Monday, June 01, 2015

Die Paradigmgemeinschaft

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
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.
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.


Aaron said...

It does not matter, because even if "long ago" they had agreed on doing the necessary to avoid 2C, we would be up to our ears in salt water long before we got much past 1.2C.

We are still well under 1C, and we are already seeing substantial melt of the GIS. e.g., , and that does not even account for the non-linear effects such as

We do not have a good handle on carbon feedbacks or ice dynamics. Talking about a human budget for carbon without an understanding of feedbacks or ice dynamics silly. It is like trying to set up a household budget without considering rent or utilities.

Hank Roberts said...

Utterly unrelated, unless is schafts a paradigm somehow, but
Any way to pump that process up somehow to make it more favored?

Yeah, yeah, I keep dreaming that there's a radiator we've forgotten to turn on (or build) somewhere in the stratosphere .... a guy can dream.

EliRabett said...

Have to read it in detail, but there is handwaving going on, although the idea is not without merit. To get an idea read up on the CO2 laser in the martian atmosphere.

Hank Roberts said...

Every time I look there's a better explanation, with better pictures.
It's the Robin Hood of radiation physics -- to the rescue?

Now if we could only tune using something we already emit -- HAARP? AM radio? transmission line noise? -- to prime those molecules up at the top of the atmosphere so they would avidly collect all that excess vibrational energy floating around, and discharge slightly more than half of it as photons into space ... but I dream, I dream.

Susan Anderson said...

It would be loverly if twits got rid of paradigms. Otherwise, I'm with you.

Relevant to nothing and everything, please take a look at this awfulness:

tonylearns said...

I like paradigms, and Kuhn. Reading "Structures" changed my entire paradigm of scientific thinking.
that said, I don't discount Feyerabend, or Popper or Quine.
I REALLY REALLY wanted to believe Bohm.

As such you may be excused for discounting anything I say about philosophy of science


What a blast from the past: my critiques of the selling of 'nuclear winter' and the first Bush administration's refusal to come to grips with climate forcing bracketed Fukuyama's pieces in The National Interest

Hank Roberts said...

So -- wait, isn't there a whale in the living room here that we're ignoring?

I've read many places that deep sea fishing and whaling stopped during World War II, and that ocean stocks of fish and whales rebounded rapidly.

We know the effect of removing or restoring top predators, they control ecosystem complexity.

Ocean productivity -- while we weren't removing the top predators -- increased, lots of biomass made from sunlight and CO2.

CO2 in the atmosphere dropped, drastically.

If we left the oceans alone, it would happen again, fast.

Why not?

Hank Roberts said...

Also utterly unrelated to the topic, but related to the Dean Dad link earlier about victim bullies, this:
----excerpt follows-----
... the covert narcissist. While the "overt" narcissists tended to be aggressive, self-aggrandizing, exploitative, and have extreme delusions of grandeur and a need for attention, "covert" narcissists were more prone to feelings of neglect or belittlement, hypersensitivity, anxiety, and delusions of persecution.
In the 90s, psychologist Paul Wink analyzed a variety of narcissism scales and confirmed that there are indeed two distinct faces of narcissism, which they labeled "Grandiosity-Exhibitonism" and "Vulnerability-Sensitivity".