SciComm for the IPCC

There is a newly released Communications Handbook for IPCC scientists. It’s already been covered in a Guardian article and in a Realclimate post. There are six basic principles

  • Be a confident communicator
  • Talk about the real world, not abstract ideas
  • Connect with what matters to your audience
  • Tell a human story
  • Lead with what you know
  • Use the most effective visual communication

This mostly seems quite reasonable. Certainly, when I talk with my students about how to give talks, I will give similar kind of advice. Be confident, explain the relevance of what you’re presenting, think about your audience, try to have an over-arching narrative (i.e., think about what you would like the audience to take away from the talk and structure it so that this “story” is clear), and make sure the graphics and figures are clear and relevant.

However, I do have some observations about this whole idea. There’s a sense that all we need to do is communicate more effectively, and I’m not really convinced that this is the case (we can always do better, though). It is an extremely difficult communication environment, and there are many who do their utmost to undermine serious communications attempts. For example, imagine trying to tell a story about polar bears dying, or sea level destroying coastlines, or heatwaves, or floods, or droughts, etc. Someone will counter with a claim that whatever it is that you’ve presented is either not related to climate change, not actually happening, or exaggerated, or alarmist, etc.

So, when it comes to climate science, I think that suggestions as to how to improve science communication should include/acknowledge that the communication environment includes those who will aim to undermine our ability to engage with the public. My own view is that it’s important to be confident that one can reaonably defend what is presented (while acknowledging that some will always find reasons to criticise). If you are going to tell some kind of story to illustrate some aspect of this issue, try to make it difficult to be accused of exaggeration, or of presenting something that isn’t strictly true.

Another issue I have is that suggestions as to how to effectively communicate never seem to quite define what they mean by the term effective. I think science communication can have many different goals. It could be simply to make people aware of some scientific information. Maybe it’s to help people better understand some science. Maybe it’s aimed at actually getting the public to accept some science. It could even go further and have a goal of getting the public, and policy makers, to actually accept the societal, and political, implications of some scientific information. Maybe it’s even aimed at the acceptance of a some quite specific policy option. Science communication doesn’t, in my view, have one single goal.

I would guess that most who engage in science communication about climate science would like the public to accept the need to address this issue, but that doesn’t mean that all have the same immediate goals. They could have a simple goal withn the hope that others would take it further. For example, I don’t think scientists regard themselves as those who should be getting the public to accept a specific policy option. They may, however, see themselves as people who can provide relevant information for others who do have this as their goal/remit. I would quite like to see some recognition that not everyone has the same goals and that, ultimately, many can contribute in quite different ways.

Having said the above, I did find the communications handbook quite interesting and thought it made some useful, and reasonable, suggestions. However, I do think that we need to be careful of suggesting that there is a one size fits all strategy, and we should also be careful of implying that the problem is simply that we’re not communicating well enough. I don’t really think the latter is the case, even though it is always possible to do better.

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128 Responses to SciComm for the IPCC

  1. John Hartz says:

    I suspect that Roz Pidcock played a key role in the production of this handbook. She is one of my favorite climate scientist communicators.

  2. JH,
    Yes, I think Roz Pidcock did play a key role and I agree that Roz is an excellent science communicator. Roz’s Carbon Brief article were typically excellent.

  3. I do think this is overdue. I have a huge amount of time for those in the climate science community for all their efforts over the years to communicate the science, but I do think there is often an over emphasis on using the language and topics that interest scientists and fail to ask the question ‘how would the general public make sense of this?’. For example, the overwhelming emphasis on the Global Mean Surface Temperature is understandable, and an extremely important measure, but must be bewildering to the average person in the street. I tried to explore this in an essay ‘Beyond Average: Why we should worry about a 1C rise in average surface temperature’
    https://essaysconcerning.com/2017/04/12/beyond-average/
    … and then there is the jargon. Yes, use of technical terms avoids ambiguity (and in the core technical reports is unavoidable), but it isn’t that hard to find an alternative to ‘anomaly’, for example, when communicating to the general public.

    But there is a danger here. The IPCC has multiple audiences. It still has a broader scientific community that needs to understand the science; then there are policy makers who need clear pithy summaries; and then there is the wider public. Trying to satisfy all these audiences in one product is not realistic.

  4. Richard,
    Yes, I agree. This is complex and sometimes we end up focussuing on things that may not be helpful, but – as you say in your second paragraph – it is complicated, given all the audiences.

  5. BBD says:

    Trying to satisfy all these audiences in one product is not realistic.

    To be fair, I’m not clear that this is what is being suggested. The IPCC already addresses different audiences via the SPM and WG documents, which are of course different in complexity. This seems more to be about extending its public outreach further using new guidelines to ensure consistency.

  6. BBD,

    This seems more to be about extending its public outreach further using new guidelines to ensure consistency.

    Yes, that is possible. Would make sense.

  7. Magma says:

    “Use the most effective visual communication”

    To generalize a bit, many scientists lack training in graphical design and often use figures that are too complex, cluttered, or unclear. (Think of the last conference or symposium you attended. And the one before that. And the… well, you know.) Even fellow scientists will lose interest or patience if they have to struggle with the meaning of a figure or plot; a general audience likely even more so.

    And I agree there should be a seventh principle, something like:

    Be aware there are vested interests spreading misinformation about climate change. Word your work and presentations carefully so that they can’t easily be misrepresented by those acting in bad faith. Diplomatically mention to your audiences that such misinformation is rampant.

  8. Magma,
    Yes, I would agree with that seventh point. There is another factor that I hadn’t considered. There are some who argue that some of what those who choose to publicly engage about a contentious topic is sufficiently unpleasant that we should be careful of encouraging more to engage publicly. My own view is probably that it would be good if there were more engaging publicly, but we should also be thinking about how to support those who engage publicly.

  9. JCH says:

    One of the best climate science blogs went silent over a year ago after the model tuning tussle.

  10. Brigitte says:

    That really made me think. Do we know how many actual and potential communicators have been silenced by fear or threats? On a different note: lots of science communication is undermined by strawmen (and BS) stalking the communicators and their communications. This too has to be taken into account. Being a ‘confident’ communicator is not enough in such a context.

  11. Brigitte,

    Do we know how many actual and potential communicators have been silenced by fear or threats?

    I’m not sure, and I’m not even sure that it’s necessarily that many have been silenced. What I was referring to (and which partly comes from Philip Moriarty) is that maybe we should be cautious about encouraging more to get involved if there isn’t a mechanism to help them deal with what they might face.

    On a different note: lots of science communication is undermined by strawmen (and BS) stalking the communicators and their communications.

    Indeed, I was trying to avoid saying that explicitly 🙂

  12. Jim Hunt says:

    In a vaguely similar vein see also this recent academic paper: https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-17-0195.1

    “Does your lab use social media? Sharing three years of experience in science communication”

    ‘Science is not finished until it is communicated’,
    Sir Mark Walport, Government Chief Scientific Adviser in the UK.

    In this study, we address the issue of increasing demand for science communication efforts in the research community. We do so by sharing our experience of exploring various social media platforms for communicating Arctic and Antarctic science. Furthermore, we provide practical tips on the successful use of social media platforms for science communication purposes. By doing so, we hope to inspire other research groups, individual researchers, and institutions to further engage in science communication efforts.

  13. Magma says:

    @ ATTP
    I expect JCH is referring to NOAA scientist Isaac Held’s blog, linked on the right hand side of yours. On the one hand, Held is turning 70 this year, so it may be a stretch to assume he’s stopped writing his highly technical blog posts because of a hostile reception. On the other, his blog is hosted on the official NOAA website and his last post was published three weeks after Trump was elected.

  14. JCH says:

    Isaac Held’s. I have no idea why he has not blogged in over a year, but this was the environment. Look for Jules’ comment.

  15. Why would Isaac Held stop blogging because he is quoted at RealClimate. Jules agree with him when she says there is no tuning except for removing bad models (which most people would see a tuning).

