Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Who Cares What Daily Mail Readers Think?

Maybe we have entered an era where scientists have to write an op-ed or FAQ every time they are misrepresented by a journalist or blogger. (That is, you know, going to but into their time doing science.)

Which is what Myles Allen did today in The Guardian, after being misrepresented by David Rose. You can read Allen's specific response to Rose's characterization of his views, but what I find more interesting is the near the end of his column:
Many Guardian readers might be inclined to shrug "who cares what Mail readers think, anyway?" Well, I care. We all deserve an informed and democratic discussion about what to do about climate change, whatever our political persuasion. How many Mail readers realise that one of our government's top climate policy advisers, Dieter Helm, is recommending what, to them, would be an eye-wateringly high carbon tax. This might do wonders for the deficit (interested, George?) but, I would argue, won't solve the problem (we didn't save the ozone layer by taxing CFCs).

This is an interesting discussion: subsidies for renewables versus carbon tax versus (my personal preference) upstream regulation of the fossil fuel industry to drive the development of carbon capture. Mail readers should be part of it. But they are firmly excluded by headlines dismissing the whole of climate science as a "great green con" – despite their correspondent certainly giving me the impression he understands the problem better than that....
This is the same message Scott Denning told a Heartland Conference audience.

Conservatives/feptics can only put their fingers in their ears for so long -- CO2 isn't going to stop absorbing infrared radiation, and the Earth isn't going to stop emitting it. Meanwhile their explanations look increasingly absurd, and the world will move on without them. Which is too bad, because the problem is so huge and so hard it needs all the brains it can get, and if a (so-called) free market can do that best, so much the better.

1 comment:

DocRichard said...

All UK readers who care about truthful media, science and indeed the conditions that our children and grandchildren will experience should complain about David Rose' latest outpouring to the Press Complaints Commission. I have a post containing my complaint here, with necessary links, which can get you started.