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Until today, the powerful language in the latest climate-change report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change generated scant coverage, and little or no demand from reporters for government reactions.

Coverage of any kind was meager yesterday, as I pointed out in...

Until today, the powerful language in the latest climate-change report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change generated scant coverage, and little or no demand from reporters for government reactions.

Coverage of any kind was meager yesterday, as I pointed out in my previous post. Today, some others caught up, running stories from The Associated Press or writing off of the IPCC report and press release. But aside from the handful of reporters who went to Yokohama for the release of the report, nobody was doing much original reporting.

I found one example of the kind of story I was looking for when I opened The New York Times today. There Coral Davenport wrote a news analysis reporting that the new data puts...

[Update 4/2: A couple of justifiably aggrieved friends at The Washington Post said the paper did more than run the AP.  Staff reporter Steven Mufson...

[Update 4/2: A couple of justifiably aggrieved friends at The Washington Post said the paper did more than run the AP.  Staff reporter Steven Mufson wrote a piece off of the report and the press release, with reaction from several scientists.]

On March 25, the Tracker's Charlie Petit predicted that few members of the Western press would fly to Yokohama, Japan for the release of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

He was right. The problem, he explained, was that we've heard it all before and we'll be hearing it again and again.

It's the paradox of climate-...

From The Age, Mar 23, 2014
Charlie Petit
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  Don't stop me if you heard this. Because you have, and you'll hear it many more times. A big conference of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is meeting and will soon issue a dire warning on the course and consequences of climate change should the world continue to take no strong steps...

  Don't stop me if you heard this. Because you have, and you'll hear it many more times. A big conference of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is meeting and will soon issue a dire warning on the course and consequences of climate change should the world continue to take no strong steps against the ways we've caused it. 

  One cannot be surprised that a fair contingent of the international press has just given up on covering these events on scene. You know, ground hog day and all that. Just this month the AAAS weighed in with its own statement of grave concern. But a few disciplined souls are in Yokohama Japan - or following closely via streaming video and other 21st century means - for what is formally the IPCC's Working Group II of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). It started early today (Tuesday Mar. 25)  and is to wind up with a press conference on the 31st. Its charge is to reach consensus on what the impact on humanity...

"Here's How NASA Thinks Society Will Collapse," read one headline on Mar. 18. Here was another, on Mar. 20: "NASA...

"Here's How NASA Thinks Society Will Collapse," read one headline on Mar. 18. Here was another, on Mar. 20: "NASA Study: Civilization Doomed to Collapse Soon."

And there were others, some of which made the distinction that this was not a NASA study, but rather a NASA-funded study, which hedges a bit but still suggests vague NASA approval: "NASA-funded report says society is trending toward big collapse" read the headline in the Houston Chronicle on Mar. 18. (And as we will see, even "NASA-funded" isn't quite right.)

But as the coverage continued, it began to morph into something quite different...

  Yesterday's post on the succinct and emphatic AAAS report, What We Know, on climate change...

  Yesterday's post on the succinct and emphatic AAAS report, What We Know, on climate change elicits this thought: Is the whole thing a rehash of things already concluded by most scientists and circulated in the public by media? The answer is yes. Not that the report is a waste - it addresses the reality that a lot of Americans either don't believe we are changing climate much if at all, or that yes it's a problem but we have more important things to do right now than to fix the climate. Sure, some of us worry about it all the time, but not most of us.

    But still. The AAAS report has lots of pop but not much new info. Perhaps it will however help the message to eventually get through. In the meantime, as the tracker's job is...

  When an august and generally circumspect scientific society pulls together a panel of 13 esteemed scholars for a consensus report, one does not tend to expect this sort of punchy, plain-as-nails writing:

Against this backdrop of natural variation, however, something different is...

  When an august and generally circumspect scientific society pulls together a panel of 13 esteemed scholars for a consensus report, one does not tend to expect this sort of punchy, plain-as-nails writing:

Against this backdrop of natural variation, however, something different is happening. Greenhouse gases have supercharged the climate just as steroids supercharged hitting in Major League Baseball. Over the course of a baseball season in the steroid era, we witnessed more and longer homers, even though we cannot attribute any specific homer to steroids.

