Title

The War on Carbon: Polity and Scientific Literacy

Document Type

Journal Article

Publisher

Common Ground Publishing

Faculty

Education and Arts

School

Education

RAS ID

9220

Comments

Originally published as: Lummis, G. W. (2009). The War on Carbon: Polity and Scientific Literacy. International Journal of the Humanities, 7(5). Original available here

Abstract

Since the 1750s, global atmospheric concentrations of infrared absorbing gases such as carbon dioxide, and methane have increased significantly due to anthropocentric activity. Scientific data from ice cores covering many thousands of years, point out that carbon dioxide levels now far exceed pre-industrial measurements with nearly half of the release occurring since the 1970s. In addition, the planet’s natural carbon sinks such as forest are culled for timber and agriculture. Yet, despite all the best scientific information available, many political leaders of developed nations often act slowly, with some acting as if they are in denial about climate change linked to the old expansionist carbon-centred economy. In this paper the writer outlines the basic science behind the climate change crisis, the problem of scientific literacy within the elected polity and confronts some of the core political ‘trade-off issues’ of the ‘War on Carbon’.