Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Risk Position & Modeling Climate Change

In the paper written by Hansen, Sato, and Reudy, climate change is presented as imminent, inevitable, and, largely, ignorable. Despite the data indicating that the 'climate dice' are loaded to have a higher chance of abnormally hot weather anomalies, the authors agree that public recognition of human-made climate change is difficult precisely because the data tends to revolve on chance. Furthermore, the data they use spans over 30 years, and the authors themselves recognize that although the generation that lived during the time of data collection, the model is based on a protracted timeline that makes it difficult to eliminate all other explanations besides climate change.

In reading Beck, I was able to understand a little bit of what the authors of the previous article were trying to articulate about data being 'not believed'. While discussing agents of modern science, Beck claims:

"The obviousness of the danger places more and more obstacles in the way of the customizing routines of the minimizing and covering up." (52)

This would indicate that as our models grow more sophisticated in time, other explanations for climate change would diminish in prevalence. We saw this a little bit in lecture last Tuesday, where Paul Moorcroft explained how newer technologies and conceived methods of modeling (like the ED model) has allowed for more accurate measurements of deforestation in the Amazon. However, Beck makes the argument that despite our increasingly sophisticated diagnostic concepts, our knowledge is still obsessed with the 'unimaginable', the 'unthinkable' of the threat.  Our risk position teeters on the balance of reality and the possibility, and our risk position, or consciousness, determines being.

Here I lose Beck a little in the point he is trying to make. Is he invoking Berlant's historical present? Is he describing the crisis-ordinary? And is our risk position itself conscious to us? It seems that were climate change is concerned, it is not.

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