AFP: Climate deniers get more media play than scientists14 August 2019 | 04:00 | FOCUS News Agency
From 2000 through 2016, hundreds of academics, business people and politicians who doubted global warming or attributed rising temperatures to "natural" causes got 50 percent more ink than an equal number of top scientists, according to a study in Nature Communications, a peer-reviewed journal.
Even in a more select group of mainstream English language news outlets with high standards of evidence -- from the New York Times and The Guardian to The Wall Street Journal and the Daily Telegraph -- sceptics were still cited slightly more often.
In reality, there has long been overwhelming agreement among climate scientists that global warming -- caused mainly by burning fossil fuels -- poses a major threat to civilisation and much of life on Earth.
An increase of only one degree Celsius had triggered rising seas and a crescendo of deadly extreme weather, and Earth is on track to heat up another three degrees by century's end.
"Climate change contrarians have successfully organised a strong voice within politics and science communication," noted the authors, led by Alexander Petersen at the University of California at Merced.
"Such disproportionate media visibility of contrarian arguments and actors misrepresents the distribution of expert-based beliefs," they continued.
"It also undermines the credible authority of career climate change scientists and reinforces the trend of climate change contrarians presiding over public scientific discourse."
Over the last year, public concern over global warming has grown dramatically, sparked in part by an October UN report warning that only a wholesale overhaul of the global economy and consumption patterns can forestall climate chaos.
In Europe, green parties running on a platform of climate action gaining nearly two dozen seats in EU parliamentary elections. Climate protesters drawing from the civil disobedience playbook of Marin Luther King and Gandhi, meanwhile, have spilled into the streets.
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