The UN Panel Report on Global Warming: Is anyone Listening?

Credit: ReutersStringer

If you’ve been keeping up with news about the environment, you’re perhaps aware of this week’s biggest news event, not the elusive search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, or the status quo of Ukraine, or the achieved pinnacle of 7 million enrollees under the Affordable Health Care Act, but the dismal impact studies just completed of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  At least this is as it should be, though you’d never know it, given the paucity of TV coverage of the Panel’s exhaustive findings (32 volumes summarized in 49 pages).

Turns out that yesterday’s coverage of the Panel’s released findings by news cable giants CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News was virtually absent, according to media monitoring service, TV Eyes, scanning Monday’s coverage between 6 a.m. and noon: CNN, 40 seconds; MSNBC, 20 seconds; and no surprise, Fox News’s total silence.

Only new comer Al Jazeera America zeroed in on the report, featuring an in depth analysis of the substantial effects of global warming on Bangladesh, which has been battling rising sea levels.

One of the Panel’s projections deals with emerging migrant hoards seeking refuge in other countries.  I didn’t see Al Jazeera’s footage, but I’m aware that India is feverishly building a wall to stem the influx of Bangladesh refugees. (By the way, if you like your news unbiased, al Jazeera is your best bet.)

This sad scenario of media indifference mirrors the largely disturbing absence of the American public’s concern with the issue of global warming, humanity’s greatest threat to its survival since its inauguration into the nuclear age in 1945 and the subsequent threat of nuclear proliferation.

For many, it comes down to jobs vs. environment, or the prioritizing of entitlement interests when the fact is that poverty is likely to grow, not diminish, and affect even the richer nations as global warming’s exponential effects take hold in the guise of drought, record heat waves, forest fires, fierce storms, reduced food production, disease and social violence. Global warming’s incipient effects are already impacting plants and animals and acidifying the oceans with deadly consequences for marine life.

Humans are the primary instigators of global warming, with carbon emissions continuing to rise, and China, the U. S., and India leading the way. Here in my state of Kentucky with its coal slave mentality, the state government has just cut annual coal mine inspections down from 6 to 4.  Sadly, I live in a state where many cars sport specialized plates, bearing “Friends of Coal,” and power companies wage incessant scare propaganda equating coal reduction with rising energy costs and job reduction instead of implementing focused research on clean coal technology.  As I write, a Kentucky coal ash plant has been caught by hidden camera dumping coal ash into the Ohio River and is being sued by the Sierra Club and Land Justice.

Again, Kentucky isn’t alone, but part of a mind-sweep that embraces America. For example, initiatives to promote recycling by outlawing plastic bags are continually defeated even in more friendly environmental places like Seattle.  (I have to confess I feel conspicuous, a seemingly rare upstart, when carrying my cloth bags into Krogers.)

In drought plagued California, swimming pools still adorn Malibu, ball parks sport well manicured grass, and golf courses like Pebble Beach and Cypress Point Club nurture their resplendent greens, even as farmers curtail their crops and California’s biggest cash crop of almond and walnut groves lie in dusty peril.

Golf interests say water consumption amounts to only 1% of California’s total, but omit a plethora of other environmental burdens like fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, which contribute to contamination of groundwater aquifers and surface waters.

This may seem off the subject, but there’s a new movie in town, Noah, that’s been drawing crowds, grossing $42 million in its initial weekend viewing. I bring it up because in my youthful days of religiosity I remember it took the biblical Noah a year to build the ark and round up the selected progeny of animals (although it escapes me as to what happened to the plants, since there’s no clear indication of their inclusion, though all the animals taken in were herbivores).

Anyway, the guy must have seemed some kind of crazy.  After all, the earth, nourished by mist, hadn’t ever experienced rain before. The gospel of Luke (17:25-27, KJV) makes analogy to Noah and his time, saying

As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.

Looks like Hollywood missed a golden opportunity of transforming an ancient saga of environmental survival into a film of contemporary relevance.

–rj

 

About RJ

Retired English prof (Ph. D., UNC), who likes to garden, blog, pursue languages (especially Spanish) and to share in serious discussion on vital issues such as global warming, the role of government, energy alternatives, etc. Am a vegan and, yes, a tree hugger enthusiastically. If you write me, I'll answer.
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