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Ogmius Newsletter

CENTER Publications

Below is a sample of recent publications by CSTPR faculty (Center personnel highlighted):

articleCreative (Climate) Communications: Productive Pathways for Science, Policy and Society

Boykoff, M., 2019. Cambridge University Press, doi: 10.1017/9781108164047, Published July.

Introduction: Conversations about climate change at the science-policy interface and in our lives have been stuck for some time. This handbook integrates lessons from the social sciences and humanities to more effectively make connections through issues, people, and things that everyday citizens care about. Readers will come away with an enhanced understanding that there is no ‘silver bullet’ to communications about climate change; instead, a ‘silver buckshot’ approach is needed, where strategies effectively reach different audiences in different contexts. This tactic can then significantly improve efforts that seek meaningful, substantive, and sustained responses to contemporary climate challenges. It can also help to effectively recapture a common or middle ground on climate change in the public arena. Readers will come away with ideas on how to harness creativity to better understand what kinds of communications work where, when, why, and under what conditions in the twenty-first century. Read more ...

articleClimate Change Countermovement Organizations and Media Attention in the United States

Boykoff, M. and J. Farrell, 2019. Chapter 7 in Climate Change Denial and Public Relations, Ed. N Almiro and J. Xifra, pp. 121-139, Routledge, Published July 8.

Introduction: In this chapter, we focus analyses on contrarian voices – often dubbed climate skeptics, contrarians, dismissives, doubters, deniers, or denialists – that have gained prominence and traction in the U.S. public domain over time through a mix of internal workings such as journalistic norms, institutional values and practices, and external political, economic, cultural, and social factors. We connect these considerations to social networks of climate contrarianism and climate countermovement activities. We first outline the contemporary landscape of contrarians and contrarian countermovement organizations in the United States. Next, we share comprehensive text and network data to show how a patterned network of political and financial actors and elite corporate benefactors influence polarization effects. Then, we consider how and why these actors garner disproportionate visibility in the public sphere via mass media, and how media content producers grapple with ways to represent claims makers, as well as their claims, so that they clarify rather than confuse these critical issues. Last, in the U.S. context we discuss how contrarian actors are embedded in countermovement activities through ideological or evidentiary disagreement to the orthodox views of science, a drive to fulfill the perceived desires of special interests, and exhilaration from self-perceived notoriety. Through these dimensions, we explore how contrarians use celebrity as a way to exploit networked access to decision-making within the dynamic architectures of contemporary climate science, politics, and policy in the United States. We therefore interrogate the state of play of contrarian social networks and their effects – from individual attitudes to larger organizational and financial flows – in the U.S. context, commonly referred to as belly of the beast in terms of carbon-based industry power and political/societal/cultural polarization. Read more ...

articleIs Adaptation Success a Flawed Concept?

Dilling, L., A. Prakash, Z. Zommers, F. Ahmad, N. Singh, S. de Wit, J. Nalau, M. Daly, K. Bowman, 2019. Nature Climate Change, 9 572-574, doi: 10.1038/s41558-019-0539-0.

Excerpt: The Paris Agreement established a global goal on adaptation (Article 7, para. 1) and invites Parties to “review the adequacy and effectiveness of adaptation” in a global stocktake (Article 7, para. 14c). Creating universally applicable measures of adaptation success remains elusive, however, given that most adaptation projects are implemented at the local level and start from wildly differing baseline conditions. Further, the adaptation process is never truly ‘finished’ in a changing, evolving climate1. Berrang-Ford et al.2 propose tracking government adaptation policy instruments as a way to assess progress. However, these and other approaches do not address what constitutes ‘success’, focusing instead on government planning, or how vulnerability is changing — and leaving open the questions of vulnerability of whom, to what, and who decides. In this Comment, we propose that the focus should be on bolstering and measuring the capabilities of individuals and institutions — capabilities that are necessary to pursue a range of resilient futures and adaptation goals. Read more ...

articleDistributional impacts of the North Dakota Gas Flaring Policy

Srivastava, U., D. Oonk, I. Lange, and M. Bazilian, 2019. The Electricity Journal, 32 (8), doi: 10.1016/j.tej.2019.106630.

Abstract: This paper considers whether the reform of North Dakota’s natural gas flaring policy provided large operators a competitive advantage, leading to increased market concentration. North Dakota was the highest gas flaring and venting state in USA until it was taken over by Texas in 2015 coinciding with the implementation of its gas flaring policy in 2014. Two analyses are performed in North Dakota (and Wyoming, as a control) to compare the effect that the flaring policy had on the state’s oil sector. The analyses show mixed evidence, larger firms gained an advantage leading to fewer smaller firms operating in the state. The paper concludes with highlighting possible further areas for research, and methodologies for acquiring more reliable data. Read more ...

articleGood-Natured Comedy to Enrich Climate Communication

Osnes, B., M. Boykoff, and P. Chandler, 2019. Comedy Studies, doi: 10.1080/2040610X.2019.1623513.

Abstract: This report explores the use of good-natured comedy to diversify the modes of comedy that can be used in climate communication beyond satire to others modes that are possibly more supportive of sustained climate action. Student’s self-assessment on a class project involving this type of comedy were collected through an on-line survey to generate data to explore their feelings of hope and their views of their own growth as climate communicators. Research findings suggest that student participation in creating good-natured comedy helps students positively process negative emotions regarding global warming, sustain hope, and grow as communicators of climate. These findings are from a practice-focussed study that shares primarily the self-reported results by students of a project offered over one semester. These findings show promise in the exploration of comedy for students to process emotions that allow joy, fun and hope to sustain their commitment to grow as climate communicators. Read more ...