Massaging the Message
Bill Dawson has a worthwhile piece at the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media. Over the last months the warmists have experienced setbacks and are scrambling for ways to get back on track.
One way is message change. Change the framing, branding, PR, spin, and choice of language. It might even include throwing long used visuals like polar bears under the bus. Here are some examples of the message massaging in climate communication Dawson examines.
Don’t focus on climate science
One strategy is de-emphasizing climate change. Pollster Frank Luntz says the focus has to be more on the benefits of a clean-energy bill – domestic jobs, a healthier environment, and potentially less money sent to the Middle East for oil – and less on climate science itself.
The first rule of fighting climate change: Don’t talk about climate change.
John Kerry’s recent Power America energy bill did just that and stressed the positive aspects:
‘It’s primarily a jobs bill, and an energy independence bill and a pollution reduction-health-clean air bill,’ Kerry said. ‘Climate sort of follows. It’s on for the ride.’
The language may have sounded good, but the bill flopped anyway.
New slogans for new times
Gore has been using the slogan “climate-crisis” for quite some time now. But there is a growing feeling that it too may have outlived its shelf-life, and so others are tinkering with new slogans. For example NYT columinist Thomas Friedman suggests avoiding “global warming” and replacing it with “global weirding.”
The modified version better conveys scientists’ projections, he argued, ‘because that is what actually happens as global temperatures rise and the climate changes. The weather gets weird’.
Times blogger and former columnist Andy Revken prefers using “energy quest” because “climate crisis” is no longer a productive way the frame the issue.
Science communication – refine it or replace it
Warmists complain about the supposed huge gap between what scientists say and do, versus how they are portayed. NOAA director Jane Lubchenco told reporters in March:
“scientists have seriously underestimated the importance of explaining what we know about climate in a way people can understand.’
Some scientists took it to an extreme and countered critics by calling out their “McCarthyite campaign”, i.e. a letter in Science signed by 255 members of the National Academy of Sciences.
Less, not more, scientific input
Others say that less science input into politics is needed, not more. Massive amounts of data and information invariably lead to a higher likelihood of errors being discovered.
There’s a lot more in Dawson’s piece. Read it!
Gosselin’s communication advice:
Communication is important in science. But I feel that Dawson and the warmists are ignoring the real problem they have – their science is flawed. It’s the science stupid! (and not the communication).