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Posted Mon Jun 9 2014: from Daily Camera:
CU-Boulder researchers track 'hedging' language in climate news
As scientists' level of confidence that human activities are contributing to significant changes in the Earth's climate increases, the amount of "hedging" language used by some prominent journalists in writing on that subject has also risen, a team of University of Colorado researchers has found. "The language itself is very important for how people perceive the information," said Adriana Bailey, a doctoral student at the CU's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and lead author on a newly published study. "And so what we wanted to look at is what kind of language choices are being made to discuss the scientific uncertainties that do exist ... or to construct new uncertainties that might be extrinsic to the science."... For example, the word "uncertainty" was counted in a New York Times article that read " ... substantial uncertainty still clouds projections of important impacts ... ." It was not counted in a sentence from the same newspaper that read " ... uncertainty was removed as to whether humans had anything to do with climate change. ..." They found that in 2001, the U.S. papers used 189 hedging words or expressions for every 10,000 words printed, while the Spanish papers used 107. In 2007, the number of hedging words and expressions used per 10,000 words was up to 267 in the U.S. and 136 in Spain. "I think I did find it surprising that there was more hedging language used over time," said Maxwell Boykoff, a CIRES fellow and assistant professor in environmental studies at CU and co-author on the study.
[Read more stories about: climate impacts, stupid humans]
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'Doc Jim says:
Uncertainty over certainty was created by faux uncertainty, certainly produced by energy companies certain about the need for uncertainty.

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