More often than you would think, major events occur and we are never given a clear and coherent account of why and how, writes veteran journalist Rodney E. Lever.
“Global warming is the result of rising CO2 levels in the world’s atmosphere. Scientists say we have years, not decades, to stabilise CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Atmospheric CO2 for December 2012 reached 394.39 parts per million. Preliminary data for January says it will be even higher.”
MY EARLIEST ENCOUNTER with the question of the Earth’s changing climate came about forty years ago, when I happened to come across an article in Science magazine, a respected journal published in the United States. While nobody talked about climate change then, this article was concerned with serious air pollution affecting all major American cities.
The author was Robert Kennedy Jnr, nephew of the American President John F. Kennedy, and the eldest son of the former US Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy.
Both Kennedys, along with Dr Martin Luther King, were assassinated in three mysterious and carefully planned shootings in the 1960s. The story of the three murders was thoroughly investigated privately over 20 years by Lamar Waldron, a practising psychologist and grief counsellor in the US. In 2008, his results were published in a book called 'Legacy of Secrecy'. It destroyed all the myths surrounding these murders that the media – and the US Government – had previously promulgated to millions around the world.
However, by the time the book appeared, the Kennedy era had long since passed. People simply didn't care any more, as they had other things on their minds.
'Legacy of Secrecy' is a rational study of each of the loosely linked – but uncannily similar – triple murders. Waldron and his research team, headed by his principal investigator Thom Hartmann, had access to previously classified CIA and the FBI documents. The book presents the only plausible account of the three killings — how they were carried out and who arranged them.
More often than you would think, major events occur and we are never given a clear and coherent account of why and how.
The death of Diana, Princess of Wales, was clearly caused by the media. We all acknowledge that. All, that is, except the media itself.
The 9/11 event of 2001 is blamed on Osama bin Laden. That may well be so — but where is the proof?
Was Islam responding after centuries of punishment and military invasion by Western nations? Was it an angry response to America’s unwavering support for Israel early in 2001 when its tanks demolished the Gaza headquarters of Yasser Arafat? Was it a response to the support the US gave to Israel’s “secret” nuclear armoury, that is a clear and present danger to the whole of the Middle East?
The vexing question of climate change remains a major issue.
It's a subject that's made more confusing, than it already is, by its coverage by the media. It is yet another clear demonstration of traditional media being sloppy and adhering to lazy practices. It appears the media is disinterested in real investigative reporting, simply because it all costs too much and takes too long. Chasing celebrities around the streets is much more financially rewarding than trying to discover if the planet is really doomed.
It is clear today that the ardently commercial media is not a reliable source for anyone interested in either the truth about the terrible crimes of the past, or one of the most pressing ones of today — the pollution of the Earth’s atmosphere. Science magazine published a detailed account, with clear statistics of climate change and its potential serious effects on people who live in industrialised cities. Everyone has the right to breathe clean fresh air and stay healthy.
The Eisenhower administration made the first serious move to limit air pollution with legislation known as the Clean Air Act. Under John F Kennedy’s and Lyndon B Johnson’s subsequent presidencies, the Clean Air Act was strengthened, adding more severe penalties. But when Richard M Nixon became president, the previous legislation was scrapped and re-written by a Republican Congress to free polluters from all restrictions. Obscenely, it was still called the "Clean Air Act”.
President Kennedy established the Moana Loa Observatory on one of the islands of the Hawaiian group, for the specific purpose of studying rises in CO2 which were already causing alarm in the mid-20th century. There was no panic. It was a scientific study.
This air was tested and analysed systematically. If the air was clean over the world’s largest ocean, it would confirm the air in Earth’s atmosphere was clean and pure. In their opinion, that would be the sure standard for all nations around the world to secure the continued existence of mankind.
In the last 100 years, the carbon dioxide level in the air we breathe has increased dramatically. Air is composed of a mix of 17 chemicals in the form of a gas. Most of it is nitrogen, oxygen and argon. Other gasses contribute minor amounts that create the air mixture that makes life on this planet uniquely possible.
The content of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air has increased to a point where scientists have become alarmed. The question they face is: if CO2 continues to increase, how will it affect life on the planet?
Has industrialisation placed planet Earth in serious danger?
Our nearest neighbour, the planet Venus (the Evening Star), is a lifeless planet racked by permanent raging storms and fearsome temperatures. Yet, it has historically been regarded as the planet most likely to support life — as on Earth.
This is the kernel of the raging argument about climate change today. Some will shrug it off and say, “so what?”. Voluble deniers outnumber those who consider the matter seriously by a ratio of about 1000 to 1.
We live in a world that has gone through massive changes in the past 100 years. The most significant of them is the end of the Age of Empires — not the gaming version but the real thing. Strangely, it was Adolf Hitler whose own empirical ambitions actually brought the end of the series of empires that began long before the Christian era. Powerful nations had enriched themselves by taking over the lands of others and stripping their economies.
After World War II, the British gave back India to the Indians, Pakistan to the Pakistanis, Egypt to the Egyptians, Kenya to the Kenyans. The French gave back Algeria to the Algerians and Indo-China to the Vietnamese. The Dutch gave back Indonesia. Portugal gave back Timor Leste — and on it went. Everybody got back everything, except for the American Indians, Indigenous Australians and the poor Eastern Canadian Inuits.
The U.S. gave back the Philippines, but made an attempt at their own empire building in South America and the Middle East. Their failures were far greater than than their successes and today the US has enough problems of its own.
Now all those former colonies are making their own way forward, experiencing some internal strife, but gradually reforming ancient practices and even accepting some Western values.
But what of the newspapers that for 200 years kept us informed about what they wanted us to know, and misinformed about what we really needed to know?
Their day is gone.... technology rules! Today we use the internet and we can so easily find out whatever we want to know and form our own opinions without having them thrust upon us by shoddy journalism.