The American debate over climate change turns on two main themes. One is the science of the problem; the other is government measures to fix it. Many believe these themes cover the entire debate. They’re wrong.
Far more than science is at play on climate change. At its root is a debate over culture, values, ideology, and worldviews.
As such, he says the debate
must move away from positions (climate change is or is not happening) and toward the underlying interests and values at play. It must engage at the deeper ideological levels where resistance is taking place, using new ways to frame the argument to bridge both sides.
The entire piece is well worth reading.
I have a story that just went up on the Science magazine website. I’ll have much more to say about it on my site over the weekend.
UPDATE: I didn’t see this editorial in the Salt Lake Tribune until after my story was published in Science. Here’s an excerpt:
Puzzling out the real reason why the state archaeologist and his two assistants were fired Tuesday, supposedly for budget reasons alone, is also a matter of setting the event in context. But it doesn’t take a lot of digging to see that the lamentable action had very little to do with payroll and everything to do with payback.
Officially, the axing of state archaeologist Kevin Jones and assistants Derinna Kopp and Ronald Rood was nothing personal, just business, forced upon the Utah Department of Community and Culture by legislative spending cuts.
But, set in its full context, the firings strongly suggest that the archaeologists had become very unpopular with the powers that be in the Legislature, governor’s office, Utah Transit Authority and others in Utah’s inordinately powerful real estate development business.
Though Green has been an occasional commenter on this site before, I’m not actually familiar with where he stands on climate science and the whole climate change debate. But I like that he’s not afraid to criticize what I have referred to as the “climate capos” on the right wing side of the debate, as seen here from an essay posted earlier this week:
Over at climatedepot.com, and, apparently in the Rushbo zone, there is a new tone of intolerance when it comes to diversity of climate opinion: Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Chris Christie (hail the redeemer of fat guys from New Jersey!) have all been slammed recently for being taken in by the great climate con, and are basically being written off as viable candidates on the right. The Right has refined their tolerance equation to match that of the Left: “you’re either with us or against us.”
Note to readers: Green is being sarcastic there with his reference to the “great climate con.” I do know that he not a subscriber to the Morano/Inhofe grand hoax worldview.
any comment on Gore’s primary critique; namely that the MSM is failing the public on this issue? I thought media bashing and climate change was your bete noire”¦.
I do have some thoughts, but let’s first have a look at John Broder’s nice summation in the NYT of Gore’s media criticism:
Much of Mr. Gore’s essay is devoted to criticism of the news media as failing to report accurately on the scientific consensus that climate change is real and that it is most likely caused by human activities. He said the media had been cowed by an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign financed by the oil, gas and coal industries, or had presented ideological entertainment in the guise of news reporting.
I would say that of all these points, only the last one rings true to me (“ideological entertainment in the guise of news reporting”)–but only with respect to broadcast TV, which is in line with my own critique of the PBS segment on Gore’s essay.
I have argued many times on this site that I think all the histrionic criticism of climate reporting in mainstream newspapers and magazines is unwarranted. I still believe that. My other thoughts on this issue are best captured by Andy Revkin here:
The [Gore] piece retreads old arguments implying that if the disinformation on this tough issue were swept away (along with bad media habits), some kind of magical consensus would emerge. That’s a fundamental misreading of a lot of social science, at least to my eye. There are inconvenient truths, yes. But we also have “An Inconvenient Mind.”
Additionally, here’s Bryan Walsh over at Time magazine:
Gore and other critics from the left are wrong about how poorly the media reports on climate change””and even more wrong about the difference it makes for the public.
But as Walsh also notes,
Gore’s bigger concern is television, where he’s on surer ground.
So in sum, I think it’s important for critics of climate reporting to not conflate the different mediums when they go on their journalism bashing benders.
On a related note, Walsh also makes some very important distinctions that climate concerned media critics should pay close attention to. He writes that “the scientific consensus over the reality of manmade climate change has grown increasingly strong in recent years,” but that
consensus on the reality of climate change is not the same thing as consensus on the exact effects and severity of climate change, where there is significant and natural scientific debate. Nor is there consensus””or some kind of unimpeachable fact””on how we as a nation and a world should deal with climate change. The reporting should reflect that very lively debate“”a fact that sometimes gets forgotten by environmentalists.