Sunday, April 8, 2012

Massachusetts Media Fails to Connect 2012's Extreme Weather to Climate Change

Massachusetts has had an record-shattering warm and dry start to 2012, resulting in brush fires - but with rare exceptions, the local media isn't connecting the extreme weather to global warming for their audience.

Polls and Beltway discussion focuses on whether Americans accept climate science and support action, but that whistles past the media's role in the matter. What if the public's knowledge of the climate threat and how it's already impacting their community is being obscured, misinformed by a media that's either not up to date on the topic, afraid to tackle it & face Tea Party blowback, or letting their own political leanings color their coverage?

Meteorologists often say they avoid talking about climate change's impact on weather because they don't want to be political. But the connection between global warming and increased wildfire frequency & intensity is well-documented. Omitting scientific reality in the face of political pressure IS politicizing the issue.

Imagine if Big Oil and its allies started denying another weather phenomenon - say, hurricanes. Would meteorologists bow to political pressure and not connect hurricanes to their local weather impacts? "Violent wind, torrential rain & extremely high tides this weekend ... uh, weird!"
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