United States of Climate Change, Sightline
Climate Crisis Update 9-1-07: TV "Meteorologists" Can't Just Be Eye-Candy or Comic Relief Anymore, Now They Have to Hide the Truth
By Richard Power
Since the dawn of television, both network and local news broadcasts have utilized "meteorologists" as either eye-candy or comic relief, but now, they have a more important task to perform, i.e., they need to look straight into the camera and pretend that the weather they are reporting has nothing to do with climate change or global warming, and that none of the bizarre and destructive weather this country has been experiencing is interconnected with anything else at the planetary level.
Well, you shouldn't be surprised by this trend, the talking heads who report the headlines routinely warp, obfuscate, misplace and outright deny the truth; and increasingly over the past several years, and particularly in the past several weeks, business reporters have been doing the same.
Earlier this week, Laurie David posted a powerful piece on this latest twist in the US mainstream news media's downward spiral into oblivion:
As severe storms and the resultant flooding continue to batter the Midwest with deadly results, the media is filled with scary stories of the destruction and misery being inflicted. We see headlines about 300,000 Chicagoans without power, state of emergency declarations across four other states, dozens killed by storms from Texas to Minnesota, flooded interstates, and thousands of flooded homes and businesses. It's now commonplace to see news footage of people being rescued off their rooftops, many saying goodbye to their homes for good.
But no news outlet has had the courage to state the obvious: This is the face of global warming. This is it. While no single weather event can be directly pinned to global warming, these are the predictions of the world's best scientist come to terrifying life. ...
These glimpses from storm-ravaged Middle America ought to be a wake-up call. ... Laurie David, This is the Face of Global Warming, Huffington Post, 8-26-07
Here are three other important stories that went unreported on the USA's ideologically-controlled air waves:
Climate change and an increasing population could trigger a global food crisis in the next half century as countries struggle for fertile land to grow crops and rear animals, scientists warned ...
To keep up with the growth in human population, more food will have to be produced worldwide over the next 50 years than has been during the past 10,000 years combined, the experts said.
But in many countries a combination of poor farming practices and deforestation will be exacerbated by climate change to steadily degrade soil fertility, leaving vast areas unsuitable for crops or grazing. ...
The UN millennium ecosystem assessment ranked land degradation among the world's greatest environmental challenges, claiming it risked destabilizing societies, endangering food security and increasing poverty.
Some 40% of the world's agricultural land is seriously degraded. Among the worst affected regions are Central America, where 75% of land is infertile, Africa, where a fifth of soil is degraded, and Asia, where 11% is unsuitable for farming. Guardian, 8-30-07
Climate change may carry a higher risk of flooding than was previously thought, the journal Nature reports.
Researchers say efforts to calculate flooding risk from climate change do not take into account the effect carbon dioxide (CO2) has on vegetation.
Higher atmospheric levels of this greenhouse gas reduce the ability of plants to suck water out of the ground and “breathe” out the excess.
Plants expel excess water through tiny pores, or stomata, in their leaves.
Their reduced ability to release water back into the atmosphere will result in the ground becoming saturated.
Areas with higher predicted rainfall have a greater risk of flooding. But this effect also reduces the severity of droughts.
The findings suggest computer models of future climate change may need to be revised in order to plan for coming decades. BBC News, 8-30-07
Scientists had predicted that global warming ought to increase rainfall in the tropics. Now NASA researchers say it has. Scientists assembled a 27-year global record of rainfall from satellite observations and ground-based instruments and found that the rainiest years between 1979 and 2005 occurred primarily after 2001. The wettest year in the record was 2005, followed by 2004, 2003, 2002 and 1998. ... "When we look at the whole planet over almost three decades, the total amount of rain falling has changed very little," said study leader Guojun Gu of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "But in the tropics, where nearly two-thirds of all rain falls, there has been an increase of 5 percent." This increase in rainfall is expected in a warming world, because warmer surface temperatures increase the evaporation of water from the ocean and the land and warmer air can hold more moisture, which eventually forms clouds and precipitation. ... The latest numbers for 2006 show that it tied 2005 as the rainiest year in the record. One World,
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