The Current Media Representation of Global Warming
For many years, the issue of global warming has been at the heart of heated debates among the public, policymakers, and environmentalists. It is not surprising as the society, scientists, and politicians are divided on this pressing problem: while one side considers global warming to be a threat, the other one is not concerned at all, thinking that climate change is a hoax. However, the effect of greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and burning fossil fuels has already proved the adversity of these practices. As a result, health, climate, and communities suffer. Unfortunately, there is no political or public will to resolve this issue once and for all. The current paper seeks to examine one of the most pressing environmental issues of the day, namely global warming, and determine if it poses a threat or if it is just a hoax, including the media representation, opposing views, scientific and political aspects of the issue, Republican and Democratic visions, polarization, the American risk perceptions, governmental interference, and policy options.
In order to get a clear representation of current environmental issues, concerned individuals utilize the latest media news, reports, publications, and speeches of officials. In this case, they get valuable, but sometimes contradictory information on how various parties view the issue of global warming. Obtained data require thorough analysis and examination to avoid hasty conclusions. The mass media activity is based on the deep exploration of real events, practices, and experience of scientists, policymakers, ecologists, and the public. The media play a significant role in affecting international and national actions relating to global warming. Due to frequent mentions of climate change issues in the media, the public view and its aspiration to act for the nation’s benefit are also affected. Therefore, it can be said that people’s opinion is dependent on the mass media representation of the particular issue. Recent reports have emphasized the need for international efforts and aid as low-income countries are not able to adapt to environmental changes on their own. Owing to the mass media, a person can make a reasonable conclusion that global warming is a threat and not a hoax and mobilize aid, thereby contributing to the resolution of this climate issue. The mass media coverage of the pressing environmental problem also shapes political and scientific discourses and helps people to understand the seriousness of the climatic challenge. While talking about global warming, the mass media refer to both policy and science and, as a result, shape one’s perception of possible risks. Owing to recent mass media reports, it becomes clearly that both adaptation to and mitigation of climate change require clarification and review.
In developed countries, the public gets valuable information about scientific advancements from primary sources such as daily newspapers and television. Most individuals have become concerned with the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere. For many years, the mass media have covered events related to international efforts focusing on mitigation activities. Individuals can adequately respond to global warming by exploring opposing views, external and internal factors, political and scientific aspects, and official position on the climate change issue. Boykoff (2011) encourages concerned individuals to refer to researchers and scientists, as well as media reports that cover events on global warming and challenges that it poses to the surrounding world. People who are concerned with climate change recognize that global warming is a threat, not a hoax. Inaction and indifference can lead to dire consequences. As adaptation and mitigation require a constructive discussion, people are encouraged to act radically through joint efforts. The mass media coverage of global warming is still sparse. However, not all sources emphasize the anthropogenic nature of climate change. Therefore, the obtained information may often lead to ambiguous and unclear conclusions. However, the coverage of scientific advancements, policy events, experience, practice, and activities in various media sources is crucial in shaping one’s view in modern times.
Continuous Debates of Conflicting Sides
Due to the ambiguous and controversial nature of global warming, heated debates of conflicting parties continue. Policymakers, the public, and lawmakers demonstrate their readiness to address the problem of climate change as the outcome is mostly dependent on their efforts. They claim that the scientific evidence will justify radical actions undertaken by concerned parties. However, industrialists, economists, experts, and scientists do not think that changes in policy are required. Some individuals prefer to ignore the tendency associated with global warming, considering the entire issue to be bloated. Stinging disputes and endless claims in relation to proposed solutions and science have become commonplace in recent years. Skeptics highlight the uncertainty of forecasts and climatic models and, therefore, prefer not to make hasty conclusions. Despite the fact that the alternative vision has long been associated with the denial, some researchers think that the world is cooling, while others point out to the planet’s warming.
