A roundup tomorrow on media reports following the UN/IPCC's official release of the latest assessment report on climate change, or AR5, still seems worthwhile. But after reading the latest stories from major outlets, including those that specialize in climate science, one wonders. Advance stories seems to have most of the important parts already. On top of that, and just as the general public may be tired (and some have retreated into scorn) of these things, what with the same general message since the first one in 1990, so may the IPCC itself be weary of doing the near-continuous hard slog it takes to draw them up. The changes this time and from the start have been in the details for forecast rises in temp, the emission scenario alternatives, and the confidence that human society's emission of greenhouse gases is to blame. Even a terrifying truth can grow tired with repetition and little action. Same old same old.
The diligent global warming monitoring site, North Carolina-based The Daily Climate, rounded up already the top three stories on the list below, nice job, and I've added a few more. All have merit or, at least, useful-to-know points of view. Anybody who reads the lot can skip through tomorrow's coverage with mental filters alert for anything that covers territory notably beyond these prognostications and contemplations. Next step, it appears, will be reflection on the usefulness and future adjustments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its thousands of volunteer, mostly PhD-level expert analysts.
Recent advance stories:
- Live Science – Denise Chow: Does the IPCC's Climate Change Report Still Matter? Good one to read first for its explanation of the report's constituent parts.
- Climate Central – Andrew Freedman: Experts Eye IPCC Reform as Report Nears Release ; First quote, from a US scientist: "If it were up to me, there would not be an AR6…"
- NY Times – Eduardo Porter: The Cost of Climate Change ; Rather an odd story, but sensible. It notes that nobody has persuasively calculated what unchecked climate change would cost and what it'll take to stop that – and how much THAT would cost. Hard to pin that on the IPCC, which has a hard enough time quantifying and boiling down the dynamics of climate science to words that policy makers can understand, much less use. Porter expresses things well: "How much should we spend on prevention? The best answer, still, is that nobody has any idea. What's more, science and economics may have no better answer to provide." Porter is an economics columnist for the Times.
- BBC – Roger Harrabin: Human role in warming 'more certain' – UN climate chief ; An interview with Rejendra Pachauri, head of the climate panel, inn which he says things we'll hear more about tomorrow. Pachauri is also of course the man who starred in a recent cartoon in the Times of India, reposted up top, on a topic he addresses in this interview. A tip of the hat to Pallava Bagla for passing this cartoon around to colleagues.
- Live Science – Michael Mann (Op-Ed): Climate-Change Deniers Must Stop Distorting the Evidence ; As exemplified, perhaps, by next bullet down…
- Cato Institute – Patrick J. Michaels, Paul C. "Chip" Knappenberger: New IPCC Report Will Be Internally Inconsistent and Misleading ; on climate sensitivity and all that. Includes meaningless six-year run of recent temperature anomalies that, were this a long enough time to be truly meaningful, looks not reassuring at all. It seems to this eye to be just what one would expect to be driving an upward trend in a noisy system.
- Wall St. Journal – Donna LaFramboise: Warming Up for Another Climate-Change Report ; A rundown on the IPCC's efforts to bolster its credibility since the last report in 2007. LaFramboise's energy goes into the links between some IPCC report authors and activist groups such as Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace, and World Wildlife Fund, outfits that raise money by "hyping the alleged dangers of climate change" and thus are people of questionable objectivity. One might argue that similarly suspect is a reporter who maintains a website devoted to arguing that there is no scientific consensus on global warming.
Also, see yesterday's post for more on this worthy contribution to the discussion:
- AP – Seth Borenstein: What 95% Certainty of Warming Means to Scientists ;