Climate change - politics and activism

Applying the Dharma for the preservation of planet Earth and its inhabitants
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Kim O'Hara
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Climate change - politics and activism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:39 am

This thread is for general discussion of climate change politics, activism, public opinion, etc.

This thread takes up topics covered in the long-running "Changes in attitudes towards global warming" thread on DWT which is still at https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=29492 but as a read-only topic.

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Re: Climate change - politics and activism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:31 am

Two big names here - the star and the reporter. :smile:
Big Oil CEOs needed a climate change reality check. The pope delivered
Bill McKibben

At a gathering of fossil fuel executives at the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke much-needed common sense about climate change

...The occasion was the gathering of fossil fuel executives at the Vatican, one of a series of meetings to mark the third anniversary of Laudato Si, his majestic encyclical on global warming. The meetings were closed, but by all accounts big oil put forward its usual anodyne arguments: any energy transition must be slow, moving too fast to renewable energy would hurt the poor by raising prices, and so forth.

In response, Francis graciously thanked the oil executives for attending, and for “developing more careful approaches to the assessment of climate risk”. But then he got down to business. “Is it enough?” he asked. “Will we turn the corner in time? No one can answer that with certainty, but with each month that passes, the challenge of energy transition becomes more pressing.” Two and a half years after the Paris climate talks, he pointed out, “carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases remain very high. This is disturbing and a cause for real concern.” Indeed.

What’s really “worrying”, though, “is the continued search for new fossil fuel reserves, whereas the Paris agreement clearly urged keeping most fossil fuels underground”. And in that small sentence he calls the bluff on most of what passes for climate action among nations and among fossil fuel companies. Yes, Donald Trump notwithstanding, most countries have begun to take some steps to reduce demand for energy over time. Yes, oil companies have begun to grudgingly issue “climate risk reports” and divert minuscule percentages of their research budgets to renewables.

But no one has been willing to face the fact that we have to leave more than 80% of known fossil fuel reserves underground if we have any chance of meeting the Paris targets. ...
:reading: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... SApp_Other

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Communicating Uncertainty for Right View

Post by Leeuwenhoek » Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:35 am

Amoung activists and commentators there can sometimes be a lot of finger pointing of blame when it comes to communicating about climate change. In many cases it seems to me that everyone is partly right.
Some environmentalists have blamed energy-dependent industries and the news media for stalemates on climate policy, arguing that they perpetuate a false sense of uncertainty about the basic problem.

But scientists themselves sometimes fail to carefully discriminate between what is well understood and what remains uncertain, said Kimberly Thompson, an associate professor of risk analysis and decision science at Harvard.

And, Dr. Thompson said, the flow of scientific findings from laboratory (or glacier) to journal to news report is fraught with “reinforcing loops” that can amplify small distortions.

For example, she said, after scientists learn that accurate, but nuanced, statements are often left out of news accounts, they may pre-emptively oversimplify their description of some complex finding. Better, but more difficult, Dr. Thompson said, would be to work with the reporter to characterize the weight of evidence behind the new advance and seek to place it in context.

Dr. Thompson said climate science presented particularly tough challenges, given the long time lag before the worst effects kick in and the persistent uncertainty about the likelihood of worst-case outcomes. She said the news media sometimes overplayed the uncertainty by balancing opposing views in a story without characterizing the overall level of confidence in either side. And sometimes they do the opposite, sacrificing accuracy for impact, she said.

Words that we as scientists use to express uncertainty routinely get dropped out to make stories have more punch and be stronger,” she said, adding that those words are important to include because “they convey meaning to readers not only in the story at hand, but more generally about science being less precise than is typically conveyed.

Public-relations offices at leading scientific journals and hubs for research also could do more to avoid overplaying incremental research results, she and several other experts said.

Climate Experts Tussle Over Details. Public Gets Whiplash, NYT, Andrew Revkin, July 2008
-- https://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/29/scie ... 9clim.html
Dr Thompson's comment about "characterizing the overall level of confidence" however doesn't describe how such "levels of confidence" are determined. Science typically requires a degree of human judgement throughout the process. In some cases scientists who disagree on theory and evidence do generally agree on some basics such as how to measure phenomena, experimental uncertainty and generally how to determine error bars and statistical calculations of uncertainty.

