Today something unusual happened. I was watching the 7 o’clock VRT television news and within it a reportage with the title: Influence of global warming unsure. I thought that we would get the usual mindless much repeated talk about global warming, climate change, blah, blah. Boy was I wrong. What happened next took me completely by surprise.
It began rather usual (translated from Dutch):
The cyclone is being compared with cyclone Haiyan that ravaged The Philippines two years ago. There were more than 5,000 deaths back then and 600,000 lost their home. The president of Vanuatu stated that the cyclone had to do with climate change …
That is how they all start. Now I was expecting the worst would be coming soon, but in fact nothing could prepare me what followed.
… but according to the scientists this is not certain at all.
I couldn’t believe my ears. Did the news anchor just said that? Maybe now she is going to that it is bad, bad, bad nevertheless? The word was given to a climate scientist I never heard about yet (Jan Lenaerts of the University of Leuven):
Special in this case was that the cyclone came over land, because many of those cyclones only come over sea and then almost nobody will be affected by it.
That seems even reasonable. I expected that the inevitable should come soon, no doubt. Then the President of Vanuatu was mentioned.
At the moment that Vanuatu was destroyed by the storm, the President was at a UN conference about control of disasters caused by climate change. He immediately made the link:
“While we were talking in the conference in theory, practical things happened right in my country.”
To be honest, if I was the President of Vanuatu and I was at the conference about control of disasters caused by climate change, there wouldn’t be even a shred of doubt that I would state exactly the same thing. That is a no-brainer politically speaking. I would be really, really surprised it he didn’t say something like that.
Back to the climate scientist:
We of course know that the seawater temperature rises because of global warming, so in that sense we could expect a rise. But there are compensating effects also.
Okay, I am not really sure what he meant by “seawater is rising because of global warming” considering the standstill in temperatures of the last decade and a half, but it is unseen that someone in prime time is saying there are compensating effects. Without blaming humans or their emissions, without mentioning CO2 or showing smoke stacks. But then came the bomb shell:
In fact the consensus between scientists is that we don’t know it yet.
Did he really say that the consensus of the scientists is that they don’t know it yet? There was actually balance in this news report. Both sides were reported. The admission the scientists don’t know it yet. Compensating effects were mentioned. Even uncertainties were acknowledged. In prime time! In the mainstream media! What happened? Did I missed something?