There has been a much justified uproar over last week’s Wall Street Journal op-ed, in which a group of scientific “skeptics” reiterate the old line that we don’t have to worry about global warming, and that those who do so are engaging in climate “alarmism.” Amplerefutations have been penned; in some ways best of all, my friend Jamie Vernon showed that even hotbeds of leftwing extremism like Chevron, ExxonMobil, and the Pentagon are now concerned about and taking action on global warming.
The Wall Street Journal is, indeed, completely out in the cold on this matter.
There are many ways to refute the op-ed, but I want to focus on one not enough emphasized—the tone and some of the actual words and analogies used by its writers.
As the European debt crisis scrapes along, there has been talk about the possible need for developing nations, like China and Brazil, to ultimately help bail out some spendthrift “developed” nations.
A new study suggests that maybe they should also help bail out some of our media.
The study comes from James Painter of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University and his colleagues. After looking extensively at climate change coverage in major papers in six nations—the U.S., UK, France, Brazil, China, and India—the paper finds that global warming “skepticism” is “largely an Anglo-Saxon phenomenon.”
As if this week’s Rupert Murdoch Phone-Hacking Scandal wasn’t enough, it now appears that the University of East Anglia CRU email hacking scandal (a.k.a. Climategate) might actually be the work of the same News Corp henchman who helped to feed insider information from a Scotland Yard police investigation directly to Murdoch’s News Corp.
Neil Wallis, one of the key figures in the hacking of the phones, voicemails and electronic communications of anywhere from 4,000 to over 12,000 people, was essentially a double agent working by day as Executive Director of News of the World, and simultaneously as a public relations consultant during the police investigation into the scandal. Wallis conveniently reported back to News Corp on Scotland Yard’s investigation.
While Murdoch’s henchmen were getting the skinny on the police investigation, the police were convincing other news organizations not to cover the story.
After the November 2009 hacking of the computer server at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, the victimized climate science unit sought public relations guidance to help fight back against allegations of scientific misconduct.
Is the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) deliberately trying to sabotage the EPA’s efforts to regulate carbon dioxide emissions? Is Peter Orszag, the agency’s brainy and genial director, secretly in cahoots with Republican opponents of President Obama’s climate policies?
Not quite – though that may have been your first impression upon reading the raftof articles published yesterday that breathlessly reported that an OMB memo had strongly criticized the EPA’s proposal to regulate greenhouse gases.
True to form, the Wall Street Journal has slammed former Vice President and Nobel Prize winner Al Gore and tried to discredit the science arguing the case for global warming. In so doing, the pro-business bastion appears to be as far out of step with the forces driving the U.S. economy as the Bush Administration is with the majority of the U.S. electorate.
The crux of the Journal’s argument is contained in a question: “What if everyone believes in global warmism only because everyone believes in global warmism?” Here’s a better question: What if they’re right?
Bush's chief science adviser admitted that global warming posed a huge threat to the planet and that there is no question that humans are to blame.
In an interview with the BBC, Professor John Marburger called the facts 'unequivocal'. Click here to see Think Progress' repost of the BBC broadcast. We'll be watching to hear how the White House responds to this.
Even diligent readers of the best U.S. newspapers will be left with a less than overwhelming feeling about the dire consequences that may result from global warming, and the firm scientific conclusion that humans have caused warming, according to an analysis in Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, the media watchdog group.
Counterparts in Britain and elsewhere around the world were much more likely to print headlines and stories that framed global warming as a crisis that must be dealt with quickly to avert disaster.
Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.
There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.