Preparing for Abrupt Climate Change
Building Civic Capacity and Overcoming Polarization
@MCNisbet
Matthew C. Nisbet
Associ...
Risk Perceptions and Personal Experience
@MCNisbet
Focus on Mitigation at Expense of Adaptation
Design to Win Foundations, 2007-2010 / $368M Distributed Across 1248 Grants
@...
@MCNisbetLuers, A., Pope, C., Kroodsma, D. (2013). Stanford Social Innovation Review.
Engineers, economists, policy
wonks,...
Hurricanes and Climate Change
Advocacy, Uncertainty and Political Clarity
<strong>
@MCNisbetLuers, A., Pope, C., Kroodsma,...
Climate Change as Cultural Debate:
Worldviews and Group Identity
@MCNisbetKahan, D. (forthcoming). Cultural Cognition as a...
Climate Change as Cultural Debate:
More Information Increases Polarization
@MCNisbetKahan, D. et al. (2012). The Polarizin...
Public Opinion in Down East Maine
Hancock & Washington Counties, 2010
@MCNisbetSafford, T.G. & Hamilton, L. (2010, Winter)...
Morality Binds, Divides and Blinds Us to Threats
@MCNisbet
“A basic principle of moral psychology is that „morality
binds ...
Energy Resilience in an Era of Abrupt Climate Change?
@MCNisbetNisbet, Maibach, & Leiserowitz (2011). American Journal of ...
@MCNisbet
Present protection will need to be upgraded to avoid average global flood losses from socio-economic change, cli...
Voices from Coastal Communities
Fatalism and Low Efficacy
@MCNisbet
Moser, S. C. (in press). In: Successful Adaptation to ...
Community Dialogue After Hurricane Isabel
Anne Arundel County, Maryland
@MCNisbet
Community Dialogue and Polarization
GMU, USNA, Dewberry
@MCNisbet
Timeline of Actions
 2003 Hurricane Isabel floods Annap...
Cultural Identity Explains Substantial Proportion
of Risk Perceptions and Policy Preferences
@MCNisbetCASI Final Project R...
Brokering Shared Identity and Outlook
Localized Dialogue Softens Cultural Cognition
@MCNisbetCASI Final Project Report (20...
Cultural Identity Explains Substantial Proportion
of Risk Perceptions and Policy Preferences
@MCNisbetCASI Final Project R...
http://www.futurecoast.info/
Experts and Coastal Property Owners
From Trusted Sources of Information to Brokers of Dialogue
@MCNisbetCone, J et al 2013...
Experts and Coastal Property Owners
From Trusted Sources of Information to Brokers of Dialogue
@MCNisbetCone, J et al 2013...
Research Informs Design of Communication
@MCNisbet
Creating Shared Understanding & Consolidating Views
Recommendations
@MCNisbet
Recommendations
 Feature adaptive strategie...
Preparing and Planning Ahead for Abrupt Climate Change
A Public Health Prevention Approach
@MCNisbetMaibach EW, Roser-Reno...
Preparing and Planning Ahead for Abrupt Climate Change
Building a Civic Science Infrastructure and Network
@MCNisbet
Nisbe...
Preparing for Abrupt Climate Change: Building Civic Capacity and Overcoming Polarization
Preparing for Abrupt Climate Change: Building Civic Capacity and Overcoming Polarization
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Preparing for Abrupt Climate Change: Building Civic Capacity and Overcoming Polarization

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Over the past year, I have had the great opportunity to work with faculty and students at the The University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute and their NSF-funded Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) – the first of its kind to focus explicitly on adaptation to abrupt climate change. Here is a short description on the rationale for the program, a joint initiative between the Climate Change Institute and the School of Policy and International Affairs at the University of Maine.

The paradigm that climate change operates slowly and gradually shifted with the discovery of abrupt climate change (ACC), which refers to rapid state changes in the climate system that are either transient or persistent, and of variable magnitude. We now recognize that abrupt climate change is one of the greatest threats to the sustainability of human society and ecosystem services, yet economic and social systems are rarely designed for abrupt nonlinear environmental change. The Adaptation to Abrupt Climate Change (A2C2) IGERT is a doctoral training program for students in earth sciences, ecology, anthropology, archaeology, international affairs, and economics. A2C2 is designed to train the next generation of natural and social scientists to meet the critical societal challenge of human adaptation to abrupt climate change (ACC).

