Al Gore (Reuters) Al Gore (Reuters)

New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan in her weekend column quoted Al Gore as verily issuing a directive to media organizations regarding climate change: “Simply assuming that this is an interesting controversy that we should check in on occasionally is not correct. The survival of human civilization is at risk. The news media should be making this existential crisis the No. 1 topic they cover.”

Such commentary follows an analysis by Sullivan of the New York Times’s own coverage of the story, which has suffered a bit since the paper in January blew up a “pod” of journalists dedicated to climate change and later bagged its “Green” blog. Following those moves, Sullivan found, the quantity and the depth of Times climate change coverage have dipped.

The paper is now scrambling to shore up its offerings, in part by appointing a science desk editor “to coordinate environmental coverage, in addition to other duties.” Bold text added to question whether the Times is meeting the Gore Standard.