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.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Global warming? The stuff of Hollywood, not of the lab.....

Let's herald in 2006 with a reminder - a quite superb and unexpected piece from the important German magazine, Der Spiegel (January 24, 2005): 'Exaggerated science: how global warming research is creating a climate of fear':
"Because of our short attention spans, we will experience how the prophets of doom paint the dangers of climate change in ever more lurid detail. One can already imagine the future images of horror: a breaking off of the western Antarctic ice shelf, which would cause sea levels to rise dramatically, and, after a few decades of unbridled carbon dioxide emissions, an abrupt temperature shift that would make the earth's atmosphere as incompatible with human life as that of Venus. Can such predictions, which have been known to the public for a long time, readily compete with the Hollywood images created by directors like Emmerich?

The price for provoking fear is high, because it's a practice that sacrifices the otherwise prized principle of caution. A scarce resource - public attention and confidence in the reliability of science - is being consumed without being renewed by a practice of offering positive examples."

Highly recommended: read it all.

Philip, in complete agreement. How we need to hear and heed this in the UK! I shall toast the authors with a glass of good Pomerol this evening.

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

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