The so-called paper of record ran a major story Tuesday on the country’s most infamous climate-driven pest, “Bark Beetles Kill Millions of Acres of Trees in West.” Great story, other than neglecting to mention climate change. It’d be like an article on an outbreak of avian flu that left out any discussion of birds
So we have the national “liberal” media, like the NYT and NBC, blowing this story, while the local, conservative media get it right, see “conservative San Diego Union knows climate change is killing Western forests” and “Oldest Utah newspaper: Bark-beetle driven wildfires are a vicious climate cycle.”
Of course, the journal Nature understands the science, as an April article made clear: “Mountain pine beetle and forest carbon feedback to climate change.” So does the Canadian media: “Climate-Driven Pest Devours Canada’s Forests.”
The NYT did get the grim, superficial facts of the story right:
From New Mexico to British Columbia, the region’s signature pine forests are succumbing to a huge infestation of mountain pine beetles that are turning a blanket of green forest into a blanket of rust red. Montana has lost a million acres of trees to the beetles, and in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming the situation is worse.
“We’re seeing exponential growth of the infestation,” said Clint Kyhl, director of a Forest Service incident management team in Laramie, Wyo., that was set up to deal with the threat of fire from dead forests. Increased construction of homes in forest areas over the last 20 years makes the problem worse.
Yeah, home building is the cause of this problem — that’s why in Alaska, “over three million acres of forest land has been devastated by the beetle,” as senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) described in a May 2006 speech on climate change. Seriously, that is pretty much the only explanation the NYT story offers, although the accompanying video does inch much closer to the truth, strangely enough.