Tag Archives: WWF

Why I Will Not Turn The Lights Off For Earth Hour

I will not turn the lights off for “Earth Hour“.

Why?

Because I don’t want this to happen. And even if it will happen, still I will be the last one standing with a house full of lighting.

Earth Hour? No, thanks
"Earth Hour"? No, thanks

UPDATE: Meanwhile, in North Korea

"Copenhagen Climate Treaty" An Incentive To Remain Poor and Under-developed

The “Copenhagen Climate Treaty” drafted by a group of environmental organizations singles out a particular set of countries:

Newly industrialized countries like Singapore, South Korea and Saudi Arabia should also take on binding targets in line with the Convention principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. The criteria for designating newly industrialized countries should be negotiated in Copenhagen.

Consider that with what is expected from industrialized countries:

have a dual obligation under the Treaty, representing their overall responsibility for keeping the world within the limits of the global carbon budget and ensuring that adaptation to the impacts of climate change is possible for
the most vulnerable

The end result is that as far the the “Copenhagen Climate Treaty” is concerned, there is a clear disincentive for countries not only in being recognized as “industrialized”, but even in becoming “newly industrialized”.

After all, given that the request is that somebody forks out 160 gigadollars a year, it will just make perfect sense to steadfastly remain at the receiving end of that sum…poor and non-industrialized.

Is this a case of unwanted consequences? Or wanted…perhaps

WWF's Weak Warming Foundations

All hail the WWF’s “Climate change: faster, stronger, sooner – A European update on climate science” report, released “just in time” as the EU discussed ratification of the economy-busting, climatically-inconsequential 20-20-20 Plan?

Not so fast.

Report compiler Dr Tina Tin sets out to show that “important aspects of climate change seem to have been underestimated and the impacts are being felt sooner“, in order to justify the WWF’s call for “an emission reduction target of at least 30% below 1990 levels by 2020” in the EU.

What does Dr Tin mention to support her case?

(a) “The Arctic Ocean is losing sea ice 30 or more years ahead of the projections presented in the Fourth Assessment Report“.

This is a rather weak point. All it takes to refute it is a couple of years of increasing sea ice. Note that 2008’s minimum was higher than 2007’s, and the recovery in the past month has been impressive.

(b) “Floating tide-water glaciers in the Antarctic Peninsula are losing ice faster and are making a greater contribution to global sea level rise than reported“.

It is another weak argument. The Antarctic Peninsula is a peculiar place where lots is happening that is not happening anywhere else. The more the Peninsula behaves “strangely”, the less it may mean for the warming of the whole planet.

(c) “Since 1990, global sea level has been rising one and a half times faster than forecast in…2001“.

This is a simplification. As reported in Accuweather’s Global Warming blog, the rise has been “far from uniform” and great parts of the ocean have seen almost no change at all.

(d) “Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions released as a consequence of human activity have been accelerating“.

This is no change in climate per se. And with CO2’s intrinsic global warming effect growing with the logarithm of the concentration, it may be quite inconsequential.

(e) “A re-examination of the climate impacts reported in the Fourth Assessment Report indicates that 80% cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are needed by 2050 to keep global average temperature rise below 2°C“.

That’s where Dr Tin starts with the abuse of future predictions. These have by definition little to do with any climate change impact being already felt. For the same reason, I’ll skip most of the “Climate Change Tomorrow” list (everything that doesn’t deal with the past and present).

(g) “The analysis of 542 plant and 19 animal species across 19 European countries demonstrates without doubt that the timing of activities of plants and animals, especially in spring and in autumn […] have changed following national warming trends (Menzel et al 2006)“.

This is a an incorrect statement built upon a less-than-solid paper. Menzel at al can be read in full here. They write: “The pattern of observed change in spring efficiently matches measured national warming across 19 European countries“. Note: in spring. Also “The autumn signal was vague“.

(I won’t even start dealing with Menzel et al’s underlying issue, their assumption that changes are always linear)

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The impression is that in “Climate change: faster, stronger, sooner – A European update on climate science” report, as in much else concerning climate change and global warming, the politics has preceded the science.

