Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.


Tuning Out the Latest NAS Report is Misguided

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorMay 14, 2011 12:25 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Some regular readers might be surprised to learn that I think this latest National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report, called "America's Climate Choices," should inspire more than a collective yawn from the media. But as Charlie Petit explains, there are institutional reasons for this:

The news business is about what's new. If a prestigious body says something new and very important, it's big news the first time. The second or third or fourth it's gets attention but fades from the front page. It gets what old-timers at a newspaper I once worked for called DBI status. Dull but important. So one dutifully may cover it. Or not. Mostly not, as seen by the coverage of the US National Academy of Sciences "“ via its National Research Council "“ issuance yesterday of a report called America's Climate Choices. Bad enough that much of its contents has been previewed as much as a year ago, with four volumes already published. All this new one says is that that if we don't do something fast the world as we know it will probably end and the next one won't be fun. Well, not in so many words, but blah blah blah. One might as well write a report about overpopulation, or the soul-destroying impacts of extreme poverty, or the scientific emptiness of astrology, homeopathy, or a search for Big Foot. True, but not new.

Charlie's larger point is well taken. Look at this NYT headline from a year ago, and this AP headline from yesterday. Still, the latest NAS report contains seven recommendations related to mitigation, adaptation, and future research that I think are deserving of coverage. Here is the NAS summary, containing those recommendations, if you want to take a look. It's true there's not much actual news in the report, but I thought some of those recommendations would have made for good story pegs (even at the local/regional newspaper level) and fodder for more climate blog discussion than I'm seeing.

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 50%


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In