    My best guess would be that the timing had to do with Trump getting to power and hiring more people who reject freedom and democracy and feel it is the natural order to use their power to squash people who think differently.

  16. John Hartz says:

    It would be interesting to find out how scientists such as Roz Pidcock. Stefan Rhamsdorf, Richard Alley, Katharine Hayoe, Gavin Schmidt and others developed and honed their communications skills.

  17. BBD – I half agree. I don’t think however that it as simple as saying (you are not saying this, but I am posing this as a possibel position) that the current IPCC assessment reports remain unchanged (marked – For Scientists Only), and it is just the addition of outreach subsidiary reports that are needed. There are questions – like weather extremes – that are of high interest amongst the public that do get attention in the assessment reports. But clearly the HELIX EU initiative felt that there need to be both additional research and improved communications …
    https://www.helixclimate.eu
    So the ‘needs’ of both policy makers and the general public may impact the kinds of research topics that the IPCC focuses on and – for all audiences – how these are framed and communicated.
    As a moderately informed citizen, I way wany to start with the Public reporting; then move to the Policy summaries; but then, when I want to explore questions in more depth (I like to track down the sources), go to the full assessment reports. That means we need full traceability in some sense.

    The US National Climate Assesment report does a great job along the lines I think is great.
    https://nca2014.globalchange.gov
    You can as a reader drill down to sate your appetite at whatever level you like, and at each point everything is in context, so you can move between levels or across topics, organized thematically (georgraphy, imapct type, etc.).

    I think the days of a door wedge 1000 page PDF should be dead because it kills the ability to fully integrate the material, for all audiences … whatever their appetites! And the whole must be reviewed as a whole for internal and cross audience consistency.

  18. Willard says:

    One aspect that seems to be missing is variety:

    The best way to show that there’s a consensus is to show that there is one.

  19. Ken Fabian says:

    Getting across to relevant policy makers and those in positions of responsibility looks like the most important audiences. Getting across to journalists in order to get across to the broader public is close behind. Of course all those are the people who ought to have an existing obligation to be reasonably well informed as well as capable of telling a reliable source of information from PR hacks. If convincing die hard deniers is the bottom line for climate science communications then it is set to fail. Unfortunately too many in in that “obliged to be informed” category prefer PR hacks and consciously or unconsciously seek to dodge that burden of responsibility.

  20. JCH says:
    February 3, 2018 at 5:28 pm
    One of the best climate science blogs went silent over a year ago after the model tuning tussle.

    The best are still operational as far as I know.

  21. Joshua says:

    I never want to read another climate change story quoting the same 4 dudes

    Word.

    But much of the exchange, IMO< at least in some climateball arenas, is tied together with personality politics, and it's hard to play personality politics w/o personalities.

  22. BBD says:

    Richard Erskine

    I think the days of a door wedge 1000 page PDF should be dead because it kills the ability to fully integrate the material, for all audiences … whatever their appetites! And the whole must be reviewed as a whole for internal and cross audience consistency.

    Yes, and I agree that the US National Climate Assessment reports are more penetrable than AR5.

  23. John Hartz says:

    Another communication barrier we males need to acknowledge and speak out against…

    Women who work on climate change regularly endure sexist attacks.

    Why Climate Deniers Target Women by Jeremy Deaton, Climate Nexus, Feb 2, 2018

  24. M&S says:

    “I think the days of a door wedge 1000 page PDF should be dead because it kills the ability to fully integrate the material, for all audiences … whatever their appetites!”

    The question about whether the current format of the reports remains fit for purpose is one that crops up quite a bit at IPCC meetings. There won’t be a significant change any time soon, precisely because there are a diverse range of audiences. Policy makers in developing countries in particular where, for example, there is limited journal access, greatly appreciate the comprehensive and lengthy nature of the reports.

    “And the whole must be reviewed as a whole for internal and cross audience consistency.”

    This does occur. My team is reviewing the 1.5SR at the moment and there is a concerted effort made by most Governments to do this.

  25. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Re my post at February 3, 2018 at 7:48 pm, please change “Rhamsdorf” to “Rahmstorf’, Thanks.

  26. Steven Mosher says:

    the question of how to handle hecklers is best answered by example.

    my friend joe.

    in short invite a skeptic to do their own science.
    it is hilarious when they try.
    if they try.

  27. JCH says:

    Dessler’s ECS preprint:

    An estimate of equilibrium climate sensitivity from interannual variability

    VV:

    … I was interviewed recently for a news article on climate model tuning, which said: … nearly every model has been calibrated precisely to the 20th century climate records—otherwise it would have ended up in the trash. “It’s fair to say all models have tuned it,” says Isaac Held . The word “precisely” changes the flavor of this sentence a lot, raising the spectre of overfitting. (I have no memory of using that word.) But I don’t doubt that I did say the part inside the quotes. I am not very good at provided sound bites. Consistent with this post, a more accurate and long-winded sound bite would have been something like — in light of the continuing uncertainty in aerosol forcing and climate sensitivity, I think it’s reasonable to assume that there has been some tuning, implicit if not explicit, in models that fit the GMT evolution well. …

    But I don’t know why he has not blogged in over a year.

  28. LOL – Climate Outreach are just career climate activists.

    If I was so inclined, much fun could have been had… (ie WUWT posts) and still could
    Dr Adam Corner – “I’m a researcher, not a campaigner” speaking to an audience, including Tory MPs…

    yeah right Adam, sure..
    The Wave. London

    Given that the founder of Climate Outreach is credited with the phrase “climate change denier” and was instrumental in creating Deniers – Halls of Shame.. and the fossil fuel smear enemy narrative, including a whose who of sceptics (lindzen, etc) is that really a good look for the IPCC.. and is the co-founder of Earth First UK, took part/organised countless direct actions, and was even against EVs (he org is not policy neutral)

    two other members of staff arrested on anti-fracking demos (policy neutral?)

    Another, whose previous claim to fame was publicly saying she went to a debate (Lindzen, Lynas, Rose, Mylesd Allen) saying she wanted to ‘shame the sceptic’
    (Myles Allen is on the record, that the interviewer treatment of Lindzen was shameful)

    the organisation is just funded by ‘big green’ lobby groups. not a good look for the IPCC

  29. Barry,
    LOL? Is that the best you can do.

    Do you really think you’re in a position to go around judging people on the basis of their past associations?

  30. George Marshall’s (climate Outreach, founder) climate denial is like ignoring people being taken away in cattle trucks in the middle of the night (screaming) little talks at Climate Camps, are really an association that the IPCC and I think science does not need..

    “… they know what’s going on, they can hear their next door neighbours being dragged off in the middle of the night … they’re aware of the fact that there are cattle trucks going in one direction full of screaming people and coming back completely empty, and yet, wiithout even discussing it, they manage to reach a kind of a compact between themselves that this is something they’re not going to deal with. I think we’ve got something very similar happening with climate change.
    Things which are very immediate, happening now, have direct implications, and above all where we can see that there is a recognisable threat, or a recognisable enemy, are things that we respond very fast to.

    The challenge for us as campaigners is to find ways of making climate change a real risk in people’s minds, making it immediate, making it real, and above all, making it emotional, no longer depending on information as a main means of our communication and depending in fact on conveying our own emotional engagement, above all I think our own anger about it …” – Marshall

    yet, it seems the social scientists want to take over from the climate scientists. I think their will be some push back there. Doug Mcneall’s little twitter spat with Naomi Oresked being one example. Betts/Thorne criticism of Lewandowsky ref the ‘seepage’ paper another..

    when Dr Adam Corner writes in the Guardian..

    “There will no doubt be a small group of hardliners who object to the very idea of scientists being more effective communicators, or including social science research in the assessment reports. But their argument that scientists should refrain from speaking about the societal implications of their vital research is an outmoded and increasingly discredited position.

