Why We Disagree About Climate Change Understanding Controversy Inaction and Opportunity review  100

Free read Why We Disagree About Climate Change Understanding Controversy Inaction and Opportunity

Why We Disagree About Climate Change Understanding Controversy Inaction and Opportunity review  100 · Climate change is not 'a problem' waiting for 'a solution' It is an environmental cultural and political phenomenon which is re shaping the way we think about ourselves our societE change In this way he shows that climate change far from being simply an 'issue' or a 'threat' can act as a catalyst to revise our perception of our place in the world Why We Disagree About Climate Change is an important contribution to the ongoing debate over climate change and its likely impact on our liv. The author divides the world into four types of people as respects a perspective on climate change Although originally skeptical of such generalizations I found myself convinced by his typology and could assign most of my friends into the categories The author does a better job of organizing his material than is typical for a treatise on such a large topic and I found his critiue of international treaties and broad policy approaches well done though I didn't need convincing due to my own experience with these fora I think that it would have been a stronger work if he had found something to lead up to that was relevant to REDUCING emissions rather than limiting himself to a broad argument about personalizing climate change

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Climate change is not 'a problem' waiting for 'a solution' It is an environmental cultural and political phenomenon which is re shaping the way we think about ourselves our societies and humanity's place on Earth Drawing upon twenty five years of professional work as an international climate change scientist. Why I Disagree about “Post Normal” Science Is scientific method the only way we can understand the climate change issue Or do we also need the help of idealistic and spiritual thinking This book written by a climate scientist comes up with a few surprising and dubious answersThe author like most informed scientists thinks that climate change will have a significant negative impact with the uncertainty only about how much If you personally have some doubts remember for a moment that is what the author believes Now consider the great revelation of this book “Climate change is not a problem it is an opportunity to alter the way we arrive at and achieve our personal aspirations and our collective social goals”There are two ways to interpret this statement The first that may come to mind is This is an opportunity to force our collectivist social ideology onto society using the pretext of a climate crisis as in Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything Capitalism vs The Climate After reading the book I think the author inclines toward something a little different that I will paraphrase as A drought that kills millions in Africa will inspire some of us in the affluent West to rethink our materialistic ways After the Age of Auarius dawns and we have achieved our personal aspirations then maybe we can get around to doing something about the climateA third option might be that studying the climate change issue can give us insight into how science works and how different people in society react to it That was my hope but I was disappointed The thesis of this book is profoundly offensive There is nothing good about a problem that might do us harm unless you hate humanityPerhaps the root of the problem can be seen in his discussion on the nature of scientific knowledge He prefers to lift his ideas from modern philosophers rather than tell us about his personal experience as a working scientist which does not make for productive readingHe helpfully starts with the fundamental uestion of the nature of reality Positivism holds that reality is independent of human consciousness and is external material and objective Constructivism claims reality is subjective and truth is a construction that is located within our own personal experience In plain language one is science and the other is fantasy believing what you want to believe The confusion comes from the fact that of course science is done by fallible people who perceive the world through their preconceptions The point of scientific method is to overcome these biases to arrive at an ever improving approximation of the truth The point of constructivism is the kind of self indulgence this book is guilty ofOur author does not see it that way saying “It is no longer possible to see scientific knowledge as the neutral outcome of a steadily advancing pursuit of an objective and universal truth” He cites Thomas Kuhn’s work on scientific revolutions as evidence In fact Kuhn showed that science advances at an uneven rate individual scientists can be resistant to change and science as a whole would advance uickly if every scientist were perfectly rational The existence of imperfect scientists does not invalidate the concept of an objective and universal truthHe is setting up the demise of so called Normal Science defined as “skepticism universalism communalism and disinterestedness” I assume that “communalism” here means there is a single reality we observe in common and “disinterestedness” is a clumsy word for objective unless scientists really are a bunch of bored communists But now he tells us we are entering the brave new world of Post Normal Science where facts are uncertain the stakes are high and decisions urgent Does this sound like part of the post modern project to replace objective reality with the subjective or constructivist fantasies of an intellectual eliteUncertainty is nothing new High stakes and urgent decisions should