An early look at the Time cover story

I now seem to be on some media distribution list to gin up early PR. Green publicists of the world — Bring it on!

Here are links to key stories (plus some summaries, from Time):

This Week’s Cover Features a Green Border–Only the Second Issue in TIME’s 85-Year History Without the Trademarked Red Border

(New York, April 17, 2008)–In this week’s issue, TIME managing editor Richard Stengel writes in his Letter to Readers, “This is our latest environment special issue but also a historic first: for this one issue, we’ve exchanged our trademarked Red Border for a green one. By doing so, we are sending a clear–and colorful–message to our readers about the importance of this subject, not just to Americans but to everyone around the world as well.” The cover story–“Green Is the New Red, White and Blue“–written by TIME’s Bryan Walsh , “is our call to arms to make this issue–perhaps the most important one facing the planet–a true national priority.”

[Note — It’s a pretty good story, as one expects from this magazine. That said, I take issue with one of the paragraphs in the cover story — Honorable mention to whoever figures out which paragraph it is. I’ll post the answer tomorrow.]

Walsh’s piece lays out a three-point plan for combating climate change that deals realistically with the price of handling–and overcoming–the environmental crisis:
1) Establish a price on carbon through a cap and trade system;
2) Encourage massive improvements in energy efficiency–what TIME calls an “efficiency surge”–to slow the growth in energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions; and
3) Vigorously support research and development into the new forms of alternative energy that will truly make a difference. [Actually that’s not quite what the story’s third point is, but such is life….]

Key to achieving these three goals is engaging policy-makers and politicians, TIME’s Eric Pooley writes in a separate piece (here): “Climate leadership will come not from this President but from the next. So how will voters be able to tell which candidate is going to take real action? If there’s a canary in this coal mine, it’s the policy known as cap and trade, an idea Environmental Defense Fund president Fred Krupp calls a ‘silver bullet’ At an environmental forum in Washington the other day, advisers to all three candidates promised that if elected, their candidate would make global warming a First Hundred Days priority. But if they don’t help sort out the details of it now, they won’t have the mandate they’ll need to pass something quickly. If that impasse happens, it could drag on well into the new Administration.”

Also in this issue (here): United Nations Secretary-General Ban-ki moon writes, “Every problem of the world finds its way to the U.N., our global crossroads of politics and diplomacy. But if the problems come together at the U.N., so do the often hidden connections among them–and through those connections, the ways to real solutions. Nowhere is that more apparent than in our approach to climate change. Many of the challenges we face, from poverty to armed conflict, are linked to the effects of global warming. Finding a solution to climate change can bring benefits in other areas. A greener planet will be a more peaceful and prosperous one too.”

12 Responses to An early look at the Time cover story

  1. JCH says:

    NOAA raised this wooden contraption on Mt. Suribachi in 1945:

  2. HumansFirst - EarthSecond says:

    Time Magazine can’t seem to make up its mind on climate change.

    Here are excerpts from the Jun 24, 1974, Time Magazine, entitled: “Another Ice Age?”:

    “Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age.”

    “Whatever the cause of the cooling trend, its effects could be extremely serious, if not catastrophic. Scientists figure that only a 1% decrease in the amount of sunlight hitting the earth’s surface could tip the climatic balance, and cool the planet enough to send it sliding down the road to another ice age within only a few hundred years.”

    And the list of gloom and doom goes on in the article. Now that global warming is in vogue, (and the same gloom and doom) Time has jumped on the bandwagon again, because it sells. And people fall for it. How sad.

  3. A Siegel says:

    Wow, Time Magazine wrote an article with a question mark as part of the title 34 years ago. Wow. Shouldn’t ever, no, change one’s opinion in the face of gathered data, analysis, and evolution of scientific knowledge. (Oops, evolution a taboo subject???)

    What is sad is your obstinate refusal to look at the world around you with open eyes and allow evidence / fact to influence you.

  4. David says:

    HumansFirst, Time magazine can’t make up their mind about anything. They claim they care so very, very much about the planet, but have no problem running advertisements for SUVs, airlines, and overseas travel destinations. They also have no problem running pieces like the following on their website, “The Luxury Index A to Z”:,9171,1566643,00.html

    Isn’t this the very kind of stuff that’s supposedly wrecking the planet?

    And they also don’t seem to have any problem with all the so-called greenhouse gases that are emitted creating, and transporting their magazine to various retail locations around the world.

    But then I’m old, bitter, and cynical. I’m sure Time will prove how much they really care by shutting down their operations, laying off all their staff, selling all their assets and donating the proceeds to some “save the rainforest” organization. It will be a wonderful example for us all. :)

  5. Tommaso Boggia, Campus Progress says:

    “Industry offers its plans, which too often would fix little. Environmentalists offer theirs, which too often amount to naive wish lists that could cripple America’s growth… What would an aggressive, ambitious, effective plan look like—one that would leave us both environmentally safe and economically sound?”

