Monday, May 13, 2013

Live By Hype, Die By Hype

This is (partly) why the 400 ppm hype was misplaced from the very beginning:

People: Forest -- not the trees.


TheTracker said...

Recognizing a symbolic milestone is not the same thing as "hype."

Jack Savage said...

@The Tracker.

The hype is in pretending that the 400ppm is in any way a "symbolic milestone".

Paul S said...

As humans we tend to invest more symbolic meaning in round numbers. Would you really not consider a 50th birthday to have more "meaning" than a 49th birthday?

David Appell said...

People don't have to walk back their 50th birthday.... The Keeling correction makes it look like scientists don't know what they're doing, feeds insinuations that climate data is somehow suspect, and the almost gleeful way in which this number has been announced belies concerns about climate change.

Paul S said...


Well, that's a different matter. It seems to me a question for public engagement strategies and protocols. With the web and social media sites it's very tempting to provide up-to-the-minute readouts even though there might be later revisions. Maybe that policy should be reviewed, particularly for "milestone" announcements like this.

Not sure how damaging it's been though. I think there is a general public framework of understanding that reported figures can be revised up or down - look at times for 100m races - and that 399.5 isn't a long way from 400.