Major Media Get Climate Change Wrong (Again)

Large numbers of fish die in the cooling intakes at the Bay Shore coal plant on Maumee Bay in Oregon, Ohio. (Nancy Stone/Chic
Large numbers of fish die in the cooling intakes at the Bay Shore coal plant on Maumee Bay in Oregon, Ohio. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)

In an editorial in Saturday's paper, the Chicago Tribune editorial board said that we still need coal, oil and gas because solving climate change is too complex. Such handwaving doesn't pass the smell test: they haven't done their homework. To be fair, for a paper that once regularly featured a climate denier (Dennis Byrne), the Trib has come around somewhat, especially in their praise for the Paris climate agreement. But they're still miles away from reality.

So too, it appears, are the Atlantic and the Washington Post, which feted climate change deniers in events sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute last week in Cleveland. You know what these types of events are like, lots of mixed drinks and bromides. The Intercept gives the full scoop on such shameless and unethical actions by publications that should be pressing the powerful on climate change, not coddling them.

Last year was the hottest on record and this year looks to top it. Luckily, the Democratic Party platform calls for galvanizing a World War II-like effort to stop climate change. But there are obstacles, beyond even the presidential contest, that could prevent more thoroughgoing action to prevent climate change. One such obstacle, for instance, is the growth of gas infrastructure which would put us on a path toward certain temperature rise and obviate everything else we are trying to do. And this is where journalists should be challenging conventional wisdom about climate change and urging massive deployment of the functional renewable energy we already have, not offering milquetoast paeans to the wonders of technology or the lie that climate science isn't settled.

Joe Romm of Climate Progress has been one of the most insistent scientists arguing this point. He says that we'd be able to nip climate change in the bud if we deployed all the resources we already have. Unlike Bill Gates, he doesn't think that we need an energy miracle that won't even be functional for decades. We need to act now.

So I urge you, for the good of the planet, not to buy the corrupt and lazy work of outlets like the Tribune, Atlantic and Washington Post when it comes to climate change. It is one of the most urgent issues we face today and needs to be addressed as fossil fuels need to be quickly phased out. The time to do so is now.