In my last post, I talked about the Climate Change Declaration, a statement signed by 40 large companies such as Intel and Starbucks, urging lawmakers to come together and tackle climate change. To be more accurate, I was kvetching that despite the fact that major corporations including GM had signed the Declaration, the news media was not reporting any of this.
Yesterday, however, a glimmer of hope peeked through the melting permafrost. President Obama gave a major speech on new climate-change initiatives, and mentioned the Climate Change Declaration by name. Today, climate change is back in the media, probably more than it has been for many years (though still without press mentions of the Climate Change Declaration from what I can see). The list of businesses that have signed the Climate Change Declaration had grown to over 500 as of yesterday, and is likely to grow significantly more now that Obama has brought it into the very hot sunlight.
I’ll pause here to dab the sweat from my brow, as Obama did repeatedly during his speech.
The upshot is that the Declaration signed by numerous big corporations never got real press. But it, apparently, was big and important
news to the White House, and certainly to the companies who have signed up to urge action regardless of political party affiliations. My conclusion is that what we’ve always regarded as
“mainstream media” doesn’t actually represent any kind of mainstream. It’s largely drivel reporting about the latest scandals, or critically important insights into the lives
of the Kardashians. The news about the Climate Change Declaration bypassed the media world and traveled by email and social media from person to person, CEO to CEO, and CEO to policymakers.
The New York Times and Wall Street Journal played no role whatsoever. Each probably has its own reason why it didn’t consider the Declaration worth reporting. But the real news is that their media outlets no longer have the clout they used to. Despite the lack of news coverage, the Climate Change Declaration got the attention of the President and provided him with a clearer mandate to enact regulations to limit carbon pollution, with support from business leaders who’ve experienced firsthand the high costs of climate change: more frequent and intense storms, higher insurance premiums, and negative impacts on employee health from air pollution.
Some businesses, such as ski resorts, are actually in danger of going extinct. On the plus side, companies that have already taken steps to cut their carbon pollution are saving money (and making more money) by becoming energy efficient, and giving their customers a chance to do the same.
I guess this isn’t actually news. And it no longer matters.