Month 10, Day 19: Clueless?? Clueless!!

PC Magazine ran an article on the Yale Study which showed (surprise!) that Americans generally don’t have a clue about climate change, although they’re sorta kinda worried about it anyway.

It took me almost as long to find the magazine’s LTE email as it did to write the letter, which is a standard “false equivalency” screed enlivened by my new catchphrase, “Symmetrical Stenography,” which I think is sorta kinda clever.

It is unsurprising that the Yale study shows that Americans are confused and misinformed about climate change. For many decades, our print and broadcast media have failed to do their jobs. The role of a free press in American society should be crucial to the development of that fine Jeffersonian ideal, a “well-informed citizenry.” Instead of pursuing the truth by doing genuine research and asking hard questions (e.g. “Cui Bono?”), our news outlets have chosen the far easier path of Symmetrical Stenography, in which a statement by a group of scientific experts is “balanced” with a counter-statement by an industry-funded spokesperson. This necessarily gives the impression that the “jury is still out” on climate change, since at least as many deniers as advocates are seen on television, heard on radio, and read in print. But the scientific jury came back in a long time ago, and its verdict is unequivocal: anthropogenic global warming is real, it’s dangerous, and humans are causing it. If our media presented climate denialists in proper proportion, we would be hearing from ninety-seven very worried climatologists for every glib, dismissive, industry shill.

Warren Senders

Month 8, Day 1: Get Ready For Severe Disaster Fatigue.

The LA Times had an article about the floods in Pakistan. Naturally, nobody mentioned that climate change is one of the primary triggering factors in such extreme weather events.

The tragic flooding in Pakistan’s Northwest territories, like the 128-degree temperatures recently recorded elsewhere in that beleaguered country, are a symptom of a larger and much more profound problem: the increase in extreme weather events brought on by global climate change. Across the USA we are seeing unexpected flooding and storms, with attendant injuries, loss of lives, and property damage. While it is not possible to state that a particular storm was “caused by global warming,” scientists have been predicting for decades that the burgeoning greenhouse effect would trigger more storms, more rain, more snow, more damage. Now it’s happening, just as we were told it would. Even as headlines blaring the news of catastrophic weather everywhere around the world appear ever more frequently, our news media fail to connect the dots. Because we have failed to do something about climate change, climate change is doing something about us.

Warren Senders