This is important, and it's of a piece. As clear as the #SR15 report was on the rapid physical transformation needed to avoid #climatebreakdown, it was almost silent on the political parameters of that transformation - but these are well researched. 1/?
As @TimmonsRoberts says, “It leaves readers and policy makers without tools to address the problem in the real world.”
So the big gap in #SR15 is one of covering the political realities surrounding climate change: these include the biggest barriers & best avenues for action. 2/?
That's quite a gap! Climate denial, as an action of the fossil fuel industry, has been wildly successful, weaponizing both scientific processes and media discourses. And divestment, extraction bans, legal actions have had arguably more success than techno-econ fixes. 3/?
Moreover, both of areas of political inaction and action have been covered in the academic literature, so would merit coverage in the IPCC's #SR15. So why the silence? I have some thoughts, but would love to hear from authors & others. 4/?
Hypothesis 1: climate science and its reporting has been dominated by natural scientists, then energy systems (engineers). The first social science involved was economics, on the cost-benefit of technical options. Economics has since dominated social science representation. 5/?
Natural science, engineering and mainstream economics have in common that they are uncomfortable with political topics. For economics, strong political factors result in "market failure", meaning mainstream economics no longer applies, so admitting these are happening ... 6/?
means that they (economists) would admit their own lack of relevance. No one likes doing that. And the other sciences basically are super uncomfortable with political anything and have no formal way to analyze or deal with it. 7/?
(Aside: this is inexcusable for environmental science, which is almost always political in its implications, if not in its analysis or findings, however to this day environmental scientists are uttterly politically clueless and blind. I blame academic disciplines.) 8/?
Hypothesis 2: it's not a topical blindness, but a tactical one. By ignoring the political aspects of #climatebreakdown, scientists are hoping to protect the IPCC and their own position as "honest brokers" in the policy world. They are silent out of fear that speaking out ... 9/?
would be used against them by various actors. This is the ostrich defense, or the 3 monkeys 🙈🙉🙊 defense: pretend it's not happening, don't talk about it, and hope it'll go away by itself. My position is that this is foolish, ineffective and dangerous. 10/?
There may be other reasons, but these are the main two I could think of. Probably both are at work here. This is a problem that needs to be overcome, and it needs to be exposed before it can be addressed. So thanks @DeSmogBlog @readfearn & all who contributed to this piece. 11/11
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