Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The forecast for climate blogs

The previous post drawing analogies between the state of climate blogging and cable news drew a wide variety of responses, some here, some over at the Energy Collective, and some in private e-mails (if such a thing exists). There's no right answer to the question of how to respond to skepticism about well-founded scientific findings. I'm arguing that we may all benefit from taking a deep breath before raising our voices, from thinking about the big picture and not overreacting to every event.

Jon Stewart, whose call for civility inspired my post, compared himself to a climate scientist in an interview last week (thanks Keith):

This is—I‘m not saying—look, I love the voices that I hear on MSNBC. And there‘s a difference between—here‘s what‘s unfair about what I do. This is really what‘s a great—here‘s a great thing that I think is unfair.

You‘re one person with one great voice and sincere—but I‘m a climate scientist. I study weather patterns and climate. You‘re talking about the weather. Maybe these networks are not meant to be viewed in aggregate, but there is an aggregate. There is an effect.

A perfect analogy. Are the climate blogs dealing with the "weather"? Or with the climate?

[UPDATE: to hear other views, Keith Kloor is also asking readers this question]


EliRabett said...

Weather sells, there is a cable channel devoted to it.

Seriously, you cannot discuss climate without discussing weather.

Simon Donner said...

It's intended here as analogy -- the weather as the daily argument, the climate as the grand narrative.

Eli's point can also be thought of in those terms. Maybe the daily argument is critical to the grand narrative.

Geoff said...

Climate is what you expect, whereas weather is what you get.

The question really is WHETHER blogs like desmog tell the truth.

EliRabett said...

In this climate?

Anonymous said...

truth or truthiness?