2010-10-12 12:45:32Thoughtful WTD blog post
John Cook


Great blog post from Watching The Deniers:

We speak in facts, they talk about values: denial is not an emotional state but part of ones world view

Take-home for me:

The denier coaches their arguments in positive terms: liberty, free markets, the right to free expression. They wrap their denial up in good-old fashioned patriotism.The climate change debate taking place in the pubic realm is not about facts: it is about values.It always has been.

Accepting the reality of climate change does not need to be seen as a negative, it can be posited as value. Try this for size: 

An individual who accepts the climate change is someone who has a feel for “the big picture”. They are both pragmatic and informed. It also signals concern for ones community, ones country and fellow human beings. It stems from a deeply humanistic world view, in which compassion is a motivating factor.

Can one argue with such values? 

When I talk directly with skeptics, I try to identify values we hold in common such as an emphasis on empirical evidence, a desire to understand the big picture. BTW, this post referenced George Monbiot's The Values of Everything  which references a WWF report Common Cause. Will try to read this shortly...

2010-10-12 18:19:47

How about the positive value of "dealing with reality"?
2010-10-16 10:25:01big picture
Dana Nuccitelli

The Big Picture you say?  That rings a bell :-)

But it's an interesting point - perhaps we need to frame AGW realism more positively.  Which I think SkS is good at, because it's all about understanding climate science.

But the solutions need to be viewed positively too for people to get on board.  The skeptics can always say "they're trying to take away our freedoms".  American Democrats tried to frame it positively, calling the climate bill a green jobs bill.  That didn't work though - the negative messaging was too strong.  Messages like "we're trying to preserve the climate for future generations" are more minimizing the negative than focusing on the positive.  It's a tough task to create a positive message about an issue as dangerous as rapid climate change.

Convincing people that they're being intelligent, realistic, and responsible by understanding the big picture is a good start though.