Why does the Times do so much to keep the public from considering what to do to confront global warming?

It’s befuddling to me why the New York Times is doing so much to keep the public from considering the issue of what to do to confront global warming. 

The way the Times keeps us from thinking about what we can do to stop global warming is by keeping in the news the bogus controversy, “Is global warming taking place.”  From a succession of warmest decades on record to a documented rise in temperatures over the past few centuries to the melting away of glaciers and snowcaps, the scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the theory that our globe is getting warmer at an alarmingly fast rate—fast when judged by the slow action of the Earth and Nature.

Yet the Times once again has focused on communication about global warming to keep alive the controversy, this time in the smarmy article by Tom Zeller Jr. titled “Is It Hot in Here? Must be Global Warming” in the Sunday “Week in Review” section. 

The premise of the article is that when it was cold this past winter, opponents of global warming cite the cold weather to say that it doesn’t exist, and now that we’re seeing record heat, proponents of global warming are saying that proves global warming exists. 

The problem is, Zeller never documents the premise, even though he says he does.  He spends the first third of the article citing one example of someone using the snow to make fun of the theory of global warming.  Somehow he ignores the explicit comments against global warming made last winter by right-wing propagandists Rush Limbaugh, Marc Shepard, Mark Finkelstein, Ralph Reiland and Yates Sealander (see my blog dated January 19, 2010), and instead selects the erection of an Igloo with the sign “Honk if you *HEART* global warming” as his one example of someone using the cold weather to deny global warming. 

But at least the example is an explicit statement asserting (wrongly) that the cold weather disproves global warming.  The only statement or action that Zeller can find of anyone using the hot weather to say that global warming is occurring is the following:

“As Washington, D.C., wilts in the global heat wave gripping the planet, the Democratic leadership in the Senate has abandoned the effort to cap global warming pollution for the foreseeable future,” wrote Brad Johnson of the progressive Wonk Room blog, part of the Center for American Progress.”

But read the sentence carefully: Johnson never says that the heat wave is evidence of global warming, he just points out the irony of the Senate abandoning its effort to pass legislation to address climate change during the hot weather.

Both one of my associates and I looked on Google for a real reference to someone saying this year’s hot weather proves global warming and could find but one article with a Russian source in which the claim is made.  We did find a number of articles in which various people say that this year’s hot weather does not prove global warming.

As far as I can tell, then, disbelievers used the cold weather again and again to make the false claim that global warming is not occurring, but Zeller is dead wrong to say that those who know global warming is occurring are citing a few sweltering hot days as additional proof.

With the premise unproved, there is no real need for the article.  But write on, Zeller does, quoting experts in psychology and communications to analyze the “why” behind his false premise that both sides use brief weather spells to prove trends that occur over decades, centuries and millennia. 

Zeller could have used much of the information he gathered in the story to write a piece on the psychology of why the weather of a few days or a few weeks will make people question scientific evidence.  In other words, he could have assumed what scientific evidence and virtually all scientists tell us is true and composed an interesting discussion on this one aspect of the problem of convincing people of its validity.  That would have been responsible journalism.  Instead he chose to keep the public discussion going on whether or not global warming exists long after the scientific evidence is in.

3 comments on “Why does the Times do so much to keep the public from considering what to do to confront global warming?
  1. Green Life says:

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  2. Green Life says:

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  3. Tisa Offord says:

    Thanks! It was a good one.

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