    The science of climate change communication is a much-needed addition to the IPCC’s canon – and an essential next step in the evolution of this unique organisation.” – Corner

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/30/communicating-the-science-is-a-much-needed-step-for-un-climate-panel

    I’m pretty sure he is talking about IPCC scientist, like those above, not climate sceptics.

  31. past associations.. LOL

    what would the public think of somebody claiming to be an academic… not a campaigner.. when by any objective/measure, the public will think they are absolutely an activist/campaigner…

    will the public, trust them?

    More seriously.. Marshall has been communicating climate change for over 25 years.. and has basically failed.. why would the IPCC think these guys can help them..

    Marshall has written advising people tha enemy narratives have failed.. yet totally fails to mention he was instrumental in such narratives, trying to pull of the wise comms person act..

    IF he mentioned his own history, his part in the creation of those narratives, that so polarised any debate. Think how much more powerful his new approach would be.. BUt NO, he does not do this.

    And Corner here: (couple years ago, whilst writing in his climate outreach rle)

    “Also falling into the “not here not now category” is climate change denial: Nobody has taken those cranks seriously since about ten years ago, so spending ages proving climate change deniers wrong is a waste of time.” – Corner
    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/znwk8x/how-not-to-make-people-care-about-climate-change-926

    Does he really think that. seems a bit delusional. why the need to keep writing about them, if nobody takes them seriously… 😉

  32. Barry,
    Some people regard anthropogenically-driven climate change as an important topic that should be taken seriously. Additionally, many regard anthropogenically-driven climate change as having the potential to produce severely negative impacts and that we should do something to avoid these outcomes. I realise that you probably don’t and that you seem comfortable associating with those who not only regard it as not a problem, but may also regard it as not even happening. The latter, in my view, is becoming an increasingly fringe position, but that’s not a reason for you not to hold it. The former, however, is becoming a much more prevalent position and it seems unlikely that those who are trying to find more effective (for various definitions of effective) ways of communicating about AGW and its potential risks will be poorly regarded in future, even if not everything they did was optimal.

  33. Barry,
    I should probably at least acknowledge your efforts to illustrate some of what I was getting at in the post.

  34. my point.. will Climate Outreach help or hinder the IPCC. I think they will hinder..

    scientist have high trust amongst the public, because they are seen to be impartial, objective, the scientific process, etc.

    Climate Outreach could damage that..

    Also I just don’t think they are very good at what they do. an example. in the climate visuals research/[program.

    There is a webinar with Adam Corner, where they found that pictures of an activist painted blue, was the most hated amongst the public. seen as intolerant, shouty, etc. this was across the public demographics, with groups that believed in climate change..

    what was fascinating, was that he said Climate Outreach were ‘surprised’ by this… surprised that the public might feel like this.. is that because they are all activist themselves, trapped in an activist bubble.. this lack of self awareness hinders them and there communications, It was really funny when Adam continued that he thought he was on the same march (as the picture that was hated)

    from the Climate Visuals report
    file:///C:/Users/Study/Downloads/Climate-Visuals-Report-Seven-principles-for-visual-climate-change-communication.pdf

    “Excluding the images of politicians, the image of a protester with his face
    painted blue (Image 29) was the least well-understood, and one of the
    lowest scoring images across the board in the online survey. It was also the
    most negatively received of all the photographs tested in our discussion
    groups. The individual was accused of being a “frat guy” or alternatively
    someone who “…probably used the same face paint to paint himself at
    Glastonbury this weekend, and rubbed out climate and put Kanye West.”
    In our discussion groups, where a wider range of protest imagery was
    discussed, they attracted widespread cynicism. Images of environmental
    protestors often prompted accusations of hypocrisy.

    “So why do most people feel such antagonism for the standard
    iconography of climate change demonstrations? It is not straightforwardly
    attributable to scepticism about climate change. Analysis of the ‘blue
    face’ image revealed that the low ratings it attracted were not being
    driven by climate scepticism. People with ‘high’ and ‘low’ levels of
    scepticism were just as unlikely to feel motivated by the image. So it
    was not the case that this protest image was polarising: not even those
    concerned about climate change were particularly favourable towards it”

    iconic picture here (climate activist painted blue, that the public hated).
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2009/12/6/1260099791218/A-climate-change-demonstr-001.jpg?w=300&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=d7e96deb0632b0347aa7337eef04e5e2

    Adam Corner, on the same march, also painted blue.
    The Wave. London

    they were ‘surprised’ by the public reaction… lol

    take a moment. this is the “Climate Wars”. How will Republicans react, when it “could be” demonstrated to them, IPCC are taking comms advice from a bunch of ‘activists’

  35. worth a listen… Adam: it was astonishing, the dislike of the blue faced protestor –
    Adam speaks of the public not believing the ‘authenticity’ of the protesters – maybe the public think they have no authenticity – as the comments from te public showed. see the report) does adam see himself as authentic? For a psychologist, massive blind spots?

  36. I may have news for you, Barry Woods: you are an activist.

  37. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    Additionally, many regard anthropogenically-driven climate change as having the potential to produce severely negative impacts and that we should do something to avoid these outcomes.

    I have that view, but think that drawing analogies to people being carted off to concentration camps seems a tone deaf way to promote mitigation policies. Of course, he wasn’t exactly promoting such messaging as a strategy, but even comparing the context around climate change to Nazis exterminating people does seem to me to miss fundamental differences in such a fashion that would undermine communication strategies developed from such an outlook.

  38. Joshua says:

    That said, I think he’s absolutely right about the lack of immediacy of a threat complicating the dynamic of how people respond to the threat of climate change, and that understanding that complication is crucial to communicating effectively on the issue.

  39. indeed Victor… I am sure I would be perceived like that.. but I’m not misrepresenting myself. nor advising the IPCC

    My issue is with people – Marshall, Corner, Climate Outreach that pretend they are not.

    how would the public perceive a guy that says “I’m a researcher, not a campaigner” – talking to an audience at the Policy Exchange – that included Benny Peiser, Peter Lilley, Nigel Lawson…

    if some wag had live tweeted up all Coner’s activism/campaigning photos (Foe, Green Party, etc, etc) banners at Copenhagen, etc.

    would the public think – typical lying activist – or just delusional psychologist with no self awareness. or just laugh.. probably just laugh..

    Does this help or hinder the IPCC – think ‘climate wars’ – all is ‘fair game’ – USA secretary of state is ex Exxon/Esso. Trump is president. IPCC taking comms advice from an organisation, whose founder and most high profile speaker – George Marshall, has a history of taking direct action against oil companies, and started a – Deniers – Hall of Shame, smearing scientists like Lindzen as being oil company Exxon funded.. will this help the IPCC? How might the IPCC be ‘attacked’, etc, etc

  40. Another activist, coal executive and Fox “News” commentator.

  41. Joshua says:

    On the third hand, I question his argument that the way to get people to become emotionally engaged on climate change is to mitigate the lack of immediacy complication by (at least in part) a display of anger. That doesn’t feel intuitively right to me, although I could be convinced by some kind of evidence in that regard.

  42. BarryJWoods: “indeed Victor… I am sure I would be perceived like that.. but I’m not misrepresenting myself. nor advising the IPCC”

    You are an activist, you are not just perceived to be one. Or you have to start with subjective Curry-logic definitions where it is not activism if the elite agrees.

    If you would say something useful, I would not hold it against anyone or any organisation to use it.

  43. Joshua says:

    Barry –

    how would the public perceive a guy that says “I’m a researcher, not a campaigner” – talking to an audience at the Policy Exchange – that included Benny Peiser, Peter Lilley, Nigel Lawson…

    I wouldn’t presume to know how “the public” might respond, but I do know how I respond, and I think that responses to that kind of argument would largely be mediated by the ideological orientation of the audience.

    Perhaps, accordingly, you might ask that question of Judith over at Climate Etc. – as Judith makes that argument from such a frsmework all the time, and gets zero pushback from “skeptics.”

