Newsweek, of course, has its own asterisked footnote: “Or so claim well-funded naysayers who still reject overwhelming evidence of climate change. Inside the denial machine.”
The magazine’s article on global warming deniers is better than the cover, but the eye-grabbing headline may well mislead casual readers — and the picture of the blazing sun, underlining a favorite denier myth, also adds to the misleading picture.
Aren’t we past the time when deniers deserve this much space? And why does Newsweek‘s website runs the two deceptive Competitive Enterprise Institute ads without any rebuttal.
I’d also add that the cover, even with the footnote, is still wrong. Most (but not all) deniers accept the “overwhelming evidence of climate change” — since it is just too damn overwhelming not to accept — but they just assert that:
- Most of the climate change is not human caused [the "natural cycles" trap].
- Climate change won’t be a catastrophe, it might even be beneficial for some, and we can just adapt to the rest [the adaptation trap]
- Reducing emissions today would be too costly so we must wait for new technology breakthoughs [the technology trap].
These three traps, which I debunk at length in my book, are the main emphasis of the denial machine these days. Ironically, Newsweek even contributed to the machine’s success by giving leading denier Richard Lindzen a platform. The article notes matter of factly:
As Lindzen wrote in a guest editorial in NEWSWEEK International in April, “There is no compelling evidence that the warming trend we’ve seen will amount to anything close to catastrophe.”
Note he doesn’t deny warming, just says we don’t have to worry about it. Newsweek‘s final paragraph begins:
Look for the next round of debate to center on what Americans are willing to pay and do to stave off the worst of global warming. So far the answer seems to be, not much. The NEWSWEEK Poll finds less than half in favor of requiring high-mileage cars or energy-efficient appliances and buildings.
Well, duh — I mean if big media run articles by people who say warming isn’t a big problem, then why would you expect people to be willing to take much action.?The best thing about the Newsweek piece is the very end:
No amount of white papers, reports and studies is likely to change that. If anything can, it will be the climate itself. This summer, Texas was hit by exactly the kind of downpours and flooding expected in a greenhouse world, and Las Vegas and other cities broiled in record triple-digit temperatures. Just last week the most accurate study to date concluded that the length of heat waves in Europe has doubled, and their frequency nearly tripled, in the past century. The frequency of Atlantic hurricanes has already doubled in the last century. Snowpack whose water is crucial to both cities and farms is diminishing. It’s enough to make you wish that climate change were a hoax, rather than the reality it is.
(Though, again, it would be better if they wrote “human-caused climate change.”)