New York Times environmental reporter Justin Gillis declared yet another "global warming" emergency in his latest monthly "By Degrees" column, "Scientists Sound Alarm on Climate," on the front of Tuesday's Science Times section. The text box read: "A stark new report is intended to awaken the public to the urgency of the threat to the planet."
Gillis, who works as an apocalyptic climate activist from his journalist perch at the Times, profiled Dr. Mario Molina, who alerted the world to the hazards that chloroflurocarbons posed to the ozone layer, but now sees an even greater threat to the planet, as shown in a report given before official release to the sympathetic Gillis.
Now, at 70, Dr. Molina is trying to awaken the public to an even bigger risk. He is spearheading a committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society, which will release a stark report Tuesday on global warming.
The report will warn that the effects of human emissions of heat-trapping gases are already being felt, that the ultimate consequences could be dire, and that the window to do something about it is closing.
“The evidence is overwhelming: Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising,” says the report, which was made available early to The New York Times. “Temperatures are going up. Springs are arriving earlier. Ice sheets are melting. Sea level is rising. The patterns of rainfall and drought are changing. Heat waves are getting worse, as is extreme precipitation. The oceans are acidifying.”
In a sense, this is just one more report about global warming in a string going back decades. For anybody who was already paying attention, the report contains no new science. But the language in the 18-page report, called “What We Know,” is sharper, clearer and more accessible than perhaps anything the scientific community has put out to date.
Gillis's word choice is telling, promoting scientists as political activists using their authority to force action on "climate change."
The scientists are essentially trying to use their powers of persuasion to cut through public confusion over this issue.
Polls show that most Americans are at least somewhat worried about global warming. But people generally do not understand that the problem is urgent -- that the fate of future generations (not necessarily that far in the future) is being determined by emission levels now. Moreover, the average citizen tends to think there is more scientific debate about the basics than there really is.
The report emphasizes that the experts have come to a consensus, with only a few dissenters. “Based on well-established evidence, about 97 percent of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening,” it says.
Economist David Friedman recently eviscerated that 97% claim as false.
Gillis threw out a few dire "possibilities," such as "severe food shortages," "droughts and floods; and a large-scale extinction of plants and animals." Then he blamed the public for being "confused about the science," instead of confessing that radical environmentalists are facing a backlash from their decades of doom-saying. He also found scientists at fault for just being too nuanced in the face of the dishonest "fossil-fuel industry," i.e. the people who provide the energy that makes the world work:
Global warming has been much harder to understand, not least because of a disinformation campaign financed by elements of the fossil-fuel industry.
But the new report is a recognition among scientists that they bear some responsibility for the confusion -- that their well-meaning attempts to convey all the nuances and uncertainties of a complex field have obscured the core message about risks. The report reflects their resolve to try again, by clearing the clutter.
Will the American people hear the message this time?
Environmentalist professor Bjørn Lomborg has more criticism of Gillis's journalism .