Tuesday, March 17, 2015

This Major Newspaper Made a Bold Move in Support of Climate Science

The U.K. Guardian has launched a campaign of science and conscience to reverse humanity’s self-destructive pursuit of burning all of the world’s fossil fuels:  #keepitintheground.  Journalism professor and media critic Jay Rosen labeled it “an old fashioned newspaper campaign.”

The Guardian starts by calling on Bill and Melinda Gates to divest their foundation from all investments in fossil fuels.  Guardian Editor-in-Chief Alan Rusbridger has also asked for help from whistleblowers in fossil fuel industries to help expose the industry.

Full details of the Guardian campaign — including a petition you can sign — are here

The science is crystal clear that we need to leave the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground unburnt if we are to have any realistic chance whatsoever of limiting total warming to non-catastrophic levels.  The journal Nature spelled that out in a January study, The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2 °C.

The Guardian has posted a video on their website explaining why we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground and why that is the biggest story in the world:

Editor Rusbridger writes that the argument to divest from the biggest carbon polluters is “becoming an overwhelming one, on both moral and financial grounds.”  He quotes Archbishop Desmond Tutu:  “People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change.”  He explains:
The usual rule of newspaper campaigns is that you don’t start one unless you know you’re going to win it.  This one will almost certainly be won in time:  the physics is unarguable.  But we are launching our campaign today in the firm belief that it will force the issue now into the boardrooms and inboxes of people who have billions of dollars at their disposal.
Media campaigns for the public interest and against injustice are nothing new.  And what greater public interest is there than not turning much of the planet’s most habitable and arable land into a near permanent dustbowl, sharply reducing humanity’s ability to feed what will then be 9 billion people?

Bill McKibben, one of the founders of the divestment movement whose organization 350.org is partnering with the Guardian, emailed me, “Alan Rusbridger is the finest newspaper editor of his era, and this caps his career — he’s the first editor, I think, that’s ever truly treated the greatest story of our time with the gravity it requires.”
And 61 years ago last week, the legendary Edward R. Murrow, another one of his my father’s heroes, hosted “A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy,” perhaps the most famous episode of his CBS show, See It Now.  In this time of climate crisis and climate silence, Murrow is a reminder that at one time journalists spoke out on the greatest issues of the day:

This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s methods to keep silent…. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result.  There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities.

The New York Times has called Edward R. Murrow, “Perhaps the most esteemed American journalist since Ben Franklin.”  But now his courage and moral outrage in the face of injustice and intimidation seem to be of a lost era.

Read more at This Major Newspaper Made a Bold Move in Support of Climate Science

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