Two sources at the Science Times section of the New York Times have told me that a majority of the section’s editorial staff doubts that human-induced global warming represents a serious threat to humanity.
Now, reviews of climate research literature show universal support for the notion that human-caused climate change is happening (Nature, 12/3/04), and surveys of climate scientists find the same unanimity (Science Daily, 1/19/09). Major scientific organizations around the world have endorsed the consensus of the climate research field, and have expressed alarm at the dangers to humanity posed by climate change.
So if a majority of the staff of Science Times nonetheless doubts that human-caused climate change is a real danger, that means one of two things: Either the journalists at one of the nation’s most visible sources of science news consider scientists to be a dubious lot who may well not know what they’re talking about, or those journalists have not been paying attention to what the scientists are saying. Either way, it’s troubling.
And the response by the New York Times science editor Laura Chang in the comments section was hardly reassuring:
I must say your sentence about the science staff doesn’t make sense. There are more than 20 people on the Science Desk of the Times, and no one has ever taken a poll of their positions on human-induced global warming. As far as I know, everyone here who covers climate–including our neighbors in the environment pod, who provide the bulk of this coverage these days–keeps an open mind about the evidence.
If “keeps an open mind” means what it usually does, then the people who cover climate for the New York Times think the jury is still out on whether climate scientists should be believed when they say humans are causing a global climate disaster. Talk about your serious threats to humanity.