Saturday, April 7, 2007

Ho Hum...Global Warming to Wipe Out a Third of the Earth's Species

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Friday released another in its series of reports documenting how global warming is already affecting the climate of the earth and how it is likely to cause extinction of up to a third of all species of plants and animals. Even after being watered down by the governments of the United States, China (the two largest greenhouse gas emitters), and Saudi Arabia (the world's largest oil producer), the report paints a stark picture of the future, especially for the world's poorest people. After a short-lived rise in the production of food in the world, crop yields will plummet. Water supplies in Africa will dwindle, floods, droughts and disease will skyrocket in Asia, and people living in hurricane zones will notice an increase in storms and flooding. Polar bears, amphibians, and coral reefs will disappear.

Big deal. You'd think this would be front page news, but the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette deems it unworthy, and places it on page 2, behind a story about the failure of the Little Rock school board to fire the superindent of the district (a fellow who happens to be a chum of Demozette publisher Walter Hussman). Not too surprising--the Democrat-Gazette is a well-known right-wing rag; they gave the front page of last Sunday's editorial section over to the moronic global warming denial screed mentioned in the post just below this one. What about the so-called liberal media? On the morning after the report was released, CNN.com relegated the story to the bottom of their front page, but they managed to find room at the top of the page for a story about a 102-year-old who shot a hole-in-one. MSnbc.com is somewhat better, with an inconspicuous link to their coverage placed on the front page (I actually missed it the first time I looked). They apparently think that a story on the Chinese divorce rate is more important or more interesting--hard to say which. The New York Times web site buries the story far down the page, below an important report on the disposition of leftover statues of Saddam Hussein. (In fairness, the CNN and MSnbc sites gave the story a bit more play late yesterday--I didn't look at the Times web site until this morning--and that's the part of the point. This is too big a story to let it be buried by a lack of hits.)

I know people are suffering from "Global Warming Fatigue." I know the deniers have done an admirable job of painting Al Gore and global warming scientists as shrill loonies who are somehow using the fear of climate change as a way to make a buck. But news organizations have a responsibility to report news in a such a way that the most important, far-reaching news is prominent and easily accessible. If they can give us all the Anna Nicole coverage we so desperately crave, they can also leave vital stories on page one for longer than a couple of hours.

9 comments:

TenaciousK said...

This is just another example of when free-market strategies fall apart (news media). The "news" was bound to devolve into pure titillating entertainment eventually. Now, it's sort of like porn, except without the sex.

But what about the penguins, Arch? Surely the magnificent penguins will find some way to tough it out? [sniff!]

Archaeopteryx said...

Porn? At least porn can be somewhat educational.

You know, of course, that some penguins are warm-weather birds. So, take comfort in the fact that only about 90% of penguin species will be driven out of business. And we'll still have roof rats and starlings to fill up our zoos. All is not lost!

TenaciousK said...

Oh I don't know about the educational value of porn, Arch.

After I got maced by that pizza delivery girl, I'm kind've nervous about trying anything I learned watching porn.

xoorlyv: exhort lifes vigor.
[it's a stretch...]

Dawn Coyote said...

The best explanation I've heard for our collective myopia is in an article I've linked often: "Sleepwalking to extinction", by George Monbiot.

We live in a dreamworld. With a small, rational part of the brain, we recognise that our existence is governed by material realities, and that, as those realities change, so will our lives. But underlying this awareness is the deep semi-consciousness which absorbs the moment in which we live then generalises it, projecting our future lives as repeated instances of the present. This, not the superficial world of our reason, is our true reality. All that separates us from the indigenous people of Australia is that they recognise this and we do not.

Our dreaming will, as it has begun to do already, destroy the conditions necessary for human life on earth.


What was the name you guys came up with for the penguin church? I recall liking the word, but don't recall what it was.

Archaeopteryx said...

It was the Spheniscinites--or Pengunists. TK gets the credit for both, I think.

That's an awesome link. I hadn't seen it before, but I'll be linking to it, too.

Keifus said...

Nah, the newsies just know their demographic. If long-term scares sold, you can bet they'd lead. But for the news-watchers, and for sure the local paper readers, thirty years is an iffy proposition.

I'm soooo grateful. My kids, no doubt, will be even more so.

Thomas Paine said...

"Like porn, except without the sex" ... what a great line, and really captures the essense of our news media.

Dawn - great link -- thanks.

Thomas Paine said...

Some dirtbag posted this on my site:
Link to topic


WT said...
Yeah--bumper stickers ALWAYS just look SO appealing on the backs of wretched half beat-up cars like Volvos and VWs ambling down the roadway oblivious to other drivers screeching to get out of the way....

Gee wiz golly--yet another Slate blogger who apparently, judging from his taste in bumper sticker ideology as heralding in the "age of reason", is hereby approaching somewhere in the range of....say....about 17 years of age?

Will the surprises NEVER end?

--Lord Wakefield (WT)


PS--speaking of anthropogenic Global Warming and Al Gore's newfound secularized religion of Greenness, I thought his latest commentary was indeed funny coming so close to the heels of the coldest April in history.

No doubt also caused by global warming. Looks like Al Gore is still smarting from being ruled against in 2000, so now he has the courts rule that carbon dioxide is a toxin, even though to be sure plants use it for respiration and fuel.

Age of Reason indeed. Let the lawyers handle the science!

April 11, 2007 2:04 PM
Thomas Paine said...
Hey Dude! Why ya slammin' on my bitchin '62 VW Microbus, with the peace signs and old Eugene McCarthy for President bumper stickers?

