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Climate Report

In a Jan. 30 Reuters article printed in the Sydney Morning Herald, the lead starts off seeming as if the reporter is telling us "World governments should take heed of the most wide-ranging scientific assessment so far of a human link to global warming and reach agreement on prompt action to slow the trend," until we see that the reporter is paraphrasing a comment from the chairman of a panel on UN report on global climate change.

The article is brief, and plucks the salient points from the report, mostly paraphrasing from either the report or the chairman. However, not all the paragraphs are attributed. For example, paragraph six reads, "Thirty-five industrial nations have signed up to the UN's Kyoto Protocol, capping emissions of carbon dioxide." Is that because it's a fact one can easily look up? The number I found by googling was 160, but that must include all countries, not just industrialized ones. The article ends on a dramatic note, also with information attributed to the UN report:

The UN report, the fourth of its kind, is expected to foresee temperatures rising by 2 to 4.5 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100, with a "best estimate" of a rise of 3 degrees celsius.

In another artice from the International Herald Tribune entitled, "Climate-change report expected to project rising temperatures and sea levels," we get a more details about the panel itself and the idea that there may be some disagreement over how to characterize the information:

But scientists involved in the effort warned that squabbling between teams and representatives from governments of more than 100 countries over how to portray the most probable rise in sea levels during the 21st century could distract from the basic finding that a warming world will be one in which retreating coasts are the new norm for centuries to come.

Both articles tend to emphasize the negative aspects of global warming, and I suspect that trend will continue in mainstream media as the public comes to accept that global warming is largely affected by human activities. As the chairman of the panel is quoted, "It would perhaps be no exaggeration to suggest that at no time in the past has there been a greater global appetite for knowledge on any subject as there is today on the scientific facts underlying the reality of global climate change."

For a glimpse at what our administration is up to on this front, read an excerpt from the hearing before before the Committee on House Oversight and Government Reform Tuesday, when a scientist answered questions about an alleged cover up of public information on the effects of climate change.