Image: Variations of the Earth's surface temperature: year 1000 to year 2100, IPCC
Climate Crisis Update 5-4-07: Is Glenn Beck Going John-Hickley-Jr.? 7 Vital Stories CNN Could Have Aired Instead of Indulging Beck's Eco-Nazi Conspiracy Theory
By Richard Power
By the end of 2007, Al Gore will have won both an Oscar (already on the mantle) and the Nobel Peace Prize (decision due in mid-October). And, hopefully, by then, Glenn Beck will no longer have his own show on CNN Headlines or appear regularly on ABC’s Good Morning America.
Of course, the odds on Al Gore winning this year’s Peace Prize are much better than the odds of Beck getting Imused. The Nobel Committee is reality-based, the US mainstream news media is not.
Beck is beginning to take on the look of a stalker or a lone gunman.
He is obsessed with Al Gore.
Beck mentioned Al Gore 32 times in on his piece entitled “Expose: Climate of Fear,” which aired on CNN without rebuttal or disclaimer.
On a recent radio broadcast, Beck equated Al Gore and his awareness campaign on global warming with the Nazis and their use of eugenics as a rationale for genocide against the Jews of Europe.
According to Beck, Al Gore’s hidden agenda is globalization and one world government. No, I am not exaggerating Beck’s comments, or taking them out of context. Think Progress, 5-4-05
Is Glenn Beck going John Hinckley, Jr. on us?
Perhaps it is safer that he vents his illness on the public’s airwaves than allows them to fester in the isolation of his troubled mind. He is starting to sound like Marc David Chapman.
In one way, it is absurd to dwell on Beck.
It feels as if I am engaged in a dialogue with an escaped mental patient who wants to argue that air is not air or that blue is really red, while looking over his shoulder I can see women and children pleading for rescue from the windows of a burning building.
But Beck really is dangerous. More accurately, the world-view and mind-set he engenders and personifies is really dangerous.
And his access to the public’s airwaves raises a much larger question than that of his mental and emotional fitness, i.e., why do CNN and ABC give him that access?
Here are seven news stories highlighting important issues related to climate change. They all appeared in the same news cycle as Beck’s diatribe about what he sees as Al Gore’s Eco-Nazi plot to control the world. Any one of these stories would have been worthy of debate and could have better filled the airtime given to Beck’s delusional, life-negating denial.
1. Credible numbers on the economic costs of coming to grips with global warming:
IPCC reports that “costs of cutting greenhouse gases range between less than 3 percent of world gross domestic product in 2030, with the stiffest curbs, to a small 0.2 percent boost to growth with an easier goal.
The economic impact is spread over many years. The strictest goal, limiting concentrations of greenhouse gases to 445 parts per million of the atmosphere, would brake annual GDP growth rates by less than 0.12 percent a year. Reuters, 5-4-07
2. Health-related side-benefits of coming to grips with greenhouse gas emissions:
Burning cleaner fuels can yield immediate health benefits that save lives and money, world health experts say.
… governments should consider how much they will save in medical costs by adopting policies that minimize heat waves, disease and water scarcity resulting from rising temperatures, the scientists said.
Big developing countries like China and India can play a huge role in improving health by expanding their use of cleaner energy sources, said Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, an expert on global environmental change and health at the World Health Organization.
"The policy options that you choose to try to cut (carbon dioxide) emissions also have very important health effects," he said from the agency's headquarters in Geneva. "If you choose the right ones, then you can certainly have a win-win at cutting CO2 emissions and directly benefiting health."
Associated Press, 5-3-07
3. The potential role of nuclear power for good and ill:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meeting in Bangkok said tackling global warming was both technologically and financially feasible as long as action was taken promptly, and that nuclear power could be in the arsenal.
"It is common sense. What else is there for most of electricity generation that is carbon free," Ian Hore-Lacy of the World Nuclear Association said.
"If you have a major technology that is capable of being deployed on a larger scale than now that emits no carbon, you don't need a Phd (doctorate) to work out that it has got an awful lot of potential," he told Reuters in London.
The civil nuclear industry, which saw its future evaporating after the reactor explosion at Chernobyl in 1986 sent a pall of radioactive dust across Europe, has seen its prospects improve dramatically in the hunt for a solution to global warming. Reuters, 5-4-07
4. What world agency should oversee planetary response to climate change:
A diplomatic tussle over which world agency should tackle global warming sees France demanding a new U.N. agency with broad powers, while others say time is short and existing U.N. bodies must rise to the challenge.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon wants to reform the array of U.N. bodies affected by climate change, whose impact will be felt across the board, leading to upheavals in the security, social, environmental, health and education sectors.
