Climate change and trace gases

June 19, 2007 at 10:31 am | Posted in America, Britain, Climate change, Ghg, Greenhouse gases, Hansen, MSM, Newspaper, Public awareness, Royal Society, The Independent, UK, US | 9 Comments

Royal Society Publishing
Volume 365, Number 1856 / July 15, 2007

Can anyone tell me why Climate change and trace gases in the Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society is not getting much attention? Is it just too-o-o-o scary to contemplate, or too risky to comment on?

It was published online one month ago yesterday, 18 May 2007. Blogs that picked up on it seem to have received only one lonely comment, if they are lucky! The news is just making headlines in little-known Irish and Welsh sources as a result of today’s startling front page story by Steve Connor, Science Editor of The Independent:

Steve Connor, Science Editor of The Independent on The Earth today stands in imminent peril

The Earth today stands in imminent peril

…and nothing short of a planetary rescue will save it from the environmental cataclysm of dangerous climate change. Those are not the words of eco-warriors but the considered opinion of a group of eminent scientists writing in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Published: 19 June 2007

Six scientists from some of the leading scientific institutions in the United States have issued what amounts to an unambiguous warning to the world: civilisation itself is threatened by global warming.

Is this getting any airplay Stateside? Or is the team of scientists led by James Hansen considered too hot to handle?



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  1. I haven’t heard anything in the mass media about that paper. Then again, the media here doesn’t really report on any science topics unless it’s in a general journal like Science or Nature. I don’t remember them ever covering anything from Phil. Trans. R. Soc.. A 30 page article is a little much for the typical reporter to digest and disseminate to the public, even if it is by Hansen.

  2. Thanks for your insights, N. Johnson.

    Steve Connor is a great Science Editor and The Independent does excel at good exclusives, e.g. from Robert Fisk, as well as front page graphics that catch your eye on a newsstand.

    There is obviously a problem with the media when a Science Reporter (i.e. a professional writer paid to report on science) is not competent, or is prevented from, doing his job. If a science editor cannot manage to digest a 30-page article on science better than members of the public, no wonder we are in trouble in America.

  3. > Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society.

    They’ve got to do something about that name! That alone is enough to out off the average punter!

    But to the subject at hand; our precious mother earth. Earth will survive. It’s a different question regards human beings of course. The picture gets clearer all the time that we are in dire straits; tipping points reached and runaway positive feedbacks come to mind.

    To counter this mood I think this is why I came to the realisation last weekend that I needed to start my new blog, concentrating on positive environment news.

    Hugh negative stories simply paralyse people into inaction!

  4. I have to chuckle, because you are right about the name 🙂

    The Hansen research did appear elsewhere (NASA/GISS) but I think it got more traction in the UK because we have Science Editors who can handle such topics quite clearly. Unfortunately, the US cannot deal with a story like that in a straightforward fashion, due to politicization of most topics over there.

  5. at the 8th international Permaculture Convergence in Brazil primo june it was decided to set up a strategy for etstablishing a global strategy for global carbon sinks
    we are working on it and and planning for an exibition and a presentation at the COP 15 in Copenhagen in 2009
    Your paper will be an important part of that, so if you will be cooperating will we be very obliged

  6. George Monbiot has picked it up – he commented that his hands were shaking after he read it. I consider it potentially the most profound and alarming paper I’ve yet read on climate change.

  7. Hi Barry,

    Thanks for that link to Monbiot’s reflections on reading Hansen’s paper. I have shared feelings like this one described by Monbiot:

    I looked up from the paper, almost expecting to see crowds stampeding through the streets. I saw people chatting outside a riverside pub. The other passengers on the train snoozed over their newspapers or played on their mobile phones. Unaware of the causes of our good fortune, blissfully detached from their likely termination, we drift into catastrophe.

    Or we are led there.

    The more I discover about climate change, the more it seems we are living in two worlds:
    —one being an uncomfortable realisation of a reality we are ill-equipped to deal with but shall have to
    —the other being a fantasy world, full of immediate concerns and ‘busy-ness as usual’ that keeps us from addressing a looming climate problem. Meanwhile, the future we dread becomes a clearer present and the uncomfortable present becomes the past, full of missed opportunities to minimise future damage.

    Despite this, I am an eternal optimist, and am trying to take one step after another to reduce my family’s carbon footprint. We have recycled everything possible for the past 15 years, have recently signed up for electricity supplied from 100% renewables (and it was so easy I wish I had done it sooner), but I am still working on planting trees and offsetting flights 🙂

    Now Canadians are having the Hansen paper highlighted for them too, but I still have not seen much about this in the American press. (I shall look again.)

  8. as an answer to your question did we from the nordic peermaculture institute present an article about the “DANGLUSAUnistk” empire – the most destructive society ever on the globe.
    If you give me an address I´ll mail it to you

  9. Damn straight, it’s scary stuff.

    I’ve been looking around for serious criticisms of the paper, but have been unable to find any.

    I can tell you I’m not planning on buying a beach house any time soon.

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