Disagreeing about climate change: Which way forward?

Zygon 50 (4):893-905 (2015)
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Why does climate change continue to be a forceful idea which divides people? What does this tell us about science, about culture, and about the future? Despite disagreement, how might the idea of climate change nevertheless be used creatively? In this essay I develop my investigation of these questions using four lines of argument. First, the future risks associated with human-caused climate change are severely underdetermined by science. Scientific predictions of future climates are poorly constrained; even more so the consequences of such climates for evolving human socio-technological and natural ecosystems. Second, I argue that to act politically in the world, people have to pass judgments on the facts of science; facts do not speak for themselves. Third, because these judgments are different, the strategic goals of policy interventions developed in response to risks associated with future climate change are inevitably multiple and conflicting. Finally, reconciling and achieving diverse goals requires political contestation. “Moving forward” on climate change then becomes a task of investing in the discursive and procedural preconditions for an agonistic politics to work constructively, to enable ways of implementing policies when people disagree



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References found in this work

On the political.Chantal Mouffe - 2005 - New York: Routledge.
Pluralism: against the demand for consensus.Nicholas Rescher - 1993 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Virtues for the Anthropocene.Marcello di Paola - 2015 - Environmental Values 24 (2):183-207.

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