[Coral-List] Public perceptions about climate change

John Ogden jogden at MARINE.USF.EDU
Wed Oct 28 16:20:22 EDT 2009

Dear Friends,

Ah, but there are enlightened minds out there.  I offer one of my 
favorite quotes: "One should ... be able to see things as hopeless and 
yet be determined to make them otherwise" (F. Scott Fitzgerald).

Forge on regardless!

Szmant, Alina wrote:
> One more comment:  if our newspapers, TV and people in general spent 1/2 the space and/or time on science articles and study as they do on sports, we would be a different society...
> **********************************************
> Dr. Alina M. Szmant
> Professor of Marine Biology
> Coral Reef Research Program, Center for Marine Science
> University of North Carolina Wilmington
> 5600 Marvin K. Moss Lane
> Wilmington NC 28409
> Tel:  (910)962-2362; fax: (910)962-2410;  cell:  (910)200-3913
> http://people.uncw.edu/szmanta
> **********************************************
> ________________________________________
> From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml..noaa.gov] On Behalf Of John Bruno [jbruno at unc.edu]
> Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 6:31 PM
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Cc: Richard B. Aronson
> Subject: [Coral-List] Public perceptions about climate change
> As Steve Mussman posted about a few days ago, nearly 20% fewer
> Americans belive in AGW than just three years ago.  I think there are
> complex social issues than underlie this trend, but I also think this
> is happening because people are being misinformed by the media, even
> by otherwise reliable outlets like the New York Times and the
> Washington Post.
> Not to suggest that this will be the last word on this, but the AP
> released an article today for which they hired four independent
> statisticians to analyze (blindly) the 130 instrument temperature
> record and the 30 year satellite record.  The statisticians were asked
> to look for trends over time.  Did they find any recent cooling?  No.
> They found, like NOAA, NASA and the MET, that the earth has continued
> to warm over the last decade.  No cooling.  No plateau.
> You can read the AP story here:  http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=3350
> But there are already many recent newspaper stories, published peer-
> review papers and easily accessible online articles debunking the
> recent "global cooling" and "warming pause" myths, e.g.:
> http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=3261
> http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/10/a-warming-pause/#more-1265
> http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2009/08/warmest-by-fair-margin/
> So why are we loosing the public? They clearly are not being convinced
> by evidence.  There isn't any in support of the cooling/pause
> arguments.  I suspect that it is (in part) because the media is
> saturated with skepticism about AGW. Fox News commentators and New
> York Times science writers are spreading the myths there is a recent
> cooling or a plateau in warming.  George Will, who is read by tens of
> millions of Americans, wrote yet another op-ed in the Washington Post
> a few weeks ago arguing the earth wasn't warming.  I responded with an
> op-ed in the local Raleigh News and Observer (which you can read here: http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/columnists_blogs/story/134115.html
> ) but I doubt I changed many minds.  And the editor cut the most
> direct criticism of the complacency of the media in this in general
> and of newspaper editors in particular:
> "Given the clarity and relative certainty of the science and the scale
> of the potential social and economic impacts, why do newspapers
> publish articles denying climate change is happening? Social
> commentators like George Will certainly have freedom of speech and a
> general license to express their opinions on the editorial page. But
> would newspaper editors publish essays denying other major threats to
> humanity? Imagine an editorial arguing that cancer, poverty, HIV-AIDS
> or genocide don’t exist and are merely the product of a well-
> orchestrated scientific hoax"
> I don't know what the solution is.  Grassroots education is important,
> but I sense we are getting drowned out by skeptics and even
> misinformed science writers with much large megaphones than any of
> us.  I have written every journalist I have seen publish an inaccurate
> piece about climate change and many of their editors and not one has
> responded.  Perhaps we need to employ the weight of our major society,
> the ISRS.  The word "climate"  does not even appear on the ISRS
> website (http://research2.fit.edu/isrs/).  I know we have position
> papers on various threats to reefs posted, but perhaps we could be
> more proactive and begin writing journalists and  columnists (and
> their editors) when they get it wrong.  The Ecological Society of
> America has been very active in such correspondence (http://www.esa.org/pao/policy_positions.php#letters
> ) as has the AGU and many other major environmental sciences
> societies.  And back in February, when George Will wrote another silly
> article about global cooling, a number of NGO heads co-wrote a letter
> to the publisher and editor of the WaPost.   Note I don't in anyway
> mean this as a criticism of ISRS or of any of its officers.  I am just
> throwing out a few ideas.  I don't think we have done this sort of
> thing with the society in the past and we likely lack the resources to
> do it on a large scale.  BTW, is the ISRS sending representatives to
> Copenhagen?
> JB
> John F. Bruno, Ph.D.
> Associate Professor
> Department of Marine Science
> The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
> Chapel Hill, NC 27599-330
> jbruno at unc.edu
> www.brunolab.net
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John C. Ogden, Director
Florida Institute of Oceanography
Professor of Integrative Biology
University of South Florida
830 First Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701 USA
Tel. 727-553-1100
Fax  727-553-1109

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