A letter writer to Time magazine pointed out how about 99 percent of greenhouse gasses are produced by nature, a fact which undermined Time’s hyperbolic cover story from a few weeks ago which blamed mankind and demanded President Bush take action to reduce industrial output.
A New York Post’s “MediaWatch” column last week highlighted the letter and Time’s confused response. Following is a reprint of the April 24 “MediaWatch” column item:
Time's Warming Retreat
It took a reader to remind Time magazine of the basic flaw in “Feeling the Heat,” its April 9 environmental manifesto on global warning and to win an important admission from the report's author.
The piece warned: “Except for nuclear war or a collision with an asteroid, no force has more potential to damage our planet's web of life than global warming. It's a 'serious' issue, the White House admits, but nonetheless George W. Bush has decided to abandon the 1997 Kyoto treaty to combat climate change…”
The point of that, and several companion pieces, was clear: Earth is in imminent danger, thanks to pollution and other man-made sources, but the new President is wearing blinders.
In case anyone missed the point, the magazine this week highlights a letter that thanks Time for its report and adds: “I hope someone reads it to George W. Bush.”
But several readers disputed the magazine's basic argument. The lead graphic on April 9, spread out over two pages, charted the “world of offenders” on CO2 emissions, and another made suggestions on “How to Ward Off Disaster,” yet Tom Peterson of Salt Lake City noted: “Nature emits about 95 percent of greenhouse gases, while humans are responsible for only 5 percent. Add a volcanic eruption here and there, and nature probably accounts for as much as 99 percent….With the rise of our industrial might, temperatures haven't risen at all.”
How did Time counter this assault on its basic premise, that humans are destroying the environment? Associate Editor Michael Lemonick agreed that “nature is responsible for most of the greenhouse gases on Earth.”
However, Lemonick insisted, “even the small percentage that is man-made…has been enough to start nudging temperatures upward.” Which is not quite what Time argued in the first place, which is that humans are the prime culprit.
Said Time then: There is “powerful” evidence to support “the case of human-induced global warming” and it is no longer theoretical that “the planet is warming up as a result of human activity.”
Indeed, in the April 9 article Lemonick insisted: “Like any other area of science, the case for human-induced global warming has uncertainties and like many pro-business lobbyists, President Bush has proclaimed those uncertainties a reason to study the problem further rather than act. But while the evidence is circumstantial, it is powerful, thanks to the IPCC's painstaking research. The U.N.-sponsored group was organized in the late 1980s.”
Earlier in this space we reported that Time magazine had abandoned any pretense of balance in devoting 15 pages to denouncing President Bush’s decision on Kyoto and to advancing dire global warming forecasts, including: “Vast ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica could melt, raising sea level more than 30 ft., Florida would be history, and every city on the U.S. Eastern seaboard would be inundated.” Walter Cronkite was among the signers of a letter to Bush demanding he take action.
(This report courtesy of the Media Research Center.)