Most debates of the conflicting sides are based on causes, potential consequences, and human intervention. Environmentalists highlight the shift in rhetoric; skeptics try to debunk the existence of global warming. This disinformation campaign is often compared to one that questions harmfulness of tobacco smoking. Skeptics think that some researchers get funding from interest groups and, therefore, their vision on this matter is predictable. Individuals, who consider global warming to be a hoax, doubt unscientific claims that some parties try to impose. Environmentalists emphasize the catastrophic nature of climate change, force people to replace fossil fuels with alternative energy sources, and favor the governmental intervention. They claim that scientific evidence does not justify the current policy aimed at addressing climate change. Moreover, environmentalists believe that news and reports delivered by the mass media are subjective and there is no free speech on this challenge. Climate changes are often examined from the political, technological, and economic perspectives. Despite the ambiguity and controversy, the scientific component of the problem cannot be subjected to doubt. Some experts examine the potential threat of global warming by linking science and politics. However, the combination of these two fields can result in extremely complex reasoning on whether climate change poses a threat or whether it is just a hoax. Dessler and Parson (2010) emphasize the fact that consequences of natural events and human-made activity leading to environmental challenges are negative. The authors agree that global warming poses a threat and see nothing fictional in climate change. The scientific nature of global warming is evident and experts do not question this fact. The conflicting sides have to present weighted arguments so that the public can make an adequate conclusion. However, environmentalists and skeptics have to possess scientific knowledge to make their views justified and valuable to the concerned society. The anti-alarmists are not unified as their opinions cover a wide range of possibilities. Moreover, there is no single position that the public can refer to. Therefore, the mass media have to deliver objective and genuine information to prevent risks and significant costs.
Views of Republicans and Democrats in Regard to Global Warming
As global warming concerns the public, the Democrats have also expressed their views on climate change and included it in their political agenda. The party seeks to defeat the epochal threat to the planet caused by human activity. If no urgent measures are taken nowadays, increased sea levels will flood coastal regions and consequences will be irreversible. The Democrats also believe that declined rainfall and high temperature will increase diseases, enhance poverty, and reduce yields.
Beliefs of politicians and the public on global warming differ and it is not surprising as various information sources and political figures deliver different information and messages to the public. In recent years, the Republicans have become less concerned with global warming. Their support has decreased from 48% to 42% (Dunlap & McCright, 2008). Unlike the Republicans, the Democratic Party has become more confident that global warming occurs. Its support has increased from 52% to 76%. Global warming is an extremely complex challenge that requires a resolution. This issue has already become a political conflict. Due to controversies and disputes, the population finds it hard to believe in statements delivered by politicians and scientists. There is also a conflict on whether global warming is caused by human activity and natural events. Both rival parties argue on what actions have to be taken in response to climate change. The greatest challenge of current warming is that the global economy is highly dependent on various manufacturing techniques and energy sources that produce greenhouse gas, thereby contributing to the high temperature.
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While representatives of the Republican Party have different views on this issue, the Democrats are united and they do not question the existence of global warming. In addition to their strong beliefs, the Democratic Party encourages the population to use clean, renewable energy and reduce the use of fossil fuels. The Democrats are committed to preventing global warming, protecting scarce natural resources, and increasing the quality of water and air for next generations. The President’s administration calls for investing in clean energy to preserve world ecosystems. Only in this case the environmental challenge will be addressed properly. The USA will become more sustainable. The Democrats are confident that climate change increases income inequality, hinders economic development, and deteriorates health care. Therefore, the environment has to be protected and only education and awareness can break the deadlock. For the Democratic Party, the issue of global warming has become the long-standing priority along with terrorism and gun control. The Republicans, in turn, express doubts as to the concerns of their political rivals. The Republican Party thinks that the Democrats simply gain the rating by demonstrating their preoccupation with climate change to the public. For them, it is the electoral issue. Environmentalists and policymakers are encouraged to develop a comprehensive approach that will unite the nation as everything is dependent on their efforts (Frantz & Mayer, 2009). Despite the Republic Party’s calm, the Democrats view the global warming as a real threat and favor setting an adequate price on greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change exists, and it is not a hoax. Therefore, ardent deniers have to appeal to the scientific evidence to make a balanced conclusion. The government should also undertake necessary measures to curb the pollution.
In order to reach the desired outcome, half of the electricity has to be generated from clean sources. Transportation fuels have to be cleaner. Particular attention has to be paid to the renewable energy. The Democrats disagree that the officials have to choose between the planet protection and job creation. The Republicans do not consider global warming to be the most pressing issue of the day that requires an urgent resolution. They also criticize international agreements aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering global temperature.
The clean power plan proposed by President Obama has also been criticized. The national leader has sought to cut emissions by getting rid of coal-powered plants. The Supreme Court has postponed this initiative and the Republicans do not take it seriously. Environmentalists reject the description of coal as a clean energy resource and believe that human ingenuity will help to resolve the pressing issue of the day. Command-and-control and top-down regulations are unnecessary.
