Published on:

Whatever your research, always try to mention climate change. That way lies attention

A scientist does a study of how Arctic seabirds die. It’s not a
bad idea: die they do, but not from the usual diseases and
predators that kill birds in more temperate zones. So what does
kill them?

He pores over thousands of records from birdwatchers in the
Arctic and concludes that weather-related events kill a lot of
them. Fulmars run into cliffs in fog, Murres get buried in
landslides when cliffs collapse. Birds get swept away in
storms. And so on.

Now the scientist has two options. He can say in a paper that a
lot of Arctic birds die due to `factors related to weather’ and
bask in perpetual obscurity. Or he can slip in, just before the
word `weather’, the phrase `climate and’.


He could even add a little speculation that

`If temperatures warm and intense storms
in the Arctic increase, along with otherclimate factors, “we might see mortality
in these birds from these things increase from what they are

Note:if, and,
might. Note too:

Mallory adds that he and his team are not
sounding an alarm bell that climate
is going to kill off all of the seabirds.

Yet suddenly he’s on the front page of the Huffington
Post! `Strange, Random, Arctic Bird Deaths Caused by
Climate Change’ shouts the headline
. No ifs and mights there.
No `not sounding an alarm bell’.

It’s not his fault, of course. None the less, now do you
understand why scientists are tempted to link their work to climate
change whenever possible? Why the incentives — financial and
reputational — to sound alarm bells are so massive?

Here’s a list of just some of the things that have been
`linked to climate change’

