Leave climate change to the experts


Being fair and balanced is a dogma of journalism. But in an attempt to offer balanced reporting, journalists may in fact introduce inaccuracy and deception.

There is a consensus amongst scientists about climate change. According to climate.nasa.gov, 97 percent of scientists believe that global warming trends are the result of human activity.

If journalists feel they must have balance in their stories, who does that leave them to turn to for the opposition? Well, not scientists.

Quoting politicians on the scientific evidence surrounding climate change is committing the fallacy of inappropriate expertise. Rick Santorum remarked that scientific evidence cannot even withstand common sense, sarcastically saying, “man-made carbon dioxide — a gas that humans exhale and plants need to live, a gas that represents less than 0.1 percent of the atmosphere — is a dangerous pollutant threatening to overheat the world.”

The truth is that although in terms of percentages the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is small, it is very potent and even trace amounts can have disastrous effects.

So let’s leave it to the experts. We wouldn’t ask Albert Einstein for commentary on comparative politics, would we?

It is completely acceptable to consult and quote politicians on policy issues and economic issues surrounding global warming. But our discussions with them should stop there.