By John Stapleton
EUROPE is shivering through an extreme cold snap. One of the coldest winters in the US in more than 100 years is toppling meteorological records by the dozen, and the Arctic ice is expanding. Even Australia has been experiencing unseasonable snow.
But the stories about global warming have not stopped, not for a second.
In May last year, The Sydney Morning Herald breathlessly reported that climate change had reduced the Southern Ocean’s ability to soak up carbon dioxide, claiming that as a result global warming would accelerate even faster than previously thought.
The story was picked up and repeated in a number of different journals around the region.
But this week the CSIRO suggested the exact opposite. “The new study suggests that Southern Ocean currents, and therefore the Southern Ocean’s ability to soak up carbon dioxide, have not changed in recent decades,” it said. This time the story got no coverage in the SMH, and was run on the ABC’s website as evidence the Southern Ocean was adapting to climate change.
CSIRO oceanographer Stuart Rintoul, a co-author of the study, said it did not disprove global warming and he did not believe its lack of an alarmist tone was responsible for the poor coverage.
But the story is being pointed out as an example of media bias on global warming. Critics argue that the ABC and the Fairfax media are the worst offenders.
ABC board member Keith Windschuttle said yesterday the national broadcaster was in breach of its charter to provide a diversity of views. “The ABC and the Fairfax press rarely provide an opportunity for global warming sceptics to put their view,” Mr Windschuttle said. “The science is not settled.
“We are seeing an increasing number of people with impeccable scientific backgrounds questioning part or whole of the story. I don’t believe the ABC has been reflecting the genuine diversity of the debate. Under its own act, the ABC is required to produce a diversity of views.”
Bob Carter of James Cook University, one of the world’s best-known climate change sceptics, said there was no doubt Windschuttle was correct.
“With very few exceptions, press reporters commenting on global warming are either ignorant of the science matters involved, or wilfully determined to propagate warming hysteria because that fits their personal world view, or are under editorial direction to focus the story around the alarmist headline grab — and often all three,” Professor Carter said.
National Climate Centre former head William Kininmonth said coverage of global warming had been hysterical and was getting worse, with a large public relations effort inundating the media with information from the alarmist side.