Media Ignoring The Deadly Impacts Of Climate Crisis Doesn’t Mean They Just Go Away

[Editor’s Note: This is the original — unedited — version of the writer’s letter that recently appeared in The La Crosse Tribune. — Mark L. Taylor]

By Cathy Van Maren
Letter to the Editor

Media reports about 9/11 first responders and survivors sickened by toxic debris fail to mention that George W. Bush’s Environmental Protection Agency head, supported by his National Security Adviser, ignored science and assured the public that Ground Zero air was safe to breathe.

“No Bush administration officials have paid any price for lying thousands to their deaths.”

But that’s nothing compared to what will happen if broadcast media and politicians continue ignoring decades’ worth of scientific facts about the consequences of our continuing fossil fuel use.

Only one Hurricane Dorian segment of 219 reported by CBS, NBC and ABC connected global heating with that super storm. Public Citizen reports that in 2018, fewer than four percent of broadcast news segments used “crisis” or “emergency” in reporting on climate change. Republicans haven’t challenged Donald Trump’s anti-climate actions. Democrats voted against holding an official climate debate.

Without reporting on and discussing connections between and corporate manipulation of our actions and their certain, forever effects, the true costs of inaction will not be counted and we won’t be able to make needed changes. By ignoring the science, politicians and broadcast media are effectively lying us into extinction and uninhabitability.

This cannot continue. Young people, set to inherit this hellish future, are striking for climate action and adult allies are joining them. A global climate strike on Friday, Sept. 20, will ensure that, at least for one day, the crisis can’t be ignored. Find La Crosse strike actions HERE.

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(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to )


‘We’re losing the race’: UN Secretary General Labels Climate Change An International ’emergency’

António Guterres cites ‘fantastic leadership’ of young activists and is counting on public pressure to compel governments to honor the 2015 Paris Agreement.

By Mark Hertsgaard
The Guardian (9/18/19)

The UN secretary general says that he is counting on public pressure to compel governments to take much stronger action against what he calls the climate change “emergency”.

“Governments always follow public opinion, everywhere in the world, sooner or later,” António Guterres, said on Tuesday in an interview with Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets, led by Columbia Journalism Review and the Nation, in partnership with the Guardian. Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal, added: “And so … we need to keep telling the truth to people and be confident that the political system, especially democratic political systems, will in the end deliver.”

Guterres refused to comment on Donald Trump and the Trump administration’s hostility to climate action, but a CBS News poll released on 15 September found that 69% of Americans want the next president to take action, while 53% say such action is needed “right now”. Guterres said that “it would be much better” if the US was “strongly committed to climate action”, just as it would be better if Asian countries [notably, China and Japan] stopped exporting coal plants. Until then, he said, “what I want is to have the whole society putting pressure on governments to understand they need to run faster. Because we are losing the race.” …

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‘This Really Is Something’: UN Chief Praised For Move To Block Coal-Backing Nations From Speaking At Climate Summit

Don’t bring a speech—bring a plan, Guterres famously told heads of state and government in the months leading up to this summit, and it appears that only leaders who followed his instructions will be allowed to speak at the plenary session.

By Andrea Germanos
Common Dreams (9/18/19)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres drew praise Wednesday for taking what supporters called a “powerful stand” to address the climate crisis. Guterres will reportedly exclude major economies, including the United States, from talking at the upcoming U.N. Climate Action Summit because of their failure to produce appropriately ambitious climate plans and their ongoing support for coal.

“This really is something. Thanks to Antonio Guterres,” tweeted co-founder Bill McKibben.

Leslie Hook reported at the Financial Times Tuesday on the exclusions, citing a draft schedule of the summit, set take place Monday. Australia, Japan, South Korea, and South Africa will be snubbed over their continued support for coal. Brazil and Saudi Arabia, both of whom have criticized the Paris climate accord, will also be blocked. The Trump White House, which announced its plans to ditch the deal, will also not be afforded a speaking slot, Hook reported.

Justin Guay, director for global climate strategy at the Australia-based Sunrise Project, framed the move by Guterres as potentially unprecedented. …

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