But in the case of reports such as the IPCC assessment reports the level of confidence expressed is a function of somewhat subjective expert judgement. How the authors of IPCC reports decide that the reported level of confidence (somewhat subjective expert judgement/opinion) is somewhat of a mystery. But the reports do explicitly acknowledge that the expert judgement process is somewhat subjective.
To support clarity, Stephen H. Schneider, a climatologist at Stanford, helped create a glossary defining what is meant by phrases like “very likely” (greater than 90 percent confidence) in the reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In a news media universe where specialized reporting is declining and a Web mash-up of instant opinion and information is emerging, Dr. Schneider said, it is ever more important for scientists to take responsibility for communicating in ways that stick, while sticking with the facts.
Schneider here acknowledges two things. First his sense of scientific integrity ("sticking with the facts"). But he also speaks of a desire to make an "impact" ("communicating in ways that stick"). The skillful reader of science knows that there is a human being behind even the most objective seeming science report. A bit of 'spin' is to be expected.

FYI: Schneider died in 2010. I appreciated Schneider for his honesty about the realities of the human side of science as well as for his efforts to communicate science to a general (non-specialist) audience.

It's my opinion that climate science is dominated by a tendency to under play uncertainty. This of course is not unique to climate science but the desire to tell a compelling climate story is strong. This naturally sets off the "B.S. detectors" of many in society with a degree of scientific, engineering and/or technical literacy. It's even more unfortunate if activists, under the name of Buddhism or engaged Buddhism, pick up and carry this dukkha inducing behavior into our sanghas.

Science and technology solutions needs to subjected subject itself to then norms of good government and science. IMO a wiser politically engaged Buddhism would do well to pay attention to those norms which are compatible.
(See http://issues.org/33-4/perspective-back ... ic-sphere/)

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Re: Climate change - politics and activism

Post by Leeuwenhoek » Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:39 am

Systemically, institutions need to evolve to mirror the complexity and interdisciplinarity of the networks with which they are interacting. Importantly, this means that institutions must become multi-ideological if they want to manage regional and planetary infrastructure. If they do not, they will be ineffectual. Thus, for example, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed in 1992, prioritized environmental ideology over other values, with the result that implementation has been sporadic, contentious, and ultimately unsuccessful. The shift involved here is also conceptual, and deceptively simple: institutions driven by activist stakeholder and dominant ideological demands must instead begin to frame themselves as problem-solvers, with the desired goal being not the advance of a particular agenda, but the creation of a politically and culturally stable solution to a particular challenge.
-- "Reconceptualizing Infrastructure in the Anthropocene"
-- Issues in Science and Technology http://issues.org/toc/34-3/
"...problem-solvers with the desired goal being not the advance of a particular agenda, but the creation of a politically and culturally stable solution to a particular challenge"

That's is very much how I see the role of a politically engaged Buddhism -- this is what the dharma and the planet want's engaged Buddhism to become. To speak of what I know best, in the USA, western Buddhism must recognize that it tends to privilege certain non-Buddhist ideologies over others including, but not limited to, a largely unacknowledged "Progressive privilege".

I see a better / more appropriate view of engaged Buddhism is as problem-solvers, with the desired goal of -- not the the privileging of a particular ideology and it's agenda -- but the creation of trans-partisan, politically and culturally stable solutions to particular challenges.

Issues in Science and Technology is a publication of Image and two universities

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Re: Climate change - politics and activism

Post by chownah » Thu Jul 05, 2018 3:38 am

One should remember that Issues in Science and Technology presents scientists (and others) OPINIONS about issues. These OPINIONS should be known as OPINIONS. There is no reason to think that a scientists opinion is in some way more valid than someone elses opinion when it somes to social or political issues....although I do think that there is a sizeable amount of the population who tend to think that since a scientist formulated the opinion and that since it is in a substantial journal then it must be broadly accepted.
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Re: Climate change - politics and activism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:45 am

Discussion about the provability (or otherwise) of AGW has been moved to the more appropriate thread, Climate Science and Stats - viewtopic.php?f=9&t=104 - and can be continued there.

