A good question

overcoming fear of the blank page

Last week, heading up the coast for Christmas, I decided to take a taxi to my parents’ place rather than hang around Gosford Station for 20 minutes waiting on a bus.

Somehow, the taxi driver started talking about climate change. Honestly, I DID NOT START IT.

“Oh, all these scare mongerers,” she said. “I mean, who cares about two degrees change or whatever. I can’t see it’ll make any difference. The temperature changes all the time.”

“Um, yeah,” I said. “But global climate temperature is different to everyday local temperature.”

“Yeah, but you know, it’s just all about taxing us, giving us another tax. And like, there isn’t any science behind it—”

“—yeah there is!”

“—there’s just no science behind it. I mean, you never hear about it on the radio, or on TV or anything. Where’s the science?”

“Look,” I said. “I read a lot of science books. The science is there. It’s robust. There’s over a hundred years of climate science.”

“But where is it?” she persisted. “It’s not in any of the newspapers.”

“You’ve got to go to a library,” I said. “Borrow a book. The fact is, those guys aren’t going to publish any of the science, you won’t see it on Today Tonight or in the Daily Telegraph or on talkback radio. You just won’t.”

“But why not?” she asked. “Why not?”

It’s a good question. Why can’t we read about actual climate science in any of the mainstream publications?

5 Responses

  1. Because good science doesn’t sell. Its not sexy and it takes a lot of space to explain the ideas, the theories and their development. Bad science OTOH is easy to sell, and the less that has to be explained the better. That’s why newpapers carry “scientific stories” like ‘Women have more orgasms with rich guys’ and not stories about climate change.

    1. Have you ever read Ben Goldacre’s “Bad Science”? He is always banging on about the way in which nonsense science stories get privileged over real science. http://www.badscience.net/ – A great read. I also recommend the book of the same name.

  2. Because your chauffer has a point – mainstream media are aptly “scare mongers” who mainly report stories drenched in fear, doom and gloom.
    If you ever see her taxi again, you ought to plant one of those bumper stickers on her vehicle: “Is that the truth, or did you read it in the Daily Telegraph”

  3. That said, I always like to keep a balanced perspective on things.
    I haven’t read alot of science books, as I am more interested in politics, law, crime and religion for light reading 😉
    But when I google it, I see alot of movement coming from both sides. As a natural queerier (excuse the pun) I am interested to read more.
    http://climatechangeskeptic.blogspot.com/

    1. Seems strange that you think the bias towards fear over fact in print media somehow doesn’t apply online. Remember, anyone can write on the internet. Even me.

      And people love having a strong opinion either way, even if they know nothing of any worth.

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.

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