Grand hopes for a civil discussion on climate, dashed in the comments section

Grand hopes for a civil discussion on climate, dashed in the comments section

Love science? Whatever you do, don't read the comment string on the Portland Press Herald's "Pearl Harbor" editorial.


The paper, circulation 57,000, editorialized that the latest climate report out of the scientific community "is our Pearl Harbor moment."

"This is not just an environmental crisis, it's a test of our ability to govern ourselves," the paper's editorial board concluded.

It's an optimistic, noble thought. If the comments at the end of the article are any indication, we're failing.

'The hysteria is mounting'

Many scientists, activists, and journalists have long believed that climate denial is on its last legs. It's alive and well in a forum like this one.

Several noted, like "Blogmaster Snoop Dog," that this is the umpteenth dire warning from scientists on topics ranging from population to global cooling to the disappearance of trees to, yes, climate change. And a comment from "Sailor12" suggests these scientific assessments aren't changing too many minds:

The hysteria is mounting as the "Global Warming" hoax is increasingly exposed as a fraud: fraudulent science; fraudulent propaganda....

Quoting Sartre

Of course, the Press Herald's comments are downright polite by today's Internet standards—and feel remarkably civil compared to comment strings following, say, any article on Breitbart.com. The discussion included references to the Enlightenment and existentialism; "hpmcg" quoted Sartre, prompting "todiscus" to offer his or her own two cents:

Wow. You just don't see Sartre quoted here every day. Thanks.

Worthy of your time: The full Press Herald editorial, along with the 49 (and counting) comments.

A call for unity around the latest warning from climate scientists finds the denial community alive and well.

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