With President Obama and key congressional leaders seeking passage this year of global warming legislation, journalists have a great opportunity to explain the complexities of the issue to their readers.
But reporters must be careful too, as climate policy doesn’t fit neatly into a simple storyline of he said/she said. My editor likes to say that the climate debate is just as contentious as the issues facing the Middle East. Indeed, this is a debate filled with nuance, with more than two sides vying for coverage.
(Editor’s Note: This piece was slightly edited on May 6, 2009, to correct the reference to the author of the MIT Knight Science Journalism Tracker posting.)
Geoengineering – intentionally manipulating the climate to counteract the unplanned manipulation of manmade warming – has always been a controversial idea.
Sometimes called climate engineering, it includes concepts for reducing sunlight, like shooting sulfur particles into the atmosphere and creating seawater sprays. Other methods, like seeding oceans with iron and erecting structures called “artificial trees,” would aim at removing carbon from the air.
(*Editor’s Note: This piece was lightly edited on May 7 to reflect a correction in a quotation to the original Revkin article pointed out by a reader.)
Veteran New York Times science writer Andy Revkin calls it “my worst misstep as a journalist in 26 years.”
A vocal and prolific British climate contrarian is less charitable. “Deliberate misrepresentation,” said Christopher Monckton (“Viscount Monckton of Brenchley”) in complaining that Revkin, in an April 24 front-page article, “offends grievously” the newspaper’s journalism ethics guidelines.
It’s known as “Reggie” for short. And though it may be small, it’s said to be paving the way for something huge: a federal cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the country’s first public sector experiment with auctioning carbon permits, is up and running. It is consistently cited as a good “first step” – an example of how green ideals and good old American capitalism can work in harmony.
Climate Science for Meteorologists
CHICAGO, IL. – Fifteen TV meteorologists and weathercasters from across five midwestern states gathered at The Field Museum April 18 for a full-day workshop on climate change science.
What do you get when you put a bunch of Hollywood screenwriters and scientists around a table and get them talking?
Better movies, and better science in those movies – or at least that’s the plan for a new partnership between the film industry’s creative community and the nation’s scientific establishment.
Tackling Tropical Deforestation
Tropical deforestation, mainly in Brazil and Indonesia, releases massive quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, but political, social, and scientific concerns kept the issue off the table during negotiations for the Kyoto Protocol.
As the world prepares for a Kyoto successor, the climate has changed, so to speak, both because reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries (REDD) may be essential to achieving short-term emissions goals, and because potential financial and other benefits for developing countries are coming into focus. As a result, REDD has emerged as a major issue in the climate change negotiations, and a topic of interest for anyone who wants to understand these proceedings or explain them to others.