There’s been some hand wringing about the fact that science does not have the traction it should in the political debate over climate change.
This is the genesis of the framing argument, most recently pushed by Chris Mooney and Matt Nisbet. Basically, this thesis says that scientists need to put their scientific results into a “frame” that allows the general public to better understand how to interpret their results.
I’ve never particularly liked “framing,” and here’s one reason: I think that the scientific community has been extremely effective at getting the word out about climate change.
Look at this article:
While many conservative commentators and editorialists have mocked concerns about climate change, a different reality is emerging among Republican presidential contenders. It is a near-unanimous recognition among the leaders of the threat posed by global warming.
The Bush administration also now accepts the scientific consensus.
Not everyone is a believer, of course. But for people who need to be taken seriously by the general public (as opposed to a specialized constituency), saying climate change doesn’t exist or isn’t caused by humans is the equivalent of saying the Earth is flat.
The Republican candidates, Lomborg, the Bush administration, and environmental groups differ on what to do about climate change, but this is not a disagreement over science. Science can answer questions about the way the world is, but tells us little about what we should do about it. Questions about what we should be doing are as much value-based as science-based.
The climate debate has now entered a much more value-based period, trying to answer the question: what should we be doing about it? Into this debate we see the emergence of climate delayers to replace the rapidly disappearing climate deniers.
Once again, science has won.