I’ve had very little to say recently, and still don’t have much to say. However, just to keep things ticking over, I thought I would highlight this David Roberts article called [c]onservatives probably can’t be persuaded on climate change. So now what?. The basic suggestion is that
One more round of “messaging” won’t do it.
which I find myself mostly agreeing with. To be clear, though, this is a very US-centric article, so this does not apply everywhere, or at all times.
However, I do think we spend a lot of time arguing about how best to communicate when, in reality, there are some people who are unconvinceable, and it’s probably worth recognising that if you want to move forward, then it’s going to involve doing so despite these people, rather than trying to find ways to convince them to do so.
Of course, there are scenarios where something like consensus messaging can have an impact, and others where taking cultural cognition into account can have an impact. However, this doesn’t change that there will probably be some core of people who will never be convinced and trying to find clever messaging strategies that might do so, is probably a waste of time.
So, I do think that those who want to actively promote change will probably have to – at times – approach this more as a fight than as some kind of polite debate. This doesn’t mean that everyone has to do so; I certainly have no great interest in approaching it in this way and I think scientists, in general, are probably more interested in constructive engagement, than fighting. However, I do think that scientists have to be careful of assuming that everyone has to behave as they would.
If anything, those contrarians who complain about tone probably do so because they are aware that it’s better for them if people continue to approach this as a debate, rather than as a fight. A polite debate is something that they can appear to win. The last thing they want is people actively trying to make them look stupid, because that’s too close to the truth, for comfort.