Minister of Science and Chief Protector of the Faith

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The island of Lohachara meets an untimely fate and really stupid press coverage

When a former inhaptant of the island of Lohachara was asked if he felt his home was destroyed by global warming or erosion, he responded, "HELP! I'm being eaten by a giant cephalopod!"

According to recent reports in the media, the island of Lohachara has been swallowed by rising tides caused by global warming. This may be true, but a casual disregard for the principals of journalism has taken what might be a very talking point for the global war on warming, and instead made the story seem silly because it only reports on parts of the story.

Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true.

As the seas continue to swell, they will swallow whole island nations, from the Maldives to the Marshall Islands, inundate vast areas of countries from Bangladesh to Egypt, and submerge parts of scores of coastal cities.

Eight years ago, as exclusively reported in The Independent on Sunday, the first uninhabited islands - in the Pacific atoll nation of Kiribati - vanished beneath the waves. The people of low-lying islands in Vanuatu, also in the Pacific, have been evacuated as a precaution, but the land still juts above the sea. The disappearance of Lohachara, once home to 10,000 people, is unprecedented.

This comment from sums it up tongue-in-cheek, pointing out how silly some of the arguments against global warming can be.

This unsponsered experiment is interesting: 10,000 people were predicted to be displaced when the sea levels rise due to global warming-related climate change. The hypothesis is supported by the result of the experiment; however, this experiment cannot be reproduced, begging the question -- is it really science or just a tragedy?

The problem with this story is that major details have been left out of the story to make it more dramatic. The story of the island of Lohachara sinking actually goes back 20 years [ 1, 2, 3 ], and many in the past have attributed the sinking of the island to erosion, not global warming.

So the story left out key elements, such as the fact that the island sinking was predicted 20 years ago [ 1, 2, 3 ], and was not a surprise revelation as the story suggests.

If the story had been researched and reported properly it would show that there is at least some degree of contraversy about the story. Perhaps the island did disapear due to erosion. Perhaps it was a combination of factors. Perhaps global warming was the major contributor. perhaps the author should have just reported on what had been said about the island for last 20 years.

By reporting the story in a slanted fashion, the Independent has given the anti-global warming crowd and their corporate masters a perfectly good reason to tear the story apart.

Chicken Little yelled, "Help! Help! The sky is falling!" Our frightened Chicken could well be a "journalist" writing about Global warming, or a former Vice-President that can't find anything else to do with his time.

The hysteria that is global warming is perfectly evinced in a recent story by the Independent newspaper from England.

Disappearing world: Global warming claims tropical island is so fraught with fear mongering and hyperventilation that it is no wonder that skeptics look to the Globaloney movement and laugh at their claims of "scientific" seriousness.

For some sidesplitting, hilarity, this particular story is as ridiculous as they come, replete with overly emotional rhetoric, ill chosen verbiage, and scientific boobery.

In all likelihood, global warming had a significant role in the disappearance of the island of Lohachara. Unfortunately the dramatic importance of the story has been ruined by the fact that the Independent chose to report on the story in an unprofessional fashion. The story of Lohachara will now be remembered as a hoax, not because it was untrue but because it was initially reported inaccurately.

It is embaressing to find a story like this. This form of fear-mongering journalism is what we so often see from right-wing publications. We need clear and reasonable facts to make the case for global warming, not yellow journalism.

Where the heck is the island of Lohachara? Lohachara Char, India

Promoting global warming the Karl Rove way Disappearing world: Global warming claims tropical island
AMERICAblog: Inhabited tropical island disappears comment

Global warming does not suit their corporate masters Bogus Global Warming Story - Lohachara Island A Perfect Example of Global Warming Hysteria
FAUX News: Inhabited Island Vanishes Beneath the Waves; Global Warming Blamed Fox News Snookered (Jackalope Alert)

20 years ago
Indian Jungles: By 2020, 12 more Sunderban islands will be under water
Express India: 22 yrs after deluge, they fear more
BBC: Fears rise for sinking Sundarbans

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