It has been a bad-make that dreadful-few weeks for what used to be called the "settled science" of global warming and especially for the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that is supposed to be its gold standard.
First it turns out that the Himalayan glaciers are not going to melt anytime soon, notwithstanding dire U.N. predictions. Next came news that an IPCC claim that global warming could destroy 40% of the Amazon was based on a report by an environmental pressure group. Other IPCC sources of scholarly note have included a mountaineering magazine and a student paper.
Since the climategate email story broke in November, the standard defense is that while the scandal may have revealed some all-too-human behavior by a handful of leading climatologists, it made no difference to the underlying science. We think the science is still disputable. But there's no doubt that climategate has spurred at least some reporters to scrutinize the IPCC's headline-grabbing claims in a way they had rarely done previously.
My reply to this article in the Wall Street Journal by Cleaves M. Bennett MD FACP, February 17, 2010:
I have seen on TV forlorn polar bears trying in vain to find large enough ice fields on which to hunt, mate and cub. I have read that penguins and wolverines are likewise threatened. I have seen huge hunks of polar mountain ice falling into the sea, the announcer intoning doom and gloom. I have seen footage of huge mountains losing their white snow caps. I have read that over 85% of the ice cover on Mount Kilimanjaro that once proved a postcard image has deteriorated since the turn of the 20th century.
I have seen stories of how the increased CO2 in the atmosphere is dissolving into the oceans, causing them to be more acid and thus killing all manner of undersea creatures. I have never on the TV news seen a story that debunks global warming and I watch NBC, ABC and CBS news every night. I have seen stories that all of our factory farms are rapidly increasing methane from cow, pig and chicken farts. Methane is even worse than CO2 they say. My impression is that reporters and politicians are the skeptics and scientists are the true believers. Tho 75 now, I plan to live long enough to find out what is the real truth. Meanwhile all the farts in our house (1 cat, 2 dogs and 2 humans) are kept inside. Can't do too much with the 5 horses, 4 chickens and 1 midget goat however. So sorry Santa Monica.
For another view read:
Climate Change Could Harm Penguins and Polar Bears by US News and World Report (March 23, 2009)
Author: Cleaves M. Bennett MD FACP
Category: Health News & Articles
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