ABC's science unit appears to be relish its role as a cheerleader for climate and environmental alarmism. Its coverage of science and environmental issues, typically promotes alarm over pragmatism, science fiction over science fact with the resulting news stories being little more than publicity pieces for panic. The recent report "Warmer planet to stress humans: study" published online and promoted as "Best of ABC" is a case in point.
The article fails the test of critical journalism by not asking any of the tough questions, challenging opinions or providing alternative views; it is essentially a vehicle for the report authors to promote their alarmist view of climate change. The study has now been found to be scientifically flawed by Roger Pielke Snr in his post "Comments On The Scientifically Flawed Study “Researchers Find Future Temperatures Could Exceed Livable Limits” By Sherwood and Huber 2010"
In his conclusion Roger Pielke Snr states: "The Sherwood and Huber paper is just a model sensitivity study, not a verifiable prediction. Moreover, not only is it scientifically flawed, but the dissemination of a press release illusrates that this is really not a science study. The funding of such a study by the National Science Foundation (whose predictions cannot be verified) illustrates another failure by the NSF to properly support climate science."
We request the ABC science unit follow up their puff piece with an interview with Roger Peilke Snr to provide a balanced perspective on the issue. Perhaps a Lateline interview involving Roger Pielke Snr and report authors Sherwood and Huber would provide the opportunity to put some flesh back on the skeleton of ABC science journalism?
OUTCOME: Received from ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs 2 July, 2010.
Thankyou for your Reply.
Can you please ask ABC Innovation how they assessed that the study by Dr Pielke Snr has not "engendered a significant level of debate within the scientific community". I was under the impression based on previous correspondance with ABC AUdience and Consumer Affiars that ABC Innovation lacked the necessary scientific skills to undertake such an assessment. Was this judgement in fact based on the amount of coverage of Dr Pielke's study in the media?
If so does ABC Innovation now judge the value of scientific reports simply by the level of media interest, rather than the quality of the research?
ABC AUDIENCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS
To clarify, my statement "it does not appear that the study has engendered a significant level of debate within the scientific community" was in reference to the study 'An adaptability limit to climate change due to heat stress', not the blog post by Roger Pielke Sr. ABC Innovation did not assess that Dr Pielke's blog post had not engendered a significant level of debate within the scientific community; rather, as I stated, they advised that they found the post interesting and have undertaken to ask other climate scientists about it.
ABC NEWS WATCH
Perhaps ABC Innovation can take the time to discuss the article with Dr Pielke Snr. Afterall ABC based their report 'Warmer planet to stress humans: study' solely on discussion with the author of that study and did not seek comments from other climate scientists. It would seem ABC Innovation use different standards of "Balance" to suite their own preconceived notion of what the science should say. Has ABC Innovation taken recent statements on "Groupthink" by Chairman Maurice Newman into account in providing its audience with balanced news coverage?
ABC AUDIENCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS
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