Today’s Solutions: January 21, 2022

With floods, fires, droughts, and storms flashing across the headlines every week, the realities of human-driven climate change have become impossible to ignore. Fortunately, it seems like the mainstream media is catching up to this realization as well with a recent report detailing that 90 percent of media coverage now accurately acknowledges the scientific consensus that human activity is driving climate change.

This may seem like a low bar, but when compared to 2004, when half of the news media presented alternative climate change theories as equally valid, we’ve come a long way.

Study co-author Max Boykoff, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, links the accuracy of climate change reporting to both an increase in extreme weather events and a change in public opinion surrounding climate change. 64 percent of Americans now think that addressing climate change is a top priority, and media outlets are reflecting these views for their audiences. Alarming reports like that from the IPCC this month are also spurring the journalism trend.

To come to their conclusions, the researchers analyzed 17 major newspapers across the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. More conservative-leaning publications, like Daily Mail and Canada’s National Post, achieved accurate climate coverage 70 percent of the time while other publications, like Canada’s Toronto Star, had an impressive 97 percent accuracy rating. Common US publications like USA Today, The Washington Post, and The New York Times also scored over 90 percent.

News media affects our perception of the world around us on a daily basis and as we face the fact that we must all make drastic changes to ensure a healthy future for our planet, it’s a hopeful sign that news media is presenting a more accurate and honest picture of the challenge ahead.

Source study: Environmental Research LettersBalance as bias, resolute on the retreat?

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