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Hurricane Harvey flooding. Jill Carlson / Flickr

Record Number of Americans 'Very Worried' About Climate Change

As someone who writes about the environment on a near-daily basis, the fact that a large chunk of Americans (about one in eight) reject the near scientific consensus of climate change can be a tough pill to swallow.

But after a year of record-breaking heatwaves, massive wildfires in the west, and a string of destructive hurricanes, it appears that my fellow U.S. citizens are waking up to the realities of our hot, new world, according to the latest nationally representative survey from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.

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Martin Schulz / Flickr

Pope Francis: These 4 'Perverse Attitudes' Could Push Earth to Its Brink

Pope Francis issued a strong message to negotiators at the COP23 climate talks in Bonn, Germany on Thursday, warning them not to fall into "four perverse attitudes" regarding the future of the planet—"denial, indifference, resignation and trust in inadequate solutions."

Francis, who has long pressed for strong climate action and wrote his 2015 encyclical on the environment, renewed his "urgent call" for renewed dialogue "on how we are building the future of the planet."

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Seppo Leinonen / Flickr

Educated Republicans Are Less Likely to Believe in Climate Change

Just this week, more than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries signed a paper issuing a urgent plea to global leaders about the "current trajectory of potentially catastrophic climate change." The article, titled World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice, is a wakeup call to anyone concerned about rapidly rising temperatures and stronger and more frequent extreme weather events.

But the dire warning could fall on deaf ears to a specific segment of the U.S. population: highly educated Republicans.

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Climate

Dr. Michael Mann on Climate Denial: 'It’s Impaired Our Ability to Move Forward'

Last month, Climate Reality chatted with world-renowned climatologist and geophysicist Dr. Michael E. Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University, ahead of our recent Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Below, Dr. Mann discusses why he thinks, despite the evidence of climate change all around us, we haven't reached a tipping point in the culture as well as what he'd say to climate deniers.

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Trump Watch
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt visited the USS Lead Superfund in East Chicago, Indiana. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency / YouTube

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Scott Pruitt's Dysfunctional EPA

By Rachel Leven

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt doesn't hide his contempt for how the agency has been run, but does profess to care about one of its key programs: Superfund, which oversees the cleanup of the nation's worst toxic-waste sites. In April, he toured a site in East Chicago, Indiana, contaminated with lead and arsenic, and told residents, "We are going to get this right."

The following month, Pruitt—Oklahoma's attorney general before he joined the EPA—tapped one of his former donors, banker Albert "Kell" Kelly, to find ways to accelerate and improve Superfund cleanups. Kelly started by consulting career staff members —often-knowledgeable officials who work at the agency regardless of who holds the White House. But then Kelly closed off the process, conferring with Pruitt to produce a final plan that altered or excluded many of the staffers' suggestions. Gone, for example, was the idea that EPA officials be identified early on to lead discussions with communities on how contaminated land should be used after cleanup.

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[Left to Right] Thanu Yakupitiyage, 350.org; Katia Aviles-Vasquez, Organización Boricua & It Takes Roots; Varshini Prakash, SustainUS & Sunrise Movement; Dallas Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network & It Takes Roots; Kiran Ooman, youth plaintiff with Our Children's Trust; Dyanna Jaye, Sunrise Movement & ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability; Ellen Anderson, Energy Transition Lab & Climate Generation

U.S. People’s Delegation Takes on Trump Administration at COP23

Community and grassroots leaders from the U.S. on Tuesday announced their platform at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23). The "U.S. People's Delegation" is attending to counter the Trump administration's fossil fuel agenda and to hold U.S. states, cities, businesses and the public accountable to climate action commitments.

The platform includes youth, Indigenous peoples, frontline communities, advocates and policymakers who have come to Bonn, Germany with organizations from across the U.S. They have come together to show what climate leadership should look like.

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Trump Watch

Why Did Trump Release a Report Confirming Climate Change Is Real?

Last Friday, the White House stunned many after it released a sweeping report concluding that climate change is not only real, but it also poses as a major threat to the U.S. and humans are "extremely likely" to be responsible.

The 477-page National Climate Assessment, which was mandated by Congress and reviewed by 13 federal agencies, conflicted with President Trump's notorious stance on global warming as a "hoax." It also defied Trump's continued efforts to dismantle environmental regulations on both the national and international scale.

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'Victory for Science' as 'Comically Bad' Sam Clovis Withdraws and Climate-Denying Lamar Smith Plans to Retire

Former Trump campaign aide and climate change denier Sam Clovis withdrew his nomination for the chief scientist position at the Department of Agriculture on Wednesday.

