How to have a talk about climate change (Karin Kirk)

Karin Kirk is a geologist who writes for Yale Climate Connections. She suggests in this column that instead of disrespecting those who question manmade “climate change (aka global warming), a topic that has Americans “resolutely divided” along “partisan battle lines,” supporters of the theory should dial down the rhetoric and strive to have “better conversations.”

Seven suggestions are offered: Abandon the talking points – listen (listening is an underused skill) and then ask questions and follow-ups – recognize places of agreement – seek out broad perspectives – focus on immediate, common benefits – learn as much as you can – accept problems to solve them.

The suggestions seem to be grounded in tactical considerations, e.g., the goal of listening is to more effectively refute one’s intellectual opponents versus learning from them. Thus, the text under “learn as much as you can” reads as follows: “If someone incorrectly claims that volcanos pump out more CO2 than humans do, you don’t need to get mad. Instead, leverage the misconception as an opening to talk about how the scale of human pollution overwhelms the pace of natural processes.”

OK. Although there is an enormous amount of carbon in the mantle of the Earth, our understanding is that the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere by volcanos is comparatively minor vs. human-caused emissions. How much CO2 does a single volcano emit? Ethan Siegel,, 6/6/17. It's debatable, however, that "the scale of human pollution overwhelms the pace of natural processes since the preponderance of CO2 added to the atmosphere every year comes from natural sources. How do human CO2 emissions compare to natural CO2 emissions, skeptical science, accessed 2/1/20.
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