Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mass Media Often Failing In Its Coverage Of Global Warming, Says Climate Researcher

Date:
February 13, 2009
Source:
Stanford University
Summary:
What is wrong with reporting on global warming? "The problem is CNN just fired their science team. Why didn't they fire their economics team or their sports team?" "Why don't they send their general assignment reporters out to cover the Superbowl?" one expert said. Researchers have to do their part, too, he said, by clearly explaining issues.

"Business managers of media organizations, you are screwing up your responsibility by firing science and environment reporters who are frankly the only ones competent to do this," said climate researcher and policy analyst Stephen Schneider, in assessing the current state of media coverage of global warming and related issues.

Schneider, a coordinating lead author of chapter 19 in the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published in 2007, is calling for the news media to employ trained reporters in covering global warming. He will be discussing this and other issues in the symposium "Hot and Hotter: Media Coverage of Climate-Change Impacts, Policies, and Politics," on Feb. 13, 2009 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago.

"Science is not politics. You can't just get two opposing viewpoints and think you've done due diligence. You've got to cover the multiple views and the relative credibility of each view," said Schneider, a senior fellow at Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment. "But that is not usually the problem of the well-trained reporters, who understand what is credible.

"The problem is CNN just fired their science team. Why didn't they fire their economics team or their sports team?" "Why don't they send their general assignment reporters out to cover the Superbowl?" Schneider said. Researchers have to do their part, too, he said, by clearly explaining issues to reporters in succinct terms.

"I have arguments with some of my scientific colleagues, who think it is irresponsible to go out and talk when you can only get 5 seconds on the evening news, a couple of quotes in the New York Times, or five minutes in front of Congress," Schneider said.

"Well, you know what guys, that's just how it is," he said. "And if you think that you have a higher calling and you're not going to play the game because they don't give you the time to tell the whole story, then all it means is that you've passed the buck to others who know the topic less well."

"You have to have your elevator statement or people won't listen to you," Schneider said.

"What I always suggest is that scientists find metaphors that convey both urgency and uncertainty, so that you can get people's attention while at the same time not overstating the case," he said. "Then you have websites and backup articles and books where you can give the full story, but you have to have your sound bite and your op ed piece."

Environmental justice equals environmental effectiveness

Schneider will also present a talk titled "A Scientific Perspective on Climate Change-Related Environmental Justice Issues," during the symposium "Environmental Justice and Climate Change," on Feb. 14, 2009, at the AAAS meeting.

A disproportionate share of the effects of global warming are going to fall on developing nations, along with the poor and the elderly in wealthier nations, according to Schneider, who added that 75 percent of the accumulated greenhouse gases in the atmosphere came from 20 percent of the world's people, who live in wealthy countries.

"We've been using the atmosphere as a free sewer to dump our tailpipe and smokestack waste since the Victorian industrial revolution and now we tell the developing world, sorry, guys, the sewer's full," he said.

Telling the developing world they can't use energy resources they have at hand, such as coal and natural gas, won't have any effect unless we offer them alternatives that are cleaner, Schneider said. He said the U.S. has to accelerate the rate at which we are developing green energy sources such as solar and wind.

"The U.S. has to walk the walk if they expect to talk the talk and convince China and India and Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico – not to say anything about the even poorer countries with less skill and money – into following suit," he said. "We have to clean up our own act and then help them clean up theirs with technology and some resources."

Schneider said that we also have to work to mitigate the impacts on poor and elderly people in developed countries. Although it is impossible to lay any particular weather event at the feet of global warming, nonetheless one can get an idea of how the expected increase in extreme weather events will affect people by looking at the effects of storms such as Hurricane Katrina.

"Who died? The poor," he said.

The European heat wave in 2003 is another example, in which approximately 50,000 people died. "You know what they were primarily? Elderly. The elderly are much more vulnerable and they did not have proper adaptation measures," he said. "

"These events are going to happen dramatically more often than they used to because of warming," Schneider said. "National governments have to consult local leaders in both the public and private sectors to figure out the most politically and cost effective solutions to help localities cope with increasing global warming".


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Stanford University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Stanford University. "Mass Media Often Failing In Its Coverage Of Global Warming, Says Climate Researcher." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090213114321.htm>.
Stanford University. (2009, February 13). Mass Media Often Failing In Its Coverage Of Global Warming, Says Climate Researcher. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090213114321.htm
Stanford University. "Mass Media Often Failing In Its Coverage Of Global Warming, Says Climate Researcher." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090213114321.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Comparing his current crop of drones to early personal computers, DJI founder Frank Wang says the industry is poised for a growth surge - assuming regulators in more markets clear it for takeoff. Jon Gordon reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
London Mayor Outlines 50-Year Vision Ahead of Population Rise

London Mayor Outlines 50-Year Vision Ahead of Population Rise

AFP (July 30, 2014) London Mayor Boris Johnson outlined his infrastructure plan for the British capital over the next 50 years on Wednesday, with a focus on how to cope with a population expected to reach 11 million. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins