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 …

Anchoring doubt

For five years now I have been interested in how doubts about climate change are expressed by whom and how. To be honest, I very much doubt I have found out anything new. However, when reading some blogs recently, something struck me. But before I come to that, lets start at the beginning. Science and …

The pause

About three years ago, in 2013, I became aware of discussions around the ‘pause’ (a period of relatively little change in globally averaged surface temperatures) and since then I have been observing goings-on around this new talking point in the climate change debate. I was a bit surprised by how much trouble a wiggle in …

Climate wars

At the end of August Barry Woods asked on Twitter when the phrase ‘climate wars’ was first used and Warren Pearce ‘paged’ me. I was on holiday, so I didn’t have time to properly look into this. I still haven’t got a lot of time, but I have started to dig a bit. When you …

Carbon pollution

As a linguist I have been interested in ‘carbon compounds’ for a long time, that is, phrases that combine the word ‘carbon’ with other words to form new units of meaning. Using lexical carbon compounds, we can talk about anything, from ‘carbon awareness’ to ‘carbon zealots’. ‘Carbon pollution’ is one of these compounds which pack …

Basic science and climate politics: A flashback to 1989

We were trying to empty a room for refurbishment. So we rummaged through some old papers which included amongst many others: an inaugural lecture transcript from 1991 (Robert Dingwall, former Director of our Institute for Science and Society), Karl Popper’s last paper entitled “Towards an evolutionary theory of knowledge” (with the enigmatic scribble: ‘Popper’s last …