There were a few of reports/polls released recently on climate change and the environment. One held some good news and the other held some bad. We’ll get to the ugly in a few.
The first poll, “Extreme Weather, Climate and Preparedness in the American Mind,” found that a whopping 69% of respondents either strongly or somewhat agreed that global warming was playing a part in the increasingly extreme weather patterns we’ve seen here in the U.S.
That’s more than I thought it would be. With the sustained attacks on science and global warming by the right-wing in this country, I expected that number to be much lower.
But here comes the disconnect…
In a new analysis released by Media Matters, coverage of global warming in the media has taken an alarming nose dive (emphasis added):
Sunday Show Coverage Of Climate Change Fell 90% Between 2009 And 2011. Since 2009, climate coverage on the Sunday shows has dropped every year across all networks. The Sunday shows spent over an hour on climate change in 2009, compared to 21 minutes in 2010 and only 9 minutes in 2011.
Nightly News Coverage Decreased 72% Between 2009 And 2011. Coverage of climate change on the nightly news programs dropped from over 2 hours in 2009 to just 27 minutes in 2010 and 38 minutes in 2011.
Not only that, but the report found that media outlets were more in favor of the Republican view on global warming than the Progressive side (emphasis added):
Sunday Shows Featured More Republicans Than Democrats On Climate Change. In total, 68% of the political figures interviewed or quoted by the Sunday shows were Republicans, and 32% were Democrats. In 2011, the only people interviewed or quoted about climate change on the Sunday shows were Republican politicians. Fox News Sunday was the most skewed, featuring eight Republicans and only two Democrats over the three years.
So much for that “liberal media bias,” eh?
Now for the ugly.
I don’t know about you, but here in Colorado, we have been bombarded with ads from BP – British Petroleum – touting their great success in the Gulf of Mexico in cleaning up their disastrous oil spill that decimated the region just two years ago. The ad campaign attempts to put a shiny, happy face on the calamity, but as studies pour in the effects of the spill are only now being realized (emphasis added):
Gulf of Mexico fishermen, scientists and seafood processors have told Al Jazeera they are finding disturbing numbers of mutated shrimp, crab and fish that they believe are deformed by chemicals released during BP’s 2010 oil disaster.
Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp – and interviewees’ fingers point towards BP’s oil pollution disaster as being the cause.
“The dispersants used in BP’s draconian experiment contain solvents, such as petroleum distillates and 2-butoxyethanol. Solvents dissolve oil, grease, and rubber,” Dr Riki Ott, a toxicologist, marine biologist and Exxon Valdez survivor told Al Jazeera. “It should be no surprise that solvents are also notoriously toxic to people, something the medical community has long known”.
The dispersants are known to be mutagenic, a disturbing fact that could be evidenced in the seafood deformities. Shrimp, for example, have a life-cycle short enough that two to three generations have existed since BP’s disaster began, giving the chemicals time to enter the genome.
And yet, we’re still granting offshore drilling permits to BP without a concise understanding of what went wrong the first time.
It’s a mixed bag, I guess.