What is the Way Forward?

By Keith Kloor | June 3, 2009 6:46 am

A news service of the U.N. that I find useful for its dispatches from developing countries asks, in an article, if there is a danger of “information overload” with the spate of alarming reports on the consequences of climate change, such as the most recent one released last week from the Global Humanitarian Forum.

What to do? According to the U.N. piece,

The media are supposed to turn these numbers, reports, predictions and projections into “meaningful information” for the people who will be affected by the unfolding impact of climate change.

But then the article seemingly confuses the media with think tanks when it says that

The Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum in its climate change report, “The Anatomy of Silent Crisis,” released on 29 May, attempts to do this.

First of all, as Andrew Revkin at The New York Times pointed out,

There are significant questions about the robustness of the numbers at the heart of the new report [by the Forum] estimating more than 300,000 deaths are already being caused each year by global warming, with nearly twice that number possible by 2030.

Secondly, as I noted here, apart from Revkin, the rest of the media didn’t offer “meaningful information” about this report.

On a different note, over at The New Security Beat, Geoff Dabelko cautions about hyping the collapse meme, because

fear and depression without a path or a way forward leads to tuning out or rejection as oversell. We saw it with the fantastical version of climate in the [movie] Day After Tomorrow…an oversell that is a target and easier mark for opponents.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change, collapse

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Collide-a-Scape is an archived Discover blog. Keep up with Keith's current work at http://www.keithkloor.com/

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.


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