Over the last decade or so, hard rock geologists have done rather poorly in science, because they have become unfashionable, and are overshadowed by the popularity of climate change. Some of them become bitter and twisted and prominent septics.
Which brings me on to Copenhagen Congress: why the biased reporting? from Nurture, which reports on Mike Hulme’s letter to Science complaining about the reporting of the Copenhagen conference: Hulme et al. point out that the dominant mode of media reporting after the event was of impending doom which is no great surprise, because that was what the organisers wanted.
Hulme et al. say that Of the 593 research papers orally presented, only about 25% dealt with observed or modeled behavior of the Earth system. Nearly 50% of the papers were from scholars from the social sciences and humanities–geographers, philosophers, political scientists, anthropologists, economists, sociologists, and environmental historians–offering new insights about governance, adaptation, communication, behavior, resilience, innovation, and culture. These insights suggest that it is possible to avoid the catastrophic outcomes foreseen by biogeophysical scientists, particularly if climate change is addressed as part of the much larger societal transformations that are necessary to foster both equity and sustainability. However, little of this new research on climate change from the social sciences and humanities has been reported or recognized in mainstream media reporting from the event.
Mind you Hulme isn’t a modeller, so what does he know?
He continues: The key messages of the conference were not, and could not be, the “consistent” message of some 2000 scientists. The conference messages indeed constitute an important call to action. They would have been more inspiring, however, if they had taken note of the depth of insight that emerged from the research about the motives, forms, scales, and processes of possible actions. There is a large and growing body of research about climate change from the social sciences and humanities, which offers new ways of framing the phenomenon, of opening up discourses between peoples and political actors, of elaborating potential solutions that can be sustainable, and of linking such solutions to other key social, economic, and environmental phenomena. These are all insights that are more engaging, empowering, and fruitful than a discourse of catastrophe, and it is important that they are given much more prominence in climate change science-policy interactions and in media reporting.
[Thanks to AW for the pdf from Science]