Guest essay by Joel O’Bryan
A read through of the presenter’s abstracts for the upcoming 2014 AGU Convention in San Francisco, December 15-19, I found these two presentation abstracts which caught my eye that I thought would be worth sharing with WUWT readers. Without further ado, here they are with my prefacing comments about both.
· With Halloween approaching, now is a good time to line up your kids for the scariest tale of all, The Extremely Severe Consequences of Catastrophic Climate Change.
Robert Edward Thomas Ward, London School of Economics, London, WC2A, United Kingdom and Nicholas H Stern, London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom
Scientific assessments of future climate change tend to focus on central estimates and may understate or ignore the significance of low probability outcomes that may have extremely severe consequences. This relative neglect of tail risks is partly a result of traditions in prediction and forecasting, and conservatism about phenomena for which few data and information exist.
The misinterpretation of such scientific assessments can have adverse results. Even though the central estimates of high emissions scenarios present obvious dangers, the tails of lower emissions scenarios still contain very serious risks which may be overlooked by policy-makers. Economic analyses may omit the possibility of catastrophic impacts, leading to substantial under-estimates of damage caused by climate change.
So how do we avoid these shortcomings and achieve more effective communication about the risks of climate change?
The scientific assessments of climate change differ in significant ways from the formal risk assessment methods successfully employed in other fields. We outline a ‘good practice’ approach to the identification, assessment and communication of potentially catastrophic risks based on examples from sectors such as civil engineering, national security and insurance.
We illustrate how this ‘good practice’ approach could be applied to provide a better presentation of some catastrophic tail risks that are outlined in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The risks we consider include the possibility of ‘extreme’ rises in temperature and sea level lying outside the central projections described in the report, and the plausibility of significant releases of methane from the thawing of permafrost.
Using these illustrations, we examine how scientific researchers can improve their communication about climate change to assist decision-making, and how policy-makers and politicians might respond differently to alternative presentations of information about the tail risks.
· The Ministry of Truth (aka, The Alliance for Climate Change Education) wants your children to join with them and the Girl Scouts with GLEE!! Indoctrinate your children now in the Politically Correct aspects of Climate Change and make them resistant to the reality-based facts and data on Earth’s climate! The proposal in abstract below echoes back to Projection Bias, where people subconsciously assumed that all others shared similar values and positions as themselves (or rather, values similar to how others viewed them).
As Karthik Narayanaswami of Harvard describes in “Analysis of Nazi Propaganda, A Behavioral Study,” the use of Projection Bias has its roots in pre-WWII Nazi youth indoctrination. Projection Bias reinforced the herd mentality, and reduced the opposition to the National Socialism’s cause. Furthermore, the indoctrination efforts also helped strengthen Ingroup Bias by targeting children, youth, and students in their propaganda, as seen in the picture of propaganda targeted toward German youth. This created a strong sense of communal organization, as was seen in the Hitler Youth programs.
Victoria Christine Rodriguez1, Matt Lappé2, June A. Flora3, Nicole M. Ardoin1 and Thomas N. Robinson1, (1)Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States, (2)Alliance for Climate Education, Oakland, CA, United States, (3)Stanford University, H-Star, Stanford, CA, United States
Ultimately, effective climate change communication results in a change in behavior, whether the change is individual, household or collective actions within communities. We describe two efforts to promote climate-friendly behavior via climate communication and behavior change theory. Importantly these efforts are designed to scale climate communication principles focused on behavior change rather than solely emphasizing climate knowledge or attitudes. Both cases are embedded in rigorous evaluations (randomized controlled trial and quasi-experimental) of primary and secondary outcomes as well as supplementary analyses that have implications for program refinement and program scaling. In the first case, the Girl Scouts “Girls Learning Environment and Energy” (GLEE) trial is scaling the program via a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for Troop Leaders to teach the effective home electricity and food and transportation energy reduction programs. The second case, the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) Assembly Program, is advancing the already-scaled assembly program by using communication principles to further engage youth and their families and communities (school and local communities) in individual and collective actions.
Scaling of each program uses online learning platforms, social media and “behavior practice” videos, mastery practice exercises, virtual feedback and virtual social engagement to advance climate-friendly behavior change. All of these communication practices aim to simulate and advance in-person train-the-trainers technologies.
As part of this presentation we outline scaling principles derived from these two climate change communication and behavior change programs.
Yes, the 2014 AGU has something for everyone!!!