Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Scientists, Policymakers, and a Climate of Uncertainty

A paper in BisoScience asked can research gain a foothold in the politics of climate change.  Here are a couple of interesting paragraphs. 

In practically all of the heavyweight studies of climate change, including those in the National Academies quartet, the panelists assumed that the federal government is the logical leader in climate policymaking, if only because climate does not respect local boundaries (or international ones either). But there are scant signs of leadership from federal officials, and there is active opposition to any climate action (or even the notion that climate change exists) among some national legislators.

“It all depends on how you describe it,” she said. “If you are describing the problem as a water-availability issue—if we are going to face a major issue with water available for irrigation; for municipal, for our fish, the salmon—you get people to listen. If you talk about it as global warming, it's immediately, ‘go away’.  “It's kind of sad to not call it by what it is, but it's much easier to communicate with the public and with the policymaker if you put it in these terms.”

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