May 27 2011

Bill McKibben on climate and extreme weather, Allison Kilkenny on protest movements

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The deadliest tornado in decabes swept through Missouri, the latest example of what seem to be unusually volatile weather patterns around the world. But when it comes to discussing extreme weather, one thing media don’t want to dwell on is climate change. Environmental activist and author Bill McKibben wrote in the Washington Post about the detached way in which our strange new weather is discussed. He’ll join us to talk about it. Also on CounterSpin today, there are more protests against austerity politics around the country—and more media silence. It’s hard not to conclude […]

May 01 2011

The Unrenewed Debate Over Renewable Energy

Little interest in safer, cleaner, even cheaper alternatives to nuclear power

When the March 11 earthquake and tsunami shut down cooling systems at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, U.S. government and nuclear industry spin control kicked in, asserting that a similar disaster couldn’t happen here, and that atomic power is here to stay. Corporate news outlets typically got caught up in this spin, relaying distorted and/or incomplete information about our energy options from a recycled cohort of pro-nuclear sources. An option hardly mentioned: renewable energy, such as wind, solar and geothermal power.* The topic of energy efficiency and conservation—sure-fire ways to reduce demand for energy in the first place—didn’t even surface. […]

Mar 18 2011

Arjun Makhijani on Japan’s nuclear crisis, Cindy Folkers on radiation & health

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Ever notice how corporate media coverage of nuclear accidents largely avoids industry critics, in favor of industry defenders generally low-balling the health and safety dangers of the technology? That’s never been truer than in coverage of the Japanese nuclear disaster, which, as with earlier accidents, the initial, rosy predictions by media-favored experts have clearly been overtaken by dire facts. We’ll talk to Dr. Arjun Makhijani, an industry critic, nuclear engineer, and the president of Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. Also on CounterSpin today, the disaster in Japan is generating substantial coverage of the […]

Feb 01 2011

Scientific American Waffles on the Science of Global Warming

Is climate ‘THE issue of our time’ or a ‘doomsday obsession’?

“Climate is the issue of our time,” says Scientific American editor-in-chief Mariette DiChristina (Observations, 10/28/10). So why does her magazine keep treating human-caused global warming as an open question? DiChristina was responding to criticism her magazine had received (Climate Progress, 10/26/10; FAIR Blog, 10/27/10) over a November 2010 article by Michael Lemonick about Judith Curry, a climate scientist whose critiques of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are often cited by climate denialists. The article—subheaded “Why Can’t We Have a Civil Conversation About Climate?”—left the impression that the truth on climate change is somewhere in the middle: Climate scientists […]

Feb 01 2011

It’s the Politics, Stupid

Ask not what elections will do for climate change

Of all the issues at stake in the midterm congressional elections of 2010, the one that hung most in the balance may have been the fate of the world’s climate. It was clear from early in the election cycle that incoming Republicans were uniformly in agreement that no government action to control carbon emissions was desirable, or indeed necessary: Of Republican Senate candidates, “19 of the 20 who have taken a position say that global climate change is unproven or actually a hoax,” the National Journal’s Ron Brownstein said on ABC’s This Week (9/26/10). Several prominent GOP leaders had gone […]

Feb 01 2011

The Planet Keeps Warming, But U.S. Media Interest Cools

Climate summit(s) in Cancún

After the anticlimax of the COP-15 climate-policy negotiations in Copenhagen last year (Extra!, 2/10)—in which the more than 190 UN-member nations walked away with a non-binding statement of intent cobbled together in secret by the U.S. and a few other wealthy nations—public and press expectations for this year’s COP-16 meeting (11/29-12/10/10) in Cancún, Mexico, were low. At least in part reflecting this pessimism, there has been a “steep slide” in climate reporting this year, Columbia Journalism Review’s science blog (Observatory, 11/24/10) noted. Few major corporate news media outlets even planned to send reporters to Cancún; as Washington Post lead environmental […]

Dec 17 2010

Michael Dorsey on Cancun climate talks, Bob McIntyre on tax plan

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: On the Fox News the story of the recently concluded UN climate summit was that it was really cold in Cancun, where the summit was held, so what was the point? Even actual journalists didn’t seem to find much to say though; one account said the results didn’t look like helping much with global warming, but they were a vote of confidence in ‘the process’ of addressing global warming. We’ll get another take on things from Michael Dorsey, professor of global environmental policy at Dartmouth College. Also on the show: the White House cut […]

Nov 19 2010

Wenonah Hauter on GE salmon, Rose Aguilar on Native Americans

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The FDA is on the verge of approving genetically engineered salmon in spite of opposition by the public, scientists and consumer groups. On November 15 the group Food & Water Watch released internal documents from Fish & Wildlife Service scientists expressing misgivings about the safety of the altered salmon and the legality of the FDA’s procedures. We’ll talk to Wenonah Hauter, the executive director of Food & Water Watch. Also on the show: A one-minute commentary by a cable TV host brought a swell of public awareness, political attention and money to a snowstorm-devastated […]