CBS Serves Up Some Whine with Global Warming

Now look what we've done! The global warming we've caused will ruin Napa Valley wine!

That's what CBS would have you believe as it picked up on a new study arguing pretty much that global warming will wipe out 80 percent of America's vineyards. But other global warming believers doubt the study's conclusions and vintners argue they can keep producing wine in warmer climes with improved technology.

For my full article, click here. Below is an excerpt:

Global warming may doom the Napa Valley, CBS News warned its July 12 “Evening News” audience. Yet correspondent John Blackstone excluded any scientists, including those who otherwise believe in man-made global warming, who warn that new computer models are conclusive or don’t match up against recorded climate patterns.

“New research says global warming threatens to make the Napa Valley too hot to make fine wine,” Blackstone warned. A new study by Purdue University’s Noah Diffenbaugh, Blackstone added, predicts that “across the country global warming could destroy more than 80 percent of the best vineyards.”

But scientists who had a skeptical take on Diffenbaugh’s conclusions were missing from Blackstone’s report.

In a July 11 article on Diffenbaugh’s study, San Francisco Chronicle environment reporter Jane Kay cited University of Alabama’s John Christy and the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s (NCAR) Kenneth Trenberth as skeptics of Diffenbaugh’s conclusions.

Christy found “that using a model to reproduce past observations” was not “successful for the years 1910-2003” when calculating central California climate changes for a recent study published in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate, Kay reported.

“I would not base economic decisions on the output of regional predictions from these models,” Christy told the Chronicle. “As Alabama’s state climatologist, I’ve watched agriculture closely during these past 20 years, and I’ve seen how farmers have applied clever adaptations to overcome many negative impacts on their produce, including those from climate variations.”

“Models are not good enough for this purpose in my view,” agreed NCAR climate analyst Kevin E. Trenberth, who is no global warming skeptic. Kay added that most of Trenberth’s colleagues “don’t yet accept predictions of future effects on crops,” even though they believe in melting glaciers producing “rising sea levels.”

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.