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Climate change as reported in the media

by Elisa Barbier February 7, 2017
Climate change as reported in the media

Journalists analyze how the media talks about climate change at McGill University

Canadian social activists gathered at McGill University on Thursday evening to discuss how climate change is reported on in the Canadian media and whether the coverage is effective. The six guests, who all work in the media, answered questions from the audience.

The panelists included Candis Callison, a media professor at the University of British Columbia; Mike De Souza, the managing editor at the National Observer; Martin Lukacs, an investigative journalist for The Guardian; Kai Nagata, the communications director at Dogwood Initiative; Laure Waridel, the executive director of CIRODD, and Linda Solomon Wood, editor-in-chief of the National Observer.

To introduce the evening’s discussion, moderator Darin Barney explained how every day last year, half a million solar panels were installed, putting emphasis on the shift to renewable energies worldwide. However, Barney added, 80 per cent of global energy consumption still remains in fossil fuels, according to NASA.

A McGill graduate student opened the floor for questions by asking if the success of the media in conveying the message of climate change could be measured and how Canada is doing in such measure. Callison pointed out that it’s hard to find a way to measure it because, “for many, climate change is a background issue.”

“We have failed. Despite the knowledge and numbers, we fail to communicate,” Waridel added.

The following question was directed at De Souza and inquired about the responsibility of journalists to communicate information about climate change.

Audience members in the Frank Adams Auditorium on McGill University. Photo by Elisa Barbier.

Audience members in the Frank Adams Auditorium on McGill University. Photo by Elisa Barbier.

“We have huge responsibilities,” De Souza replied. “It is a two-way street, both the media and the public. Journalists have covered climate change in Canada extensively.” However, he added that many investigate stories on climate change cannot be done due to the budget cuts news corporations are faced with.

Solomon Wood answered a question concerning the need for journalists as professionals, explaining that new types of media are bringing news to the public from new and diversified perspectives in a way that traditional media outlets are not able to. However, she said, “We still need people to dig into stories that some may not care [about].”

It was pointed out by Waridel that the traditional way of reporting on climate change in media leads to a current stagnant situation where “nobody wants to feel like the bad guy.’’ Therefore, calling out companies and people who have had a negative impact on climate is complex. Nagata added that presenting one clear message to the public is a difficult task—different people have different news sources, and often stick to the ones that reinforce their ideas about climate change, whether they’re accurate or not.

Waridel also defined climate change as “a dysfunction of the economy.” She said that, because many of us define ourselves by what we consume, “we need to be aware of what goes against climate change and switch it. It will not change if the citizens are not pushing for a change.”

“We are hoping that there is this leader that will save us,” she said. “[But] we all need to take action.”

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Gallilao February 7, 2017 - 17:49

Climate change is a matter of fact and an issue of scientific concern, not a political propaganda tool.

If people paid attention to the scientific facts, there would be no issue and no dispute but thanks to the media and their ignorance, the science has been corrupted and buried and the world has been hoodwinked.

The scientific facts are, that a greenhouse gas must be, according to its scientific definition, must be transparent to Solar Infrared Radiation and opaque to Terrestrial Infrared Radiation. There are no such gases! They do not exist in this universe! The “theory” was wrong! The hard scientific data proves it! If the media were reporting the truth, there would be no communication issue.

According to real science, there is no greenhouse effect but the AGW lobby can not admit that truth, because if they do, they are all out of a job, so instead, they ignore the scientific fact and try to convince everyone, that their opinions and consensus are more valid than the hard science and because everyone treats the issue as a political issue, they can get away with it. If people would stop listening to opinions and start using science the way it was intended to be used, to help eliminate guess-work and opinion from the equation and reduce the collateral damage of ignorance, we would all be far better off.

It is all about the money!

CO2 has nothing whatsoever to do with climate but it has everything to do with food! Our planet is dying for lack of CO2. For millennia the deserts of the world have been growing as CO2 has been declining. The Dinosaurs died-out when CO2 hit bottom. CO2 is at the lowest it has ever been, in the history and prehistory of this planet. It is only in the last few decades that the planet has begun greening once again, as a result of the recent minor increase in atmospheric CO2. In all previous epochs when CO2 was higher and sometimes multiple times the present concentrations, the ecosystem and all life thrived beyond anything we can imagine today.

CO2 is a gift and a blessing and only a substantial increase, to perhaps 1000-2000 ppm can save the future and turn our planet into the Garden of Eden it was always intended to be!

Stop peddling the death and destruction BS and start show people the brilliant and prosperous future that is coming, thanks to more atmospheric CO2.

Cyrus Manz February 9, 2017 - 00:04

Let me see if I get this right;
A group of highly mislead people who have been brainwashed by the CULT of global warming got together to figure out how their nonsense can once again populate the lamestream media at a time when the entire FRAUD of anthropogenic climate is being blown right out of the water.



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