OC Register Hardly Fair or Balanced on Global Climate Change coverage

Icebergs

Icebergs

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.

hear-see-speak-no-evil

  11 comments for “OC Register Hardly Fair or Balanced on Global Climate Change coverage

  1. junior
    May 16, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Colder Winters Held Dawn of New Ice Age
    Scientists See Ice Age In the Future
    The Washington Post – Washington, D.C.
    Author: Washington Post Staff Writer; By David R. Boldt
    Date: Jan 11, 1970
    “Get a good grip on your long johns, cold weather haters–the worst may be yet to come. That’s the long-long-range weather forecast being given out by “climatologists.” the people who study very long-term world weather trends.”

    It was “settled science” back then as well.

  2. May 16, 2014 at 9:34 am

    44 years ago. We were supposed to have flying cars by now too. That’s the thing about science. New research sometimes reveals new evidence that leads to new conclusions. I don’t see hospitals using blood-letting anymore either, though leeches are making a comeback for certain maladies.

  3. May 16, 2014 at 11:44 am

    That right-wing talking point about “scientists predicting a global ice-age in the 70’s” is just BS.
    The real truth is that between 1965-1979, 62% of scientists predicted WARMING TRENDS only 10% predicted cooling and 28% took no stance.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/ice-age-predictions-in-1970s.htm

    Of course that won’t matter to the “juniors” of this country, they only believe what their right-wing media masters want them to believe and the FACTS-BE-DAMNED.

  4. MikeM128
    May 16, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Chris,

    If you want to see and read stories based upon you ideology you are best to stick with the Times and NBC.

    NBC covers the fires in San Diego and makes it a story about global warming. Why don’t we go for the ultimate combo of subjects. Headline – Gay marriage causes global warming.

    Better yet you need to listen to the BBC News. They want us to give up our cars and walk.

    I have given up on all of it. Agenda based news is just boring to me.

    • May 17, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      Mike,

      This story has been covered by most media organizations. I suppose that Fox News probably avoided the report, hence the reference to “Fair and Balanced” in the story headline.

      There is no question about the reality of human impact on the global climate. Landsbaum, and I suppose people like you, would prefer to simply throw up their hands and suggest that, since there is not a way to completely reverse global climate change, we do nothing and continue with business as usual.

  5. Sherree
    May 16, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    What do you expect from that “Weekly Reader” of a community paper? Every Sunday, I read at the editorial pages with a combination of revulsion and bemusement, wondering what frothing-at-the-mouth rightwing claptrap they’ll throw at me. The OC Reg one week proclaimed the Fair Pay Act was a solution in search of a problem. The paper plays to its base of aging, white male readers who want not to be informed, let alone challenged. And forget an alternative POV.

  6. Robert Lauten
    May 16, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Should we pray to the Sun God for less heat or more heat?
    Is it global warming or global cooling?
    They’re both Climate Change.

  7. junior
    May 17, 2014 at 7:36 am

    Could it be that disagreements over climate change are essentially political—and that science is just carried along for the ride? For 20 years, evidence about global warming has been directly and explicitly linked to a set of policy responses demanding international governance regimes, large-scale social engineering, and the redistribution of wealth. These are the sort of things that most Democrats welcome. Think about it: The results of climate science, delivered by scientists who are overwhelmingly Democratic, are used over a period of decades to advance a political agenda that happens to align precisely with the ideological preferences of Democrats. Coincidence—or causation?

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2010/12/lab_politics.html

  8. Sherree
    May 17, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    That would explain why Republican senators blocked an $85 billion energy strategy that would give $13 billion for wind development.

  9. RHackett
    May 18, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Landsbaum is a kook. He cites the Chinese not talking steps to solve the problem ignoring the fact that the Chinese are making heavy investments in green tech to wean their nation from dependence on fossil fuels.

    Facts don’t matter to folks like him.

    I for one was very happy to learn that he had moved to Texas.

  10. Cynthia mae Curran
    June 15, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Well, the Register is worst since Chrum took over, its more traditional Republican why you get TExas is so much greater than Orange County. On that Harris County Texas has a lot of Hispanics and more Afro-Americans and has its poverty issues. The older more libertarian paper actually allowed sometimes more of a liberal view. So, its going to be one sided on global warning.

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