EPA Chief: How Come the Media Doesn’t Celebrate the Good Things About Environment?

Hey, how come the media doesn’t ever focus on all the great things happening with the environment these days? That’s something Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler would like to know, and he went on a rant to the National Press Club Monday to vocalize this opinion.

“The public needs to know how far we’ve come, as a nation, protecting the environment,” Wheeler lectured reporters. “The media does a disservice to the American public – and sound policymaking – by not informing the public of the progress this nation has made.”

The world is burning and researchers worry that human civilization could collapse by 2050, but won’t someone think of the positives? Wheeler wants a pat on the back for the things that have gone right rather than everyone discussing how useless this administration is in the face of a looming crisis.

It’s not that Wheeler is entirely wrong. There are certain aspects of the environment such as air quality and water management that have improved over time. (Arguably, Trump’s EPA shouldn’t be trying to focus on the other positives anyway since it’s overturning as many helpful environmental regulations as it can find, too.)  The problem, of course, is that cleaner air doesn’t mean much if the planet becomes uninhabitable in other respects.

Another one of Wheeler’s supposed things to get excited about is that the U.S.’s carbon emissions are on the decline. That’s true, so long as you’re willing to look at the issue through a very specific lens. This slight drop is not to improved energy policy, but due to the coal industry dying and our energy needs being replaced with natural gas, a cleaner but far-from-clean fossil fuel.

On the whole, though, global carbon emissions are at a record high. The United States, the world’s second biggest emitter, making a modest and pretty accidental dip does essentially nothing to position the planet to limit a rise in global temperatures.

The weirdest part of Wheeler’s gripe is that the media doesn’t even do a good job of covering the climate crisis. For what scientists anticipate will be an utter yet preventable catastrophe, mainstream news outlets don’t devote a whole lot of airtime and ink to the issue. We need this issue discussed incessantly rather than occasionally to spur meaningful action.

In that respect, forgive me for laughing off Wheeler’s complaint about press coverage. When the media does weigh in on climate change, the slant isn’t glowing (and why should it be?) but this climate crisis denying administration is still winning the overall messaging war by keeping it largely out of the headlines and avoiding the political repercussions of accelerating the world closer to doom.

45 comments

Maria P
Maria P8 days ago

Thank you for sharing

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld11 days ago

Annabel B.,
It was a group effort. It started with the Nixon administration, and has continued to date. Some areas were more successful than others, but it has generally resulted in improved environmental actions.

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini12 days ago

Dan Blossfeld,
Yes, but who was responsible for the improvements? Certainly not the Trump administation!

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Steven W
Steven W14 days ago

thank you.

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Roberta G
Roberta G14 days ago

Brian F...I will if you will!

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Brian F
Brian F14 days ago

Roberta G Please take your own advice.

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Marija Mohoric
Marija M14 days ago

Interesting comments...tks.

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Danuta W
Danuta Watola14 days ago

Thank you for sharing,

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Ganaisha Calvin
Ganaisha C14 days ago

We need to be even more focused on Solutions because there is way too far to go to be getting complacent

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Debbi W
Debbi W14 days ago

For a few years our environment had a chance to improve, the came trump, with his deregulating everything good. That bastard is working to destroy our country and the planet. I'll celebrate when he's is prison, where he belongs.

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