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Media Coverage Of Climate Change & Global Warming

2311 words - 10 pages

Because decisions can be made by governmental agencies concerning actions that reduce human impact on global warming, individuals have a responsibility to seek out factual information to aid them in voting decisions. This is a challenging endeavor; because much of today’s media coverage concerning human effect on global warming and climate change is vague, uses rhetorical devices, and offers fallacious reasoning, which influence society towards making decisions regardless of factual information. Because of this, it is important for citizens to think critically when evaluating media coverage pertaining to human impact on climate change and global warming.

Human impact of global warming and ...view middle of the document...

A summary of opposing claims are as follows:
• Advocates claim greenhouse gas levels are increasing due to human activities which significantly affect global warming and climate change. They claim that we need to take action to slow momentum of global warming.
• Opponents, argue that human-generated greenhouse gas emissions are too small to substantially change the Earth’s climate, and that global warming and climate change is natural, and preventative action will not have a discernible impact.
With every severe weather disaster, the news media keeps GWCC in the forefront. With every election, GWCC is a topic of political debate. This paper will study news articles from four different media sources, and identify purpose, questions, information, concepts, assumptions, inferences, point of view, and implications.

Argument Analysis: Breiner (2013) “The Anti-science Climate Denier Caucus”
Breiner’s 2013 ThinkProgress.org article and infographic “The Anti-science Climate Denier Caucus” concludes that “Manmade climate change is happening” (para.1), and influences the reader with premises that there have been “hundreds of climate-related natural disasters declared since 2011”, and “97 percent of climate scientists” agree that manmade climate change is happening (para.1). The author persuades the audience to take action by voting against political representatives who are more likely to oppose clean energy initiatives.

Breiner uses deceptive statistics which weaken the argument. Breiner defines “climate science deniers” as political representatives “who have made public statements indicating that they question whether climate change is happening or is caused by human consumption of fossil fuels” (para.3). Including the politicians who simply question the issue rather than including only those who firmly deny, inflates the percentages of “climate science deniers” to a “shocking number - 55% of Republicans” (para.1). Notice the use of the emotional word “shocking” (para.1). Moreover, the infographic does not disclose the stipulative definition of “climate science deniers”, making it even more deceptive when observing the statistical percentages on the visual infographic.

Breiner’s strongest premise is the statistical claim that “97 percent of climate scientists [are] in agreement” that “manmade climate change is happening” (para.1), yet the critical thinker will require more information. For instance, we can ask the following questions:
• Does the 97% statistic represent all climate scientists or a sampling?
• Who conducted the analysis?
• How was the sampling obtained?
• What methods were used to reach the 97% statistic?
The critical thinker will strive to identify the primary source validating the 97% statistic, and find that it stems from Anderegg, Prall, Harold, and Schneider’s 2010 publication analysis “Expert credibility in climate change” published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of...

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