Burying truth, promoting lies

Am I missing something? Did the Globe even mention yesterday's climate protest in DC?? That is some shameful $@(. UPDATE: sorry, there apparently was a picture on A2 of the print edition.
- promoted by charley-on-the-mta

The Boston Globe buried the truth about the impact of climate change , while promoting the lie that cheaper oil is a good thing. The truth is that anthropogenic climate change already greatly multiplied the strength of “frankenstorm” Sandy — New Jersey and New York will be dealing with the catastrophic impact for a very long time.

More egregiously, the Globe lies by omission in today’s piece on fracking. A prominent, front-page, above-the-fold story that extols the many claimed benefits of fracking (this time for shale oil) and mentions NONE of the dangerous climate-change impacts.

The headline (“Shale oil reviving refinery industry”) and subheads (“Fracking offers a cheaper supply” and “Keeps gas prices from rising more”) loudly proclaim the benefits — nowhere in the piece are the devastating impacts of continued CO2 emissions mentioned. This is like a piece proclaiming the benefits of eating and drinking from leaden plates, cutlery, and cups — and making no mention of the unfortunate fact that the same lead kills you.

This, like the happy-faced local TV news announcers celebrating “fantastic” 70 degree sunny weather in January, exemplifies the literally suicidal failure of our political system to confront the truth of climate change and its implications for energy policy.


11 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Cue DFW

    Mocking me/us again for suggesting that parts of the Massachusetts coastline may be underwater in 50 years if we don’t address this. Perhaps not totally underwater like Atlantis, but at least subject to frequent flooding a la Sandy as ever-rising sea levels and ever-more-intense storms create greater risk. At each step of the way, the predicted changes have been happening – sooner than initially projected.

    One would think the damage done just by Katrina, Irene and Sandy in just the past few years would be a wake-up call. For many, I think it has been. Sadly, other Americans’ willingness to face this reality is lagging. Perhaps the Globe is among them.

  2. As the world burns

    Why complain? A ratio of six to one in favor of cheer-leaders of shale oil seems more than reasonable. And when you can get slightly cheaper gas, why bother to mention the fact that in releasing ever more carbon we intensify the climate crisis? Who can leave carbon in the ground? Just burn it baby! As for the rally, did the Tea Party favor it? If not, it did not happen. Was Marco Rubio there?

    Perhaps the next climate rally should focus on the media.

  3. They did succeed in getting noticed elsewhere

    I do believe they got some good press. I was in Pittsburgh over the weekend and this morning the Tribune ran the story on page 2 (meanwhile, the Post-Gazette ran a story on Sunday about how the Marcellus shale was being underdeveloped–nat gas has become so cheap they lack the wherwithal to drill). Front page on LeMonde (ok, for what it”s worth) and maybe the WaPo as well? The NYT ran an editorial, and Obama’s FB page had a non-committal and somewhat oblique, albeit warm, response.

    Also of interest: in support of somervilletom’s point about storms turning into superstorms, USA Today actually talked some sense today about what “climate change” means–less snow, more blizzards.

    No idea why teh Globe is smitte dwith fracking, but as for cverage, not bad, all in all. I was jolted by how many folks showed up in Portland a few weeks ago=my clips here and here (@ 1:55) give you some idea–and this had 20x that. In fact, one activist frind of mine noted that she’d been to countless climate demos, and they were all less than 1/20 of this one. The key indicator isn’t necessarily size or press, but the explosive growth.

  4. more more more

    What Joe Nocera of the Times wants: more oil, more gas, more carbon–because only wooly headed-idealists would try to stave off a climate crisis.

  5. That seems simplistic.

    Seventy degree January days have fairly little to do with global warming. Global warming consists of temperature changes of a few degrees worldwide, which then manifests itself as various climatic changes. Global warming isn’t about warm weather.

    Of course, it’s entirely possible that those climatic changes could lead to especially warm winters in certain areas in excess of the general worldwide warming trend. But it’s also possible that it could lead to especially cold winters. Global warming can lead to all sorts of things, the problem is all that instability that can lead to. But that doesn’t mean every instance of unusual weather has to be treated as a harbinger of doom.

    Also, natural gas isn’t all bad. Natural gas has less carbon dioxide per unit of energy than other fossil fuels, and the shift from petroleum to natural gas in the last few years has been a big part of recent reductions in carbon emissions. Natural gas has lots and lots of problems, but everything is relative.

