Saying "there's no sign humans have caused climate change" is not stating an opinion, it's asserting a factual inaccuracy.It started off last Saturday with a note from the editors on the claim that Congress has exempted itself from Obamacare, and why that claim has not appeared in letters to the editor: "Simply put, this objection to the president's healthcare law is based on a falsehood, and letters that have an untrue basis (for example, ones that say there's no sign humans have caused climate change) do not get printed."
The conservatives howled - not on Obamacare, but on the parenthetical note. "That's quite a statement coming from an editorial writer not named Al Gore," one blogged. Yesterday, the Times explained further On letters from climate-change deniers:
scientists have provided ample evidence that human activity is indeed linked to climate change. Just last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- a body made up of the world's top climate scientists -- said it was 95% certain that we fossil-fuel-burning humans are driving global warming. The debate right now isn't whether this evidence exists (clearly, it does) but what this evidence means for us.Note that the Times seems to be not so much announcing a new policy as publicizing a policy that has been in effect for a while. And it raises the question whether a similar policy has been in effect at other papers part of the same conglomerate, such as the Chicago Tribune.
Simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published. Saying "there's no sign humans have caused climate change" is not stating an opinion, it's asserting a factual inaccuracy.
This is welcome news indeed, reflecting the overwhelming scientific consensus on our warming world. The country needs to debate whether pricing carbon through a carbon tax or cap-and-trade is sufficient, or whether an all-hands-on-deck, World War II mobilization is required; but it needs to stop indulging those at the margins and stalking the halls of Congress who deny obvious reality.
Other newspapers need to adopt the same policy - looking at you, Washington Post!