National Geographic last month became the latest national magazine to place climate change on its cover, publishing one of the strongest series of pieces on the topic yet to appear in a mainstream publication. You can view free excerpts here, but will have to pay a visit to your trusty library to read the whole issue. Be sure to check out the note from the magazine’s editor in chief, Bill Allen, in which he explains why he felt compelled to run the stories even though he anticipates a lot of angry reaction to them. “Some readers will even terminate their memberships,” Allen predicts.  

Consider sending a letter to the editor commending the fella for his stiff spine. (The instructions say to include your name, address, and daytime phone.) Skeptic types like Patrick Michaels have been quick to lash back at Allen and the magazine.

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When I first received notice of the 74-page series, I wondered whether National Geographic would lead with the term global warming or with climate change, the phrase now in vogue in many political and scientific circles. The magazine has it both ways. Allen goes with global climate change, but Tim Appenzeller, the publication’s senior editor for science, and Dennis R. Dimick, its senior editor for environment and technology, begin their introduction to the series with the very words global warming. The magazine fronts the headline “Global Warning:  Bulletins from a Warmer World” over a fiery picture of an Alaskan forest aflame.

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