Sciencing Be Hard

Al Gore comes to town, and gives the media an important lesson in science.

During his talk at the Frank Erwin Center last night, former vice president Al Gore noted that while there is an almost unprecedented scientific consensus on the fact and causes of global warming, the same can't be said of the media coverage. Too many journalists, confused by the science or misguidedly providing balance by highlighting an unbalanced opposition, give the anti-regulation lobby a platform they do not deserve. Dryly pointing at the polluters' mouthpieces, he noted that if there were money in it, there'd be people decrying the "theory" of gravity to confuse the media.

Therefore, on an unrelated point, we turn to Monday's op-ed from those mavens of science and defenders of the environment, the Statesman editorial board. In an editorial entitled "Gore's footprint in Austin," editor Rich Oppel et al laud Gore for keeping climate change an issue and bringing "the message to masses of people unlikely to pick up a scientific journal." A masses that, seemingly, involves them.

"Though there is dispute over the causes of climate change," they wrote, "there can be little denying that people and their machines contribute to the deterioration of the Earth’s ozone layer. That deterioration, in turn, is changing the world’s climate."

Erm ... apart from the fact that's not really the point. While the destruction of the ozone layer is a bad thing, and caused by human activity, it's not the driver of global warming. That comes from CO2 and methane, those nasty green house gasses, trapping the energy from the sun in the atmosphere. In fact, in his presentation, Gore specifically cites the successful international response to saving the ozone layer as proof it's not too late to fix global warming.

It must be noted that this was written before Gore's presentation. Presumably the daily's muckety-mucks have a stronger grasp on the issues now.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Environment
Mixing Up Your Environmentalism
Mixing Up Your Environmentalism
Plateaued on your earth-friendly efforts? Here are a few ideas to help.

Bonny Chu, Nov. 30, 2018

SXSW Eco 2015: <i>Racing Extinction</i>
SXSW Eco 2015: Racing Extinction
Mass extinction is coming, and we're to blame

Richard Whittaker, Oct. 7, 2015

More Statesman Sucks
The Daily Hustle: 12/15/10
The Daily Hustle: 12/15/10
Why is WTP4 bigger news than Leffingwell's election announcement?

Wells Dunbar, Dec. 15, 2010

Cookin' The Facts
Cookin' The Facts
Activist takes swipe at Statesman's Politifact service

Richard Whittaker, June 2, 2010

More by Richard Whittaker
SXSW Adds Jason Isbell, Michael Dell and More to Speaker List
SXSW Adds Jason Isbell, Michael Dell and More to Speaker List
Tech scene and politics get speaker slots, plus WTF is Web3?

Jan. 18, 2022

The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Joy-filled animated family SF comedy is an explosion of fun

Jan. 14, 2022


Environment, Statesman Sucks, Al Gore, Global Warming, Austin American-Statesman

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle