Monday, June 18, 2007

"Gore-y" Environmental News

Here is part of a piece from the BBC Web site:

Arctic spring's 'rapid advance'

Spring in the Arctic is arriving "weeks earlier" than a decade ago, a team of Danish researchers have [sic] reported.

Ice in north-east [sic] Greenland is melting an average of 14.6 days earlier than in the mid-1990s, bringing forward the date plants flower and birds lay eggs.

The team warned that the observed changes could disrupt the region's ecosystems and food chain, affecting the long-term survival of some species.

The findings have been published in the journal Current Biology.

The scientists assessed how a range of species' behaviour was affected by the changing climate in Zackenberg, north-east [sic] Greenland, between 1996 and 2005.

Observation of 21 species - six plants, 12 arthropods and three birds - revealed that the organisms had brought forward their flowering, emergence or egg-laying in line with the earlier ice melt.

What important information can we glean from this piece? Other than seeing some grammatical and punctuation errors that signal that the writers at the BBC don’t know the English language very well, not very much.

The piece equivocates: “The team warned that the observed changes could disrupt …” (emphasis mine). Okay. So the changes might disrupt things, or they might not. And, nothing in the piece delivers any substantive evidence that things occurred that would not be expected to have occurred through natural causes.

So, why did the BBC even bother to run this piece on its Website? Fair question.

But even as we say a polite and necessary “ho-hum” about the BBC piece, we should be secure in the knowledge that even if Al Gore has failed to persuade most thoughtful Americans that an environmental cataclysm is eminent, he has at least persuaded his daughter, Kristin, to his cause, according to a news story that one of my headline services posted a little while ago, and which has since disappeared from the Ethernet. If memory serves—and sometimes it doesn’t—Kristin Gore is a co-author of a screen play dealing with the sorry state of the environment. Like father, like son, er, daughter, they say.

While the story that I initially saw disappeared from the headline list, a determined search finally turned up a story:

(From NewsBusters): As reported Sunday by Variety:

Queen Latifah proves an amiably authoritative narrator [in “Arctic Tale”], and is allowed more personality than most script readers; Morgan Freeman never told his penguins they'd "best be goin'." (Co-writer Kristin Gore, Al Gore's daughter, is the only connection to Par Vantage's similarly themed docu hit, "An Inconvenient Truth.")

That doesn’t tell us much more than that Ms. Gore seems to hold the same view of man’s impact on the environment as her dad, so we’ll just have to wait and see what the impact of “Arctic Tale” actually is. But somehow I doubt that it will be more meaningful in the long run than either the BBC story, or papa Al’s “Inconvenient Truth.”

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