Are Public Positions on Climate Change Changing?

Jan 1, 2017 by

by Kip Hansen

This is a follow-on to Bob Tisdale’s recent piece on Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources’ changes to its Great Lakes climate change statement.

If you read his article and didn’t click through to the original article by Lee Bergquist in the Wisconsin Journal Sentinal, you might have missed how significant this change was.

Here it is in pictures: [click each for larger images]

In 2012, the page looked like this:


The red boxed link is to the infamous Wisconsin Climate Change Activity Guide provided as a resource to teachers of grades 7-12.  It can still be found cached in the WebArchive [aka the Wayback Machine].   Today, it is no longer linked from the Great Lakes page and the link to it in present time returns “Page Not Found”.



Instead of the “AGW party line” statement on the 2012 page (which existed until last week), we have a more carefully considered statement:

“The Great Lakes and a changing world

As it has done throughout the centuries, the earth is going through a change. The reasons for this change at this particular time in the earth’s long history are being debated and researched by academic entities outside the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The effects of such a change are also being debated but whatever the causes and effects, the DNR’s responsibility is to manage our state’s natural resources through whatever event presents itself; flood, drought, tornadoes, ice/snow or severe heat. The DNR staff stands ready to adapt our management strategies in an effort to protect our lakes, waterways, plants, wildlife and people who depend on them.”

This is a magnificently crafted statement – and a huge pull-back from heretofore obligatory echoing of the IPCC consensus talking points.

But this is not the only big change I have seen this past week in the presentation of climate change.   The big change, if it is in fact an editorial change, appeared in another story previously covered here at WUWT,  in the New York Times:

California, at Forefront of Climate Fight, Won’t Back Down to Trump

By Adam Nagourney and Henry Fountain

Dec. 26, 2016

[This little exerpt:]

“President-elect Donald J. Trump has packed his cabinet with nominees who dispute the science of global warming. He has signaled he will withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. He has belittled the notion of global warming and attacked policies intended to combat it.

Three weeks ago, in a news report titled “Energy Trends Outpace Plans for the E.P.A.” (Dec 09, 2016) – by Coral Davenport, this language was used:  “President-elect Donald J. Trump’s choice of a fossil-fuel advocate and climate-change denier to head the Environmental Protection Agency comes at a moment when the American energy market has already shifted away.”

Nagourney and Fountain don’t use the phrase “climate-change denier” nor the oft-repeated but false notion that the President-elect “believes climate change is a hoax”, rather they use the more correct  phrase “dispute the science of climate change”.

In fact, the last times both terms were used in the New York Times, outside of the Opinion page, were in an article by Clifford Krauss and Maggiue Heberman on December 10th,  “Exxon Mobil Chief Rises on Secretary of State List“, “…Mr. Trump has called climate change a hoax created by the Chinese for business reasons, and has named a climate change denier, Scott Pruitt…”   and in a news review article posted to the NY Times online on Dec 12 : “Climate Change News That Stuck With Us in 2016”  in which John Schwartz (a NY Times environmental journalist) is quoted “How do you talk about climate change during a presidential administration that denies it’s happening? President-elect Donald J. Trump has called climate change a hoax…”.  (This last did not appear “in print” online until Dec 14 and the entries from various journalists were probably written before the Krauss/Heberman story even though they appear several days later).

It now has been two weeks and counting since such language appeared in any NY Times news article.    One can only hope that this represents a change in editorial policy — a change to the style manual of the NY Times.

How long can one of the world’s leading newspapers continue to publicly label US Presidential Cabinet members with the nasty epithet “climate denier” and repeat the untruth that the President-elect believes* that “climate change is a hoax” – something that he has repeatedly denied?

I do not know if this represents a real change at the NY Times but I certainly hope so.

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* His official views on climate change are shared here for anyone who cares. He has said “a lot of it” [global warming] “is a hoax” — a matter of opinion shared by many —  and he freely admits to once have publicly jokingly tweeted – in 2012 –  that it was  ‘perpetrated by China to steal our factories’.

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Author’s Comment Policy:

I love to read and respond to your comments.   I have almost zero interest in US two-party politics, which I consider to be “what’s wrong with the American governmental system”.   I will not be discussing the back-and-forth of Republican-vs-Democrat politics, and prefer that it be skipped here.

This essay is about how Climate Change is portrayed in public – on governmental websites like that of the DNR of Wisconsin and in the press.   With the Presidential election results expected to deflate and/or depower the pressure to conform to IPCC climate consensus talking points, it will be interesting to see how public statements change and how the press changes its portrayal of the issue in the news.

Please comment with examples that you are seeing in your local papers and on local television.

We just might be seeing the first wave of change.

Source: Are Public Positions on Climate Change Changing? | Watts Up With That?

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