Clovis faced increasing scrutiny this week after it was revealed that he knew campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos was establishing contact with Russian officials in 2016. In an October letter to the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, which oversees to nominations to the Department of Agriculture, Clovis confirmed that he has published no peer-reviewed scientific work and has never taken any graduate-level courses in natural science.

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Politics
Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

Climate Change Denial: Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore’s 'Other' Extremist View

By Evlondo Cooper

Roy Moore, Republican Senate candidate in Alabama, has drawn media attention for his extreme and dangerous views on homosexuality, birtherism, and the role of Christianity in government (even though much of the coverage has been inadequate and misleadingly framed). But one of his extreme positions has received almost no major media attention at all: his absolute denial of climate science.

Media Matters has found that, from the time Moore announced his candidacy on April 26 to Oct. 31, the major broadcast evening news shows, prime-time cable news programs and national newspapers have all neglected to report on Moore's views on climate change, one of the most significant issues he would face if elected to the U.S. Senate. Over the same period, four of the top five largest-circulation newspapers in Alabama also failed to report on Moore and climate change.

The Montgomery Advertiser is the outlier: The Alabama newspaper asked Moore's campaign about climate change but didn't receive an answer. In July, the paper ran an article about climate change and the Senate race, reporting that "Moore's campaign declined to answer questions on the subject." In August, the Advertiser again reported that Moore "declined to answer questions on the issue."

Both Advertiser articles refer to Moore's campaign website, which lists a brief position on energy but makes no mention of the climate: "To gain independence from foreign oil, we need to foster development of our own natural resources involving nuclear, solar, wind, and fossil fuels. Coal mining and oil drilling should be encouraged, subject only to reasonable regulations."

However, despite his recent reticence on the subject, Moore has made his climate denial clear in the past. In 2009, he published an op-ed about climate change on fringe website WorldNetDaily, as HuffPost's Alexander C. Kaufman recently pointed out. From the WND op-ed:

"Not only is there no constitutional authority for Congress to regulate carbon emissions, but the premise of 'global warming' and 'climate change' upon which such environmental theories are based does not have the support of a scientific consensus.

[...]

Not only do scientists disagree on 'global warming,' but there is little hard evidence that carbon emissions cause changes to the global climate."

This is an extreme manifestation of climate science denial, and it's outright false.

Moore—who identifies as a Southern Baptist and addressed the Southern Baptist Convention's Pastors' Conference in 2005—has a denialist position on climate change science that aligns with the convention's stance, as do his positions on same-sex marriage and displaying the Ten Commandments in government buildings. In 2007, the Southern Baptist Convention issued a resolution on global warming that cast doubt on climate science and opposed climate action:

"WHEREAS, Many scientists reject the idea of catastrophic human-induced global warming;

[...]

RESOLVED, That we consider proposals to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions based on a maximum acceptable global temperature goal to be very dangerous, since attempts to meet the goal could lead to a succession of mandates of deeper cuts in emissions, which may have no appreciable effect if humans are not the principal cause of global warming, and could lead to major economic hardships on a worldwide scale;"

And in December 2016, as Kaufman reported, 12 former Southern Baptist Convention presidents joined other evangelical leaders in signing a letter in support of Scott Pruitt's nomination to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, defending Pruitt's call for "a continuing debate" on climate science.

Mainstream media have a history of inadequate reporting on climate change, especially during political campaigns. But global warming is expected to have serious negative effects on Alabama, including more severe drought, sea-level rise, and increased dangerous heat days, and many national and international leaders have called climate change one of the greatest challenges of our time.

In order to provide a full, fair picture of the Alabama Senate race and Moore's fitness to be a senator, media should report on his climate denial in addition to his other extreme and disturbing beliefs. And there's a clear contrast to draw, as Moore's Democratic challenger, Doug Jones, has made addressing climate change a key part of his platform.

Methodology: Media Matters conducted a Nexis search of print and television outlets using the search terms "Roy Moore" and "climate change" or "global warming." Our search covered the time period between April 26, 2017, the date Roy Moore announced his candidacy, and Oct. 31, 2017. For television, we searched transcripts of the broadcast evening news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC and transcripts of prime-time, weekday programs on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. For print coverage, we searched pieces published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Birmingham News, Press-Register (Mobile), The Huntsville Times, The Tuscaloosa News and Montgomery Advertiser. We also searched Factiva for pieces published in The Wall Street Journal.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Media Matters for America.

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