This is well worth a read. Andrew Revkin, who wrote an opinion blog and sometines opinion columns for the New York Times wrote an essay describing his years of reporting on the issue. There are some surprises in it, for example:
Journalism’s norms also required considering the full range of views on a complex issue like climate change, where science only delineated the risk but societal responses would always be a function of considering various tradeoffs. In 2007, I included Bjorn Lomborg’s climate book, Cool It, in a roundup of voices from “the pragmatic center.”
Lomborg, a Danish political scientist, became a widely quoted contrarian pundit after the publication of The Skeptical Environmentalist, a previous book that had challenged—and was vigorously challenged by—the environmental science community.
Given how Lomborg hadn’t resisted having his arguments wielded by factions seeking no action to cut climate change risks, my description of him was not apt.
But the reaction from longtime contacts in environmental science was like a digital sledgehammer. An e-mail string excoriating the story was forwarded to me in hopes I would understand how far I had strayed. In the exchange, one of the country’s top sustainability scientists told the others: “I think I’m going to throw up. I kept trying to believe that Andy was quite good, albeit subject to occasional lapses as well as rightward pressure from NYT higher-ups. But this is really too much. We have all over-rated him.”
It was Pete Seeger who helped me understand this as we sat in the kitchen of his hand-hewn home tucked high on the wooded shoulder of the Hudson Highlands overlooking Newburgh Bay. Pete was a friend and neighbor, with whom I’d been singing and conversing since I moved to the Hudson Valley in 1991.
He recalled how his father, a musicologist, used to prod friends who were scientists: “You think that an infinite increase in empirical information is a good thing. Can you prove it?”
Pete then described how his father would then exclaim that faith in science is no different than faith in anything else.
“Face it, it’s a religion,” Pete said.
Full essay here: