Debating Climate Change: Pathways through Argument to Agreement

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Routledge, Dec 1, 2009 - Nature - 160 pages
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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

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1 Trying to Make Sense of Disparate Arguments about Climate Change
2 The Many Faces of the Dispute
Part of Globalization?
Agreeing and Disagreeing
The Features of the Arguments
6 Elements of Arguments as Social Links
Social Network Analysis
Endless Recycling of Arguments or Movement towards Agreement?
Appendix 1 Arguments Sorted by Family with Coded Rhetorical Features
Appendix 2 Documents Listed by Argument

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About the author (2009)

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).

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