Climate Crisis Truthiness … misleading frames …

Amid the discussions of Global Warming today and in the years to come, vigilance to language, to framing, to nuance is and will remain an imperative as we seek a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous energy future (Energize America).

The Washington Post, today, had perhaps its most extensive discussion of Global Warming, to date … with the key article front-paged, three full pages in the front section, and the Travel section dedicated to places to visit because:

Climate change is transforming many of the world’s most striking tourist destinations.  If you want to see them, better go soon.

And, these articles are precursors to a series of articles to come in the Science section about specific Global Warming proposals. 

What coverage … truly giving visibility in the kitchen tables of Washington’s elite … yet, visibility embedded with truthiness, with misleading “known” information that helps skew discussion and debate away from where it should be.

There is tremendous material in these articles … but truthiness throughout … truthiness requiring vigilance.

The front page article, online with Climate Change Debate Hinges On Economics: Lawmakers Doubt Voters Would Fund Big Carbon Cuts begins:

Here’s the good news about climate change: Energy and climate experts say the world already possesses the technological know-how for trimming greenhouse gas emissions enough to slow the perilous rise in the Earth’s temperatures.

Here’s the bad news: Because of the enormous cost of addressing global warming, the energy legislation considered by Congress so far will make barely a dent in the problem, while farther-reaching climate proposals stand a remote chance of passage.

What are some problems here, some truthiness?

  • Note the title: “Lawmakers Doubt Voters …” Okay, does the concept of leadership remain in this nation?  Are our elected leaders ruled by a wet finger judging the shifting winds? If so, we much focus our efforts to create a strong Climate Crisis coalition such that we are driving the wind, and not fossil fuel polluters.
  • “barely a dent in the problem” … absolutely, but will legislative concepts help to foster a path toward a better tomorrow?  Will they set the trains running the right direction, signaling to all that America and Americans intend to act, to get things right?
  • “Climate Change”, adopting the Republican (Frank Luntz created) framing of the issue rather than Climate Crisis or Global Warming, or …
  • Cost of electricity is cited as mounting, without providing any indication of how the total system cost of energy might just go down through efficiency reducing total requirements. As a matter of fact, efficiency does not receive a fair / meaningful mention anywhere in these articles that I see.
  • “Enormous cost” misrepresents the situation, the choices ahead, and the system-of-system implications of the situation.  What is the “Cost to Own” a fossil-fuel polluting future, with ever worse health implications both for humans and humanity?  What is the “Cost to Own” implications of moving toward a sustainable energy future that creates ever greater prosperity for Americans (through creating jobs, reducing (eliminating) oil imports, improving exports), improving American security and the prospects for a more peaceful world, reducing health implications from fossil fuel pollution (Have you had had your hair tested for mercury?), and so on)?  The “Cost to Buy” a sustainable and renewable energy future might be less than the cost to continuing mountain-top removal, but the “Cost to Own” of a carbon-polluting future will be FAR, FAR HIGHER.  And, that might be an unsustainable cost for all of US, all of us … 

Note that the VA edition’s title differed from the online variant: “Climate Change Proposals Seen As Insufficient: Lawmakers fear high costs of major cuts in emissions”. The printed version highlights the gap between what is required and lawmakers perception.  The online version emphasizes costs and does nothing to relate costs to requirements.

Other articles / online material today:

A lot of worthwhile material … with embedded misleading truthiness. 

Ask yourself: 

Are you doing your part to ENERGIZE AMERICA?

Crossposted from EuroTribune.


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