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Environment

What is the Way Forward?

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorJune 3, 2009 3:46 PM

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A news service of the U.N. that I find useful for its dispatches from developing countries asks, in an article, if there is a danger of "information overload" with the spate of alarming reports on the consequences of climate change, such as the most recent one released last week from the Global Humanitarian Forum. What to do? According to the U.N. piece,

The media are supposed to turn these numbers, reports, predictions and projections into "meaningful information" for the people who will be affected by the unfolding impact of climate change.

But then the article seemingly confuses the media with think tanks when it says that

The Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum in its climate change report, "The Anatomy of Silent Crisis," released on 29 May, attempts to do this.

First of all, as Andrew Revkin at The New York Timespointed out,

There are significant questions about the robustness of the numbers at the heart of the new report [by the Forum] estimating more than 300,000 deaths are already being caused each year by global warming, with nearly twice that number possible by 2030.

Secondly, as I noted here, apart from Revkin, the rest of the media didn't offer "meaningful information" about this report.

On a different note, over at The New Security Beat, Geoff Dabelko cautions about hyping the collapse meme, because

fear and depression without a path or a way forward leads to tuning out or rejection as oversell. We saw it with the fantastical version of climate in the [movie] Day After Tomorrow...an oversell that is a target and easier mark for opponents.

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