Environment & the World

Friday, August 4, 2006

Climate change in the British media

Filed under: Climate Change, Media — Cathy @ 10:38 pm

The BBC had an interesting article this week on the state of climate change media coverage in Britain:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5236482.stm

They are at least ahead of the United States in accepting the problem, but even so there is debate about how this issue should be covered.  The leading criticism of the study was that coverage was too alarmist, making people feel powerless to combat the problem.

Also, flying in the face of much of the accepted wisdom of the environmental community, the study argued that most articles on this topic end up trivializing the solutions.  An environmental consultant is quoted in the article as saying “[W]e use a loud rumbling voice to talk about the challenge, about melting ice and drought; yet we have a mouse-like voice when we talk about ‘easy, cheap and simple’ solutions, making them sound as tiny as possible because we think that’s what makes them acceptable to the public … In fact it makes them seem trivial in relation to the problem.”

 I am inclined to agree with this statement, as I have often felt that the “10 ways you can stop global warming!” suggestions that are mandatory for every environmental organization’s website are uniformly uninspiring.  However, I would really like to see an actual study of consumer attitudes towards this issue.  Does anyone know of one?  I do know a couple of people who were inspired by Al Gore’s film to install more efficient appliances in their homes and telecommute to work more often, so perhaps such suggestions are more inspiring to people who are less familiar with these issues than I am.

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1 Comment »

  1. My long, original comment to this frustratingly got lost in the internet abyss a few days ago, but here’s something. RealClimate picked up on this report and they have even more about it than was covered in the article.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/08/the-missing-repertoire/

    What’s interesting is the outline of the “denialists'” points of view. Gavin writes at RealClimate that the group that published the report asserts that “denialist repertoires are having a decreasing influence and aren’t worth addressing head on…” Perhaps that’s the case in the UK, but I suspect that in the US debate on climate change we still have to contend with denalist viewpoints more often than we’d like.

    Comment by Amir — Monday, August 14, 2006 @ 7:32 am


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