Tom Henry, veteran environmental reporter and columnist for The (Toledo) Blade, didn’t know just what to expect when he was called into a top editor’s office. The message? He was told to prepare for the assignment of a reporter’s lifetime. Here he tells the story about what led to his outstanding series on climate change in Greenland and its relevance to a Great Lakes region audience.
Lyme disease, dubbed one of the “deadly dozen” by a recent Wildlife Conservation Society report, could skyrocket as global shifts in temperature and precipitation transform ecosystems.
From a public policy standpoint, the situation is compounded by the communications issues complicating it, bringing to mind the well-known quote from the late actor Strother Martin in the 1967 film “Cool Hand Luke” — What we’ve got is failure to communicate.
Surprise – that President-Elect Barack Obama is confronting climate change in the midst of deepening global economic woes – and, again, surprise – that he took on climate change directly and firmly weeks before he officially takes office January 20.
Those were the hallmarks of several key news organizations’ reporting on the Obama taped video message November 17 to a climate change meeting of governors in California.
After Hurricane Katrina, An Inconvenient Truth, the 2007 reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and other events pushed the climate change issue higher on the public agenda, it may have seemed that it wouldn’t soon slide back down.
Newspaper endorsements in a presidential election reveal more than where the nation has been or where it is now. They point the way toward a national agenda for the future.
By that measure, most American newspapers saw little room on the next president’s “To Do List” for action on the climate issue. Perhaps it’s not surprising, given the recession and world financial crisis, grinding wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a broken health care system, and continuing worries about public education and U.S. competitiveness.
It is difficult these days to find an article about climate science without some mention of tipping points and the risk of abrupt climate change.
Some prominent climate scientists and policy proponents have warned ominously that we have only a decade left to change our ways to “avert catastrophe.” The clock is running.
The glass, aluminum, and stainless steel panels reclined at low angles and basked in the sun as the men in suits and ties, flanked by reporters, took to the West Wing roof to look at what they thought was the future. That day, June 20, 1979, was clear enough for the sun to bring out a bright reflection on the panels, and for shadows of those on the roof to be drawn dark and tight around them.