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The New York Times makes a concerted effort to drive home the point that climate change is real, but it does a poor job of presenting the basic facts about climate change that could convince skeptics, according to a review of the paper's coverage since 1980.
Public polls show that Americans, whether agreeing or disagreeing with the idea that human activity is changing Earth's climate, lack an understanding of the basic facts leading to this conclusion, says climate scientist David Romps, a University of California, Berkeley, professor of earth and planetary science. A large percentage of the public doesn't know that global warming is happening now, that it's caused by record levels of CO2 from fossil fuel burning, that 99% of climate scientists agree on this and that the changes are effectively permanent.
New - York - Times - Guess - Print
"If The New York Times isn't doing it, my guess is that it is just not happening across print journalism," Romps said. "One of the hopes is that, by at least pointing this out, it might occur to people to take a look at what kind of context is provided in news coverage of climate change."
Romps and co-author Jean Retzinger, the former associate director of UC Berkeley's Media Studies program, published their analysis in the journal Environmental Research Communications.
Decade - Research - Change - Atmosphere—in - Clouds
After more than a decade of research focused on how climate change affects the atmosphere—in particular, clouds and lightning—Romps became frustrated about the public's lack of basic knowledge of the science that underlies the 99% consensus among climate scientists.
"The notion that there is a scientific consensus has been referred to as a gateway belief by people who study how the public thinks about climate change," Romps said. "They find that, if you can get people to understand that fact, it kind of pries the door open and makes them open to...
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