Monday, May 07, 2007

Coverage of IPCC WGIII SPM release

Wow that's a lot of acronyms in that title. But I'm sure the savvy readers of ClimateSpin know them all by now. The Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC Working Group III report was released on Friday, May 4th. Working Group III "assesses options for limiting greenhouse gas emissions and otherwise mitigating climate change." I'll look at the coverage here and update this post during the week.

Washington Post: article by Marc Kaufman. (What happened to Juliet Eilperin who was doing all the climate coverage at the Post?) The opening paragraph echo's a lot of the coverage I've seen:
An international scientific panel for the first time yesterday put a price tag on what it would take to avoid the worst effects of global warming, concluding that the effort would be affordable and would be partially offset by economic and other benefits.

The message that doing something is, well, doable got its first real airing with coverage of this report and this article is a good example. There's the usual Bush administration negative quote in this case that the aggressive $100/ton carbon tax examined in the report is out of the question. Kaufman seems to fault the report for looking at several options without recommending any of them. But the overall tone is that we must do something and it won't be calamitous.

NYTimes: coverage by Andrew Revkin and Seth Mydans. The opening paragraph here is not as hopeful as the Post:
The world’s established and emerging powers will need to divert substantially from today’s main energy sources within a few decades, to limit centuries of rising temperatures and seas driven by the buildup of heat-trapping emissions in the air, the top body studying climate change has concluded.

"divert substantially"? That sounds hard. But the article doesn't really get in to the details of that and gets much better in its tone. I really like this quote from one of the WGIII authors: “We can no longer make the excuse that we need to wait for more science, or the excuse that we need to wait for more technologies and policy knowledge,” said Adil Najam, an author of one chapter and an associate professor of international negotiation at Tufts University. “To me,” he said, “the big message is that we now have both, and we do not need to wait any longer.”
Another high point is this explanation of the cost of delay:
The report also made clear the risks of delay, noting that emissions of greenhouse gases have risen 70 percent just since 1970, and could rise another 90 percent by 2030 if nothing is done.

Carbon dioxide is particularly important, not only because so much is produced each year — about 25 billion tons — but because much of it persists in the atmosphere, building like unpaid credit-card debt.

"unpaid credit-card debt" is a great analogy. Much better then the alliterative "procrastination penalty".

Chicago Tribune: The most positive article yet comes from Tribune foreign correspondent Laurie Goering. Here is the opening paragraph:
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which up to now has laid out some doomsday global warming scenarios, had some good news Friday: Climate change can be limited, and at what scientists said would be a reasonable price.

The title was "UN climate panel: Fix is within reach" and the sub-title was:
"A new report says humans can easily limit global warming without cooling the economy." The article is upbeat throughout, save for the typical Bush adminstration skeptic quote about "global recession". Why don't those guys have to show their work?

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