Coldest April in history? Last I checked, it is only about 1/3 over, and it sure as Hell ain't been cold here. We are coming out of one of the warmest winters into one of the warmest springs -- evening news reports new record highs in the area what seems like damned near every evening.

As to the science, can you cite any reputable scientists from any relevant discipline who do NOT agree that human activity is a significant factor in global warming? Even the ones employed by the oil companies are conceding that point.

April 11, 2007 2:43 PM
WT said...
Yep--April is not over. But little on the horizon will do much to fix the RUINED crops in some areas of the Deep South, like here near Atlanta.

I find it quite odd that lawyers are now doing the work where science leaves off. That alone is a big red WARNING sign that the science is not as neatly secure as some thing: As Michael Crichton has said, tying all this to one's own political hobby horse is not only bad science, it is lousy politics. Consensus is not science, and science is not run by consensus. If it were we'd just take MSN-type polls and make decisions likewise. Like the 5 chuckleheads on the USSC. Patrick J. Michaels comes to mind, as does MITs Richard Lindzen, and Robert Ball, who's been threatened in what looks like a Galileo type trial. More too with Bjorn Lomborg, who got put to the Star Chamber tormet. Except I was rather disspointed that this time the mother church turned out to be the very Politically Correct Scientific American, which could use a little more objectivity, and for whom entire reams of paper have been used in critique in just one sitting.

You are right of course that various extreme "just so" temp gauges generally prove nothing, except that they will be useful later when Al Gore has his Save the Earth Festival in mid summer when everybody swelters anyhow. The warming models showing a trend are based on an idea of simulation that would be laughable if applied to a 7 day forecast (which is not dependable as it is) and would be laughed out of the room as a guide to what and where to invest money and time and effort if applied to any other area of concern or science. But anectdotal evidence is not good enough. If it were I could get rich just listeningn to testimonies of people striking it rich on late night TV.

As to the connections to whatever industry--this is laughable also, as IF those scientists who work in goverment industries have nothing hanging or hinging on continued funding for apocalyptic prophecy?

We've been through this all before.
VDTs, VD, teen preganancy, saccarin, deoderant spray, cell phones, mercury induced autism (alleged), red food coloring, electromagnetic power lines, and in the 1970s we had a CONSENSUS on.......GLOBAL COOLING.
Pictures broadcast across the world showing palm trees in Miami swaying in the snow gusts. Then there is the US Geological survery which in 1900 said oil would be gone----in 13 years. Then we had doom from Paul Erlich who said the battle to feed humanity was over.
Paul keeps making doom everyone's entertainment yet keeps losing bets to Michael Fumento on when and how materials and resources will all go away into thin air. In 1980. The boy who cried wolf has a steady job, it seems. It certainly keeps him busy still.

At some point the world will get jaded on doomsayig. Regarding the UNs IPCC report we are asked (without snickering) for confidence in a report from an international institution that gladly played host to the greatest fraud, “Oil-for-Food”, in modern history? Or that stacked its Human Rights Commission with representatives of the most repressive nations, with leaders and spokesmen who look like Bigfoot in camo gear? Or that initiated a ban on DDT, thus leading to the needless deaths of millions from malaria? Or that is currently dawdling around while thousands continue to die in Darfur? The IPCC panel says anyhow that there is little that can be done in any event to stop such warming(!?). Did the UN panel also happen to list the ways in which Viking sailboats pumped out Co2? And just pray tell, what would that method be? You know, back in the days when Arctic ice levels were lower than even now and when grapes grew, ice free, where polar bears now trod around on?

Also, there is the thorny issue of the utter and complete Greenhouse Hypocrisy--the number ONE export from Europe outside abetting Islamists.

Let's roll with what the Cliff's Notes' version from IPCC(the one meant to scare the hell out of you) of the full report says so far (the full report comes out May): It seems Global Warming was not only recently "nailed down" for sure by the mighty U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) preliminary report, but also by the chills and thrills that enveloped the Midwest and setting low temperatures not seen (in some cases) for decades. Of course, the fact that cold snaps are giving us the shivers from Wisconsin to South Carolina is deemed by some environmental groups as---you guessed it---FURTHER evidence that global warming is not only with us, but creating these extremes. Huh!? Yeah--that's right, along with increasing snowfall in Antarctica is "just what we'd see" from the effects of .....Global Warming, quips one researcher. OK. Actually this counterintuitive approach is still ....counterintuitive. And for good reason. You see, in reality--by contrast to Greenhouse fretters--a moderation of surface temperatures should be what we'd see with significant global warming, and not extreme snaps of any type, hot or cold. Certainly not the type of snaps that just shutdown parts of the Midwest and froze radiator fluid in school buses. This, according to MIT climatologist Richard Lindzen. Thus contraindicating the reason given for recent extreme trends of whatever range in the last several decades.

Speaking of speculative sciences (as in, the variety of science the UN pumped out surrounding climate change), Mark Twain, by all accounts, was correct when he observed in Life on the Mississippi: “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such a wholesale return of conjecture for such a trifling investment of facts” 1883, p. 156). These UN experts are expert at living with A HOLE in the head and a rather unpleasant distaste for modern civiliation's needs for energy. Else they'd lose their fear of nuclear and stop fiddling around with windmills and chicken manure.

Archaeopteryx said...

TP: I read the guy's comments on your blog. Same old denialist crap, with the same five deniers claiming that humans aren't responsible.