Massaging the Climate Message: New Political Conditions Bring Shifting Strategies

Future historians may regard recent weeks as a momentary breathing spell in the political trajectory of the climate issue.

In the courts, preliminary rulings are awaited on a spate of legal challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that greenhouse gases are dangerous and deserve regulation under the Clean Air Act.

In Congress, meanwhile, senators crafting a climate-energy bill different from the cap-and-trade measure passed by the House delayed its unveiling until May 12 so they could regroup after Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina withdrew his support.

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Climate Scientist Strikes Back: Libel, Canada, and the Meaning of Weaver vs. National Post

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Canada’s Scales of Justice … Avoid ‘falsehoods’? Or ‘chilling’?

Andrew Weaver, a prominent Canadian climatologist and IPCC contributor, raised eyebrows across the climate media world recently when he filed a libel suit against a right-leaning newspaper for its tough criticisms.

In late April, Weaver filed a complaint in the Supreme Court of British Columbia contending that the National Post was guilty of libel in a series of recent articles attacking him and his work.

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Rocks & Rolls & Twists & Turns

The rocks and rolls of the climate change policy debate have taken mind-warping twists and turns in recent months.

Stop there.

Note that the reference is to climate change policy and not to science. The latter, notwithstanding doubters’ continuing insistence to the contrary, remains unaffected.

Stop there too.

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Lynchburg, Va. TV Meteorologist Blasts State’s A.G. for Michael Mann ‘Witch Hunt’

A Lynchburg, Virginia, TV meteorologist for an ABC affiliate has taken the unusual task of publicly criticizing, on his blog, an elected state official, Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, for initiating a legal action against former University of Virginia climate scientist Michael Mann, now at Penn State.

Cuccinelli, elected to his office in November 2009, in late April initiated a “Civil Investigative Demand” (CID) with the University of Virginia seeking a vast volume of e-mails and other communications from Mann’s 1999-2005 years with the University.

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Time Reporter and Two Leading Scientists: Perspectives on Early Media Coverage of ‘Climategate’

The reverberations of the hacked e-mails fiasco – conveniently or otherwise characterized as “climategate” – continue to be felt deeply within the journalism and scientific communities.

In many ways, the episode that originated six months ago remains a pivotal moment for media coverage of climate change. The Yale Forum asked three people with deep involvement in, and different perspectives on,  the story to look back at how the media performed in the controversy’s initial stages, and to offer some lessons learned (see related posting).

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Duke’s Nicholas School Dean Bill Chameides; From Academia to EDF Activism and Back

DURHAM, N.C. – When it comes to climate communication, many scientists have a “love-hate” relationship with the media.

That’s the assessment of Bill Chameides, dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. Before his appointment at the Nicholas School, Chameides worked for three years – from 2005 through 2007 – as the chief scientist of Environmental Defense Fund. Previously, he had  spent 25 years at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he served as chair of the atmospheric-sciences department from 1998 to 2005. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1998.

Chameides spoke recently from his campus office about how both journalists and scientists can do a better job of educating the public about climate science.

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'Artifact' of Current Media Economy

‘Climate Desk’ News Org Collaboration Launched: New Model for Serious Journalism in Troubled Times


Health care insurers are woefully behind the curve when it comes to preparing for the risks that climate change poses to human health. Wine grapes, highly sensitive to extremes in temperature, may well foretell how continued warming will stress global agriculture. Most corporations, focused on a five- to seven-year time horizon, aren’t planning for how they’ll adapt to climate change in coming decades.

Where can you find these stories, presented in one place and generated by a new collaboration by national publications such as Slate, Wired, Mother Jones, The Atlantic and Grist?

The answer: The Climate Desk, a new collaborative journalism project launched on April 19.

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