Stephen Schneider, an Environmental Biology professor at Stanford University, told a group of reporters, “That as scientists, we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but… which means we must include all the doubts the caveats the ifs, ands, and buts; however, we’re also human beings who would like to see a better world. And within the context of climate, we need broad based support to capture the public’s imagination, and that means media coverage. And to garner the necessary media attention we have no choice but to offer scary scenarios and make overly simplified & dramatic statements while making little mention of any doubts…”
This “we know what’s best for you” attitude isn’t uncommon among activists. The co-founder of Greenpeace said, “It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.” Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation told an audience, “We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.” Daniel Botkin, former chair of Environmental Studies at the University of California said, “Some colleagues who share some of my doubts argue that the only way to get our society to change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe…they tell me my belief in open and honest assessment is naïve.”
The above notwithstanding, I believe most climate scientists are honest and objective. But then why do we see so much misinformation on the topic? I suspect the lengthy filtering process (research, analyses, assessment, summaries, review) with its abundant opportunities for both mistakes and mischief is one reason. But even if that is the case, not one person in fifty thousand reads these reports so let’s be honest, most people simply choose not to challenge the media narrative.
Getting the straight climate story from the media isn’t easy. Former Obama administration Undersecretary for Science at the U.S. Department of Energy, Steven Koonin, led the American Physical Society’s update of its public climate statement. And in his book Unsettled, Koonin describes how he came away from that review surprised and shaken when he realized climate science was far less mature than he had supposed. What follows are some of his working group’s findings
- Humans exert a growing by physically small influence on climate, and deficiencies in climate data challenge our ability to untangle the response to human influences from poorly understood natural changes.
- Most climate models not only disagree but even contradict each other, and vague “expert” judgments are frequently applied to adjust model results thus obfuscating shortcomings.
- The UN’s press releases, and summaries do not accurately reflect the reports themselves, in fact many experts including the report authors were embarrassed by some media portrayals of the science.
- At present, the science is insufficient to make useful projections about how the climate will change over the coming decades, much less what effect our actions will have on it.
~ Crying wolf? ~
It’s no secret climate alarmism has come to dominate U.S. politics, especially among those on the left. Just last week the president told a gathering of U.S. servicemen in England the Joint Chiefs warned that global warming was the greatest threat to our national security. Interestingly, George Bush received a similar pentagon warning 17 years ago in 2004, “…major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas, Britain would be plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate and that nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt worldwide by 2020.” Has anyone heard of the media, or the Pentagon retract that grossly inaccurate and frightening prediction? Didn’t think so.
The refrain that the planet hangs in the balance has become tedious. No one denies the earth is warming or that humans exert an influence. But recent research reveals that heat waves in the U.S. are no more common now than they were in 1900, and our warmest temperatures. have not risen during the past 50 years. These are but two of the many climate facts the corporate media has chosen not to inform us about.
Activism related to climate change began in the 1990s, and since that time the media has failed its responsibility to accurately report on the matter. And the more we learn about the climate (versus weather, they are two distinctly different things) the more we realize how much uncertainty there is in climate science. Nonetheless, the corporate media owns the megaphone, which means meaningful and honest debate about climate will not occur until it begins reporting honestly.
Quote of the day: “When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven’t.”—Thomas Edison