Over 50 years since the New Scientist first reported on the greenhouse effect, it is encouraging that mass media finally appears to be accepting the premise that climate change is upon us and that it is deeply worryingly. But when a splash in the Sun – across seven pages – declares climate change as a reality and that something must be done, urgently, to tackle it, it’s little wonder a collective “F*****g hell” rings out from the offices of the Green MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.
Former US vice-president, Al Gore’s documentary about climate change, An Inconvenient Truth, has certainly won over a huge number of people, and is accelerating the inevitable increase in media coverage of climate change as it takes grip.
And so it follows that some political parties, perhaps most obviously the Tories and the Libdems, have become desperate to appear at least a little bit green. ‘Greenwash’ – rich and earnest rhetoric yet little real action to back it up – is breaking out everywhere, and is in desperate need of thorough media analysis and exposure.
It is also urgent because scientists are rapidly upscaling the required cuts in carbon emissions – up to 90 per cent within a generation. Political action, according to the respected Tyndal research centre, is required within the next four years. The right decisions need to be made now, not in 2050.
Much more is needed than simple scary stories, about climate change ‘definitely happening’.