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BornFromTheVoid

Climate Change Science - PR problem?

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Nice to see a balanced approach to this subject instead of all the doom mongering that normally gets thrown in, a very good article

Doom mongering? That generally is the domain of the media and politicians, no?

The people that claim scientific studies are nothing more than "doom mongering", generally just don't like the results and so dismiss it with derogatory terms such as that.

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Doom mongering? That generally is the domain of the media and politicians, no?

The people that claim scientific studies are nothing more than "doom mongering", generally just don't like the results and so dismiss it with derogatory terms such as that.

Yes, BFTV, it is! IMO, the 'Littlejohns', at one end of the the spectrum, and the 'Gores', at the other, have hardly done GW Theory any favours!

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Yes, BFTP, it is! IMO, the 'Littlejohns', at one end of the the spectrum, and the 'Gores', at the other, have hardly done GW Theory any favours!

I don't know about BFTP.. But I do agree with BFTV ! rofl.gif

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I don't know about BFTP.. But I do agree with BFTV ! rofl.gif

rofl.gif

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Split the posts above out from the Norwegian study thread as they weren't really related and may be an interesting thread in their own right - does the debate, science and those involved in climate change have a pr problem?

Has political and subsequent media involvement got in the way of the work that scientists and researchers are doing - do people hear rhetoric (on both sides of the debate) and instantly link studies and independent research with that when the two are unrelated?

How can we get to have a proper debate when phrases such as doom mongering being common whenever a 'pro' climate change study is released, we also hear regular accusations of climate change being hyped up to make it easier for govts to raise taxes and so on. On the other side, accusations of research being funded by oil co's with a vested interest in showing climate change isn't as bad as other studies may suggest often come up (among other things). These are just a couple of examples, as on both sides there are plenty of factors which get in the way of reasoned and considered debate and tend to blind people from the facts and information being presented.

Whoever's to blame though, the ongoing challenge, along with research surely has to be about how organisations working in this area differentiate themselves from the negative pr which surrounds the subject?

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Split the posts above out from the Norwegian study thread as they weren't really related and may be an interesting thread in their own right - does the debate, science and those involved in climate change have a pr problem?

Has political and subsequent media involvement got in the way of the work that scientists and researchers are doing - do people hear rhetoric (on both sides of the debate) and instantly link studies and independent research with that when the two are unrelated?

How can we get to have a proper debate when phrases such as doom mongering being common whenever a 'pro' climate change study is released, we also hear regular accusations of climate change being hyped up to make it easier for govts to raise taxes and so on. On the other side, accusations of research being funded by oil co's with a vested interest in showing climate change isn't as bad as other studies may suggest often come up (among other things). These are just a couple of examples, as on both sides there are plenty of factors which get in the way of reasoned and considered debate and tend to blind people from the facts and information being presented.

Whoever's to blame though, the ongoing challenge, along with research surely has to be about how organisations working in this area differentiate themselves from the negative pr which surrounds the subject?

The ideal situation is that it should be a straightforward search for the truth of the matter - unfortunately whoever is providing the wherewithall for such research is bound to colour opinions and affect the results. There are too many vested interests in this subject.

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Depends on the weather.

Climate change beliefs of independent voters shift with the weather, UNH study finds

DURHAM, N.H. – There's a well-known saying in New England that if you don't like the weather here, wait a minute. When it comes to independent voters, those weather changes can just as quickly shift beliefs about climate change.

New research from the University of New Hampshire finds that the climate change beliefs of independent voters are dramatically swayed by short-term weather conditions. The research was conducted by Lawrence Hamilton, professor of sociology and senior fellow at the Carsey Institute, and Mary Stampone, assistant professor of geography and the New Hampshire state climatologist. The research is presented in the article "Blowin' in the Wind: Short-Term Weather and Belief in Anthropogenic Climate Change" in the American Meteorological Society journal Weather, Climate, and Society.

"We find that over 10 surveys, Republicans and Democrats remain far apart and firm in their beliefs about climate change. Independents fall in between these extremes, but their beliefs appear weakly held — literally blowing in the wind. Interviewed on unseasonably warm days, independents tend to agree with the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change. On unseasonably cool days, they tend not to," Hamilton and Stampone say.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-01/uonh-ccb012413.php

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weather eater posted a link the in "In the news" thread to a piece in the Independent about the anti-climate change PR industry. I think everyone should have a read of that.

