Memo to UCL: meta-narrate the pause

A few weeks ago it wasTime For Change’  according to University College London (UCL) in the way climate scientists engage with the public about the dangers of climate change by, for example, making sure to provide a sufficiently compelling meta-narrative about the problem rather than an endless series of micro-narratives like the ones you get on Saturday afternoon on Radio 4. Since then, however, there’s been a bit of a pause in the meta-narrative coming from UCL. For us this is a telling microcosm (micro-narrative) of the problem that the evidence doesn’t support an Aaron Sorkin type meta-narrative – where clear forces are constantly and rapidly at work and the dialogue is full to bursting – and only supports a Harold Pinter type meta-narrative where what’s hidden is what counts and the long, silent spaces between the words are what we’re invited to ponder on. In terms of the meta-narrative of climate change this means dealing with The Pause. In our estimation The Pause is the main barrier between people going about their daily emissions as usual and deciding to act in a more harmonious way with the air around them.

This is why the new paper from Korkis et al, which explicitly addresses The Pause and the troubling dynamics behind the disappearance of a large amount of heat, is, dare we say, of more potential help than UCL’s reasonable and noble but ultimately Sorkin-lite effort. For anyone interested, Russell Sproud – no stranger to powerful and engaging communication himself – has the low down on Korkis here, in a speech he gave on the final opening weekend of the Hillside Science Centre. 

One response to “Memo to UCL: meta-narrate the pause

  1. Just came across your comment. It’s actually quite easy to meta-narrate it differently so the issue disappears altogether. What would be much harder is to change the current habits of communicators to speak about a “pause” (even if it is to say that none exists). If you want to hear more, please get in contact.

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