Here’s the scoop: When it comes to climate change, there is no “story,” not in the normal news sense anyway.
The fact that 97 percent of scientists who have weighed in on the issue believe that climate change is a human-caused phenomenon is not a story. That only one of 9,137 peer-reviewed papers on climate change published between November 2012 and December 2013 rejected human causation is not a story either, nor is the fact that only twenty-four out of 13,950 such articles did so over twenty-one years. That the anything-but-extreme Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) offers an at least 95 percent guarantee of human causation for global warming is not a story, nor is the recent revelation that IPCC experts believe we only have fifteen years left to rein in carbon emissions or we’ll need new technologies not yet in existence which may never be effective. Nor is the recent poll showing that only 47 percent of Americans believe climate change is human-caused (a drop of 7 percent since 2012) or that the percentage who believe climate change is occurring for any reason has also declined since 2012 from 70 percent to 63 percent. Nor is the fact that, as the effects of climate change came ever closer to home, media coverage of the subject dropped between 2010 and 2012 and, though rising in 2013, was still well below coverage levels for 2007 to 2009. Nor is it a story that European nations, already light years ahead of the United States on phasing out fossil fuels, recently began considering cutbacks on some of their climate change goals, nor that US carbon emissions actually rose in 2013, nor that the southern part of the much disputed Keystone XL pipeline, which is to bring particularly carbon-dirty tar sands from Alberta, Canada, to the US Gulf Coast, is now in operation, nor that 2013 will have been either the fourth or seventh hottest year on record, depending on how you do the numbers.