First published by GR in June 2018
“To ignore evil is to become an accomplice” (Martin Luther King)
Humans are of the Earth, physically adapted to its range of climates, gravity, radiation, electro-magnetic field and composition of the atmosphere. Had there ever been a single critical issue science has conveyed, it is that altering the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere can only bear fatal consequences for nature and humanity.
This scientific projection is holding true: it is estimated that, to date, some 150,000 to 400,000 people world-wide have perished each year due to direct and indirect effects of global warming1. This includes, for example, 1833 people in New Orleans, possibly up to 5000 in Puerto Rico, 6329 by typhoon Haiyan in the Philippine―the list goes on. Although these events have been documented in detail, the silence in most of the mainstream media regarding the connection between global warming on the one hand and the rising spate of hurricanes, storms and fires on the other, is deafening.
Figure 1. Average CO2 and Methane: 1800 – 2017. NASA.2
Figure 2. Mean global temperature: 1880-2017. NASA.3
Atmospheric CO2 levels is rising at a rate of 2 to 3 parts per million per year (Figure 1) while mean global temperature has accelerated between 1998 and 2016, rising by about 0.4 degrees Celsius (Figure 2). The projected trend, inducing large-scale melting of the Greenland, west and east Antarctic ice sheets, many meters-scale sea level rise and a rising spate of hurricanes, storms, heat waves, fires and droughts, commenced in the 20th century, threatens to render large parts of the planet uninhabitable.
Which is what climate science has been projecting over the last 40 years or so4. The message, refused by vested interests and ignored or only paid lip service to by the political and economic powers, has also been overlooked by millions of people due to part cover-up by much of the media. Business as usual and a bread and circuses culture continue unabated. Many understand the climate message but feel powerless, voting for parties that, under false promises, end up taking little or no effective measures at reduction of carbon emissions.
In so far as there is hope a majority of people will understand global warming is transcending the very life support systems of the planet, it is when they face the rise in extreme weather events. That this to date is not the case is the responsibility of the mainstream media, since, although climate science clearly indicates the rise in carbon emissions is responsible for the rise in extreme weather events5, rarely does the media include the terms “climate change” or “global warming” in reporting these events only. By contrast, expressions such as “one in 100 or 1000 year event” are common6.
Climate science and scientists are rarely represented on media panels, by contrast to science infotainment programs where attractive celebrities promote space travel to the planets and beyond. The promotion by the media of outer space travel and the conquest of planets constitute one of the biggest distractions from the global climate emergency7.
Through the media vested interests and their political and journalistic mouthpieces have been proliferating untruths regarding the causes and consequences of global warming. With few exceptions the mainstream media continues to propagate half-truths, or remain silent, or deal mainly with related economic issues, as if anything like the present economy could survive under +4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial conditions. Whenever the term “future” is expressed in the media and in Parliaments, it is rare that a caveat is made regarding the effects of global warming, given the currently 2 to 3-fold rise in extreme weather events8.
With exceptions, little or no information is given in the mainstream media regarding what the future holds under +2 or +4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures, projected by the IPCC to take place within this century, which would render large parts of the planet uninhabitable. Likewise, with exceptions, rarely does most of the mainstream media report the global consequences of a nuclear exchange. In the lack of detailed information and warning by the Forth Estate, the world is being led blindly toward collapse9.
Dr Andrew Glikson, Earth and Paleo-climate scientist, ANU School of Anthropology and Archaeology, ANU Climate Change Institute, ANU Planetary Science Institute, Honorary Associate Professor, Geothermal Energy Centre of Excellence, University of Queensland. Dr. Andrew Glikson is a frequent contributor to Global Research.