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Flashcards in Scientists and the Media Deck (13)
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Describe the views surrounding scientists as communicators

Some believe they have a social responsibility, esp when £ and societal impacts are concerned
Scientists underestimate ability of public to understand
Believe communication is not their job
Public may see arrogance or uselessness


What do scientists believe about the certainty of climate change?

USA, 2010, majority believe we have a strong understanding of it
Global warming is underway and humans are making it worse
Disagree on extent, magnitude, rate and timescale - ppl don't like this
Disagree on extent of local/regional impacts


What do the public believe about climate change?

Don't always match views of scientists
Scientists are relcuctant and untrained to tackle this
Many other issues that contribute to the misunderstanding
Public misled by media balance
Some believe scientists would not intentionally mislead
Most ppl don't get their info from scientists
Images can be used to fit agendas


What are the benefits and drawbacks of using the internet to communicate climate change?

Internet full of biases eg. Hartland institute
Sources, credentials and funding may be hard to find
Hyperbolic language
Internet allows access to climate change data


What are the complexities of communicating climate change?

Several disciplines involved
Uncertain events and outcomes
Interaction of anthropogenic and natural events
Small changes now could have big impacts later
Incomplete understanding of climage system
Complilation of research


What is the deficit view of uncertainty?

Uncertainty is temporary
Ever more complex models will solve this problem
Certainty will prevail


What is the evidence evaluation view of uncertainty?

Evaluate and compare research results
Find consensus
Use interdisciplinary panels
Focus on robust findings


What is the complex systems view of uncertainty?

Uncertainty is intrinsic to complex systems
Can't always be quantified
Should be open, as all knowledge is simply the best we have


What are the challges of communicating with non-scientists?

Scientific information vs personal experience
Scientists are focussed on being right over building a consensus
Debate within disciplines and division between natural and social scientists
Scientists claim they are too busy for outreach
Inadequate media training
Lack of understanding of policy development process


How is uncertainty portrayed in the media and how can this be improved?

Never explained
Balance amplifies uncertainty
Bold headlines
Little attention to mitigation strategies
May/might interpreted as ignorance
Use risk language


How do science stories reach the press?

Press release
Web and news agencies
News story


What criticisms did the media cite of Thomas et al, 2004?

Based on continuation of current climate change trend
Too many unknowns in computer simulations give skewed results
Decrease in living area can't pinpoint no species to go extinct
Species can adapt
Resulted in 4 letters to Nature
Proportions but global number species not known


How was the Thomas et al extinction story reported on the internet? (2004)

55 sites, many didn't mention paper
Inaccuracies eg. extinction BY 2050
10 had criticisms of paper, mostly right leaning sites
None sceptical of science