Title: An assessment of flaws and conflicts in climate change communication

Authors: Victor Fairén

Addresses: Departamento de Física Matemática y Fluidos, UNED, Calle Senda del Rey, 9, 28041 Madrid, Spain

Abstract: Science has made a great leap forward in the last 20 years in supporting the claim of the anthropogenic origin of climate change. The community of scientists working on disciplines related to climate is virtually unanimous on the point. According to polls, respondents in some Western countries are showing a growing scepticism, if not plain confusion. This article aims at describing and analysing the intricate factors which are at the root of the lack of confidence in science and the disconnection between science and the public perception of the problem. We certainly find difficulties in understanding the complex epistemological issues involved in the creation of science. But we also meet with biased presentations of the issues by opponents to climate change and journalist alike. The resulting confusion can only be understood when we invoke the inadequacy of the still-in-force hierarchical means of communication in a progressively more horizontal society.

Keywords: climate change communication; public opinion; innovation in education; sustainable development; sustainability; public perception; scientific communication; scepticism.

DOI: 10.1504/IJISD.2012.046049

International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, 2012 Vol.6 No.1, pp.5 - 19

Published online: 26 Mar 2012 *

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