Opinion by Kip Hansen – 6 May 2021

The Covering Climate Now propaganda effort was “co-founded by the Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation in association with The Guardian and WNYC in 2019, CCNow’s 460-plus partners include some of the biggest names in news”  with the stated purpose of  “to produce more informed and urgent climate stories, to make climate a part of every beat in the newsroom”.  Their basic document, the CCNow Climate Emergency Statement, claims, in part, “…to preserve a livable planet, humanity must take action immediately. Failure to slash the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will make the extraordinary heat, storms, wildfires, and ice melt of 2020 routine and could “render a significant portion of the Earth uninhabitable…”.   To accomplish their goals, CCNow provides its partners with republishable stories from other partners (.pdf), editorial guidance, story writing ideas, a list of talking points labelled Climate Science 101 provided by Katharine Hayhoe.

Important Notice:  Call 911 immediately if you are choking or experiencing chest pains  as a result of reading that last sentence – in Europe, dial 112 – in the UK, dial 112 or 999 – in Australia, 000 or 112. 

CCNow also supplies NPR’s Climate Guide of mis- and dis-information on climate and their own “fact sheet “ [ sic ] “Who says it’s a climate emergency?”  in addition to  their list of ten  “Best Practices” for climate propagandists. 

If this is your first time hearing about CCNow, please read my previous essays posted here at WUWT, most recently The Climate Propaganda Cabal and Turning Opinion into Science Fact.  There are some earlier essays as well – here and here.

Last week, on April 27 2021,  CCNow web site posted a list of Nine Pieces We Loved.   One of those featured was:

How Warming Oceans Are Accelerating the Climate Crisis — Humans have locked in at least 20 feet of sea level rise—can we still fix it?” by Harold R. Wanless

On the upside, the article in The Nation is clearly and prominently marked:

Adapted from an article for the Florida Climate Reporting Network’s project “The Invading Sea,” this article is published as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

My quick check of web search results show this article, one week old now, being re-posted or linked 16 times, before I stopped counting. 

This article represents the “Big Lie” aspect of professional propaganda.  Big Lies sell better, persuade people better than little nit-picky lies.

Here’s the bottom line Big Lie from this CCNow propaganda piece:

The climate emergency is bigger than many experts, elected officials, and activists realize. Humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions have overheated Earth’s atmosphere, unleashing punishing heat waves, hurricanes, and other extreme weather—that much is widely understood. The larger problem is that the overheated atmosphere has in turn overheated the oceans, assuring a catastrophic amount of future sea level rise.

As oceans heat up, the water rises—in part because warm water expands, but also because the warmer waters have initiated a major melt of polar ice sheets. As a result, average sea levels around the world are now all but certain to rise by at least 20 to 30 feet. That’s enough to put large parts of many coastal cities, home to hundreds of millions of people, under water.

Let me point out, unnecessarily for many readers, that not a single phrase or sentence in the first paragraph is true.  The second paragraph fares little better.  But only because “warm water does rise”  — just not in the odd way Wanless says.  [Technically, warming the water in the ocean causes expansion of the ocean’s water  —  the fact the ‘warmer water rises’ is not involved in this – it is the expansion that can lead to rising sea levels.]  Nothing else in the second paragraph is true.

I am loathe to exaggerate, as this is what I am accusing CCNow and Wanless of doing, so let’s take a close look:

“The climate emergency is bigger than many experts, elected officials, and activists realize.”   There is no real physical climate emergency – there is only a shared opinion that there is a climate emergency.  At best, the sentence is an unsupported opinion (being presented here as fact).  It would be hard for the real climate situation to be bigger (worse) than some of the more bizarre activists and politicians (“we have nine years left” – John Kerry).

“Humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions have overheated Earth’s atmosphere, unleashing punishing heat waves, hurricanes, and other extreme weather—that much is widely understood.”  There is no scientific consensus that the Earth’s atmosphere has been “overheated”.   Increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are believed to have cause a small amount of warming – but only that since the mid-1900s.  Many think that that small warming and the CO2 that may have caused it are beneficial, including some of the smartest people in America.  The real data on global heat waves, hurricanes, and extreme weather do not support the claim that the small warming experienced has “unleash[ed] punishing heat waves, hurricanes, and other extreme weather” – that is the climate activist’s preferred meme, not fact. More on the facts are available from the specialized pages on this web site and here.  [ Readers:  Please supply links in comments to reliable graphs showing that the CCNow/Wanless claims are false. ]   Since this point is broadly contested by experts in wildfires, heat waves, hurricanes and extreme weather, it cannot be said to be “widely understood”. 

“The larger problem is that the overheated atmosphere has in turn overheated the oceans, assuring a catastrophic amount of future sea level rise.”   The oceans have not overheated – that is simply not true in any sense – it is difficult to even scientifically support that the oceans have warmed in any substantialclimatically important way.  Measuring ocean water temperature is an ongoing project and we have a very short time series of even moderately reliable data.  It is madness to claim that the tiny amount (if any) of ocean water warming has “assur[ed] a catastrophic amount of future sea level rise.”   

I will leave parsing the rest of second paragraph to readers.  But let’s take a further look at the idea that sea levels are assured to rise  “20 to 30 feet”.

Wanless states:  “But if seas rise 20 feet or more over the next 100 to 200 years—which is our current trajectory—the outlook is grim. In that scenario, there could be two feet of sea level rise by 2040, three feet by 2050, and much more to come.” 

That link in there leads to “NOAA Technical Report NOS CO-OPS 083 — GLOBAL AND REGIONAL SEA LEVEL RISE SCENARIOS FOR THE UNITED STATES” [ .pdf ] which you will not be surprised says no such thing.  The NOAA document does not say that the most extreme (RCP8.5) scenario is our current trajectory at all. And it does not, under any of the scenarios, predict 2 feet of sea level rise by 2040 or three feet by 2050, not even under RCP8.5 (a scenario which is now widely considered highly improbable to impossible). 

Even under impossible RCP8.5 conditions, NOAA predicts only 16 inches (2040) and 25 inches (2050) [yellow highlight]  – but in the real world, we saw only the 0.03m (30 mm) predicted for 2010 to 2020 for the very  lowest scenario [blue highlight] .    Wanless apparently gets his claimed our current trajectory to 20-30 feet from the lower right corner, highlighted in red, RCP8.5 at 2200. 

Adding insult to injury, Wanless goes on to claim in his article that “Today, oceans are rising six mm a year (over two inches a decade), and this pace will continue to dramatically accelerate.”   The only thing correct in this sentence is that 60mm is over two inches.  Wanless’s link to a CSIRO page is broken but current sea level rise, according to NOAA:

Not 6 mm/yr, but 3.3 mm/yr, and level for the last two or three years.  [ source: https://climate.nasa.gov/  to see this graph select Sea Level from right hand bottom section of the graphic at the top of the page.]

You may ask, “How can any article with so many obvious, egregious errors – wild exaggerations, inaccuracies and falsehoods —  get published in The Nation?”  That might be the wrong question.  Better to ask, “How did it get published by the AGU in  EOS in its science news section?”

The answer is:     The NationAGU and  EOS are all partners of CCNow

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Author’s Comment:

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) and its associated online magazine, EOS, have abandoned even the pretext of science and opted to join forces with the acknowledged propaganda effort, Covering Climate Now, with its anything-goes push to convince the world that there is a Climate Emergency so they will willingly give up fossil fuels.  This example today shows that that effort extends to publishing wild exaggeration and egregious lies to forward The Message – propaganda’s Big Lie in play.

I honestly don’t know how it has come to this and am simultaneously saddened and outraged. 

This has now gone far, far beyond the go-along-to-get-along mutual back-patting of climate alarmists at AGU meetings of the 1990’s.  Where are the real scientists who are members of the AGU?  How can they remain silent when EOS publishes such articles without even a disclaimer.  Shame.

Note: as always, I have fixed a couple of obvious typos on my first read-through after publication.

Address your comments to “Kip . . . “ so I will be sure to see them if you are speaking to me.

Thanks for reading.

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via Watts Up With That?


May 6, 2021