There’s an interesting story making its way around the science blogosphere, involving the fallout from a whopping error in a recent NGO report that was (before the error became publicly known) widely picked up by the press. Charlie Petit at Science Journalism Tracker gets to the nub of it here:
The news is that this week an NGO based in Argentina, the Universal Ecological Fund, released a report on the peril for world food production as global temperatures rise. Serious topic. The authoring org. appears to be earnest (if not diligent). It got wide pickup. However, the grave report, aside from its crop and food price worries, also declared that at current rates of emissions, CO2 in the atmosphere will reach about 490 parts per million by the year 2020 (it’s now just shy of 400). That’s pretty much wrong. What’s totally wrong is its deduction that this translates to a temperature rise of 2.4 C by 2020.
Suzanne Goldenberg at the Guardian seems to be one of the few reporters who took a more critical look at the NGO’s false assertions. Another environmental journalist–Stephen Leahy–had an advance peek at the report and tried warning the NGO of its errors, but it refused to listen.
Gavin Schmidt over at Real Climate says the whole debacle
has lessons for NGOs, the press, and the public.
But he never really elaborates on what these lessons are. He does, however, absolve the NGO from acting in bad faith:
It has to be acknowledged that people sometimes make genuine mistakes without having any desire to mislead or confuse, and that this is most likely the case here.
Hmm. Here’s another way to look at it, as reported by Charlie Petit at Science Journalism tracker:
Leahy even tried to save the report’s authors before they derailed themselves in public. Having seen the report’s advance material, he warned its author and the public relations company promoting it of the error. He tells us, “I used up (the) better part of 2 or 3 days of my time and still they went ahead with the release”¦ they think it is better to have a conversation on this than to be right.”
So what’s the lesson here?
On green tech, asserts Michael Levi:
China is not crushing the United States in a clean energy race. And this myth isn’t merely wrong — it is also dangerous. Unwarranted fears of a clean energy competition threaten to spur a protectionist wave in the United States while squelching cooperation between the two countries — all of which will make it much tougher to develop the robust clean energy economy that the world needs.
Somewhere inside this castle is the sound of a very loud grumbling noise.
Here’s a good one from Fox Nation:
Dems Panicked over “Climategate” Probe
You might think the reference is to Congressional Democrats, but you would be wrong.
However, there is mounting evidence that some bloggers are getting antsy for House Republicans to get on with their promised climate carnival.
I love the title of this blog I just discovered:
Global Change Watch: Peak Energy, Climate Change, and the Collapse of Global Civilization
Any guesses (from the doomsday-is-imminent crowd) as to which will upend life as we know it first: peak energy or climate change?
Kiss celebrity ass.
Lots of it:
Mr. Eng posts about 65 items per day, seven days a week, from the moment he wakes up “” sometimes at 5 a.m. Sometimes he doesn’t sleep.
Well, I got the no-sleeping part down, but that’s called kidz!
So this nice-guy celebrity blogger lured 3.3 million unique visitors to his site in December. His closest competitor, the not-so-nice Perez Hilton snagged 2.2 million unique visitors. Folks, the larger story here is: why do people eat this crap up?