    • That's not the whole story

      While Natural Gas does indeed lower carbon emissions it increases methane emissions. Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon. So there may be no net gain for us, in terms of slowing climate change. It’s time we act boldly to wean ourselves off of carbon-based fuels – increasing our reliance on natural gas merely replaces one carbon fuel for another, slightly cleaner carbon fuel.

      While you are right that a single weather event (like a 70-degree day in January) can’t be attributed to climate change, what we can expect (and are seeing) is more events like that. Global warming is leading to a a more unstable climate. This will lead to a greater probability of “out-of-the-ordinary” events like the 70-degree days in January and a 2+foot snowstorm a month later.

    • Not what I said!

      I’m fully aware that a single seventy degree January day cannot be attributed to global warming. A string of them is different.

      What I did say, and what I stand by, is that a seventy degree day in January is not something to welcome and celebrate as a glorious day by broadcast media personalities. An important part of changing the politics of global warming is putting to rest the lie that “warm equals good”.

      Similarly, I did not say that natural gas is “bad”, especially in comparison to alternatives like coal and oil. Natural gas has a role as a transition source while we move to renewable sources with minimal or no carbon footprint.

      Having said all that, the piece in question was not about natural gas, it was instead about shale oil. An article extolling the virtues of lower prices while saying nothing about the catastrophic impacts of CO2 on climate is lying by omission.

      • I think you are fighting human nature.

        People are most comfortable around 70F give or take. There is a reason that is considered room temperature. So when a news anchor or even local meteorologist declares that to be wonderful it is not a political or scientific statement. Meteorogists especially tend to be very cognizant of climate change and not likely to be deniers. If I were to walk outside right now and find it to be 70F I too would probably think what nice weather we are having today.

        • It's still political

          So long as people who live in this region welcome seventy degree sunny days in January as “wonderful”, it will be all that much harder to persuade them of the importance of addressing global warming. We just had a campaign where global warming was essentially ignored. We are the ONLY first-world nation where the very existence of global warming is still questioned by major portions of our population and government.

          When was the last time we heard an on-air personality extol the lovely smell of a pipe, or wax on about the pleasant buzz of that first martini? The global warming problem is at least as significant as the problems of smoking and excess drinking.

          Broadcast media have a responsibility to respect their role as influencers. If a typical on-air meteorologist can spend two minutes of a four-minute weather spot reminding viewers to wear warm clothes or cover exposed skin, surely similar time can be dedicated to noting the dangers of climate change.

          Urban communities across the region were besieged by burgeoning rat populations all last year, after the winter of 2011-2012 went missing. The media dutifully reported the increased rat problem — but NEVER connected the dots with the unseasonably warm winter that greatly contributed to it.

          • We just had TWO campaigns in which it was ignored; glad Markey isn't

            Presidential and ’12 Senate.

            Not this time. I was intrigued to read, on the recent PPP survey summary, that

            “Markey’s support from environmental groups is likely to be a major asset for him… 81% of voters say they are more likely to vote for candidate with environmental backing [47% "strongly"] …

            (see more on crosstab 5).

            Congressman Markey talked it up this morning in Brockton (photos here): “there are no emergency rooms for planets.” He stuck with the parochial green-jobs-for-the innovation-economy-in MA line (stop allowing Kentucky coal and Oklahoma oil to call the shots). Wish he’d mentioned Keystone; based on those numbers, recent reports suggesting that the pipeline isn’t exactly a source of thousands of long-term jobs, and his and Congressman Lynch’s very different positions on the same, I think it’s a winner in MA.

            Albeit not nationally. The administration is going to catch holy hell no matter what its decision on Keystone.

            As for gas, I’m comfortable enough–for now–with “all of the above,” which Markey has been pitching. It’s only the fringe that doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of what somervilletom refers to as “transition source.”

            (As for pipes and martinis, I’m still mourning the loss of Mr PotatoHead’s pipe. I was almost suprised to see that the Stoughton Journal ran my photo of my snowman enjoying his corncob this week.)

            P.S.: Those of us who struggle with keyboards thank you for getting the Preview button working.

  6. Transition to nowhere

    Natural gas may be useful in the very short term as a bridge to get away from coal, but the explosive growth in natural gas reserves means that we still intensify the climate crisis unless we start to keep carbon in the ground.

    The cheerleaders for the wonders of natural gas also tend to leave out the problem of methane leaks.

    The basic business model of the fossil fuel industry calls for destabilizing the climate of what is so far our only planet. It’s too bad that President Obama was hanging out with oil executives during the large rally ignored by much of the media.

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