There are those that want to turn a scientific truth into a political issue, of left/right/, liberal/conservative, pro-business/anti-industry and whatever else. This whole idea of climate scientists simply jumping on a gravy train, fudging data and manipulating the scientific processes has been created by the pro-fossil fuel industry to cast doubt on anything that suggests AGW is real or poses a risk.

The same thing was done, by many of the same "think-tank" groups for the tobacco industry, all to cast doubt on the effects of smoking and second hand smoke. (The Heartland Institute, whom almost every climate disinformer in the media is linked to, worked with the Philip Morris tobacco company during the 90s, doing much the same thing they do with climate change nowadays)

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You may be right BFTV, although I'd suggest that not all anti-climate change research is on this basis - there are always 2 sides to every coin and the fact that you (along with others on both sides of the debate) are only painting what is often a singular, one eyed picture is an illustration of the problem that we face.

From a personal perspective I think arguments/people lose credibility when their argument for a theory also results in them instantly dismissing and (in some cases) attempting to discredit any argument against that theory. It muddies the waters and eventually turns people off of the debate and the subject at hand.

If science and research is the answer to this, then surely it has to be the answer throughout - if someone puts out research then science should be able to prove/disprove it - so there really shouldn't be any need for anyone to try to discredit anything or use rhetoric which goes beyond the information shown in any research in order to 'force' their point. Surely it's harming the debate, confusing people, turning people off from listening to what might be important information and reducing the chance of any consensus. In fact, you could suggest that what occurs in the climate threads on netweather is (in it's own small way) is a mirror image of the wider problem!

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You may be right BFTV, although I'd suggest that not all anti-climate change research is on this basis - there are always 2 sides to every coin and the fact that you (along with others on both sides of the debate) are only painting what is often a singular, one eyed picture is an illustration of the problem that we face.

From a personal perspective I think arguments/people lose credibility when their argument for a theory also results in them instantly dismissing and (in some cases) attempting to discredit any argument against that theory. It muddies the waters and eventually turns people off of the debate and the subject at hand.

If science and research is the answer to this, then surely it has to be the answer throughout - if someone puts out research then science should be able to prove/disprove it - so there really shouldn't be any need for anyone to try to discredit anything or use rhetoric which goes beyond the information shown in any research in order to 'force' their point. Surely it's harming the debate, confusing people, turning people off from listening to what might be important information and reducing the chance of any consensus. In fact, you could suggest that what occurs in the climate threads on netweather is (in it's own small way) is a mirror image of the wider problem!

The issue is that there is almost no anti-climate change research. It's almost entirely op-eds, opinion pieces, blogs, news reports and whatnot, because there is no scientific basis to rejecting global warming.

peer-reviewedpapersagw.preview.png

I was careful to say "climate disinformers" too, not sceptics. Scepticism should be the rational base of any scientific mind. There are of course genuine sceptics in this debate, but these accept that we are contributing to warming, but just argue "how much".

I agree that the science should be enough. But with the worlds most powerful industries/people likely to lose out if we move towards a sustainable energy society and economy, people are being persuaded that that it's all a scam by huge disinformation compaigns, political parties are being bought out to prevent legislation going through to curb emissions, while the public (through blogs, newspaper articles, documentaries, tv-debates, right-wing news channels, etc.) are being told over and over again that the science is corrupt, the scientists are corrupt, and there is no need to do anything!

Scientists, unfortunately, having no training in PR and journalism, are struggling to get the importance of climate change across to the public.

I was taken in by the anti-climate science campaigns for a number of years, so I know as well as anyone how effective they are! But I do agree, nothing should be dismissed out of hand. Time should be taken to produce evidence and explain things to those that have been taken in by the dis-information campaigns. Posters on certain forums certainly did this for me, and helped contribute to me gaining a better understanding of climate, and our role in it.

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There are those that want to turn a scientific truth into a political issue, of left/right/, liberal/conservative, pro-business/anti-industry and whatever else.

I haven't been in here for ages, but thought I'd pop in!

I was only thinking this morning about climate change. This would seem an appropriate point in which to re-iterate my personal view, for what it is worth.

BFTV....you refer to a "scientific truth". But in the 1970s, scientists said we were heading for an ice age. In the 1990s we were going to have a Mediterranean climate. Current thinking seems to be that we will have more extreme weather.

It's like the boy who cried wolf.....we haven't had an ice age and we do not have a Mediterranean climate. Why should I believe the current prognostications?

My own view is that climate changes all by itself and not because of man's influence.

smile.png

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I haven't been in here for ages, but thought I'd pop in!

I was only thinking this morning about climate change. This would seem an appropriate point in which to re-iterate my personal view, for what it is worth.

