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The ethics of climate change reporting: part one



In a three-part investigation, Gavin Smith assesses the extent to which objective scientific methodology is distorted by political leanings, financial pressures and the fact that the news media is only partly concerned with disseminating the truth.

It is beyond the scope of this article to venture a definitive, scientific verdict on manmade global warming – it will in fact be argued that such certitudes are inconsistent with scientific methodology.

In the first instance, this piece will assess the current state of the debate in both the mass and specialist media, and in official and scientific reporting. It will identify the salient scientific issues, question how capable they are of providing clear answers, and assess the impact of ideological or cultural norms on the debate.

The reporting of one specific issue by various publications will then be examined, namely the debate over the manipulation of evidence by the University of East Anglia or ‘Climategate’. This issue is particularly instructive as, arguably, it is wholly concerned not with the hard science of climate change but with the impact of ideology or prejudice on scientific understanding.

Overall, it will be argued that climate change journalism – and journalism generally – is inevitably tendentious, sometimes because it is politically motivated and indeed politically controlled, but also because it selects and moulds stories according to the prejudices of a target audience whose patronage it needs.

The fact that journalism is far from being a transparent medium is further compounded by the momentous and emotive character of the climate change debate. Science should logically be governed by doxasticism and empiricism if it is to discern objective truths about the nature of our universe. It’s argued that this notion is at odds with journalism and is compromised by the human frailty of even the most diligent scientists and science reporters.

In September 2010, the Royal Society published guidance that purports to describe the current scientific consensus on climate change and highlight areas of uncertainty. It takes as its premise “strong evidence that the warming of the Earth over the last half-century has been caused largely by human activity.”

It also makes it clear that “human activity is a relatively recent addition to the list of potential causes of climate change”, an acknowledgement of the fact that, as this essay will demonstrate, climate change and anthropogenic global warming (AGW) are often conflated in the mass media.

The guidance asserts that “there is strong evidence that changes in greenhouse gas concentrations due to human activity are the dominant causes of …global warming….over the last half century.”

This conclusion is echoed in findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Since 1990, atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations have risen by “25% of the total increase since [their] pre-industrial level.” Furthermore, “the world is warming, and….there is…. 0.6 degrees of additional warming ‘in the bank’”.

This apparent consensus must be set against complex cultural responses to climate change, and the vital fact that the scientific community is very far from a complete understanding of both the terrestrial and astronomical mechanisms that govern our planet.

In 2006, Al Gore brought Michael E. Mann’s ‘hockey stick’ graph of runaway global warming to a wide audience in An Inconvenient Truth.  This model became a powerful ecological orthodoxy and still retains a degree of credibility despite a critical backlash.

While Mann justified omitting the ‘Medieval Warm Period’ or the ‘Little Ice Age’ on the basis that they were balanced by opposing effects outside Northern Europe, critics maintain that the model creates a “false impression of anomalous recent change” by smoothing out proxy data.

The indeterminate complexities of climatology cannot be underestimated. If there is one inconvenient truth, it is that seizing upon a given occurrence as evidence of a pre-determined theory risks creating a false certainty.

In November 2009, Time presented Mount Kilimanjaro’s receding glaciers as evidence of global warming. In September 2010, New Scientist contended that that the effect was evidence only of local logging: fewer trees meant less transpiration and less moisture to form ice.

In the same month but on a different scale, New Scientist reported that solar fluctuation had a greater influence on climate change than had previously been appreciated and that the IPCC would be adapting its models accordingly.

While variations of 0.1% in solar brightness had been deemed insignificant, it has now been posited that solar minima correspond with increased ultra-violet radiation which affect stratospheric wind patterns and the relative movement of weather systems.

Further illustrating the incompatibility of emerging science with anything resembling orthodoxy, New Scientist more recently reported on widespread doubt about how quickly the planet could heat up. Even at current levels of emissions, a rise of 7°C could take less than a century, or several centuries.

