Photo via CleanTechnica
After I spent a good chunk of the morning penning a criticism of mainstream media's difficulty in covering climate change -- particularly, this New York Times piece that's drawn the ire of green blogs everywhere -- I feel that it's only fair to give credit where it's due. See, the Washington Post also published an op-ed about climate change that's actually pretty great. Perhaps the days of nonsensical Sarah Palin-authored columns about climate policy are over -- just check out this passage, which gets right to the point about the current state of climate change in our culture: From the WaPo:
IN A DEPRESSING case of irony by juxtaposition, the death of climate change legislation in the Senate has been followed by the appearance of two government reports in the past week that underscore the overwhelming scientific case for global warming -- and go out of the way to repudiate skeptics.Precisely. The case for climate change is now scientifically stronger than it's ever been before -- and yet we squander time laboring over some email correspondence and political horse races. The second half of the WaPo editorial focuses on the EPA's repudiation of the various coal groups and organizations that opposed its ability to regulate greenhouse gases as a harmful pollutant, which again drives home the fact that it understands the scope of the threat posed by climate change.
First came a report on global climate from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which confirmed that the 2000s were by far the warmest decade in the instrumental record -- as were, in their turns, the 1980s and the 1990s. Unlike year-to-year fluctuations, these 10-year shifts are statistically significant. Further, the report notes that it derived its conclusions from an array of data sources -- not just the land-surface readings that doubters challenge -- from ocean heat uptake to melting land ice to sea level rise.
It's also a pleasant surprise that the WaPo published the piece due to its past tendency of letting the likes of Palin and George Will use the space as a political platform to (incorrectly) rail against climate science. The op-ed, which I really do recommend reading in full, ends on this note: "Many climate-change skeptics will simply dismiss these reports as more evidence of a sprawling conspiracy instead of what they really are: yet more affirmation of the risks humanity runs if it continues to pump carbon into the atmosphere."
Sad but true.