Articles on climate change are many and varied. Everyone seems to have opinions on the subject and many are more than happy to write their opinions down.
There are many different types of article:
As a rule the substance and credibility of the article improves as you go down this list.
The content often becomes less of an opinion and more a description of facts, evidence and is increasingly based on scientific principles.
Blogs are all about a personal voice and although there are some really good ones, most lack balance and objectivity.
That said there is great value in scanning a range of opinion on controversial topics. Blogs allow people to say what they think unfettered by their work constraints and so can be very informative.
At the other end of the list is the formal reporting of evidence in scientific papers. These are the peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals.
It is worth noting how the peer-review of scientific findings work.
The process is that after completing their experiment or observations, the scientists write up their results and analyses in a prescribed format and submit them to a scientific journal. The editor of the journal passes the paper on to other scientists (peers). These are the experts in the discipline, who check the facts for both accuracy and interpretation. These peers assess the paper and provide a report to the editor with a recommendation as to the quality of the research and the article. Based on these reviews the editor decides if the quality of the science is sufficient to merit publication.
Scientific journals are highly specialised and usually edited by internationally respected scientists who are experts in the specific topic.
Between the blog and the scientific paper the various forms of articles on climate change vary in their quality.
Despite the adage "don't believe what you read in the papers" it is very easy to fall into that trap.
Sifting out the truth from the opinion is a useful skill.
When reading anything on the climate change conundrum, look out for
If an article is full of jargon or appears confused or opinionated, it probably lacks these features and may deserve only a cursory glance.
Articles with a single view may lack balance but a well-argued viewpoint might be worth reading.
Most of the articles on climate change from industry lobby groups are like this. They argue from a known and often specific viewpoint but the facts that they marshal are usually well researched.
Look out for articles with views that are opposite to your own.
Or if you are still trying to form a view, read from the deniers and sceptics as well as the believers and the scientists.
Remember that the "scientists", or more strictly the intellectuals of past times, were convinced that the earth was flat and that the sun moved around it. And it was a while before their successors accepted otherwise. Of course, scientists are people too and are as prone to opinion and bias as anyone else.
Alternative views should be read.
Please let us know if Climate change wisdom pages suffer from any of these flaws.
Post a comment below, as it would be great to hear what you think.
Or send us a link to articles that you think are worth reading or just a waste of pixels.
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