Back to the politics

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Re: Climate change - politics and activism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:25 am

Expert advice on how to convince the doubters.
... conversations about climate aren’t always so simple.

Increasing numbers of Americans, liberal and conservative, say they are worried about climate change, but too many (including plenty of the people in charge, elected or otherwise) are in different stages of complacency or compartmentalization—or denial. Dr. Hayhoe says the best thing we can do is talk about climate change more with people we know—and in personal terms. She reminds us to start with values, not facts. Piling on more facts and data doesn’t work and can even backfire. Why?

“Because when it comes to climate change,” she wrote recently in Science, ”science-y sounding objections are a mere smokescreen to hide the real reasons, which have much more to do with identity and ideology than data and facts.” ...
Summary:
common-ground.png
common-ground.png (330.66 KiB) Viewed 3100 times

Source:
http://www.sightline.org/2018/07/05/thr ... ersations/

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Re: Climate change - politics and activism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sun Jul 15, 2018 2:20 am

Ranking the impact of individual actions
A groundbreaking study outlines what you can do about climate change.

Researchers in Sweden examined the possible steps that people can take to help tackle the climate crisis. Although a lot of resulting news coverage focused on the most effective action (having one fewer kid), the real takeaway is that individual actions still matter. A lot. ...

In fact, the researchers found that behavioral shifts could be faster than waiting for national climate policies and widespread energy transformations. ...

The authors’ audience was high school textbook publishers, who the researchers found prioritize relatively low-impact, easy actions like recycling and changing light bulbs. Well, guess what, buttercup? No one ever said fighting climate change would be easy. ... The perfect mix of worry and hope will be different for everyone, but at least now we’ve got an armload of stuff we can do to make things better.
There's a great graphic here - http://www.kimnicholas.com/uploads/2/5/ ... g1full.jpg - and an introductory article here - https://grist.org/briefly/groundbreakin ... te-change/

Drawdown, which I've mentioned a few times, does do the same sort of comparison but at a community level rather than the individual level.

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Re: Climate change - politics and activism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Mon Jul 16, 2018 12:11 am

The Australian Religious Response to Climate Change group is small but effective here and might be a good role model in other countries.
50+ RELIGIOUS LEADERS CALL ON ADANI TO INVEST IN SOLAR, NOT COAL

For our common home

Dear Mr Adani,

We are leaders from many faith traditions and communities across Australia. We are writing to you to ask you to abandon your proposed mine and instead use the same money to invest in solar energy in North Queensland.

Our common home, the Earth, is now in great danger due to the effects of our actions as human beings on the climate. On this point the scientific community is united. Today, we too are united as people of faith.

Let us be clear. We are not merely opposed to this one mine. We are opposed to all new coal development in the Galilee Basin. We are at a crossroads. One way lies destruction; the other way, sanity. We need to turn immediately in the direction of a stable and compassionate future based on ambitious investment in renewable energy.

We wish to stress that we strongly support good local jobs. Yet people need jobs with a realistic future. Grasping at short-term profits from a thermal coal industry in worldwide structural decline will not provide this. ...

Our love and concern for the wellbeing of people, other forms of life and our planet leaves us convinced that building this mine would be a giant leap in a very dangerous direction. We therefore call on you to abandon it and to work instead with state and federal governments to invest in good local jobs in solar and wind. You have the capacity to do enormous good.

Protecting our common home and all those who live here is an essential part of each of our faiths. We each ask the faith communities to which we belong to join us in creating this future. An easy first step is to support the Sun Powered Queensland campaign for an ambitious target for solar energy. We also ask our communities to contact the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, who have organised this letter, to help them in their work.

