Climate Change Perceptions
Five studies examine opposition to expert consensus on controversial scientific issues. Topics include vaccines and climate change. Results show that "the people who disagree most with the scientific community know less about the relevant issues, but they think they know more."
It's important to note, investigators ruled out the possibility that the results were driven solely by demographic variables, including education level. Doing so did not meaningfully change any of the reported relationships in these studies.
"The findings suggest that focusing on changing individuals’ perceptions of their own knowledge may be a helpful first step" for countering anti-consensus views. For example, the topic of climate change with anti-consensus individuals is to begin conversations with values. "We must protect people and places from being harmed by the issues facing our environment." If we establish a common ground with our audience that places us on good footing from the start.
Check out my new blog, Climate Stewardship.
Let’s use the greenhouse gas phenomena in this example of scientific processes. (The following is provided by the UC Climate Stewards' education program.) How might you work the value Protection into a conversation:
Missing Tree Rings Spell Danger For Forests
Dr. Daniel Griffin is a dendrochronologist and assistant professor at the University of Minnesota. He studies climate and ecosystem change via tree ring data. This article caught my attention because I've been looking at coast redwood tree rings and am interested in the work done by Zane Moore at UC Davis and California State Parks in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Less than 5 percent of old growth coast redwoods are left along the California and Oregon coast, and many are over 1,000 years old. Tree rings tell a story, but can they predict the future health of a forest?
There is uncertainty in the science community about how long the ongoing drought and our ever-warmer climate are affecting these forests. Redwoods are great at adapting to water absorption using specialized shoots that vary from northern and southernmost forests.  But many are in the grips of a mega-drought and extreme fire events.  Will the coast redwoods’ missing tree rings spell out the future of the forests? Is the worst-case scenario avoidable?
This 500 Year Old Tree in California Has a Story to Tell, by Daniel Griffin, New York Times, July 2022