Not that you'd know it from reading the newspapers this morning, but the much-ballyhooed House resolution that would have supposedly put the United States on a firm march to Kyoto-ville died with little more than a whimper yesterday. Apparently, VE (Victory for Earth) Day will have to wait another year.
Reporters love to write about how proposals to do something about global warming are gaining momentum. But they are less wild about stories that suggest trends might be running in the opposite direction. Believe me, had that resolution passed, it would have been on the front pages of most newspapers today. If passage would have been such big news, why not defeat?
I've got a theory about this. Having spoken at several conferences of the Society of Environmental Journalists, I can tell you without hesitation that enviro beat reporters are more often than not little more than PR vessels for organized environmental interest groups. Whether the bias is intentional or unintentional is irrelevent—critical thinking and healthy skepticism simply go out the window when your average enviro reporter talks to a credentialled Green lobbyist or activist.
The environmental lobby has a lot at stake in presenting the appearance of inevitability with regards to greenhouse gas control. That's because it's rather clear to everyone that as long as American business is opposed to this stuff, it's not going anywhere.
The one thing that might undermine corporate opposition to "doing something" about global warming is the idea that emissions controls are inevitable. After all, why waste time and money fighting for a hopeless cause? Why not "get a seat at the table" and try to minimize the damage that emissions controls might inflict on your business? Why risk becoming the legal equivalent of a tobacco company? In short, there's a lot at stake regarding how the politics of this issue is spun.
Although few reporters seem to have figured this out, the environmentalists certainly have. And that's why you probably didn't know about yesterday's events until I told you.