I return now to this snippet from the conclusion: ‘it seems unlikely that the defensive institutional work by those in powerful positions within fossil fuel-related firms and industry associations can be breached in the near future without global enforcement mechanisms’. Underneath the trappings of academia and the raft of references, this quote highlights that LM2013 is treating us to more than a hint of those calls from highly immersed green street-activists; i.e. CAGW must be right and thus forcing regulation must also be right, where in the activist case overriding democracy plus direct action against oil and coal interests are both candidates for action. No doubt, unfortunately, such activists will benefit from this type of academic work. What a disappointing and very unenlightened dead end to a promising approach, which if it were but wider in context could hardly fail to identify to the authors their own framing work, and maybe provide a good formal entry port into an analysis of the memetic mechanisms that drive narrative wars. Not to mention exposing the aggressive framing of the self-named ‘Hockey Team’ (the small core of climate scientists promoting the original Global Warming theory). As the well-known climate commenter and contributor to BEST surface temperature series,
Stephen Mosher, said: ‘Rather than using this methodology to understand skeptics, it’s probably better used to understand “the team” .’ See here for the original comment.
In not explicitly mentioning that the same process (of narrative competition) occurs across all sectors, and also in taking the word of the IPCC as an ‘absolute truth’ that is somehow magically defined as outside of this entire competition, the authors have painted a picture of the narrative struggle as though it is merely a secondary issue. An issue regarding only the dissemination of this ‘absolute truth’, plus the consequent policy action (or lack thereof), both of which are impeded or accelerated by the resistive or supportive frames within their arbitrarily narrowed contest. Yet the authors’ own frame and the supportive home for their storylines is enabled entirely by (unacknowledged) CAGW culture, by far the most dominant uber-frame within the environmental domain. Hence a very intelligent and careful work, no doubt associated with a great deal of effort to conduct their survey and analyze the results etc. is in my opinion completely undermined by a cultural bias to which the authors appear almost entirely blind.
To summarize: The authors’ haven’t sought to distance themselves from their own immersion in a (dominant) frame within the narrative competition they seek to analyze. Hence LM2013 is highly entangled with their own framing activity, including emotive content. While equal terminology ought to have been applied to all frames, this simply cannot be done in any case when only one small sector (experts from or associated with the petro-chemical industry [in Alberta]) of the battleground is considered; many entire frames that prosper outside this sector aren’t even acknowledged! One cannot analyze a single narrow sector in isolation from the wider narrative competition, and still draw useful conclusions about that wider competition. Even the more limited conclusions one might draw should be tested for possible framing bias from the wider competition. Nor can one take a near universal truth (e.g. regarding older males in society) as being meaningful for or against any particular frame in a given narrative competition; it will have near equal weight in all frames and hence should be disregarded. The authors appeared to recognize that all ‘truths’ in the total narrative competition are relative, yet then contradict themselves by singling out one particular relative ‘truth’, i.e. that of the orthodox IPCC view, and granting this the status of an absolute. While they may claim that the law (in the form of emissions regulation) supports their ‘absolute truth’, it is well established that arbitrary framings can in any case alter the law* and even morals* in their favor; hence this is no excuse for ceding objectivity. [*see my essay for more on this, including supporting refs].
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