By Ryan Grenoble
Beginning Tuesday and running until the end of the Republican National Convention in July, the most widely circulated print newspaper in the United States will run a series of ads calling out its own bias against climate change.
The ads are being paid for by a group calling itself the “Partnership for Responsible Growth“ and will run twice a week on The Wall Street Journal’s Op-Ed page, a place long inhospitable to any sort of science-based climate pieces.
(The Journal’s climate change denial isn’t just limited to the opinion pages, either: A 2015 study conducted by researchers at Rutgers, the University of Michigan and the University of Oslo found WSJ rarely mentions the threats posed by climate change, and, when it does, tends to downplay them.)
The Journal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The first advertisement, published Tuesday, recalls comments made by Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson in 2012 in which he acknowledged “that increasing CO2 emissions in the atmosphere is going to have ... a warming impact,” and as a result we would see shifting weather patterns impact crop production and rising sea levels.
“If the CEO of the world’s largest oil company accepts the basic physics that humans are heating the climate with excess CO2, why won’t the editorial board of this newspaper?” The ad asks, rhetorically. “Isn’t it about time?”
Other topics in the series include a basic primer on the physics of CO2 and how it affects the atmosphere, how rising sea levels might impact the world’s major cities, statements from military leaders who see climate change as a “threat multiplier,” and more.
“The Wall Street Journal is the nation’s largest and most influential newspaper,” former Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho), a co-founder of the Partnership, explained in a release. “What business and Republican leaders are unlikely to have read on its opinion pages is neither the latest science, nor that there is a bipartisan, business-friendly way to combat climate change. If The Journal won’t cover it, we will.”
Last December, in response to the historic climate change agreement in Paris, the WSJ’s editorial board sneered, “if climate change really does imperil the Earth, and we doubt it does, nothing coming out of a gaggle of governments and the United Nations will save it.”
In sharp contrast to The Journal, last month the editorial board of the Financial Times, a competing publication, predicted the oil industry is facing “a future of slow and steady decline.”
“Instead of railing against climate policies, or paying them lip-service while quietly defying them with investment decisions,” the FT’s editorial board wrote, “the oil companies will serve their investors and society better if they accept the limits they face, and embrace a future of long-term decline.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said the Partnership for Responsible Growth’s ads target the Journal’s reporting. If fact, they are meant to call out the paper’s editorial board.