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A Climate Change Op-Ed the Wall Street Journal Simply Doesn't Need


A Climate Change Op-Ed the Wall Street Journal Simply Doesn't Need

Brian McDermott

CD editor's note: The following op-ed was submitted to the Wall Street Journal editorial department for publication but was politely rejected because it did not meet the "present needs" of the newspaper. It did, however, meet ours. And hopefully yours.


Wonderful op ed by a true scholar. There is no debate however only with the rnc. The solutions are alrready there it's just the will to use them; Also, climate change is real proven by scientists.


Taking a break at the Trump Convention?


If you've ever wondered why those who report the weather on TV never mention global warming, I learned from a local such reporter that his management forbids him from doing so! If he had an ounce of integrity, he would quit his job and publicize this fact. Also, why doesn't he realize that when our species goes extinct (by 2040, per one climate scientist), there's no reason to think that he will be spared. After all, he APPEARS to be a fellow human being!


Hi Brian,

As an activist I expect you know that the WSJ is owned by Murdoch. As he, through NewsCorp, is probably the world's most prolific spreader of disinformation about climate change, what else could we expect? If you haven't already done so, I recommend reading Naomi Oreskes - 'Merchants of Doubt'. Kindle seems to be the least expensive and most convenient way to read such books now.

But it's great to see someone of your age writing something along these lines and getting it published. But it's not just the climate that's the problem. It's that solving it requires that we all (everywhere in the world) have to stop burning fossil fuels.

And that's upsetting quite a number of billionaires (like the Koch brothers) and multinationals, who have built vast wealth on the premise that we continue to burn fossil fuels.

Someone in this media said recently: As John Kenneth Galbraith understood, "People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage."

We need to grasp the implications of that realization.

Dealing with the political problems that result is what's holding us all back, because their money now buys our politicians and we need them to pass the necessary bi-partisan legislation.

Until the US voters can get someone like Bernie into the White House and other like thinkers into leadership positions in Congress, it's hard to see serious action on climate change being taken at the rate it needs to.

And because the US still has the power to lead the world, my fear is that one or more of the many climate tipping points that scientists like James Hansen keep pointing to (eg, the rate of Arctic and Antarctic methane release now approaching a non-linear state), will occur before the political will can be found. And by then it really will be too late......../Chris


It’s true, when I think of reputable and in-depth journalism, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Wall Street Journal is among the first to come to mind.

Where have you been? News Corp owns the WSJ, i.e. it is a mouthpiece of Corporate America. I wouldn't go near it if I were looking for anything I could consider veracity. Trusting its "news" and opinions is definitely a crap-shoot. I assume your statement is meant to be ironic. That seems to be the consensus of the readers here. It's like being slapped on the side of the head.


This is the reason Murdoch bought the WSJ, to control the message. Isn't that obvious by now?


Great writing & please keep it up.

We have a bunch of corrupt quitters running things. Some of them have turned to the dark side and have cashed in their values.

Many people start out with ethical notions of what is good, but they are tempted by the bling and if they have the skill set that gets rewarded, they sell out. Not a very original or even interesting story, but a lot of people are weak human beings. It takes strength to be a true public servant, it takes only greed to become a servant to money.

The folks at the WSJ are quitters or like Donny's phrase "they're losers." These folks are the "I've got mine, so screw you." These are not the ideals of people operating for the public good in government, or for the formerly noble fourth estate. They are selfish and if they have children they deserve to be ashamed.

This makes your efforts all the more relevant and meaningful. In the end, these folks are in control with our blessing until you can influence enough of them to say no more.


List from Kurt Vonnegut's letter to the future 1988

"The sort of leaders we need now are not those who promise ultimate victory over Nature through perseverance in living as we do right now, but those with the courage and intelligence to present to the world what appears to be Nature's stern but reasonable surrender terms:

Reduce and stabilize your population.
Stop poisoning the air, the water, and the topsoil.
Stop preparing for war and start dealing with your real problems.
Teach your kids, and yourselves, too, while you're at it, how to inhabit a small planet without helping to kill it.
Stop thinking science can fix anything if you give it a trillion dollars.
Stop thinking your grandchildren will be OK no matter how wasteful or destructive you may be, since they can go to a nice new planet on a spaceship. That is really mean, and stupid.
And so on. Or else."


Thank you very much for your bright and articulate letter. Please don't ever give up! We need a lot more young people just like you to protect this amazing playground we have been given!


I am a follower of 350.org since the sea level rise and climate distortions are symptoms of the ppm of CO2. The identification of the cause of CO2 increase is not the issue since volcanoes and fires are as guilty as fuel consumers. Governments are unable to tax the rich so I would suggest that the hedge funds voluntarily donate 0.4% of the exchange trade volume to the united nations to use to sequester carbon. Three trillion dollars could really capture three trillion tons of CO2 with the help of the 7 billion unemployed and underemployed folks all over the planet. There is 24 trillion tons of CO2 in the air. At 350 ppm there is still 21 trillion. The 1950 level of 300 ppm or 18 trillion tons is a better goal and billions of people planting kelp, sagebrush, grass, trees, lichens, grapevines, prairie grass, etc, will do it.


The article is replete with mistakes. Prominent among these is the 97% claim, which is based on the opinions of a researcher who made judgments about other researchers' opinions. The debate is clearly not over, not while there are hundreds of researchers and thousands of studies that disagree with the hypothesis that dangerous man-made climate change is occurring. Here are a few specific errors in the article:

  1. Sea level rise: the sea level has been rising since the end of the last ice age and has followed a steady path for the last few hundred years, rising about 10cm per century. There is no acceleration of this. Much of this data is difficult to be certain about since land masses are in motion in three dimensions, pushing water up, allowing it to drop, moving it from one place to another constantly.Some land masses are still rising as a rebound effect from the loss of miles of glacial ice that once held them down during the last ice age.

  2. The scary scenarios of Boston being underwater and baking int he summer are based on computer models containing flawed assumptions, incorrect statistical methods and unwarranted projections. All of these models have failed to hindcast previous climate cycles, never mind project future changes to an incredibly complex and poorly understood set climate variables. These models have ignored much of what is known about natural causes of climate change and focused narrowly on potential human causes. Taking a broader view enables one to easily see how lost in the noise of natural cycles is the tiny human influence.

  3. The notion of a dangerous rise of sea level can only mean the writer assumes a significant melting of the antarctic ice, where the average temperature is currently 50 degrees celsius below zero and is the most inhospitable place on Earth. 90% of the world's ice is in Antarctica so all the rest of the ice put together would only have a minor impact on sea levels. The known data on Antarctic ice shows it is increasing both on land and sea, with satellite data showing a growth of sea ice of half a million square kilometers in the 1979-2008 period. The second largest mass of ice, in Greenland, is in an approximately stable mass balance.

In this case, given the youth an inexperience of the writer, we can forgive his lack of breadth of knowledge about climate science. If he takes and active post-secondary interest in the disciplines such as geology, physics, chemistry, biology, paleontology, cosmology, climate science, history, statistics or computer modeling he will be better able to compare the broad range of data that exists to prove the Earth's temperature is well within the bounds of normal, historical, natural cycles.


I support your efforts to curb global heating, but please don't say that you "consume" news. News is not a substance; articles are not fungible. Moreover, reading an article does not consume it. It can be read again and again!