Environment

Journalists Explore Climate Complexity

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorJun 19, 2013 12:05 PM

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There is much to recommend this article in the New Republic by Nate Cohn, starting with the sub-headline:

Grappling with climate change nuance in a toxic political environment

It is an ungrateful task to interrogate the complexities of climate change (which extend to the policy side of the equation) so props to Cohn for taking it on. That he does so with an even tone and lucid writing makes the piece all the more impressive. This milieu is reliably explored by Andy Revkin at Dot Earth, which has made it an essential blog. It's good to see more journalists drilling down into some of the thorniest climate questions of the day, but make no mistake, it's a fraught undertaking. This is especially so for scientists, as Cohn writes in his New Republic piece:

In the current political climate, debates about things like climate change are carried out in broad-brush assertions. The challenge for scientists is that the more they understand the climate system, the more complex it gets, and the harder it gets to model with precision—not to mention making the kinds of sweeping statements the news cycle requires.

Perhaps the climate subtleties regularly discussed by Revkin at Dot Earth and marvelously examined by writers like Paul Voosen (see here and here) and more recently by Justin Gillis in the science section of the New York Times, will help lead to a more sophisticated public discussion of climate change. Here's hoping.

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