  44. Joshua – Marshall is a one trick pony. He got a degree in sociology in 1984, went off to save the rainforests, then came back, co foundedEarth First Uk, then Rising Tide – with Deniers – Halls of Shame and the anti-roads movement, then moved onto climate change, and he is also an exGreenpeace USA director..

    Here he is in 2001, writing how we are all in denial of climate catastrophe to come, much like the Jews were not comprehending what was to befall them

    “Firstly, we can expect widespread denial when the enormity and nature of the problem are so unprecedented that people have no cultural mechanisms for accepting them. In Beyond Judgement, Primo Levi, seeking to explain the refusal of many European Jews to recognise their impending extermination, quotes an old German adage: ‘Things whose existence is not morally possible cannot exist.’

    In the case of climate change, then, we can intellectually accept the evidence of climate change, but we find it extremely hard to accept our responsibility for a crime of such enormity. Indeed, the most powerful evidence of our denial is the failure to even recognise that there is a moral dimension with identifiable perpetrators and victims. The language of ‘climate change’, ‘global warming’, ‘human impacts’, and ‘adaptation’ are themselves a form of denial familiar from other forms of human rights abuse; they are scientific euphemisms that suggest that climate change originates in immutable natural forces rather than in a direct causal relationship with moral implications for the perpetrator.

    Secondly, we diffuse our responsibility. Cohen writes at length of the ‘passive bystander effect’ whereby violent crimes can be committed in a crowded street without anyone intervening. Individuals wait for someone else to act and subsume their personal responsibility in the collective responsibility of the group. One notable feature of the bystander effect is that the larger the number of actors the lower the likelihood that any individual person feels capable of taking unilateral action. In times of war and repression, entire communities can become incapacitated. In the case of climate change we are both bystanders and perpetrators, an internal conflict that can only intensify our denial.” Marshall

    The Psychology of Denial: Our failure to act against climate change
    http://ecoglobe.ch/motivation/e/clim2922.htm

    Marshall gets presented as an expert in the psychology of denial, though he is no more qualified than you to I.

    Again, help or hinder IPCC. Imagine Morano or Delingpole, let loose on the above and Trump is in the Whitehouse

  45. Joshua says:

    Barry –

    would the public think – typical lying activist – or just delusional psychologist with no self awareness. or just laugh.. probably just laugh.

    I see you making one of the most typical blatantly unskeptical type of arguments made by self – described “skeptics,” i.e, generalizing from their own views (as an outlier) to confidently project their views into “the public.” Extrapolating from unrepresentative samples breaks the first rule of due skeptical diligence.

  46. The quote above, shows where the Nazi holocaust / deniers narrative came from.. denying a future climate holocaust,

  47. Joshua says:

    Victor –

    Democrat dirty tricks were able to drive the heroic Joe McCarthy to an early grave.

    From a member of the Trump transition team. Wow.

  48. Indeed – Wow..
    How will that guy react to Marshall’s involvement with the IPCC. help or hinder IPCC ?

  49. from the advice – use then most effective visual communication..

    on the handbook a photo – of solar panels, over ten years old, installed by a now bankrupt German solar company – Solon..

    LOL

  50. Joshua says:

    Barry –

    First, I noticed you skipped over my two comments directed at you. Why? I would like to read your responses.

    Second, how much should I care about the reactions of a McCarthy apologist w/r/t climate change? With such a person, I think that no form of messaging about climate change will encourage a good faith exchange with people who think that the risks of ACO2 emissions pose a potential risk.

  51. Joshua,

    I have that view, but think that drawing analogies to people being carted off to concentration camps seems a tone deaf way to promote mitigation policies.

    Indeed, which is why I’m certainly not defending what others might have done in the past. I do, however, think that this is a sufficiently difficult and complex communication environment that it’s hard to avoid engaging in what turns out to be a sub-optimal strategy, or one that is perceived to be sub-optimal.

    As an aside, I do find it hard to not get slightly irritated by suggestions on how to engage more effectively coming from some who have – at times – engaged rather ineffectively themselves.

  52. Barry,

    my point.. will Climate Outreach help or hinder the IPCC. I think they will hinder..

    Quite possibly, but if so, this will partly (mainly?) be because some (yourself, for example) will do their utmost to undermine what they’re doing by highlighting all their past failings (actual, or perceived). As I said before, this is an important topic and many regard it as worthwhile to find ways to communicate more effectively than we currently are. Some are trying to make a positive contribution. That you would rather these endeavours failed, than succeeded, is your choice. I would rather that they succeeded, than failed. (to be clear, my view of success would be a greater acceptance of the need to seriously consider doing something to address the risks associated with AGW).

  53. Joshua. sorry. a comment in moderation.. Long quote from Marshall in 2001, which may be interesting to you.
    does this Climate Outreach comms handbook help or hinder the IPCC

    your question about asking Judith. why. I barely go there anymore, haven’t for a quite a while now. I can’t recall the last time read anything there. that seems a bit ‘whataboutery’

    does the above, help or hinder the IPCC? Imagine Morano loose with it, and a IPCC sceptic Whitehouse.

    With respect to should you care.. well these are the guys in power.. it is a case of these are the cards/people we have to deal with. Trump is in the Whitehouse – activist would say the ‘deniers’ are in the whitehouse. but they don’t appear to be going anywhere.

    Ex Exxon – Tillerson is secretary of State – and the IPCC are taking comms advise, from an organisation stuffed full of activists, who have taken direct action against oil companies. In the past, and recently. So does this Climate Outreach comms handbook and the actors involved in it help or hinder the IPCC in the Trump Whitehouse context, in your opinion

  54. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    As an aside, I do find it hard to not get slightly irritated by suggestions on how to engage more effectively coming from some who have – at times – engaged rather ineffectively themselves.

    Of course. It’s like a (tu quoque) spider’s web. I think the advice of playing the ball is perhaps a way of moving without always getting completely caught up, but in the end there is no escape. The basic layout of the landscape of the climate-o-sphere means that good faith exchange is next to impossible.

  55. ATTP – My utmost.. well you are wrong there aren’t you. some comments here, vs what I could be doing…..Or could have have done.

    ie, there is a blank draft blogpost about Corner/Climate Outreach at WUWT dated 6 years ago. I thought it counterproductive and never wrote it. My intent then. was to not show people that Corner/Marshall Climate Outreach were ‘wrong’ or had blind spots with climate communication, but to persuade Corner/Marshall/Climate Outreach themselves they were wrong., had blindspots ie talking directly with them -but this is/was fruitless,( I tried non publicly )- they are activists – they need the sceptics they have created in their own heads, to support their own motivated worldview and reasoning

  56. Joshua says:

    Barry –

    why.

    Because, I think, it might help clarify what I perceive to be your misunderstanding.

    Again, my point is that the perception of the effectiveness of communicators who are, or are associated with, “activism” is not generalizable as you portray. Instead, IMO, how people (“the public”) respond is condition-dependent.

    People who make the same argument as that you made above have no problem with Judith’s activism or her association with activists by virtue of constructing double standards. That they self-identifies as “skeptics” makes the irony that much more beautiful.

  57. which is my point – My opinion. Marshall has never engaged in good faith.

  58. Joshua says:

    Barry –

    well these are the guys in power.

    I asked how much I should care, not why I should care.

    Perhaps a bit of semantic hair-splitting, but maybe not. Yes, I care that a McCarthy apologist was a part of Trump’s WPA transition team. But for someone of that mindset, I believe no good faith exchange about climate change is possible, so “caring” about his perspective is unavoidable but ultimately futile. He, is beyond reach. So mare “caring” about his view should best be limited and energy should be focused in directions that have the potential to be productive.

