Finally! Peer-reviewed climate research gets to the heart of the problem
‘ “…until a social agent, collective or individual [i.e., climate expert], is able to place their own ‘self’ into the frame of questioning in interaction with others, it will not be in a position to genuinely hear those others, because it is instead determinedly if inadvertently imposing its own projections of the imagined other into the inauthentic ‘listening’ relationship”… experts’ prevailing means of contributing to socioscientific controversies are crippled, not by public indifference or ignorance, but by experts’ allegiance to the assumption that information transfer can prompt behavior change. The transfer of climate experts’ knowledge by itself has little chance of changing publics’ behaviors… Recall, also, the research that shows that individuals are less likely to alter their behaviors in cases where the proposed changes undermine pre‐existing political affiliation, knowledge, status, ego, livelihood, or identity.‘
- Brian Cook and Jonathan Overpeck https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/wcc.570
Looks like I’m not alone in the universe.
OK, sorry, that’s being overly ethnocentric – possibly many of you are in the same boat as myself. That is, perhaps you understand the feeling of thinking you’re speaking the same language as everyone else yet seeing not a lick of comprehension on anyone’s face. It is not a good feeling, but after a decade or two, you kind of get used to it.
What I’m referring to is the feeling of disorientation arising from listening to modern climate change discussions. Legions of scientists that scurry about in the peer-review structure like mice under a crust of snow in winter crank out voluminous reports about this-or-that aspect of climate change, research material which is then picked up and amplified and distorted by mainstream media like kids playing telephone or like a Marshall stack distorts a Les Paul. And this material finds a happy audience with other members of the scientific community and no one else, except the world’s media that knows a good scare story when it sees one and joins in shouting with no real understanding of what they’re shouting about.
The cacophony that defines climate change discourse has gone from a three out of ten to a seven out of ten to a fourteen out of ten. Every conceivable negative repercussion from climate change has been documented and megaphoned in the media, which has catalogued impending catastrophes ranging from rising sea levels to depressed dogs to increased satellite collisions.
Correspondingly and incredibly, the most fingered culprit for climate change, the burning of fossil fuels, continues not just unabated but at in increasing pace. That’s right, consumption of oil, natural gas and coal all increased in 2018.
The coexistence of these two phenomena at the same time means only one thing – the eggheads in the opening quote have it right. Sorry, I meant academics. The tactics that climate change experts are using to try to communicate the issue and issues of climate change are not working. That community is talking to itself, but is speaking a useless dialect to the world’s consumers.
Even worse, the tactics are simply building an impregnable wall of polarity, forcing people into two camps. If you take issue with a climate scientist’s output, you are a “climate change denier”, as outlined above by the scientists, there is no place in the discussion for viewpoints that originate from outside the view of the experts. On the other hand, if you side with the climate experts, you are deemed part of the global cabal that understands nothing about how the world really works; people who live by theory and not execution.
Such is the mess we are in. If human activity is indeed frying the planet to the extent that major and bad changes are coming, the tactics, strategies, and bellowing of the world’s climate experts/scientists is simply guaranteeing that these events will come to pass. Only by rewriting the script, but making allowances for the way the world really operates, in a way that resonates with the “common people” that are responsible for the bulk of global emissions, will there be any hope of true environmental progress.