Scientific and Political Aspects of Global Warming
The debates surrounding global warming do not only focus on science. Since one group blames the humankind for the climate crisis, they call for immediate and weighted actions. However, it is often argued that politics has drowned out science. The global community is encouraged to make every effort to minimize global warming. These processes will require radical changes and high costs. Climate varies naturally and past events have proved that fact. The current disputes focus more on the effects of recent activities. The anthropogenic nature of global warming points out to the human factor. The environmental change is not only a scientific issue, but the economic and political one due to the interrelation of these fields.
Climate science is extremely complex, but the current controversy focuses more on whether human activities cause global warming. Changes in some activities are necessary. Reduction of greenhouse gas output will have a tangible impact on climate. However, individuals who consider the influence of human activity on the environment to be insignificant oppose strict control of emissions due to their negligible effects. Conflicting parties recognize that radical changes in the use of transport and energy require significant costs, as well as the political and public will. The belief in the minor human impact will bring more expenses. If people disregard facts and solid evidence, they demonstrate their indifference towards themselves and the surrounding world. However, the role of human activity in global warming has immersed in politics. Since politicians make decisions that affect public lives, it is crucial to base them on reliable information.
One of the main issues is that climate presents uncertain and approximate information to the public. Simple and unreasoned responses to the complex challenges are not enough to recognize the seriousness of global warming and other environmental problems. The polarization of scientists is also evident. While some individuals believe that control is required, others claim that humans cannot stop natural disasters and prevent cataclysms. Extreme positions and emotions dominate current conversations among the conflicting parties. However, policymakers, environmentalists, and the public have to recognize and eliminate uncertainties and then provide solid evidence to the concerned public. If individuals fully understand causes of global warming, scientists will not be required to prove the existence of the scientific nature of the issue. However, it is not clear whether changes in human activity will bring necessary climatic changes. Actions undertaken by the government should be premeditated and thoughtful. Science can clarify the current state of affairs, but it will not explain what should be done exactly. The moral issues of rightness and wrongness lie outside the scope of science.
Polarization of the U.S. Public Opinion on Global Warming
The public opinion on environmental challenges is significantly polarized. Environmentalists and scientists have already expressed their concerns, while the society is still divided. The social and economic order is also under the serious threat. Therefore, the USA is encouraged to join other concerned countries in the common struggle against global warming. Conservatives and industrialists express the opposite view and question the validity of science, governmental initiatives, and policies related to global warming. Elites have also taken the opposite side in regard to climatic and environmental changes. In the USA, the mass media reinforce polarization; networks and programs provide biased information, thereby enhancing public’s political preferences.
Experts no longer consider global warming to be a scientific issue, but a political one due to the governmental interference in the environmental affairs. Guber (2013) highlights the fact that American views on climate change have become polarized. Weighted arguments of scientists focus more on the natural cause of global warming. The anthropogenic character of changes is questioned. Recent polls show concerns expressed by the U.S. public in regard to the environmental challenges. For the majority, global warming is a threat, not a hoax. Unlike economic, social, and political issues, the problem of climate change is highly polarized. The society is divided as it utilizes various sources. As a result, the concerned public has organized the movement and developed comprehensive environmental strategies to break the deadlock. Statistical data, striking findings, and weighted arguments enable the public to express their objective view on the pressing issue of global warming. The polarization has significantly enhanced in the twenty-first century. Partisan proclivities have led to the development of contradictory views among individuals. Activists and officials have taken sharply polarized positions and ordinary citizens try to adjust their beliefs and convictions accordingly.
Americans’ Perceptions of Potential Risks
Most American citizens seriously treat the issue of global warming and, therefore, try not to make hasty conclusions. They recognize that it is quite risky to perceive everything that mass media, policymakers, and scientists deliver on a daily basis as truth and solid evidence. However, explanations and clarifications are required to avoid dire consequences. Nowadays, the officials do not prioritize environmental challenges; they are concerned more about the national problems. In this case, the sense of urgency is lost. If the modern society recognizes risks and hazards that adverse public change poses, then it can demonstrate their support or opposition to the common belief regarding global warming. Leiserowitz (2005) highlights the fact that one’s perception of the environmental problem is mostly dependent on the population’s vulnerability to changes and location. Scientists, ecologists, and policymakers have already mentioned the danger of global warming in their reports and publications. In recent years, the public concerns have also enhanced. However, the development of comprehensive strategies emphasizing the society’s predispositions and elimination of any misconceptions is crucial.