  59. Joshua. I don’t read Climate etc anymore, I can’t spend all my time – having problems with other people, that I don’t even read.. do you have a problem, with Al Gore, Emma Thompson Or Romm, or any dumb thing anyone says, on your ‘side’

    I’m not asking you to defend/apologise for every daft thing they say. so I just think ‘whataboutery’ on your part. Practically. Climate Outreach I think have blind spot with respect to Cimate Comms.. Carbon Brief (Leo Hickman) or ECIU (Richard Black)- would I think do a better job for the IPCC..

    the manual itself, isn’t very impressive really, very shallow…

  60. Joshua says:

    Barry –

    I think, again, you have not directly addressed my points. At some point, if We are going to exchange views in good faith, then we have to address each other’s points directly – and not simply as a means to further our own messaging. Ultimately, I think that us at the heart of what you are (correctly, IMO) going for – but, IMO, you are getting distracted by man-playing.

    Not that I’m immune to that problem. Anyway, gotta run for a bit.

  61. Joshua says:

    Barry –

    Last comment before I go for a bit.

    I can’t spend all my time – having problems with other people, that I don’t even read

    From where I sit, that is a (repeated) non-sequitur w/r/t my point. I was using Judith’s place to illustrate a larger point, and I tried to clarify what that larger point was.

  62. I’m not man playing – I am saying Climate Outreach act in bad faith, with examples, and are a very poor partner for the IPCC..

  63. Magma says:

    I am saying Climate Outreach act in bad faith, with examples, and are a very poor partner for the IPCC.. — BJW

    You’ve wasted several thousand words concern-trоІІіng readers who recognize that tactic.

  64. izen says:

    @-Barry Woods
    “I am saying Climate Outreach act in bad faith, with examples, and are a very poor partner for the IPCC..”

    How many partners(?) does the IPCC have ?
    Hippy bashing is a Breakthough tactic….

    Are there any that you would consider act in good faith and are a proper partner for the IPCC ?

  65. Barry,

    I’m not man playing –

    Of course you are.

    I am saying Climate Outreach act in bad faith, with examples, and are a very poor partner for the IPCC..

    Yes, I think we all get this. A few comments.

    1. There should be a time when we try to move forwards, rather than focussing on things that happened in the past. Of course, that might actually achieve something, which is probably why some choose to focus on the past, rather than try to move forward.

    2. A great many of those with whom you regularly associated very definitely do not operate in good faith. In fact, I’m yet to be convinced that you do (if pressed, I would argue that you don’t).

    3. Yourself, and others who hold your general views, are probably not Climate Outreach’s target. There is probably no messaging strategy that would work. Your views about the merits, or lack thereof, of Climate Outreach probably aren’t all that relevant.

    Having said the above, I’m not all that sure myself what to make of Climate Outreach. Some of what they suggest seems reasonable and they appear to be trying to make a positive contribution. However, a number of those associated with Climate Outreach seemed to buy into the anti-consensus messaging arguments coming from Pearce, Grundmann, Hulme and Co. This would seem to suggest that their understanding of the climate messaging landscape isn’t as good as one might hope (well, that’s assuming that I have correctly understood their goals).

  66. jacksmith4tx says:

    I found this pod cast with David Roberts(Vox/Grist) on the current environment of climate communications to be topical to the subject of this post.

    Posted on Feb. 3rd 2018. Lot’s of insight into the problem – David suggests a much more aggressive approach adopting some right-wing attack techniques.

  67. jack,
    Thanks, I’ll try and listen to that. I think it is one of the issues with this communication environment. One “side” (and “side” probably isn’t the right term, but I can’t think of a better one) just how to sow doubt. The other, is trying to convince the public and policy makers of the seriousness of this situation. It’s attractive to think that maybe we should fight fire with fire, but I can see that leading to claims that (as Barry has done here) that people aren’t engaging in good faith etc. As they sometimes say

    The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude greater than to produce it.

  68. Barry Woods: “I’m not man playing – I am saying Climate Outreach act in bad faith, with examples, and are a very poor partner for the IPCC.

    Steve Milroy’s post are along side yours on WUWT aka Stupidity First. The Heartland Institute is in your group and is regularly published on your WUWT blog, they compared reality-based people with terrorists. Professional liars like Daily Mail Rose, Breitbart Delingpole and conspiracy theorist Tim Ball are promoted on your blog.

    I am really concerned this may damage the reputation of WUWT and that people may no longer take you seriously. Oh golly gee, I am devastatingly concerned. I really hope you will pick your associates more carefully in future, what is the public to think of your credibility? Oh, my, oh, my. I am so worried.

  69. Barry Woods says:

    Climate Outreach (COIN) have very little to offer the IPCC. The advice is shallow, and they have a whole lot of baggage. As for my good faith. You decide. I choose not to take them apart at WUWT, but try to talk to them instead, explain why they do not get it.. (which has proven fruitless) There reaction to the public, example above, with respect to climate visuals, I think shows how clueless they are..

    Wet to this blog post. I’m pretty much in agreement with ATTP.. the question the IPCC should be asking those critics of it that say the IPCC communication is not effective. Is day. Communication was 100% effective and successful.. what would happen, what would effective coons actually result in.. and I expect there would be as many different answers, as there are critics.

    My advice is for the IPCC and climate scientist to agree what end results they would like to achieve Comms wise.. once they have agreement, or even say the top 2 or 3 things they want to achieve.. is to then work how how they can use communications to achieve this..

  70. Barry Woods says:

    Sorry typos, sneaking a comment whilst being forced to watch Dancing on Ice

  71. Joshua says:

    Jack –

    Thanks for the link. I’ve listened to part of it. Lots to chew over. Here’s my first take:

    I think I think (you might detect a note of hedging) that an approach rooted in staking out oppositional positions is relatively sub-optimal, and that an approach that seeks to exploit shared interests is relatively more optimal.

    My view is based in a belief in the merits of a basic foundation of conflict interest (“Getting to Yes,” stakeholder dialogue, etc.), What I have to think about is whether my general embrace of those principles is “biasing” my interrogation of a positional strategy.

  72. Joshua says:

    Barry –

    FWIW, I still don’t see that you’ve actually engaged with what I’ve said. I am inclined to think that won’t change. But perhaps as an alternative you could take some time to directly address the specifics of Anders’ 5:28 pm comment. Maybe his points were laid out more clearly than mine. At some point, IMO, if you fail to actually directly address a series of good faith comments by your interlocutors, then you would have little reason to expect good faith exchange.

  73. Joshua says:

    Oops –

    That was supposed to read… “… My view is based in a belief in the merits of a basic conflict resolution foundation of differentiating positions and interests (“Getting to Yes,” stakeholder dialog, etc.)…”

  74. Barry Woods says:

    Joshua. I thought I had addressed ATTP 5.28 comment and yours….
    If the IPCC want to choose a Comms partner with so much baggage, and so little insight. Well good luck to them! Leo Hickman’s or Richard Black’s organisations would be much better help (they even have pretty much the same funders as Climate Outreach) Imho Climate Outreach’s handbook will not solve the effective Comms problem.. but I’m not sure they are all in agreement what the actual problem is.. IE what end result,effective Comms would achieve. And why they are failing to achieve it. And sure I’m not their target audience. That they were so shocked/astonished by their research,I thinks shows they will struggle to reach the public..

    Corner’s – the public not recognising the activist/protester’s authentic voice.. lol. Public just thought them entitled intolerant idiots. Corner and crew have no idea why

  75. BBD says:

    Victor V

    Oh, my, oh, my. I am so worried.

    I too share your concerns

  76. Joshua says:

    I thought I had addressed

    Well, that’s interesting. Maybe Anders thinks you did directly address his, but I sure don’t think you directly (or even really indirectly) addressed mine (or his, for that matter). Not sure what to do about that. I’ve already repeated my point and I could be wrong but I don’t think that repeating it again is likely to change much.

    Let me ask you this: Do you think I was arguing that the IPCC should “choose a Comms partner with so much baggage?” if not, what do you think my points were?

  77. Joshua says:

    Victor –

    Thank you for your concerns .

