A search of Google News today for the term “climate change” turns up a story from the Spanish daily newspaper El Pais (“the country,” in English) discussing the various harms people are suffering as a result of severe drought impacting Mexico. However, nowhere in the Pais story does it claim Mexico’s drought is the result of global warming or climate change. Also, scientific data and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) strongly refute any claimed link between Mexican drought and global warming. Instead, Google is promoting scientific misinformation by making a unilateral decision to affirmatively and arbitrarily asserting linking drought to “climate change.”

The author of the El Pais article, titled “The drought that is scorching Mexico, a predictable and devastating tragedy,” writes, “The drought currently ravaging Mexico is a recurring phenomenon that leaves a trail of damage and destruction in its wake every time it strikes.”

“Mexico’s geographical location and its climate make the country extremely vulnerable to droughts and periods of high rainfall,” says El Pais, continuing, “60% of Mexico’s land mass – being historically accustomed to extreme conditions.”

Mexico’s historic cycles of drought and extreme rainfall are caused by a number of factors, notes El Pais. In particular, the newspaper cites Mexico’s location, geography, and El Niño and La Niña cycles, for the country’s drought and rainfall history. According to El Pais, factors which often lead to severe water shortages in Mexico during periods of drought, despite plentiful rainfall preceding them, include deforestation, urban sprawl, the destruction of wetlands, and poor water planning and management. Climate change is not among the factors El Pais cites as causing Mexico’s drought or water shortfalls.

El Pais does not link Mexican drought to global warming for good reason. As detailed in Climate at a Glance: Drought, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports with “high confidence” that precipitation has increased over mid-latitude land areas of the Northern Hemisphere during the past 70 years, while IPCC has “low confidence” about any negative trends globally.

El Pais was correct not to link global waring to Mexico’s current water woes, because there is no such connection. Google News should have followed El Pais example, rather than hyping a false connection between drought in Mexico and global warming. Google News should post a note on its own search engine webpage page announcing it is being censored and blocked from all future activity due to publishing falsehoods and misinformation.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is the Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News. In addition to directing The Heartland Institute's Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy, Burett puts Environment & Climate News together, is the editor of Heartland's Climate Change Weekly email, and the host of the Environment & Climate News Podcast.


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