The interrelation of such aspects as politics and education also plays a decisive role in perceiving potential risks associated with inaction and indifference. However, due to controversies and ambiguity of the global warming issue, development of an adequate and objective opinion is under a great risk. A person can become completely aware of danger and hazards posed by climate change through education. Individuals can also utilize politicians’ statements on pressing issues and develop a rich knowledge base. It will help to avoid hasty conclusions. For most people, global warming is a threat, not a hoax. The Democratic Party has enhanced public concerns about environmental challenges, while the Republicans do not consider climate change to be a big problem and, therefore, prefer not to waste time on its resolution. They prioritize other national issues. Americans’ perceptions of potential risks and prediction of further changes will be based on their knowledge, deep analysis, examination, education, and concernment. These aspects enable to predict further changes in public views. Hamilton (2011) assumes that public concerns about global warming have slightly changed. Internet sources and mass media often discredit climatic issues, thereby leading to the misconception among concerned parties. Due to uncertainty and contrary arguments, it is difficult to think objectively and hold a strong position. Therefore, it is necessary to counterbalance different views and provide active responses. In-depth research, education, and observations can help a person to develop the objective view and avoid any misunderstanding and misconception associated with climate risks and danger.
Ecologists and scientists believe that behavior and cognition affect the way human beings make decisions. These experts consider global warming to be a great challenge of the twenty-first century. It has taken many years for the modern generation to penetrate into this environmental issue (Norgaard, 2009). There is still a painstaking work ahead despite numerous attempts to convince individuals that global warming exists. Recently undertaken steps and developed measures are not enough to resolve the controversial issue of climate change once and for all. Unfortunately, not all countries are ready to decrease their hazardous emissions and engage their community in the resolution of the problem of global warming. The majority does not question the threat posed by climate change. The main issue is the difference in knowledge and information delivered by scientists and mass media. Therefore, the worldwide community is still divided. Indifference of individuals living in different countries causes only negative emotions. Despite the fact that most of them recognize irreversible consequences of climate change, not all of them are ready to undertake radical measures. The enormity of global warming dispirits. The current situation can significantly worsen in the consequent years if the international community fails to adequately address problems.
Governmental Interference and Debated Policy Options
Governmental interference in the environmental affairs is not always relevant. Therefore, experts seek to engage the competent authorities to develop alternative proposals. The Kyoto Protocol commits the global community to diminishing greenhouse gas emissions (Pielke, 2010). Most countries recognize the threat of global warming and believe that human activity is the main cause of climate change. Traditional approaches towards its resolution have proved their ineffectiveness. Therefore, the entire course has to be completely changed following the advice of the competent authorities. Carbon-efficient technologies require investment and public engagement in a comprehensive discussion.
Policymakers, the society, and ecologists continue arguing on effective policy options and the best resolution of adverse climate change. Control of emissions will require additional expenses; law-abiding taxpayers will feel it the most. Therefore, even if the policy is successful, it does not mean that it will save people’s money. However, greenhouse gas emissions continue ruining the atmosphere, thereby worsening people’s lives. Officials, environmentalists, and scientists have to reach consensus on global warming. However, ongoing debates, disputes, controversies, and disagreements prevent the competent authorities from finding alternatives and developing the effective course. Victor (2004) calls developed as well as developing countries to change their attitude towards the preservation of nature and the environment. The political and public will can help to accelerate this process. In order to make the international treaties like the Kyoto Protocol more effective, additional legislative initiatives, reforms, and amendments to the laws are required. Development of low-carbon emission technology should also become the top priority as the existence of global warming is no longer denied or questioned. The global community has already recognized that fact.
The issue of global warming still causes numerous controversies among politicians, citizens, environmentalists, and scientists. Debates and disputes occur mostly due to the fact that individuals get information from various sources. Mass media and publications are often biased. Unlike the Republicans who do not consider climate change to be a great challenge, their political rivals, i.e. the Democrats, continue expressing their concerns about global warming. The public opinion on climate change in the USA is polarized due to the mass media that continue reinforcing partisan polarization and people’s political inclinations. Education and knowledge enable individuals to develop an adequate response to global warming and decide for themselves whether climate change poses a threat or whether it is just a hoax. However, scientists and environmentalists continue convincing Americans that global warming has to be addressed immediately as consequences will be irreversible. Inaction and indifference towards the planet, nature, and the environment are impermissible. The concerned parties also raise the issue of whether global warming is caused by human activity or natural events. It is still difficult to develop a comprehensive and effective policy that will make citizens lower greenhouse gas emissions. The lack of reforms and legislative initiatives polarizes the public view on global warming.