So, the scientific consensus on man-made warming cannot logically be complete if doxastic or empirical methods are applied. This fact gives rise to a logical dilemma when science meets the mass media. Global warming could have calamitous consequences; humanity may have a causative and therefore a preventative role in that process.

The doubt innate in good science leaves ample ground for scepticism; the exploitation of this doubt for unethical reasons could be highly damaging. It would be surprising if the truth weren’t manipulated by philanthropic climate change believers for the good of mankind.

The second instalment in the investigation will be published tomorrow.


What Kitchen Suits Your Style? Modern, Classic or Shaker?




shaker kitchen designs

A kitchen is the centre of the home. Your kitchen ranges between where friends and family gather, talk about their day, cook meals, have drinks, to somewhere you can just enjoy each other’s company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But, everyone’s lifestyle is different. Everyone’s taste is different. So, you need a kitchen that not only mirrors your lifestyle but matches your taste too. Whilst some prefer a more traditional design, others want a modern feel or flair – and it’s all down to personal taste.

When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, what style would you go for? It’s a difficult one isn’t it. With so many different styles to go for, how can you know exactly what you want until you’ve seen it in action? Leading kitchen designer, Roman Kitchens, based in Essex, have provided three examples of bespoke kitchens and styles they specialise in, accompanied with beautiful images. This design guide will get you one step closer to picking your dream kitchen for your home.

1. Modern

New home in the city centre? Or even a sleek new modern build? You want a trendy and modern kitchen to reflect your city lifestyle. In modern kitchen design, colours are bolder and fresher, with sleek design and utilities that are distinctive and vibrant.

modern kitchen designs

This modern kitchen is sleek and smooth with flawless design and beauty. Minimalism doesn’t stop this kitchen standing out. Featured walls of wood and vibrant mint green draw the eye, whilst the white surfaces reflect the light, illuminating every nook and cranny of this kitchen. This kitchen features products from Rotpunkt, innovators of modern kitchen design. Made with German engineering, a Rotpunkt Kitchen is the ultimate modern addition to your home. Rotpunkt Kitchens have timeless design and amazing functionality, they work for every purpose and are eco-friendly. Sourced from natural materials, a Rotpunkt kitchen uses 37% less timber, conserving natural forests and being more environmentally conscious.

2. Classic

Prefer a homely and traditional feel? Classic kitchens are warm, welcoming and filled with wood. Wood flooring, wood fixtures, wood furniture – you name it! You can bring a rustic feel to your urban home with a classic kitchen. Subtle colours and beautiful finishes, Classic kitchens are for taking it back to the basics with a definitive look and feel.

classic kitchen designs

With stated handles for cupboards, Classic kitchens are effortlessly timeless. They convey an elegant but relaxing nature. Giving off countryside vibes, natural elements convey a British countryside feel. The wood featured in a classic kitchen can range between oaks and walnut, creating a warmth and original feel to your home. Soft English heritage colours add a certain mood to your home, softening the light making it cosier.

3. Shaker

Any kitchen planner will tell you that the meeting point between traditional and modern design, is a Shaker kitchen. They have a distinctive style and innovative feel. Shakers are fresh, mixing different colour tones with stylish wood and vinyl. The most important feature of a Shaker kitchen is functionality – every feature needs to serve a purpose in the kitchen. Paired with stylish and unique furniture, a Shaker kitchen is an ideal addition to any home.

shaker kitchen designs

The ultimate marriage between Classic and Modern kitchens, this Shaker kitchen has deep colour tones with copper emphasis features. All the fittings and fixtures blur the line of modern and tradition, with a Classic look but modern colour vibe. Unique furniture and design make Shaker Kitchens perfect for the middle ground in kitchen design. Minimal but beautifully dressed. Traditional but bold and modern at the same time. Storage solutions are part of the functionality of Shaker kitchens, but don’t detour from conveying yours as a luxury kitchen.

Whatever you choose for your new kitchen, be it Modern, Classic or Shaker – pick whatever suits you. Taste is, and always will be, subjective – it’s down to you.

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Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy



Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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