Posted: February 15th, 2022
Detecting Bias: Climate Change
Directions: You and your partner are going to take a deep look into one issue, climate change, and how different websites present biased (or neutral) portrayalsof it. You will visit the websites linked below, answer questions regarding each article, and then provide your overall opinions afterwards. Work together on this!
Article 1: 4 Problems with the New Climate Change Report
1. Do you think this article is biased? Explain why or why not in a few sentences.
The article is not biased. The author uses credible sources to address his issue about the climate change report released by president Trump’s administration. One of the reliable sources used is the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which contradicts the temperature predictions by the National Climate Assessment. The article also considers the welfare of multiple parties, from businesses to families, when addressing the issue of increased energy taxes. Therefore, there is no agenda to promote a specific party.
2. The article cites this as a source for its claim:
“As University of Colorado Boulder professor Roger Pielke Jr. pointed out in aTwitter threadin August 2017, there were no increases in drought, no increases in frequency or magnitude of floods,no trends in frequency or intensity of hurricanes…”
Do you think this is a reliable source? Why or why not?
It is a reliable source because of the professor’s credibility, Roger Pielke Jr., a professor in the Environmental Studies Program. The platform used for communication, Twitter, does not make the information any less credible.
3. The author used this statement to criticize carbon taxes:
“Just last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change proposed acarbon taxof between $135 and $5,500 by the year 2030. An energy tax of that magnitudewould bankruptfamilies and businesses, and undoubtedly catapult the world into economic despair.”
Do you think this statement contains biased or neutral language? Explain your answer.
It contains neutral language because the author includes both families, and businesses as victims of the carbon tax increases. The author also avoids using adjectives to describe how they feel about the high energy taxes.
Article 2: US Government Report Says Climate Change is Real, and Humans are to Blame
1. Do you think this article is biased? Explain why or why not in a few sentences.
The article is biased because it highlights the projected climate change issues, while failing to include the measures put in place to curb these problems. The article also shows its bias by depicting the administration of Trump as supportive toward climate change scientists, even though he was for the fossil-fuel industry.
2. The article describes climate change in the US in this way:
“The trio of documents paints a dramatic picture of how global warming is affecting people and
communities across the United States. Tidal flooding is accelerating in more than 25 coastal
cities along the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Large forest fires have become morefrequent in the western part of the country…”
Do you think this description is biased or neutral? Explain your answer.
It is a neutral description because it points to the reference point, and draws its information from three different documents. The diction is also neutral, with the use of words such as “dramatic” to highlight the adversity of the climate change situation in the United States of America.
Article 3: There is no climate emergency
1. Do you think this letter is biased? Explain why or why not in a few sentences.
Yes it is. First, the letter does not state how many climate scientists are part of the 500 scientists and professionals making up the signatories. Secondly, the letter discredits the data from the US climate scientists, terming their means as immature despite being scientific. Finally, the letter emphasizes that the climate change alert from the US scientists is more political than it is climatic, and scientific. A statement that is likely to reduce the urgency of the actual climate change crisis.
2. Who is Guus Berkhout? Google his name and find out who he has worked for and if you think this has affected his position on climate change.
Guus Berkhout is a Dutch engineer, formerly a professor in the oil and gas industry. His former role in the oil and gas industry may have influenced his stand on the climate crisis. Carbon emissions are also positive to the environment, thus his opposition of the net-zero CO2 policies.
3. What sources or evidence does this article use to support its points?
The sources and evidence used include the geological archive, and the opinions of the climate scientists making up the 500 signatories.
1. What have you learned about bias after completing this assignment?
I have learnt that people use certain assuring terms, and phrases to sway the audience to buy their opinions on matters of conflict. Bias creates a situation where the opposing side is made to appear as less credible, while validating one’s biased opinions, which is regardless of the accuracy of the information.
2. When reading information on the internet, what questions should you ask yourself?
Can the references of the information be found easily? Is the author of the information a credible source? Is the information updated?
3. How can you trust information on the internet?
Ensuring I obtain information from credible sources, and authors. Also, cross-checking information helps in validating information.
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