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Avoiding “We Told You So”: An Appeal for the Reframing of Scientific Communication

The image of the lone polar bear has become almost ubiquitous in step with growing awareness of climate change. So why hasn’t the scientific community been able to convince the world to act accordingly? (Image Credit: cocoparisienne, Pixabay license, Image Cropped)

During the late 1970s, in the wake of intense scientific research showing that chlorofluorocarbons were leading to the depletion of the ozone layer, the world took action. By 1987, the world had seen the signing of the Montreal Treaty, which practically banned the use of CFCs, imposing significant economic costs on those who signed. Since then, the hole in the Ozone layer has retreated. It’s a powerful example of science identifying a problem, finding a solution, and then presenting both the urgency of both to the public. Scientific communication at its best, surely. So with recent steps backward in environmental conservation law worldwide, despite almost global consensus on the negative impact of well-studied worldwide environmental phenomena, is science communication no longer as effective?

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