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If you point to a heat wave, sooner or later the other side will trump you with a cold snap. We should reframe the problem from weather to climate. Dimension 2 : As long as the issue is framed as a choice between belief and scepticism, it cannot be solved. Instead we should look at who has expertise or authority in the spheres of science and politics. Scientists are qualified to speak about the world, but not to tell us how to respond to their findings. The rest of us do not have the skills to judge the science, but we have the authority, through the democratic process, to decide what to do about it.

The vast majority of climate scientists have concluded that, with a high level of probability, human-made carbon emissions are contributing to climate change. But no scientific conclusion ever reaches certainty, and this is no exception.

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It is beyond reasonable doubt, but not certain. The democratic process is also distorted from the other side by concentrations of corporate power such as the fossil-fuel industry. Framing climate change as a Hollywood-style battle between belief and scepticism misuses science. Dimension 3 : If the scientific findings are accepted, what is the best way forward? Here the problem is often framed as a choice between the environment and the economy.

Knight presents an alternative view: cutting consumption may be a good thing to do for social and moral reasons, but this is a different issue from climate change. Instead we should reframe to focus on innovation and entrepreneurship.


The Hedgehog and the Fox. Drawing by JoyceCL via Flickr. In Prosperity Without Growth my review here , Tim Jackson argues that a continually expanding economy that depends on carbon emissions collides with the limits of a finite planet, causing climate change, and that this cannot be solved by technological innovation because such innovation would need to occur many times faster than it has in the past. Eric Knight examines this argument, and says that by using global averages Jackson misses the complexity of the world energy sector, thus understating the technological transition towards lower carbon intensity, just as earlier prophets of doom missed the demographic transition.

While there is little new in Reframe , the book is well written, an easy, quick and enjoyable read with all concepts clearly explained. My only criticism is that Knight sometimes over-elaborates, as he does in a longwinded section on the history of experts who wrongly predicted eco-catastrophe, beginning with Malthus. From terrorism to global warming, from border security to high finance, he brings a new perspective that is both exhilarating and useful.

Why can't we eliminate terrorism by killing terrorists? Why can't we learn anything about climate change by talking about the weather?

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Reframe by Eric Knight

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Reframe: How To Solve The World's Trickiest Problems

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