Over the weekend, a widely-distributed story by AP science writer Randolph Schmid voiced the concerns of several scientists that humans were emitting greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a rate much faster than anyone expected. Funny thing is, Schmid failed to mention that during the same time, global warming proceeded at a rate much slower than anyone expected.
Schmid described the situation like this:
Carbon emissions have been growing at 3.5 percent per year since 2000, up sharply from the 0.9 percent per year in the 1990s, Christopher Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS].
“It is now outside the entire envelope of possibilities” considered in the 2007 report of the International Panel on Climate Change, he said. The IPCC and former vice president Al Gore received the Nobel Prize for drawing attention to the dangers of climate change.
The largest factor in this increase is the widespread adoption of coal as an energy source, Field said, “and without aggressive attention societies will continue to focus on the energy sources that are cheapest, and that means coal.”
When it comes right down to it, carbon dioxide emissions are not bad in and of them selves; in fact, they are a direct fertilizer for the earth’s plant species. The potential problem surrounds how and how much they may impact the climate. So to complete his coal-is-bad tale, Schmid should have included some comments about how badly the earth’s climate was behaving.
Problem is, such data is getting hard to come by. In fact, while Schmid was busy covering the AAAS meeting in Chicago, Patrick J. Michaels testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment that global warming was proceeding at a rate that was at the lowest values projected by a large suite of climate models. Dr. Michaels further told the Subcommittee members in the nation’s capital that another year or so of little warming would put global temperature trends outside the accepted range model prognostications.
So, clearly, the picture is a lot more complicated than CO2 in/catastrophic climate change out. It is just that most environmental alarmists (reporters included) don’t like to think of it as such.
I wasn’t the only one who noticed the slanted reporting coming from the coverage of the AAAS meeting. University of Colorado researcher and renowned climatologist Roger Pielke Sr. had this to say at over at his ClimateScience blog:
Since papers and weblogs have documented that the warming is being over-estimated in recent years, and, thus, these sources of information are readily available to the reporters, there is, therefore, no other alternative than these reporters are deliberately selecting a biased perspective to promote a particular viewpoint on climate. The reporting of this news without presenting counter viewpoints is clearly an example of yellow journalism;
“Journalism that exploits, distorts, or exaggerates the news to create sensations and attract readers.”
When will the news media and others realize that by presenting such biased reports, which are easily refuted by real world data, they are losing their credibility among many in the scientific community as well as with the public.