Who is the Audience? What to Do ? (2)

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 11:15 PM GMT en Septiembre 01, 2010

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Who is the Audience? What to Do ? (2)

At the bottom is a short Pakistan update.

In the previous article I argued that much of the “opposition” to climate change was politically motivated or politically aligned. With such political positioning a communications and education strategy motivated by the opposition only feeds the political argument. This is especially true in “crisis situations,” where reactions to the crisis serve to build and perpetuate the crisis. Then some become vested in maintaining the crisis, including those whose primary goal is to seed doubt – which is the purpose of the political argument. Casually, therefore, it makes some sense to step back from the argument and, perhaps, seek to do no harm.

More generally, if the way scientists, individually and collectively, decide to communicate is based upon and focused on the points raised by political opposition, then this seriously compromises the ability to move forward with knowledge-based action. Why? As argued and substantiated in the previous article, the correction of factual misstatements often does not make things better and can make things worse. This means that the energy expended in making the arguments of correction is largely wasted, and the messages that enter into the public dialogue are largely defined by the political opposition. This does pose a dilemma, which I will get to below.

I return to the research of Anthony Leiserowitz and colleagues who investigate how the public perceives climate change. This research divided the U.S. into Six Nations as indicated in Figure 1.



Figure 1: From Center for American Progress, Global Warming’s Six Americas. Here is a June 2010 update and more figures.

Focusing only on the “Alarmed” and “Concerned” communities, together, they provide an actual majority. This suggests that, in fact, the science-based study of the Earth’s climate, projections of climate change, and the potential consequences have been communicated and accepted as substantive. On top of this, it is reasonable to add to this informed group the people listed as “Cautious,” yielding quite a large majority of people who have at some level heard and are receptive to the issue of climate change. The “Cautious” group is split across Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Not only does this suggest “success” from the point of view of “the scientist,” but it has implications for communication strategies as well as moving forward.

With regard to communication strategies, the target of communication might naturally be those in the “Cautious” group. Therefore, rather than reacting to the message of the “Doubtful” and “Dismissive,” it is perhaps worthwhile to respond to the questions of “Cautious.” Hence, we need to know the questions of the “Cautious,” and these will not be only questions about scientific investigation.

With regard to moving forward, the results in Figure 1 show a majority of people are “Concerned” or “Alarmed.” Under the assumption that these people do not hang on in quiet desperation, there should be a substantial amount of actions and intellectual energy focused on developing and implementing solutions. Therefore, the extraction of knowledge from these evolving activities serves not only to promote creativity and accelerate the development of solution paths, but also to diversify the base of people who are advancing climate change as an important issue. This takes climate change out of the realm and culture of scientists, making the message more broadly concrete, and revealing more and more opportunity that comes from addressing climate change as a societal value.

Above, I mentioned a dilemma. On one hand I am advocating that scientists (perhaps others) disengage from the political argument. I base this argument on the idea that participation in the public political argument often makes the problem worse; this includes the correction of untrue information and errors. Yet aren’t we required to make these corrections? It is important to assure that there is knowledge-based information, and that this knowledge-based information is regularly refreshed. It is important that there is education, both formal and informal. It is important that we constantly improve the ability to communicate the essence and the substance of complex problems. Explicitly, the dilemma is both the need to “correct” incorrect information, with the realization that the correction of incorrect information does not lead to knowledge-based reconciliation of disagreements.

What is required to bring some rationalization of this dilemma is, again, the recognition of the political motivation to the opposition, and to set that political opposition into its proper context. It exists; it can be identified, and the level of response is then tailored to what it is. If the political opposition is continuously engaged; if it is allowed to define the strategies of communication and education; then it serves to erode the science-derived knowledge base. This is, perhaps, a generalization of Edwin Friedman’s Fallacy of Empathy, which is that an excess of empathy towards an individual propagates through an organization and exaggerates the (usually negative) influence that that person has on the organization. Success requires the containment of the political (and emotional) argument, and the separation of the education and communication functions from this political and emotional argument. This is a difficult, but necessary and doable, proposition. And, as argued above there is a ready audience for this message. (Do I dare invoke the Silent Majority …. No.)

