Projected sea level rise IF we don’t get off our current emissions path (which is between A2 and A1FI). The WashPost omitted any mention of climate change in its sea level rise story, even though a key source talked about it with the reporter.
by Elliott Negin, Union of Concerned Scientists, in a HuffPost repost. [I add some comments of my own at the end -- JR.]
The Washington Post flunked Climate Science Reporting 101 this week, fumbling an opportunity to remind its readers about the threat global warming poses right here, right now.
On Monday, the day the latest round of annual U.N. climate negotiations opened in Durban, South Africa, the paper ran a scene-setter in its front section headlined “Global pact gives way to local action.” It pointed out that countries, states, provinces and municipalities are initiating their own policies to cut carbon emissions in the absence of a universal binding agreement. That story was not the problem.
The second story, which was plastered on the paper’s front page, is where the Post fell down on the job.
“In Chincoteague, a stampede against beach changes” reported on a dispute between the federal government and town leaders in a small Virginia coastal resort town best known for its wild ponies. The town’s 4,300 year-round residents survive on tourism — some 14,000 vacationers visit daily every summer, according to the state transportation department. But its beach — a part of the Assateague Island National Seashore and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge — is threatened by sea-level rise.
Without getting bogged down in the details, suffice it to say that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the federal agency that manages national refuges, recently proposed a new, 15-year plan to safeguard the more than 300 species of birds and other wildlife at Chincoteague. One of the options would move the public beach about a mile north where it would be less vulnerable to sea-level rise, build remote parking lots in a more stable area, and shuttle beachgoers in buses. The town mayor and many residents oppose the plan, fearing the proposed changes would turn off tourists.
The Post story included the what, who, where and how of basic journalism. What was missing was the why. Why is sea level rising and eroding the beach in Chincoteague?