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Climate Change Denial and the Media

analytical Essay
1512 words
1512 words
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"The pace of global warming is accelerating and the scale of the impact is devastating. The time for action is limited - we are approaching a tipping point beyond which the opportunity to reverse the damage of CO2 emissions will disappear." -- Eliot Spitzer "Global warming isn't a prediction. It is happening." -- James Hansen Climate change, specifically in reference to C02 Emissions released by human use of fossil fuels and their consequential effects on the environment, is perhaps one of the most pressing issues we, not just as Americans, but as human beings face in our lifetimes. Though it may sound like a sensationalist statement the facts are hard to deny. In May of 2013, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide surpassed 400 parts per million (ESRL Global Monitoring Division News Items). Experts in this field estimate that a “safe level” of atmospheric C02 concentration is around 350 million parts per million (400 Ppm CO2: What It Means). It should also be noted that the last time the Earth had this level of carbon dioxide in its atmosphere was 3 million years ago when it is estimated that sea levels were around 80 feet higher (Prinn).Yet despite these circumstances climate change represents just 1% of all media headlines (Project for Improved Environmental Coverage). Entertainment, which makes for 3% of headlines, received three times the coverage of environmental issues (Project for Improved Environmental Coverage). When the environment does in fact receive such scarce coverage, the issue of climate change is often times covered under a guise of false objectivity. A valid argument can be made that the media has failed the public on the i... ... middle of paper ... ...tical Space Association, n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2014. Kaplan, Joel. Objectivity & Balance: Today’s Best Practices in American Journalism. Publication. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2014. Kovach, Bill, and Tom Rosenstiel. The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect. New York: Crown, 2001. Print. Prinn, Ron. “400 Ppm CO2? Add Other GHGs, and It’s Equivalent to 478 Ppm.” Oceans at MIT. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 6 June 2013. Web. 09 Dec. 2014. “Project for Improved Environmental Coverage.” Project for Improved Environmental Coverage. Project for Improved Environmental Coverage, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2014. Eliot Spitzer Quote http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/global_warming.html#H2fdTgav5l6VVGt8.99 James Hansen Quote http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/global_warming.html#H2fdTgav5l6VVGt8.99

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that the pace of global warming is accelerating and the scale of the impact is devastating. the time for action is limited.
  • Explains 400 ppm co2: what it means. 350.org, n.d. web.
  • Describes the earth system research laboratory global monitoring division news items, 10 may 2013.
  • Argues that the media has failed the public on the issue of climate change by framing its legitimacy as subject to a balanced 50/50 debate.
  • Explains that the national aeronautical space association published climate change: vital signs of the planet. kovach, bill, and rosenstiel, the elements of journalism.
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