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Post Environmental Reporter Urges Gore to Run in 2008

     It’s a slow news day and you’re an environment reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper. What do you do to kill time before your bicycle ride home? If you’re The Washington Post’s Michael Grunwald, you might pen a couple opinion pieces telling your readers they are destroying the Earth and that Al Gore can help save it with another vice presidency.

     That’s essentially what reporter Michael Grunwald did in the pages of the July 23 Outlook section for the liberal Washington paper. A Society of Environmental Journalists 2003 award winner, Grunwald covers energy and environmental issues for the Post, at times hyping climate change’s impact on the environment.

     In a Jan. 7, 2003, article suggesting that “many scientists” believe “nearly 40 million Africans” that are “at risk of starvation” from adverse weather on the continent “may be among the first human victims of global warming.” In a Sep. 19, 2004, article Grunwald and colleague Manuel Roig-Franzia raised concern about damage to a booming beach front property market from “global climate change” that “could intensify storms.”

    Yet rather than confined his subtle biases to objective news pieces, recently Grunwald has taken to boldly staking out liberal positions in his paper’s weekly Outlook section.

     On June 11, Grunwald urged Democrats to stay the course politically, praising Al Gore’s 2000 convention speech theme “the people vs. the powerful,” and chalked up John Kerry’s 2004 loss to Democrats voting “like pundits” by picking him as the “best chance to beat Bush.”

    Grunwald’s hunger for liberal environmental regulation continued in the July 23 edition of the Post.  In “Another Kind of Gore ’08 Bandwagon,” the reporter suggested “Al Gore should run for vice president” because he’s “a distinguished public servant with limited political skills.”

     Accompanying his free advice to Gore’s handlers, in “Warming to the Inconvenient Facts,” Grunwald derided the “modest carbon reductions” that “we rejected in the Kyoto Protocol” that were targeted at 7 percent below 1990 output, but far below today’s total. Grunwald even claimed “most scientists” believe 70 percent reductions in “greenhouse gases” are needed to stem climate change.

     Even that figure was too low for Grunwald, who characterized a Senate bill to cut those gases by 80 percent as ”modest.”

     “Kyoto is still a bad word on Capitol Hill, but momentum is slowly building for modest carbon regulations pushed” by Sens. McCain, Lieberman, and Jeffords “that envisions 80 percent reductions by 2050.”

     So what more could Grunwald possibly want? The Post writer, whose column byline noted that he “bikes to work,” demanded  “climate-conscious” policies that direct Americans into living Grunwald’s preferred lifestyle: more urban, with more organic food, more mass transit, more walking, and less use of privately owned cars.

     Yet unfortunately for the veteran environment reporter, he seems to have forgotten how unattainable Kyoto’s “modest” objectives have proven to be to put into practice for Canada and the United Kingdom, two signatories to the treaty.

     “We have very onerous targets that were set for us,” Reuters news agency quoted Canadian environment minister Rona Ambrose in May. “We believe they are unachievable,” she said off the Kyoto Protocol’s mandate for Canada to reduce its gas emissions to 6 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

     On April 1, 2005, the BBC reported that emissions in 2004 were “higher than at any time since the Labour government” took power in 1997 and that “data also suggests [sic]” that “Britain could miss its target set down under the Kyoto Protocol” for greenhouse gas reduction.