In the Spring of 2013, I taught a week-long workshop for students involved in the IGERT program and other faculty and professionals at the University of Maine. Participants were introduced to research and strategies for more effectively engaging the public and policymakers on sustainability-related issues. The workshop also covered different schools of thought, modes of practice, and areas of research relevant to navigating the intersections among science, policy, and communication. The goal was for participants to gain an integrated understanding of the institutions, organizations, and actors involved in public communication and policymaker engagement; and the different roles they can play as experts, professionals and educators.

In Fall 2013, I participated in a retreat for faculty, organizational partners and students involved in the A2C2 program. To generate discussion and small group idea generation, I presented a brief overview on communication challenges and strategies relevant to preparing for abrupt climate change. In my presentation, I focused particularly on sea level rise and other coastal impacts. I also created a web page and list of relevant readings and resources that I will continue to update. You can find the list at the link below.
http://climateshiftproject.org/preparing-and-planning-ahead-for-abrupt-climate-change/

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Preparing for Abrupt Climate Change: Building Civic Capacity and Overcoming Polarization

  1. 1. Preparing for Abrupt Climate Change Building Civic Capacity and Overcoming Polarization @MCNisbet Matthew C. Nisbet Associate Professor School of Communication American University Washington D.C. Climate Change Institute IGERT Adapting to Abrupt Climate Change Retreat University of Maine Darling Center 9.13.13
  2. 2. Risk Perceptions and Personal Experience @MCNisbet
  3. 3. Focus on Mitigation at Expense of Adaptation Design to Win Foundations, 2007-2010 / $368M Distributed Across 1248 Grants @MCNisbetNisbet, M.C. (2011). Climate Shift: Clear Vision for the Next Decade of Public Debate. Washington, DC: American University, School of Communication.
  4. 4. @MCNisbetLuers, A., Pope, C., Kroodsma, D. (2013). Stanford Social Innovation Review. Engineers, economists, policy wonks, big budget NGOS, activists committed to “fight the good fight.” Geographers, sociologists, and ecologists, hazard risk managers, disaster responders, smaller budget NGOs, who are committed to solving problems and saving lives.
  5. 5. Hurricanes and Climate Change Advocacy, Uncertainty and Political Clarity <strong> @MCNisbetLuers, A., Pope, C., Kroodsma, D. (2013). Stanford Social Innovation Review.
  6. 6. Climate Change as Cultural Debate: Worldviews and Group Identity @MCNisbetKahan, D. (forthcoming). Cultural Cognition as a Conception of the Cultural Theory of Risk, in Handbook of Risk Theory: Epistemology, Decision Theory, Ethics and Social Implications of Risk 725-760 (eds. Hillerbrand, R., Sandin, P., Roeser, S. & Peterson, M.) (Springer London, Limited, 2012).
  7. 7. Climate Change as Cultural Debate: More Information Increases Polarization @MCNisbetKahan, D. et al. (2012). The Polarizing Impact of Perceived Climate Change Literacy and Numeracy on Perceived Climate Change Risks. Nature Climate Change.
  8. 8. Public Opinion in Down East Maine Hancock & Washington Counties, 2010 @MCNisbetSafford, T.G. & Hamilton, L. (2010, Winter). Ocean Views: Coastal Environmental Problems As Seen by Downeast Maine Residents. Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire.
  9. 9. Morality Binds, Divides and Blinds Us to Threats @MCNisbet “A basic principle of moral psychology is that „morality binds and blinds.‟ In many pre-agricultural societies, groups achieved trust and unity by circling around sacred objects. In modern societies, much larger groups bind themselves together by treating certain books, flags, leaders or ideals as sacred and by symbolically circling around them. But if your team circles too fast, you lose the ability to see clearly or think for yourself. You go blind to evidence that contradicts your group‟s moral consensus, and you become enraged at teammates who suggest that the other side is not entirely bad.” – New York Times, Nov. 7, 2012
  10. 10. Energy Resilience in an Era of Abrupt Climate Change? @MCNisbetNisbet, Maibach, & Leiserowitz (2011). American Journal of Public Health.
