A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Bringing the media to task over sloppy climate-change language.....

We hear them in nearly every broadcast, or read them in nearly every report on 'global warming' - phrases that make no sense scientifically. Yet, these have become the mythical language of the age, especially in the UK and Europe. This little blog, then, is a wake-up call for everyone to be ready to carp and to complain about sloppy climate-change journalism whenever and wherever it is encountered, across the airwaves or on the published page. May I encourage you to telephone, or to write, in to editors and producers if you ever have to suffer one of the following climate-change examples of mediaese:

"Stop climate change" or "halt climate change": nobody can stop climate change. Climate has always changed, is always changing, and will always change. Even if we put 4 billion people worldwide out-of-work, scrapped every car, grounded every aeroplane, and shut down every factory and energy plant, climate would still change, and often dramatically. Remember the Ice Age, folks?

"Bring climate back to an equilibrium": there is no such thing as a climate equilibrium. This is wishful thinking based on false philosophical roots;

"Stable climate": there is no such thing as, and never has been such a thing as, a "stable climate" - the very concept is an oxymoron;

"Make climate sustainable": there is no such thing as a single "sustainable climate". The phrase, "a sustainable climate", is again an oxymoron. This is uncritical, PC twaddle;

"Carbon emissions that cause climate change": carbon emissions are just one factor out of millions that drive climate change. Always challenge dangerously naive and uncritical monocausal media statements;

"Climate change will be a disaster": climate change is neither universally disastrous nor beneficial - different places will experience it in different ways. Competitive advantage will simply move and alter. The only defence against climate change is to maintain a strong, flexible economy and to develop sensible planning with respect to flooding and other phenomena.

It is thus vital, folks, that we start to challenge the unthinking media employment of such poor phraseology, especially on important programmes like 'Today', 'Newsnight' (on which, somewhat surprisingly, there was recently a spectacular example of the use of such mediaese), Channel 4 News, etc. - indeed, on each and in every media outlet. It is this sloppy journalism that enables the 'global warming' myth to persist unchecked. Such journalistic language is, of course, widely exploited by extreme 'Green' pressure groups. Now it is time to fight for scientific precision in language.

Go deconstruct and defend the precise use of language.

Philip, 'phone and e-mail to the ready. Morning coffee and a banana first, of course.

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

WWW EnviroSpin Watch

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?