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Popular study attributing severe heat to climate change wasn’t peer-reviewed

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Left 43%

Center 43%

Right 14%

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There have been three simultaneous heat waves across the globe in July. North America, Mexico, Europe and China in particular are the regions experiencing a brutal summer. Tens of millions of people have been under extensive heat advisories. In many cases, high temperature records are being broken.

July 2023 is currently on pace to be the hottest month globally since records started being tracked. Climate scientists believe this is the hottest the Earth has been in about 120,000 years.

A new study says the trio of heat waves would’ve been “virtually impossible” without climate change. The World Weather Attribution Group published the findings on Tuesday, July 25, and it’s already getting a lot of attention from the media.

According to the Straight Arrow News Media Miss™ tool, nearly 100 news sources are reporting on the study that warns of climate change impacts. A large majority of those news outlets are left-leaning, with few right-leaning outlets highlighting the study’s findings.

SAN looks at the recent study connecting the heat waves to climate change and its media coverage.
Roberto Klarich from Canada cools off at a fountain near the Pantheon, after giving up queuing to enter because it was too hot during a heatwave across Italy. July 19, 2023. Source: Reuters

Something to note, however, is the study is fairly limited. It was a rapid analysis that started July 17 and only lasted one week. The results were also not peer-reviewed by other scientists or analysts, which is the typical gold-standard for verifying a study such as this.

The study suggests heat-trapping gasses, largely from the burning of coal, oil, and gas, are responsible for the heat wave in China — a country that lags behind in clean energy. The study says China was 50 times more likely to experience extreme heat due to global warming.

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