Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Press and Climate Change:

Finally, a long-awaited article on the credentials of those scientists speaking to the press on Climate Change.  For years the public understanding of the science behind Climate Change has been muddied by the press’s search of ‘objectivity’ who always seem to be able to find scientist strongly agreeing with the evidence that leaned towards a view that our planet is warming up due to anthropogenic change, and those who didn’t.  

It made for great press and kept one of the most critical issues of our times in tied in what appears to be unnecessary knots.  But, has the press actually gone out and assessed the credentials of the scientists?  It doesn’t seem so and this has been a great failing of the press. 

Long after a consensus by most of the world’s scientist weighed in on the side of Climate Change the press has sown the seeds of doubt.  Doubt is good to a point.  But, doubt can also make the public incapable of understanding something as important and complex as Climate Change.  

This means it made it easier for communities to vote against measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions.  The public finds it convenient to consider energy options, like wind power, without considering Climate Change—so the arguments in the public arena are reduced to aesthetic ones, instead of reasonable ones in the light of Climate Change.  

Without the press reporting accurately Climate Change and the credibility of those backing this science the public does not feel compelled to act on future environmental choices with the most important and critical factor in their decision making. How are we going to make intelligent choices that involve our environment, like drilling for oil, unless the press takes a more informed attitude on science and begins to frame Climate Change issues more accurately?  Climate Change at present is the elephant on our news pages: everything related to public discussion on energy, and other environmental issues should be done so with Climate Change in our minds. We need a more mature press that understands the difference between science and opinion.

Study questions credentials of climate-change skeptics The hundreds of academics who sign warnings for politicians to delay action on slashing greenhouse gas emissions do not have the same expertise as those who say human activity is causing global warming, says a new study to be released Tuesday in the Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Scientists. "Despite media tendencies to present both sides in (the causes of global warming) debates, which can contribute to continued public misunderstanding regarding (human-caused climate change), not all climate researchers are equal in scientific credibility and expertise in the climate system," said the study, Expert credibility in climate change. (June 21, 2010) Vancouver Sun | Latest Breaking News | Business | Sports | Canada Daily News

1 comment:

sandy said...

Over the course of the Spending Review period, the Department of Energy and Climate Change will reduce resource spending by 18% in real terms, and increase capital spending by 41% in real terms. The Department’s Administration budget will be reduced by 33%.