Yours in peace,

Bishop Philip Huggins, Anglican Church, President, National Council of Churches, Australia

Dr Rateb Jneid, President, Muslims Australia

The Very Reverend Dr Peter Catt, Dean of St. John’s Anglican Cathedral, Brisbane

Jeffrey B. Kamins OAM, Senior Rabbi, Emanuel Synagogue, Woollahra

Sheik Riad Galil OAM, Senior Imam, West Heidelberg Mosque

Bhante Sujato, Project Leader, Sutta Central

Reverend Dr Denis Edwards, Professorial Fellow, Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, Australian Catholic University, Adelaide Campus

The Right Reverend Professor Stephen Pickard, Executive Director, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Charles Sturt University

Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black, Jewish Ecological Coalition, Board member, ARRCC ...
:reading: https://www.arrcc.org.au/multi_faith_op ... utam_adani

If you scroll to the bottom of the letter you will see a lot of people from Triratna Buddhist Order. I know that one of the ARRCC's leaders is with Triratna and I suspect he passed the invitation around his sangha. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, although it would have been good to see more diversity.

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Re: Climate change - politics and activism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:07 am

GetUp! is our equivalent of Avaaz and they are pushing back against our coal-mad federal government's attack on renewables ...





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Re: Climate change - politics and activism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:20 am

Australian governments concede Great Barrier Reef headed for 'collapse'

The world’s climate change path means the Great Barrier Reef is headed for “collapse” according to a plan endorsed by state and federal governments that critics say turns a blind eye to Australia’s inadequate effort to cut carbon emissions.

The federal and Queensland governments on Friday released a “new and improved” Reef 2050 Plan to save the iconic natural wonder, which explicitly acknowledges climate change poses a deadly threat to the reef.

The comments depart starkly from previous official efforts to downplay damage wrought on the reef for fear of denting the tourism industry. ...

“Respected coral scientists have documented in peer-reviewed journals that most of the world’s coral reefs will not survive unless the global temperature increase is limited to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels,” it said.

However WWF-Australia head of oceans Richard Leck said Australia’s emissions reduction efforts were not even in line with limiting warming to 2°.

He cited a 2017 report by the United Nations environment program that found Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions were set to far exceed its pledge under the Paris accord. This agreement aims to limit global temperature rises this century to well below 2° and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°.

“It is simply not good enough for the revised plan to suggest the global community must work to limit warming when Australia is not doing its fair share,” Mr Leck said. ...
:reading: https://www.theage.com.au/politics/fede ... 4zsof.html

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Re: Climate change - politics and activism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:41 am

The world has warmed more than one degree Celsius since the Industrial Revolution. The Paris climate agreement — the nonbinding, unenforceable and already unheeded treaty signed on Earth Day in 2016 — hoped to restrict warming to two degrees. The odds of succeeding, according to a recent study based on current emissions trends, are one in 20. If by some miracle we are able to limit warming to two degrees, we will only have to negotiate the extinction of the world’s tropical reefs, sea-level rise of several meters and the abandonment of the Persian Gulf. The climate scientist James Hansen has called two-degree warming “a prescription for long-term disaster.” Long-term disaster is now the best-case scenario. Three-degree warming is a prescription for short-term disaster: forests in the Arctic and the loss of most coastal cities. Robert Watson, a former director of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has argued that three-degree warming is the realistic minimum. Four degrees: Europe in permanent drought; vast areas of China, India and Bangladesh claimed by desert; Polynesia swallowed by the sea; the Colorado River thinned to a trickle; the American Southwest largely uninhabitable. The prospect of a five-degree warming has prompted some of the world’s leading climate scientists to warn of the end of human civilization.
That isn't from some loony far-left manifesto or even from climate scientists increasingly desperate to see real action but from the NY Times Magazine - https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/201 ... earth.html.
In some ways that's the best and most significant aspect of it.
The rest is a mixed bag. What I've quoted is the prologue to a long historical article about the decade that = they say - offered our best chance to stop climate change in its tracks, 1979 - 89. They ask why we didn't do it, and come up with "human nature" as the primary reason. :toilet:
That's nonsense and implicitly defeatist, of course, and we can't afford either lies or defeatism at this stage. (They are never useful, of course, but are disastrous in this debate.)
That's not just my view, but reflects expert opinion on RealClimate - http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/ar ... more-21567 - where (e.g.) Gavin Schmidt quotes ...
From Emily Atkin at New Republic:

“Losing Earth” is an impressive piece of journalism for several reasons. One is simply that it’s the Times’ longest-ever article—and it’s about global warming. This comes at a time when much of the news media is failing to live up to its responsibilities covering climate change, an issue that affects the entire population, hundreds of ecosystems, and every economic sector. Rich’s story, too, is proof that the climate story can be told in an engaging—fast-moving, human-centric, funny, and frustrating—way.

