Advocacy Journalism Taints Debate

Published September 27, 2007

As a scientist with a half century invested in trying to understand the earth’s climate and the various impacts of the sun, the planets, the varying declinations of the earth’s s axis, changes in the earth’s orbit and now man’s possible role in increasing carbon-dioxide emissions, it is disappointing to read a writer of my favorite newspaper, Deborah Solomon, write about the carbon credit or cap and trade debate with the assumption that there is no longer science to debate. Few serious, non-publicity seeking scientists I know think we are even close to an understanding of our climate.

Ms. Solomon seeks to frame the debate as “the scientific debate is over, now we just have to agree on the best way to pay for carbon emission reductions,” when in fact the scientific debate isn’t over, the case for action grows weaker by the day, and the costs, whether done with a carbon tax or cap and trade, vastly exceed any hypothetical benefits and will cripple our children’s and grandchildren’s future prospects. This is not journalistic reporting–this borders on advocacy journalism. The Wall Street Journal is better than that.

Jay Lehr, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is science director at The Heartland Institute.