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Climate change as a cultural, not a scientific issue?

"The debate on climate change in the United States (and elsewhere) is not a dispute about carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas models; it concerns the conflicting cultural values ​​and world views through which we look at scientific knowledge. "

These words come from Andrew J. Hoffman, the author of the book "How Culture Makes a Debate on Climate Change." American Professor of Sustainable Business at Michigan University is devoted to rhetorical war on climate change.

On the introductory pages, the author explains that climate change needs to be seen as a cultural rather than a scientific issue. In order to understand the context, it presents a summary of the most significant studies confirming the existence of climate change. But it subsequently shows that society does not accept this global scientific consensus uniformly, and even the attitudes to climate change perceptions change at different times. This is the first objective of a book to understand how society perceives and approaches climate change.

On the example of the United States of America, Hoffman shows that the company is polarized into two hostile camps. The American left, represented by the Democrats, believes that climate change is already underway and needs to be resolved as soon as possible. By contrast, the right, represented by the Republicans, contradicts the claim that the existence of climate change is not sufficiently scientifically grounded, or even a mystification that threatens civil and commercial freedoms.

Read the interview with Andrew J. Hoffman Until climate change touches rich people, nothing will change

At the heart of the discussion is not scientific knowledge at all, but the threat to our own values ​​and culture that the individual parties hold and defend. Not only do the groups have a distrust of message messengers, the scientific process, the content of the message itself and the solution offered, but also speak a completely different language.

The second goal and the overall main benefit of the book is the set of solutions offered to dislodge this tumultuous situation. Hoffman examines which groups should discuss climate change, how people should be convincingly presented, what attitude science should take and what should be said about its solutions. In two historical analogies, he tries to prove that society is capable of solving such a complex problem.

The book can be appreciated for its brevity and readability. It has a wide-ranging theme on just 120 pages, and in a more comprehensible way. It is not loaded with references, citations, and complex language. It summarizes the findings and brings many surprising facts. Hoffman brilliantly combines insights from various disciplines and looks at the topic with insight. It is suitable for both the general public and people who like to read about environmental topics. The only downside is its focus on American realms, which many readers do not say. But it is certainly interesting to see how the culture of the climate change debate in the US is being created, as it often affects the events in Europe.


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