   That is just about as good as any explanation of specifics versus statistics I have ever read. Maybe the report writers cribbed it from somewhere? Dunno. [Update - Not original. See comments.] But it makes clear why it is inane to ask whether this storm or that drought or those icebergs are due to global warming. It is not as though other current weather events...

It was almost inevitable that a climate discussion would come up last Thursday as I waited at the Philadelphia International Airport for my second cancelled flight of the day. Thousands of people were stranded by unusual snow and ice. I struck up a conversation with a couple of bankers – frequent flyers with...

It was almost inevitable that a climate discussion would come up last Thursday as I waited at the Philadelphia International Airport for my second cancelled flight of the day. Thousands of people were stranded by unusual snow and ice. I struck up a conversation with a couple of bankers – frequent flyers with outsized carbon footprints. Amid the grousing, one of them interjected a comment more or less like, “So much for global warming, ha ha.” And then the other one chimed in, with a tone of mockery, recalling how liberals keep trying to explain to him that the cold really is a sign of global warming.

Moods were tense, and Philadelphia’s brotherly love was wearing thin. It was no time to get into a squabble, but as a responsible citizen I did at least point out that it’s rather balmy in Alaska and the west is parched.

Next time, I’ll start with a question. How big is the U.S. as a portion of the globe? I got that idea from ...

    Self-absorption is like renewable energy - it is hard to exhaust it. Yesterday's post on the Western drought that dried up our well and that contrasts so deeply with the Eastern freezer blizzard machine gets today a dollop of related news writing. Some might call it another whiff of weather...

    Self-absorption is like renewable energy - it is hard to exhaust it. Yesterday's post on the Western drought that dried up our well and that contrasts so deeply with the Eastern freezer blizzard machine gets today a dollop of related news writing. Some might call it another whiff of weather weirding.

    Here are some complementary pieces:

OK, we get it out here on the left coast. Old Man Winter has been shellacking the right half of the US for many weeks now with storms, sub-zero weather, and children staying at home wreaking family misery because the schools are closed. The  Midwest, South, and East have floods, frozen pipes, and absurd...

OK, we get it out here on the left coast. Old Man Winter has been shellacking the right half of the US for many weeks now with storms, sub-zero weather, and children staying at home wreaking family misery because the schools are closed. The  Midwest, South, and East have floods, frozen pipes, and absurd snowdrifts not to mention renegade polar vortices. But out here, at least in California where we live and Oregon and Washington and Arizona and Nevada too, the planet looks to be dying. Around here in January the countryside is supposed to look like an Irish Spring. Instead the hills have gone from brown to ashen. A walk in the woods is a dusty, noisy affair, twigs and dry leaves crackling with every step. The SF Bay Area is shattering heat records - 70 and even 80+ degrees in mid-winter. We have a second place up the coast near thick redwoods where the well went dry maybe a month ago - we didn't figure it out till a day ago when the taps stopped running. A peek in the...

Last year was a hot year: The fourth hottest on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or the seventh hottest according to NASA, which uses slightly different calculations.

But how hot is the news?

Not too hot if you read The New York Times, which...

Last year was a hot year: The fourth hottest on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or the seventh hottest according to NASA, which uses slightly different calculations.

But how hot is the news?

Not too hot if you read The New York Times, which ran this story by Justin Gillis:

Two government agencies said Tuesday that 2013 was among the warmest years in the global temperature record, though they differed on exactly where it ranked. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ranked it as the fourth-warmest year since 1880, tied with 2003. NASA, which uses slightly different methods to compile global temperatures, ranked 2013 as the seventh-warmest year, tied with both 2006 and 2009. Both agencies say that the 14 warmest years in the historical record have...