not affect how the physical sciences are practiced The results of this science should be fed into the political process It is advocating influence in the other direction that amounts to a celebration of the politicization of scienceThere is He says science must concede ground to ‘other ways’ of knowing An example he gives is indigenous knowledge of drought management Such local knowledge is said to challenge scientific universalism Nonsense If that knowledge is based on centuries of observation and can be confirmed by modern scientific method then it is a legitimate part of a single universal science There is no valid ‘other way’ On the uestion of the authority of science he even asks “Does it matter if Al Gore gets some aspects of the science wrong” Yes it does matter to those of us still stuck in the old fashioned world of Normal ScienceBut he also says that scientists should strive to eliminate bias and prejudice the process and data must be open to public scrutiny and uncertainty must be clearly communicated Maybe he simply cannot distinguish the boundary between science and politics I suggest he is trying to create an opening for the idealistic thinking that comes next in the book But an opening in the integrity of science is a gaping wound subject to all kinds of infectionMuch of the book is taken up with the idealistic thinking he seems to favor over “our science saturated but spiritually impoverished wisdom” He presents a number of ways the philosophers use to categorize the different ways people think including the myths by which we understand climate change I think it can be boiled down to two main categoriesOne is the sanctity of nature whether because it is God’s creation or the modern environmentalist substitute Michael Creighton describes the latter succinctly and cynically We started with the paradise of Eden a state of grace and unity with nature Then we fell from grace into a state of pollution by eating from the tree of technology We are all energy sinners doomed to die in the Apocalypse unless we seek salvation in the sustainability of the church of the environment Our author is much nicer and uses a lot words to arrive at what amounts to the same conclusion He reports that some of these people object to a carbon tax because it treats atmosphere as a commodity that can be sold to private interests So these idealists would prefer it to have zero valueThe other notion is that of euity or ‘distributional justice’ “All techno fixes will create the next generation of crisis because they ignore the fundamental problems of capitalism as a system that ignores injustice and promotes ineuity” Again don’t bother doing anything real until we achieve somebody’s fantasy of a perfect world The Kyoto Protocol is an example of this kind of thinking where the goal of ‘distributional justice’ undermined the reasonable emission reductions it proposedThis book was written just before the so called “Climategate” controversy erupted when e mail correspondence between climate scientists was stolen from the University of East Anglia Still it is surprising that the “we” who disagree about climate change does not address those who uestion the science itself Skeptics such as Michael Creighton and Bjørn Lomborg are only briefly mentioned as if they were academic curiosities I would have liked insight into the many different reasons people have for being suspicious of what climate science tells us In short I would have liked a better bookPerhaps I am being too negative I was put off by what I see as undermining the integrity of science and the notion that the climate change problem is somehow good for our souls I can never tell when he is simply reporting the news or feeding us his beliefs Even a relatively good chapter on “The Discovery of Global Warming” gives the impression that science ended in 1987 and then degenerates into the sociology of public opinionThose skeptical of global warming are going to have their beliefs about the politicization of science confirmed by what they read here But just because this one guy thought he had to write this book does not mean he represents all climate scientists One could just as well conclude that being a believing Christian which the author is interferes with the ability to practice good science Perhaps the best insight in the book is that people will select their favorite climate change myth so they can believe what they want to believe Which is probably what you the reader are doing right nowThere is some worthwhile information and analysis in this book and certainly a lot to think about The best I can say is that it provided plenty of material that needs to be subjected to critical thinking I suggest you skip this book and instead read George Marshall’s Don't Even Think About It Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change

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Why We Disagree About Climate Change Understanding Controversy Inaction and OpportunityAnd public commentator Mike Hulme provides a uniue insider's account of the emergence of this phenomenon and the diverse ways in which it is understood He uses different standpoints from science economics faith psychology communication sociology politics and development to explain why we disagree about climat. Excellent and thoughtful book by a British climate scientist which suggests with much detailed discussion that debates about climate change are often less about scientific facts and proxies for our values concerns aspirations or fears The central focus of the book is not on the science of anthropogenic global warming though the first couple of chapters give an excellent history but on how the idea of climate change bears on human assumptions about nature rationality government and what the human project is ultimately about