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.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

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

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