by Judith Curry
Judith Curry’s blog, Climate Etc., is an exception to the stereotype of denier blogs. Curry is a real climate scientist with strong credentials. Committed to reason, evidence, and open inquiry, she is willing to examine legitimate points the climate skeptics may be making — as well as the evidence and arguments from mainstream climate science. – Society of Environmental Journalists
Here is the history of the Society of Environmental Journalists:
The Society of Environmental Journalists was founded in 1990 by a small group of award-winning journalists, including reporters, editors, and producers working for The Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, Turner Broadcasting, Minnesota Public Radio, and National Geographic. Today, SEJ’s membership includes more than 1,400 journalists and academics working in every type of news media in the United States, Canada, Mexico and 27 other countries.
SEJ’s reputation for excellence, service, and integrity has been built upon annual conferences hosted by distinguished universities, scores of regional events, unique publications, on-line services, in-the-newsroom training sessions, and an extensive membership network.
As a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization, SEJ provides educational opportunities and vital support to journalists of all media who face the challenging responsibility of covering complex environmental issues.
Here is the SEJ mission statement:
The mission of the Society of Environmental Journalists is to strengthen the quality, reach and viability of journalism across all media to advance public understanding of environmental issues.
SEJ provides critical support to journalists of all media in their efforts to cover complex issues of the environment responsibly. Through combined efforts of board, staff, members, and appropriate partners, SEJ offers unique educational programs and services for working journalists, educators, and students, including annual and regional conferences; daily EJToday news service; quarterly SEJournal; biweeklyTipSheet and other publications; FOI WatchDog project; SEJ Awards for Reporting on the Environment; members-only listservs; mentoring program; website-based resources; and a lively membership network of journalists and academics.
SEJ also acts to raise awareness among philanthropists, editors, news managers, publishers, and other key decision-makers in the media on the value and importance of environmental news reporting.
SEJ has an article on Staying up-to-date on climate news. The rationale of this article is:
The amount of climate news that environmental journalists may need to stay abreast of is vast, and new developments are breaking every day. The best way to stay current is to keep an eye on some of the many major online climate news sources. Here are nearly three dozen of the best. In choosing them, we have limited the selection for the most part to sources that are reliably accurate and reality-based.
The article organizes the news sources into the following categories:
- General Daily Climate News
- News from the Climate Wars
- Just the Science
- Policy, Politics, and Treaty Talks
I focus here on:
News from the Climate Wars
There is a war going on over manmade global climate change, and journalists are at the very front. Scientists who actually study climate largely agree on the basic findings that human emissions of greenhouse gases are causing rises in global mean surface temperature and other climate changes. As greenhouse gas concentrations rise, climate change will intensify, threatening the stability of food supply, ecosystems, and human security. There are many proposed solutions for reducing emissions and adapting — but many of those solutions are opposed by corporations who make profits from greenhouse emissions and nations who see their economic growth as requiring more emissions. Fossil-fuel industries have spent millions in disinformation efforts to convince people not to “believe” in the science. These propagandists vilify both scientists and journalists — and rush forward to urge journalists to be “objective” by balancing truth with untruth. The following sources offer some help in sifting through the heaps of false, distorted, and misleading stories about climate change.
RealClimate is a robust climate science blog written by real scientists. It is generally objective, open-minded, evidence-based, and scientifically sound. In a mediasphere where disinformation often dominates, it serves as an antidote to inaccurate and distorted representations of what is actually being learned by legitimate peer-reviewed science. It responds fairly quickly to whatever climate-science misconception is current. Deniers hate it. Gavin Schmidt of GISS and Michael Mann of Penn State lead a team of roughly a dozen contributors.
InsideClimate News is somewhat unique. It describes itself as “a non-profit, non-partisan news organization that covers energy and climate change — plus the territory in between where law, policy and public opinion are shaped.” It is solution-oriented, which may give it a bit of progressive bias (it is a rebranding of the former SolveClimate.org). Also diagnostic is that it covers energy (the solution) as much as climate itself (the problem). The emphasis is on quality, meaningful journalism — as may be evidenced by the fact that InsideClimate News material is republished by Reuters, AP, The Guardian, Alternet, New America Media, and High Country News.
DeSmogBlog describes its mission as “clearing the PR pollution that clouds climate science.” It is funded by Canadian PR magnate James Hoggan and others. Truth-based but fully engaged in the climate wars, it devotes itself to debunking the deceptions and untruths of the deniers and exposing their clay feet and corporate funding. Edited by Brendan DeMelle, it draws on an array of high-quality contributors such as Ross Gelbspan, Richard Littlemore, and Chris Mooney.
Skeptical Science is a blog that aims to reclaim the true principal of scientific skepticism from the climate-change deniers who have misappropriated the term. It systematically examines and rebuts the myths commonly circulated by the deniers. It is published by physicist John Cook, Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland — along with more than a dozen contributors from across the globe. It is translated into many languages. It is unaffiliated and runs on volunteer labor and donations.
Climate Science Watch is a thoughtful blog that focuses on the broad realm of climate science policy. It is run by Rick Piltz, the whistleblower who exposed how the George W. Bush administration had oil lobbyist Phil Cooney rewriting the findings of climate scientists . Funded by foundations, it is affiliated with the Government Accountability Project (GAP ). Piltz tends to focus less on the science issues themselves than on the institutional, policy, and procedural issues that often systematically corrupt, distort, and suppress sound climate science.
Watts Up With That is one of the more civil and well-read of the denier blogs. It is not reliable as a source of factual information. It does not disclose its funding sources. Anthony Watts, its proprietor, has worked as a broadcast weatherman for years but has no degree.
This blog is a department of the “Think Progress” blog of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, which is an unabashed advocate of progressive positions. Blogger-in-chief Joe Romm is one of the most passionate participants in the climate wars, often leading the attack on the latest perceived fossil-lobby outrage. Romm has been known to over-do it, but the blog is worth reading for its hair-trigger newsiness alone. And when Romm makes a case, he often goes deep.
There is a front of the climate wars being fought in Canada, and the main value of the Deep Climate blog is that it covers the Canadian front more deeply than any other source we know. It is a shame that its author stays anonymous, but he or she receives no funding — which may at least be a sign of good faith. The blog has been going since 2008, and the posts are pretty frequent and consistent for a volunteer effort. We deem it reliable.
Judith Curry’s blog, Climate Etc., is an exception to the stereotype of denier blogs. Curry is a real climate scientist with strong credentials. Among other things, she is chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Committed to reason, evidence, and open inquiry, she is willing to examine legitimate points the climate skeptics may be making — as well as the evidence and arguments from mainstream climate science.
JC comments: Ok, it looks like we now have a new definition of climate change denier:
Committed to reason, evidence, and open inquiry, she is willing to examine legitimate points the climate skeptics may be making — as well as the evidence and arguments from mainstream climate science.
And SkepticalScience seems to represent the true principle of scientific skepticism.
As far as I can tell, the SEJ is a reputable organization. However, I find much of their article to be rather appalling. Not to mention the fact that they left out a number of good blog sources, that are arguably better than DeepClimate no matter which side of the climate debate you sit on.
Your thoughts on which news and blog sources should have been included (and excluded) from this list?
Update: check out this astonishing post from the Guardian – Are climate sceptics the real champions of the scientific method? Don’t miss the comments :)