Weekend update: Another lesson from SE Fla Climate Political Science, this one on "banning 'climate change' " from political discourse
Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 3:27AM
Dan Kahan

From something I'm working on ... 

The most important, and most surprising, insight we have gleaned from studying climate science communication in Southeast Florida is that there is not one “climate change” in that region but two

The first is the “climate change” in relation to which ordinary citizens “take positions” to define and express their identities as members of opposing cultural groups (ones that largely mirror national ones but that have certain distinctive local qualities) who harbor deep-seated disagreements about the nature of the best way to live.  The other “climate change” is the one that everyone in Southeast Florida, regardless of their cultural outlook, has to live with--the one that they all understand and accept poses major challenges, the surmounting of which will depend on effective collective action (Kahan 2015a). 

Each “climate change” has its own conversation.

For the first, the question under discussion is “who are you, whose side are you on?”  For the second, it is “what do we know, what do we do?” 

In Southeast Florida, at least, the only “climate change” discussion that has been “banned” from political discourse is the first one. Silencing this polarizing style of engagement is exactly what has made it possible for the region’s politically diverse citizens to engage in the second, unifying discussion of climate change aimed at exploiting what science knows about how to protect their common interests.

This development in the region’s political culture (one that is by no means complete or irreversible) didn’t occur by accident. It was accomplished through inspired, persistent, informed leadership . . . .


Article originally appeared on cultural cognition project (http://www.culturalcognition.net/).
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