A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Getting in a paddy about 'global warming'.....

There has been an awful lot of stir frying about 'global warming' and falling rice yields over the last few days (inexorably, of course, in The Gloomiad: 'Global warming has cut yields, say scientists' [The Guardian, July 1]).

Most of it is just plain chaff. Luckily, however, the ever-useful, and scientifically-sharp, 'Crumb Trail' blog has most helpfully winnowed out much of the dross: 'Mental rice cakes' (June 29):

"Breathless announcements of climate effects by doom mongers are tediously common but unhelpful. Such hysterical claims deceive that part of the public that is ignorant of the issues and so unable to immediately detect the falseness of the claims. In time the deceits are always exposed. This has happened on other issues time and again, notably with the 'frankenfood blunder', so that the public is becoming increasingly wary of doom mongers and cynical about governments, politicized scientists and media that perpetrate these hoaxes.

..... The effects of heat on rice, a cool season C3 grass, are ancient knowledge and the subject of ongoing research. Many countries such as the US and China have always been affected by annual variations in temperature since they grow crops at the limits of their range. Improved cultivars of crop plants that are increasingly heat, salt and drought tolerant have resulted from research and will continue to do so at an accelerated pace as we become increasingly skilled...." (read on).

We really must put a halt to all this nonsense. Taking the temperature of the Earth every media second is making ecochondriacs of us all!

Philip, going against the gloomsters' grain. Coffee, old bean?

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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