The news media often gets flack for its "balanced" reporting on climate change that gives undue credence to climate skeptics. But in the U.K., at least, high-circulation newspapers can’t even claim balance when it comes to renewable energy. The Guardian reports on a study of news coverage of renewable energy in July 2009, when the discussion was largely about the "pros and cons of low-carbon energy sources.” The results:

In the Mail, a staggering three-quarters of articles "centrally concerned with renewables" took a negative stance, and only 8% were positive. The Sun came out almost as anti-renewables as the Mail — though largely thanks to the efforts of Jeremy Clarkson, who singlehandedly accounted for two-thirds of the Sun's negative pieces, according to the research.

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To be fair, the Daily Mail is sort of the Fox News of British papers. And not all outlets were so negative: the less-read Independent, for instance, gave renewables more positive coverage. But the case of Clarkson, a well-known British columnist, also indicates how much influence one person's negative opinion can have on the fate of clean energy. Clarkson is known for his pro-carbon ways; climate activists protested his attitudes in 2009 by dumping horse dung on his lawn. While probably enormously emotionally satisfying, that action couldn't make millions of people un-read Clarkson's anti-clean energy columns.

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