Last week the Garrison Institute, a retreat center just a few miles down the Hudson River from my home, hosted an impressivesymposium on “Climate, Mind and Behavior.” An organizer made the mistake of inviting me to the meeting’s wrap-up session Friday.
As a brochure put it, the symposium brought together 75 “thought leaders and practitioners from the fields of neuro, behavioral and evolutionary economics, psychology, policy, investing and social media to explore how to integrate emerging knowledge on the key drivers of behavior into solutions for solving the world’s most pressing problem: climate change.”
As naïve as this may sound, I believe environmentalists should try to influence public opinion by laying out the facts as clearly and honestly as possible and refraining from rhetorical trickery. Inconvenient Truth was a framing masterpiece, but Al Gore’s linkage of global warming to Katrina, however qualified, has made it easier for wackos to claim that single weather events, like the big blizzards that struck Washington, D.C., this winter, contradict global warming. Climategate showed that some climatologists have become so obsessed with framing that they have harmed their credibility.
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