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The tension in climate science between mitigation and adaptation

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on the TIME or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: Climate scientist Patrick Brown, co-author of a paper in Nature on the impact of global warming on wildfires, publicly revealed that he tailored the paper's message to align with what he perceived journal editors wanted – a headline that emphasizes "climate change makes X worse" 
• This sparked discussions on whether prominent scientific journals, media, and scientists prefer such narratives over a comprehensive exploration of all contributing factors

🔭 The context: Brown's disclosure raises questions about the prevailing preference for headlines linking climate change to adverse outcomes, possibly overshadowing other crucial factors influencing events like wildfires
The nuanced discussion touches on the balance between the societal relevance of research and presenting a more comprehensive picture

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The incident highlights a potential disconnect between the emphasis on climate mitigation and adaptation, since while these headlines contribute to awareness and urgency for mitigation, they might oversimplify complex issues
• Understanding the broader factors affecting events is crucial for effective climate adaptation, especially as local interventions often require a holistic approach

⏭️ What's next: Brown's broader issue prompts a reconsideration of the narrative focus in climate-related research, where mitigation-oriented perspectives prioritize specific impacts, while adaptation perspectives demand a comprehensive understanding of all contributing factors
• The evolving discussion encourages scientists and journalists to be mindful of the societal context and political dynamics shaping climate research

💬 One quote: "There’s no conspiracy to suppress the truth about the relative roles of climate and other factors in wildfires or any other hazard. But neither should research on these topics pretend to be untouched by the social and political issues that make the research relevant" (Adam Sobel, scientist and professor at Columbia University)

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