2011-06-25 00:42:55Don't ignore climate skeptics – talk to them differently -- Chrsitian Science Monitor
John Hartz
John Hartz


Don't ignore climate skeptics – talk to them differently

More scientific data won’t convince doubters of climate change. But reframing the debate as one about values could make a difference.

By Andrew Hoffman / June 24, 2011

2011-06-30 13:47:21great piece on talking to skeptics
Tom Smerling


Thanks for flagging this for us.   It's a terrific piece that in just 2 short pages weaves together a lot of what we know about effective climate communication.  

Of particular value are his examples of alternative "frames" for talking about climate -- national security, moral values, economic competitiveness, etc.     This gets us away from the usual "if-I-just-hit-you-over-the-head-with-more-irrefutable-evidence-then-maybe-you'll-come-to-your-senses" approach -- which has just about reached its limit.

Single most important take-away:   When the resistence to climate science is at the level of ideological and values -- and is just hiding behind pseudo-science -- you can never dislodge it with more science.   You have to deal with it at the level of values.


2011-06-30 14:47:52
Glenn Tamblyn


Great single para


"Finally, the debate must include a way to educate an American public that is relatively uninformed about the scientific process. For example, many people do not understand the nature of uncertainty, probabilities, and the standards of scientific proof."


Approaching the general public could take two forms that both might work but I think current approach doesn't

1. Just teach the basic science, at the laymans level. Fill in the blanks in the general publics knowldege of how the world works. Then let them draw their own conclusions. Don't tfy to show them the whole jigsaw and just say 'See!' Rather let them get familiar with the pieces and let them put them together. If they do that, they own the answer. And even if they have only partly accepted the conclusion, the part they have accepted says they don't think the science is being fudged.


2. Then a values based argument. Perhaps explicitly discussing it in terms of different peoples values and how this affects the way we look at things. Certainly for the US the security frame would seem to be strong. And pitching the actions taken in terms of securing 'defense' can them be linked to the actual military defense budget. Then the numbers don't look nearly so scary.

2011-07-02 01:59:04Glenn Tamblyn
John Hartz
John Hartz

Over the past few years, evironmentalists in the US have entered into alliances with individuals and groups within the military establshment (including vetrans. retirees, think tanks, etc.) to articulate the impacts that climate change is having, and will have, on national security.