Acne, agricultural land increase, Afghan poppies destroyed,
aged deaths, poppies more potent, Africa devastated,  Africa
in conflict, African aid threatened, African summer frost,
aggressive weeds, Air France crash, air pressure changes, 
airport farewells virtual, airport malaria, Agulhas current,
Alaskan towns slowly destroyed, Al Qaeda and Taliban Being Helped,
allergy increase, allergy season longer, alligators in the Thames,
Alps melting, Amazon a desert, American dream end,  amphibians
breeding earlier (or not),  anaphylactic reactions to bee
stings,  ancient forests dramatically changed, animals head
for the hills, animals shrink,  Antarctic grass flourishes,
Antarctic ice grows, Antarctic ice shrinks, Antarctic sea life at
risk,   anxiety treatment, algal blooms, archaeological sites
threatened, Arctic bogs melt, Arctic in bloom, Arctic ice free,
Arctic ice melt faster, Arctic lakes disappear,  Arctic tundra
lost, Arctic warming (not), a rose by any other name smells of
nothing, asteroid strike risk, asthma, Atlantic less salty,
Atlantic more salty,   atmospheric circulation modified,
attack of the killer jellyfish, avalanches reduced, avalanches
increased,  Baghdad snow, Bahrain under water,  bananas
grow, barbarisation, bats decline,  beer and bread prices to
soar, beer better,  beer worse, beetle infestation, bet for
$10,000, big melt faster, billion dollar research projects, billion
homeless, billions face risk, billions of deaths, bird
distributions change, bird loss accelerating, bird strikes, bird
visitors drop, birds confused, birds decline (Wales), birds driven
north, birds face longer migrations, birds return early, birds
shrink(Aus), birds shrink (USA), bittern boom ends, blackbirds stop
singing, blackbirds threatened, Black Hawk down,  blizzards,
blood contaminated, blue mussels return, borders redrawn, 
bluetongue, brain eating amoebae, brains shrink, bridge collapse
(Minneapolis), Britain one big city, Britain
Siberian, Britain’s bananas, British monsoon,  brothels
struggle, brown Ireland, bubonic plague,  Buddhist temple
threatened,  building collapse, building season extension,
bushfires,   butterflies move north, butterflies reeling,
carbon crimes, camel deaths,  cancer deaths in England,
cannibalism,  caterpillar biomass shift, cave paintings
threatened,  childhood insomnia, Cholera, circumcision in
decline, cirrus disappearance, civil unrest, cloud increase, 
coast beauty spots lost, cockroach migration, cod go
south,  coffee threatened, coffee berry borer, coffee berry
disease, cold climate creatures survive, cold spells (Australia),
cold wave (India), cold weather (world), computer models,
conferences, conflict, conflict with Russia,  consumers foot
the bill, coral bleaching, coral fish suffer, coral reefs dying,
coral reefs grow, coral reefs shrink, coral reefs
twilight, cost of trillions, cougar attacks, crabgrass
menace,  cradle of civilisation threatened, creatures move
uphill, crime increase, crocodile sex, crops devastated, crumbling
roads, buildings and sewage systems, curriculum change, 
cyclones (Australia),   danger to kid’s health,  Dartford
Warbler plague,  deadly virus outbreaks, death rate increase
(US), deaths to reach 6 million, Dengue hemorrhagic fever,
depression, desert advance,  desert retreat,  destruction
of the environment,  dig sites threatened,  disasters,
diseases move north, dog disease,  dozen deadly diseases – or
not, drought,   ducks and geese decline, dust bowl in the corn
belt,  earlier pollen season,  Earth axis tilt, Earth
biodiversity crisis, Earth dying, Earth even hotter, Earth light
dimming, Earth lopsided, Earth melting, Earth morbid fever, Earth
on fast track, Earth past point of no return, Earth slowing
down,  Earth spins faster, Earth to explode, earth upside
down,  earthquakes, earthquakes redux, El Niño
intensification, end of the world as we know it, erosion, emerging
infections, encephalitis, English villages lost, equality
threatened, Europe simultaneously baking and
freezing,  eutrophication, evolution accelerating,
expansion of university climate
groups, extinctions (human,
civilisation, koalas,  logic, Inuit, smallest butterfly,
cod,  penguins, pikas, polar bears,   possums, 
walrus,  tigers,  toads, turtles, plants,
ladybirds, rhinoceros, salmon, trout,  wild flowers,
woodlice,  a million species, half of all animal and plant
species, mountain species,  not polar bears, barrier
reef, leaches, salamanders, tropical insects) experts muzzled,
extreme changes to California, fading fall foliage, fainting, 
famine, farmers benefit, farmers go under, farm output
boost, farming soil decline,  fashion disaster, fever,
figurehead sacked, fir cone bonanza, fires fanned in Nepal, fish
bigger, fish catches drop, fish downsize,   fish deaf, fish
get lost, fish head north, fish shrinking,  fish stocks at
risk, fish stocks decline, five million illnesses, flesh eating
disease, flies on Everest,  flood patterns change,
floods,  floods of beaches and cities, flood of
migrants, flood preparation for crisis, flora dispersed, Florida
economic decline, flowers in peril, fog increase in San Francisco,
fog decrease in San Francisco, food poisoning, food prices
rise, food prices soar, food security threat (SA), football
team migration,   forest decline, forest expansion,
foundations threatened, frog with extra heads, frosts, frostbite,
frost damage increased,   fungi fruitful, fungi invasion,
games change, Garden of Eden wilts, geese decline in Hampshire,
genetic changes, genetic diversity decline, gene pools slashed,
geysers imperiled, giant icebergs (Australia), giant oysters
invade,  giant pythons invade, giant squid migrate,
gingerbread houses collapse, glacial earthquakes, glacial retreat,
  glacier grows (California), glaciers on Snowden, glacier
wrapped, global cooling,  glowing clouds,  golf course to
drown, golf Masters wrecked, grain output drop (China),
grandstanding, grasslands wetter, gravity shift,  Great
Barrier Reef 95% dead, Great Lakes drop,  great tits cope,
greening of the North,  Grey whales lose weight, Gulf Stream
failure, habitat loss, haggis threatened, Hantavirus pulmonary
syndrome,    harvest increase, harvest shrinkage, hay
fever epidemic, health affected, health of children harmed, health
risks, health risks (even more), heart disease, heart attacks and
strokes (Australia), heat waves, hedgehogs bald, hibernation
affected,   hibernation ends too soon, hibernation ends
too late,  homeless 50 million, hornets,  human
development faces unprecedented reversal, human fertility reduced,
human health risk, human race oblivion, hurricanes,  hurricane
