The everyday denial of climate change

Kari Marie Norgaard in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

Global-warmingFor nearly three decades, natural and physical scientists have provided increasingly clear and dire assessments of the alteration in the biophysical world. Yet despite these urgent warnings, human social and political response to ecological degradation remains wholly inadequate. While apathy in the United States is particularly notable, this gap between the severity of the problem and its lack of public salience is visible in most Western nations. As scientific evidence for climate change pours in, public urgency and even interest in the issue fails to correspond. What can explain the mismatch between scientific information and public concern? Are people just uninformed? Are they inherently greedy and selfish? These are the questions that chart the course of my work, which concerns not the outright rejection of science by climate skeptics, but the more pervasive and common problem of how and why most people who say they are concerned about climate change nevertheless manage to ignore it.

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