Andrew Burke

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You know, I agree that we should worry about Global Warming...
Posted on: 2007-04-02

... but frankly I'm tired of crap headlines and bylines like this from this morning's Toronto Star:

Climate forecast grim for Canada
Peter Calamai Apr. 02, 2007
Canada and the U.S. are ill-prepared to adapt to almost-certain impacts from climate change, leaving their citizens vulnerable, according to an authoritative scientific report to be published this week.

It has the fear words: 'ill-prepared', 'citizens vulnerable', 'authoritative' - with only a slight weasel with 'almost' for 'certain'.

This could be the generic template for vague fear-inspiring newspaper bylines. Let's swap some words around:

Bird Flu impact grim for Canada
Apr. 02, 2006
Canada and the U.S. are ill-prepared to adapt to almost-certain impacts from Bird Flu, leaving their citizens vulnerable, according to an authoritative scientific report to be published this week.

Terrorist impact grim for Canada
Apr. 02, 2003
Canada and the U.S. are ill-prepared to adapt to almost-certain impacts from terrorism, leaving their citizens vulnerable, according to an authoritative security agency report to be published this week.

Drug impact grim for Canada
Apr. 02, 1988
Canada and the U.S. are ill-prepared to adapt to almost-certain impacts from drugs, leaving their citizens vulnerable, according to an authoritative scientific report to be published this week.

Alcohol impact grim for America
Apr. 02, 1919
The U.S. is ill-prepared to adapt to almost-certain impacts from alcohol, leaving their citizens vulnerable, according to an authoritative Temperance Society report to be published this week.

Communist impact grim for Canada
Apr. 02, 1956
Canada and the U.S. are ill-prepared to adapt to almost-certain impacts from Global Communism, leaving their citizens vulnerable, according to an authoritative government report to be published this week.

Global Capitalist impact grim for the Soviet Union
Apr. 02, 1956
East Germany and Russia are ill-prepared to adapt to almost-certain impacts from the Global Capitalist Menace, leaving their citizens vulnerable, according to an authoritative politbureau report to be published this week.

I guess it's heartening, though, to see that the environment has now become a front-page issue - Climate Change is a great topic for this kind of vague fearmongering, since it's big and complicated and the catastrophic effects won't happen for a while, and there's not much that people can really do about it except for perhaps whine to the government. My biggest concern now is that enough of this doom-and-gloom and moralism is going to inspire a nasty back-lash.

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