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A viral video is circulating the web of a morning anchor team in the UK ahead of this week’s deadly heat wave. Ben Phillips posted a clip – that has 25 million views and counting – from the film Don’t Look Up followed by the real-life British banter. 

Remarkably similar, the real-life TV interview essentially mimics the movie when Jennifer Lawrence's character has to deal with a news anchor who wants to avoid negative subjects, even if they're about the end of the world. 

"I think there will be hundreds, if not thousands of excess deaths," UK meteorologist John Hammond said July 14. "This will be potentially lethal weather. It'll be brief, but it'll be brutal."

"So, John, I want us to be happy about the weather," TV anchor Bev Turner, of GB News, interrupted. "I don't know whether something's happened to meteorologists to make you fatalistic and harbingers of doom."

Turner continued: "Wasn’t it just as hot in 1976?" She tries to ask twice, both times refuted by the Hammond, who said: "Uh, no."

I must admit I have not seen the movie, but I’ve lived in that world for a couple decades so I get the idea. And yes, at least 1,500 people have died during the extreme heat in the UK. 

The issue isn’t just one TV news anchor across the pond. Pretty much any time I post a climate story, someone responds with something to the affect of ‘NEWS FLASH: it’s summer! It’s always hot.' Sorry, but that's wrong. Summer brings our warmest temperatures and heat waves but it’s an indisputable fact that summers in Minnesota are warmer and longer than they used to be. The same thing is true in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe.

Indeed, the BBC, via the UK Met Office, which is the equivalent of the National Weather Service, put together the graphic below. You can see that in the early 1900s the hottest day ever in the UK was 98.1 degrees, and lo and behold there is no reference to 1976.

_125977334_top_ten_hottest_uk_days_1657_2x640-nc

The fact is, prior to the 1990s, the hottest recorded temperature was about 98 degrees in the entire British isle. Prior to the year 2000 it had never hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit. But since the turn of the century, every few years sees a new record high, with the deadly heat on Tuesday – it was 104 degrees – blowing away the old record by nearly 3 degrees.

It probably goes without saying that most of the people who want to deny or debate (I use that loosely because you can’t debate something you know little about) climate change have zero background in it and usually have a pretty slim understanding of atmospheric science.

That’s fine. Not everyone needs to be a scientist, but don’t try to have an opinion or do your own research on something you don’t have a background in. In science and math, opinions don't count. You can counter a theory with evidence, if you’re a peer in a field of study. 

When researchers do a study and publish their findings, it’s done so in a peer-reviewed process. That means others, who are in that field decipher the findings, debate, offer counter-evidence or nod accordingly, etc. This is true whether it’s climate science, medical science or anthropology, etc.

Climate science has been studied, debated and thoroughly analyzed in the science community over and over again, exhaustively, as it should – as any science should. Guess what? There’s no debate anymore. The climate is warming, humans are the overwhelming primary cause of it. That’s it. Ipso facto. 

The sun isn’t changing our climate. We’re actually in a solar minimum phase, meaning the sun is weaker now than a few decades ago. Don't worry, it's part of the natural sun cycle. 

solar vs temp

It’s not arrogant to believe humans can impact something so vast and complex. Look what we’ve done to the planet separate from climate. This is a map from National Geographic showing where humans have degraded land. Yellow, orange and red are areas we’ve changed significantly.

human-footprint-2-0

And yes, earth’s climate has always changed and will continue changing, but most of the time it’s at a pace that nature can evolve and adapt with. When change happens too quickly like, oh the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, the result can be mass devastation. It's like the planet hits a reset button. 

I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want us to be responsible for the next mass extinction event, which by many measures is already upon us.

We must remain hopeful and optimistic that we can change our trajectory toward a sustainable existence. After all, Jane Goodall keeps high hopes about the future and the youth but I doubt that was the sort of optimism this UK anchor and others who ignore reality are going for. 

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