And the insights about human nature are worth pondering. “We’re a medium-term species,” he said in April. “We plan ahead, but only so far. We’re willing to sacrifice comfort in the present for security in the future, but within reason.” But the fossil fuel industry and Republicans know that, and have successfully exploited it for the last thirty years. “Losing Earth” is thus not the whole story of human’s failure to act on climate change. Its flaw is that it’s painted as such.
and
Naomi Klein has her own idea of whose fault it was:

When I looked at the same period, I came to a very different conclusion: that what at first seemed like our best shot at lifesaving climate action had in retrospect suffered from an epic case of historical bad timing. Because what becomes clear when you look back at this juncture is that just as governments were getting together to get serious about reining in the fossil fuel sector, the global neoliberal revolution went supernova, and that project of economic and social reengineering clashed with the imperatives of both climate science and corporate regulation at every turn.

The failure to make even a passing reference to this other global trend that was unfolding in the late ’80s represents an unfathomably large blind spot in Rich’s piece.
and links his article to a Think Progress piece - https://thinkprogress.org/scientists-sl ... bc3a85b09/ - headlined
Scientists aren’t impressed with New York Times’ new story on climate change
Experts label 30,000 word piece "historically inaccurate" and "based on logical non sequiturs."
:reading: :reading: :reading:
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Re: Climate change - politics and activism

Post by Leeuwenhoek » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:32 am

In my judgement this reflects an odd judgement about what "expert opinion" is.
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:41 am
but from the NY Times Magazine - https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/201 ... earth.html.

... What I've quoted is the prologue to a long historical article about the decade that = they say - offered our best chance to stop climate change in its tracks, 1979 - 89. They ask why we didn't do it, and come up with "human nature" as the primary reason. :toilet:

That's nonsense and implicitly defeatist, of course, and we can't afford either lies or defeatism at this stage. (They are never useful, of course, but are disastrous in this debate.)
That's not just my view, but reflects expert opinion on RealClimate - http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/ar ... more-21567 - where (e.g.) Gavin Schmidt quotes ... [emphasis mine]
These comments begs the question: "expert opinion" about what? What is "implicitly defeatist"?

The post goes on to quote a staff writer at a US magazine of political opinion,
a left wing activist and writer who discovered that climate change seemed to support her prior political commitments,
and a partisan and a politically activist blog (thinkprogress.org).

It seems that the standard for "expert opinion" here has as much to do with the prominence of the person as with expertise. That or the expertise in question regards the practice of offering political commentary and analysis. But if that is the standard of expertise then a right wing talk show host or magazine writer is equally qualified.

That's nonsense and implicitly defeatist, of course ...
:D <irony on> Of course it's "of course". And that's my expert opinion ...

In my expert opinion there were a number of contributing factors to the state of action on climate change. And there is a diversity of expert opinion about it.
In my opinion, unwise activism by so-call eco-Buddhists has contributed to the problem. Politically engaged Buddhism that failed to take an explicitly co-dependent, trans-partisan stance helped contribute to politicizing climate change -- often conflating "real science" with value judgement and the many uncertainties of economics, history and social policy.

In my judgement Buddhist action consistent with the dharma and compassion for others would:
  • Explicitly adopt a trans-partisan stance regarding social/political viewpoints.
  • Stop spreading untruths and misleading statements about the current state of extreme weather events. (I pick that issue because it's a low hanging fruit and a move towards honesty about the climate.)
  • Reconsider past anti-nuclear positions. Acknowledge the debate.
  • Reconsider opposition to drilling for natural gas (fracking) because it has half the emissions of coal.
  • Consider the impacts of climate action on the poorest and most vulnerable. Such as the %50 of Africans with no regular access to electricity. Or the impacts on the poorest beings of indoor and neighborhood air pollution vs. relatively clean fossil fuels.

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Re: Climate change - politics and activism

Post by Leeuwenhoek » Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:49 am

Science and "reports" can be use to give the appearance of credibility to opinion. What particularly caught my eye was the claim of being "stuck in denial". I try to be mindful when using such judgement laden words, especially denial. In the end the report mentioned is more about journalistic and social standards of conduct and speech.

