Engaging the Public & Policymakers on Climate ChangeNew Models and Approaches Matthew C. Nisbet Associate Professor School of Communication American University Washington D.C.Goucher College4.18.13 @MCNisbet
Polarized Politics and Divided ViewsSee analysis at the Vote View blog by political scientists Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal, updated fromMcCarthy, Nolan, Keith T. Poole and Howard Rosenthal. Polarized America: The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches. @MCNisbet
Polarized Politics and Divided ViewsGuber 2013. American Behavioral Scientist @MCNisbet
The Economy and Our Limited Pool of WorryNisbet, 2011; Scruggs & Benegal, 2012; Brulle et al, 2012 @MCNisbet
350.org and Grassroots Mobilization o “We feel strongly that the Internet is best used to get people together face-to-face. Too many organizations have put a blind faith in the Internet, thinking that simply having a basic online presence will immediately transform their group to a cutting-edge miracle of advocacy and activism.” – McKibben et al., 2007 o “Our most consistent audience is the community of people who care about climate change and see it as a problem and are committed to do something about it. The metaphor we like to use is, yes, there‟s an issue of preaching to the choir, but imagine if you could have the choir all singing from the same song sheet.” – May Boeve, 350.org Executive Director @MCNisbet
Telling Stories about Wicked Problems o The more complex a problem like climate change, the more equally plausible discourses and narratives exist about what should be done. o Climate change serves as an opportunity for different groups to mobilize on behalf of their values, goals and vision for society. o By analyzing discourses “we can at least recognize that the sources of our enduring disagreements…lie within us, in our values and in our sense of identity and purpose.” @MCNisbet
Scientists & Environmentalists as Cultural Tribe @MCNisbet
McKibben as American Romantic o Wild regions are “frequently likened to Eden itself,” and viewed as the “one place we can turn for escape from our own too-muchness.” o In Nature, “the supernatural lay just beneath the surface,” enabling people to “glimpse the face of God.” – William Cronon o Nature and community become instruments to argue deeper truths: “A farmers‟ market is a sign of a „quiet revolution‟ that will change everything. The revolution concerns an idea – that economic growth and material things will not make us happy.”– Richard White @MCNisbet
McKibben as Deep Ecologist o Applies metaphor of “overshoot and collapse,” in which computer models predict that human population growth, rising consumerism, and resource depletion exceed the carrying capacity of the planet. o As consequence, society needs to deprioritize economic growth, and to instead focus on quality of life. o Societal transformation will require widespread activism that challenges status quo. Idealizes a Jeffersonian agrarian economy comprised of self-reliant communities. o Focus is on locally-based “appropriate technologies” such as solar and wind power. Deeply suspicious of genetic engineering and nuclear energy. @MCNisbet
Tom Friedman and the Green Growth Perspective o Limits to growth can be stretched if the right policies and reforms are adopted. Combines a focus on a “soft path” approach with a pricing mechanism on carbon. o For Friedman, the world is a “growth machine” that “no one can turn off.” Need “Code Green” plan that would create “abundant, cheap, clean, reliable electrons.” o Social change happens “by leveraging the greatest innovation engine God ever created, which is the combination of American research universities, venture capital, and the marketplace.” o “America will have its identity back, not to mention its self- confidence, because it will again be leading the world on the most important strategic mission and values issue of the day.” @MCNisbet
Culturally Consistent Strategy & Investments Design to Win Foundations, 2008 to 2010Nisbet, 2011 @MCNisbet
The Green Prometheans o Question the Romantic ideal of Nature separate from humans in the Anthropocene. Emphasize both the problem and the opportunity in mega-cities and urban areas. o Argue that environmentalists have long suffered from a technological bias towards “soft path” approaches. o Instead, climate change is an innovation problem, need to consider a broader menu of technological options including natural gas drilling; nuclear power; carbon capture and storage; genetically engineered food, and geo- engineering. @MCNisbet
1. Expert Institutions as Honest Brokers Means and options focused • Goal: Adaptation and resilience. • Expand menu of options currently discussed. • Provide differential information on effectiveness, risks, costs, social implications. Pluralistic and participatory • Diversity of experts and stakeholders. • Public consultation and co-learning. Goal is to enable and empower decisions, not to influence, persuade or limit. @MCNisbet
2. Networks and Trust Matter Social Trust, credibility, alienati relationships, networ on relative to science- The uptake ks, and identities related institutions and influence of “expert” science- related knowledge Practical reason, localized knowledgeBryan Wynne @MCNisbet
Common Criteria Used to Judge Expert Advice 1) Does expert knowledge work? Do predictions fail? 2) Do expert claims pay attention to other available knowledge? 3) Are experts open to criticism? Admission of errors, or oversights? 4) What are the social / institutional affiliations of experts? Historical track record of trustworthiness, affiliation with industry? 5) What issues overlap or connect to lay experience? @MCNisbet
3. Judgments and Decisions Are Context DependentKahneman, D. (2003) In T. Frängsmyr (Ed.), Les Prix Nobel: The NobelPrizes 2002 (pp. 449-489). Stockholm, Sweden: Nobel Foundation.
3. Judgments and Decisions Are Context DependentKahneman, D. (2003) In T. Frängsmyr (Ed.), Les Prix Nobel: The Nobel Prizes2002 (pp. 449-489). Stockholm, Sweden: Nobel Foundation.
Maine‟s Energy Future:Supply or Innovation Problem?
Nisbet, Maibach, & Leiserowitz (2011). American Journal of Public Health.
Nisbet, Maibach, & Leiserowitz (2011). American Journal of Public Health.
4. Rebuild Our Civic Infrastructure o “The idea here is not just to highlight points of communality and sites for compromise, but also to provide possibilities for contestation and the reflection it can induce.”– John Dryzek o “There is no kumbaya moment. You never get everyone on the same page,” and you never reach consensus. “What‟s possible is a world where different stakeholders „get‟ that the world looks different to people who hold different stakes.”– Jay Rosen o “Bringing an end to our ideological arms race will ultimately require that we force partisans out of their comfort zone by redefining those problems in ways to which partisans do not already know the answers.”– Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus @MCNisbet
Civic Capacity and Resilience ** ** Civic organizations per 10,000 people includes voluntary health organizations, social advocacy organizations, social organizations, business associations and professional organizations, labor unions and political groups but not churches.Berkeley Building Resilient Regions @MCNisbet
Overall Resilience Capacity IndexBerkeley Building Resilient Regions @MCNisbet
Community Connectivity IndexBerkeley Building Resilient Regions @MCNisbet
Land Grant Universities as Engagement HubsBerkeley Building Resilient Regions @MCNisbet
Public Radio Stations * About 93 percent of the U.S. population is within the listening area of one or more of the 975 stations that carry NPR programming. @MCNisbet