Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 683–691 | Cite as

A new type of debate for global warming and scientific literacy



Expanding on some ideas introduced in the paper by Albe and Gombert (2012) “Studentscommunication, argumentation and knowledge in a citizenconference on global warming”, I explore two issues relevant to their work: global warming (GW) as a socioscientific controversy and scientific literacy in regards to climate change science. For the first issue, the definition of GW socioscientific controversy provided in the article raises controversies in both scientific communities and society or social groups concerned by the issue. I review this from two perspectives that can be considered at the extreme ends of a spectrum of perspectives. I then address the role of debates in education about global warming and climate change and suggest a new type of classroom debates to replace those addressing the existence and cause of global warming.


Socioscientific issues Global warming Climate change School science Debate 



This paper draws considerably on a research I carried out in collaboration with my former graduate students and now colleagues Drs. Diane Schweizer (Clayton) and Stacy Rebich-Hespañha, as well as Rachel Solomon. I thank my colleagues Professor Richard Somerville (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego) and Dr. Jacques Merle (IRD—France) who, on a very short notice, offered comments on a draft of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of California Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraUSA

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