When climate change is blamed for everything, does anything matter?

Source: Doug Pensinger / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

In today’s edition:

— Climate change affecting baseball hitting sounds funny, but it’s not
— The renewable boom faces an immovable grid challenge
— What’s scarier than Sam Bankman-Fried’s hair? Bitcoin pollution
— California zombie lake threatens town, state’s biggest prison
—Atmospheric CO₂ just hit the highest level yet recorded at Mauna Loa

I’m a huge baseball fan and particularly of home-run sluggers like Aaron Judge of the Yankees. I’m in the minority of those who think Barry Bonds belongs in the Hall of Fame, having watched him swat dozens of dingers live in his years in San Francisco.

But something about the story of how climate change is making home-run hitting easier this past weekend struck me the wrong way. Yes, climate change ultimately affects everything, and yes, the hotter it gets the thinner the air and easier a baseball travels through it. Headlines like this trivialize the seriousness of the threat, however.

Another story a few weeks ago sought to capitalize on the phenomena by arguing that climate change helped Gwyneth Paltrow’s defense in the skiing accident suit against her. Cute, and I’m sure it got lots of traffic for the news site that wrote it. Probably not as funny to the ski resorts in Europe who did little business this season, though.

It’s natural for humans to make light of big threats. But if we start attributing everything to global warming, then the real work needed to combat the threat will simply be pushed off. Better to view it like we did the Y2K threat that scared everyone two decades ago when 1999 turned into 2000, with fear and a scary deadline to work against, even though that turned out to be a false alarm.

Climate change may turn out to be the ultimate asterisk in the baseball record books, but it won’t mean anything if it becomes too hot to play the games.

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