A paper in Nature this week asks - and tries to answer - a question that nobody, so far as I can tell, in the IPCC's upper leadership has thought would make a good talking point for its big recent report. But it is clever, with proposed answers that are, in principle, easy to understand. That is not the same as...

A paper in Nature this week asks - and tries to answer - a question that nobody, so far as I can tell, in the IPCC's upper leadership has thought would make a good talking point for its big recent report. But it is clever, with proposed answers that are, in principle, easy to understand. That is not the same as saying reporters had an easy time translating the report into simple terms.

   To paraphrase the paper - written by specialists at the University of Hawaii - the question is: Region by region, after about what date will the average temperature in every year exceed the hottest years recorded from 1860 through 2004? That is, until the coolest years are all hotter than what used to be the hottest years? Among answers the paper provides is that tropical regions will drift permanently into unprecedented, unrelenting new climates first and Arctic and sub-Arctic areas will fall into the altogether  'new planet' bin last. The paper estimates that...

"On a complicated, fast-forward planet enveloped in information, journalists who thrive will be those who offer news consumers the same sense of trust that a skilled mountain guide provides to climbers after an avalanche. A sure trail cannot be guaranteed, but an honest effort can."

That's...

"On a complicated, fast-forward planet enveloped in information, journalists who thrive will be those who offer news consumers the same sense of trust that a skilled mountain guide provides to climbers after an avalanche. A sure trail cannot be guaranteed, but an honest effort can."

That's Andrew Revkin on what he calls the Daily Planet--the world as we see it through the media. Revkin, who writes the Dot Earth blog for The New York Times, has long provided us with one of the clearest and sharpest lenses to view that perceived planet.

Revkin recently paused to reflect on his work and others' in a talk in Tokyo at an environmental forum sponsored by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. You can find a transcript at Dot Earth, and Revkin...

If you're browsing the web for information on climate, you might stumble across something called the Global Risk and Opportunity Indicator, which allows you to calculate certain risks connected with climate change. It looks like this:

...

If you're browsing the web for information on climate, you might stumble across something called the Global Risk and Opportunity Indicator, which allows you to calculate certain risks connected with climate change. It looks like this:

I can't vouch for any of the information here; it might be fine, or it might be questionable. What made me nervous about the site was that, at first, I couldn't determine who put it up. Why would somebody put up a site such as this anonymously?

It turns out not to be anonymous; just a bit difficult to track. If you click on the tiny globe at the bottom of the webpage (not visible in this screen shot), you will be taken to the website of The Global Challenges Foundation, which says, in part:

...

With uncanny timing, Seth Borenstein of the AP turned in a story on this year's quiet hurricane season just hours before the quiet ended with the formation of this year's first hurricane, Humberto.

"If Humberto stays a tropical storm through 8 a.m. EDT Wednesday...

With uncanny timing, Seth Borenstein of the AP turned in a story on this year's quiet hurricane season just hours before the quiet ended with the formation of this year's first hurricane, Humberto.

"If Humberto stays a tropical storm through 8 a.m. EDT Wednesday, it will be the latest date for the first hurricane of the season since satellites started watching the seas in 1967, according to the National Hurricane Center," Borenstein writes. Humberto became a hurricane just before the deadline, meaning that the record for the latest hurricane of the year is still held by Gustav, in 2002, according to Kim Hjelmgaard of USAToday.

All teasing aside, Borenstein's story is actually nicely...

Last week, I questioned whether we should believe research purporting to show that global warming will make the world "a very violent place by mid-Century."

I haven't reported the story, and I am not in...

Last week, I questioned whether we should believe research purporting to show that global warming will make the world "a very violent place by mid-Century."

I haven't reported the story, and I am not in any position to referee a debate on this question, but I note that Keith Kloor, at his Discover blog Collide-a-Scape has posted a skeptical analysis rich with links to his own and others' previous posts.

During the past decade, he writes, "a cottage industry was born and it built on the climate/conflict meme." Kloor condemns what he calls "the long-dead corpse of environmental determinism."

Whether or not climate change increases the likelihood of...