The typical media debate tends to ignore or confuse both the broad knowledge accumulated and the limits of scientific models, instead either arguing the quality of the science to support conclusions or raising expectations of science that models cannot deliver. This is happening in a media sphere of ever-greater polarization around extreme political ideologies in which climate change has joined gun control, abortion, and same-sex marriage as ideologically-driven flashpoint issues. Yet, it might not be too late to reverse this process and uphold the vision of a public sphere as developing understanding through communication and thus establishing a common ground for political action. For the issue of climate change, seeking such common ground seems particularly pressing. This essay focuses on the climate debate in the U.S. as this is not only a domestic debate, but has global repercussions. As Thomas Friedman stated, rather boldly, in a recent New York Times editorial: “When it comes to dealing with the world’s climate and energy challenges I have a simple rule: change America, change the world.”
Brüggemann, Michael (2014): A Farewell to Balance: How Journalism Shapes the Public Debate on Climate Change in the U.S. In Transatlantic Perspectives. American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, Johns Hopkins University. Available online at http://www.aicgs.org/publication/a-farewell-to-balance-how-journalism-shapes-the-public-debate-on-climate-change-in-the-u-s/.