L.A. Times newspaper box
Jason Eppink

We can’t always escape the climate-denying rants of our relatives. Fortunately, though, we won’t have to read climate-denying rants from the relatives of others when we pick up the Los Angeles Times.

Last week, in discussing the fight over Obamacare, the Times’ letters editor mentioned in passing that the newspaper doesn’t publish letters to the editor that claim there’s no evidence of human-caused climate change:

Regular readers of The Times’ Opinion pages will know that, among the few letters published over the last week that have blamed the Democrats for the government shutdown (a preponderance faulted House Republicans), none made the argument about Congress exempting itself from Obamacare.

Why? Simply put, this objection to the president’s healthcare law is based on a falsehood, and letters that have an untrue basis (for example, ones that say there’s no sign humans have caused climate change) do not get printed.

Needless to say, climate deniers were not pleased. But letters editor Paul Thornton was unswayed by their complaints, as he explained in a response:

As for letters on climate change, we do get plenty from those who deny global warming. And to say they “deny” it might be an understatement: Many say climate change is a hoax, a scheme by liberals to curtail personal freedom. …

[W]hen deciding which letters should run among hundreds on such weighty matters as climate change, I must rely on the experts — in other words, those scientists with advanced degrees who undertake tedious research and rigorous peer review.

And those scientists have provided ample evidence that human activity is indeed linked to climate change. Just last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — a body made up of the world’s top climate scientists — said it was 95% certain that we fossil-fuel-burning humans are driving global warming. The debate right now isn’t whether this evidence exists (clearly, it does) but what this evidence means for us.

I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published. Saying “there’s no sign humans have caused climate change” is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.

Say, Paul, with the holidays approaching, some of us are wondering whether you’d care to pop around to mediate dinner-table disagreements?