  78. Joshua.. I am clearly not grasping your point! I’ve looked back, and I really can’t see what I am missing, beyond my responses where I think I’ve addressed it. so please rather than vague referrals back to earlier comments

    spell your point out (or points) simple, plain language please, in one comment and I will answer them.

    with respect to the IPCC and Climate Outreach comms. : ATTP gets to the heart of it here:

    “Another issue I have is that suggestions as to how to effectively communicate never seem to quite define what they mean by the term effective. I think science communication can have many different goals. It could be simply to make people aware of some scientific information. Maybe it’s to help people better understand some science. Maybe it’s aimed at actually getting the public to accept some science. It could even go further and have a goal of getting the public, and policy makers, to actually accept the societal, and political, implications of some scientific information. Maybe it’s even aimed at the acceptance of a some quite specific policy option. Science communication doesn’t, in my view, have one single goal.”

  79. Joshua no. I don’t think you are saying the IPCC should choose a comms partner with so much baggage. I was asking if people think their baggage will help or hinder the IPCC… and I suppose if you think the comms handbook is any good.. (which is the main point)

    beyond that I have no idea what you think I’m ignoring/not answering

  80. Joshua says:

    Barry –

    Perhaps you’ll go along with a different approach.

    Do you have any idea what my point was here?

    From where I sit, that is a (repeated) non-sequitur w/r/t my point. I was using Judith’s place to illustrate a larger point, and I tried to clarify what that larger point was.

    If not, why did you respond in any other way than to ask me to clarify?

    How did you see this comment:

    I can’t spend all my time – having problems with other people, that I don’t even read

    As responding to a point I made? What point did you think I was making when you wrote that? Did you think I was suggesting that you should spend all your time having problems with people that you don’t even read?

  81. Barry,
    Is there a potential IPCC comms partner who think we should communicate more effectively and who think that we should act to address AGW that you wouldn’t regard as having too much baggage?

  82. Joshua says:

    Barry –

    I will write another comment, hoping that it won’t preempt your response to my last comment. You say:

    I was asking if people think their baggage will help or hinder the IPCC… and I suppose if you think the comms handbook is any good.. (which is the main point)

    IMO, the first question is, mostly, an irrelevancy, a sort of ad hom, of the type that is usually the focus of poor faith exchange. IMO, “baggage” can be relevant, but only if people are looking for excuses to disengage or validate their antipathy.

    The 2nd question is more relevant. I don’t have a simple answer to that question. For example, in the Nazi death train video you linked above, I see some stuff I strongly disagree with and some stuff I agree with and I think is useful. I don’t think that focusing on coming up with a broad, categorical branding of the comms handbook is nearly as important as discussing the individual components contained therein.

  83. ATTP:
    I’ve already said (twice) groups that would be more effective/better at it for the IPCC… !
    at 7:36 pm and 2:56 pm

    Are you not reading my comments fully?

    Again. third time. Leo Hickman and Richard Black (and their groups), would do a better job. Leo’s group, being Roz’s former organisation. (they even have similar funders to Climate Outreach, both have journalistic backgrounds and a wider view of the nuances of the public. imho)

    Joshua:

    ref this..

    “From where I sit, that is a (repeated) non-sequitur w/r/t my point. I was using Judith’s place to illustrate a larger point, and I tried to clarify what that larger point was.
    If not, why did you respond in any other way than to ask me to clarify?”

    – I saw that as you just stating something, not a question, for me to answer, nor any reason for me to clarify it. I still have no idea if there is a question in there..

    ref this:

    How did you see this comment:

    I can’t spend all my time – having problems with other people, that I don’t even read [bjw]

    As responding to a point I made? What point did you think I was making when you wrote that? Did you think I was suggesting that you should spend all your time having problems with people that you don’t even read?

    – I saw this, as my response to you apparently stating (not a question) go and talk to Judith and correct her. ie as I said I thought you were doing ‘whataboutery’ – that I was criticising Climate Outreach/Marshall/Corner. and you were saying why don’t you criticise others, like Judith.

    So please, if there is anything else, be specific, plain English. bullet point some specific questions.

  84. Barry,

    Are you not reading my comments fully?

    It’s often tempting not to.

    Again. third time. Leo Hickman and Richard Black (and their groups), would do a better job.

    I didn’t actually ask which groups would be better, I asked which groups would not – according to you – have too much baggage?

  85. Joshua says:

    Barry –

    My point was that your construct about the impact of advocacy is, IMO, likely wrong. Views on the effectiveness of advocacy are, IMO, largely mediated by ideological alignment.

    My point about Judith’s (and I did clarify in response to your (whataboutism) was that folks at climate etc., just like folks elsewhere are likely selective in their response to “activism.”. Often it takes the form of a no true Scotsman gambit, where my “advocate” isn’t really an advocate. My point was in response to your, apparent, argument that being an “activist” is, inherently counterproductive with “the public.”

    That connected to my point about projecting one’s own views (as an outlier) on to the public at large (which you never responded to).

    I have seen a selective approach towards “activism” as being a poor faith gambit played, often, by climate war combatants. That is why I repeatedly tried to get you to engage in that issue. I think your approach towards the counter-effect of “activism” was simplistic at best. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, on an assumption that you aren’t playing an “activism” gambit, I am asking you to address my argument that your argument about the impact of “activism” was simplistic.

    Keep in mind, there is quite a bit of polling data which support scientists taking active public stances on issues of societal importance

  86. I remember seeing this regarding the very concerned guy and others like him, under the chart heading “does it matter how much you say or is it the quality of what you say?”

  87. Joshua- Did you see the Ecologist article/link I posted from George Marshall from 2001 – which several years later seems to have morphed into Marshall tone death climate comment views at Climate Camp. Marshall has a very fixed view of climate change, and he will not even discuss certain aspect of it. At all. i think this limits him and any analysis of the debate..

    Watch him here:

    and pt2

    And here: How to Talk to a Climate denier..

    (my comms advice – don’t make videos calling them deniers, which they can see, might be a good start, especially given that Marshall created Deniers Halls of Shame, and put Lindzen, Stott, Llomborg into them? )

    (Ben Pile’s reaction (rather rude, but some good points)
    http://www.climate-resistance.org/2012/04/how-to-talk-like-an-oily-dishonest-creep.html

    Back in 2001 he thinks the people that he thinks are in denial (of the imminent climate catastrophe to come, In the 80s – Marshall was literally fighting big oil (Chevron) in the rainforests, and I really salute him for that…

    but I think hos own worldview/personal motivations sees, or has seen enemies where there are none. He put Lomborg into a Deniers Hall of Shame,.. Lomborg’s sin seems to be that solutions will cost a lot – AND won’t work. Do something else. Whereas Marshall condemned him, for not taking action.. seemingly missing Lomborgs point, if it will cost a fortune and the action has no effect on the outcome, why do it. Marshall labels him a denier, for not doing the futile symbolic gesture.

  88. …and Then There’s Physics says: “Barry, Is there a potential IPCC comms partner …”

    I would not copy the framing of Barry Woods. Climate Outreach is not speaking on behave of the IPCC, they wrote a report for internal use. I think Joshua is right that this is just one big ad hominem. Sounds like the report was harder to attack.

    If I buy a book at my local bookshop owned by Barry Woods that does not mean that I am a fan of sea lioning. I means that I thought/hoped the book was worthwhile.

  89. Joshua says:

    Barry –

    I saw this, as my response to you apparently stating (not a question) go and talk to Judith and correct her. ie as I said I thought you were doing ‘whataboutery’ – that I was criticising Climate Outreach/Marshall/Corner. and you were saying why don’t you criticise others, like Judith.

