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The NY Times Blows the Drought Story, too.

By Joe Romm

"The NY Times Blows the Drought Story, too."


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Half a story is not better than the whole story.

On Sunday, the “paper of record” reported on the record-breaking wildfire season, never mentioning how human-caused global warming may be contributing–even though recent research suggests it is. Now they finally run a major story on the devastating drought sweeping the nation, one they compare to “the Dust Bowl of the 1930′s,” but again, no mention of global warming–even though increased risk of drought is a well-known prediction from climate scientists.

Heck, the Times is even running a Reuters story on the new World Bank climate report that points out global warming is forecast to cause “more frequent and severe droughts.” But the Times in its drought story states instead that “scientists deemed the weather conditions and its effects in the areas of the worst drought a once-in-50-years experience.” That might be true absent global warming.

On our current greenhouse gas emissions path, however, the kind of drought we are experiencing now will be, tragically, a far more common occurrence. And just last year, climatologist Jonathan Overpeck warned that humanity is at danger of forcing “abrupt shifts to drier conditions, including possible decadal megadrought.”

The Times simply needs to do a far, far better job of covering this most important of stories.

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6 Responses to The NY Times Blows the Drought Story, too.

  1. Catherine says:

    BEIJING, Aug 30 (IPS) – China’s worst drought in fifty years has forced Chinese leaders to defend their record of building vast hydro-engineering works at a time when the country’s finite water resources are increasingly depleted by population growth and rapid economic development.

    Authorities have vehemently denied that continuous drought and shortage of drinking water in southwest China, which has affected the lives of 17 million people, are somehow related to the completion this year of the Three Gorges Dam — the world’s largest dam straddling the Yangtze River.

    “The record-low water levels in some parts of Yangtze and its tributaries and the drought are not directly related to the Three Gorges Dam,” Hu Jiajun, spokesperson for the Yangtze Water Conservancy Committee said at a press conference this week. “The dam can only store as much water as is brought by the river.”

    Officials blamed the adverse climate for the unprecedented drought afflicting Sichuan province and the municipality of Chongqing. “The abnormalities are caused by global warming and the overall change in the world’s climate,” said Dong Wenjie, director of the National Weather Forecast Centre. “It has nothing to do with the completion and operation of the Three Gorges Dam.”

  2. Joe says:

    Good post, Catherine. The Chinese weather forecasters seem more aware than our forecasters and journalists that global warming helps cause unprecedented droughts.

  3. Catherine says:

    And of course, national political imperatives have an influence on what driver is blamed for untoward circumstances….

  4. Biblo says:

    Let’s see first about “Global Warming”. The Times is reporting information based on fact – Worst in 50yrs – you can look that up. Stating this is due to Global warming is widely accepted but not complete fact and still under investigation. It would be nice if the paper mentioned a possible relationship.

  5. dış cephe says:

    Great site .Thanks a lot.

  6. mantolama says:

    Good post, Catherine. The Chinese weather forecasters seem more aware than our forecasters and journalists that global warming helps cause unprecedented droughts.