Thursday, July 24, 2008

Even the NYTimes Can't Take Gorebasms

Believe it or not, Andy Revkin, the science reporter for the NYTimes fisked Al's "No More Carbon Sources" speech...

AlGore: Scientists with access to data from Navy submarines traversing underneath the North polar ice cap have warned that there is now a 75 percent chance that within five years the entire ice cap will completely disappear during the summer months. This will further increase the melting pressure on Greenland. According to experts, the Jakobshavn glacier, one of Greenland’s largest, is moving at a faster rate than ever before, losing 20 million tons of ice every day, equivalent to the amount of water used every year by the residents of New York City.

NYTimes: I have a post coming shortly on the latest update from the world’s leading teams of sea ice experts, showing this year’s retreat is unlikely to match last year’s, while the long-term trend is still heading toward ever less summer ice. I’ll try to find out where the sub data came from. Only one group I know of has posited an ice-free Arctic Ocean in summers by 2013. On Greenland, the picture is far more complex than the way it is portrayed here. Other glaciers have slowed and, overall — as I’ve written here recently — new studies show no fresh signs of imminent destabilization of the ice.]

AlGore: There seem to be more tornadoes than in living memory, longer droughts, bigger downpours and record floods

NYTimes: why mention tornadoes? There’s been no evidence of an increase in dangerous tornadoes since careful records have been kept (great graphic at this link). It’s really no different stressing “strange” weather in a push for limiting greenhouse gases than doing so to fight the same policy shift. Remember all the yelling about global cooling because of cool global temperatures recently?]

AlGore: Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years. This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative.

NYTimes: ...it would be hard to find experts immersed in the challenges of generating, storing and distributing electricity at large scale who could chart an achievable or affordable 10-year path to doing this. Joe Romm at ClimateProgress.org said a more realistic ambitious goal would be 50-percent renewable electricity sources by 2020. And of course “affordable” is a word dependent entirely on public attitudes,

AlGore: A few years ago, it would not have been possible to issue such a challenge. But here’s what’s changed: the sharp cost reductions now beginning to take place in solar, wind, and geothermal power – coupled with the recent dramatic price increases for oil and coal – have radically changed the economics of energy.

NYTimes: The price differential between renewable energy sources and coal burning is shifting, but a 10-year transformation is hard to foresee given the incredibly small base from which solar is growing (see the solar link in the previous annotation) and the long timeline for boosting geothermal generation, among other issues. An Energy Department review of geothermal sources last year said we might be able to generate as much electricity by 2050 that way as is now produced with nuclear plants. But currently nuclear generation is less than 20 percent of the national electricity pie. Sure, that might be accelerated, but 10 years?]

Etc., etc.

And the NYT's reporter was being very gentle compared to others.

1 comment:

tyrannomac said...

Gore made this statement,
"According to experts, the Jakobshavn glacier, one of Greenland’s largest, is moving at a faster rate than ever before, losing 20 million tons of ice every day, equivalent to the amount of water used every year by the residents of New York City.”

I’m no expert on glaciers, but isn’t that the nature of glaciers, to move? If a glacier is moving and “calving” that means everything is fine. A moving glacier has to mean there is snow fall at its source. If, as Gore says, it “is moving at a faster rate than ever before” doesn’t that mean there’s more snowfall making it move? If a glacier is receding then that means it’s melting.