Climate & Energy

Media enable denier spin, part two

What if the MSM simply can’t cover humanity’s self-destruction?

If those who counsel inaction and delay succeed, billions of humans will suffer unimaginable misery and chaos while most other species will simply go extinct. Maybe the best one line description of our current situation I have read is: It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing. That's the final sentence in Elizabeth Kolbert's fine global warming book, Field Notes from a Catastrophe, and as I'll show in this post, it is entirely accurate. How can the traditional media cover a story that is almost "impossible to imagine"? I don't think they can. I'll be using a bunch of quotes, mostly from the NYT's Revkin, not because he is a bad reporter -- to the contrary, he is one of the best climate reporters -- but because now that he has a blog, he writes far more than any other journalist on this subject and shares his thinking. A new Revkin post, "The Never-Ending Story," underscores the media's central problem with this story: I stayed up late examining the latest maneuver in the never-ending tussle between opponents of limits on greenhouse gases who are using holes in climate science as ammunition and those trying to raise public concern about a human influence on climate that an enormous body of research indicates, in the worst case, could greatly disrupt human affairs and ecosystems. This sentence is not factually accurate (the boldface is mine). It would be much closer to accurate if the word "worst case" were replaced by "best case" or, as we'll see, "best case if the opponents of limits on GHGs fail and fail quickly." The worst case is beyond imagination. The word "holes" is misleading. And this isn't a "tussle" -- it is much closer to being a "struggle for the future of life as we know it." And all of us -- including Andy -- better pray that it ain't "never-ending. " Before elaborating, let me quote some more :

Bush: Not a Gristmill reader

President hails cellulosic ethanol as a panacea

I’m offended: President Bush evidently hasn’t been following my string of posts about how cellulosic ethanol probably won’t ever be viable. Addressing a renewable-energy conference, the president fretted that the ethanol boom he set in motion is “beginning to affect the price of food.” He added: “So we got to do something about it.” And what we “got to do,” evidently, is throw more cash at cellulosic ethanol. Here’s how The New York Times summed up his statement: [Bush said] the solution was not to back away from ethanol, but to develop ways to make ethanol from agricultural wastes, wood …

Fixing environmental problems necessary and doable, says OECD

It is not only highly necessary but entirely affordable to tackle climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss, water scarcity, and other environmental problems, according to a report released Wednesday by some wacko environmentalists the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Summed up OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria: Solutions “are available, they are achievable, and they are affordable” — and they are “considerably less onerous for mankind and for the economy than the alternative of inaction.” sources:

Brit's Eye View: Young, gifted, and green?

New survey of U.K. youth reveals mixed attitudes about the future of the planet

Ben Tuxworth, communications director at Forum for the Future, writes a monthly column for Gristmill on sustainability in the U.K. and Europe. Debates about how we should save the planet tend to explore the impossibility of almost every approach until someone says, "We need to change the education system," at which point it is deemed churlish to snigger. Catch 'em young, and it's job done seems to be the hope. Well, with only 100 months of planet-saving time left, according to Greenpeace, this approach has worked as much as it is ever likely to. So, are the young going to save us? Fresh perspective comes from the Future Leaders Survey, a scan of 25,000 applicants to U.K. universities and colleges published last month. The survey, carried out by Forum for the Future and UCAS (the central admissions service for higher education in the U.K.), paints a picture of young Brits facing a fairly terrifying future with an odd mixture of denial, irritation, and pragmatism.

Republican convention will go green

Not to be outdone by the Democratic convention, the Republican convention will, indeed, go green. While hosting divisive delegate debates over the best way to address environmental issues from a GOP perspective, the Minneapolis convention hall will boast recycled-fiber carpet, booths and stages constructed of local, sustainably harvested wood, water in petroleum-free bottles, biodegradable plates, composted food, non-plastic banners printed with soy-based inks, energy-efficient lighting, reduced paper, bicycles available for delegates to pedal to and from hotels, and, of course, an intent to make the event carbon neutral. As would only be expected, says the communications director of the GOP …

News from the Coal Bust

A cascade of news shows that coal is on the ropes

Remember, oh, about a year ago when every day brought a new article about the coming Coal Boom? How times change. A few pieces worth noting, just from the last few days: Mark Clayton covers the Coal Bust; Keith Johnson covers the latest blow to Big Coal, Missouri’s Associated Electric Cooperative Inc. canning a planned 660MW coal plant due to skyrocketing costs; Matthew Brown at AP covers the suspension of a federal loan program for coal-fired plants in rural communities; Greenwire covers a new lawsuit filed against the Bush administration (sub rqd) by North Carolina advocacy groups — they say …

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