The point of this blog is that to move these issues forward it is necessary to avoid the lure of the political argument and the personal attack. It is critical to identify the receptive audience, and it is critical to target substantiated information to this audience. On the flip side it is important to minimize the harm of participation in the political argument, and it is important to avoid having the political argument define the communication and education mission of the importance of climate change.

At least 2 more in this series.

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Previous entry in series: What to Do (1): Politics and Knowledge

Pakistan: Update My youngest sister Elizabeth is in Peshawar and sent me the following link to a blog of a 17 year old from Pakistan, Report From a Pashtun Teen: The Flood by SHER BANO. Elizabeth said this was an excellent description of how it was.


Attention to the Pakistan flood is moral imperative, a humanitarian imperative, and a security imperative. (Pakistan Flooding: A Climate Disaster)

Here are some places that my sister has recommended for the humanitarian crisis in Pakistan. Organizations she sees.

Doctors Without Borders

The International Red Cross

MERLIN medical relief charity

U.S. State Department Recommended Charities

The mobile giving service mGive allows one to text the word "SWAT" to 50555. The text will result in a $10 donation to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Pakistan Flood Relief Effort.

Portlight Disaster Relief at Wunderground.com

Elizabeth says that it is better to send money to the organizations doing the relief work than to try to organize shipments of goods.



Figure 1. MODIS Image of Indus River on August 11, 2010 from NASA Earth Observatory. Follow the link to NASA sight for more images, including a pre-flood image of the same scene.


And here is

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214. sirmaelstrom
3:59 PM GMT en Septiembre 13, 2010
Quoting MichaelSTL:
NASA reports hottest January to August on record
August tied for hottest in UAH satellite record*

I wonder what RSS will say about August, seeing that they were warmer than UAH in July, like most recent months since UAH was "revised", and no doubt they have the warmest summer as well.


I expect that the GISS will show 2010 as hotter than 1998 while UAH, HADCRUT, and RSS won't. A comparison of 1998 vs 2010 (thorugh June at least) in all four datasets through is at this link.
Member Since: Febrero 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 580
212. cyclonebuster
1:20 AM GMT en Septiembre 13, 2010
Don't ya'll get it yet?
Member Since: Enero 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
211. cyclonebuster
1:03 AM GMT en Septiembre 13, 2010
Dr. Driscoll use my Tunnels and change our climate to bring back Arctic Ice!


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Member Since: Enero 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
210. cyclonebuster
12:59 AM GMT en Septiembre 13, 2010
Geo-engineer the Gulf Stream with my Tunnels and cool the planet back off!


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Member Since: Enero 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
208. cyclonebuster
12:52 AM GMT en Septiembre 12, 2010
Quoting sirmaelstrom:
Conservation of energy and reducing our dependence on foreign oil are certainly noble causes. I think there are certainly measures that can be taken that everyone can agree on.


Conservation of energy is what makes the tunnels work also!
Member Since: Enero 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
207. EnergyMoron
5:18 PM GMT en Septiembre 11, 2010
White House Spurns Solar Panels

Actually, following the links on the obviously politically motivated article about Science magazine, I found this one regarding the Carter era solar panels.

I have installed solar thermal on my house and they INCREASED my carbon footprint since the backup was so bad. I guess they would work okay in Germany since there they need heat, but in Houston the backup did a wonderful job of heating my garage during the winter.

Has anybody ever considered that these things just might not work and money is better spent on solar PV?

BTW, during the Bush Junior administration the Park Service did install a large number of solar PV panels at the White House as well as solar thermal to heat the swimming pool.

The above was simply a publicity stunt and another reason why many climate change activists are not taken seriously.

The link to the Nature article (which wasn't BTW) seems more about stem cells and embryo research anyway... maybe the eugenics link is giving climate change a bad name?
Member Since: Diciembre 8, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3
206. EnergyMoron
4:57 PM GMT en Septiembre 11, 2010
Quoting martinitony:


Here is the problem as I see it. When we remove fossil fuels from the Earth and burn them we add carbon compounds to our atmosphere without removal of equal amounts of carbon compounds.

The solution, if it is required, is creating carbon compounds to combust at the same rate as we remove carbon compounds from the atmosphere thereby having a net 0 effect on the atmosphere.

