|Trees, climate friend or foe?
It’s fun to be a contrarian, to point out cases in which commonly held conceptions falter, or when the opposite is true.
But contrarian points often require quite a bit of nuance, and seldom do they completely invalidate the common ideas they critique. Also, there is a real danger that in the popularization of contrarian scientific ideas by those without expertise in the field in question, much of the nuance and qualifications gets lost, and readers can be mislead into believing things that do not reflect the actual results or opinions of the researchers whose work is cited.
One could go on for columns about the columns written on economist Steven Levitt’s and journalist Stephen Dubner’s SuperFreakonomics, the sequel to their best-selling Freakonomics.
Let’s not go there. Truth is that I expected, wanted, to very much enjoy this follow-up to the hugely entertaining and provocative Freakonomics. Truth is, too, that I’m still plodding my way through it, slow reader that I am and facing a towering pending-reading stack that threatens to overwhelm my shelves.
A veritable flood of hundreds of e-mails surreptitiously released by a computer hacker from a famous climate change research facility has climate skeptics seeing, or hoping for, blood. It has climate change “consensus” scientists crying foul, but anxious and standing by the underlying science. And it has those personally linked in or to the e-mails looking embarrassed, in some cases petty and vindictive, and, by some reasonable interpretations, on thin ice.
On a November 2007 episode of the NBC comedy “30 Rock,” former Vice President Al Gore makes a guest appearance and network executive Jack Donagy tries to demonstrate his company’s commitment to the environment.
“We’re with you on this whole planet thing,” he says to Gore, “Look at the set we built with the smiley-faced earth, and some green things.”
“We’re way beyond that,” Gore deadpans, challenging the network to “use entertainment for substance,” incorporating environmental themes into all of its programs for one full week.
Donagy is unimpressed, uninterested.
At nytimes.com, the Energy & Environment page on a recent Sunday led with stories generated by its Green, Inc. team – covering everything from U.S. Chamber of Commerce efforts to derail climate legislation to Canada’s greenhouse goals and efforts by an Idaho pub to cut its greenhouse gas footprint.
But look farther down that November 1 page and you’ll find a cache of climate- and energy-related stories parked in spaces reserved for Greenwire and ClimateWire – two of several content products from Environment & Energy Publishing.
Post Ombudsman: 'Close Call'
Barbs from the left and right are nothing new, in fact are par for the course, for any environmental reporter in a position as visible as Juliet Eilperin’s.
A five-years-plus veteran of covering the beat for The Washington Post, Eilperin has often been the foil of those on all sides of virtually every issue she has taken on. Now that she, like many other beat reporters, is focusing more on more on the climate change issue, the criticisms come more often and more pointedly.
A Viewer's Guide
The Web, no surprise, is both a gold mine and a mine field of videos dealing with climate change. Here’s an initial “Top 10″ listing of our favorites, a list that will grow over time with — or without — reader suggestions and comments. We prefer the former, so let us know your favorite online climate change videos.