Common Climate Misconceptions
Some in the news media may be overplaying the extent of the risk that Northern Europe might soon plunge into a new Ice Age. They risk going beyond where the best science can now take them.
“Britain could be heading for a climate like Alaska,” the BBC reported back in 2003. It painted a stark picture of a life in which “our ports could be frozen over. Ice storms could ravage the country, and London could see snow lying for weeks on end.”
I agree with the essence of Professor Phil Meyer’s essay on objectivity in the launch issue of the Yale Forum, except that I’ve always argued that objectivity ultimately is impossible.
It goes out the window as soon as we choose which story to write and how we frame it (which used to be called “finding an angle”), which always requires judgment calls. Instead of objectivity, the achievable goals, to my way of thinking, are accuracy and fairness.
Physical and atmospheric scientist Benjamin D. Santer, of Lawrence Livermore, says he is taking a new “proactive” approach in dealing with news media.
Prior to having participated in several face-to-face workshops involving climate scientists and journalists over the past few years, Santer says his standard “mode of operation” had been to:
The climate change blog world has been abuzz about a pending study said by some to challenge a widely-cited 2004 analysis suggesting a strong scientific “consensus” on anthropogenic climate change.
But whether and where the much-ballyhooed analysis sees the light of day in a peer-reviewed form appears very much in doubt.
Eighteen top news executives, representing some of the nation’s leading metropolitan daily newspapers and other news organizations, met all day September 5, 2007 at Stanford University with nine leading climate scientists and researchers. Their goal: to better understand the physical science underlying many scientists’ growing concerns … and to explore the energy and economic implications involved with potential “solutions.”
Go back to May 1997, about seven months before the Kyoto Protocols were negotiated. The Cooler Heads Coalition established its web site, www.globalwarming.org.
It was a savvy move for a group that’s skeptical about the risks of rising temperatures. Even it recognized how universal the term “global warming” was becoming.
One quick look at her resume alerts you that Heidi Cullen isn’t your “normal” journalist who took college courses, let’s be honest here, in large part to avoid dicey courses dealing with things like statistics, coefficients, and math generally.
Cullen, in fact, is perhaps even more comfortable with issues involving engineering and paleoclimatology than she is with journalism’s venerable, if aged, “5 Ws” and inverted pyramid.