Accuracy in Media

obama climate change

The Los Angeles Times has taken a firm stance on climate change, and from now on they have decreed that they won’t publish letters from climate deniers.

Paul Thornton the Letters editor explains the paper’s decision:

As for letters on climate change, we do get plenty from those who deny global warming. And to say they ‘deny’ it might be an understatement: Many say climate change is a hoax, a scheme by liberals to curtail personal freedom.

Before going into some detail about why these letters don’t make it into our pages, I’ll concede that, aside from my easily passing the Advanced Placement biology exam in high school, my science credentials are lacking. I’m no expert when it comes to our planet’s complex climate processes or any scientific field. Consequently, when deciding which letters should run among hundreds on such weighty matters as climate change, I must rely on the experts — in other words, those scientists with advanced degrees who undertake tedious research and rigorous peer review.

And those scientists have provided ample evidence that human activity is indeed linked to climate change. Just last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — a body made up of the world’s top climate scientists — said it was 95% certain that we fossil-fuel-burning humans are driving global warming. The debate right now isn’t whether this evidence exists (clearly, it does) but what this evidence means for us.

Simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published. Saying ‘there’s no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.

Thornton conveniently ignores the fact that the IPCC’s findings have been disputed by a large number of scientists, and that there is no incontrovertible proof that human-caused climate change exists. As these scientists point out, the IPCC report is a political document, not a scientific one. The term ‘denier’ is offensive as well, in that it suggests these scientists are the equivalent of Holocaust deniers.

But Thornton is firmly in the camp that believes humans are causing global warming, which most believers now call climate change, since there has been no significant warming in 15 years. And who can dispute that the climate changes? Thus, Thornton has decided that the Letters section, which is supposed to be an open forum for readers, will no longer publish letters from those who disagree with him on the issue. Period, end of argument.

So much for free speech.

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