Take any subject you like, terrorism, bird flu, street crime, elder abuse, credit fraud, political corruption, and the BBC will give you a serious, in-depth and highly concerned feature article with professional photographs and solid headlines.
Everything, that is, apart from Global Warming.
Why is Climate Change so unscary for the BBC ?
Every other problem in the known universe is worthy of gravitas and graveyard intonation, but not Climate Change Science and the implications it has as risk to life, health, wealth and general contentment.
What could be going wrong ? Why the non-long faces when it comes to the most serious risks facing mankind since the Black Death ?
Why does Global Warming get “relativist” treatment when everything else gets the full shadowy-figure-in-a-cloak-with-a-scythe ?
And what’s with the accusations of “alarmism” ? I mean, if a full risk assessment of Climate Change on your lifestyle included the possibility of food shortages, wealth devaluation, ruined dwellings yet cancelled insurance, lack of employment prospects, driving and flying made illegal, more disease, risks of international conflicts and enforced veganism, wouldn’t you feel somewhat uneasy…worried, perhaps ?
“Using religious language to fight global warming : By Helen Grady : Analysis, BBC Radio 4 : Monday, 25 January 2010 : Is apocalyptic language an effective campaigning tool? If the case for tackling climate change is backed by science, why do so many green campaigners rely on the language of religion? I am looking at a clock that is counting down the months, days, hours and minutes until planet Earth reaches “the point of no return”. As I type, we have 83 months to go. The end of the world, if not exactly nigh, certainly seems to be on its way. But this doomsday countdown has not been devised by a religious cult or millenarian seer. It is on the website of the New Economics Foundation (Nef), designed to raise awareness about climate change. Nef’s policy director Andrew Simms says the web clock was based on a “real and rather conservative bit of number-crunching”. “We wanted to show that there is a real timeframe involved,” he said. “You can’t negotiate with the weather in the same way you can negotiate with a government department.” The website’s designers are not the only ones who are keen to warn us of impending climate Armageddon. Ahead of last month’s Copenhagen climate summit, politicians and campaigners were queuing up to tell us it was our “last chance” to tackle global warming. Gordon Brown even warned that “the dire consequences of failure” at Copenhagen could include a “catastrophic” future of killer heat-waves, floods and droughts. Heaven and hell But while such claims are supported by science, some campaigners think it is time to stop relying on apocalyptic messages to convert people to the climate change cause. “Selling people a vision of climate hell simply doesn’t work,” says Solitaire Townsend, co-founder of the firm Futerra, a firm that specialises in green public relations.”
Look, this Helen Grady is probably quite young. Maybe she wasn’t even conceived when the first computer systems in banks were programmed with an automatic “19” at the start of every year and the idea of having to accommodate the turn of the next Millenium was so far away as to be unthinkable.
I remember Y2K. I remember I made quite a good salary for a couple of years, going into various companies and organisations and fixing computer programming code for them. Y2K was a big deal. People panicked. And rightly so. The whole of the banking system, in fact, the whole of the entire economy, was at stake. And people responded. I was hired. The problem was solved.
But why in 2010 are we forbidden to panic any more ? Why aren’t we allowed to be concerned about Global Warming ? Why does the BBC insist that worrying about the future is a sure sign of a fundamentalist belief system ?
Something’s wrong here. If you’d seen the research papers I’ve seen in the last 6 months, you’d be alarmed. Yes, it’s all very well for people in communications agencies to tell you to calm down, but the risks of Climate Change are actually quite seriously frightening.
It’s not immature or an article of some kind of environmental faith to be alarmed by the warnings of Climate Change. The scenarios are genuinely disturbing, and we should be hearing more about them, be encouraged to reflect on what can be done, be allowed to know the full spectrum of possible outcomes.
Any management of public fear is going to backfire, in my view.