IEHO, paradigms is one of those word like elucidate whose time has come and deservedly gone. Eli remembers when elucidate had crept into every other abstract as in this paper elucidates the changing climate or whatever. Paradigm is another. Of course one can wish for a paradigm shift in the use of paradigms, unlikely to be granted as it is the go to for every third rater on the planet.
However, Eli's friend Willard is one to dig in to such things and has sent Eli a note about one Oliver Geden, who is trying to set up as the next honest broker, sitting astride the science/policy interface and telling all what to do. To be frank Eli finds Dr. Geden's take a bit less than sophomoric as shown by a couple of twits
@Oliver_Geden @shubclimate What is political science but a discussion of motives and means? http://t.co/7Z9FHFhsTT— eli rabett (@EthonRaptor) May 31, 2015
But parsing such is Willard's joy, and so Eli gives you Die Paradigmschaft
Dr. Oliver Geden (hereafter Oliver, as we’ve been introduced), Head of the EU/Europe Research Division of the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, has circled around the contrarian bandwagon, e.g. at Pierre’s or Judy's. The title at Pierre’s intrigued me: Oliver sees a “paradigm shift.” This may not predispose Eli, who is not exactly a Kuhn fan. However, there is a stupendous entailment: this paradigm shift leads to a “depolitization” of climate science. I find the possibility tempting enough to start to believe in paradigms beyond hi-fi stuff. (No affiliation; I’m a Lynn snob.)
So, what’s up with Oliver’s paradigm shift?
Let’s start in May 2012. Like any ClimateBall episodes, it starts with something in disarray. At the time, twas international climate diplomacy. Congeneric to Nietzsche with God, Fukuyama with History, and REM with the World, Oliver proclaims the End of Climate Policy as We Know It:
Without a paradigm shift, the path of climate diplomacy leads directly into self-inflicted irrelevance and “the end of climate policy”. The well-practised strategy of papering over current failures by announcing even greater future efforts cannot be maintained for long with the 2 degree target formally accepted at Cancún in 2010.
As soon as science tells us that reaching the 2 degree target is impossible, the top-down paradigm will eventually fall apart.
Will everything collapse? Not if we accept some paradigm shift. Good. No need to hold our breath and count to ten.
As we will see, Oliver’s ultimatum will become important in his punditry.
August 2013. A New Climate-Policy Paradigm is more than looming:
In order to ensure this outcome, the EU must begin preparing a Plan B that accounts for the coming climate-policy paradigm shift. Such a plan would prioritize measurable progress toward decarbonizing the world’s largest economies over the establishment of global climate treaties or long-term global targets.
Brace yourselves, forewarns Oliver, paradigms are shifting (see photo). We need measurable progress, not treaties. With a different semantic field, targeting a different audience, with another suggested presentation of policy products, Oliver rediscovers Eli’s plan to save the world. That would be a paradigm that ought to make Eli happy, no?
No, he told me: too much grand proposals to write. It looks too much like the honest broker dance to be true. Plus, Eli's in the East Coast frame of mind.
March 2014. Energiewende, the flagship project of Germany’s energy sector, raises concerns. What would be the biggest one, bunnies may ask Oliver? Why, of course, a paradigm shift:
In light of the complex constellation of interests in EU negotiations, the paradigm shift underway in energy and climate policy, and the continued broad consensus on the transformation of the German energy system, a relatively pragmatic strategy appears to be the most advisable.
The last sentence is impressive: we get “the 2 degree target is impossible” and “the top-down paradigm” right next to one another. How these two constructs are connected is left as an exercise to readers everywhere Oliver can spread the P word.
April 2015. Suppose we submit the “Palestinian question” to Oliver. (Which question matters little - it's dissertation parlance.) His solution? Wham. Europe needs a Paradigm Shift:
The historic December 17 vote is not solely definitive of this paradigm shift; rather, this vote is the culmination of a recent and unprecedented trend where countries across Europe–such as Sweden, Ireland, England, France, and Portugal–have passed resolutions at the national level asserting their wishes to recognize Palestine as a free and independent state.
Shifts in paradigm are seldom temporary, more so when Oliver's around.
May 2015, Oliver makes a conceptual breaktrough with his P idea, and connects it with good ol’ “pragmatism”. Let's all come down to earth:
As a consequence, to many observers, little seemed to change in EU climate policy after the failure of Copenhagen. Frictions inside the EU and a paradigm shift in EU climate governance, however, became evident with the beginning of the negotiations for a new energy and climate framework until 2030.
Not only is the paradigm shift becoming necessary, it already is self-evident. Many observers, whose job is to observe such things as frictions, told him so. As the Energy Post states in its tagline: independent, international, and incisive.
Since 2012 at least, the paradigm shift has shifted. The shift is still occurring as we write. Where does that leave us? Down to earth. Totally evidence-oriented. More pragmatic than ever. Witness what Andrew Adams tweeted me the other day:
Personally I've always been inspired by MLK's "I have a pragmatic expectation" speech.
@nevaudit Personally I've always been inspired by MLK's "I have a pragmatic expectation" speech.— Andrew Adams (@andrewadams99) May 29, 2015
I remember the maps of the Holy Land. Coloured they were. Very pretty. The Dead Sea was pale blue. The very look of it made me thirsty. That's where we'll go, I used to say, that's where we'll go for our honeymoon. We'll swim. We'll be happy.