So I’m watching an otherwise interesting story on “efforts to convert algae into clean fuel,” by the otherwise very solid Tom Bearden of PBS’s NewsHour. Then, boom, he drops the media’s favorite wishy-washy hedge:
Wells also produce carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas thought to contribute to global climate change.
C’mon. I think we are at least one decade, if not two decades or more, passed a time when the words “thought to” are justified.
Note to Beardon: Why exactly do you think it is called a greenhouse gas?
This hedge remains all too common in the media — see Memo to Wall Street Journal: You can do better than “greenhouse gases, which are believed to contribute to climate change.”
As I wrote in that earlier post, this hedge is especially pointless and misinforming because of the second hedge — “contribute to.” All but the most extremist deniers of the basic climate science accept that carbon dioxide contributes to global climate change.
So perhaps the NewsHour might catch up with the scientific understanding and write some variation of:
… carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that causes the global climate to change.
And people wonder why the public is still underinformed on this subject.