UPDATE: Read the Nature editorial which dubs Climate Shift “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate debate.”
Nature magazine has posted a news story about the Climate Shift report to their web site to also run in this week’s print edition. One of the key themes of the report is that no matter how much money is spent on communicating about the science of climate change, public perceptions will be linked to the policy solutions proposed. Here’s the close to the Nature article on this point with links to the key sections of the report.
The failure of US cap-and-trade legislation, Nisbet concludes, was not due to a problem in communicating the message on global warming, but to the framing of global warming as a problem that could be solved by a single specific policy. More useful, he says, would be to present climate change as an issue that needs addressing at many levels, similar to public health and poverty. “Belief in the reality and risks of climate change are linked to the proposed policy solutions. Polling experts assert it is wrong to assume that questions asking about the causes and impacts of climate change are in fact measuring knowledge,” Nisbet says. “Answers to these questions are much more likely to be indirect opinions about cap-and-trade policy and an international agreement, explaining why even highly educated Republicans appear in polling to doubt human-caused climate change.”