Andrew Rosenthal, the editorial page editor of the New York Times, has just started a new blog called “The Loyal Opposition.” He explains:
What’s with the title? Although I often find myself in opposition with what is going on in Washington, I’m not out to destroy government or to drag down individuals. My intention is to engage in and encourage debate and dissent, which are vital to democracy. So, please, no name-calling. As Woody Allen put it in “Stardust Memories” (not on my Netflix queue): “To you I’m an atheist. To God, I’m the loyal opposition.” By the way, before the Twitter attacks start, I’m not an atheist “” I just like the joke.
It’s interesting that Rosenthal 1) felt compelled to announce he wasn’t an atheist and 2) assumed that the presumption he was an atheist would trigger attacks on him.
I think it is safe to cancel your subscriptions to the one-time paper of record. While there are 1 or 2 reporters at the New York Times who get climate and energy, it’s obvious that most don’t and, more importantly, the editorial staff simply don’t know what they’re doing.
This is typical hyperbole from Romm that largely gets ignored by climate media watchers. But this particular rant caught Charlie Petit’s eye at the Tracker. As he noted, Romm was upset
because the section is full of news on fossil fuel industry expansion but not enough, not much at all actually, on why it’d be much better to look forward to a future with no fossils fuels at all and a stabilized atmospheric concentration of CO2.
Petit then says something that gives a clue as to why Romm gets a free pass for his heavy-handed attacks on journalists:
Romm’s energy sensibilities are on the side of the angels. We got an emergency unfolding and governments and their populaces are, most of them, pulling pillows over their heads so they can sleep.
But then Petit’s better journalistic angel takes over (my emphasis):
Would the [Times] section have been better to have run a significant feature on the consequences to the planet if the growth curves of fossil fuel use implied by what industry and policy experts expect were to occur (not the same as what’s best)? Sure, why not. It is gut-wrenching to read, amid a few pieces on the struggles of the clean-energy business, how bullish analysts are on petroleum and natural gas. But cancel the paper? Romm seems to be temperamentally skating close to the mentality of police state censors: as in China when nothing in the news about policy matters could be printed without reference to Mao, as in the Soviet Union when it was ditto for Stalin (or, today, to the Dear Leader or whatever they call the monomaniac in charge of N. Korea). Not that I’d equate, at all, the edifice of climate science with the intellectual bankruptcies of various dictators. But to demand only one angle on news stories, an angle that has been given extensive coverage and is therefore not news anymore except when things come along to advance the ball, is to be delusional about that a news medium’s job is.
It’s not often that Romm gets called out by media watchdogs for his rhetorical excesses, so this one time was worth noting.
That is certainly the perception that the Greek choruses at WUWT and elsewhere are doing their best to reinforce. So Josh is in tune with his audience.
But the reality of what’s happening is more like this.
Either way, Watts, ever the dramatist, channels his inner Godfather with this faux exasperation:
I try to get away to work on my paper and the climate world explodes, pulling me back in.
Can the climate world please control itself, so Mr. Watts can get back to his serious work?
As for the Mail article, Curry is reportedly accusing Muller, as Rose puts it, “of trying to mislead the public” with selective release of data from the BEST study. I’ll leave it to Curry to explain which parts of her interview with Rose have been taken out of context or utterly misrepresented (if either is the case). She will likely feel compelled to respond (at her blog) to Rose’s article, which crows:
Her comments, in an exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday, seem certain to ignite a furious academic row. She said this affair had to be compared to the notorious “˜Climategate’ scandal two years ago.
I’d say a soap opera is what seems more certain.
UPDATE: Curry has responded at Climate Etc: She writes:
I did not say that “the affair had to be compared to the notorious Climategate scandal two years ago,” this is indirectly attributed to me. When asked specifically about the graph that apparently uses a 10 year running mean and ends in 2006, we discussed “hide the decline,” but I honestly can’t recall if Rose or I said it first. I agree that the way the data is presented in the graph “hides the decline.” There is NO comparison of this situation to Climategate.
For some of us on the East Coast, snow has come early this year. That means the stupid starts early too:
This is freaky. The temp is dropping & the snown is sticking like crazy. Al Gore – get rewrite
Twitter is so great because when someone unloads a stupid like that, you can address the stupid directly.
I imagine that some folks in the climate policy and politics arena have been growling at this essay in Nature by Jane C. S. Long. Why would that be? Let’s just say that some advocates for climate reality have a little problem with energy reality.
And some of them are probably howling at Andy Revkin for his follow-on interview with Long. Here’s an excerpt:
Q: If the need for breakthroughs is so clear cut, do you foresee any path “” particularly in an era of prolonged economic uncertainty “” to building political and social support for the kind of sustained “energy quest” (my term) that would be required to have a chance of making leaps instead of tweaks?
I think the world is looking at Germany. They have taken the “common wisdom” renewables approach, which we think may be really a difficult path, but they are very committed to making it work. It probably can work up to a point, and the question is will they do the ancillary work (i.e., make load balancing work without emissions or leakage) to result in a reliable, truly emission-free electricity system. And the question is how much will it cost them to do it this way? They will still have the fuel problem. They have at least tried to prevent their low-carbon fuel standards from impacting food supply. I think its a good bet there won’t be enough biomass for their needs. So watching Germany will be one factor societal learning.
If I knew the answer to your question, though, I would be shouting it from the mountaintops. One idea is that now is the time for philanthropy to kick in big-time. Our government is clearly broken on this issue. Members of the administration have said that they can’t even go on the Hill and say the word climate anymore I think there are foundations out there that have been spending a lot of money on trying to get a climate agreement and not getting progress. Perhaps instead of pushing for an agreement which is hard because we really don’t how to implement the required changes, they might turn their attention to more strategic elements of the energy system itself so the world has options.
The only other answer I can think of, is to help enable people to be better citizens through simple clarity, accuracy and honesty in describing what the energy system is all about and what is required to change it.
The whole exchange at Dot Earth, which also includes input from other energy experts, is well worth the read.
This plea from an evangelical is interesting:
Don’t believe the worst about us””it may only empower the worst in us. Keep the faith in building bridges. Reach out. Speak the truth in love to evangelicals you know. That will require looking for openness to conversation with evangelicals wherever it can be found.
Willis, in classic form, says (and I’m paraphrasing a famously misquoted line), “We don’t need your stinking mercy.”
I’m betting Andy posted it now because of the recent BEST news, which has inspired many headlines like this one.
But for me, the cartoon perfectly illustrates the suggestion I offer at the end of my latest post for the Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media.
1) Denial, 2) Anger, 3) Bargaining, 4) Depression, 5) Acceptance
Anthony Watts appears to be stuck at stage 2. Oh sure, he’s still very much in denial over this, but make no mistake, he’s also fuming and furiously spinning. It is highly doubtful that any amount of peer review–when that final threshold is crossed–will be enough to get him through the final three stages of grief.