Spot the Climate Change Skeptics: Newspaper Editorials on Climate Change

I do not believe I ever portrayed myself as a climate scientist, modest fellow that I am. But like everyone else who cares about current events and the future of mankind, I try to stay informed and make the best decisions I can.

That’s why it makes me nuts when “controversies” over critically important issues persist, even after gargantuan research efforts . Climate change is one of those issues. Just today, The Wall Street Journal wrote on its editorial page, “The risks of fossil fuels remain speculative…” Really? How do they have the chutzpah to say that in the face of so much evidence. Or as the Journal would print it, “evidence”?

I don’t have the time to independently verify the work off the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (though with Swiss top-level domain, many would find them a questionable source). Or any of the other work that’s been done. But I’d like to feel like an educated person can begin to reach some conclusions on this topic.

The Wall Street Journal is not sure yet.  It’s obvious that their opinion pages are about free market ideology, and it’s hard to see a path to addressing global warming that doesn’t seem to impinge on that ideology a bit. So, to paraphrase Mark Twain, the Journal is paid not to understand this issue.

It made me wonder what other editorial pages are saying about the topic. So I had a look at the editorial position of the top ten newspapers (by circualtion).  Believe me, that is not as easy as it sounds. Some of them have very cruddy search engines. Some don’t allow you to searhc by section of the paper. Some do but omit the editorial section. Google is often better searching some of these sites than their own internal search function.  Nonetheless, I pulled the following info together.

You can see that 8 of the top 10 papers are sympathetic to the position that global warming is real, man made, serious, and requires action. The New York Post is also skeptical and the Houston Chronicle is open but inconclusive. Have a look.

USA Today (May 13, 2008)
“…the good news is that the next occupant of the White House sees the need for aggressive action. ”

Wall Street Journal (December 5, 2008)
“The risks of fossil fuels remain speculative…”

New York Times (November 26, 2008)
“If Mr. Obama follows through on his commitments, this country will at last provide the global leadership that is essential for addressing the dangers of climate change.”

Los Angeles Times ( October 15, 2008)

“global warming is a serious problem”

Washington Post (October 29, 2008)
“With global warming happening more quickly than scientists predicted, Earth can’t wait.”

New York Daily News (October 13, 2007)
“…there is no disputing that Gore played a vital role in persuading our sometimes stubborn brains that something very bad has been happening. And that it will only get worse unless there are meaningful changes in energy policy, energy consumption and plain old wasting of natural resources.”

“To wait and see on climate change, however, is to play with fire.”
Chicago Tribune (May 20, 2008) [link to an aggregator]
“Global warming is more than ample grounds for levying taxes on carbon-based fuels, including gasoline, to reduce emissions. But those
taxes would fall partly on foreign oil producers.”

New York Post
“Here’s one more reason to be skeptical of the West’s continuing climate-change frenzy: Russia loves it. ”

Newsday (February 3, 2008)

Endorsement of John McCain in the NY Primary: “he has recognized the dangers posed by climate change”

Houston Chronicle (October 25, 2007)

“Before locking us into a new generation of coal-burning power plants that will last a half century or more, state regulators should carefully review the latest science on the issue and consider becoming part of the solution to climate change rather than the problem.”


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