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Wed May 28, 2014, 01:44 PM

John Oliver's viral video: the best climate debate you'll ever see

The Guardian
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John Oliver's viral video: the best climate debate you'll ever see

The new HBO comedy show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver recently made a mockery of media false balance in its climate science coverage. Oliver was interviewed on the science podcast Inquiring Minds last week, and host Chris Mooney voiced my feelings exactly:

"I feel like they said in 4 minutes something I've been saying for 10 years with like tens or hundreds of thousands of words; what they said was that there's no debate over global warming, so to have these 'balanced' 1-on-1 TV debates is just preposterous."


Citing the 97% expert consensus result from a paper my colleagues and I published last year, John Oliver illustrated what a statistically representative climate change debate would look like, to great comic effect. A video of the show has gone viral, with over 2.8 million views. You can view it below (warning: the video includes some profane language).



In the show, Oliver made several key points:

Humanity's response to global warming has so far been a massive risk-management failure, or as Oliver put it, "we've all proven that we cannot be trusted with the future tense."

Public skepticism about global warming is irrelevant. As Neil deGrasse Tyson says, "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."

The body of scientific evidence supports human-caused global warming: 97% of peer-reviewed scientific papers taking a position on the subject over the past 20 years are in agreement about this.

The media nevertheless continues to treat the subject as a 'debate', often with 1 person representing the 97% consensus and 1 person representing the less than 3% fringe minority.

The 'debate' should center on what to do about climate change; it's not about the science.


MORE AT (with links): http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/may/23/john-oliver-best-climate-debate-ever

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Reply John Oliver's viral video: the best climate debate you'll ever see (Original post)
FourScore May 2014 OP
dickthegrouch May 2014 #1
mrdmk May 2014 #2

Response to FourScore (Original post)

Wed May 28, 2014, 04:11 PM

1. I love John Oliver

This show is so refreshing. I wish he'd skewer a few more recognizable idiots in his show.

The only reason to deny climate change is that they don't want to forgo the profits they are making to perform the remedial work. It's only going to be that much more expensive and difficult when we actually correct our behavior.

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Response to FourScore (Original post)

Wed May 28, 2014, 07:37 PM

2. So too really have a 'fair and balanced oppresentation

The show should have 3 people saying man has nothing to do with global warming and 97 people calling them out for their non-sense, or 0.3 people saying man has nothing to do with global warming and 9.7 people calling them out for their non-sense.

I like the ladder proposal, stage management would be a lot easier unlike the colossal Arnold Kalifornah election show of a few years back.

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