Max Boykoff’s Revenge On Science: Creative Climate Communications, Part II

1. Important Links

CLICK HERE, for earlier review of book.

CLICK HERE, for the Climate Change Scam Part I.
CLICK HERE, for Part II, the Paris Accord.
CLICK HERE, for Part III, Saskatchewan Appeals Court Reference.
CLICK HERE, for Part IV, Controlled Opposition to Carbon Tax.
CLICK HERE, for Part V, UN New Development Funding.
CLICK HERE, for Part VI, Disruptive Innovation Framework.
CLICK HERE, for Part VII, Blaming Arson On Climate Change.
CLICK HERE, for Part VIII, Review Of Green New Deal.
CLICK HERE, for Part VIII(II), Sunrise Movement & Green New Deal.
CLICK HERE, for Part IX, Propaganda Techniques, Max Boykoff.
CLICK HERE, for Part X, GG Pollution Pricing Act & Bill C-97.
CLICK HERE, for part XI, Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai Explains Paris Accord
CLICK HERE, for Part XII, Joel Wood and Carbon tax “option”.
CLICK HERE, for Part XIII, controlled opposition going to SCC.
CLICK HERE, for Part XIV, Mark Carney, UN Climate Finance Envoy.
CLICK HERE, for UN global taxation efforts.

2. Why Focus On This Book?

Most “scientists” involved in the climate change business at least claim that their focus is on the science itself. However, a subset has emerged which focuses on the science of persuasion.

That’s right, the goal isn’t using scientific research to PROVE that climate change is a serious and ongoing global threat. Rather, the goal is using social science methods to CONVINCE people that the threat is real. These are two very different things.

In layman’s terms, this book reads like a propaganda manual for tricks and techniques of persuasion. There never appears a moment of doubt in Boykoff’s mind that climate change is urgent. He seems to views the public’s disengagement simply as a communications issue. As such, this book focuses on emotionally manipulative tactics to get around that.

The idea is creepy enough. The fact that there is an entire segment of academia that focuses on this area is very troubling. Unfortunately, Boykoff is entirely serious about his work. Also, the many, many sources he cites are serious.

3. About The Author, Maxwell Boykoff

His professional biography is available here.

Max’s research and creative work has developed primarily in two arenas:
(1) cultural politics of science, climate change and environmental issues = this refers to ways that attitudes, intentions, beliefs and behaviors of individuals and groups shape (and are shaped by) the perceived spectrum of possible action in the context of science-policy, climate change and environmental issues.
.
(2) transformations of carbon-based economies and societies (with emphasis on the interface of science and practical action) = this refers to decarbonization politics, policies and decision-making, with particular interest in how these activities find meaning in people’s everyday lives, as well as how they, in turn, feed back into science-policy decision-making.

4. Specific Examples From CCC Book

(Page 18) Boykoff cites some research suggesting that racial and gender politics should be injected into the subject. Supposedly, racial minorities are going to be disproportionately impacted, and that needs to be discussed openly. Also, female researchers are more likely to have their work ridiculed and mocked. Obviously that is because of sexism and not poor research. That’s right, race and gender are now dimensions in the climate change debate.

(Page 21) A technique called “pre-bunking” is introduced. This is a form of inoculation, which climate change pushers will attempt to pre-empt criticism or questions ahead of time. They do it to sew seeds of doubts in people who would otherwise see obvious problems with the research.

(Page 23) One idea is go beyond simply telling the truth. The focus here is to go beyond simply stating facts and conclusions, and to introduce a “story-telling” element to it. By doing this, people are more accepting of the story, and are less likely to pick up on deficiencies in the arguments themselves.

(Page 26) This is the start of Chapter 2. This chapter gets shifting the discussion away from a scientific one, and appealing to a more emotional issue. By framing it as a social issue, there is more of a focus on people’s ability to act. One technique suggested is to keep it “upbeat” so that others will remain optimistic that their actions will have consequences. Boykoff’s sources also suggest moving away from the “DOOMSDAY APPROACH”. This should have the effect of keeping people more engaged if their aren’t told it is hopeless.

(Page 35) There is more detail about how to turn climate change into stories. Stories in general have: main characters, villains, plot, description, complexity, some ambiguity, and conflict resolution. Boykoff talks about telling the “facts” of climate change as if it were a story. This will do wonders to keep people engaged. Interestingly, the approach is to water down the hard facts, and to focus more on a compelling narrative.

(Page 45) The book heads towards cultural politics and interdisciplinary communication. What this means is that taking different approaches, or combining approaches, may work best depending on who the specific audience is. Page 47, Boykoff begins to detail the actual communication training that climate change pushers are being given in order to more effectively market this concept. Yes, there is now formal training in how to peddle this.

(Page 50) Boykoff talks about a “building bridges” approach, something he also refers to as a “common ground” approach. This involves making some effort to find out what other people are interested in, and building a relationship with them. Climate change information will gradually be introduced via this relationship. The other people will eventually be sold on the agenda, but without realizing that was your goal all along. The entire tactic is emotional manipulation, and the worse form of bonding that can take place.

(Page 58) Boykoff discusses some of the research that has been done across demographic groups and across political leanings. He also explains that the climate change agenda can still be pitched to almost everyone, but the message needs to be shifted depending on which group you are addressing.

(Page 96) We get into the idea of adding visualizations (images) to help sell the climate change agenda. The idea here is that if people can actually see what is happening, it should compel them more strongly to act. Now, it doesn’t really matter if what people see is what is truly happening. What’s important is that they see what they should.

(Page 132) Boykoff talks about the framing climate change in certain ways. One is as a sacrifice v.s. benefits approach. This is one where the experts will outline the sacrifices needed (such as your standard of life) and various benefits that will come. Always, there is the bit about making the world a better place for those in developing countries. After all, they had no hand in this. This is a combination of guilt tripping and a call to patriotism, and put together beautifully.

(Page 190) Boykoff explains more of this “silver buckshot approach”, as opposed to the silver bullet. In short, there have to be multiple forms and paths to spread the message of climate change at any given time. Since no one technique will work on everyone, we need many streams ready to convince people of the cause. And really, that is what this book is: listing and detailing these multiple paths.

In short, Boykoff suggests inserting climate change into the discussion wherever possible. Though he doesn’t explicitly add this, it’s implied that it should be done even when the above issue has nothing to do with it.

Make the connections. And make the other people see those connections. Sometimes best if done subtly, as you don’t want your agenda to be too obvious.

The examples above are by no means exhaustive, but should demonstrate how devious and cunning the author is. He outlines technique after technique to push the narrative. And these techniques are lifted directly from psychological and sociological research. Boykoff is applying those findings in his quest to do a better job of selling climate change to the public.

5. Boykoff Avoids Actual Research

You will likely notice that Max Boykoff never gets into the so-called climate change science. He mainly avoids any real detail on how climate change research is conducted. Why is that?

It’s because this entire book shies away from telling people the hard and fast truth (at least as he perceives it), and focuses on indirect and roundabout ways of getting people on board. In short, this book is still intended to push the climate change agenda, but just shows ways to be more sneaky and dishonest about it.

Was this a worthwhile read? Yes, in the context of knowing how your enemies are lying and manipulating you. Boykoff gives an in-depth, well researched book on exactly that. If nothing else, he if very thorough in detailing these underhanded methods.

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