[MCN] News media misread public interest in news about climate change

Lance Olsen lance at wildrockies.org
Wed Jul 31 08:51:38 EDT 2019

Conventional wisdom holds that coverage of climate change is a ratings-killer, and thus bad for news outlets’ bottom lines. But is that really true? <https://cjr.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=a23440a018c7ba0619c6f01e6&id=d3704049d8&e=f5d709eccc>“A review of industry-wide data and accounts from numerous top-line publications suggest that audience interest in climate coverage is, in fact, on the rise, and that dedicating resources to the story might suit companies’ bottom lines,” CJR’s Andrew McCormick finds. According to an analysis of 1,300 websites commissioned by CJR, the time readers spent on climate stories in the first quarter of 2019 “had almost doubled from the time spent in previous years.”

https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/cnn-second-democratic-debates.php? <https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/cnn-second-democratic-debates.php?>

”Precipitation is just the supply side," said study coauthor Jason Smerdon, a Lamont-Doherty paleoclimatologist. "Temperature is on the demand side, the part that dries things out." 

"If we don't see it coming in stronger in, say, the next 10 years, we might have to wonder whether we are right," said Marvel. "But all the models are projecting that you should see unprecedented drying soon, in a lot of places."

Precipitation over much of central America, Mexico the central and western United States and Europe is projected to stay about the same, or even increase. But, according to both the new study and a separate 2018 paper, rising temperatures and resulting evaporation of moisture from soils in those regions will probably predominate. The Mediterranean region is expected to be hit with a double whammy of both less rainfall and more heat-driven evaporation. Adding to the drought dynamics of all the affected areas: populations are expected to continue increasing, adding to water demand.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-05/eiac-ssf042919.php <https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-05/eiac-ssf042919.php>

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