The report covered here “Extreme Silence: How the U.S. Media Have Failed to Connect Climate Change to Extreme Heat in 2018.” assumes that media should be mentioning climate change in more news stories than it does. But the report is ironically silent about what should be the obvious question. If, in your opinion, media isn't mentioning the issue enough then how much is enough? The reportage from truthdig.com also is lacking in facts but makes up for it in suggestive descriptions.
fwiw wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:26 am
As Climate Turns Deadly, Media Are Stuck in Denial
While there is adequate coverage of heat waves and their effects on people and the environment, only a small percentage of media outlets link the heat to climate change. The watchdog group Public Citizen released a report last week titled “Extreme Silence: How the U.S. Media Have Failed to Connect Climate Change to Extreme Heat in 2018.”
...
-- https://www.truthdig.com/articles/our-c ... in-denial/
So how good of a job does truth dig do in digging up the truth? Consider this longer quote:
While there is adequate coverage of heat waves and their effects on people and the environment, only a small percentage of media outlets link the heat to climate change. The watchdog group Public Citizen released a report last week titled “Extreme Silence: How the U.S. Media Have Failed to Connect Climate Change to Extreme Heat in 2018.” It examined media coverage by national and local newspapers, as well as TV networks, between Jan. 1 and July 8 and found that only a small percentage of stories covering extreme temperatures explicitly mentioned climate change. Researchers concluded that “major U.S. media outlets are largely failing to connect these monumental weather events to climate change.” Worse, the report “finds that media were significantly less likely to connect extreme heat to climate change when reporting during a major heat event.”
https://www.citizen.org/sites/default/f ... eat_in.pdf
When you read "small percentage of stories" what figure comes to mind? Less than %5 of stories? %10? %15? %25?

FACT -- The Extreme Silence report says: Among the top 50 newspapers, of the 760 articles that mentioned extreme heat, heat waves, record heat, or record temperatures during the time period in question , 134 of them (17.6 percent) mentioned climate change or global warming.
So just what is the "right" number? The report is ironically silent on that question. But the report wraps a lot of impressive seeming numbers around the question. There has been a fair amount of social science research and commentary on the communication of science to the public. But that's another seemingly obvious topic the "Extreme Silence" report is also silent about.

Using the same criteria above 11 of the top 50 newspapers mentioned climate %33 of the time or more. IMO that is perhaps the most useful piece of information in the entire report.

Smaller papers faired worse in the report's estimation and national TV news even worse.

Worse, the report “finds that media were significantly less likely to connect extreme heat to climate change when reporting during a major heat event.”
-- https://www.truthdig.com/articles/our-c ... in-denial/
During the 2 weeks in question the percentage dropped to %11.3. That's an interesting result but it's not obvious why that is worse. Except of course unless one is committed to the propaganda value of the "news". The conclusion of the "Extreme Silence" report describes that %11.3 average as "scarcely ... a whisper of climate change from the media."


As I said the word "denial" in the title attracted my attention. The "Extreme Silence" report makes several references to "denial segments" or the like but maintains extreme silence about how they determine a segment deserves that label.
Denying that the climate has warmed over the last 100 + years -- that is arguably denial. Disagreement with other scientist's expert opinion on evidence or assessment of models is not denial.

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Re: Climate change - politics and activism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:27 am

