EcoMeme: Global Warming ‘Debate’

alaska icebergs

Remember when “Rowdy” Roddy Piper body slammed Mr. T during their boxing match? T was winning. Piper was frustrated. The body slam was utterly against the rules and unsportsmanlike, yet highly entertaining.

The global warming debate going on in the blogosphere this week has been the eco equivalent.

Anti-environmentalists and some pro-business and right wing media have been throwing global warming science into question all month by means both dignified and uncouth. They’re annoyed by increasing global recognition of science that validates the idea mankind should work to control its greenhouse gas emissions.

Then, Monday (Dec. 7, 2009) the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made two important climate change-related scientific “findings” official with what is known as a “signing.” One, that “greenhouse gases”¦threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations,” and another, that greenhouse gas pollution is partly caused by cars or, in government speak, “new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines,” potentially inviting auto industry regulation.

With the EPA signings and the Copenhagen summit on climate change taking place this week, the aforementioned debaters got louder – including Sarah Palin – and suffered rebuttals galore (and by Al Gore) to their arguments including: climate change just happens in nature, so mankind need not worry; scientists inside top research organizations doubt global warming exists or matters and have been hiding evidence that suggests this; and regulations of greenhouse gas emissions are not necessary or helpful to people.

Did they raise some valid points?

Scott Rosenberg, the founder of, non-fiction author and a co-founder of, says of “Climategate,” that experienced science beat reporters are likely to have covered the issue accurately, while political writers and generalists, who don’t have the time to understand the science as deeply, have too often followed the “on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand” template, amplifying “dissenters in the field who can be found on the fringes.” seeks “to create a neutral forum where journalists and public can talk about these things,” says Rosenberg. In other words, he wants to give the public a respectful and easy way to interact with journalists online when inaccuracies or concerns arise, and to keep news people honest.

Rosenberg also advises the eco-curious online, “Start from a point of knowledge about what you are reading and who wrote it.” If it’s in Forbes, for example, or written by an auto industry reporter the story will likely defend the interests of business, more than it will portray the consensus view of scientists on climate change.

Check the links below for some of the heaviest smack down action between climate change authorities and greenhouse gas doubters.

Basic Reading

“Numerous right-wing media figures have attempted to undermine the case for action against global climate change by comparing the scientific consensus that human activity is driving global warming to a ‘cult.’ However, as the Union of Concerned Scientists has stated, the scientific understanding of climate change is ‘based on the work of thousands of scientists from hundreds of research institutions'”¦” – A comprehensive Media Matters report quoting the press entities who cast doubt about otherwise highly regarded climate change science.

-¦The naysayers literally jumped at the chance to debunk all scientific study pertaining to the effects of climate change, yanking three sentences out of over 1,000 items of correspondence and deeming them a smoking gun”¦Now, the debate is settled. At least, for the intelligent people out there. The idiots are still buying Hummers.”- A blog entry entitled “Climate-Gate for Idiots” by Joe Ascanio at the green travel site, The Daily Beast by Benjamin Sarlin

Further Resources:

An article on MSNBC entitled “Al Gore Rebuts Palin’s Climate Change Claims” that includes links to a transcript of an Andrea Mitchell interview with Al Gore for NBC television, and to Sarah Palin’s original opinion piece.

“Forbes Publishes Fiction on Climate Change Debate” a report by Jim Naureckas for

Gary Sutton’s essay for Forbes called “The Fiction of Climate Science,” in which Sutton says climatologists are (very) wrong about global warming.

The website of the Extreme Ice Survey, an organization using “time-lapse photography, conventional photography, and video to document the rapid changes now occurring on the Earth’s glacial ice.”

This is the latest installment of EcoMeme, a column featuring eco news, tech and business highlights by Lora Kolodny.

Image: Alaskan Dude