Saturday, 7 August 2010

The BBC in denial about our climate

News at One today on BBC R4. The main items:
  • The vast floods in Pakistan (No mention of manmade climate change, which will make such events progressively more common - until the glaciers in the Himalaya have melted away, after which the sub-continent will be in permanent drought).
  • The growing forest fire menace in Russia (No mention of manmade climate change, despite the all-time record temperatures of the first half of this year which will have contributed strongly to these fires. See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703309704575413244052775582.html)
  • Humungous iceberg breaking off from Greenland, two thirds the size of the Isle of White. At last, a mention of manmade climate change - the reporter reminds us of the record-breaking temperatures of 2010 - but tells us that a leading oceanographer remarked that "It isn't clear that global warming is to blame" for the iceberg breaking off...
...God save us all. If this is the best we can do, then we are doomed. ...There couldn't be more misleading reporting. It is of course right that, technically, it is never possible to link any one weather-event or other event 100% decisively with manmade climate change. What the latter does is greatly probabilify these events.
If we are not prepared to recognise that, and will not report it, then we are basically in denial. And if the denial persists, it will be too late.
We have 76 of those 100 months left, folks... 76 months left, to turn this supertanker around...

15 Comments:

Blogger Joe Otten said...

Meh, it was always sloppily done when these kind of events were linked to climate change. I'd sooner have omission than stronger claims than can be justified - which have become grist to the mill of the contrarians.

7 August 2010 at 17:16  
Blogger Stuart Jeffery said...

Supertanker? Titanic maybe?

Nuff said... I'll be off to shuffle some deck chairs and keep the band playing...

7 August 2010 at 17:51  
Blogger orbital said...

rupert,

but aren't the BBC believers?

and interesting to read your caveat 'it is never possible...'

Pakistan: I was interested to google this and find no references to this event being linked with climate-change - maybe no-body believes there is a link...?

Himalayan Glaciers: you are aware that it wasn't 2035 but 2350 :)

Russia: but rupert your link is to a report of what's been happening and not a scientific explanation of why the fires may be exacerbated by a runaway greenhouse. Also I've read that many Russian wildfires are probably related to negligence, careless agricultural burning and arson. Of course irrespective of how they start the current heatwave and wind doesn't help

Iceberg: why can't a leading oceanographer say that AWG may or may not be to blame...?

7 August 2010 at 20:05  
Blogger Kaihsu Tai said...

Add to these “China experiences worst floods in a decade”.

9 August 2010 at 22:01  
Blogger Kaihsu Tai said...

Add to these “China experiences worst floods in a decade”.

9 August 2010 at 22:04  
Blogger Rupert said...

Orbital - feel free to believe that everything is gonna be just fine if you want... But please don't bore me with your excuses for inaction.
Your kids won't thank you for doing so.

9 August 2010 at 23:34  
Blogger Kaihsu Tai said...

Peter Stott (Met Office) offers this scientific analysis in the Guardian today.

10 August 2010 at 12:57  
Blogger Paul said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10 August 2010 at 20:37  
Blogger Paul said...

The piece by Peter Stott in the Guardian (link provided by Kaihsu Tai) is good.

What is your take on it Rupert?

10 August 2010 at 22:51  
Blogger Rupert said...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-10919460
Vindication for me and the Beeb.

11 August 2010 at 12:18  
Blogger Paul said...

imo: not quite

check out Frozen jet stream links Pakistan floods, Russian fires

11 August 2010 at 21:34  
Blogger Paul said...

And to continue with the linking to random Googled articles, how about this one from the Independent?

Sure it says that AWG will continue to dominate the planet's climate but despite this, the so-called extreme cold snaps that Northern Europe experienced and may continue to experience could be due to variations in the Sun's magnetic activity. So says a solar physicist at the University of Reading...

Paul:Green Party 'paper' candidate in Norwich

12 August 2010 at 00:12  
Blogger weggis said...

Paul
Isn't that precisely what AGW predicts?

12 August 2010 at 00:24  
Blogger Rupert said...

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19304-is-climate-change-burning-russia.html
A well-timed piece.

12 August 2010 at 12:06  
Blogger Paul said...

weggis: AGW 'predicts' lots of things and yes scientists suggest that flooding and heatwaves will become more 'extreme' and frequent.

However specifically about the flooding in Pakistan and the heatwaves in Russia, so far, scientists aren't clamouring to claim that AWG is specifically and exclusively the cause.

If you check out the link to the Independent article (yes it's just one source and a journalistic one at that) a professor in solar physics suggests a link between solar activity and the jet stream which appears to affect the creation of 'blocking systems' which elsewhere others are suggesting is the cause of the Russian heatwaves and the Pakistan floods and the end of our warm summer! Specifically the current low solar activity could be the cause of recent UK cold snaps and may mean the UK could expect more cold winters in the coming decade "despite global warming".

The link Rupert has supplied (to another Independent article) says nothing to essentially contradict the point I'm trying to make. Rupert's 'article' states that a 'blocking event' is the cause of the heatwaves that they happen from time to time and that there is evidence that low solar activity increases the frequency of these events.

It says that current computer models cannot reproduce 'blocking events' so that it's impossible to say whether AWG is to blame.

Yes the article does say that models 'suggest' more and longer heatwaves.

But - as of last week no-where did it appear that scientists were categorically stating that the heatwaves and the floods were directly caused by AWG. Rupert will undoubtedly call this 'denial' and that's where my problem lies. Rupert reads to many books by the likes of Lynas claiming the 'end of the world is nigh'.

18 August 2010 at 00:11  

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29.
News at One today on BBC R4. The main items:
...God save us all. If this is the best we can do, then we are doomed. ...There couldn't be more misleading reporting. It is of course right that, technically, it is never possible to link any one weather-event or other event 100% decisively with manmade climate change. What the latter does is greatly probabilify these events.
If we are not prepared to recognise that, and will not report it, then we are basically in denial. And if the denial persists, it will be too late.
We have 76 of those 100 months left, folks... 76 months left, to turn this supertanker around...
30. 31. 32.