Climate change is simultaneously happening, not happening, man-made, natural, a hoax and the end of the world as we know it – according to the mainstream press.
How the media cover climate change was the focus of talk by this week by Prof Raffaell Ocone, Heriot-Watt University, Scotland, which aimed to give an engineer’s perspective on the issue and science in the media in general.
Prof Ocone, who was in New Zealand for the Chemca 2012 Chemical Engineering conference in Wellington, drew on British and Italian examples to show how varied coverage of climate change can be and highlighted the need for scientists and engineers to engage with media to reach a wider public audience.
She also noted that the media have a limited conceptual understanding of what separates ‘engineering’ and ‘science’, a distinction she captured in a quote from Aerospace Engineer Theodore von Karman: “Scientists discover the world that exists; engineers create the world that never was”.
Below, you can listen to, and view slides from Prof Ocone’s talk, titled ‘Climate change and the UK media: An engineer’s view’*.
Prof Ocone was speaking in New Zealand thanks to the support of the British High Commission in Wellington.
*Please excuse variable audio quality.