    That seems like a reasonable interpretation, to me. (Which is why I did address your whataboutism point) but without rehashing (further), that wasn’t my point. My point is that views on “activism” are largely selective. My point is that as an example, at climate etc, “skeptics” simultaneously rationalize “activism” on their “side,” actually loudly applaud “activism” on their side, even as they decry the “politicization” of science by “activists” and “skeptaplain” their concerns about “activism” to “realists” even as they guffaw at “realists” for being too thick to see the obvious impact of their “activism”

    I have little doubt that there are parallel constructs on the other side of the great climate divide, so my point is not whataboutism, although I can see why it might come across that way. My point is that the arguments made by you in this thread about “activism” are, IMO, flawed, and flawed in a manner that I have seen, often, among “skeptics” (and indeed, on both sides of many proxy ideological battles) .

  90. Barry,
    Seriously, Ben Pile? You’re are suggesting that some associated with Climate Outreach are not operating in good faith, and you use Ben Pile as one of your sources? I don’t think there is anyone I’ve encountered who is worse than Ben Pile when it comes to engaging in good faith (or not) and, in particular, I don’t think I’ve encountered anyone ruder than Ben Pile. I don’t particularly care about the fact that he’s incredible rude. The problem is that he is both incredibly rude and an utter snowflake when it comes to anyone responding in kind. Come on, please do better.

  91. Joshua:

    ref – I am asking you to address my argument that your argument about the impact of “activism” was simplistic.

    it was simplistic. ie. an opinion that having comms advice, from an organisation, whose founder and other members of have an activist past, might be used by the IPCC opponents to attack, the IPCC. And whether that was going to help or hinder the IPCC..

  92. Victor,

    I would not copy the framing of Barry Woods. Climate Outreach is not speaking on behave of the IPCC, they wrote a report for internal use.

    Okay, fair point.

    I think Joshua is right that this is just one big ad hominem. Sounds like the report was harder to attack.

    Indeed.

  93. Barry,

    might be used by the IPCC opponents to attack, the IPCC.

    As you are nicely illustrating. I think Joshua might be asking you to reflect on the validity of such attacks, not simply point out that they are likely to happen.

  94. Willard says:

    I could point at this:

    I’m not man playing

    and point at this:

    I am saying Climate Outreach act in bad faith

    and say “that is all.” But I am tempted to remind that BarryW’s peddling almost always (if not always) features his usual scapegoats. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. What if I told you that by his own logic, BarryW’s bona fides should be enough to dismiss his concerns regarding the IPCC’s outreach efforts?

    ***

    To connect with KateM’s earlier tweet, BarryW’s peddling reminds me of Ron Broberg’s remark:

    Scapegoating is less easy when there’s a variety of ClimateBall megaphones.

  95. Joshua says:

    Barry –

    I see your 9:00 pm as being non-responsive. I don’t want to assume that you are deliberately being non-responsive, as I think that usually people want to engage in good faith even as so so can be extremely difficult.

    But at some point, if someone repeatedly responds in a way that seems non-responsive, I have to conclude that either I am a terrible communicator, or that my interlocutor is not particularly interested in good faith exchange.

    At this point, I will leave it to you to better understand, and thus respond to, my points. I can’t actually know why you have almost uniformly failed to do so thus far. As I said, maybe I have just been terribly unclear. But given that I have tried my best, little more can come from this exchange unless you, upon further reflection, are better able to understand what I’ve written and respond on point.

  96. Thanks for uploading the video How to talk to a climate change denier. It is actually quite helpful and as the title suggests it is not aimed at climate change deniers. The video even mentions that it is better to avoid the term. Climate change deniers tend to be precious snowflakes who are easily triggered by the micro-aggression of the term climate change denier and prefer politically correct terms.

    What is wrong with Lomborg? So much. If you care about telling it like it is.

  97. Joshua says:

    Sad.

  98. Joshua says:

    Barry *

    One final comment (pending any future responses from you).

    I tend to use simplistic and simple differently. It seems, perhaps, that you interpreted my use of simplistic as meaning simple. That wasn’t my intent Ed meaning. Perhaps I should have been more clear. By simplistic I meant lacking sophistication. Something can be both simple and sophisticated, IMO, but not both simplistic and sophisticated.

  99. Willard says:

    On the one hand, there’s an “activist past.” On the other, there’s a present Twitter feed:

    If only activists knew that to be taken srsly, they’d need to become inactivists.

  100. OK, ignore Ben, just watch the three George Marshall videos, is he really a good communicator?

    In the – How to Talk to a climate Change denier video. Marshall (alongside a bulletpoint – Respect)

    Marshall talks about how “climate change denier” is a good rallying cry.. but. ‘it is not very useful language in respecting people”

    which is a bit rich, when he is credited with the phrase, created a Deniers – Hall of Shame.. promoted the whole enemy narrative, etc Now if he explained his past, his narrative would be powerful. ie. I did this, it was wrong/ineffective, now I’m saying something else. but he does not.

    Got to go now, three kids and bedtime, I’ll look in tomorrow.

  101. Joshua says:

    OK, ignore Ben,…

    Classic.

  102. Hi Willard – I have a strong opinion about McDonnell, and Gerry Adams. Missed an IRA bomb once by a few hours in London.. destroyed a clients building. I think McDonnell and Corbyn will destroy the Labour party (which will be a great shame)- hardcore revolutionary socialist, not Labour.
    Life is more nuanced/complicated than this..

    Lord Turnbull, makes dumb comments about Brexiters being like Nazi’s – The Observer today…
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/feb/03/brexit-civil-service-1930s-germany

    yet, this is the same Lord Turnbull that is part of the GWPF (Lawson pro-Brexit) …..
    https://www.thegwpf.org/who-we-are/board-of-trustees/

    And we have Corbyn’s brother – Piers (climate denier) attacking Lord Turnbull on twitter

  103. Barry,

    OK, ignore Ben

    This is not really about Ben Pile, but about you. You’re the one who is complaining about bad faith engagement by others and yet you’ve chosen as a source someone who is clearly, and very obviously, operating in bad faith. How do you expect anyone to take your concerns seriously if you do something like this. Either you don’t have a clue what it means to engage in bad faith, or you are so blatantly partisan that your views should not be taken seriously?

  104. Barry,

    And we have Corbyn’s brother – Piers (climate denier) attacking Lord Turnbull on twitter

    Huh?

  105. ATTP: ref: As you are nicely illustrating. I think Joshua might be asking you to reflect on the validity of such attacks, not simply point out that they are likely to happen.

    do you agree that they may happen?

    but the validity is neither here nor there.. just that this could lead them open to attack, I doubt if the republicans will care about ‘validity’. just a talking point. oh look a bunch of activists. just ignore. And Morano has some fun with it.

    which wouldn’t help the IPCC.. I’ll ask a few climate scientists..

    with respect to my personal opinion on validity, I hope I was more nuanced, that comms advice from these guys, may not be very helpful, as their ‘activism’ I think blinds them… the ‘surprised/astonished’ example. not just because they are activists.

    Richard Black and Leo Hickmans organisations would be better for the IPCC , as journalists they are used to listening to others. whereas Marshall has a career of trying to shut others out of the debate.

    anyway children’s bedtime!! got to go.

  106. Barry,

    do you agree that they may happen?

    Yes (and I think you’re doing it). As I said in the post, though, we should be thinking of how to counter this, not simply avoiding it.

    but the validity is neither here nor there.. just that this could lead them open to attack, I doubt if the republicans will care about ‘validity’. just a talking point. oh look a bunch of activists. just ignore. And Morano has some fun with it.

    I think it does matter. Some will always find reasons to criticise. We can’t – in my view – simply allow a minority to undermine attempts to communicate effectively simply because the message is inconvenient.

    Richard Black and Leo Hickmans organisations would be better for the IPCC , as journalists they are used to listening to others. whereas Marshall has a career of trying to shut others out of the debate.

    This still doesn’t really answer my question, but I’ll leave it at that.

  107. Willard says:

    > I hope I was more nuanced

    And I hope you’d peddle less, BarryW.

