The Democrats’ green justice star, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), recently took to social media during a tornado warning in Washington, D.C., and swiftly tried to connect it to climate change.

This prompted one professional meteorologist to call her out for not knowing “the difference between weather and climate.”

The freshman congresswoman began by sharing a video on Instagram briefly showing the conditions outside, as heavy rains drenched the region and prompted a brief, and rare, tornado warning inside the Beltway.

“There’s people stuck outside. We need to get them out,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “This is crazy.”

…”Tornadoes are challenging to link to climate change links due to their nature (geographically, limited, acute patterns, how they form, etc.),” Ocasio-Cortez told her followers as she reviewed the article. “But we DO know that tornadoes HAVE been changing. They are no longer being limited to the Great Plains, and are shifting to other regions of the country.”

“The climate crisis is real y’all … guess we’re at casual tornadoes in growing regions of the country,” she later wrote on Instagram.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue, though, argued that she was confusing climate change with “weather” in the capital region.

“The Congresswoman @AOC does not know the difference between weather and climate,” wrote Maue. “Let’s try an easy analogy: Weather is what outfit you wear heading out the door. Climate is your closet wardrobe.”

However, this interaction underscores how the climate change debate is being presented in the media in ways that seemingly pit groups of Americans against each other.

For example, the Hill proclaims that “Young voters and voters of color are key to climate policy”:

Overall, Latino, black and Asian registered voters are significantly more likely than whites to prioritize the environment. When it comes to climate change, the polling data is striking: 70 percent of Latinos and 56 percent of blacks believe the earth is getting warmer because of human activity, compared to 44 percent of whites. Additionally, 54 percent of people of color think addressing global warming should be a top priority for the government, compared to 22 percent of whites — a gap that has widened by 10 percent over the last decade as fewer whites consider it a priority.

In Florida, where black folks make up nearly 14 percent of the electorate, they are 18 percent more likely than whites to list climate/environment as a top priority.

In Nevada, where Latinos comprise almost 20 percent of the electorate, they are 10 percent more likely than whites to prioritize environmental protection. And it’s personal: 67 percent of Latinos, compared to 50 percent of whites, said their lives would be personally impacted if nothing was done to reduce global warming.

And the New York Times warns that “Older People Are Contributing to Climate Change, and Suffering From It”:

The climate change story has plenty of villains; seniors are hardly wrecking the environment on their own. Still, the demographic trends do not bode well.

“There will be more warm days in most areas because of climate change,” Dr. Estiri said. “There will be more energy use by the older group. And because of the population aging, there will be more people in that age group. These trends will amplify each other.”

But in a world that is both warming and graying, older adults suffer disproportionately from climate change.

Personally, I am so looking forward to the Democratic Party’s 2020 platform plank that older, white voters are environmental villains.

No matter how many studies are done, true science relies on facts. While there is no denying that tornadoes are dramatic and devastating, is there a climate trend apparent based in the data?

The following is a graph showing the number powerful tornadoes through recent decades, prepared by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/climate-information/extreme-events/us-tornado-climatology/trends

Clearly, there is no trend. However, based on the data, I can predict the media will continue ginning-up divisions between Americans and ignore data and facts while doing so.