Grand hopes for a civil discussion on climate, dashed in the comments section

A call for unity around the latest warning from climate scientists finds the denial community alive and well.

Love science? Whatever you do, don't read the comment string on the Portland Press Herald's "Pearl Harbor" editorial.


The paper, circulation 57,000, editorialized that the latest climate report out of the scientific community "is our Pearl Harbor moment."

"This is not just an environmental crisis, it's a test of our ability to govern ourselves," the paper's editorial board concluded.

It's an optimistic, noble thought. If the comments at the end of the article are any indication, we're failing.

'The hysteria is mounting'

Many scientists, activists, and journalists have long believed that climate denial is on its last legs. It's alive and well in a forum like this one.

Several noted, like "Blogmaster Snoop Dog," that this is the umpteenth dire warning from scientists on topics ranging from population to global cooling to the disappearance of trees to, yes, climate change. And a comment from "Sailor12" suggests these scientific assessments aren't changing too many minds:

The hysteria is mounting as the "Global Warming" hoax is increasingly exposed as a fraud: fraudulent science; fraudulent propaganda....

Quoting Sartre

Of course, the Press Herald's comments are downright polite by today's Internet standards—and feel remarkably civil compared to comment strings following, say, any article on Breitbart.com. The discussion included references to the Enlightenment and existentialism; "hpmcg" quoted Sartre, prompting "todiscus" to offer his or her own two cents:

Wow. You just don't see Sartre quoted here every day. Thanks.

Worthy of your time: The full Press Herald editorial, along with the 49 (and counting) comments.

Print Friendly and PDF
SUBSCRIBE TO EHN'S MUST-READ DAILY NEWSLETTER: ABOVE THE FOLD
From our Newsroom

Pete Myers: Our failure on fertility

'Count Down,' by Dr. Shanna Swan, lays out how poorly regulated chemicals leach out of consumer products and escape from agricultural and industrial uses to drive sperm counts down.

WATCH: Fertility crisis leaves little time for solutions

Worldwide, sperm counts in men have declined 50 percent in 50 years, with no sign of easing soon.

LISTEN: A conversation about infertility with Shanna Swan

'We have to get these [harmful chemicals] out of our lives and out of our bodies quickly so we can begin to make the journey toward reproductive health.'

How to shop for cleaning products - while avoiding toxics

A simple, 4-step guide to decoding all that packaging.

Use of disinfectants has soared, sparking new examination of ingredients

Regulators are considering whether disinfectant ingredients called quats are safe and effective in light of increased use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

10 tips for cleaner grocery shopping

Picking ingredients for a better lifestyle.

Above The Fold

Daily & Weekly newsletters all free.