong gas used as a propellant, cited an exaggerated greenhouse gas effect multiplier from an environmental activist group rather than the more modest IPCC AR5 science-based estimate, and then omitted many article changes from their Corrections List. The text itself continues to climate shame asthmatics with the false “Choking the Planet” claim.

This is an example of garbage journalism and how not to do do climate communications.

Climate communications: “Windfarms kill 10-20 times more than previously thought”

Climate communications: “Windfarms kill 10-20 times more than previously thought”

“Windfarms kill 10-20 times more birds” sounds really scary – until you discover it is less than 1/1000th the number of bird kills caused by cats, crashing into buildings, vehicles and power lines each year. Seems that this item may be advocating against taking steps to reduce CO2-equivalent outputs, but like much propaganda, uses the method of cherry picking to give the target an incomplete picture.