We Mustn’t Overlook the Details in Climate Change

by AshleyMarie on November 20, 2015 - 11:15pm

This article speaks to the wicked problem of climate change and the primary role of the private sector as expressed through public and corporate views. The article examined the results of two studies that conclude that businesses should be playing a more significant role in climate change action after the upcoming COP21 climate change summit in Paris. Commenters expressed the high significance for the role of business in climate change however most did not believe that the recognition of climate change as a global feat to be binding. Even less were confident that the governments ability to reach the target of Another study given to business leaders from the UN Global Compact participating companies showed that half of the responders held the belief that climate change will expand opportunities within the company. Slightly less than half believed that this was already in action. That majority of the participants also expressed that the private sector is not doing enough to address climate change and almost all believe it is of a primary concern and very little believed we are on track.

A key element the article failed to address is the true effect of internal value conflict between these companies, which may compromise this role they are suggested to take on. The responses from the surveys that were listed in the article were very narrowly focused and did not give room for justification, thus this poses validity questions to the article itself. The underlying aspects to climate changed were not challenged in the slightest, only an agreement or disagreement was required. Thus, this article dealt with uncertainty of the big picture of climate change but completely ignored the details. Without any details being able to be expressed in the participants responses, the surveys demonstrated high  and unjustified confidence on the effects, constraints and opportunities for climate change yet this ultimately fails to challenge the uncertainty factor.

            Not only does the article fail to challenge underlying details, it also failed to challenge the underlying consequences of variable opinions. Particularity when regarding climate change, as it is an issue with such uncertainty in its concrete grounding, effects and even in some opinions its existence, the differing conflicts between actors do matter. As there is very little/no grounding evidence that we are able to firmly attest to climate change, cognitive conflict can easily arise with differing data or analysis. In this, the strategies for these surveyed businesses may take on much different forms to address much different and possibly even conflicting issues. Differing values will also lead to different management as different goals may be established. The surveys examined how there is not a complete consensus on any issue, management goals will already differ in just that regard. Finally and potentially most significantly for this analysis, behavioral conflict and relationships between businesses pose a huge deficit. If we are assigning numerical values to the percent for and against climate change action, there lacks the necessary details to fill in why or why not and thus vast assumptions are made, possibly to the detriment of action.

Thus the question becomes how to impose global cooperative views on climate change. We will see what happens for these ideas in the upcoming Paris summit and if the details are in fact further challenged.



Jessica Lyons Hardcastle "Who Are the Climate Change Corporate Leaders", November 12, 2015. Environmental Leader. URL: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2015/11/12/who-are-the-climate-change...


Interesting post AshleyMarie! I completely agree with your point and the point made in this article that businesses should be playing a more significant role in trying to solve the issue of climate change. I feel that because climate change is an issue that has been around for a long time the public has lost a lot of interest in it and therefore the private sector is able to get away with doing nothing proactive right now. Internal value conflict as well as behavioural conflict are major factors in this debate I don’t think everyone is aware of or considers. I do agree though that this article is lacking a lot of substance and would be more beneficial if it went into depth about climate change. Not only will it be interesting to see what the plans are in regards to a climate change solution will be coming out of the Paris summit, but it will also be interesting to see how the whole other challenge of getting these actions actually implemented in a way that works.

About the author