France and others argue no existing body is really equipped to tackle the crisis and a new one should be created.
"We have no problem with a new agency that can speak at cabinet level and has the power to knock a few heads together," said Gordon Shepherd, policy head at WWF International. "But it must not be used as an excuse for governments to do nothing in the meantime." Reuters, 5-4-07
5. Whether the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is effective or deceptive:
CDM and two other emissions trading schemes created by the Kyoto Protocol, the Joint Implementation and Emissions Trading, have helped to develop a worldwide carbon market with emissions rights. In 2006 this market accounted for transactions worth 30 billion dollars, according to figures released by the World Bank this week in Cologne.
Such development has led international environmental policy advisors and financial and corporate analysts alike to call the market with carbon emissions rights a big success. ...
But others believe that the carbon trading scheme has become a goldmine for private corporations without really helping reduce greenhouse gases emissions.
They say the carbon market has developed into just another financial market, in which a virtual commodity is dealt with, apparently disconnected from the real world. Inter Press Service, 5-4-07
6. The impact of rising sea levels on life in Thailand and Bangladesh:
The sound of waves from the nearby sea is no comfort for the chief abbot of the Buddhist temple in this fishing village in the Gulf of Thailand. …
Visible from the entrance of the decaying temple is a stark image that affirms his fears are not out of place. Rows of telephone and electricity poles stick out of the waters and disappear into the distance along the coast as testimony to there having once been a road that ran through this village. The sea began to swallow it more than two decades ago. …
Thailand's 2,666 km-long coastline on the Gulf of Thailand in the east and along the Andaman Sea on the west has 30 such environmental ‘'hot spots,'' says Thanawat Jarupongsakul, an associate professor in the department of geology at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University. ‘'Of these there are 22 in the Gulf of Thailand, and the Khun Samutchine area is the worst-hit.'' Inter Press Service, 5-3-07
Bangladesh is among the most densely populated countries in the world, where more than 140 million people live in a space less than half the size of Germany. The majority of the country is made up of the massive estuary delta of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna Rivers. Any rise in ocean levels represents a grave danger to the country.
Many parts of Bangladesh are acutely threatened by flooding. More than 10 million people are estimated to live in regions that lie less than one meter above sea level. According to findings by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Bangladesh will lose more than one-fifth of its area if sea levels rise by just one meter. The IPCC predicts that sea levels will rise between 18 and 59 centimeters before 2100 -- and this without including Greenland's melting continental ice in the prognosis.
With a sea level increase of just 40 centimeters, the number of people effected by floods each year will rise from 13 to 94 million, according to Uno. Additionally, a London study indicates that one-third of the world's cities lie directly in areas endangered by climate change.
According to climate prognoses, average rainfall in Bangladesh will change drastically. The IPCC predicts that by 2050, rice production will decrease by 10 percent, and wheat production by one-third -- which means increased risk of famine. Der Spiegal, 5-2-07
7. The inefficacy of the G-8 over the last seven years, the vital nature of the G-8's role, and how different it would have been if Gore had been sworn into the office he was elected to in 2000:
The eight most industrialised countries and the five big developing ones must "send a clear signal" this year that they want agreement on a new international framework for tackling global warming, the world's leading policy advisor on climate change said here Wednesday.
The industrialised G8 countries (the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia) and the five strongest developing countries (China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico) together account for more than 80 percent of all human-made greenhouse gas emissions. …
Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), says that this year represents a "make or break" situation for designing a worldwide binding policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 2013, after the end of the Kyoto Protocol's validity in 2012.
"We need a strong international framework to be in place by 2010 to ensure that there is no gap between the end of the first commitment period in 2012 and the entry into force of a future regime," De Boer said at a press conference. Inter Press Service, 5-2-07
Want to wake people up to the US mainstream news media's complicity in misinforming the public on global warming and climate change? Click here for Media Matters' compilation of "Myths and Falsehoods about Global Warming".
Want to participate in the effort to mitigate the impact of global warming? Download "Ten Things You Can Do"
There is a powerful magic in personal commitment.
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Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and Words of Power. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.wordsofpower.net
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