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Matt Ridley is the author of provocative books on evolution, genetics and society. His books have sold over a million copies, been translated into thirty languages, and have won several awards.

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Greenland's melting ice?

Exaggerations run rife while the reality is strangely absent from recent reporting on melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

Breathless reporting last week of a new estimate of Greenland's melting ice.

It's higher than it was before:

"The changes on the Greenland ice sheet are happening fast, and we are definitely losing more ice mass than we had anticipated," says study co-author Isabella Velicogna of the University of California-Irvine.

Could be scary? USA Today has its cake and eats it:

``If the entire Greenland ice sheet melted, which is not predicted, scientists estimate that global sea levels would rise about 20 feet, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.''

Is there a single journalist out there who bothered to ask the obvious question: what percentage of its ice mass is Greenland losing each year, so how long have we got before the 20 feet engulf us all?

Not that I could see. So I looked it up.

The new study says Greenland lost 385 cubic miles between 2002 and 2009. Sounds a lot.

Greenland has 700,000 cubic miles of ice. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenland_ice_sheet)

So it's losing 1% per century, 0.01% per year. Funny that number never appeared in the news reports.

For Pete's sake, journalists, do your job.