“Perhaps the greatest challenge facing government and industry in response to climate change is how to develop policy and strategy now in response to a scientific debate that is still uncertain and evolving.
“Climate change, like any other major scientific debate over the centuries, is neither polite nor exact. It involves the development of countless theories and counter-theories and their repeated validation and repudiation until eventually we bring ourselves closer to a better understanding of the problem.
“The media and other commentators trust scientists. We tend to presume a new finding report is correct or true, as part of some noble and apolitical synod guiding society inexorably towards science’s irrefutable truth.
“But scientific debate is more like a rolling maul than a mass. A connected series of often heated arguments raging up and down the hallways of universities and research institutions as it lurches erratically but eventually, not so much towards truth but away from falsehood.”
The piece was written by a “special correspondent”, “employed by a resources lobby.” The publishing of such an article raises important ethical questions. Why – as argued by PR Watch – “an opinion column was not on the opinion pages, but in a section normally reserved for features by real journalists, went unexplained. Nor was it explained why a newspaper printed an entire article by an anonymous contributor, when it won’t print anonymous letters to the editor.”
It is virtually inconceivable that the paper would publish an article by an environmental activist without attribution. Simply put, the Murdoch press are enviro-sceptics. This is their legitimate right, but larger questions remain.
Medialens recently examined the contradiction between the mainstream media debating the effects of global warming and climate change and the kind of advertising they receive. For example, if we accept that car manufacturers are partly responsible for creating environmental problems, should responsible companies accept their advertising? Green Euro MP, Caroline Lucas, accurately told Medialens the reality:
“The mainstream corporate media all too often shares the same vested interests as the governments and businesses whose activities make up the content of its coverage…The public cannot rely on the corporate media to provide an honest and impartial view of corporate responsibility for crimes against humanity and the environment.”