cap and trade

Stanford Study Confirms That “Balanced” Media Stories Quoting Skeptics Mislead The Public

Skeptics Skew Public Understanding of Climate Change

Providing climate skeptics a voice in “balanced” mainstream media coverage skews public perception of the scientific consensus regarding climate change, leaving viewers less likely to understand the threat of climate disruption and less likely to support government actions to address global warming, according to the results of a Stanford University research effort

The Stanford researchers probed the impact on public understanding of climate change when media coverage features a climate skeptic alongside a climate scientist.  Media stories featuring only a mainstream climate scientist “increased the number of people who believed that global warming has been happening and that humans have caused global warming.”

However, when media stories also include a climate skeptic, ostensibly to add “balance” to the story, the result is a “significantly reduced” number of people who understand the issue and endorse government action to address the problem.

“Watching a skeptic decreased perceptions of consensus among scientific experts, and this decreased perception of consensus led respondents to be less supportive of government action in general and of cap and trade policy in particular,” the researchers found.

Allen Doing Coal’s Dirty Work

In 2006, at a campaign rally in Virginia, when former Republican Senator George Felix Allen was running against James Webb, Allen got called out by none other than the Washington Post for repeatedly calling a Webb campaign volunteer a “macaca” (you can see the quoted text here).

The word reportedly derives from Bantu, and means “monkey”. In the Belgian Congo, the word is used to refer to the native population. Allen’s persistent repetition of the word earned him the reigning championship in the xenophobe category, and the term itself was awarded the status of “most politically incorrect” word of 2006 by Global Language Monitor, a nonprofit entity that studies and tracks word usage and dialect.

Obama’s Cap and Trade Costs vs. GOP’s Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

The quote (lies, damned lies and statistics) is from 1840’s British statesman Benjamin Disraeli, but the political scene remains unchanged 170 years later. The Republicans would have you believe that President Barack Obama’s proposed cap-and-trade emissions plan will cost the average American family $3,000 a year if implemented.

If, as they say, a lie oft repeated becomes the truth, Fox News, CNN, Politifact and Roll Call are clearly in the business of “retruthing” the administration’s cap-and-trade proposals by parroting the GOP’s lie. Shamelessly, in fact, since none of the above-mentioned media sources (or their reporters) even bothered to question the figures presented them like so much frosting on a truly toxic fossil-fuel cake.

Conservatives Launch All-Out War on Obama's Green Policies

For all the florid talk of bipartisanship, Congress has precious little to show for its efforts. It has only been a little over a week since President Obama was inaugurated, and, despite promising to work hand in hand with the new administration and Democratic majorities, the GOP and its ideological allies are already back to their old obstructionist ways.

Case in point: the much ballyhooed $825 billion stimulus package – i.e. the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009 – that the president has made a top priority.

Presidential Candidates Not Going Far Enough on Climate?

You may have noticed some tension here at DeSmogBlog lately over the Obama affair.

I don't write to criticize, but because what has happened seems indicative of a broader phenomenon when it comes to global warming and the campaign trail, I'd like to enlarge the issue and provide my own perspective, beyond what I've already done.

A Guide to Carbon Capping Policy in the US

One of the most effective ways to cut through the climate change spin is to offer up simple and straightforward information that can be easily understood by those outside the environmental policy-wonk and scientific community.  

The best example I've seen in a while is a very useful guide (attached) on the ins-and-outs of US carbon capping policy developed by Peter Barnes at the Tomales Bay Institute in Minneapolis.  

While the report outlines carbon cap policy in an American context, the general and very-easy to read concepts could apply to just about anywhere in the world. 

This valuable guide is something that should be downloaded and e-mailed to everyone you know.


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