Thursday, April 18, 2013

Reuters Fail — Oceans Are Absorbing The Heat, No Global Warming Slowdown

Reuters has published an article that genuinely fails honest, researched, and trustworthy journalism. It claims (incorrectly) that climate scientists don’t know why the atmosphere isn’t warming as fast as it was. It claims (incorrectly) that there is a gap in the climate science and in climate scientists’ understanding of global warming, and that there is an unexpected global warming slowdown. Notably, the article doesn’t quote a single climate scientist….

Yep, as we’ve reported previously, the oceans have been absorbing the extra heat. Otherwise, the atmosphere would have heated up to a much greater degree. Unfortunately, this isn’t much (or any) better for us, as the increased heat and acidity (from CO2) is a major threat to ocean life… and all life that relies on it.

So, it’s quite obvious that there is no global warming slowdown, but rather continually fast, breakneck global warming.

Also, it’s worth noting at this point that the ocean’s ability to absorb CO2 and heat is becoming relatively saturated (no pun intended), which means the atmosphere will likely take over the brunt of handily this again soon, or soon-ish.

But before we let Reuters off the hook for lazy journalism (or perhaps something more sinister, but I won’t speculate right now), something astounding to note is that the same Reuters reporter who blew this story actually wrote a story about a week ago with this headline: “Oceans may explain slowdown in climate change: study.”

Umm, amnesia much? Maybe not, maybe the reporter just hasn’t looked into the matter very carefully and is repeating what she’s being told by others. Or maybe someone higher up is changing things (see the note on the bottom of this article).

Unfortunately, in the latest article from this reporter, rather than quoting a climate scientist, she quoted infamous Bjørn Lomborg! Lomborg, given the number of times he has made completely inaccurate statements about global warming and then been corrected by climate scientists, should never be used as a source on the topic of climate science… or just about anything else, for that matter. Even his own government has cut his funding (my guess on the reasoning would be for embarrassing the country too many times, doing poor research, and being obviously biased, but that’s a story for another day).

Dr Joe Romm of Climate Progress comments: "When people began to be concerned about global warming, Lomborg downplayed the threat. Then in 2010, when the deniers were ascendant and action had stalled, he flip-flopped to assert, “Climate change is undoubtedly one of the chief concerns facing the world today.” Now concern about warming is rebounding, so naturally his concern is declining again. How the media loves a contrarian. Again, we don’t face “moderate warming” on our current emissions path: Study: We’re Headed To 11°F Warming And Even 7°F Requires “Nearly Quadrupling The Current Rate Of Decarbonisation” Shocking World Bank Climate Report: “A 4°C [7°F] World Can, And Must, Be Avoided” To Avert “Devastating” Impacts Memo To Media: “Climate Sensitivity” Is NOT The Same As Projected Future Warming, World Faces 10°F Rise But what does the World Bank know compared to Bjorn Lomborg?"

(By the way, for much more on the fact that recent climate science has shown that things are looking far worse than expected, read the full Climate Progress post linked above.)

Beyond Lomborg, Reuters quotes an economist (great reporting there…), but apparently misquotes him. Reuters uses a quote that makes it seem like University of Sussex economist Richard Tol is doubtful about global warming, but here’s what Tol says was left out, according to Media Matters:
"Indeed, in an email to Media Matters, the economist quoted in the story, Tol, stated that he told Reuters that higher uncertainty actually leaves him “more concerned about climate change”: “Lower confidence means greater uncertainty. The probability that nothing much is the matter has gone up, but so has the probability that things could be much worse. Therefore, I am actually more concerned about climate change now than I was.”

As Dr Romm points out, misrepresenting Tol’s point is actually journalistic malpractice.

I think the real issue, however, isn’t with the journalist, but with the editors. Note this observation from Dr Romm: “Here’s one clue. The first piece says, ‘Reporting by Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent; Editing by Peter Graff’ whereas the second says, ‘Reporting By Alister Doyle, extra reporting by Gerard Wynn in London; editing by Janet McBride.’ “Climate Progress has said many times that it is probably editors — not reporters — who are the most to blame for flawed coverage and false balance.”

I’ve noticed absurdly biased reporting about electric vehicles and recently noted that over on sister site CleanTechnica. There’s no way that is coincidental. Reuters, or at least some people at Reuters, have a slant opposed to electric cars and opposed to half-decent reporting on climate science. I don’t have any evidence on who is behind this or why this is the case, but I think you’d have to be in denial (or simply not carefully pay attention to what Reuters publishes) to think otherwise.

In any case, in this story, the clear fact of the matter is that the oceans are absorbing a ton of heat, keeping it out of the atmosphere… for now. We even know where in the oceans that is occurring the most. Unfortunately, none of this is good news.

Source: Planet Save

Image courtesy of lclvv via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)