Obama to the Left? Most of this country is numb to the power of rhetoric!

If there was one consistent media message about the Obama inauguration ceremony, it was the idea that he was announcing a clear shift to the left. But coverage failed to provide much background on the president’s actual policies, which would have challenged that impression.

The inclusion of climate change was treated as a particularly big deal, given that inaugural addresses seldom dwell on policy. “Speech Gives Climate Goals Center Stage” read one headline in the next day’s New York Times (1/22/13). But that story, and much of the media commentary on his climate comments, failed to even mention the Keystone XL pipeline, currently under State Department review.

It is hard to fathom how meaningful action on climate change would be possible if Keystone were approved, but the White House has not spoken out in opposition to the pipeline (Nation.com, 1/22/13). Leaving out Obama’s most important upcoming climate policy decision when covering his climate agenda is a media failure.

For more on this story, visit: Obama to the Left? — FAIR: Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting.

Tomgram: Bill McKibben, Time Is Not on Our Side

Physics doesn’t understand that rapid action on climate change threatens the most lucrative business on Earth, the fossil fuel industry. It’s implacable. It takes the carbon dioxide we produce and translates it into heat, which means into melting ice and rising oceans and gathering storms. And unlike other problems, the less you do, the worse it gets. Do nothing and you soon have a nightmare on your hands.

For more on this story, visit: Tomgram: Bill McKibben, Time Is Not on Our Side | TomDispatch.

A Quest to Document Earth’s Disappearing Glaciers: e360 Gallery

For the past six years, photographer James Balog has deployed dozens of time-lapse cameras around the world to chronicle one of the starkest examples of global warming — melting glaciers. In a photo gallery and interview with Yale Environment 360, Balog displays his work and discusses his passion to capture these vanishing landscapes.

The extraordinarily rapid retreat of Alaska’s Columbia Glacier is captured in this photograph. In the 1980s, ice filled this valley up to the dark vegetation line. But since then more than 1,200 vertical feet of ice have melted, exposing the dun-colored rock once covered by the glacier. The Columbia Glacier has retreated 10 miles over the past two decades. Photo courtesy of James Balog

For more on this story, visit: A Quest to Document Earth’s Disappearing Glaciers: e360 Gallery.

Climate Change & Historic Superstorm Sandy: 70+ Dead, Streets Submerged, Millions Without Power

Superstorm Sandy has pounded the East Coast, bringing massive flooding and damage that’s left at least 16 people dead in the United States, killed more than 60 in the Carribean, and left more than seven million without power from North Carolina to Massachusetts. Parts of New York City were submerged under water as high as 13 feet, flooding a number of subway stations and causing blackouts. Sandy made landfall in New Jersey Monday night near Atlantic City after being downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone. But it still brought hurricane-force winds and rain, making it one of the largest storms the United States has ever seen. A snowstorm swept inland dropping heaving snowfall across Appalachia and shutting down large sections of the interstate in West Virginia and Maryland. Estimates of the damage so far have reached as high as $20 billion. Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman broadcasts from the road in Salt Lake City, working with our team in New York City, under blackout conditions, to bring you updates and analysis on the storm’s damage, its potential risks for East Coast nuclear facilities, and its connection to global warming. We’re joined by Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at the Weather Underground.

For more on this story, visit: Climate Change & Historic Superstorm Sandy: 70+ Dead, Streets Submerged, Millions Without Power.

Bill McKibben on Hurricane Sandy and Climate Change: “If There Was Ever a Wake-up Call, This Is It”

Much of the East Coast is shut down today as residents prepare for Hurricane Sandy, a massive storm that could impact up to 50 million people from the Carolinas to Boston. The storm has already killed 66 people in the Caribbean, where it battered Haiti and Cuba. “This thing is stitched together from elements natural and unnatural, and it seems poised to cause real havoc,” says Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org. New York and other cities have shut down schools and transit systems. Hundreds of thousands of people have already been evacuated. Millions could lose power over the next day. Meteorologists say Sandy could be the largest storm ever to hit the U.S. mainland. The megastorm comes at a time when President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have refused to make climate change an issue on the campaign trail. For the first time since 1984, climate change was never addressed during a presidential debate. “It’s really important that everybody, even those who aren’t in the kind of path of this storm, reflect about what it means that in the warmest year in U.S. history, … in a year when we saw, essentially, summer sea ice in the Arctic just vanish before our eyes, what it means that we’re now seeing storms of this unprecedented magnitude,” McKibben says. “If there was ever a wake-up call, this is it.” We’re also joined by climate scientist Greg Jones from Southern Oregon University.

For more on this story, visit: Bill McKibben on Hurricane Sandy and Climate Change: “If There Was Ever a Wake-up Call, This Is It”.

The Yes Men: A Child’s Guide to Enjoying Hurricane Sandy

Unfortunately, some things can get in the way of the fun, excitement, and group bonding experiences. So here are a few guidelines to making sure you and your parents enjoy the big storm, as well as the many more likely to be coming your way by the time you’re grown up.

1. Don’t listen to anything that connects this storm to anything else

Unfortunately, as soon as a monster storm comes heading our way, you’ll hear people talk about “climate change.” That can totally ruin the fun, because climate change also means: crop failures, droughts, rising food prices, famines, conflicts, and insect-borne diseases migrating to where there’s no resistance. Those things in turn mean the deaths of 1000 children like you every day, and warnings from the UN that last summer’s crazy temperature records could end up hurting tens of millions of people in the coming months. So don’t listen to the UN, or to scientists, or to anything other than the weather channel, network television, or the pronouncements of the president and his challenger. Knowing that the cool storm you’re in the midst of is part of a pattern of global mass murder can be a big bummer.

For more on this story, visit: The Yes Men: A Child’s Guide to Enjoying Hurricane Sandy.

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