Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Climate change good for some?

For some people a warming planet may bring benefits, for example, this as reported by Reuters, which explains how the melting permafrost of the northern Siberian plains is exposing mammoth and other fossil bones.

"Private collectors and scientific institutes will pay huge sums for the right specimen, and bone-prospectors like Vatagin have turned this region, eight time zones from Moscow, into a paleontological Klondyke."

It sounds like a major money making opportunity for the tiny "Yukagir ethnic group, whose numbers have dwindled to about 800 people". I have to confess that I'd never heard of them before, but bone hunting sounds much more interesting than reindeer herding.

It isn't just the wheels. It's what turns them.

Inspired by the Lib Dems' 'only carbon-free cars by 2050', and the notion that this would be via electric or hydrogen without being too clear on where these fuels came from, I dug out my Sunday clippings.

Listen up, there’s an electric buzz in the air

Great. I look forward to it all coming to pass.

But please, while the localised pollution advantages are clear, let no one pretend that there are no carbon emissions. The exhaust pipe is just in another place. OK, there's nuclear or renewables, but I don't think we are there yet.

And I'm not sure we will be even by the Lib Dem's 2050 cut-off for fossils in the tank.

It takes energy to get energy in a usable form into a car and to the wheels. You can't cheat nature.

Power cut — the stop-start history of the battery car

And just to be un-PC, let me pop in the lastest JC - The sausage dog with rottweiler bite

While I can't get with the shock-jock ratings digs now he is richer than Croesus and doesn't need the extra, I still believe him to be a good journo. So when he says such as this 'Another thing that’s beyond doubt is that you won’t be driving round in a hybrid, such as the Toyota Prius. These use just as much fuel as normal cars...' I take note, while I read this '.. and are designed only to assuage the guilt of people whose opinions come from a man so hopeless he couldn’t even beat George Bush to the White House' and think message vs. messenger. Whilst giggling a tad despite myself.

He's also not a big fan of electric. It's like he knew the other stories were coming out.

Forbes - Least Fuel-Efficient Hybrids - For balance. What worries me is the trend down as buyers find they don't live up to the hype. You wash with bad quality green, you get a stain.

Marketing Week - Car industry in uproar over cigarette-style ad controls - And it's all worked so well with fags. Should be interesting to see how this falls out.

We now have a choice between a future with a damaged world or a severely damaged world

So why the media silence?

During the early hours of this morning, almost certainly as a consequence of one too many beverages at my local, I was forced to make a visit to the small room. Bladder pressure duly relieved, I then decided, I don't know why, to proceed to the kitchen to make myself a brew, and sat down with the radio on a volume setting almost as low as possible. (Waking she who must be obeyed at that sort of hour could attract a death sentence!)

There was a report about a report that was predicting horrendous consequences for mankind as a direct result of climate change - you know the sort of stuff - millions dying from famine, water, food and oil wars, coastal cities inundated and permanently flooded, increasing typhoons & hurricanes, the extinction of some country states, and, up to [I think they said] 30% of all native species.

Well, I thought to myself, this is absolutely going to be wall to wall in the newspapers and on-line media tomorrow; it was the first time I had heard anything realistic on the Beeb reporting on the potential consequences of climate change, and it was really radical, hair raising stuff.

Yet, apart from this one article in today's Guardian, there is hardly a peep about it, and even this takes a very 'watered down' approach. I can't even find a mention on the BBC website.

"Mitigation has got all the attention but we cannot mitigate out of this problem. We now have a choice between a future with a damaged world or a severely damaged world." OK OK, I agree, that particular bit doesn't sound excessively watered down.

Now the report appears to be the next part (the fourth?) of the next bit of a series from the IPCC. Previous reports have taken up inordinate amounts of media space and coverage.

I'm a curious person, I can't help it. Does anybody out there have any ideas why the deafening media silence on this? Does the media think we can't take the scary scenario stories?
Addendum [Wed 19/9]:

Today has seen at least some reporting of the IPCC's latest report.

Here's the Telegraph's take on the report:
"Stopping global warming in its tracks is no longer feasible because about 1.1ºC of warming is already in the climate system"
"Ten years ago we were all talking about our children and grandchildren. Now when you look at these impacts they will be in the lifetimes of people in [this] room."

