[Coral-List] Reporting Co2 to the public

Ellen Prager pragere at earthlink.net
Sat Sep 15 16:06:53 EDT 2012

Having worked frequently with various media outlets, including the  
network, cable news, and morning shows, this is a really tough sell  
and quite frankly highly unlikely. It is always good to try to push  
them to cover more science, but many news outlets are covering less  
these days, not more.  Many have let their science correspondents go,  
or have them cover other topics instead (crime, celebrities, etc).  My  
experience is that unless it is a crisis, visibly stunning, morally  
shocking, obviously high impact on the public or a fantastic gee whiz  
story, getting science on the news is quite difficult.  And as has  
been noted, showing it in a way that explains why anyone should care  
and that is understandable for the broad public are obstacles as well.

I have been trying for years to get on as an "Earth Analyst" like they  
have military or legal analysts...but alas no takers.  Though I do get  
on when related crisis, events, etc occur.
You could pitch websites that cover science stories - Live Science,  
ScienceDaily - but those are not the audiences you are after....I know.


Dr. Ellen Prager
Earth2Ocean, Inc
Author 2011 book, Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime: The Ocean's Oddest  
Creatures and Why They Matter

On Sep 15, 2012, at 1:57 PM, Steve Mussman wrote:

>   Bruce Carlson's idea is brilliant, but as Doug has pointed out,  
> there are
>   some hurdles to overcome.
>   Not the least of which is how to lobby "the powers that be"  
> effectively
>   enough to get the idea implemented.
>   Perhaps some would be more receptive than others. Something tells  
> me that
>   FOX News might balk.
>   And let's not forget that there will be some powerful sources of  
> advertising
>   revenue that will show force
>   on all fronts.Then comes the problem Doug alluded to of educating  
> the public
>   as to the relationship
>   between CO2 concentrations and the earth's temperature. James  
> Hansen has
>   used watts per square metre
>   as  a  way to illustrate this forcing, but can this be  
> comprehensively
>   consumed by the general public?
>   I'm a good example of a layperson that struggled through the  
> process which
>   to be honest, required some faith.
>   Nevertheless this is too good of an idea to drop because of a few  
> obstacles.
>   We should all be thinking
>   of ways to push this forward. And Bruce should get the  
> intellectual property
>   rights!
>   Regards,
>     Steve
>   -----Original Message-----
>> From: Douglas Fenner
>> Sent: Sep 14, 2012 6:42 PM
>> To: Eugene Shinn , coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Reporting Co2 to the public
>> As far as I know, reporting CO2 to the public would require stating
>> what the concentration of CO2 is in the atmosphere (that's what the  
>> Keeling
>> Curve shows). It is probably normally expressed in something like  
>> parts
>> per million, which the public may not understand, so expressing it  
>> as a
>> percent  as well could serve to increase public understanding of that
>   aspect.
>> Whether CO2 should be reported as a percentage of atmospheric gases
>> depends on the purpose. If the purpose is to show that CO2 does not  
>> drive
>> temperature changes, then stressing how small the concentration of  
>> CO2 is
>> in the atmosphere could be used to deceive readers into thinking  
>> that CO2
>> is not important in climate change (and thus decrease public
>> understanding). Showing how little nerve gas concentration would be  
>> needed
>> in the atmosphere to kill the entire human population could  
>> illustrate how
>> even a gas in much less concentration than CO2 could have strong  
>> effects.
>> The concentration of argon or even nitrogen could show that very high
>> concentrations of inert gases aren't necessarily toxic. What should  
>> be
>> included all depends on the purpose.
>> Showing a figure of how much additional heat energy (such as watts or
>> joules) is retained in the earth due to the increases in CO2 might
>> illustrate the connection between CO2 concentrations and changes in  
>> mean
>> global temperature. If the purpose is to protect the fossil fuel  
>> industry,
>> then maybe that shouldn't be included.
>> Cheers, Doug
>> On Fri, Sep 14, 2012 at 4:22 AM, Eugene Shinn wrote:
>>> Good ideas to report Co2 to the public. I suggest that the graphs  
>>> all
>>> of you have suggested also include graphs of global temperature
>>> change over the same period of time. Should Co2 also be reported  
>>> as a
>>> percentage of atmospheric gases? The Terry Hughes video is excellent
>>> and truthful. Gene
>>> --
>>> No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
>>> ------------------------------------  
>>> -----------------------------------
>>> E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
>>> University of South Florida
>>> College of Marine Science Room 221A
>>> 140 Seventh Avenue South
>>> St. Petersburg, FL 33701
>>> Tel 727 553-1158----------------------------------
>>> -----------------------------------
>>> _______________________________________________
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>> --
>> Dept. Marine & Wildlife Resources, American Samoan Government
>> PO Box 7390
>> Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799 USA
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