Thursday, December 20, 2007

Climate Crisis Update: What Bali Does & Doesn't Do, What the US Mainstream News Media Doesn't Do, & What Will Happen to Spain

Image: Variations of the Earth's surface temperature: year 1000 to year 2100, IPCC

Climate Crisis Update: What Bali Does & Doesn't Do, What the US Mainstream News Media Doesn't Do, & What Will Happen to Spain

By Richard Power

In the Financial Times, Fiona Harvey and John Aglionby provide a cogent summary of the Bali conference's final product:

What was decided:
"The Bali roadmap" sets out an agenda for two years of talks, with a 2009 deadline, on a new agreement to cut emissions and prevent dangerous climate change
Pilot projects were agreed that would measure emissions reduction from forestry projects, as a first step towards including reforestation, afforestation and avoided deforestation in a future deal
The conference agree to launched a United Nations fund to help poor countries adapt to the effects of climate change, such as droughts and flooding
The roadmap says more money will be needed for poor countries to gain access to green technologies, but not how this will be provided
What was not:
No firm targets on emissions reductions were set, although mention was made in the text of the need for "deep cuts"
No decision was made on how developed and developing countries should share the burden of curbing emissions
No agreement was reached on whether carbon capture and storage projects should qualify for carbon credits
Financial Times, 12-18-07

At both Bali and Kyoto, damaging compromises were made to keep the process moving forward; only time will tell if those compromises were worthwhile. But time, unfortunately, is already against us.

Of course, in the US mainstream news media, there is little or no coverage of any of these issues:

In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Al Gore explained the severity of the climate crisis. “We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency — a threat to the survival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential,” he declared.
But Sunday political talk show hosts have ignored the issue. The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) today launched a campaign publicizing the fact that the top five TV political journalists have dodged the issue of global warming this year:
[I]n the more than 120 interviews and debates with the [presidential] candidates in 2007, the five political show hosts collectively have asked 2,275 questions. Of those questions, these journalists have only uttered the words “global warming” or “climate change” three times. More over, only 24 of these questions touched even remotely on the issue of global climate change.
Ironically, Fox, which has repeatedly downplayed the climate change threat, leads the pack with two questions mentioning global warming this year:
– NBC’s Tim Russert: 664 questions, 0 mentioned global warming
– CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: 311 questions, 1 mentioned global warming
– ABC’s George Stephanopoulos: 661 questions, 0 mentioned global warming
– CBS’s Bob Scheiffer: 212 questions, 0 mentioned global warming
– Fox’s Chris Wallace: 427 questions, 2 mentioned global warming
And the questions weren’t necessarily substantive. On May 6, Wallace asked Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT): “Let’s turn to domestic policy where your big issue is energy independence and also fighting global warming. … [Wouldn’t a carbon tax] put a real drag on the economy?”
LCV’s campaign is urging political talk show hosts to 1) publicly acknowledge that global warming is an urgent threat, and 2) make the issue a priority in their interviews with all candidates. Sign LCV’s petition HERE.
Think Progress, 12-19-07

Meanwhile, for those of us who love Spain, there is this troubling story:

Climate Change will see the “Africanisation” of Spain
Study warns of environmental catastrophe before the end of the century as Spain struggles to meet Kyoto demands
INCESSANT heat waves, the extinction of vegetal and animal species and the spread of desert from Almería to cover southern Spain in its entirety.
Those are the findings of a report recently presented to the country’s prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, to help the government decide how to deal with Climate Change.
The study, which was compiled by a team of 17 scientists from Spain, paints a dire picture of the country at the end of this century.
It concludes that the country’s climate will become more like that of central Africa as tropical disease claims the lives of thousands and swathes of its Mediterranean beaches, which today bring millions of tourists to the country, are lost to rising sea levels.
The Olive Press, 12-16-07

For the Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates Archive, click here.

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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".

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Want to join hundreds of thousands of people on the Stop Global Warming Virtual March, and become part of the movement to demand our leaders freeze and reduce carbon dioxide emissions now? Click here.

Center for American Progress Action Fund's Mic Check Radio has released a witty and compelling compilation on the Top 100 Effects of Global Warming, organized into sections like "Global Warming Wrecks All the Fun" (e.g., "Goodbye to Pinot Noir," "Goodbye to Baseball," "Goodbye to Salmon Dinners," "Goodbye to Ski Vacations," etc.), "Global Warming Kills the Animals" (e.g., "Death March of the Penguins," "Dying Grey Whales," "Farwell to Frogs," etc.) and yes, "Global Warming Threatens Our National Security" (e.g., "Famine," "Drought," "Large-Scale Migrations," "The World's Checkbook," etc.) I urge you to utilize Top 100 Effects of Global Warming in your dialogues with friends, family and colleagues.

And don't forget to tune into Eco-Talk Radio on the air waves and/or in cyberspace.

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