WHEN it comes to climate change science, as with most things in life, it pays to listen to actual experts with a solid background in their field.
EVER heard the one about climate scientists being a bunch of rent-seekers just out to chase taxpayers money, or the one where climate change scientists are just part of an elite left-wing conspiracy out to trample on the heretics?
When it comes to climate change misinformation, arguably no single person has done more to spread false information to confuse the public than Rupert Murdoch. With his vast media empire that spans the globe, Murdoch has helped misdirect the public, as well as to openly advocate against government policies that would curtail carbon emissions or impose other environmental safeguards.
And while most American media outlets saw a decline in their coverage of climate change-related stories, Murdoch’s overseas newspapers actually increased their coverage of such stories – though not in a helpful way. The story that got the most attention involved a government policy in Australia that put a price on carbon pollution. Here is an analysis of Murdoch’s coverage, via Think Progress:
The range of findings show a clear political bias against the carbon pricing policy moving through parliament in 2011:
The claims by many single sources about the likely impact of the carbon policy were not tested against the views of other sources. Only 42% of the rest of the articles included more than two sources.
Fossil fuel lobby and other big business sources opposed to the policy were very strongly represented, often without any critique or second source.
Business sources (23%) receive more coverage than all Australian civil society sources together including unions, NGOS, think tanks, activists, members of the public, religious spokespeople, scientists and academics (17%).
Business sources quoted 4 or more times over the 6-month period were quoted being negative towards the policy in almost 80% of occasions. Many Australian readers would have been left with the impression that the nearly the entire business community was opposed to the carbon price policy. In fact this was far from the truth.
Academics and scientists were also poorly represented.
THERE is a publication in Australia where for every one story you read which agrees society should take firm steps to combat climate change, there are four stories suggesting we shouldn’t.
When climate change is viewed through the pages of this publication, most of the world’s “experts” think it’s either not happening, not worth worrying about or not caused by humans.
Advocates for strong action on climate change are variously described as “prophets of doom”, “greenhouse hysterics” or “hair-shirted greenhouse penitents”.
In a fact-bashing roundup, one of Australia's biggest newspapers has embarrassed itself in delighted support of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate conference held there last week.The Australian announced in this Editorial that climate change isn't proven; and that, if it is proven, it's too expensive to address by seeking an agreeable global mandate.