Earlier this week I wrote about the Risky Business Project, which produced an informative, if frightening, report on climate change that I said,
expressed the problem in terms of “a common language of risk that is already part of every serious business and investment decision we make today.”
I started that piece (“Humid Heat Stroke Index And Other Climate Change ‘Hoaxes'”) with a quote from the head of the Republican Party’s Know Nothing Wing (which is pretty much the entire party these days), Rush Limbaugh:
“It is a hoax. All of it. I don’t know how else to say it. All of that is just wrong, and these people know it’s wrong.”
Well, you might say, that’s just Rush being Rush. No serious players pay any attention to that kind of right-wing, science-denying bullshit. Oh, yeah? How about this:
Media Matters confirmed that Cindy Perman, working as the “commentary editor of CNBC.com,” mistook a blog that specializes in rebutting climate change deniers (called DeSmogBlog) for one that is, let’s just say, friendly to the know-nothings on the right. DeSmogBlog had written a short (and critical) profile of an MIT economist (not a climate scientist) named Alan Carlin, who claims “there is little evidence for significant human impacts on climate.” And being a sloppy journalist, or being a journalist with an ax to grind, or being a journalist who wants to keep her job at CNBC.com, Cindy Perman sent the following message to DeSmogBlog:
Hi there. Given this new report on the cost of climate change, wanted to extend an invitation to Alan Carlin to write an op-ed for CNBC.com. Can be on the new report or just his general thoughts on global warming being a hoax.
You want to know why not much of ultimate consequence is getting done in this country regarding climate change? It’s because journalists, or journalistic enterprises like CNBC purports to be at times (when it is not attacking the Obama administration for being “anti-business” or providing misleading coverage of climate change), decide that it is necessary to solicit the Limbaugh- and Glenn Beck-friendly views of someone who doesn’t believe humans have all that much to do with what is happening to the planet’s climate in order to counter the scientific consensus, a consensus that right-winging zealots just don’t like, that we are negatively changing our world by our fossil fuel-driven behavior.
Finally, let me cite Wikipedia for a summation of the state of the science vis-à-vis climate change:
In the scientific literature, there is a strong consensus that global surface temperatures have increased in recent decades and that the trend is caused primarily by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases. No scientific body of national or international standing disagrees with this view, though a few organizations hold non-committal positions. Disputes over the key scientific facts of global warming are now more prevalent in the popular media than in the scientific literature, where such issues are treated as resolved, and more in the United States than globally.
Yes, sadly, we apparently lead the world in disputing “key scientific facts of global warming.” And right-leaning media, including CNBC, are the main reason why.