New York Times reporter urges greater climate awareness in Bar Harbor talk
The public needs to demand more action from their governmental leaders on the issue, he said, and it needs to demand better coverage of the issue from the media.
The scope of the implications of climate change runs the gamut — from fires to powerful storms to bug infestations, he said.
For most reporters the issue has proven to be overly complicated and too easily muddled by people who have economic or political motives for casting doubt that the climate is changing and that human carbon emissions may be to blame, he said. That is why he focuses on objective scientific research on the issue when he reports for the Times, he said.
...He said he sometimes will read through hundreds of scientific papers trying to discern if there is consensus in the scientific community about a particular phenomenon before he decides to write about it.
That scientific grounding in his reporting, he said, gives him the leverage to write objectively about the issue without falling prey to the “false balance” that has often accompanied climate change stories. False balance, he said, is the need some media outlets feel they have to include differing opinions in their stories, even if those opinions are not based in science and are far outnumbered by those opinions that are.
“The climate deniers will want to confuse you about this,” Gillis said.
“We’re in 1925 on climate science, unfortunately,” Gillis said. “This [climate change denial] position is out there, it’s having this political influence. It’s scientifically discredited and illegitimate to say, ‘There is no problem.’
“Now, if you want to scientifically say, ‘We don’t really know how big the problem is,’ that’s completely different,” Gillis continued. “That’s a valid argument. But to say there is no problem is just disproven, so I treat it as what it is. I treat it as this kind of strange, curious political argument in quasi-scientific clothing.”