I believe we spend too much time and money barking up the wrong trees. I believe we should be looking pretty hard at algae or other fast growing carbons. If the cycle of energy to carbon to combustion back to photosynthesis to energy ... could be reduced to months instead of millenium, that would be real progress.


The energy company I work for is pouring billions into biofuels, most noticably in a large project in Brazil.

When we move past first generation (read corn) based biofuels in the US we will be making even more progress.

Oh, I do have solar panels... and will be up to 33.
Member Since: Diciembre 8, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3
205. sirmaelstrom
4:43 PM GMT en Septiembre 11, 2010
Conservation of energy and reducing our dependence on foreign oil are certainly noble causes. I think there are certainly measures that can be taken that everyone can agree on.
Member Since: Febrero 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 580
204. sirmaelstrom
4:02 PM GMT en Septiembre 11, 2010
Quoting MichaelSTL:
Science scorned: The journal Nature warns, “The anti-science strain pervading the right wing in the United States is the last thing the country needs in a time of economic challenge.”


A politically-slanted editorial; no more, no less. A lot of people on this board decry the citing of blogs as not being credible sources of science, but seriously, the lines between journals and blogs seem to be getting blurrier all the time.
Member Since: Febrero 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 580
203. martinitony
2:11 AM GMT en Septiembre 11, 2010
Quoting EnergyMoron:
This is actually pretty simple... we are economically doomed if we cannot shake our dependence on foreign oil.

I think it is interesting that the leader of the "NO" folks in California is Reagan's ex secretary of state.

It is critical to reduce our dependence on oil. Reducing our energy intensity in other areas is less critical.

Can't left and right wings agree on this? Conserving energy?

1/2 of the energy used in this country is simply wasted.


People should read your blog.

Here is the problem as I see it. When we remove fossil fuels from the Earth and burn them we add carbon compounds to our atmosphere without removal of equal amounts of carbon compounds.

The solution, if it is required, is creating carbon compounds to combust at the same rate as we remove carbon compounds from the atmosphere thereby having a net 0 effect on the atmosphere.

I believe we spend too much time and money barking up the wrong trees. I believe we should be looking pretty hard at algae or other fast growing carbons. If the cycle of energy to carbon to combustion back to photosynthesis to energy ... could be reduced to months instead of millenium, that would be real progress.

I am not a scientist, but the above seems pretty obvious to me. Maybe some of you scientists can explain why the above just can't work. I believe that hundreds of times as much energy as we currently use penetrate the Earth;s atmosphere daily. It seems to me we should be able to trap a couple percent for our energy needs and my guess is windmills and solar panels aren't the best way.
Member Since: Julio 29, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 970
202. EnergyMoron
11:50 PM GMT en Septiembre 10, 2010
This is actually pretty simple... we are economically doomed if we cannot shake our dependence on foreign oil.

I think it is interesting that the leader of the "NO" folks in California is Reagan's ex secretary of state.

It is critical to reduce our dependence on oil. Reducing our energy intensity in other areas is less critical.

Can't left and right wings agree on this? Conserving energy?

1/2 of the energy used in this country is simply wasted.
Member Since: Diciembre 8, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3
200. sirmaelstrom
3:03 AM GMT en Septiembre 10, 2010
Quoting IHHEOTBS:


Yea he ignored me because he said I said the world was cooling I told him to prove it and he just put me on ignore and told everybody else to put me on ignore. That is how things go. Just keep posting your great information the people that need to see it will.


Well, that's his choice. I am surprised that some others on here would let him continually post the erroneous data without letting him know though. Many are usually quick to point out when someone posts something that is incorrect.
Member Since: Febrero 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 580
198. sirmaelstrom
2:45 AM GMT en Septiembre 10, 2010
Quoting IHHEOTBS:
I see. Well he needs to quit posting data from that satellite why does he keep posting it though seems like cherry picking to me.


I have posted this information before, but in MichaelSTL's defense, I'm not sure he's seen it because he has me on ignore.
Member Since: Febrero 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 580
197. sirmaelstrom
2:40 AM GMT en Septiembre 10, 2010
Quoting MichaelSTL:


None of them of course. First they claim the surface data is flawed, then they claim that the satellites are flawed (just Google "satellitegate"). Well, I do think that UAH is flawed, never mind the constant adjusting of the record highs, but their graphs can be used to estimate what the reputable RSS data will be (indeed, RSS has been MUCH warmer than UAH, especially since Spencer decided to "adjust" his data, which also greatly reduced previous monthly anomalies, like a half degree reduction for January, which was previously warmer than RSS, now much cooler with a trend 2/3 as high).


