Accuracy in Media

Science is the study of the physical and natural world through observation and experimentation, which has resulted in multiple groundbreaking achievements such as electricity, vaccines for disease and healthy habits for daily life like clean drinking water. In recent years, science has become politicized, particularly in the subject of climate change. Some scientists claimed that climate change is an example of “settled science,” meaning that there is no doubt that science has proven climate change exists and was caused by human behavior and actions.

NBC News admitted that science was still learning about its methodologies and whether there was a direct link between climate change and storms’ intensity. The article, headlined, “This year’s Atlantic hurricane season was worse than normal, but it wasn’t nearly as destructive as much of the last 10 years,” highlighted the imperfection of science and climate change research.

The article said that 2019 was the “fourth consecutive Atlantic hurricane season with above-average activity, and wraps up a decade that saw some of the most devastating hurricanes to hit the United States in recorded history.” But the storms were not as destructive as previous storms were in this decade, which confused scientists. Scientists attempted to link the damages from storm activity to climate change, but they admitted “it has been challenging to draw conclusions with limited data.”

In other words, scientists lack a consensus on the link between climate change and both “storm intensification and wind strength.”

Although scientists mostly agreed that climate change leads to rainier, wetter storms, they cannot prove that climate change leads to more destructive and wetter storms. They claimed that there was not enough data to come to a consensus, even though there are decades of data to research and observe. One scientist quoted by NBC News said, “It would be awesome if we had 500 years of good hurricane data, but unfortunately we don’t.”

NBC News’s article demonstrated the politicization of science and climate change research, which is still learning, adapting, and evolving. Instead of focusing on divisive and apocalyptic climate change rhetoric, scientists and journalists alike should be more cautious in addressing climate change topics until a consensus is reached to avoid charges of political bias.

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