The Orange County Register has been perceived for years by liberals, moderates, and environmentalists as unbalanced, even extremist, in its denial of global climate change, and the consensus among the vast majority of scientists that human contributions have the greatest impact on global climate change. It is common for the Register to hype the rantings of an outlier scientist to claim that the science on global climate change is far from settled. You don’t have to look too far in the last week to seethe evidence supporting the stark reality of the blatant bias that is pervasive in their coverage of this issue.
This week, we have seen the release of a report from NASA that the collapse of the Western Antartic ice sheet has already begun and is likely irreversible.
From the Guardian.com on Monday:
“A large sector of the western Antarctic ice sheet has gone into a state of irreversible retreat. It has passed the point of no return,” Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at Nasa and the University of California, Irvine, told a conference call. “This retreat will have major consequences for sea level rise worldwide.”
The collapse of the Western Antarctica ice sheet is already under way and is unstoppable, two separate teams of scientists said on Monday.
The glaciers’ retreat is being driven by climate change and is already causing sea-level rise at a much faster rate than scientists had anticipated.
The loss of the entire western Antarctica ice sheet could eventually cause up to 4 metres (13ft) of sea-level rise, devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world. But the researchers said that even though such a rise could not be stopped, it is still several centuries off, and potentially up to 1,000 years away.
The two studies, by NASA and the University of Washington, looked at the ice sheets of western Antarctica over different periods of time.
The NASA researchers focused on melting over the last 20 years, while the scientists at the University of Washington used computer modelling to look into the future of the western Antarctic ice sheet.
But both studies came to broadly similar conclusions – that the thinning and melting of the Antarctic ice sheet has begun and cannot be halted, even with drastic action to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
They also suggest that recent accumulation of ice in Antarctica was temporary.
But rather than cover this major development, which clearly and dramatically contradicts an editorial commentary written by their former “resident climate change skeptic” Mark Landsbaum three days earlier, they let Mr. Landsbaum’s irrational rant stand as their only coverage of recent climate change science.
To make matters worse, quick and simple google research of Landsbaum’s citations reveal that the claims made by his cited scientist have been revised and the scientist has withdrawn from the IPCC study as an author.
From a story at ClimateScienceWatch.org:
The following is from a guest post by Climate Nexus:
Outlier Scientist Seeks Spotlight as New IPCC Report Outlines Climate Risks
As hundreds of scientists work to come to consensus on a summary of global climate change impacts and vulnerabilities, an outlier scientist has sought a larger spotlight for his fringe views. The Working Group II (WGII) report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to be released in Japan on March 31, highlights the grave risks we face as the climate changes. But some news coverage previewing the release has focused on the views of Dr. Richard Tol, an IPCC author who opted to withdraw from the author team drafting the report summary (known as the Summary for Policymakers) due to what he claimed were the “alarmist” nature of early drafts. This wasn’t a last-minute debate — Tol withdrew last year, although media have only recently shown interest. In fact, the summary is a conservative portrayal of the state of climate science understanding.
Tol’s outlier views underscore the IPCC’s role as a consensus document, attempting to bring in as many diverse viewpoints as possible. That includes those such as Tol with connections to climate skeptic groups. Tol may have been dissatisfied with this process, but he had the same opportunity as any scientist.
The report ultimately reflects the fact that Tol’s work is outside the mainstream. According to a leaked copy of the current draft, the report finds that the impacts of climate change are and will continue to be negative. It doesn’t “conceal” the benefits of climate change in localized areas, but it makes it clear that the balance of impacts is harmful overall. The report also shows there are limits to the potential for adaptation.
Rather than debate on the science, the Register seems hellbent on sticking with political dogma and flat-earth beliefs. The unfortunate reality is that global climate change has had, and is currently having, a major effect on our planet. To deny that humans have contributed in a measurably significant way to both the cause and accelleration of global temperatures is the equivalent of denying that air, specifically oxygen, is necessary for human survival because you cannot see the air.
Landsbaum’s position appears to be that, even if there is some truth to global warming and that humans have and continue to contribute to it, regulations to help reduce our U.S. contributions to the advancement of global warming are pointless since other countries like China will not take the same steps to solve the problem. Landsbaum’s denialism goes even deeper. He concludes in his most recent rant, that “creatures prefer to migrate to warmer locales, not colder ones.” The image below best sums up the position of both Mark Landsbaum and the Orange County Register on the topic of global climate change.