Andrew Revkin of NYT Admitted Alarmism

Hiring a lukewarmer Bret Stephens by The NY Times to cover the climate debate is too little, too late.  But he referred to an article by Andrew Revkin who had been a regular NYT climate alarmist.  In this article My Climate Change, published in a small website more than a year ago, Revkin admitted to the alarmism, organized pressure, and more.

The main quotes:

“I saw a widening gap between what scientists had been learning about global warming and what advocates were claiming as they pushed ever harder to pass climate legislation or strengthen the faltering 1992 climate change treaty.”

“In 2006, I was part of a team of reporters at The Times that undertook a multi-year series called “The Energy Challenge” (, examining what it would take to deeply cut reliance on coal, oil, and gas, and move to climate-friendly technologies. The deeper we dug, the more we ran into enormous disconnects between the data and the claims. It was very clear that any transition to clean energy would be neither simple nor quick—and it wasn’t only for lack of political will.”

In the article, Revkin did not apologize and did not stop blaming the “fossil fuels” but revealed more about the corruption of journalism. Reporters constantly need new big stories to tell, and global warming became such a story in 1988:

“Climate change achieved headline status in 1988 because Yellowstone National Park and the Amazon rain forest were ablaze and the eastern United States baked in record heat. After testifying at a high-profile Senate hearing on global warming, James Hansen, the pioneering NASA climate scientist who would later become a climate activist, said, “The greenhouse effect has been detected and is changing our climate now.” Reporters who had been covering the Clean Air Act or endangered species or threats to the ozone layer had a big new story to tell.

It was a heady time. That year, I reported from the first World Conference on the Changing Atmosphere, in Toronto, …”

A little bit about corruption of the National Science Foundation, that in 1992 was already funding anti-scientific environmentalism:

“Later that year [1992], the American Museum of Natural History staged the first museum exhibition on climate change. Reflecting how much momentum had built around this issue and how mainstream environmentalism had become, the exhibit was co-sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund and largely funded by the National Science Foundation.”

He unconsciously admitted his own corruption.  Apparently, it became a norm in early 1990’s; just journalism business as usual:

“As an environmental writer, I was on a roll, with several awards signaling my skill at communicating environmental science.”

But the conscious admissions are more down to business:

“But flipping through my 1992 book now, I see some signs that I was a bit carried away with a sense of mission and more than a bit naïve about the scale of the global warming challenge.”

“Carbon dioxide had little in common with pollutants of old, stray impurities produced during combustion (sulfur compounds, for example) …

Carbon dioxide, in contrast, is a fundamental and long-lived byproduct of burning fossil fuels, and, even now, efforts to capture and store this gas permanently—at a scale relevant to the climate system—remain costly drawing-board pipe dreams. Adding to the challenge, billions of people benefit from the actions creating the risk—burning cheap fossil fuels, spreading fertilizer made with fossil energy, cutting down forests—while most of those who stand to suffer the worst predicted impacts haven’t yet been born. Too, unlike other pollutants, carbon dioxide is also a ubiquitous and normal component of the air—not to mention the bubbles in beer and every exhaled breath. Where’s the peril, the villain, in that?”

“The path to the front page was through covering climate politics, not climate science. I think one reason the issue was covered so often through the lens of politics is that doing so made the solution seem easier. After all, the only thing missing was political will, campaigners insisted. Stories that had villains and heroes, the empowered and the powerless—those were (often appropriately) news.”

“By then, I’d written hundreds of newspaper and magazine stories as well as two books about global warming, burning rain forests, melting glaciers, and the rest. I was hitting the peak of my influence among Earth-loving activists and loving it. After all, I was among my kin, in essence, as a liberal, Ivy League, middle-class Northeasterner.”

Even then, The New York Times still cared about the truth:

“Once I moved to The New York Times in the mid-1990s, the phenomenon of global warming itself became a tougher sell, both to my editors and the public.”

But that changed later.

“Journalism’s norms also required considering the full range of views [not anymore] …  In 2007, I included Bjorn Lomborg’s climate book, Cool It, in a roundup of voices from ‘the pragmatic center.’
Lomborg, a Danish political scientist, became a widely quoted contrarian pundit after the publication of The Skeptical Environmentalist, a previous book that had challenged—and was vigorously challenged by—the environmental science community. [although the book went along with climate alarmism]
Given how Lomborg hadn’t resisted having his arguments wielded by factions seeking no action to cut climate change risks, my description of him was not apt. [sic!]
But the reaction from longtime contacts in environmental science was like a digital sledgehammer. An e-mail string excoriating the story was forwarded to me in hopes I would understand how far I had strayed. In the exchange, one of the country’s top sustainability scientists told the others: ‘I think I’m going to throw up. I kept trying to believe that Andy was quite good, albeit subject to occasional lapses as well as rightward pressure from NYT higher-ups. But this is really too much. We have all over-rated him.’ The intensity of feelings, the divergent views of data, prompted me to examine old questions in new ways. …”

But the focus of examination were psychological biases supposedly preventing people from seeing alleged dangers of so-called climate change.  The last quote:

“Around age fourteen, on one of my regular after-school walks through the trees, I encountered a bulldozer parked in a fresh-cut clearing near my favorite spruce. I placed a scribbled warning on the seat, something like Whoever chops down this tree will suffer a horrible death. (A few decades would pass before I reflected back on that bulldozer encounter and realized I had never considered that a bulldozer, just a few years earlier, had cleared the tract our house occupied.)”

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