According to the Freakonomics blog, Al Gore has blamed the media for global warming inaction. It points to an article explaining that journalists tend to work too hard on providing both points of view in the name of balance, while not explaining the degree of scientific consensus on this matter. A study found that 53% of news articles disagreed with the global warming premise.
Frankly, this explains a lot of why so many people don’t believe in global warming. Plenty of people rely on the sound bites in television news and the short articles in newspapers to get their opinions. They are the most convenient sources, after all.
But in a case like this, you also get problems such as with Fox News, where they claim to be keeping things balanced, which really means that they slant it primarily toward their conservative bases opinions, and give occasional, very small nods to the other side, generally while making it clear they don’t really believe it.
Yes, I can admit that scientists are not 100% certain as to the causes or eventual impacts of global warming, even though they can clearly see it happening. That’s how science is. Even the theory of gravitation is merely a good approximation that does the job. Other theories explain gravitation in more detail and for situations in which the basic theory wouldn’t come up with the right answer.
For those of you wondering, I majored in physics in college for a time.
Science is about explaining how these things work, but scientists know that they do not always have the full answer. When you take something as chaotic as global temperatures there is going to be more uncertainty than usual. There are just more variables than can be handled. And far too many unknowns.
But global warming aside, something has to be done about how we use up resources anyhow. Not just energy. Just think about all the things people buy in this disposable society, knowing that they will have to be thrown away when they break, as repairing them would cost more than a new unit. It’s terrible, and a huge concern.
Obviously, I would like for the media to take global warming more seriously. We don’t know exactly how much we can do to stop it at this point, but the effort needs to be made. Worst case scenario is that our efforts have no impact and we’ve cut back for nothing. But the odds are quite good that we can make a difference, which will be important in coming years to ourselves, our children and their children.
I’d say it’s worth it.