The Big Climate Stories from 2011

By Keith Kloor | January 4, 2012 2:36 pm

In a new post at the Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media, I write:

In 2011, there were numerous themes that ran through climate change media coverage: 1) crazy weather, 2) a litmus test for Republicans, 3) man bites dog, 4) evidence of an actual climate movement, and 5) futility.

What’s that, you think I missed something? I’m all ears.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change, Journalism
  • jeffn

    Here, let me fix the problems in your point number 3:
    Politically speaking, a theme that continued to sharpen in the U.S. was outright rejection of climate science (and dismissal of climate change) by [both parties.] much of the Republican Party. [While Republicans increasingly questioned the theory in public, Democrats entirely abandoned it- leaving “the most important issue of our time” completely out of speeches and legislative to-do lists. Mostly this was a reflection of public attitudes- which saw continued increases in the percentage who reject climate change alarmism as well as policies advocated by climate change advocates. Despite efforts by a few to dismiss this as the mutterings of a few “Republicans” or “tea partiers,’ look for this trend to gain speed as polls in Europe, the US and around the world in 2011 increasingly showed growing disenchantment and disagreement with the CAGW movement.]
    There, now it’s accurate.

  • Sashka

    6) desperation

  • Jeff Norris


    I think you missed a couple obvious ones that relate to media.

    Nisbet’s study (both sides want to be David)

     Climate change and the Arab Spring (goes along with Crazy weather but the National Security Theme is becoming popular)

     Al Gore’s article in Rolling Stone and his event that went nowhere.  (the piece in RS got a lot of play but CC is just not at the top 5 for the public right now.)


  • EdG

    “In Curry’s case, she was a consensus climate scientist turned gadfly,”

    Really. Looks like 2012 is starting out like 2011.

  • EdG

    “What’s that, you think I missed something?”

    I think the biggest AGW story in the mainstream media again this year was that they “missed something,” all the inconvenient information they chose not to report or spun dizzy if they did. 

    I think the most significant 2011 stories related to the AGW project were the collapse at Durban, Climategate 2.0, and SOLYNDRA (etc.), and none were properly covered by any of the usual suspects.

    I definitely expect the relentless ‘extreme’ weather porn to continue because manufacturing a belief in AGW ‘Climate Disruption’ is all they have left to cling to.

    This will not be an issue in the US election but it could be a very entertaining year for AGW soap opera fans.


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About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.


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