EPA chief: The media need to do a better job of whitewashing environmental crises

So earlier in the day I read this Vice article that seemed pretty doom-and-gloom. It’s about an analysis from the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, an Australian think tank.

The gist?

The paper argues that the potentially “extremely serious outcomes” of climate-related security threats are often far more probable than conventionally assumed, but almost impossible to quantify because they “fall outside the human experience of the last thousand years.”

On our current trajectory, the report warns, “planetary and human systems [are] reaching a ‘point of no return’ by mid-century, in which the prospect of a largely uninhabitable Earth leads to the breakdown of nations and the international order.”

Pretty horrifying, right? So thank God that we have EPA administrator and coal lobbyist extraordinaire Andrew Wheeler to soothe our savage breasts and set our flighty little minds right.

Today, Wheeler gave an address at the National Press Club that amounted to “there’s nothing to worry about because … hey, look! Puppies!”

Yahoo! News:

“The media does a disservice to the American public, and sound policymaking, by not informing the public of the progress this nation has made [on the environment],” Wheeler argued.

Wheeler began his speech by saying he needed to address his “friends” in the media. He pointed out that Americans have an increasingly negative impression of the environmental condition of the nation, citing a Gallup poll.

Wheeler did not acknowledge climate change as a possible reason Americans have an increasingly pessimistic view of the nation’s environmental health. The same Gallup poll he cited found that an increasing number of Americans believe there is insufficient coverage of global warming in the media.

See what he did there? He left out climate change. Sure, in many respects our country has made a lot of progress in protecting the environment (***cough*** no thanks to Republicans ***cough***), but this is kind of like telling a patient who’s come to the emergency room with a foot of rebar stuck in his head that there’s nothing to worry about because his eyebrows are perfectly waxed and groomed.

Wheeler concluded his address by listing “five things that the press gets wrong about this administration and the EPA.” The first of these was that “the environment is getting worse.” Another gripe was the news media’s common reference to Wheeler as a lobbyist for the coal industry. He pointed out that he had lobbied for other aspects of the energy sector as well, including nuclear. 

Got that, folks? He was also a nuclear lobbyist! Not just coal. Nuclear too! Why are you dwelling on the coal thing? It’s like you’re trying to pick a fight for no reason.

So the lesson for today is … the Earth is in serious trouble and the ship captain from the Exxon Valdez might as well be the EPA administrator. Or the ship captain for the Titanic, for that matter. Because if Andrew Wheeler had been on the Titanic, he would have pointed to the shards of glacier on the deck and said, “Hey, check out all the free cocktail ice! What are you losers even crying about?”

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