    Joe, was this the part you take issue with? He portrays the debate on very simplistic terms, making it sound as if all enviros are tree-hugging granola crunchers who want us all to go back to the land. If you look at the plans from Sierra Club, Green for All, Environment America and most other ‘environmentalists’, they always take the economy into account and base their claims with research going back to the recently-reconsidered optimistic Stern Report.

    Funny how between expert environmentalists and corporate advocates, the real solution supposedly comes from a journalist.

  6. danny bloom says:

    Bryan Walsh used to be TIME’s bureau chief in the Tokyo office, and he now seems to have been elevated to the magazine’s global warming beat. Good reporter, good eye. Thanks for the heads up on this cover story, Joe. Love that cover, shades of WWII and all.

    But hey, TIME, a mere tree raised again on a forsake island in the middle of nowhere is not going to save us from the coming problems associated with CO2 emissions. We are talking about the possible extinction of the human species 500 years from now, and TIME does a iconic photo cover? No wonder Bryan Walsh never replies to any of my emails about the polar cities project… By the way, if anyone wants to contact any reporter or editor at TIME, all you have to do is write their email address like this:
    [first name] [underline] [last name] AT timeinc DOT com

    So Robert Enders, for example, would be:

    It’s a good way keep the news a two-way street.

  7. danny bloom says:

    The day TIME or NEWSWEEK do a cover story on ADAPTATION stratgeies for survivors of global warming 30 generations down the pike, rather than mitigation now for a “green” planet, magazine borders and all, nice touch, is the day they will take a step forward. But that won’t happen for at least another 50 years, or more, probabaly for the 2099 issue….

  8. 3) Vigorously support research and development into the new forms of alternative energy that will truly make a difference.

    …like thorium!

  9. Earl Killian says:

    For comparison, here the article “One Big Greenhouse” from the May 28, 1956 (note the year–it is not a typo) issue of Time, almost 52 years ago:

    Since the start of the industrial revolution, mankind has been burning fossil fuel (coal, oil, etc.) and adding its carbon to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. In 50 years or so this process, says Director Roger Revelle of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, may have a violent effect on the earth’s climate.

    The temperature of the earth’s surface depends largely on two minor constituents of the atmosphere: water vapor and carbon dioxide. They are transparent to the short-wave energy (light and near infrared) that comes from the sun, but opaque to most of the long-wave heat radiation that tries to return to space. This “greenhouse effect” traps heat and makes the earth’s surface considerably warmer than it would be if the atmosphere had no water vapor or carbon dioxide in it. An increase in either constituent would make it warmer still. Warm eras in the geological past may have been caused by CO2 from volcanoes.

    At present the atmosphere contains 2.35 trillion tons of carbon dioxide, existing in equilibrium with living plants and sea water (which tends to dissolve it). Up to 1860, man’s fires added only about 500 million tons per year, and the atmosphere had no trouble in getting rid of this small amount. But each year more furnaces and engines poured CO2 into the atmosphere. In 1900, the amount was 3 billion tons. By 1950, it was 9 billion tons. By 2010, if present trends continue, 47 billion tons of carbon dioxide will enter the air each year.

    This will be only 2% of the total carbon dioxide, but if it is more than can be dissolved by the oceans or absorbed by plants or minerals, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere will tend to increase. The greenhouse effect will be intensified. Some scientists believe that this is the cause of recent warming of the earth’s climate. Dr. Revelle has his doubts.

    In the future, if the blanket of CO2 produces a temperature rise of only one or two degrees, a chain of secondary effects may come into play. As the air gets warmer, sea water will get warmer too, and CO2 dissolved in it will return to the atmosphere. More water will evaporate from the warm ocean, and this will increase the greenhouse effect of the CO2. Each effect will reinforce the other, possibly raising the temperature enough to melt the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland, which would flood the earth’s coastal lands.

    Dr. Revelle has not reached the stage of warning against this catastrophe, but he and other geophysicists intend to keep watching and recording. During the International Geophysical Year (1957-58), teams of scientists will take inventory of the earth’s CO2 and observe how it shifts between air and sea. They will try to find out whether the CO2 blanket has been growing thicker, and what the effect has been. When all their data have been studied, they may be able to predict whether man’s factory chimneys and auto exhausts will eventually cause salt water to flow in the streets of New York and London.

  10. Joe says:

    Tommaso: Great find. I missed that. What a classic MSM paragraph. I’ll give you HM. But I had another graf in mind.

  11. exusian says:

    HumansFirst – EarthSecond

    The former are entirely dependent on the health of the latter.
    The reverse is not true.