Tuesday, June 14, 2005


USA Today reported yesterday what is patently obvious to many of us: "The debate's over: Globe is warming." And while it's easy to think up all sorts of sarcastic responses to this "news," Eric de Place at Cascadia Scorecard Weblog observes that this is a momentous occasion of sorts:
I shouldn't scoff at USA Today's belated recognition as much as I should marvel that a tipping point is happening right before our eyes. The real news here is not that the debate is over--it's been over, of course, for quite some time--but that USA Today and other media like it have finally awarded a TKO to climate scientists and greens.
de Place also notes, though, that the MSM's conversion to the truth of global warming isn't so much a matter of scientific evidence (that's been there), but of the right people jumping on board:
As it turns out, USA Today's conviction is because big corporations, utilities, republican governors, and even religious groups are now demanding action on climate change. There really is increasingly broad-based recognition of the problem. Still, it's more than a little annoying that media evaluate critical issues based not on the overwhelming scientific evidence, but rather on the proclamations of Arnold and a few CEOs.

But on the other hand, if even USA Today says there's a consensus on climate change, then we're just about to arrive in a brave new world where we can actually begin to do something about it on a large and systemic level. Hold on to your hats: next week we'll find out that burning gasoline warms the atmosphere through something called the "greenhouse effect"...
In USA Today's defense, I will say that I found their article pretty thorough. At the same time, though, they gave equal time to Dubya's "do-nothing" approach and the notions that clean coal and nuclear power are acceptable answers to the problem. I didn't see much of anything on truly renewable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal power. While it is good to have global warming presented as fact in the popular media, I wonder if truly green energy will get a fair shake in the face of the PR onslaught by the nuclear and coal industries.

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