And the Indy's interpretation:
"substantial global impacts will occur, such as species extinctions, and millions of people at risk from drought, hunger, flooding."
"the effects of this rise are being felt sooner than anticipated with the poorest countries and the poorest people set to suffer the worst of shifts in rainfall patterns, temperature rises and the viability of agriculture across much of the developing world."

This from The Times:
"Action to limit the impact can only make the difference between moderate and severe damage rather than preventing it altogether."
"Failure to keep rises below 2C, the target of European governments, would leave up to two billion people facing water shortages and condemn at least 10 per cent of animal and plant species to extinction."

The BBC:
They did have something on their news site yesterday - I missed it. And it is very considered and un-emotive (and, I personally think, quite selective) in comparison to what was in the radio report early yesterday.
"And it's evident from the work of the IPCC that even with a maximum of 2C we're not going to avoid some major impacts at the regional level."
"estimate was that the rise could be constrained to between 2C and 3C."
"millions, if not tens of millions, would be at increased risk to their lives from a rise above 2C"

The report actually says millions will probably die as a result of a 2C rise which is now inevitable!

The Daily Mail:

The Express:

The Mirror:

The Financial Times:
Nothing that I can spot yet.

And this is a link to the actual report for anyone with the time to read the entire thing in full.

The clear thing is, the report implies that it is already too late even to mitigate against a 2C temperature rise, and efforts need to be made extremely urgently to prevent any additional temperature rise. It is clearly telling us that millions are probably going to die, and millions more will suffer major food and water deprivation and/or face migration elsewhere to survive.

It's a major wake up call to humanity, yet half of our media seem oblivious to reporting on it!
There was extensive reporting on the publication which came down on the 'climate change IS man made' side. Why so little on the first report that details the impacts that such climate change may have on mankind?

PR vs. Marketing

Sorry, Dilbert has no peer. Had to go up.

What goes up

This from via Brand Strategy's trends and news for September : DESIGN SPACE

The final frontier is getting closer for Virgin Galactic which unveiled its design for the world’s first spaceport this month. The design is the product of a partnership between global engineering design firm URS Corporation and London architects Foster + Partners and has ‘green’ credentials.

Please, please, could someone explain the association of 'green credentials' in a story about a spaceport to help punt a half dozen zillionaires into low orbit atop a cloud of [what? Last time I heard it wasn't nice stuff] just to have a Kodak moment.

8 out of 10 cats

I think the numbers cited here speak for themselves : What's Behind the Green Consumer Research?


'...a more robust labeling effort would make a difference.'

Fair, well-considered posts all. Thank you.

I am interested in labelling as this is becoming something of a cause du jour here in the UK, with all our usual national clarity of purpose.

I have joked (I hope) that a pack of kids' candies will soon need a CDR attached to carry all the various (and competing - we have several systems already up... and coming) decision-making background info we are deemed to need to act.

And I do question with that is ever going to happen, no matter how well, or consistently, it's shared at Point of Purchase.

Taking Care of Business - I asked if we could join. Which would make two. Little acorns...

The six sins of Greenwashing

I am grateful to a poster on Brand Republic who shares this, as he says, on of all things, a US Government procurement site (though it does look like he wrote it) - Beware of Greenwashing: Not All Environmental Claims are Meaningful

Can't fault it much.

Words and needs

This is a comment as much about reporting/editorial techniques as the actual content: Modified crops a must if India to feed itself: official

I don't know about you, but I first read that as meaning 'it' was 'official', which seemed quite significant. If it's some bod (no matter how senior) who said it, then that's a little less so.

That said, it raises an interesting set of dilemmas, and again pits two distinct groups more used to being the liberal darlings against each other. On the one hand there are the organic brigade, to whom any mention of GM is anathema, but then there is the 'simply feeding folk' brigade, who may not be quite so worried about the source of the mocha blend.

Whilst having empathy with the practical motivations of the latter, yet still acknowledging the 'mess with nature' cautions of the former, I simply note that no matter how much you tune a bean to squirt out its maximum nutritional resources, if there are more and more of 'us' still coming, a limit will surely get reached one day, whatever science can do.