“It was very well done for showing climate impacts, but doing an hour documentary on climate change and not mentioning fossil fuels is like doing an hour on sexually-transmitted diseases and not mentioning sex.”
That is Peter Dykstra critiquing CNN’s new one-hour prime-time documentary, “The Coming Storms.”
Dykstra — an Emmy and Peabody winner — is one of the best climate journalists around. He is currently Publisher of the Daily Climate (which CP often resposts), and ”During a 17-year career at CNN, Peter Dykstra was executive producer for science, environment, weather and technology coverage.”
The good news is that, as the CNN promo explains, the show discussed how “Global warming continues to wreak havoc on weather systems around the globe.” The bad news is that the show never examines the cause of global warming or how to slow it down (see transcript here).
Here is more from Dykstra, in an email he sent to CNN staff and several reporters/bloggers:
I thought the individual reporting and storytelling on these pieces was strong, and makes a good case for what’s at stake for the future of climate change. I didn’t see a single factual flaw, which is unique and commendable, and the science within the pieces was well done. I also thought that the resistance to the traditional model of giving equal time to outliers who question the vailidity of climate science was good, and sadly, a little bit brave in the current media climate. The science is overwhelming, and the on-the-ground evidence is quickly catching up, as your hour demonstrated.
But the sum of the hour focuses on adaptation, implying that society is resigned to dealing with climate change. I didn’t hear a single mention of what causes climate change, or what can still be done to limit its impacts. If I ran a TV network that raked in millions of dollars in misleading ads from the oil, coal and gas industries, it would trouble me to go into utter silence about mentioning fossil fuels. Not the fault of the reporters, but you may want to take this up with the Home Office.
The polling makes clear that the (non-Fox-News-watching) public understands the climate is changing and that weather is getting more extreme. What’s needed now are more explanations of why the climate is changing and what we can do about it. CNN can do better!