Science, politics and business

Observers of the political and environmental scenes in the United States are this week commenting on what may be a mainstream media shift in climate change reporting. One of the most dramatic examples is a column by Glenn Kessler, a staff writer for the Washington Post, that appeared last week. The column, entitled “Rick Perry’s made-up ‘facts’ about climate change”, completely trashes Texas Governor Rick Perry’s position against climate change. Perry is currently considered the leader in the Republican Presidential Primary race.

Until now, the Washington Post, though more accurate on the climate change issue than many mainstream media, has still presented articles that are supposedly ‘balanced’ on the climate change issue. This means that the view of 98% of appropriately qualified scientists, that climate change is real and is human-induced, is almost always presented in the same article or feature as the view of 2% of appropriately qualified scientists and many inappropriately qualified individuals, that climate change is not real or is a hoax. The Kessler column, appearing under the heading of a regular feature, The Fact Checker”, is one of the few times, though not the only time, this venerable Washington newspaper, with a significant national following, has presented a clear position on climate change.

Even more unexpected but welcome is a recent Fox TV show Fox and Friends episode in which Fox host Clayton Morris admits that Fox factcheckers have confirmed that man-made global warming is certainly real. This on Fox TV!

Gallon Environment Letter, our monthly partner, has lost a number of subscribers and readers after they realized that this periodical is one that supports the overwhelming majority scientific opinion that climate change is real. Some of those who have expressed to us their negative opinions of climate change are engineers and similar professionals whose opinions businesses may rely upon for various capital investment designs and decisions. We have no wish to suppress free speech, even when the views being expressed are misinformed, but we do suggest that our business readers should exercise caution when employing these people. If your engineer or architect does not believe in climate change they will likely not take the potential effects of climate change into account when designing whatever it is that you have hired them to do. This could put your company in a position of increased liability should the system, technology, or building subsequently suffer damage attributable to climate change.

To date, climate change deniers have pursued, unsuccessfully, charges of professional misconduct against climate scientists. We may not be too far from a time when climate change deniers who have professional qualifications may indeed be disciplined by their professional certification body because their anti-climate change opinions are  damaging to their ability to provide their clients with properly qualified technical advice.

Kessler’s column, which is well worth reading, can be found at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/rick-perrys-made-up-facts-about-climate-change/2011/08/17/gIQApVF5LJ_blog.html

The Fox & Friends segment, in our opinion not so worth viewing as it is a typical Fox talkshow segment, can be viewed at http://thinkprogress.org/green/2011/08/25/303803/fox-news-facts-are-certainly-on-the-side-of-global-warming-but-it-doesnt-matter/

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