Friday, August 17, 2012

CBS This Morning: Good Story, Muffled Conclusion

CBS This Morning (Friday Aug. 17) covered the melting glaciers in Glacier National Park.

Many decades ago, there were 150 glaciers. Now only 29 survive. Within 10-20 years all the glaciers will be gone. CBS painted a frightening story, complete with interviews with scientists and contrasting old and modern photographs of the disappearing glaciers.

It's a dramatic example of climate change, impossible for the deniers to explain. (CBS didn't say that. I said that.)

At the end of the piece, James Brown asked the important question: is there anything that can stop or slow down this process? At that point CBS muffled their conclusions, saying well, that's what they're looking into.

So I wrote a note to CBS, saying that James Brown asked a good question. The answer is that society has to convert to non-carbon sources of energy (solar, wind, and nuclear) while greatly improving energy efficiency.

CBS know that, of course. But they also know that they'll get complaints from the deniers if they say so.


Mitch said...

If they're going to melt in 10-20 years, then there's probably nothing that can be done to save them. Even if humanity were to top emitting CO2 altogether right now, the earth keeps warming for a while at least. Even if it didn't - it might already be too hot for the glaciers to exist.

Alastair said...


But we could save the Himalayan glaciers. They won't disappear that quick, and the Greenland Ice Sheet. But then they are not in the US so they don't count :-(

Anonymous said...

Dr. Lumpus Spookytooth, phd.

"In just a few decades, many of the park's glaciers have shrunk dramatically. Since 1966, 11 of them have completely melted away. There were once 150 glaciers in the park. Now there are just 25, and scientists believe in the next 10 to 20 years, they could all be gone."

Thus, most of the glaciers melted before 1966. Additionally, the story mentions that most of these glaciers began melting in 1850...and did not quantify the melting effects from that time period.

David B. Benson said...

If we choose to do so we could lower the concentration of CO2 to about 275 ppm (at which ought be enough to slowly regrow them) and then raise to around 280--300 ppm so there is not more growth.

A yearly budgut around DoD size would do the trick in a mere 2--3 centuries.

Brian said...

I helped a USGS group do repeat photography of Grinell in 2005. We went to the actual summit, not just the edge of the glacier.

As for the end statement that scientist say the glaciers would disappear in 100 years anyway, that's news to me - I'd like a source. The sooner we end climate change, the sooner our descendants have the chance for the glaciers to come back.

KAP said...

Actually, it's not "non-carbon" energy that's needed. It's non-fossil energy. Biofuels are carbon, but not fossil carbon.

Jeffrey Davis said...

Shorter Dr. Lumpus, "Something similar happened in the past so that's what's happening now."