That’d be perfectly fine, and I won’t ask to curtail WWF’s political activities: but why oh why can’t they just trying to be more sincere in their aims? Do they have such a weak political (and economical, and ethical) case for CO2 emission reduction, they are forced to write quasi-scientific reports?

UPDATE: read also on Climate Skeptic, “Global Warming … Accelerating?

Aggiornamenti Polari: Orsi OK, Ghiaccio OK

Due brevissimi aggiornamenti a post recentissimi:

  1. Il WWF ha confermato (fra le righe) che la storia degli orsi polari prossimi all’affogamento era una bufala giornalistica, inventata al Daily Mail e bevuta da tanti giornali e TV anche in Italia. Il Daily Mail ha rimosso l’articolo dal suo sito.
  2. Andrew Revkin del New York Times spiega nel suo blog come le immagini da satellite con il mare Artico senza ghiaccio non sono tutte cosi’ facili da interpretare: potrebbe esserci anche molto ghiaccio, nelle zone considerate “libere”, ma sotto certe condizioni non si vedrebbe niente nelle mappe aggiornate giornalmente. Anzi, e’ quasi certo che le notizie sul polo nord circumnavigabile per la prima volta nella storia dell’uomo, siano sbagliate.

Polar Bears and Journalistic Fantasies

Has the London-based Daily Mail just pulled a deceiving article?

Click here for more details of how the chance spotting of 9 swimming polar bears two weeks ago has been used to inspire a pretty-much baseless news story of drowning bears last Saturday. And how that article, after worrying lots of people in many countries, cannot be found any longer on the original newspaper’s website…

Polar Bears: Has the Daily Mail Just Pulled a Deceiving Article?

In my “Maurizio Morabito” blog in Italian, I have been following for the last few days the developing story of drowning polar bears, lost at sea after “the ice float they lived on melted”.

The story (“The heartbreaking picture of the polar bears with 400 miles to swim to the nearest ice “) (UPDATED LINK) originated in the pages of the Daily Mail, likely on Saturday Aug 30, and was immediately distributed in Italy by daily La Repubblica.

Trouble is, that story is, shall I dare say this, “not true”. And tonight, it looks like it has been pulled off the Daily Mail website altogether. (UPDATE: it survives of course in hundreds more)

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Actually, the story is based on something that has happened, and was reported by the WWF on Aug 22: nine polar bears have been spotted (by chance) swimming near Alaska. One of them was at least 60 miles from land.

But the Daily Mail article, by a Barry Wigmore, “embellished” the original story with so many incorrect details, the end result was abysmally not-true and deceiving.

A couple of days ago the WWF published some clarifying statements. From those it would be easy to spot where Wigmore’s article basically made things up. But as I said, the Daily Mail website has “lost” the page.

Here it is, saved from another website:

So which bits were patently baseless?

  1. 400 miles to swim to the nearest ice” (wrong: the WWF confirms nobody knows where the bears are, and when spotted, none of them was more than 60 miles away from the nearest land or ice)
  2. Struggling against the waves” (wrong: the bear in the picture is simply looking back to the helicopter where the pictures are being taken from, and whose rotors are causing the waves)
  3. polar bear faces almost certain death” (wrong: the WWF makes the point that polar bears are strong animals, and “a polar bear in the water, even one far from land or ice, is not always a polar bear that needs saving”
  4. becoming lost at sea” (made-up: there is no way to know if the bears were or were not just doing what polar bears have done innumerable times in the past)
  5. the creatures’ homing instinct has sent them north” (made-up: the WWF reports nothing on the direction the bears have been heading. Actually, there is no practical way to find any of them)
  6. the World Wide Fund for Nature, said it was considering asking the U.S. government to send a ship” (made-up: the WWF press releases say nothing of the sort)

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Last night I did send a comment to the Daily Mail urging the article’s author to check his facts.

Anyway: now that the story is not there any longer, conscious that it will linger on for years on many websites, thinking about how many people are needlessly worried by this story sexied-up to the point of not being true any longer, one can only reflect sadly at the sorry status of English and Italian journalism, trying to pass a fiction piece as a real story and/or gobbling it up without bothering to check the original sources.

Finally, since I criticized them in the past, I want to add that I appreciate the fact that the BBC News web site has not fallen for Wigmore’s drowning polar bear fantasy.