(Failure at the New York Times and ClimateWorks) Why So Many People Are So Unperturbed

It says a lot about contemporary “green” journalism when a report that links the Permian extinction to “methane burps” using a Baltimore Sun article of Dec 2004 is described as “the best job I [Justin Gillis of the NYT] have seen of explaining, in layman’s terms, why scientists keep pressing the issue“.

Perhaps we simply shouldn’t have anymore laymen writing about environmental stuff.

Anyway, here’s my comments to “The Costs of Delay” by Hal Harvey and Sonia Aggarwal for the ClimateWorks Foundation:


How many times can the same concepts be regurgitated before people recognize they don’t lead anywhere?

The report says “A delay—of even a decade— in reducing CO2 emissions will lock in large-scale, irreversible change“. Ironically, this same sentence has been heard first more than TWO decades ago.

It then goes on to “Carbon “sinks” are disappearing” but “the proportion of total emissions soaked up by the oceans between 2000 and 2007 _MAY_ have declined by as much as 10 percent.” I am afraid such weaselry with words is very 2008.

the more CO2 [the seas] absorb, the more acidic they become“: a physical impossibility due to all that salt. Seawater could become less alkaline, but to call that “more acidic” is again a trite, old way of playing with words.

The pages on “impacts” only deal with future stuff that “may“, “is likely“, etc etc happen. That means it “may not”. “Estimates” are so 2008 too.

It gets even more ridiculous when the Permian extinction is linked to a “methane burpby way of a Baltimore Sun article of 2004. Is that a joke? And the authors proceed to mention two studies that depict adaptation in worse terms than even the Stern Review, thereby forgetting all the research that points in the other direction.

In conclusion the Climate Works report shows exactly why so many people are so unperturbed. The case for mitigation against climate change should be made in a less amateurish, less partisan, and decidedly more scientific way. IF that’s possible, that is.