The Great Debate

from Stories I’d like to see:

Bottom line on climate change: It’s costing you money

By Steven Brill
November 18, 2014

Participants wearing masks during a hazy day at the Beijing International Marathon in front of Tiananmen Square, in Beijing

This column by Martin Wolf in the Financial Times last week is a story I’m glad I saw. It prompted me to think about how to make reporting on a subject I usually find boring a lot more compelling.

Humans don’t do ‘future’ well, and that could doom us if we’re not careful

By Richard Schiffman
September 23, 2014

A protester carries a sign during the "People's Climate March" in the Manhattan borough of New York

There has been some rare good news about the environment recently. One was hard to miss. On Sunday, roughly 300,000 people swelled the streets of midtown Manhattan in the People’s Climate March. It was not just the largest climate protest in history; it was the biggest U.S. political demonstration of any kind in more than a decade.

Keeping a city-by-the-sea from becoming a city in it

By James Sanders and Jesse M. Keenan
July 21, 2014

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Virtually every big rainstorm in New York now seems to be accompanied by a flash-flood alert sent to cellphones. And scientists recently reported that a vast section of Antarctica’s ice sheet, now melting, might bring on as much as a 10-foot rise in the world’s sea levels in the coming decades.

Why is the West betting against climate change?

By Richard Schiffman
May 19, 2014

The Las Pulgas Fire is seen burning near military structures at Camp Pendleton, California

With wildfires ravaging San Diego County, this year’s fire season is getting off to an early — and destructive — start.

America: The anecdotal nation

By Neal Gabler
April 14, 2014

In America today, anecdotes have become the new facts.

Consider Obamacare. Opponents have produced ads featuring apparently ordinary Americans telling stories about the travails forced upon them by the Affordable Care Act. One ad, financed by the Koch brothers, highlighted a leukemia sufferer named Julie Boonstra, who claimed that Obamacare had raised the cost of her medications so much that she was faced with death! Pretty dramatic stuff — except that numerous fact-checkers found she would actually save $1,200 under Obamacare.

Liberals are winning the language war

By Keith Koffler
April 11, 2014

Are conservatives linguistically challenged? Or are they just naïve enough to think they can win the battle of ideas with — ideas?

The bill for climate change is coming due

By Richard Schiffman
March 27, 2014

Americans have just endured one of the coldest winters in memory, so global warming may not be on their radar. But a new U.N. panel report has just refocused the public debate on a problem some scientists call the greatest threat facing the world.

Is nuclear power the answer on climate change?

By Richard Schiffman
January 10, 2014

James Hansen’s latest press conference was positively scary.

NASA’s former chief climate scientist (he recently left government to pursue a more activist role) met with environmental journalists last month at Columbia University to release a new study with the ominous title, “Assessing Dangerous Climate Change: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature.”

A journalistic revolution

By Neal Gabler
October 31, 2013

Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who revealed National Security Agency surveillance leaks from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, dueled this week with former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller over objectivity in journalism. Keller argued that impartiality forces a journalist to test all assumptions. Greenwald, however, countered that impartiality didn’t test assumptions as much as confer authority to each of them. He explained that his new reporting venture, a website funded by eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar, would treat official pronouncements with skepticism.

Where will you live in 2050?

By Parag Khanna and Greg Lindsay
August 6, 2013

Upon retiring in April after more than four decades as a NASA climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen told Columbia University students he feared “climate chaos” if we do not act immediately to curb greenhouse gas emissions. There are now more than 800 natural disasters worldwide annually, according to the reinsurance giant Munich Re, double the number 20 years ago. That may just be the beginning. The number could skyrocket to 15,000 disasters per year by 2030, said General Electric’s global strategy director Peter Evans, meaning mile-wide tornados like the one that devastated Moore, Oklahoma in May would be the norm.