BFTV....you refer to a "scientific truth". But in the 1970s, scientists said we were heading for an ice age. In the 1990s we were going to have a Mediterranean climate. Current thinking seems to be that we will have more extreme weather.

It's like the boy who cried wolf.....we haven't had an ice age and we do not have a Mediterranean climate. Why should I believe the current prognostications?

My own view is that climate changes all by itself and not because of man's influence.

smile.png

Not sure I agree with that perspective, as if we're going to start disbelieving theories because earlier ones were wrong, you could roll it back to the point where 'we' believed the world was flat - that was wrong but it doesn't mean we still don't have the right answer. My assumption is that when it comes to scientific theories the vast majority start as wrong or at least not quite right, but that's a start point and as we learn more, dig a little deeper and widen our understanding then we get closer to being right and eventually (in some instances at least) actually end up with the solution - so dismissing a theory or a route to making a theory because the first answer(s) were a bit iffy is maybe not the most robust way of dismissing them?

From a PR perspective though (which is what this subject is about), that's another problem that the climatologists/scientists etc need to solve though I guess, maybe the question is to ask whether the release of repeated studies with often very or at least slightly different outcomes and conclusions help from a public understanding perspective? Should they be held back and released as a group with conclusions drawn from a number of linked studies - would that show a more united front and smooth the edges a bit?

As per the Norwegian theory - a point was made that as 1 study alone it's maybe interesting but not enough to really change widely held opinions - maybe had it been held back 2 years and released with a series of linked studies from elsewhere then from an impact perspective it would make more people sit up and pay attention (assuming the results all continued to sing from that hymn sheet). On the flip side, if the linked studies all disagreed then you could effectively write off the original study and put it down to an anomaly which you may or may not look to investigate further, but you wouldn't at that stage muddy the waters by releasing it to the wider world?

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I haven't been in here for ages, but thought I'd pop in!

I was only thinking this morning about climate change. This would seem an appropriate point in which to re-iterate my personal view, for what it is worth.

BFTV....you refer to a "scientific truth". But in the 1970s, scientists said we were heading for an ice age. In the 1990s we were going to have a Mediterranean climate. Current thinking seems to be that we will have more extreme weather.

It's like the boy who cried wolf.....we haven't had an ice age and we do not have a Mediterranean climate. Why should I believe the current prognostications?

My own view is that climate changes all by itself and not because of man's influence.

smile.png

Hello noggin.

These are some common misconceptions. In the 70s a few scientists suggested we may be headed for a new ice-age. Certain aspects of the media then latched on to this idea and it got spread around. The majority of climate scientists at the time (even before carbon credits, renewable energy industries and the IPCC) believed that we would most likely see warming due to our increase in greenhouse gasses.

The change to a more Mediterranean type climate was once again, a media driven idea.

The predictions have always been for more extremes, with a long term warming trend. Predictions of precipitation changes in small areas like the UK have never had much confidence (and have always come with the caveat of low confidence in the IPCC reports), but as far as I can remember, were for increased precipitation further north, with a decrease to the south.

Just looking at temperatures, the upward trend is still quite strong, despite recent summers.

As for the rainfall, I don't have the stats to hand, so can't say much about that. But as I mentioned, there was never much confidence in the predictions, and the long term trends can include a run of wetter than normal summer too!

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My own view is that climate changes all by itself and not because of man's influence.

I've no problem with investigation/research into our ever-changing climate, be it warming,cooling or whatever,and the need to adapt to whatever consequences there may be. I've a big problem and a subsequent and immediate lack of interest when someone suggests our CO2 has a role,and that we have at our disposal the power to change a planet's climate by tinkering around with it. I am perfectly happy and can rest easy with my personal conclusion that it is all total cobblers.

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I've no problem with investigation/research into our ever-changing climate, be it warming,cooling or whatever,and the need to adapt to whatever consequences there may be. I've a big problem and a subsequent and immediate lack of interest when someone suggests our CO2 has a role,and that we have at our disposal the power to change a planet's climate by tinkering around with it. I am perfectly happy and can rest easy with my personal conclusion that it is all total cobblers.

I guess the question I ask myself about this post is what on earth it has to do with the topic being discussed? Although you do again highlight the problem - if your view is that whenever Co2 is mentioned it's all cobblers, no matter what the science says and what conclusions are drawn then there's really nowhere left to turn from there.

