Climategate: Some reflections

Ten years ago (it seems like yesterday), I was doing relatively pedestrian research on how people talked about climate change. Then, one morning I woke up to the news that emails by climate scientists had been hacked and were being used to cast doubt on the credibility of climate science and the integrity of climate …

A Whole New (re-cycled) World? An interdisciplinary conversation about the Circular Economy, Synthetic Biology and Sustainability Goals

This is a guest post by Penny Polson, Carmen McLeod, Sarah Hartley and Eleanor Hadley Kershaw *** Introduction to the Circular Economy The notion of a ‘circular economy’ has been gaining a lot of traction lately. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in particular, has raised the profile of this radical rethinking of how consumer goods are …

What is a climate change communicator to do?

In a recent article, social scientists claim that a rhetoric of deadlines to urge action on climate change is ‘dangerous’. While I agree that it might be dangerous to get into a situation where you extend deadlines forever if you cannot achieve them, setting no deadlines at all may make it difficult to talk about …

Groundhog day in the hothouse

On 6 August Will Steffen and others published a paper entitled “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene”. The paper explores “the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a …

Are we all alarmists now?

Over the years I have written many posts about extreme weather events on the one hand and quite a few on so-called alarmism on the other. This was in the context of working on issues related to climate change communication. Some years ago, when writing an article on communicating climate change, I included a sentence …

Climate change politics and the role of China: a window of opportunity to gain soft power?

This is a guest post by Adrian Rauchfleisch (National Taiwan University) & Mike S. Schäfer (University of Zürich) In our new publication we analyse the nexus between climate change and soft power with specific emphasis on China. We discuss the role of soft power in the Chinese context and elucidate how international climate change politics is …

Climate alarmism and climate realism

In 2013 I wrote a blog post on climate alarmism and a year later one on its conceptual and ideological twin climate realism. A week ago, a comment by Jeffrey Levine appeared underneath my second post on climate realism which said: “We’re now three years out from the original date of this post. The usage of climate …

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, …