Climate Change has been a divisive issue in the media for many decades now. But with Scientists all in agreement that it is to varying degrees caused by human kind and our impact on the planet, then why is this issue so divisive? With all the major sciences on the same page, why then do we have so much devision in the media. This is portrayed as an ongoing debate, not an issue that has been decided. Why are climate deniers given so much air time?
The problem with this model is that the media are giving a false balance, in order to try and show an equal debate, we are hearing two sides in equal parts that are not in fact equal, this means that the voice of climate skeptics becomes much larger than it really is. The only thing that is undecided in the scientific community is what the best way to tackle climate change is, not whether or not it is real, and caused by human activity.
“Reporters have for too long been balancing opinions about science when in fact they might better have been evaluating and reporting evidence based on the science.” – Ward, 2009: 14
The reporting that we do get on climate change is often not about the effect it is having here and now in the world, as one might expect, it does not look at the small pacific island states that are leaving many people inundated by sea water, with loss of food security, erosion and salt water contamination. Reporting tends to focus on the political side of climate change, the economic impact, and how this is going to cost the taxpayer. As long as we cannot easily see or feel the impact that climate change is having, then it is not an immediate problem. It is affecting people who live out of sight. It is a problem for the future.
Momentum through campaigns like earth hour and Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth have had an impact on how highly we rate climate change as a problem that needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later, but with climate skeptics and big business supporting the case for this false balance of opinion, it is unlikely that we are going to be dealing with any real solutions soon.