  11. 11. @MCNisbet Present protection will need to be upgraded to avoid average global flood losses from socio-economic change, climate change, and subsidence that total US$1 trillion or more per year. This estimate optimistically assumes 10 cm SLR in 2030, 20 cm in 2050, and 30 cm in 2070 with equal global distribution. Nature Climate Change 3, 802–806 (2013)
  12. 12. Voices from Coastal Communities Fatalism and Low Efficacy @MCNisbet Moser, S. C. (in press). In: Successful Adaptation to Climate Change: Linking Science and Practice in a Rapidly Changing World, ed. S.C. Moser and M.T. Boykoff, Routledge, London.
  13. 13. Community Dialogue After Hurricane Isabel Anne Arundel County, Maryland @MCNisbet
  14. 14. Community Dialogue and Polarization GMU, USNA, Dewberry @MCNisbet Timeline of Actions  2003 Hurricane Isabel floods Annapolis, coastal communities  2007 Gov. O‟Malley creates MD Commission on Climate Change  Science Working Group uses 2007 IPCC models to estimate sea-level rise projections for state from 2.7 ft to 3.4 ft by 2100.  Recommend planners anticipate 1ft rise by 2050 and 2ft rise by 2100.  Anne Arundel County and Annapolis begin their own evaluation process. Project Focus • County mail survey, N = 300 • Deliberative forums, 2 moderators at each table, N = 40 • Risk projection web site CASI Final Project Report (2013).
  15. 15. Cultural Identity Explains Substantial Proportion of Risk Perceptions and Policy Preferences @MCNisbetCASI Final Project Report (2013). “Local policy discourses on sea-level rise are not emerging into a neutral arena, but one in which cultural meanings have already begun to form. In this environment, traditional communication strategies of providing „objective‟ assessments are unlikely to staunch further issue polarization, as has been case in Virginia and North Carolina.”
  16. 16. Brokering Shared Identity and Outlook Localized Dialogue Softens Cultural Cognition @MCNisbetCASI Final Project Report (2013).
  17. 17. Cultural Identity Explains Substantial Proportion of Risk Perceptions and Policy Preferences @MCNisbetCASI Final Project Report (2013).
  18. 18. http://www.futurecoast.info/
  19. 19. Experts and Coastal Property Owners From Trusted Sources of Information to Brokers of Dialogue @MCNisbetCone, J et al 2013. Reframing Engagement Methods for Climate Change Adaptation. Coastal Management, 41: 345-360.
  20. 20. Experts and Coastal Property Owners From Trusted Sources of Information to Brokers of Dialogue @MCNisbetCone, J et al 2013. Reframing Engagement Methods for Climate Change Adaptation. Coastal Management, 41: 345-360.
  21. 21. Research Informs Design of Communication @MCNisbet
  22. 22. Creating Shared Understanding & Consolidating Views Recommendations @MCNisbet Recommendations  Feature adaptive strategies – effective and failed – in engagement efforts.  Property owners prefer to hear about experiences of neighbors more so than advice from scientific experts.  Host local meetings with property owners, experts, and officials to discuss changes, impacts, and risks that they are experiencing.  Participants believed that simply coming together was productive in its own right.  Identify and highlight “early adopters,” local property owners who have already started to engage in adaptive behaviors. “What is required is creating conditions for helping communities make meaning out of the science and its findings for themselves and their local conditions in ways that support their including that science into their regular decision-making…Good models that put scientists, communicators, and publics into dialogue about what they know, what it means, and how to put it to work suggest using group processes and visible thinking routines for creating and sustaining dialogues about climate change.”
  23. 23. Preparing and Planning Ahead for Abrupt Climate Change A Public Health Prevention Approach @MCNisbetMaibach EW, Roser-Renouf C, Leiserowitz A (2008). Communication and Marketing as Climate Change Intervention Assets: A Public Health Perspective. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 35(5), 488-500.
  24. 24. Preparing and Planning Ahead for Abrupt Climate Change Building a Civic Science Infrastructure and Network @MCNisbet Nisbet, M.C., Hixon, M., Moore, K.D., & Nelson, M. (2010). The Four Cultures: New Synergies for Engaging Society on Climate Change. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 8, 329-331.

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