Debating Climate Change : Pathways through Argument to  Agreement book cover
1st Edition

Debating Climate Change
Pathways through Argument to Agreement

ISBN 9781849774420
Published December 1, 2009 by Routledge
160 Pages

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Book Description

As greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated and contentious voices fill the air, the question gains urgency: How can people with widely varying viewpoints agree to address climate change? Each participant in the debate seems to have a different agenda, from protecting economic growth in developing countries to protecting the energy industry in industrialized countries, from those aghast at the damage done to the Earth to optimists who think we just need to adjust our technological approach. Debating Climate Change sorts through the tangle of arguments surrounding climate change to find paths to unexpected sites of agreement. Using an innovative sociological approach – combined discourse and social network analyses – Elizabeth L. Malone analyzes 100 documents representing a range of players in this high-stakes debate. Through this she shows how even the most implacable adversaries can find common ground - and how this common ground can be used to build agreement. Written in a clear, accessible style, this original research and insightful use of communication analysis will help advance understanding and negotiation on climate change throughout the pivotal times to come. Published with Science in Society

Table of Contents

Preface: Climate Change in the Spotlight 1. Introduction: Trying to Make Sense of Disparate Arguments about Climate Change 2. The Many Faces of Dispute 3. Climate Change - Part of Globalization? 4. Arguments - Agreeing and Disagreeing 5. Finding Common Ground: The Features of the Arguments Themselves 6. Elements of Arguments as Social Links 7. Beyond Family Ties: Social Network Analysis 8. Prospects for the Debate: Endless Recycling of Arguments or Movement toward Agreement? Appendix 1 Arguments sorted by family with coded rhetorical features Appendix 2. Documents listed by argument Visit for free electronic supplementary material: First-stage analysis of the 100 documents examined in this book.

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Elizabeth L. Malone is a sociologist and Senior Research Scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington and has been doing research on climate change as a dimension of human change for over a decade. She co-edited with Steve Rayner the four volume set 'Human Choice and Climate Change' (Battelle Press, 1998).


'As climate change has moved from the science pages to the front page of the world's newspapers, this very timely book makes sense of the current debates in climate policy. With admirable rigour Elizabeth L. Malone demonstrates that despite the diversity of arguments, all is not yet lost and agreement is in reach.' Dr Richard J.T. Klein, Stockholm Environment Institute 'Climate change calls for new engagement across partisan, disciplinary, and institutional divides. Elizabeth Malone's important new book helps us better understand these fault lines and find ways to bring people and ideas together.' Barry Rabe, Professor, Gerald Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan 'The book is well written and takes the reader gradually through the analytical process...This is an interesting read for all those interested in the climate change debate' Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers