NPR: Remember That Whole Global Warming Problem People Once Worried About?

You may recall that classic Onion story from November 2010, “Report: Global Warming Issue From 2 Or 3 Years Ago May Still Be Problem.” It included the image at the right captioned, “This 2007 chart predicting rising temperatures worldwide could still possibly be worth looking at today.”

Well, apparently NPR missed it. In a story last Friday, “Budget Deal Provides Tax Breaks For Green Energy,” NPR reports:

The tax benefits for green energy that Congress extended were originally created over the past decade. At the time, it seemed that energy sources, especially homegrown ones, were scarce. The country also seemed to be on the verge of setting limits on emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.

“There was a sensible reason to want to subsidize a transformation,” says energy analyst Kevin Book. It’s harder to make a case for renewable energy now, given the booms in natural gas and oil, he says.


“All of these things are different now: Demand is declining, supply is increasing, the decarbonization mandate has weakened if not disappeared, and energy security isn’t the risk that it used to be,” he says.

Book predicts that the New Year’s tax package may be the last big payday for green energy.

Yeah, might as well have an extended quote from someone arguing there’s no need to ever decarbonize or incentivize green energy again, ’cause that whole global warming thing is so last year.

Or rather, so one week ago. Because on December 30, NPR filed an interview with Bill McKibben with this headline:

2013: A Tipping Year For Climate Change?

The story’s introduction spells out precisely why the decarbonization mandate has strengthened in the past year:

This year’s extreme weather was one for the record books; 2012 is slated to be the hottest summer on record.

The worst drought in 50 years struck the South and Midwest, devastating the U.S. agriculture industry. Deadly floods and superstorms paralyzed the northeast and other parts of the country.

While the public is in shock by extreme weather events that have taken place, environmentalist Bill McKibben and other members of the science community say it is a result of climate change.

“We’ve already passed all kinds of tipping points,” McKibben, the founder of, tells weekends on All Things Considered host Jacki Lyden. “The NASA scientist Jim Hansen was saying, ‘There’s no other word for where we are now than planetary emergency.’”

Memo to NPR editors: Make up your mind! Has “the decarbonization mandate … weakened if not disappeared” — or are we in a “planetary emergency”?

Hint — it’s the latter:

BTW, if you think that bloggers are the only ones who mess up their URLs (i.e. their original headlines), check out NPR’s slugs for both those stories:

D’oh! I guess good editors are hard to come by these days.

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