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February 11, 2010

I'm Cold Today...So There's No Global Warming

What do you call a group that uses large snowstorms to deride the scientific evidence for climate change? Fox News I guess.

The absurdity of pointing out that there's snow in the winter -- in one part of the world mind you -- and using that to say that climate change is a hoax is breathtaking.

Especially when, at the same time, Vancouver is shipping in snow for the Olympics...you see, some places get more snow, some get less. That's weather, not climate.

Anyway, if you don't laugh, you cry. Only comedy can do justice to this insane line of logic.

The Daily Show points out that it's hot in Australia...


...and Colbert make the logical extension that when it's dark, the sun must have been destroyed.



April 27, 2011

Birther, Climate Denier...Same Difference

Well, the great national nightmare is over. President Obama released his long-form birth certificate on Thursday. This settles the issue...again. I could go on about how depressing it is that it all came to this.

But my point in this quick blog is just to say that the vigorous discussion about how the media covered this topic sounded eerily familiar to me. For example, here's ABC's Jake Tapper quoted in a Huffington Post story...

“One of the biggest problems is how many reporters have treated this as if it’s a subject for debate and not just a lie,” Tapper said in an interview.

“Instead of covering this the same way you would cover someone saying that the earth is flat -- just a demonstrable untruth -- too many reporters and anchors have allowed this to become ‘critics say X,’” Tapper continued.

Just imagine if Tapper were discussing how the media covers climate change? Wouldn't it ring true? Granted, global climate models are infinitely more complicated than, say, a Certificate of Live Birth. But doesn't that make clarity from the press about how solid the data is -- and how broad the scientific consensus is -- even more important. When the media "debates" whether it's actually getting hotter over the last century -- a fact -- it really makes it hard to discuss more complicated topics.

And when they place thousands of scientists on one side and equate their views with basically a paid spokesperson for a think tank or particular industry on the other, they propagate a lie.

It was good to see a bit of media gut-checking going on today. We do have serious problems (and no, the budget isn't the only one), and we need focus and fact-based discussions. Sustainability is hard enough without false equivalence and lazy journalism mucking up the works.

In my work, I always say it doesn't matter whether you believe in climate change or not. The things businesses and our country would do to tackle carbon are things they should do anyway for both profitability and competitiveness. But not debating climate science all the time doesn't mean we have to accept falsehoods either.

November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy=Climate Change? Some big names are believing it.

[Note: With power out and limited connectivity, I've gotten behind on re-posting blogs that I've written elsewhere like HBR ...I'll put a few in a row up over the next few business days.]

This is just a quick blog to recognize that the devastation from Hurricane Sandy has had one important silver lining -- many mainstream voices, especially in the business community, seem to be waking up to the connection between extreme weather and climate change. (My take on this is on my Harvard Business Review Blog here, and I'll post it here next week.)

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Two news items have given me real hope.

1) Businessweek blares on its cover, "It's Global Warming, Stupid"
After the required caveat that no single storm is "caused" by something as long-term as climate change, the business magazine declares, "Clarity, however, is not beyond reach" and explores how scientists are increasingly willing to draw the connection. Bravo Businessweek.

2) Mayor Bloomberg's titles his endorsement of President Obama, "A Vote for a President to Lead on Climate Change."

In his own words, "The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast -- in lost lives, lost homes and lost business -- brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief...Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be -- given this week’s devastation -- should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action."

Bloomberg then cites Obama's work on fuel-efficiency and increased controls on mercury emissions which restricts coal burning...and highlights how Romney has reversed himself on climate change since his days as Governor.

This is clearly noteworthy that a well-respected moderate has made climate change the deciding factor in his vote for President, especially since the topic did not come up in the debates for the first time since 1984.

The media, the business world, politicians...all are waking up to the deep connections that today's events have to longer-term trends and the actions we all take. I have hope that we will mobilize fast enough now.

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