Post #9: IP vs. OSD – Climate Change

Today, Professor Bateman came in and lead a discussion on climate change. We started by watching “Climate of Doubt” a Frontline documentary about climate change denial.

The documentary was very interesting on a personal level because I know several people who doubt the existence of man-caused climate change, or have no opinion at all. At a fairly liberal university such as UVA, I think many students are surrounded by people with like-minds. We can’t assume things that may be “obvious” for us are given for others  (outside of the university) as well.

From what I can tell, the heart behind the opposition of man-caused climate change is IP. In my opinion, contrarian organizations such as the Heartland Institute are not fighting climate change because they care about science. Instead, they seek their own self interest. Many of these organizations have close ties with major manufacturing corporations that suffer from cap and cut policies. In the same manner, I think politicians are afraid to take a stand on this issue because these fringe organizations have done such a good job of associating negative ideas such as “higher taxes”, “less jobs”, and “economic downfall” with climate change. Thus the stagnancy of this issue is ultimately lack of knowledge, a weakness of IP.

Instead, OSD can provide a variety of advantages. First, it would provide better scientific evidence and research. It boggles my mind that there are still scientists who disagree with the 97% of experts who claim man-caused climate change is real. Do they deny this science just to be difficult? Are they being sponsored by corporations to oppose? Are they seeking attention? OSD will consolidate information, data, and conclusions, which will allow for a greater scientific conclusion, not politically charged opinion. Because scientists can build off of one another’s work, refutation of poor scientific procedure, such as the “going down the up escalator” model, can be classified as invalid.

Secondly, because OSD is collaborative, it will be more apt at gathering people behind the movement. For example, Al Gore was not a good leader for climate change because the opposition refuted his message by destroying his personal character. The media and contrarians portrayed him as someone who cared about political agenda, whereas the movement was supposed to be an advancement in society/environment.

Thirdly, OSD will help this movement withstand external influences such as economic recession and local selfishness. While coastal areas care a lot about this topic, other geographic areas are simply not concerned because this issue isn’t pertinent to them yet. However, OSD helps inform the public on a broader scale, creating altruistic mindsets.

All of this to say, OSD can help provide solutions to climate change. Even our simple food computer project is one small stepping stone to solving the larger problem. As Professor Bevin stated in class, even small things like our food computer are interconnected to the greater issues in the world. Perhaps OSD will pioneer the advancement of geoengineering, a solution we have yet to fully utilize.

Climate of Doubt


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