Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Composition of the moon: views differ

Rock or green cheese? CNN borrows its report of the latest international report on climate change from a Financial Times reporter. After duly reciting the findings of a group led by NOAA, she writes:

Some scientists hailed the study as a refutation of the claims made by climate skeptics during the "Climategate" saga. Those scandals involved accusations -- some since proven correct -- of flaws in the IPCC's landmark 2007 report, and the release of hundreds of emails from climate scientists that appeared to show them distorting certain data.

What she doesn't bother to tell us is that the flaws "since proven correct" were trivial, inconsequential errors of attribution and one narrow substantive error which did not bear in any way on the overall conclusions, out of thousands of pages; and that the e-mails that "appeared to show them distorting certain data" actually did no such thing. She then goes on to quote a who's who of crank climate change deniers -- mostly from oil industry-funded think tanks -- heaping scorn on the report by making assertions which are simply false.

The corporate media will continue to cover the story in this way for as long as they are, well, corporate. But it's time for you to be very, very scared. And angry. We've just had the hottest decade, hottest year, hottest month, and hottest week on planet earth since we've been keeping records. And most of that heat is going into the ocean, where it has caused a long-term decline in phytoplankton, which in case you didn't know it is the fundamental basis for life on earth. It's why you can breathe. You don't have to take it from me:

The findings contribute to a growing body of scientific evidence indicating that global warming is altering the fundamentals of marine ecosystems. Says co-author Marlon Lewis, "Climate-driven phytoplankton declines are another important dimension of global change in the oceans, which are already stressed by the effects of fishing and pollution. Better observational tools and scientific understanding are needed to enable accurate forecasts of the future health of the ocean." Explains co-author Boris Worm, "Phytoplankton are a critical part of our planetary life support system. They produce half of the oxygen we breathe, draw down surface CO2, and ultimately support all of our fisheries.

It's one thing to be a psychopath, but to destroy the planet in the cause of greed -- I don't know what to call that.

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