Global Weirding News of the Week: Global Weirding is Here, Cancun News, Failure of the Press…

There is more global weirding news streaming through my news feeds every week than I could ever cover in depth here on Planetsave. There are a number of pieces every week that I wish I had more time for but, unfortunately, just don’t. So, I think I am going to get back to weekly news wrap-ups in order to at least share such stories with you in this less-than-ideal format. Check out this week’s must-sees.

As Cancun climate talks plod along, the world copes with Hell and High Water

As the world’s environmental ministers arrive in Cancun, Mexico, for the 19th year of negotiations to address global warming pollution, new climate disasters are killing people across the planet.  IPCC chief Dr. Rajendra Pachauri warned Friday at a forum on communicating climate science that the impacts of climate change are here and now.

Colombian leader cancels climate conference trip after flooding

Colombia’s president says devastating flooding forced him to cancel his scheduled trip to the United Nations climate change conference in Mexico this week — even though global warming itself could be causing the disaster his country faces.

Incoming House Science Chair Ralph Hall: “We have some real challenges; we have the global warming or global freezing”

The “good news” is Dana “dinosaur flatulence” Rohrabacher (R-CA) lost his bid for House Science Chair.  The sobering news is that the winner is only marginally better.

Brazil best, Canada worst in climate index

Canada, the United States and China rank near the bottom of a global climate change performance index released this week by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe….

Cancún climate change summit: Leaked documents reveal alternative deal

Move by Mexican presidency, Europe and Pacific island states to prepare new negotiating text has outraged developing nations….

Benin to GOP deniers: “We are crushed by the impact of climate change”

Catastrophic rains this fall put two-thirds of Benin underwater, as “the worst floods in living memory” killed at least 60 people, left 150,000 people homeless, and caused an outbreak of cholera.  “Areas previously thought not to be vulnerable to flooding have been devastated and villages wiped out.”

No, that story didn’t get much attention in this country — which isn’t a big shock given that the media largely ignored deluges in countries that are considered far more important to American security (see Juan Cole: The media’s failure to cover “the great Pakistani deluge” is “itself a security threat” to America).  Many deniers in this country simple dismiss the threat.  At the start of the Cancun climate talks, four Republican senators, led Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OIL), wrote a letter arguing the scientific findings about “eventual impacts of climate change in developing countries were found to be exaggerated or simply not true.”

Brazilian state’s success in reducing deforestation a lesson in vision, persistence for Cancún talks

What’s particularly impressive about Acre is the political stability it has achieved in the past dozen years, after a tumultuous past.  This is primarily due to the Workers’ Party (PT) winning the governor’s office in 1998, bringing to power the group of people who formed the social movement and stood off ranchers and their gunmen to protect the forest with legendary rubber tapper, union leader and environmentalist Chico Mendes.

Environment Secretary Eufran Amaral gave a detailed breakdown of what the state has achieved through the Workers’ Party’s three terms in government (and about to start a fourth).  The state has increased its GDP while decreasing deforestation, and has built the basis for a sustainable forest-based economy….

Where is the Press? Amy Goodman Reports From the Empty Media Center at UN Climate Summit

Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was startled to find the press room the U.N. Climate Change Conference eerily quiet this week. Rows and rows of computers sat unused. At last year’s climate meeting in Copenhagen, the room was buzzing with hundreds of reporters.

However today, climate change seems to be a forgotten story. Thus, it was not surprising to find that the major TV broadcast networks in the United States seemed to be ignoring the conference. Democracy Now! producers reviewed the transcripts of last week’s evening news broadcasts on ABC, CBS and NBC in the United States, and found that the Cancún climate talks were not mentioned a single time….

Sinking icons highlight how climate changes threatens us all

Cancun – 8 December 2010 – In a symbolic activity, to illustrate that climate change threatens us all, Greenpeace today immersed models of iconic global structures (1) in the sea off Cancun – adding a twist to the resort city’s coastal horizon….

David Rose’s climate science writing shows he has not learned from previous mistakes

Articles in the Mail on Sunday show the same uncritical reliance on dodgy sources that caused David Rose’s catastrophic mistakes about Iraq….

New Mexico Passes Carbon Plan for 25% below 1990 levels by 2020

Despite powerful opposition from the fossil fuel industry in court, a non-profit environmental organization, New Energy Economy, has succeeded in getting New Mexico to adopt a clean energy plan designed to reduce carbon emissions 25% below 1990 levels by 2020….

How to explain Milankovitch cycles to a hostile Congressman in 30 seconds

I’ve long been a fan of Richard Alley. Not just because of his rendition of Geoman, possibly the nerdiest song in the history of science. I consider his lecture, The Biggest Control Knob: Carbon Dioxide in Earth’s Climate System, must-watch viewing for anyone interested in climate and wishing to understand past climate change at a much deeper and richer level….

Arctic Death Spiral 2010: Navy’s oceanographer tells Congress, “the volume of ice as of last September has never been lower…in the last several thousand years”

The death spiral of Arctic sea ice continued this year, according to both observations and modeling.  The figure above comes from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.  In September, NSIDC’s director Mark Serreze said, “The volume of ice left in the Arctic likely reached the lowest ever level this month” and “I stand by my previous statements that the Arctic summer sea ice cover is in a death spiral. It’s not going to recover.”…

Matt Davies: Official Global Warming Debunking Tool

Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change

“I take it as a given that climate change is an imminent threat and potentially catastrophic,” Peter Calthorpe declares in the first sentence of the first chapter of this short and direct book. “The science is now clear that we are day by day contributing to our own demise.”

To avoid a dismal fate, Calthorpe argues, we will have to realize something that many Americans have yet to understand: “Urbanism is the most cost-effective solution to climate change.” Compact, walkable development, backed up by simple conservation technologies, “can have a major impact in reducing carbon emissions and energy demand.”…

U.N. report that 2010 in top three hottest years on record foreshadows long term trend

This year, 2010, is almost certain to rank in the top three hottest years since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850, the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported today at the U.N. climate negotiations in Cancún.  The WMO also announced that the last decade (2001-2010) is the warmest 10-year period ever recorded.

But the record warmth is not surprising, according to EDF Scientist Lisa Moore

The deniers were half right: The Met Office Hadley Centre had flawed data — but it led them to UNDERestimate the rate of recent global warming

Of course, everybody but the anti-science disinformers have known for a long time that the Hadley/CRU (Climatic Research Unit) temperature data UNDERestimates — not OVERestimates — the recent global temperature rise.  Their data excludes “the place on Earth that has been warming fastest” (see “Why are Hadley and CRU withholding vital climate data from the public?” and “What exactly is polar amplification and why does it matter?“).   NASA’s James Hansen has made this point for years….

NY Times reposts Inhofe’s gleeful disinformation — with no balance at all

I have long said blogging is problematic for professional journalists (see “What exactly is the difference between journalism and blogging?“).

But if reporters are going to blog — if their editors are going to insist on it as part of their jobs — then they have to make some semblance to not be mere stenographers.  The New York TimesGreen blog is not PR Newswire….

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