CBS Climate Diaries: In Climate Comms – Is Something Better than Nothing?

October 16, 2018

Above, CBS News has a series called Climate Diaries, which is a long overdue serious attempt at climate reporting. This installment covers antarctic ice as measured by NASA’s Icebridge project.
Installment one above is ok, but I have a problem with the takeaway at 2:55, which indicates ice is melting at x rate, and notes “…at that rate, Antarctica alone could cause as much as 6 inches of sea level rise this century..” — without pointing out that scientists aren’t concerned about 6 inches, they’re concerned because that rate is accelerating, and that the historical record shows ice can move very quickly, and because studies can’t rule out a rise of 6 feet – or more – in that same amount of time.

Unfortunately, for much of the audience, the 6 inch number is all they’ll take away, and are then easy prey to the “climate scientists are alarmist” memes.
Journalists, even well intentioned ones, are often some of the least insightful about the dynamics of communication, and how their work is absorbed and integrated in the info-sphere.

Part 2 is a little better, at least mentions the acceleration, but not its implications.


5 Responses to “CBS Climate Diaries: In Climate Comms – Is Something Better than Nothing?”

  1. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

    In 1973 was on a scientific cruise which included about 6 weeks in Lancaster Sound south of Devon Island. Fair number of passing views of a glacier (glaciers?) in the central part of the island. With advent of Google Earth and a check, ‘my’ glacier was GONE. Would very much like to confirm my observations, but can find no data for that period. Any ideas or links?

  2. indy222 Says:

    Right. This is how you kill the truth about the stark reality. You put on a very convincing face of being one of the good guys in communicating climate science – but only the watered down versions, including old IPCC statements from their “summary for policy makers” – which is even more watered down. The Economic Elites who run this country (Gilens and Page 2014) are pros at public manipulation. Earnest and naive Progressives, and also scientists used to dealing with people using reason and logic – are no match for the high-paid Madison Avenue people. And they’ve been winning the race – the race to get to the big tipping points where they can then say “Oh well, too late. Might as well continue BAU at this point. If only the science had been clearer back when we still had time…. a damn shame”.

  3. redskylite Says:

    Something is better than nothing – for so many years the topic never mentioned and ignored on news programs, now Climate Change at least is being mentioned on our bread and butter stations and hopefully without the views of professional deniers, with the occasional regression from B.B.C. People without 100, 101 Climate Science courses under their belt are beginning to listen & accept something is very wrong, especially the younger members of our populace. A positive start from CBS.

    Before this past Sunday, climate change was mentioned only three other times in all of 2018 on the three major networks’ flagship Sunday morning shows, according to Media Matters for America.

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