The "adjustments to record highs" MichaelSTL is referring to was merely updating them to include more recent data. Going from memory here, I believe they previously only included the record highs from the 1979-2000 and were updated to represent the 1979-2009 period. I'm sure you can find the specifics on Dr.Spencer's site.

The other "adjustments" that MichaelSTL mentions are explained in this link. His contention that January 2010 temperatures were reduced a half a degree is mistaken; he is misreading the December 2009 point on the new graph as the January point.
January 2010 graph


February 2010 graph with updated UAH dataset


from these links:
January 2010 UAH Global Temperature Update +0.72 Deg. C
February 2010 UAH Global Temperature Update: Version 5.3 Unveiled

If you check the last two links above, you can tell that the January 2010 temperature only changed from 0.72°F to 0.63°F.
Member Since: Febrero 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 580
193. sirmaelstrom
2:12 AM GMT en Septiembre 10, 2010
Quoting IHHEOTBS:


I have him ignored but is he still posting graphs from a satellite that has been proven to be false and have horrible temperature readings?


The graph in № 175 is from the Aqua satellite which is functioning fine and providing good data. The graph in № 174 however, is from the NOAA-15 satellite which has a warming bias due to orbital drift. This is explained in the link below.

Daily Global Temperature Updates on the Discover Website: An Updated Tutorial

Here is the relevant excerpt from the link:

The bottom line is this: You can rely ONLY upon two channels at the Discover “Temperature Trends” page:

(1) the “Aqua ch.5 v2” channel for global-average mid-tropospheric temperatures, from the AMSU on NASA’s Aqua satellite, and

(2) the “Sea Surface” temperatures, which are averaged over the global ice-free oceans (60N to 60S), from the AMSR-E instrument on Aqua.

Do not trust any of the other channels for temperature trend monitoring. This is because, while the Aqua satellite equatorial crossing time is kept very near 1:30 am and pm with periodic orbit maneuvers, the rest of the channels come from the NOAA-15 satellite whose equatorial crossing time has now drifted from its original 7:30 am/pm value in late 1998 to about 4:30 am/pm now.

This orbital drift makes the NOAA-15 channels (4 and 6) unusually warm, and is why those of you who have been monitoring channel 4 and 6 at the Discover site are seeing such warm temperatures.
Member Since: Febrero 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 580
192. cyclonebuster
2:08 AM GMT en Septiembre 10, 2010
Quoting MichaelSTL:
Also, the satellite subject to the "satellitegate" "scandal" was well known for its problems long before it came out, similar to the Climategate "scandal". Not to mention that there are many other satellites out there (and the satellite, NOAA-16, is not the same one that is used for tropospheric measurements, which appears to currently be Aqua, and I have seen only a few erroneous readings from that site, like this one, which were fixed, obviously, as you can see that it was WAY up there off the scale).


WOW! 456.85 degrees F warmer. Perhaps, on Venus or Mercury! LOL!
Member Since: Enero 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
190. cyclonebuster
2:00 AM GMT en Septiembre 10, 2010
Quoting IHHEOTBS:


Huh?


Wow!
Member Since: Enero 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
187. cyclonebuster
1:41 AM GMT en Septiembre 10, 2010
Quoting IHHEOTBS:


I have him ignored but is he still posting graphs from a satellite that has been proven to be false and have horrible temperature readings?


So which ones do you like?
Member Since: Enero 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
185. cyclonebuster
1:32 AM GMT en Septiembre 10, 2010
Quoting MichaelSTL:


Yeah, but look at this, which will likely be repeated (it was even more dramatic for GISS, which has January 2007 as the warmest monthly anomaly, around 0.75°C drop):



Note however that after the initial El Nino peak, most of the drop was in a couple months, December 2007 and January 2008.

So unfortunately, the deniers will use this next year to further stall any climate legislation - not that they haven't succeeded this year, even with record heat.