reduction, hurricanes fewer, hurricanes more intense, hurricanes
not,  hydropower problems, hyperthermia deaths, ice age, ice
sheet growth, ice sheet shrinkage, icebergs,  illness and
death, inclement weather, India drowning, infrastructure failure
(Canada),  indigestion, industry threatened, infectious
diseases,  inflation in China, insect explosion, insect
invasion, insurance premium rises, Inuit displacement, Inuit
poisoned, Inuit suing, invasion of alien worms, invasion of
Antarctic aliens,  invasion of Asian carp, invasion of
cats,  invasion of crabgrass, invasion of herons, invasion of
jellyfish, invasion of king crabs, invasion of
midges, invasion of slugs,  island disappears, islands
sinking, Italy robbed of pasta, itchier poison ivy, jellyfish
explosion, jet stream drifts north, jets fall from sky,  Kew
Gardens taxed, kidney stones, killer cornflakes, killing us, kitten
boom, koalas under threat, krill decline, lake and stream
productivity decline, lake empties, lake shrinking and growing,
landslides, landslides of ice at 140 mph, large trees decline,
lawsuits increase, lawsuit successful,  lawyers’ income
increased (surprise surprise!),  lawyers want more,
legionnaires’ surge,  lives lost, lives saved, Loch Ness
monster dead, locust plagues suppressed, lush growth in rain
forests,  Lyme disease,  Malaria,   
malnutrition, mammoth dung melt, mango harvest fails, Maple
production advanced, Maple syrup shortage, marine diseases, marine
food chain decimated, Meaching (end of the world), Meat eating to
stop, Mediterranean rises, megacryometeors, Melanoma, Melanoma
decline, mental illness, methane emissions from plants, methane
burps, methane runaway, melting permafrost, Middle Kingdom
convulses, migration,  migratory birds huge losses, microbes
to decompose soil carbon more rapidly, minorities hit, monkeys at
risk,  monkeys on the move, Mont Blanc grows,
imperiled, moose dying, more bad air days,   more
research needed, mortality increased, mosquitoes adapting,
mountain (Everest) shrinking,  mountaineers fears, 
mountains break up, mountains green and flowering,   mountains
taller, mortality lower, murder rate increase,  musk ox
decline, Myanmar cyclone, narwhals at risk, National Parks damaged,
National security implications, native wildlife overwhelmed,
natural disasters  quadruple, new islands, next ice age, NFL
threatened, Nile delta damaged, noctilucent clouds, no effect in
India, Northwest Passage opened, nuclear plants
bloom, oaks dying,  oaks move north,  oblivion,
ocean acidification, ocean acidification faster, ocean dead spots,
ocean dead zones unleashed, ocean deserts expand, ocean waves speed
up,  Olympic Games to end, opera house to be destroyed,
outdoor hockey threatened,   oxygen depletion zones,
ozone repair slowed, ozone rise,  penguin chicks frozen,
penguin chicks smaller, penguins replaced by jellyfish, personal
carbon rationing, pest outbreaks, pests
increase, phenology shifts,  pines decline, pirate
population decrease, plankton blooms,   plankton wiped out,
plants lose protein, plants march north, plants move
uphill,  polar bears aggressive, polar bears
cannibalistic, polar bears deaf,  polar bears drowning,  
polar tours scrapped, popcorn rise, porpoise astray, profits
collapse, psychiatric illness,   puffin
pushes poor women into prostitution, rabid bats,
 radars taken out, railroad tracks deformed, rainfall
increase, rape wave, refugees,  reindeer endangered, reindeer
larger, release of ancient frozen viruses, resorts disappear, rice
threatened, rice yields crash,  rift on Capitol Hill, rioting
and nuclear war,   river flow impacted, rivers raised,
road accidents, roads wear out, robins rampant,   rocky
peaks crack apart, roof of the world a desert, rooftop bars, Ross
river disease,  ruins ruined,  Russia under pressure,
salinity reduction, salinity increase,  Salmonella, 
salmon stronger, satellites accelerate, school closures, sea level
rise, sea level rise faster, seals mating more, seismic activity,
sewer bills rise, severe thunderstorms, sex change, sexual
promiscuity, shark attacks, sharks booming, sharks moving north,
sheep change colour, sheep shrink, shop closures, short-nosed dogs
endangered,  shrimp sex problems, shrinking ponds, shrinking
sheep,  shrinking shrine, Sidney Opera House wiped out, ski
resorts threatened, slow death,  smaller brains, smelt down,
smog, snowfall decrease, snowfall increase, snowfall heavy, 
snow thicker,  soaring food prices, societal collapse,
soil change, songbirds change eating habits, sour grapes, space
problem, spectacular orchids, spiders getting bigger, spiders
invade Scotland,  squid larger, squid population explosion,
squid tamed, squirrels reproduce earlier,  stingray invasion,
storms wetter,  stratospheric cooling, street crime to
increase, subsidence, suicide, swordfish in the Baltic,
Tabasco tragedy, taxes, tectonic plate movement,  
terrorists (India), thatched cottages at risk, threat to peace,
ticks move northward (Sweden), tides rise, tigers eat people,
tomatoes rot, tornado outbreak, tourism increase, toxic
seaweed,  trade barriers, trade winds weakened, traffic
jams,  transportation threatened, tree foliage increase (UK),
  tree growth slowed, tree growth faster, trees in trouble,
trees less colourful,  trees more colourful, trees lush, trees
on Antarctica, treelines change, tropics expansion, tropopause
raised, truffle shortage, truffles down,  turtles crash,
turtle feminised, turtles lay earlier, UFO sightings, UK coastal
impact, UK Katrina,  Vampire moths, Venice flooded, violin
decline, volcanic eruptions,  walrus pups orphaned, 
walrus stampede,  wars over water, wars sparked, wars threaten
billions, wasps, water bills double, water scarcity (20% of
increase),  wave of natural disasters, waves bigger, weather
out of its mind, weather patterns awry, weather patterns last
longer, Western aid cancelled out,  West Nile fever, whale
beachings, whales lose weight, whales move north,  whales
wiped out, wheat yields crushed in Australia, 
wildfires, wind shift, wind reduced, winds stronger, winds
weaker,  wine – Australian baked, wine – harm to Australian
industry, wine industry damage (California),  wine industry
disaster (US),  wine – more English, wine –  England too
hot, wine -German boon, wine – no more French ,  wine passé
(Napa), wine – Scotland best,  wine stronger, winters in
Britain colder, winter in Britain dead, witchcraft executions,
wolverine decline, wolves eat more moose, wolves eat less, workers
laid off, World at war, World War 4, World bankruptcy, World in
crisis, World in flames, Yellow fever, zebra mussel threat,
zoonotic diseases.

By Matt Ridley | Tagged:  rational-optimist