March 14, 2007
AP Global Warming Writer Over the Top - Again
Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press has written another truly frightening little sci-fi piece entitled Warming Report to Warn of Coming Drought. The article, which claims to have scooped the findings of the IPCC 4th Assessment Working Group 2 (WG2), and predicts a coming eco-apocalypse, has created quite a stir since being published last Saturday. This, despite the fact that the very same author made similar predictions last month regarding the findings of another IPCC group - predictions which proved to be baloney.
On February 1st, the AP published Borenstein's Working Group 1 (WG1) forecasts under the politically sensational headline Warming Linked to Stronger Hurricanes. This preposterous "leak" claimed that the pending report would place the blame for stronger Atlantic hurricanes "such as Katrina" squarely on the shoulders of man-made global warming. Of course, the very next day revealed an appraisal which made no such broad claims. To the contrary, qualifying footnotes such as these used whenever human contribution was declared "more likely than not," thereby revealing hypothesis rather than conclusion, were mysteriously absent from the article:
"Magnitude of anthropogenic contributions not assessed. Attribution for these phenomena based on expert judgment rather than formal attribution studies."
And while WG1 was charged with assessing the physical science of climate change, WG2's charter focused on its impact, as well as mankind's adaptation and vulnerability to it. With that in mind, it certainly appears that the latter quasi-subjective areas provide the agenda-driven with a more malleable landscape on which to spread their fictional fertilizer.
Indeed, this time out, Borenstein's predictions were way over-the-top -- even by eco-maniac standards. He wasted no time capturing the attention of kindred alarmists with this dramatic overture:
"The harmful effects of global warming on daily life are already showing up, and within a couple of decades hundreds of millions of people won't have enough water, top scientists will say next month at a meeting in Belgium."
The "science writer" then forewarned of a not-too-distant-future world of cataclysmic floods, widespread disease, species extinction and global starvation. We're talking devastation of Biblical proportions here, folks. Hmmmm ... Noah Borenstein - it does have a catchy sound.
Is it time to plan crash-courses in animal husbandry and history's longest ocean voyage? Not quite - especially given Mr. Borenstein's less than stellar track record of "scooping" the IPCC. In fact, last month's impulsive hype-piece was so completely wrong that it prompted this reaction from Professor Neville Nicholls, the Lead Author of WG1's Chapter 9 [emphasis added throughout]:
"I was disappointed that after more than two years carefully analyzing the literature on possible links between tropical cyclones and global warming that even before the report was approved it was being misreported and misrepresented."
Then, specifically addressing the bogus claims made in the February 1st AP article, the scientist rebuked:
"We concluded that the question of whether there was a greenhouse-cyclone link was pretty much a toss of a coin at the present state of the science, with just a slight leaning towards the likelihood of such a link. But the premature reports suggested that we were asserting the existence of much stronger evidence."
So it stands to reason that once the initial daffy-dust of next month's WG2 report settles, the current AP version will bear no closer semblance to reality than did last month's WG1 preview. As to Mr. Borenstein's overreaching hysteria - might it be more fairly attributed to an overactive enthusiasm gland than a tree-hugging political agenda? Not likely - particularly considering the choice of these words to climax his current bit of demagoguery even after being chided for such previous nonsense:
"Many - not all - of those effects can be prevented, the report says, if within a generation the world slows down its emissions of carbon dioxide and if the level of greenhouse gases sticking around in the atmosphere stabilizes."
As the science of mankind's impact on increasing global temperatures is yet unsettled, isn't it beyond unlikely that even a UN backed science consortium would dare suggest such horrible prospects yet such elementary, immediate, and politically expedient remedies? Furthermore, given that it has yet to be proven by anyone that climate can be impacted even by a single degree Celsius in either direction by man's imposing hands, might the IPCC propose such urgent and unproven Kyoto-style solutions as quick fixes? Especially after last month's lowered WG1 estimates and rationally longer term GLOBE recommendations? Again -- not likely.
Naturally, this leads to speculation as to whether the Associated Press ‘s blatantly unprofessional approach to climate change reporting is limited to matters concerning the Intergovernmental Panel on the subject. Any guesses?
Last year, an article also penned by AP Science-writer Seth Borenstein and deceivingly entitled Scientists OK Gore's Movie for Accuracy was singled out by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works as having raised "some serious questions about AP's bias and methodology." Primary to its many complaints, the committee admonished the news agency's decision to ignore the "scores of scientists who have harshly criticized the science presented" in the film.
And just last month, Borenstein declared that January was "by far the hottest ever" in the opening line of a similarly titled scare piece. Then, just a few paragraphs later, he confessed that US temperatures had been "about normal," adding that:
"The nation was 0.94 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for January, ranking only the 49th warmest since 1895."
Reading this guy's awful stuff prompted a quick trip over to the AP.org website in search of an answer to the inescapable FAQ, What [if any] are AP's News Values and Principles? Preceding the link to the detailed answer sits a short quip which claims that:
"The AP believes firmly in a fair and objective news report."
Once you've stopped laughing, dare click on that statement of "values and principles." You'll be taken to a redirect page, which will invite you to "Click here if this page does not load automatically." Should you accept the invitation, you'll indeed find their standards page, which includes Chicago Daily News founder and AP General Manager Melville E. Stone's 1914 words which we are flippantly assured are just as true today:
"the thing [AP] is striving for is a truthful, unbiased report of the world's happenings ... ethical in the highest degree."
Strangely and fittingly, if the redirect page is instead allowed to auto-load, at the time of this writing the link mistakenly lands the inquisitive voyager on a somber testament to a once great news organization no longer worthy of Stone's words -- their Pulitzer Prizes page.
Is there such a thing as a Freudian Slip Redirect?
Marc Sheppard is a technology consultant, software engineer, writer, and political and systems analyst. He is a regular contributor to American Thinker. He welcomes your feedback.