Accuracy in Media

The mainstream media turned its attention to global warming on Tuesday after the release late Sunday night of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The report said we have no more than 12 years to get global warming under control before dire circumstances begin to set in.

The good news, as Time reported in its story on the report, “Scientists Just Laid Out Paths to Solve Climate Change. We Aren’t on Track to Do Any of Them” by Justin Worland, “Scientists and policymakers have the knowhow to address climate change and stave off some of the worst effects of the phenomenon.”

The bad news is “political leaders are nowhere close to fully undertaking any of these steps, the report shows.”

Temperatures have risen 1 degree Celsius since 1880, CNN reported. But to keep it from achieving a 1.5-degree total increase by 2030, all we have to do is eat a third less meat, move into smaller houses, use mass transit and switch entirely from fossil fuels to renewables.

And, as Michael Bastach of the Daily Caller reported, that will increase the cost of gasoline.

“A United Nations special climate report suggests a tax on carbon dioxide emissions would need to be as high as $27,000 per ton at the end of the century to effectively limit global warming,” Bastach wrote.

“For Americans, that’s the same as a $240 per gallon tax on gasoline in the year 2100, should such a recommendation be adopted. In 2030, the report says a carbon tax would need to be as high as $5,500 – that’s equivalent to a $49 per gallon gas tax.”

To survive, “renewable energy will need to provide at least 70 percent of global electricity in 2050, while coal use will essentially need to disappear,” Time reported. Some of these changes “are already in motion. Renewable energy sources like wind and solar power have expanded rapidly in recent years largely as a result of market forces.”

After billions of dollars in government subsidies and the enactment of laws that require set percentages of fuel come from renewable sources, the entire renewable industry – hydropower, wind, biomass, solar and geothermal – combine to account for about a sixth of U.S. electricity consumption, and hydropower accounts for nearly half of that.

As for market forces, when Congress seemed on the verge of cutting off wind subsidies in 1993, private funding in wind projects declined by 92 percent. Virtually the entire industry exists because of government funding.

“But the change isn’t coming fast enough. Reaching the target will require government action, including support for research and development, and modification of the way markets work to account for the negative effects of burning fossil fuels.”

“The energy transition we need now for climate purposes needs to move much faster,” the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency told Time. “We need policy mechanisms.”

“The IPCC report is intended to spur those policies,” Time wrote. The entire purpose of this latest paper was to tell us how to achieve the “ideal target” of 1.5 Celsius.

“In the wake of the historic Paris Agreement, which at the time seemed to herald a new era of cooperation on climate change, many countries have taken a step back from implementing measures to slash emissions,” Time wrote.

“President Donald Trump has promised to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement entirely, while climate change plans in other countries, including Germany, Australia and Canada, have faced unexpected challenges.”

Rather than explore those challenges or assess the urgency of these proposed massive societal changes, it reverted to the we-can-fix-it theme.

“‘The main difference between possibility and impossibility is just political will,’” said Chris Weber, global climate and energy lead scientist for the World Wildlife Federation.

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