NY Times and ABC: Global Warming Inevitable, So Pay Up

April 2nd, 2007 4:41 PM

     Global warming catastrophe is coming, according to “World News Sunday” on ABC, and The New York Times wants rich nations to spring for the costs.

     “Scientists say the world’s temperature will rise about two degrees in the next 50 years no matter what we do, but if we act now it might level off after that,” said ABC’s Bill Blakemore on April 1. Blakemore has spoken out publicly about his views on global warming, accepting the claim that “civilization as we know it is over.”

     The April 1 Times was in agreement: “[T]he panel said that decades of warming and rising seas were inevitable with the existing greenhouse-gas buildup, no matter what was done about cutting future greenhouse gas emissions.”

     Blakemore’s report warned that with two degrees of warming, “as many as one and a half billion people might not have enough water.”

     Blakemore quoted the predictions of Peter Schwartz, who said warming will affect “already overstretched societies” like Bangladesh with massive disruption. Schwartz warned of a potential refugee crisis “like the world has never seen.” According to the Web site for Schwartz’s Global Business Network, he is a futurist, business strategist and author.

     Blakemore’s report included calls for curbing emissions and learning to adapt as the temperatures rise in the next 50 years, but the ABC reporter stopped short of demanding rich nations spend even more, unlike the Times story by Andrew C. Revkin.

     The theme of Revkin’s article was that rich governments need to spend more money to assist poor nations with climate change, and tens of millions simply isn’t enough.

     “[D]espite longstanding treaty commitments to help poor countries deal with warming, these industrial powers are spending just tens of millions of dollars on ways to limit climate and coastal hazards in the world’s most vulnerable regions,” wrote Revkin.

     The Times writer quoted Kevin Watkins, director of the United Nations Human Development Report Office, who said the $40 million that is being spent on adaptation projects in the most vulnerable places “borders on the derisory.”

     Revkin’s article explained that rich countries are “far ahead” of other countries in adapting to changing climate, citing the availability of genetically modified crops. But the reporter buried the explanation of how governments are preventing the same types of crops from being grown in developing regions.

     “[T]he European Union still opposes efforts to sell such modified grains in Africa and other developing regions,” Revkin wrote in the last column of his story.

     So instead of criticizing government decisions that prevent African nations and other developing countries from useful tools and technology, Revkin suggested wealthy nations were being selfish.

     Media pressure for more government spending on climate change is nothing new. Back in October, the Business & Media Institute reported that journalists were calling for the U.S. to spend about $180 billion per year after a British report predicted a worldwide economic slowdown caused by global warming.