In “Making Climate Change Understandable” Joseph F.C. DiMento and Pamela Doughman address that the lack of understanding surrounding climate change for the majority of public can be linked to the regards that it is seen as marginal rather than a central problem. In other words, because people are unable to fathom the effects climate change will have on daily living and quality of life for the future they feel no need to acknowledge and address the problem with concerns. In hopes to curb the confusion, DiMento and Doughman address climate change in a way that appeals to those of a non-scientific background, however I believe their style of writing supported their claim better than their use of actual evidence. Nonetheless, it’s essential to note that these claims were based off of three assumptions. The authors emphasize that their entire objective of this book is to make it engaging for a common person.
And to do this they use nontechnical language deliberately and drew logical connections between the effects of climate change and us. DiMento and Pamela’s intended audience was the general public, this leaves them to assume that a common person is interested in learning about climate change. However, in their defense they believe that a person would be more interested in climate change if the fully understood the consequences it could have on them. Secondly, the are not naive in thinking that climate change is an easy topic to comprehend. They accept and acknowledge that climate change will not be a facile concept to grasp. But ironically, their whole backbone of their claim is that climate change does not need to be as intricate as it is commonly presented to be. They make the claim that climate change is difficult to understand because of how it is presented. For evidence they describe how media feeds into the drama side of climate change rather than reporting the comprehensive coverage for environmental affairs.
Media has the power to agenda-set by choosing which stories become pressing news placing it on the front cover. DiMento and Pamela point out that often times when climate change does reach the front page news, it frequently gets questioned for being hyperbolize. However, they do acknowledge that their are special cases where news companies are consistent and have built good credibility based on releasing accurate and balanced articles.
In addition, to recognizing those companies efforts they do offer more insight on how other major newspapers like to pretend they are avoiding bias. This was an important statement because it helps readers to see through this false face front of media, and ultimately help them understand coverage of climate change better. Moreover, they make a subclaim that people are in denial of human contribution to climate change because of disagreements among scientist. They go further, to link this widespread perception to political leaders and provided a statement from a senator that illustrates how work from scientist gets easily manipulated. Consequently, it is these assertions of magnified uncertainties that get placed on the front page of newspaper. Arguably, the presentation of scientific findings for climate change becomes cloudier and more difficult to understand when people not qualified (lack of expertise on a topic) try to draw their own conclusions. Their second subclaim is that a common person or an amateur person who is not trained in a scientific profession are not able to comprehend to the level needed to understand climate change. Their reasoning behind it is that interpretation of certain risks may not be communicated as intended by the scientist.
Additionally, the used evidence from other scientific fields like psychology to ration out human behavior and why it is so difficult to understand the abstract concept of climate change. By providing background of where the evidence is from and who published the work it built credibility for their reasonings, strengthening their argument. Similarly, their third subclaim is that jargon for climate change and the policies it is associated with are complex. They support this claim with demonstrating the intense vocabulary and plentiful acronyms related to climate science. In response to this confusion, DiMento and Pamela strive to put these terms into ordinary terms. By providing relatable example, such as the conversion of Celsius to Fahrenheit it helps to visualize the realistic impact of climate change. Through including phrases the reader already understands into the climate change it helps to bridge the gap between the science behind it to the practical consequence.
Allowing the reader to be more open to accept the author’s argument. Overall I believe the author’s introduction to their book is appealing to a regular person, but not because they use outstanding evidence that we never heard of but because for once a regular person can read about climate change and understand it. It’s like they gave a regular person a special pair of scientific goggles that lets them see how twisted media illustrates climate change, that we can comprehend science jargon, and most importantly see that we can improve climate change by speaking of it differently.
And while others may suggest for a science book we should have seen greater inclusion of evidence, I think because it was a preview for the book to come the authors’ goal was not to drown us with facts (like we’ve been faced with in the past) but to demonstrate that this book will talk about climate change in a new way. In other words, I believe the authors claim that climate change can be understandable was successful due to relatable examples and simple language.