Resilient Storylines on Drought and Climate

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorJul 24, 2009 5:28 PM


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The dominant framing of the water/drought issue in California is quite similar to that of the emerging climate change/developing world meme. In California, drought is simplistically blamed for the state's water woes and economic plight of farmers. Similarly, venerable authorities claim that climate change is responsible for 300,000 annual deaths and much misery in developing countries. Neither storyline is accurate. Critical, countervailing narratives by reputable scholars are offered but largely ignored--not because they are wrong but because they don't fit the dominant frame. So in this sense, I'd say that Peter Gleick is to California's supposed water/drought/misery connection as Roger Pielke Jr. is to the supposed climate change/disaster connection. Both have marshalled evidence and made arguments that challenge the respective storylines. No matter. The dominant, false storylines drive the debate in the media and in policy and political circles. Go figure. Hat tip for Gleick: Noah Buhayar at Environment Capital

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