Leeuwenhoek wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:32 am

In my expert opinion there were a number of contributing factors to the state of action on climate change.
Leeuw, with all due respect, you do not have an expert opinion until you can prove it.
Nothing you have posted here or on DWT shows any particular expertise, and we know nothing about any professional expertise you may have.
Until and unless you can demonstrate your professional knowledge, you cannot speak from any position of authority.
That's not personal. It's the flip side of online forum anonymity and freedom.
And there is a diversity of expert opinion about it.
Always.
But your constant refrain, sometimes explicit and sometimes implicit, is that there is a widespread pattern of unjustified and unjustifiable alarmism from the climate science community and those who, like me, trust their professional knowledge. I don't believe there is, so I don't believe you are correct.
In my opinion, unwise activism by so-call eco-Buddhists has contributed to the problem. Politically engaged Buddhism that failed to take an explicitly co-dependent, trans-partisan stance helped contribute to politicizing climate change -- often conflating "real science" with value judgement and the many uncertainties of economics, history and social policy.
I don't believe you can substantiate that claim but I do encourage you to try.
In my judgement Buddhist action consistent with the dharma and compassion for others would:
  • Explicitly adopt a trans-partisan stance regarding social/political viewpoints.
  • Stop spreading untruths and misleading statements about the current state of extreme weather events. (I pick that issue because it's a low hanging fruit and a move towards honesty about the climate.)
  • Reconsider past anti-nuclear positions. Acknowledge the debate.
  • Reconsider opposition to drilling for natural gas (fracking) because it has half the emissions of coal.
  • Consider the impacts of climate action on the poorest and most vulnerable. Such as the %50 of Africans with no regular access to electricity. Or the impacts on the poorest beings of indoor and neighborhood air pollution vs. relatively clean fossil fuels.
I personally do all of the above to the best of my knowledge and understanding - which should be clear to you after reading so many of my posts here and on DWM.
More generally, and more to the point, you cannot accuse anyone of bad faith for positions they hold in good faith, and that is what you are doing.
Nor can you speak with any authority about what "Buddhists" - a large and varied constituency - should do.
Yours is one small voice in a large and diverse world. The best you can do is to use it, as best you can, to make the world a better one for all sentient beings.
As, I hope, we all do here.

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Re: Climate change - politics and activism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:10 am

This could be California -

https://www.acf.org.au/donate_drought

- apart from the accent.

:coffee:
Kim

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Climate change - politics and activism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:57 am

Crunch time -
UN Secretary-General Says We Have A Year and a Half to Avoid 'Runaway' Climate Change

On Monday, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres delivered a speech at the UN headquarters in New York during which he said the world has until 2020 to “change course” in order to avoid “runaway climate change.” This is the hypothesized point at which the cumulative effects of climate change create a feedback loop and result in irreversible damage to the Earth’s climate system. Some planetary scientists suggest that similar runaway climate effects may have turned Venus from a habitable, Earth-like planet into the hellscape we know today.

“I have asked you here to sound the alarm,” Guterres said. “We face a direct existential threat. If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us.” ...
:reading: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/arti ... ate-change

It's never too late to make things less bad, but the best time to act is now.

:namaste:
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Re: Climate change - politics and activism

Post by Dorje Shedrub » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:27 pm

Its like a runaway locomotive with dead end track ahead. If you dont stop it by a certain point, it wont matter if it slows down afterwards because it will still crash. Some have said that we have already reached the point of no return.

DS
"As far as social economic theory is concerned, I am Marxist. " ~ HHDL

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Threat Narratives -- Help or Cripple Action & Encourage Polarization?

Post by Leeuwenhoek » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:23 pm

    "Until voters in the U.S. perceive this as a quite imminent threat, it’s liable to remain mired in the middle of all the other issues".
    Is that a skillful way of approaching the issue. No say's a recent tweet thread.
    Analysis given to the NY Times by Jeff Nesbit is at odds with overwhelming body of research suggesting that the problem has been *too much focus on threat* in absence of talking about solutions.
    -- Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D, Professor of Communication Studies and Affiliate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University.
    Editor-in-Chief of the journal Environmental Communication; a Senior Editor at ORE Climate Science; and a consulting communication researcher to the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion.
    To make things more interesting this is a case of a M. Nisbet critiquing the statements of a J. Nesbit.
    Ratcheting up threat volume with millions more on campaigns is likely to backfire, as this systematic review of the literature concludes. Fear appeals get attention but have counter-productive emotional and attitudinal effects
    (Reference: "Fear Appeals in Climate Change Communication" http://climatescience.oxfordre.com/view ... 8620-e-386)

    Public opinion conditions for policy action already exist. Shifting to focus on broad tech solutions + resilience leaving behind endless loop of science + threat appeals will be key to getting Left/Right elites to back action for different reasons

    ... a majority of Americans in almost every county of the country support a tax on fossil fuel companies.

