Australia’s Fairfax Media Declares: We’re Not Biased On Global Warming

Posted on Sun 09/11/2011 by


Andrew BoltBy Andrew Bolt

The warmist Sunday Age asked readers to nominate the global warming questons that most needed answering.

Last week, it had to addresss the winning question – the one about what difference Julia Gillard’s tax could possibly make to the temperature. Answer: less than 4 one-thousand parts of a degree.

This week, it has to answer this one:

THE QUESTION: It is accepted that man’s carbon dioxide emissions are causing an amount of warming of the climate. However, the magnitude of any future warming is highly uncertain. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change acknowledges that its understanding of a number of key natural climate drivers and feedbacks is ‘’low’’ or ‘’very low’’. Why is it, therefore, that the Fairfax press is reluctant to engage with and investigate this uncertainty with an open-minded impartiality, and instead continues to publish articles based on a rigid editorial agenda that ‘the science is settled’?

Good question.

And the answer offered?

With such doubt, why do Fairfax newspapers make comments like this (in an editorial in The Age)?: ‘’There is now little chance of containing global warming within the ‘guardrail’ [of 2 degrees] that most scientists believe is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change … failure to keep temperature rises within the guardrail raises the prospect of a 4 degree rise by as early as 2060, causing widespread droughts and desertification, coastal flooding with the dislocation of millions of people, dwindling food supplies because of the loss of agricultural land, and the extinction of many species’’.

The reason, says Sydney Morning Herald editor-in-chief Peter Fray, is that the uncertainties are not sufficient to undermine the main conclusions of the science. ‘’The IPCC … may still be investigating the natural drivers of climate change but that is not the same as saying climate change does not exist or the science is in doubt,’’ he said…

But the editors of the Fairfax papers deny they have a ‘’rigid editorial agenda’’.

‘’In editorials we have accepted the views of the IPCC, just as we would have accepted the peer reviewed work of a [Sir Isaac] Newton or [Michael] Faraday,’’ Fray said. ‘’[But] we have reported, for instance, the Climategate leaks saga and we have often reported alternative or sceptical views about climate science.’’…

Age editor-in-chief Paul Ramadge said the newspaper had published ‘’a range of opinions on the IPCC and the issue of scientific uncertainty’’ in its news reporting, and had also reported on the ‘’divisions in the scientific community’’. ‘’It’s important to understand that The Age’s editorial opinion is separate to … our reporting.”…

And Australian Financial Review editor Paul Bailey said ‘’we don’t believe there is or has ever been, a Fairfax line on climate change’’…

Sunday Age editor Gay Alcorn acknowledged that coverage of climate change in Australia could be improved. ‘’As far as I know, we have never done a detailed story before about what the uncertainties around the science actually are. It is one of the reasons why debate on climate change can get so fraught so quickly. It is a complex subject and the reporting in Australia has at times lacked depth and context.’’

Simon James responds.

Andrew Bolt is a journalist and columnist writing for The Herald Sun in Melbourne Victoria Australia.

Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book  Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.

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