Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
Cigarette packages come with warning labels. So should IPCC reports.
Yesterday, yet another research paper telling us that harmful climate change is headed our way grabbed headlines. Here in Canada, a national newspaper declared: Science team identifies tipping point in climate change: 2047. A radio station proclaimed: Climate change will devastate major cities by 2047, new study says.
But it was the coverage in the New York Times that was truly remarkable. The story there was 20 paragraphs long. This was paragraph number six:
The research comes with caveats. It is based on climate models, huge computer programs that attempt to reproduce the physics of the climate system and forecast the future response to greenhouse gases. Though they are the best tools available, these models contain acknowledged problems, and no one is sure how accurate they will prove to be at peering many decades ahead. [bold added]
Wow. Just wow.
If every news story written about climate change since the 1980s had contained that single paragraph, we’d have made smarter decisions over the past quarter century. We’d have had billions more dollars available to spend on sensible measures – such as saving the hundreds of thousands of African kids who still perish annually from malaria.
Moreover, we’d have kept the interminable doorstops produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in their proper perspective.
That paragraph should appear on the front cover of every IPCC report.
download your very own warning label here (click, right-click, Save Image As)