Kicking the Catastrophe Habit

By Keith Kloor | January 27, 2011 9:14 pm

I’ve just come across a British psychology blog (new to me) that talks about a Berkley climate change-related study that was widely reported and chewed over in the U.S.

This latest post has a good summary of the study’s methodology and also provides some larger context:

This is the latest in a string of studies that suggest fear-based messages can backfire if they clash with people’s underlying beliefs. For example, morbid anti-smoking messages can actually encourage smoking in those for whom the habit is tied to their self-esteem. In relation to climate change, there’s evidence that framing environmentalism as patriotic can be more effective than playing on people’s fears.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change
  • Menth

    I think AGW activists lose sight of the fact that their ultimate goal is not to convince the public that cAGW is real per se but instead to reduce co2 emissions. Since James Hansen’s seminal address to congress in 1988 the approach to do this has been to scare the bejesus out of the public with “frightening scenarios”. To this day people like Joe Romm and others scoff at this Berkley paper and at anyone (Pielke Jr. comes to mind) who propose a different method of tackling the issue. My question to them is: How’s that approach working out for you?
    This graph is instructive:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/webdata/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo.png
    But by all means, keep pounding that square peg into that round hole.

  • JD Ohio

    What is funny is that the people in favor of drastic CO2 reductions think that there must be something psychologically wrong with people who disagree with them.  They never consider that maybe the argument in favor of reducing CO2 is wrong.
    ¬
    JD

  • http://www.hopkinson.net Simon Hopkinson

    What I find funny is how those given to using propaganda techniques are intractably wedded to the belief that, when the spin doesn’t work, what is demanded is more spin or different spin. It’s a bit like being stuck in mud up to the axle, and thinking that the only possible way to gain traction is to press harder on the accelerator. It passes completely unnoticed that the more this technique is used, the less substance there is with which to gain traction at all.
    ¬
    What is being rejected is the spin itself, as a means by which to coerce the public. It is not the type of spin being used, nor is it the way the spin is being presented, but that it is spin. Not science; a spin on science. Not data but a very specific interpretation of the data. Not observation, but an evidentially unsupported, very carefully constructed and spun prediction.
    ¬
    Spin. We don’t want it. And now we reject those who spin. Because they spin. Those who spin can.. spin.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »