How 9 Major Papers Deal With Climate-Denying Letters

Read the full story at Climate Desk.

If you’ve looked through the letters sections of US newspapers, you’ve probably read that human-caused global warming is a “hoax” and a “myth.” You’ve also likely read about how “mankind cannot change the earth’s climate” and how the carbon dioxide we release isn’t a “significant factor” driving global temperatures.

But recently, the Los Angeles Times took a stand against this type of misinformation. Paul Thornton, the paper’s letters editor, wrote that he doesn’t print letters asserting that “there’s no sign humans have caused climate change.” Why? Because, he wrote, such a statement is a factual inaccuracy, and “I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page.” He cited the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent statement that scientists are at least 95-percent certain humans are causing global warming.

Does this mean the Times will never publish a letter skeptical of climate change? Not necessarily. Thornton told Climate Desk that he evaluates all letters on “a case-by-case basis” and that he would consider running one from a climate scientist with “impeccable credentials” who disagreed with the scientific consensus. But he says those letters are unusual. “I don’t get a lot of nuance from people who question the science on climate change,” he explains. Rather, he says, letters frequently portray climate change as a “hoax” or a “liberal conspiracy.”

Thornton’s announcement drew praise from some scientists and activists, and Forecast the Facts, an advocacy group “dedicated to ensuring that Americans hear the truth about climate change,” launched apetition drive calling on other major papers to follow suit. “The idea that opinion pieces should be based in the realm of facts is nothing new,” argues Brad Johnson, the group’s campaign manager.

So how do other newspapers handle climate-denying letters? Climate Desk contacted editors across the country to find out.

Will the IPCC start a new conversation about climate change?

Read the full story in The Guardian.

IPCC reports are like a dictionary, the facts provide the basic vocabulary but the real challenge is weaving the prose to inspire people to change.

Shedd Launches Solar Panel Installation

Read the full story at NBC5 Chicago.

State officials are touting a solar panel installation at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium as the largest of its kind.

The facility along Lake Michigan has launched its clean-energy initiative with more than 900 solar panels atop its marine mammal pavilion. Officials with the Shedd and Gov. Pat Quinn kicked off the first phase of the installation on Sunday.

FAQs on Supreme Court’s Cert Grant on EPA’s Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Read the full post on the Columbia Climate Law Blog.

On October 15, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in response to six petitions requesting review of EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases. This post will address some basic questions to clarify the scope of the question accepted for review and the implications and potential outcomes of the Supreme Court’s decision to grant cert.

When it comes to construction of office buildings, green is the new black

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

In an effort to attract and retain talent and promote a healthier work environment, many corporate tenants are looking to locate in sleeker, brighter spaces. And increasingly, companies concerned over rising energy costs and seeking to minimize their environmental footprints are putting green office space high on their wish list.

In turn, office developers looking to maximize their potential pool of tenants are regularly delivering Energy Star and LEED-certified office buildings. Nationally, a third of all new office space completed in 2011 was green.

Washing the Formaldehyde Out of Baby Shampoo

Read the full story in BusinessWeek.

It’s hard to think of a big consumer company that hasn’t gone green by now, with at least a promise to reduce its carbon footprint, energy use, water consumption, or packaging. Fewer have examined the potentially toxic chemical ingredients in their products, a particular problem for the makers of shampoos, cleaning supplies, and cosmetics. Now they won’t have a choice: California (of course, California) has put into effect a green chemistry initiative, known officially as the Safer Consumer Products Act, that will require companies to eliminate certain potentially harmful chemicals from the products sold in a state large enough to sway the entire domestic market.

What the California law accepts—and some companies are starting to acknowledge—is that any dangers probably lie in the cumulative effects of chemical exposure. California has already identified 164 chemicals for testing. By April, regulators will select up to five priority products for analyses and possible reformulation. These potentially include nail polish that contains toluene, carpet adhesive with formaldehyde, and florescent light bulbs with mercury.