mark hertsgaard

Independent Journalist & Author


Climate Science on Trial This Week?

This may be the week Capitol Hill Republicans make good on their long-threatened desire to put mainstream climate science on trial, which in turn puts the Washington press corps on the spot.  Will the media give this attack on science the attention it deserves and, above all, let its coverage be guided by scientific rather than political considerations?

As I argued in an opinion article for Politico on February 15 (, the media in general has done a pretty terrible job on the climate change story, especially over the last eighteen months, when a combination of scientific illiteracy and political gullibility on the media’s part gave the climate deniers a new lease on life.

The hearings this week–on Tuesday in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and on Thursday in the House Science and Technology Committee–give the nation’s news organizations a much-needed chance to redeem themselves.  The excellent Union of Concerned Scientists will be blogging and tweeting from the hearings in real time, so check them out and then contact media outlets to urge them to get the story straight this time.



2 Responses to “Climate Science on Trial This Week?”

  • Wendy says:

    How refreshing to both hear (on “The World”) and read a sensibly discussed and argued piece on climate change. How sad that so many in industry (and ‘Big Money’) would prefer to see the discussion of what to do about climate change as a threat, rather than as an opportunity. It would seem that they would prefer ‘business as usual’ in order to avoid any possible risk to the bottom line – after all – they’re in business to make money, aren’t they?
    What a pity! I wonder how they will explain the problems they have helped to cause by their wilful ignorance to their grandchildren – when water becomes scarcer and less safe to drink, and when more places are overwhelmed by rising oceans. To be concerned about mortgaging their grandchildren’s future by adding to fiscal problems (as they would argue, by spending money on regulation) may, they would say, be showing a sense of responsibility. What would they call mortgaging the health and wellbeing of their grandchildren’s entire generation around the world, merely because they clung to the convenient notion that climate change is at worst, a hoax, or at best, a debatable point? How long before they take the time and trouble to understand the science at even the most basic level?

  • Tom says:

    Ask yourself. Would any other govt. in the world do this?

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About Mark

Independent journalist Mark Hertsgaard is the author of seven books that have been translated into sixteen languages, including Bravehearts: Whistle Blowing in the Age of Snowden; HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth; and A Day in the Life: The Music and Artistry of the Beatles. He has reported from twenty-five countries about politics, culture and the environment for leading outlets, including The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Time, Mother Jones, NPR, the BBC and The Nation, where is the environment correspondent. He lives in San Francisco.