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CSC Klimaimpulse, Hamburg, 20.12.2011 Hans von Storch: Klimadialog – Herausforderung Skeptiker.

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Presentation on theme: "CSC Klimaimpulse, Hamburg, 20.12.2011 Hans von Storch: Klimadialog – Herausforderung Skeptiker."— Presentation transcript:

1 CSC Klimaimpulse, Hamburg, Hans von Storch: Klimadialog – Herausforderung Skeptiker

2 Mostly uncontested is …


4 IPCC 2007 Additional ly man- made factors Only natural factors observations Explaining global mean surface air temperature

5 Scenarios, not predictions

6 The IPCC - is needed as an impartial institution to provide relevant knowledge for decision makers. - has documented strong consensual evidence that both the human emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) as well as the air temperature in the past and foreseeable future has and will continue to increase. - most of this warming can not be explained without the increase in GHG concentrations – with the present knowledge. The IPCC consensus

7 This does not mean that the science is settled but merely that some science is settled. Issues like -changing statistics of tropical storms -rise of sea level -fate of ice bears -frequency of kidney stones, and -frequency of depressions among humans are not settled.

8 Increasing level of consensus among scientists that climate change is underway (manifestation) and that it is likely a result of anthropogenic influences (attribution) Bray, 2010

9 A linear model- framework of how to think about response strategies (Hasselmann, 1990)

10 So what that Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto died long ago. Most of the countries that ratified Kyoto, starting with Canada, failed to meet their greenhouse-gas reduction targets. Big polluters – the U.S., China and India – didnt accept targets. --- … According to a recent international poll, Canada has the highest number of citizens (22 per cent) of any economically advanced country who deny that human activity causes global warming. We can fairly presume the vast majority of this 22 per cent are in what we might loosely call the conservative world in Canada. ….The poll numbers suggest that about half of Stephen Harpers supporters are climate-change deniers and skeptics. Canadas message: The world and its climate be damned From Saturday's Globe and Mail Published Saturday, Dec. 17, :00AM EST

11 Increasing level of consensus among scientists that climate change is underway (manifestation) and that it is likely a result of anthropogenic influences (attribution), but increased scepticism among lay people (not only in the US)

12 Constructions Climate change is a constructed issue. People hardly experience climate change. One construction is scientific, i.e. an objective analysis of observations and interpretation by theories. The other construction is cultural, in particular maintained and transformed by the public media. Climate science is in a post-normal phase (where interest- led utility is a significant driver, and less so normal curiosity)

13 Postnormal science Jerry Ravetz, Silvio Funtovicz, 1986 and earlier State of science, when facts uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent. In this state, science is not done for reasons for curiosity but is asked for as support for preconceived value- based agendas.

14 Is scientific knowledge driving the policy process?

15 Lund and Stockholm Two different construction of climate change – scientific and cultural – which is more powerful? Cultural: Klimakatastrophe Scientific: man-made change is real, can be mitigated to some extent but not completely avoided Storms Temperature


17 Examples: media-reporting

18 Wissenschaftler beraten die Öffentlichkeit Examples: media-reporting

19 How strongly do you employ the following sources of information, for deciding about issues related to climate adaptation? Regional administrators in German Baltic Sea coastal regions. Bray, 2011, pers. comm.

20 The science-policy/public interaction is not an issue of the linear model of knowledge speaks to power. The problem is not that the public is stupid or uneducated. Science has failed to respond to legitimate public questions and has instead requested. Trust us, we are scientists. The problem is that the scientific knowledge is confronted on the explanation marked with other forms of knowledge. Scientific knowledge does not necessarily win this competition. Non-sustainable claims-making by climate change (stealth) advocates to the public has lead to fatigue. Overselling goes with loss of capital of science, namely public trust. Knowledge market



23 November 2009 March 2010

24 Which alternative knowledge claims? - skeptics - political interests (e.g., deniers, alarmists) - climatic determinism - religion - others Need of cultural sciences for scientific analysis of climate

25 Skeptics Who are they? What are skeptics skeptic about? How did they become skeptics? Non-representative survey on Klimazwiebel- blog done by Rob Maris with the help of Peter Heller




29 Skeptics There are highly visible personalities, which are unwilling to engage in an open dialogue, but are guided by preconceived politically based motifs. On the other hand, there is a broad groundswell of skeptical attitudes among highly educated people, who - are irritated to see scientists drawing political conclusions, and - find themselves (and their questions) not taken seriously. Debate takes place in the blogosphere. Phenomenon does not disappear, neither by educating nor by insulting. For overcoming the impasse, a dialogue needs to be established. Also restraint on the side of the oversellers (alarmists) needed. More research needed on the social phenomena of oversellers and skeptics.

30 Skeptics among Lay-People? Ad hoc surveys

31 Umfrage der ZAMG in Wien unter Besuchern am Tag der offenen Tür, 1. Oktober ausgefüllte Fragebogen wurden eingesammelt awandel/Aktuelles/2011/ php





36 Schellnhuber on 2 deg goal SPIEGEL: Do you really believe that human civilization will collapse if the temperature rises by more than two degrees Celsius? Schellnhuber: Of course the world won't end if temperatures go up by 2.01 degrees, let alone end suddenly. From today's scientific perspective, we could possibly live with a warming of two to three degrees. SPIEGEL: Why then have you, as one of the creators of the two-degree target, imposed such a magical limit to which all countries must slavishly adhere? Schellnhuber: Politicians like to have clear targets, and a simple number is easier to handle than a complex temperature range. Besides, it was important to introduce a quantitative orientation in the first place, which the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change managed to elegantly wangle its way out of. And let's be honest: Even if we aim for the two-degree target, we'll end up somewhat higher. Whenever there's a speed limit, most drivers tend to go a little faster. Spiegel online, 08/17/2010

37 Distribution of civilizations in early 20th century (expert map) Climatically determined energy of people Man lives in balance with his climate



40 The authority of climate science as a authoritative knowledge provider is damaged. Scientists find it difficult to be confronted with doubt about the authoritative knowledge claims by science and by scientists. In particular in the US, a frequently heard explanation is that the people are mislead by merchants of doubt and by special interests. Concern because of overselling and loss of trust-capital by science is rarely voiced. A better explanation is that natural scientists fail to understand the dynamics of knowledge generation and claims making, and fail to consider their own cultural limitations when relating scientific knowledge and its utility in the public arena. Politics is scienticed, and science is politicized; both is questionable but unavoidable - but may be mitigated. Climate science operates in a post-normal set-up. Climate science needs to deal with skeptics and alarmists, most of whom are neither stupid or evil nor bought by special interests.

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