Is the world ignoring the climate report?

MONDAY, MARCH 14, 2022

So says Wallace-Wells: Is the world ignoring the latest climate report from the United Nations?

So says David Wallace-Wells in this report for New York magazine. Indeed, the headline atop his report says this:

Why Is the World Ignoring the Latest U.N. Climate Report?

Wallace-Wells has the advantage of generally seeming to know what he's talking about. Here's his capsule account of last week's report by the IPCC, whatever the heck that is:

WALLACE-WELLS (3/13/22): The 2018 report was an interim “special report.” The biggie is the new one released this month, the first comprehensive U.N. update to the state of climate science in eight full years, since before the Paris accords. Following the signing of that agreement in 2016, more carbon has been added to the atmosphere than in the entire history of humanity through the end of World War II. This means the possible paths of decarbonization that would allow the temperature rise to stay below 1.5 degrees, which looked almost impossibly demanding in 2016, are now about twice as steep.

Although the situation appears, in that sense, grimmer, the quiet response to the new report is a sign that the moment of climate alarm may have passed, giving way to an era defined by two somewhat paradoxical trends. 

According to Wallace-Wells, the new report is less gloomy than the interim "special report" from 2018. At the same time, things seem substantially worse than they did in 2016, when the Paris accords were signed.

Is "the world" ignoring this new report? You'll have to read Wallace-Wells' report to see what he means by that sweeping assessment.

That said, we'll guess that you haven't seen much treatment of this new report if you watch "cable news." For better or worse, cable news is largely all Ukraine, all around the clock. 

This focus may be understandable, but it has led us to a certain type of musing about our 24-hour news coverage. Our question would be this:

Wouldn't we all be better off if we didn't have 24-hour "news channels?" 

These channels create the illusion that BREAKING NEWS is being delivered on an around-the-clock basis. In the nonstop coverage of Ukraine, it's plain that this just isn't true.

As a general natter, what's being delivered in non-stop treatment of various "human interest" aspects of this international disaster. The coverage is ever-changing, but highly repetitive. We ask if the following might not be true:

Might we not be better off if our "cable news" channels delivered carefully constructed, hour-long broadcasts at 6 AM, 12 noon, 5 PM and 11 PM—with those hour-long broadcasts repeated in the intervening hours? 

These channels could assign those of their employees who are actually competent to the production of four (4) quality news hours per day. Those news hours could devote substantial coverage to the leading event of the day—in this case, to the disaster in Ukraine. But they could also include coverage of other major news events and topics.

Simply put, there isn't enough actual news from Ukraine to justify the rating-based illusion of 24-hour, round-the-clock focus. Meanwhile, the apparent need to stay with all-Ukraine, all-the-time leads to an unending series of repetitive human interest interviews, with no time left over for discussion of such piddling topics as the climate disasters foreseen by the U.N. report.

The simple truth is this:

The people at our cable news channels have very few actual interests. To appearances, there are no topics they actually want to cover.

They want to fight for eyeballs and ratings. In large part, they're happy to spend every minute on Ukraine for the simple reason that there is absolutely nothing else they actually acre about reporting or discussing.

Climate change? Crime? Public schools? The southern border? Homelessness/inequality? Our major newspapers barely bother with such topics. Cable news almost never does, nor is it clear that our cable channels, as currently constituted, would have any idea how to do so.

The war in Ukraine is a major disaster—a vast reversion in the evolution of acceptable international norms of behavior. That said, it isn't the only major event taking place in the world, and people at our cable channels aren't likely to be able to do justice to the larger disaster implied by what has occurred in Ukraine.

Wouldn't we all be better off if we returned to the norms of an earlier day—to a time when corporate news orgs didn't pretend that we were being handed unbroken, round-the-clock, "up-to-the-minute" news?

In closing, what does that U.N. report really say? Have you seen that question discussed in any way at all at the sites you go to for "news?"

We're going to guess that the answer is no. In truth, it's much too late to "fix" our utterly broken national culture. But how about it:

To what extent did you even know that some such report had appeared?


  1. "Wouldn't we all be better off if we didn't have 24-hour "news channels?""

    Meh. A few good 24-hour news channels would be nice to have, nicht wahr?

    ...more importantly, independent news channels, that wouldn't just parrot establishment propaganda, establishment talking points. That would, among other things, earnestly deliver points of view of official enemies and officially bad people.

    But nah, of course those can't exist domestically, and must be censored internationally. Oh well, a man can dream...

  2. "a vast reversion in the evolution of acceptable international norms of behavior"

    Oh yeah? And what about the Weapons of Mass Destruction? All those bioweapon labs that, apparently actually do exist there. See here:

  3. Better than looking at the IPCC is to look at the actual data for yourself. The UAH Satellite-Based temperature has been running for 42 years. During that period, the lower atmosphere temperature rose around 0.5 degrees C, despite all the additional CO2 emissions. At that rate, the temperature rise during the next century ill be only 1.25 degrees C. See

    1. You aren't qualified to look at the data yourself because you don't have the training to do it.

  4. “Wallace-Wells has the advantage of generally seeming to know what he's talking about. “

    Well, that’s a ringing endorsement.

    It might be nice to know if Wallace-Wells knows what he’s talking about, or only seems to know. Or generally, but perhaps not specifically, knows, or seems to know.

    Does Somerby know?

    He apparently learned of the climate report by reading about it in New York magazine, contrary to his statement that no sites that I or we, the Readers, go to, have discussed the report. (This is the sixth such report from the UN since 1990).

    (The report was discussed in the New York Times and the Washington Post, by the way. And my local statewide newspaper. So, yeah. I am not an idiot, so “To what extent did” I “even know that some such report had appeared?” Well, to the extent that, yes, I knew some such report had appeared. Or rather, that the UN climate assessment report had appeared, ie, “some such report.” Sounds like Somerby is the ill-informed one.)

    I also learned from the (conservative) Washington Times why I shouldn’t trust that report. (

    And my GOP Representative called climate change a lie from the pit of hell.

    Who you gonna trust? The woke virtue signalers, or The Others?

  5. Somerby claimed that the media ignored Trump's statements against the war in Ukraine, but here is Trump telling us how he really feels about it:

    "Former President Donald Trump told Jeanine Pirro there is “a lot of love” behind Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to “make his country larger.”

    Said Trump: “You say, what’s the purpose of this? They had a country. You could see it was a country where there was a lot of love and we’re doing it because, you know, somebody wants to make his country larger or he wants to put it back the way it was when actually it didn’t work very well.”

    This man doesn't deserve Somerby's defense of him. This statement proves that the media figures who ignored Trump's pro forma anti-war statement were correct in doing so. It is obvious that Trump didn't mean a word of it.

    But Trump managed to fool Somerby, assuming Somerby hasn't been hired to further RNC or Russian disinformation activities.

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  8. It seems a major failure so far is keeping coal in the ground. They couldn't agree to strong language against coal in Glasgow Nov 2021 and this will cause us to burn more fossil fuels and flood coastlines and wither away crops.

    I'm aware of one strategy of overcoming this logjam, which was promoted by Ecuador to keep oil in the ground. But it didn't seem to work, probably for similar reasons to the cable news not talking about the subject.

    "The government of Ecuador has abandoned a plan that would have kept part of the Amazonian rainforest off limits to oil drilling. The initiative was an unusual one: Ecuador was promising to keep the oil in the ground, but it wanted to be paid for doing so."

  9. Has Rittenhouse's Mom driven him to the Ukraine yet?

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