    Thank you for your overall concerns. Enjoy your evening, and remember about ice cream:

  108. Victor,
    To be clear, I wasn’t disputing the charaterisation. I was trying to understand why Barry seems comfortable using it, given his complaints about others doing so.

  109. Willard says:

    > Missed an IRA bomb once by a few hours in London.. destroyed a clients building.

    “Tell a human story.”

  110. why the ‘Huh’ – to explain – Marshall’s – Deniers Hall of Shame – Rising Tide- Has Piers Corbyn – listed as a ‘climate denier’ – so I wrote the ‘magic phrase’ to illustrate this..
    https://risingtide.org.uk/content/hall-shame

  111. Willard says:

    I think you “got to go,” BarryW.

    Let’s keep in touch.

  112. I do Willard.. especially now you have turned up.. and no. Let’s not keep in touch.

  113. Willard says:

    Thanks for playing, BarryW.

  114. It is hardly controversial that the IPCC need to consider how to better communicate with a lay audience, or even with policy makers who may struggle with content rich scientific diagrams, for example. IPCC has itself expressed a desire to address this issue.
    And, others have offered thoughts. For example, the HELIX EU climate initiative produced some material to assist in improving presentations:
    https://www.helixclimate.eu/guide-practical-exercises-train-researchers-science-climate-change-communication/
    I see Climate Outreach’s booklet as as contribution to this discussion. A contribution that should be taken at face value. Not the final word, but a constructive contribution.

    Despite a large number of verbose comments by Barry triggered by the Climate Outreach’s booklet, he offered not one substantive idea, critique, or positive suggestion. Just a repetitive and mud-throwing at both George Marshall and the organization he founded. There is something disturbingly obsessional in this diatribe.

    I went to a talk by Katharine Hayhoe, followed by a discussion with George Marshall, then a Q&A, which was organized and facilitated by Climate Outreach. This one was in Oxford, but part of a tour Katharine was doing of UK. It was packed. There was no discussion about deniers and it was very positive and interesting discussion. It was obvious from those I talked with afterward that it had attracted a very diverse audience from a wide age range and different backgrounds; certainly not fitting any stereotype. There was a genuine desire to improve communications.

    When people resort to character assassinations, and seem incapable of substantive argument, I know where to lay the charge of ‘bad faith’.

  115. Magma says:

    Maybe a bit off-topic but in line with subthreads on this and previous posts, I just noticed that Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick have been tweeting and retweeting Trump-friendly conspiracy theories. (Doubly odd, since both are Canadian.)

    It seems that their skepticism goes clean to the bone.

  116. Joshua says:

    Magma –

    McIntyre’s been on the deep state conspiracy against Trump train for a while. Lucia’s is a hotbed of arguments supporting the conspiracy. WUWT posted the memo. Shocking, I know. ’cause, you know, “skeptics” are all about truth in science.

  117. Same with Wonderin Willis and every verbose know-it-all AGW dismisser across the board. Defending Trump is an integral part of their underlying agenda. Find one that despises Trump and they may have some interesting scientific ideas to add to the discussion.

  118. John Hartz says:

    This from the Editors of Scientific American…

    Universities Should Encourage Scientists to Speak Out about Public Issues,

    When universities discourage scientists from speaking out, society suffers

    Editorial Board of Scientific American, February 2018 Print Edition

    Opioids. Fracking. Zika. GMOs. Scientists should be speaking up about all sorts of science-based issues that affect our lives. Especially now, when Trump administration officials tell us that climate change is debatable and that killing African elephants can benefit the herd, scientists should be constantly exposing misinformation, bogus alternative facts and fake science.

    Unfortunately, the greatest obstacle to informing the public may be the very universities that many scientists work for.

    When Scientific American editors talk with Ph.D. students, postdoctoral researchers and early-career scientists, they often tell us that an adviser or senior department member has instructed them not to write blogs or articles for the general public, speak at public events or talk with reporters and to stay away from social media. In a 2016 survey of 61 chairs of U.S. and Canadian medical departments, only 23 percent said it was important for faculty to participate in blogs hosted by medical journals. Never mind personal blogs and those in the media.

    to access the entire article.

  119. Ragnaar says:

    Woods suggested who and what should be thrown under the bus. I agree, WUWT has some baggage that deserves the same fate. I think that baggage relocation helps get something done.

    He brought some meat to the claim that the denier term did have some something to do with the Holocaust. I was waiting for the rebuttal to that, and maybe it’s still in the works. I am not offended nor is my self worth brought into question by the term. I am amused by Lomborg’s inclusion in that camp. I think the use of the term puts the user to the left. It’s marketing. A person stands here and identifies themselves as someone who will lob denier bombs at the right. The right mirrors this by lobbing alarmist bombs. Those of course rarely hit the left lobbers but the actual scientists instead. This sequence may be reversed and the right started started it, but it makes no difference. The stalemate remains.

    Earlier I think I brought up this: Science > Communication > Value

    It’s just this: Product > Communication > Value

    Possible weaknesses that no communication can fix and will often backfire:

    The product sucks.
    The value sucks.

    In this case, the communication can’t fix anything.

    A statement of value was done by Lomborg with the low return of some climate agreement in terms of reduced GMST.

    Skeptic playbook:
    Attack the product
    Attack the value

    As an accountant, I attack the value. At the same time I costed out solar for my office and non-profit park I am the treasurer of. Not on some promo sight but going into a little more depth. But at the end of the day, it’s just counting.

    Value is resistant what you want it or wish it to be. It’s your money. Your future. Your retirement. You cannot be told what it is. You decide what it is.

  120. Willard says:

    > But at the end of the day, it’s just counting.

    Value is obtained with valuation, Ragnaar. It can’t be reduced to “counting,” unless you want to wash your hands of your own decisions. Doing so only makes you rediscover the honest broker dance.

    Coincidentally, you handwave to BjornL. Fancy that.

  121. Ragnaar says:

    Willard:

    I was counting costs and savings. Looking at payback periods. So with solar for our park, I tally the initial costs. The savings attacks that number until we reach break even. This is my primary value metric. Then there’s the, I am saving the world metric that has value but that varies widely among individuals. I prefer to save the world by growing wildflowers and changing a two crop rotation to a three crop rotation with a didn’t used to have them, cover crops putting carbon into the soil.

    In simple terms cost values and saving the planet values are held by individuals in different proportions. Those that tend to cost values in the long run recognize having more cash. A nice feedback. Those that tend to save the planet values who use premature technology get a negative feedback of having less cash. Some may argue with the cost shifts currently they are saving money. They project any on going subsidies and being carried by electric utilities and they may be right. But costs or call it cash is a relentless thing. Germany’s grid may be an example.

    Yes we can save the planet or 1/6 of it equal to about our share, but we need more than to open the money tap from half to full. We need 10 taps at full open. And we can’t that much money out of utilities with fossil fuel agendas, and we can’t shake down big oil for it because we aren’t paying $10 a gallon for gasoline or heating our homes with wind power.

    Yes big corporations can be torn down in an attempt to save the planet. I contend that will not provide value, just revenge for some perceived wrongs. Some people may value exercising their revenge. But with a pile of rubble and the non-emergence of viable replacements, I am not seeing the value.

  122. Willard says:

    > I was counting costs and savings.

    And my point is that value can’t be reduced to costs and savings, Ragnaar. I think you’re conflating the two. Your storytelling doesn’t respond to that point, although it abides by one of the aforementioned recommendations.

  123. Richard – how can it be character assassination – quoting what is in Marhsall’s own biographies, and in his own books. and Corners – own actions, which I’m sure they are proud of.. my point how does obvious activists, help the IPCC be perceived as a science, non ‘activist’ policy neutral organisation. Climate Outreach has staff arrested on anti-fracking demonstrations. which again is fine… but for say – republican opponents of the IPCC who think it activist and non-neutral – Pachauri can’t have helped.. obvious activist producing climate comms, gives, those ‘republicans’ a big stick to beat it with..

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