Early Headlines on New IPCC Report

graphic

Timing, stiff competition for finite news ‘holes,’ earlier leaks of major news, and the absence of a real ‘headline grabber’… all contributed to a relative dearth of front-page media attention to the first installment of IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report.

Activists for and against taking on the challenge posed by a warming climate may feel somewhat let-down by what many will regard as a very tempered “buzz” in most mainstream news outlets over the September 27 initial release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report. Partisans on “both sides” of the issue — and perhaps also many of the scientists who had labored on its behalf — may feel a bit like the character that had labored like an elephant…only to give birth to a mouse.

Released in Stockholm at 10 a.m. on a Friday — 4 a.m. U.S. East Coast time — the report became available too late to be reported on most of that day’s newspaper front pages. In addition, the timing had the AR5 Summary for Policy Makers competing head-on against not only the weekly Friday-morning news cycle blahs and inertia…but also against protracted turmoil involving chemical weapons in Syria and ongoing debate over the days-off federal government shut-down and the first-day phase-in of the nation’s new health care program, President Obama’s landmark first-term achievement.

Stiff competition, those, even had it not been for the dearth of hard-news headline-grabbers in the IPCC Fifth Assessment overall. Add to that the reality that the hardest of the hard news to emerge from the 2013 edition largely had already been reported in major news outlets feasting off earlier leaks.

It’s not that those looking to traditional national news outlets on Saturday, September 28, were left totally unsatisfied concerning the long-awaited IPCC release. Cable news networks and even some Saturday afternoon/evening news programs managed to scratch the surface. And the blogosphere, of course, also chipped in, with its usual platter of goodies (and baddies too).

Perhaps fueled by IPCC’s own press release touting the movement from 90 to 95 percent level of confidence/certainty concerning the human footprint on warming (“extremely likely”), some news outlets just led their coverage echoing that important, but not so surprising, tidbit. Projections from AR5 for more sea-level rise than AR4 had envisioned also got some coverage, as did IPCC’s somewhat playing-down of the whole 16-year warming “hiatus” meme.

One thing’s for sure, regardless of whether one is pleased, dissatisfied, or ambivalent about this first partial release of the AR5 report:  There’s more coming, as IPCC over the next 12 months continues to dish-out the balance of its report.

Like the issue of climate change itself, the IPCC AR5 report — and coverage and commentary on it — is not going away any time soon. How long the IPCC itself in its current configuration and reporting approach remain is another question, as the institution itself — notwithstanding its enormous contributions to the field since it was first formed — and its pattern of infrequent but huge reports are expected to come under continuing and heightened scrutiny, and perhaps overhaul, before any iteration of AR6 sees the light of day.

Day One headlines and leads from 10 representative mainstream outlets:

The Washington Post: IPCC report says humans almost certainly cause global warming
A panel of the world’s leading climate scientists strongly asserted Friday that “it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause” of global warming since 1950 and warned of more rapid ice melt and rising seas if governments do not aggressively act to reduce the pace of greenhouse gas emissions.

Wall Street Journal: U.N. says humans are ‘extremely likely’ behind global warming
A much-anticipated United Nations report issued Friday reaffirmed growing belief that human activity is the dominant cause behind a rise in global temperatures, but presented a more moderate estimate on rising temperatures.

The New York Times: U.N. climate panel endorses ceiling on global emissions
The world’s top climate scientists on Friday formally embraced an upper limit on greenhouse gases for the first time, establishing a target level at which humanity must stop spewing them into the atmosphere or face irreversible and potentially catastrophic climatic changes.

Los Angeles Times: Experts set threshold for climate-change calamity
The world’s leading climate scientists have for the first time established a limit on the amount of greenhouse gases that can be released before the Earth reaches a tipping point and predicted that it will be surpassed within decades unless swift action is taken to curb the current pace of emissions.

FoxNews.com: UN climate change report dismisses slowdown in global warming
The Earth has changed in “unprecedented ways” since 1950, the U.N. says, and its scientists are 95 percent certain that humans are responsible.

CNN.com: U.N. climate change report points blame at humans
The world’s getting hotter, the sea’s rising and there’s increasing evidence neither are naturally occurring phenomena. (Additional coverage by CNN here.)

NBCnews.com: Top scientists urge cap on carbon emissions to limit climate change
Top climate scientists say in a new report that industrial carbon emissions need to be kept below a cumulative total of 1 trillion tons to avoid dangerous climate change — and they note that humanity has already used up more than half that allotment.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in the report that it is “extremely likely” human beings are the main drivers for the rise in temperatures recorded around the world over the last 50 years — the strongest words the panel has used to describe the effect humans are having on the planet.

BBC: IPCC climate report: humans ‘dominant cause’ of warming
A landmark report says scientists are 95% certain that humans are the “dominant cause” of global warming since the 1950s.

The Guardian: IPCC: 30 years to climate calamity if we carry on blowing the carbon budget
The world’s leading climate scientists have set out in detail for the first time how much more carbon dioxide humans can pour into the atmosphere without triggering dangerous levels of climate change — and concluded that more than half of that global allowance has been used up. (Additional articles posted by The Guardian here, here and here.)

The Independent: IPCC report: The financial markets are the only hope in the race to stop global warming
The financial markets are humanity’s only hope in the battle against global warming, the world’s top climate expert declared today as he presented the most overwhelming case ever made that humans are responsible for rapidly increasing the Earth’s temperature.

…and from 7 Additional Online Outlets

The [Toronto] Star: IPCC 2013: Humans ‘dominant cause’ of global warming, says UN report
A new landmark report says it is more certain than ever that pollution from burning fossil fuels is changing earth’s climate and contributing to rising seas, stronger storms, hotter days and severe droughts.

Reuters: Scientists more convinced mankind is main cause of warming
Leading climate scientists said on Friday they were more convinced than ever that humans are the main culprits for global warming, and predicted the impact from greenhouse gas emissions could linger for centuries.

Associated Press: Climate panel: Warming ‘extremely likely’ man-made
Scientists now believe it’s “extremely likely” that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming, a long-term trend that is clear despite a recent plateau in the temperatures, an international climate panel said Friday.

Time.com: Climate Scientists Issue Their Report. Now It’s Our Turn
95%. That’s how certain the hundreds of scientists who contribute to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which released the first chapter of its fifth assessment on global warming this morning, are that human beings are the “dominant cause of observed warming” that’s been seen since the mid-20th century.

Christian Science Monitor: Global warming: UN climate report warns on emissions, but some signs of progress
In a hotly anticipated UN climate report issued Friday, the world’s leading climate scientists again warned of the rising levels of greenhouse gases being pumped into Earth’s atmosphere and fueling global warming.

HuffingtonPost.com: IPCC Climate Change Report Expresses Extreme Confidence In Human Cause Of Global Warming
Scientists now believe it’s “extremely likely” that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming, a long-term trend that is clear despite a recent plateau in the temperatures, an international climate panel said Friday.

NPR.org: U.N. Panel Report: Most Global Warming Is Caused By Humans
Scientists assembled by the United Nations sent out a renewed warning Friday that the planet is warming up and human beings are largely responsible. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released a report that projects more warming air, melting ice and rising seas in this century.

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.