With the United Nations climate change conference under way this month in Copenhagen, many journalists face the challenge of covering an extremely complex issue. To help journalists — and anyone else who is curious — understand climate change, Tom Yulsman, an associate professor at the University of Colorado’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication, has created a free, four-hour, online course titled “Covering Climate Change.”
1. What exactly is the climate change debate?
There is no one debate. Reporters fall into this trap, and readers fall into this trap of accepting that there is just one debate. There’s science, and there’s policy. Within science, there are dozens of debates about the various risks that we can expect over the future. There’s not terribly much debate on the big question whether humans are causing climate change. There’s pretty robust agreement on that. Within policy, there are all sorts of debates. There are even debates about how should science inform policy-making decisions.