Thursday, September 1, 2011

Exceptional Texas Drought Exceeds 80%;
Mainstream Media Chronic Climatological Challenge Continues

Although slowing from its rapid pace of early spring, the spread of Exceptional Drought, the highest of 4 categories, has continued through the end of summer in Texas. The latest Drought Monitor, released this morning and based on data through August 30, shows that over 80% of the state is now rated D4 (Exceptional):

A chart posted a couple of days ago by John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas State Climatologist, shows how extreme this year's conditions have been relative to history going back to 1895 (h/t to MT):

The PBS News Hour last night devoted nearly 8 minutes to the subject:

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

Although moderator Gwen Ifill and NPR correspondent and Texas native Wade Goodwyn correctly recognized this as the "worst drought in Texas history", the word "climate" was not even uttered. (Neither was it mentioned in the 3 minutes of coverage on the flooding from Hurricane Irene.) With the governor of the state embarked on a vicious anti-science campaign, shouldn't the question at least have been asked? Apparently the reporters have bought into the inane prayer meme:
GWEN IFILL: As you talk to people, to farmers, to ranchers, to people who depend on rain, do they have any innovative or alternative ideas about how to cope with this crisis, other than to get down on their knees and pray for rain?

WADE GOODWYN: Not really.
Some of the viewers evidently did get the message, anyway:

Doug Stewart said:
I listened and watched in shock tonight and Gwen Hill and Wade Goodwyn, both whom I have long respected, discussed the drought in Texas puzzled while failing to connect the dots to make the connection between global warming and CO2 production. Wade's only solution was to pray for rain. What has happened to your courage and objectivity?
Gordon Pricd said:
Again, a story on the Texas drought - and not a mention of climate change. Given the position of Governor Perry - that climate science is essentially fraudulent - isn't a question journalistically justifiable. Indeed, demanded?

If climate change is no longer a topic that can be credibly raised in the context of some of the worst-ever droughts and floods in the nation's history - major items on the same program - then that's a story all on it's own.
rrjim said:
Most inane coverage and questioning by Gwen Ifil I could imagine. Worst draught in Texas history, Governor of Texas running for president who doesn't "believe in" global warming. But not one question about climate change and maybe the connection? Why is that?


Thehaymarketbomber said...

"Most inane coverage and questioning..."

Inanity seems to be Ms ifil's specialty.

CapitalClimate said...

Indeed, WWIR is becoming painful to watch. Apparently, she finds the increasing political dysfunction to be a form of entertainment.

Pangolin said...

These people (pundits and poltiticos) simply do not live in a world where things like droughts and crop failures matter. A cheap apartment to them costs $3k/monthly so $5/pint strawberries from Chile aren't a budget buster.

The price of wheat and corn is simply irrelevant to their lives unless they're speculating in commodities. It simply does not matter to them whether climate change mitigation begins tomorrow or never unless it affects their ability to maintain their social networks.

This is the real problem of income and wealth inequality. Elites are allowed to make decisions that dominate the lives of the majority but make little apparent difference in the elite's lives. Therefor they make bad decisions.

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