Monthly Archives: May 2011

Up and down with climate change

Hidden away in one of Andrew’s recent posts was a link to an interesting DotEarth piece about how, after a few years of intense media attention, climate change has “reverted to its near perpetual position on the far back shelf of the public consciousness — if not back in the freezer.”

For old hands in US debates about the environment, this pattern should not come as a total surprise. I’ve just had my attention drawn (hat tip to Tim Bale at Sussex Uni) to what is apparently the classic work on the “issue-attention cycle”, by the doyen of US political scientists Anthony Downs (see lovely pic left).

Entitled “Up and down with ecology”, Downs’ 1972 article lays out a public interest cycle that many major issues go through in modern political life. As Downs puts it: Continue reading



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