Communication and Politics

Category archives for Communication and Politics

Take that, climate-deniers!

Climatologist Michael Mann is fed up. Actually, he’s been fed up a long time, given that he’s been the subject of mean-spirited investigations and slander for years now. We probably need more of this kind of rebuttal: These are just lies, regurgitation of dishonest smears that have been manufactured by fossil fuel industry-funded climate change…

Kate at Climate Sight remind us this week of just how challenging it can be for a mainstream media outlet to accurately report on climatology. Even when the reporter gets it right, a headline-writing editor can inject just enough obsfucation to leave readers puzzled or misinformed.

This story has been around a while, but I haven’t been blogging much lately so I am only getting around to it now. “..the most scientifically literate and numerate subjects were slightly less likely, not more, to see climate change as a serious threat than the least scientifically literate and numerate ones.” So says a…

Drawing attention to misinformed pseudoskeptical analyses of peer-reviewed climatology studies is usually counterproductive. But in this case, it’s worth mentioning because the author makes such a common mistake that exploring the error might actually help shed light on the why so many people are easily led astray. The offender is Anthony Watts, who is arguably…

Give it time?

More than a few writers have gotten a lot of mileage out of comparing the tobacco and fossil-fuel industries’ propaganda efforts to counter rapidly rising mountains of science that counter their “it’s all good” message. Al Gore featured it in his slide show. Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway wrote an entire book, Merchants of Doubt.…

Change is the one constant

Fill in the blanks: It is customary in the popular media and in many journal articles to cite a projected _________ figure as if it were a given, a figure so certain that it could virtually be used for long-range planning purposes. But we must carefully examine the assumptions behind such projections. And forecasts that…

A letter in Climatic Change looking at the life-cycle greenhouse warming potential of natural gas raised a lot of hackles a little while back. If, as the authors posit, replacing coal and oil combustion with gas-fired turbines could actually accelerate global warming rather than slow it down, then we have a serious problem, given the…

Celebrity worship

Number of hits returned when Googling news sources for “James Hansen” (head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and perhaps the world’s best-known climatologist, who was arrested in front of the White House this week as part of a coordinated climate change campaign) and “Keystone” (XL, the expansion of a continental oil pipeline that…

Debating the merits and dangers of fracking shale gas has become a major obession of those who worry about energy and the climate. Yale’s e360’s latest contribution comes in the form a forum that includes a wide variety of perspectives pro and con. For me, the wisest observation, and the one that really trumps all…