I genuinely believe that people who have a closed mind and a one eyed view with no wish to even entertain opposite views and information tend to lose credibility - whether your view is right or wrong your entrenchment gives you a similar PR problem, as people will switch off from reading what you say because they'll know pretty much without looking what you're going to say - regardless of the evidence, information or discussion being presented to you.

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Hi Nogg's , hope you're well?

As for the "70's ice age science" there was one chappie who is mortified at the press he got and the 'twisting ' it received. The science was good in that we should be merrily on our way into another cold period (and were doing quite nicely up until 1900 arrived and the northern regions that the orbital forcings favoured to begin the big freeze began to warm.

As it is the 70's " ice age now!" should be the main leader for AGW as it shows quite plainly how our forcings not only stopped 1,000yrs of northern cooling but reversed it???

Our conversations with 'the guys in the know' should have wised us up to the fact that the precessional cooling for the next 2 cycles has been offset by the current warming (and the 'normalisation' that will occur due to the GHG burden the atmosphere now carries) so we will not need trouble ourselves with such concerns for at least 46,000yrs?

As for "P.R."? I think the psychology of the 'denialist' has been so well explored that we should be looking at the psychiatric 'personality types' that are more readily associated with denialism and not the "P.R." issues (seeing as media seems to be firmly in the control of the 'Denialist' movement?

As it is "Fact" will win out in the end. The Climate shift , now ongoing, from the reduction of Summer sea ice and the early, and extensive, loss of winter snow, will prove more than enough to convince the sternest 'true sceptic' that AGW has now forced Nature to respond to it's subtle forcings over the past 150yrs. Nature will always have the upper hand in Climate (unless we instigate a full scale Nuclear Winter that is) and will always try and maintain a 'stable' system. When this is no longer possible I believe that the records show that the planet undergoes a rapid climate shift up to the next level that can be 'maintained'. I firmly believe that we are now beginning to see such a 'climate shift'. Denialist should be pleased as this will be a 'Natural' event, a 'Natural Reorganizing'. and so AGW can take a back seat.

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Oh dear - another PR disaster. Calling people with opposing views as a something 'ist' and trying to label them as a group with some related personality type (ie instant dismissal of an opposing view + an attempt to discredit anyone who has that view). Yet again a view with maybe all the right intentions and maybe some very valid points gets dumped in the draw marked 'I can't be bothered to read' because of its style and at least some of it's content.

In my opinion, if ever a thread answered it's own question then this one is it. help.gif

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From a PR perspective though (which is what this subject is about), that's another problem that the climatologists/scientists etc need to solve though I guess, maybe the question is to ask whether the release of repeated studies with often very or at least slightly different outcomes and conclusions help from a public understanding perspective? Should they be held back and released as a group with conclusions drawn from a number of linked studies - would that show a more united front and smooth the edges a bit?

As far as I'm aware there have been a number of linked studies published. Indeed I've posted some myself. Although, unlike your suggestion, they have normally been done retrospectively.

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What I see from a rather outsider-ish POV, is that the Earth is warming, generally due to the fact that the areas which are warming, are warming faster than the areas cooling... Arctic Amplification a good example of this.

But it's at this when I become lost.

Is cycles like the PDO or NAO weather, or climate. There is a real link between the PDO and weather in Western Europe- so, what is the PDO? Is it a climatic phase which we may be in for at least 10-20 years? Or is it weather patterns altering and changing, with a bias at this moment in time to a negative phase?

One thing I am concerned about is the Arctic, the losses there have been so consistent it is truly scary. A question is... what changed in 2004-2005 in the Arctic for such a drop in summer ice area? What factors have changed since the 1980s have caused the global temperatures to increase?

I am sceptical to whether it is man or nature, I like to keep an open mind... I'm not exactly sure if it's either at the moment!

Global_co2_emissions_graph.png

There is no doubt CO2 emissions are rising, but the global temperatures have fluctuated in the timeframe shown above, so surely the current phase cannot be attributed to carbon emissions, or at least not completely to carbon emissions?

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What I see from a rather outsider-ish POV, is that the Earth is warming, generally due to the fact that the areas which are warming, are warming faster than the areas cooling... Arctic Amplification a good example of this.

But it's at this when I become lost.

Is cycles like the PDO or NAO weather, or climate. There is a real link between the PDO and weather in Western Europe- so, what is the PDO? Is it a climatic phase which we may be in for at least 10-20 years? Or is it weather patterns altering and changing, with a bias at this moment in time to a negative phase?

One thing I am concerned about is the Arctic, the losses there have been so consistent it is truly scary. A question is... what changed in 2004-2005 in the Arctic for such a drop in summer ice area? What factors have changed since the 1980s have caused the global temperatures to increase?

