Year 3, Month 8, Day 13: Coming Up: More On That Runaway Squirrel Story!

The Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA) regrets that the public is so uninterested in the problem:

Maybe the lack of substance in the presidential campaign reflects a perception by President Barack Obama and Republican erstwhile nominee Mitt Romney that voters aren’t really that plugged in.

If so, that would explain why issues such as climate change seem lost in the ether as the candidates seem content to trade daily attacks.

An illustration: Despite years of gloomy prognostications by scientists and California’s efforts to get out in front on global warming, most people in this state know absolutely nothing about the controversial cap-and-trade program, which is due to be rolled out in November, the same month as the presidential election.

According to new polling by the Public Policy Institute of California, 57 percent of likely voters say they haven’t heard anything about the program, in which the state will be auctioning off emissions permits. Cap and trade is a central part of California’s AB32, signed into law by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006. AB32 sets limits on companies’ greenhouse gas emissions, while allowing non-polluters to sell permits to companies that exceed the new limits.

The state will get money from these auctions — with estimates as high as $1 billion annually. Gov. Jerry Brown is already eyeing this revenue to help pay for another controversial project — high speed rail, which might explain why two of three Californians say they have little or no confidence the state will spend the auction money wisely.

Yadda yadda yadda. Sent August 2:

Our species’ survival is absolutely the most important issue of the century — indeed, the most important issue in our entire history on the planet. Right? Right. When surveys show that citizens aren’t that worried about climate change, our media reliably poses the same old question: why not?

The answer is pretty simple: because that same media has for years been hewing to an irresponsible approach that “balances” every genuinely worried climatologist with a petroleum-funded denialist — thus presenting “both sides of the argument.” Our politicians take their cues from the media, so it’s hardly surprising that all but a few of our elected representatives won’t spend any more time on climate change than they have to.

If we want more people to be concerned about this very genuine and very terrifying threat, it is incumbent on our news media to inform them about it without equivocation or false equivalency.

Warren Senders


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