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.
"A federal appeals board yesterday ordered that Teresa Chambers be reinstated as chief of the U.S. Park Police, seven years after she was fired for telling reporters that her department was understaffed and in need of more funding."
"After spiking upward in response to Copenhagen talks and the 'climategate' uproar, media coverage of climate change plummeted to levels last seen in 2005, according to DailyClimate.org's archives and other media databases."
"Top 10 lists are often relentlessly negative: the 10 most-polluting industrial plants, the 10 most befouled beaches, and so on. The spirit of this list is slightly different: Good or bad, these are environmental moments in 2010 that are most likely to reverberate in the world of environmental news in 2011 and beyond."
News accounts often present a false balance between the central estimate of 5 or 6 degrees Fahrenheit global warming (for doubled carbon dioxide) and much lower estimates put forth by fossil-industry-funded "skeptics" at the fringes of legitimate science. In fact, the skeptics' take should be balanced by the real worst-case estimate from mainstream science: 18 or 20 degrees of warming.
"The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on Friday issued long-awaited guidelines to prevent political interference in science and promote transparency at federal agencies, a move that drew cautious praise from activists in the scientific community who had been dismayed by an 18-month delay at the science office."
Fox News Washington Managing Editor Bill Sammon ordered the network's journalists to include language in their stories casting doubt on established climate change science and data, an email memo shows.
"You might think it would be hard to produce a news article that is simultaneously a puffy profile of an important government official, a credulous conduit for her leading opponents, a feeble explanation of the actual political dynamic, and a lackluster treatment of substantive policy issues. But that’s what The Washington Post delivered last week with its story about Lisa Jackson, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the industry interests lining up to battle new regulations that the EPA is considering." Greg Marx criticizes the Post story in Remapping Debate December 7, 2010.
The conservative Daily Telegraph yesterday published a headline saying glaciers were growing, when the story beneath it -- and the study it reported -- said glaciers were melting. That is, the headline stated the opposite of the truth, a convenience for deniers of climate change and opponents of regulating greenhouse gases. The Daily Telegraph's reputation on Fleet Street has been burnished in recent years by the publication of no less than four premature obituaries. Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones, pondering why the public are confused about climate change, concludes: "The press has really blown it on coverage of this and other issues of science on global warming in the past year."
"Despite promises of transparency, the US Environmental Protection Agency has refused to release a contractor study that apparently outlines less harmful alternatives to the Arch Coal's Spruce Mine mountaintop-removal project EPA is currently considering for a permit in West Virginia."
"The Texas agency that regulates industrial pollution should be more responsive and transparent to the public, according to a state analysis released Thursday."
"The White House rewrote crucial sections of an Interior Department report to suggest an independent group of scientists and engineers supported a six-month ban on offshore oil drilling, the Interior inspector general says in a new report."
"The Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday it has issued a subpoena to Halliburton for not revealing information about liquids used in a natural gas drilling technique called 'fracking.'"
"Two chemical manufacturers are seeking an exemption from new rules in Wyoming that require public disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, a controversial natural gas drilling process suspected of polluting groundwater."
"Some of the country's largest emitters of heat-trapping gases, including businesses that publicly support efforts to curb global warming, don't want the public knowing exactly how much they pollute."
"Remember the 2008 presidential campaign, when candidates and voters alike couldn’t seem to get enough of energy and climate issues during the good ol’ days of $4 per gallon gasoline? Politically and at the pump, those days are long gone."