I am sceptical to whether it is man or nature, I like to keep an open mind... I'm not exactly sure if it's either at the moment!

Global_co2_emissions_graph.png

There is no doubt CO2 emissions are rising, but the global temperatures have fluctuated in the timeframe shown above, so surely the current phase cannot be attributed to carbon emissions, or at least not completely to carbon emissions?

Certainly a good mindset to start off with IF. Careful comparing the logarithmic scale of that graph to a normal scale of most temperature graphs.

The theory of increased CO2 emissions causing an increase in temperatures lies in the long term trend. The short term can easily be influenced by other factors (ENSO being the strongest, but also solar, aerosols, and more) that can cause year to year fluctuations of several tenths of a degree, compared to the CO2 induced trend of little over 0.1C/decade. So it's perfectly within the bounds of AGW theory to see short term flatlines and even drops in temperature!

With your questions regarding the Arctic, I'll respond to them in the Arctic threadsmile.png

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As far as the 'Science' is concerned we have not seen such treatment since the initial debates over Darwin's 'Origins' publication.

At that time it was extreme Religious viewpoints that decided to play the man and not the ball, this time it appears that it is the conservative/Republican mindset that provides us with the 'nasty' attacks on the scientists in an attempt to taint their scientific findings.

In Darwin's time the upset to the literal reading of Genesis that came with the notion of natural selection caused the problems by challenging the way man,beast and environment were created.

Today the upset is caused by the 'fear' that rapid changes to our 'settled' way of being will dramatically change our life experience and expectations. Not only is it the 'fear' of such changes but also of the 'costs' that any attempts to mitigate will bring to global economies.

As ever the folk who gain most from today's status quo stand to be most impacted by any 'forced/planned' changes to the global economic/industrial model. These bodies also have vast amounts of money/resources with which to both defend the current model and resist any changes to it that we are told we should make . It is the utilisation of this potential that we have seen , over the past 20yrs, to bring about delays in a global response/acceptance to both the science and the implementation of the ways we are told we must adopt to mitigate the scale of the impacts future change will bring to the planet.

Money has been 'invested' in both widespread media disinformation of science's findings and the discrediting of the 'scientists' engaged in the studies.

Science was not equipped to deal with this onslaught nor did it expect that it's warnings of damaging change would be met with anything other than global gratitude for the warnings, ahead of times, that should have enabled us to offset the worst impacts of the changes.

Scientists are just that 'scientists'. They are not schooled in P.R. skills and did not ever consider that their day to day efforts to understand our changing planet would lead to both public vilification and death threats to self and family.

I think we are now seeing science rapidly evolve it's own P.R. 'techniques' as a response to this new climate of insult and assault now and actively organise it's responses to the attacks launched against the science.

In the end it will be the physical changes that will 'win the day' over whether change is occurring 'above and beyond' natural variability but sadly the 'lead time' that science gave us to try and offset the worst of the impacts of the changes will have been squandered by the Capitalist elite as they protected their own personal interests.

In a very 'Orwellian' way 'Big Brother (industry)' will have brainwashed swathes of the general public, by it's wholesale propaganda, into believing that the science is far from settled and that we do not need to concern ourselves with the changes now under way as all is well with the world. The only fly in the ointment are those horrid men in white coats scaring the few gullible fools as they fight to re-new their grants.

EDIT: Paul, how do we discuss the various 'factions', that we see engaged in the wider climate debate, without referring to the names that each faction is commonly known as?

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What I'm suggesting GW is that the whole debate is clouded by poor pr and poor presentation. If you think name calling and talk of factions is the best way to get your point across, you're wrong. I didn't bother taking in what you had to say in your previous post because of the way you worded it and I'd suggest many are the same. If you're trying to make yourself heard I think that's a problem you need to deal with, if you don't want to it's up to you, but I believe less people will be listening to what may be valid points if you don't.

As for the money spent on science vs the money spent on anti-gw science and publicity, are you suggesting that those in the science and research industry (and the multiple govts funding research projects) have had less to spend than those in the other camp? I'm not so sure, and even if the scientific community is just that, it doesn't mean they can't get pr advice on how best to get their story heard does it - particularly if the purpose of releasing the research is to educate people?

On the other side of the fence, what about the tales of doom mongering - it's a fairly widely held belief that the stories of climate change are often over-done. Has that solely been fed by the anti-gw side or is it because some reports, studies and subsequent stories around them have been ott? Is this another thing which turns people off from the debate, what can be done about it?

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