Science/climate communication: A view from reception theory

There has been some controversy recently surrounding a paper published in Nature Geoscience on global warming or, if I understand things correctly, about whether there might be a slightly better chance of avoiding it. This paper appears to have been misunderstood, misrepresented and misreported. One Mail Online headline read: “Fear of global warming is exaggerated, …

Hurricane Harvey: Some reflections on climate change communication

Hurricane Harvey has hit Houston and its aftermath is causing extreme flooding. This made me think… I remember sitting in an airport lounge in 2005 somewhere watching Hurricane Katrina unfold on TV screens and beginning to think about climate change as a social issue. A year or so later I started to notice the spread of a …

False balance

Last week an appearance by Lord Lawson on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme caused somewhat of a stir. This was not the first time this had happened. The same happened in 2014. In both instances the BBC invited Lord Lawson to talk about climate change. In both cases this was greeted with a chorus …

Tracing the contours of the consensus debate in climate change: The sequel

In August 2013 I wrote a blog post on the issue of ‘consensus’ in the context of climate change. This topic had been put into the climate communication spotlight by a paper published in May 2013 by Cook et al. entitled: ”Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature” (for more background, …

Climate Change on the Bathroom Wall: How Vice, BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post report on environmental issues

This is guest post by Mike S. Schäfer, Professor of Science Communication at the Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research (IPMZ) and Director of the Center for Higher Education and Science Studies at the University of Zürich, Switzerland. This article was first published in the European Journalism Observatory, Dec 14, 2016. *** Shouting protesters …

Broken science, broken record?

The phrase ‘science is broken’ recently popped back into my head. I had read it quite often in the past, but in the context of current debates about the place of science in society I began to ask myself: What does this phrase actually mean? And why do people use it? ‘Science is broken’ To …

Science, utility and responsibility

The value of science for society and the role of scientists in society has been debated for a long time (and in this context the word ‘science’ generally refers to the natural, physical, biological sciences). Just recently the topic has crept up on us yet again. Some have argued that, in the context of climate …

The meanings of climate

This is a guest post by Martin Mahony (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow and Nottingham Research Fellow, School of Geography) announcing a public lecture. The lecture sounds really interesting. Unfortunately, I am away and can’t got to it, but I hope that lots of others will be able to attend! *** What do we talk about …

Climate, science and politics: The certainty and consensus confusion

In this, my probably final, blog post on climate change, I’ll return to a topic that has troubled me for many years, namely religious rhetoric used in debates about climate change science and climate change politics. The terrain between climate change science and climate change politics has become a bit of a swamp and the …