Why don't the deniers believe the what the graphs tell them?
Member Since: Enero 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
184. cyclonebuster
1:28 AM GMT en Septiembre 10, 2010
Quoting MichaelSTL:
Also, check out the sea ice extent from Bremen, which shows a bigger drop in the last day - below 2008 for the date, and almost at the 2008 minimum, which itself is not much higher than 2007 (they seem to show less ice than others, for example, look at April, which is far below the average, maybe because they go back to 1972, but they also go to 2008, which should reduce it compared to NSIDC, which uses 1979-2000, unless 1972-1978 had massively higher ice extent).


What do we do about it Michael?
Member Since: Enero 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
181. cyclonebuster
12:59 AM GMT en Septiembre 10, 2010
Quoting MichaelSTL:


Wait until next year, since temperatures lag ENSO by about 6 months, so we are still seeing some warming from El Nino right now (note that in the graph of near surface temperatures, 2009 had the record highs for this time of the year, so this year being slightly cooler for the date means that it is still near record highs; the 600 mb temperatures are far higher).


Notes taken many more OUCHES to come graphically!
Member Since: Enero 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
179. cyclonebuster
12:49 AM GMT en Septiembre 10, 2010
Quoting MichaelSTL:
Speaking of La Nina, check out those anomalies in the eastern Pacific!



LOL Michael! It's trying its hardest to build more Northern Arctic ice but it can't do it!
Member Since: Enero 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
176. cyclonebuster
12:39 AM GMT en Septiembre 10, 2010
OUCH AGAIN!

Member Since: Enero 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
173. LowerCal
9:51 PM GMT en Septiembre 09, 2010
From Germany, China to track greenhouse gases from space:
A German aerospace contractor and a Chinese research agency have signed a deal to jointly develop a satellite fleet to monitor greenhouse gases contributing to climate change, officials announced Wednesday.
....
OHB says the sharper resolution of the CarbonSat constellation will go a step beyond GOSAT and OCO by observing smaller-scale greenhouse gas sources such as individual cities, power and steel plants, volcanoes, pipelines, compressor stations, landfills, and oil and gas fields.
Member Since: Julio 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
172. cyclonebuster
9:36 AM GMT en Septiembre 09, 2010
Check this "COW FODDER" out!

Link
Member Since: Enero 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
170. cyclonebuster
2:30 AM GMT en Septiembre 09, 2010
NOAA: Fourth Warmest U.S. Summer on Record
September 8, 2010




High resolution (Credit: NOAA)
The contiguous United States had its fourth-warmest summer (June-August) on record, according to the latest NOAA State of the Climate report issued today. The report also showed the August average temperature was 75.0 degrees F, which is 2.2 degrees F above the long-term (1901-2000) average. Last month’s average precipitation was 2.41 inches, 0.19 inch below the 1901-2000 average.

This monthly analysis, based on records dating back to 1895, is prepared by scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., and is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides.

U.S. Temperature Highlights


Link
Member Since: Enero 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
169. cyclonebuster
1:41 AM GMT en Septiembre 09, 2010
Quoting MichaelSTL:
Another thing to note - the area around the North Pole isn't visible to satellites (at least not the ones that are used to measure ice, but MODIS can see it); this means that, based on very low concentration ice there, that ice area may be overestimated, compared to years that still had mostly solid ice cover there. In fact, Brememn shows practically open water near it!


They need to account for that in the measurements!
Member Since: Enero 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
167. cyclonebuster
1:35 AM GMT en Septiembre 09, 2010
Quoting MichaelSTL:


In the next two weeks - meaning it could happen tomorrow; if it happened two weeks from now, that would be near a record for latest minimum. For comparison, the minimum in 2008 occurred tomorrow - September 9 (according to IJIS; 2007 has the record latest on September 24).


I think it will depend on how long the Dipole lasts?
Member Since: Enero 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
165. cyclonebuster
1:16 AM GMT en Septiembre 09, 2010
The minimum ice extent for the year will probably occur in the next two weeks. NSIDC scientists are closely monitoring conditions and will report the minimum when it occurs.

Link
Member Since: Enero 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
164. cyclonebuster
1:14 AM GMT en Septiembre 09, 2010
About two weeks of melt left according to NSIDC!
Member Since: Enero 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401

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About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.

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