EJToday: Top Headlines
EJToday is SEJ's selection of new and outstanding stories on environmental topics in print and on the air, updated every weekday. SEJ also offers a free e-mailed digest of the day's EJToday postings, called SEJ-beat. SEJ members are subscribed automatically, but may opt out here. Non-members may subscribe here. EJToday is also available via RSS feed. Please see Editorial Guidelines for EJToday content.
"Climate scientist Peter Gleick has acknowledged that he was the person who convinced the Heartland Institute to hand over the contents of its January Board package, authenticating the documents beyond a doubt and further exposing the disinformation campaign Heartland has pursued in the last week, trying to discredit the information." [Gleick called his methods in obtaining the documents an ethical lapse, and the outpouring of criticism diverted media attention from the apparent deception campaign revealed in the Heartland documents themselves. The uproar raises important issues about what methods are legitimate for investigative journalists to use in obtaining information (Gleick was not a journalist), and where the solid ground of truthfulness may be found in today's escalating conflict between science and PR. -- Ed. note]
"Bird flu experts meeting in Geneva ruled that controversial research on a mutant form of the virus potentially capable of being spread among humans should be made public."
"Internal documents acquired by Think Progress Green reveal that the climate-denial think tank Heartland Institute received funding from at least 19 publicly traded corporations in 2010 and 2011. The companies’ combined contributions exceeded $1.3 million for an array of projects. As Think Progress Green reported on Tuesday, the Heartland Institute’s projects included a secret plan to teach children that climate change is a hoax."
"Most scientists, on achieving high office, keep their public remarks to the bland and reassuring. Last week Nina Fedoroff, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), broke ranks in a spectacular manner. She confessed that she was now 'scared to death' by the anti-science movement that was spreading, uncontrolled, across the US and the rest of the western world."
"Leaked documents suggest that an organization known for attacking climate science is planning a new push to undermine the teaching of global warming in public schools, the latest indication that climate change is becoming a part of the nation’s culture wars."
"Libertarian thinktank keeps prominent sceptics on its payroll and relies on millions in funding from carbon industry, papers suggest."
"Russian scientists have drilled into the vast, dark and never-
before-touched Lake Vostok 2.2 miles below the surface of Antarctica, the state-run Russian news agency RIA Novosti said Monday."
"“Yesterday, our scientists stopped drilling at the depth of 3,768 meters and reached the surface of the subglacial lake,” the news agency quoted a source as saying. The team had “finally managed to pierce” the ice sheet into Vostok, the source said.
"Publication of a landmark government study probing whether diesel engine exhaust causes lung cancer in miners -- already 20 years in the making — has been delayed by industry and congressional insistence on seeing study data and documents before the public does."
Some coal-industyry front groups have begin a campaign to frighten Penn State into cancelling a speech by climate scientist Michael Mann -- who will be talking about coal industry efforts to silence climate scientists. Penn State has refused.
"Hate mail in the inbox has been an occupational hazard for climate scientists in the public eye for some time now. Something about their endorsement and explanation of the mainstream scientific view that humans are heating up the earth’s atmosphere elicits that sort of response from certain people who disagree very strongly. Lately, it has been Texas Tech University professor Katharine Hayhoe’s turn to be on the receiving end of an avalanche of venomous emails."
"Half the authors of a controversial Wall Street Journal opinion piece denying the Earth's warming trend have ties to the oil and gas industry, a DailyClimate.org investigation finds."
TV weathercasters, who are not trained in climate science, are often misleading many members of the public into doubting the well-established science which indicates that human activities are warming the planet.
"A new image of the Earth has been popping up all over the Internet, dazzling us with its high-def imagery of land masses, oceans and rippled clouds."
Is the press office helping or hurting journalists' efforts to get science stories right? Newly released email shows that White House and agency "communications people" pressured agency scientists to underestimate the amount of oil flowing into the Gulf during the 2010 BP oil spill. The case offers more evidence that press officers insist on sitting in on journalist-scientist interviews in order to insure the science gets a spin favorable to the administration's political goals. Now a watchdog group has filed a scientific integrity complaint against a NOAA scientist in the incident.
"For years, climate scientists have been assailed from many sides -- through e-mail hacking, death threats, politician’s demands for documents, Freedom of Information requests (many having the strong smell of a fishing expedition). A Climate Science Legal Defense Fund set up last fall has taken on a formal affiliation with Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, an established nonprofit group offering aid and advice to government whistleblowers and scientists working on environmental issues."