The debate over climate change has many levels, whether discussing the validity of the debate in general or how to address the communication issues surrounding the debate.  Whether you agree that climate change is real or not does not change the fact that the social climate related to climate change is changing.  We have come to a point where the debate itself is impacting society and its function ability.  I believe that at this juncture we have reached a point where debating the reality of climate change has become a waste of time.  We need to begin addressing the development of dispute resolution mechanisms that have the components that can efficiently and
effectively resolve future disputes related to the change in social and physical climate.

The first step to addressing these necessary changes in climates is pin pointing the social role of conflict. 
Within this dispute I believe that one of the major issues is communication and power, fear of communication and the perceived loss of power that communication brings.  The loss of perceived power by the underpowered when open communication is fostered can be seen on all levels of this conflict.  An example of this fear of loss of power can be seen in the failure to communicate between policy makers and environmental groups, “environmentalists have been afraid that policy dialogues may ease the pressure on industry to
improve it’s performance and undercut the rigor of regulatory enforcement” (Mayer 2000, 67).  This phenomena can also been in the dialog between policy makers and corporations.  Historically these two groups have struggled to create open dialog with each other and constituents.  I would argue that this may also be due fear of loss of power, the corporate side being afraid to communicate for fear of the outcome i.e.-more restrictions and regulations.  It is also possible that policy makers also fear a loss of power to corporations that fight proposed regulations and restrictions thus forcing a compromise or a perceived loss of power.  Due to the vast differences in belief and operating systems of private and public institutions such as government agencies and corporations there is an inherent loss in the ability to communicate.  Corporations may fear a loss of voice when dealing with a federal regulatory agency.  They may feel unrepresented and lost trying maneuver the operating system of public industry. Similarly government may also suffer from these same issues related to fear of under representation and failure to maneuver private operating systems.  I believe the fear of loss of power can greatly affect parties’ ability to communicate effectively and improve/enhance the necessary dialog within the community, as Mayer states “unless all the players in a problem-solving process have sufficient power to represent themselves effectively, a collaborative process can easily result in an unjust conclusion”(Mayer 2000, 67).

Yet another level of the failure to communicate is the failure on behalf of mediators to engage the high risk and intense process that results from conversations relating to core beliefs.  These arguments or rather the prospect of trying to monitor or guide these intense discussions can turn a mediator away from the dispute.  In the end the mediator becomes fearful of the emotions, beliefs and voices present in the dispute as is likely to
avoid addressing them to avoid harsh or hurtful dialog.  Due to this practitioners “may be reluctant to dispute substantive outcomes or encourage dissenters to put their arguments forward more energetically” (Cloke, 9).  I think it is imperative that the practitioners be willing to engage this level of dialog between parties if only for the fact that parties themselves need a leader to foster dialog.  We have a duty as practitioners to encourage the engagement of conflict and the production of positive or negative dialog.  The issues must be communicated and beliefs must be shared in order to facilitate the understanding necessary for change.  We as practitioners must be strong enough to create and lead this dialog.

However, an interesting point of agreement between these parties, possibly the uniting factor for both groups which also has the ability to promote or force dialog; consumers/constituents.  Consumers/constituents
have the ability to affect business and government through the power of ”reward and sanction” as well as the power “procedural power” (Mayer 2000, 56-57).  By focusing on the “power of the people” and their ability to contribute to the growth of corporations through the promotion or boycott of their products consumers are able to “…provide or withhold meaningful rewards and…to impose negative consequences on others…” in
the form of a decline in revenue or popularity.

On the other hand the same population of people also hold the title of constituent and thus also have the ability to control policy-making processes.  As constituents we have the ability to control whom we vote for, and whom we support.  Should we disagree with a particular policy or policy maker we control, through the reward and sanction process of voting, the existence of these policies and policy makers.  It is up to constituents to utilize this power and the power of procedure to motivate policy change.  Similar to the power of sanction through the withdrawal of a vote or withdrawal of support constituents have the ability to control the procedural outcome of the processes responsible for giving power to policy makers.  As Mayer states “ procedural power
arises from the ability to control or influence a decision making process” (Mayer 2000, 57).  Although these
powers arguable only exist in democratic environments where constituents have these powers I would argue that as hegemonic powers those democratic nations stand to lead other underpowered nations by example should they chose to work together.  Again, in this respect rewards and sanctions would also be possible, with hegemonic powers imposing economic sanctions on those counties that chose not to participate in dialog.


 In addition to the powers that lie in the hands of consumers/constituents we as practitioners have a duty to eliminate or address the “perception of power” (Mayer 2000, 58) that exists between parties.  If the negative
perception power is what diverts parties from communicating it is our job as practitioners to address this perception and ensure it does not further stymie the communication.


Now that the issues have been identified the question becomes how to facilitate dialog between these parties.  I would suggest a realistic look at our progression and the WATNAs and BATNAs that exist in the situation.  I believe that parties, specifically corporate entities and governments will less likely to look upon a discussion about positive change and see the need to participate.  However, a discussion regarding the worst case scenario or the worse possible outcome, a discussion that lays out the worst parts of the situation is more likely to motivate these stubborn parties.  Were they to see their futures framed in terms of lack of existence or the threat to their success they might be more likely to act or at least discuss.

In addition I think it is important to involve the consumer/constituent base so they can help to direct the conversation towards a resolution they see as positive.  After all if they are the parties that motivate the behavior of the public and private sectors then their approval and ideas will be significant motivators for change.  By creating a large scale possibility for dialog either through ODR or ITC tools such as online polls and message boards consumers/constituents have the ability to contribute to the conversation in a significant manner.  These tools also create an opportunity for all levels of society to become involved
in the conversation whether you have a PC at home, access at school, or simply at the public library.

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