    70%+ of Americans living in every Congressional district of the country supports regulating CO2 as a pollutant and similar proportion support restrictions on coal power plants etc.
    We are just not going to get to a point where #climatechange is a top of mind voting criteria for most voters given competing issues + nature of the issue.

    We need new stories about the problem instead of decades old narratives that have crippled action and polarized as well as new voices and groups to tell those stories in credible ways that motivate action among elites for different reasons on behalf of the same goals.
    --
    To make an analogy. The Four Fold Noble Truth acknowledges dukkha (the diagnosis) but emphases liberation because of a appropriate treatment.

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    Labels -- politics and activism

    Post by Leeuwenhoek » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:17 pm

    A cautionary lesson about labeling persons about their position on climate. Space especially needs to made for those of us who won't join in with what we regard as overly enthusiastic, uncritical, or partial narratives about the state of climate science or proposed solutions. For instance, it's my belief that the majority of Buddhist climate activists reflect a one-sided view on the use of nuclear energy to reduce CO2. Much the same applies to what looks like a wide spread opposition to fracking even though the natural gas obtained by fracking has had a major role in reducing CO2 and other emissions. One could make a reasonable argument that these positions are a sign of science and technology denial. In addition, being policy relevant usually means more than just pointing to an ideal energy solution.

    I think the dharma and social science tend to agree that illusion and grasping afflicts all positions, beliefs and ideologies. Bias is roughly symmetrical on the political/ideological divides. The community of Buddhist activists do not get a pass. Rather, as part of our practice, much more work needs yet to be done.

    In general I suggest that the path towards liberation includes a multi-partisan/trans-partisan awareness and embracing the value of groups that collectively provide a honest broker viewpoint. This posting from the Which political ideology is more aligned with practice of Dhamma? thread makes a key point: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=18&start=20#p609 : Whatever your political belief, you can find Buddhist principles to fit into that view.


    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Letter to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the US 2010
    Climate denier, skeptic, or contrarian? wrote:Assigning credibility or expertise is a fraught issue, particularly in a wicked phenomenon like climate change—as Anderegg et al. (1) discussed in a recent issue of PNAS. However, their analysis of expert credibility into two distinct “convinced” and “unconvinced” camps and the lack of nuance in defining the terms “climate deniers,” “skeptics,” and “contrarians” both oversimplify and increase polarization within the climate debate.

    Unlike contrarian or skeptic, the term climate denier is listed in their key terms. Using the language of denialism brings
    a moralistic tone into the climate change debate that we would do well to avoid. Further, labeling views as denialist has the
    potential to inappropriately link such views with Holocaust denial.
    The article then uses the terminology “skeptic/contrarian” throughout. However, skepticism forms an integral part of the
    scientific method, and, thus, the term is frequently misapplied in such phrases as “climate change skeptic.” Contrarianism, on
    the other hand, implies a rather different perspective on anthropogenic climate change.

    McCright (2) defines climate contrarians to be those who vocally challenge what they see as a false consensus of mainstream climate science through critical attacks on climate science and eminent climate scientists, often with substantial financial support from fossil fuels industry organizations and conservative think tanks. We expand on the connections between claims making and funding to also include ideological motives behind criticizing and dismissing aspects of climate change science.
    Importantly, this definition of contrarian specifically identifies those who critically and vocally attack climate science—those
    who Anderegg et al. (1) indiscriminately identify as skeptics, contrarians, and deniers. It does not include individuals who
    are thus far unconvinced by the science (due, in part, to the voracious media coverage garnered by climate contrarians as identified above) or individuals who are unconvinced by proposed solutions.


    The use of the terms skeptic, denier, or contrarian is necessarily subject-, issue-, context-, and intervention-dependent.
    Blanket labeling of heterogeneous views under one of these headings has been shown to do little to further considerations
    of climate science and policy
    (3). Continued indiscriminate use of the terms will further polarize views on climate change,
    reduce media coverage to tit-for-tat finger-pointing, and do little to advance the unsteady relationship among climate science,
    society, and policy.
    Saffron J. O’Neilla, and Max Boykoff
    Department of Resource Management and Geography, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia; and
    Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0488
    http://www.pnas.org/content/107/39/E151 [emphasis mine]

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