So if we are to really mobilise action on climate change it is vital that we recognise that it exists in two forms: the scientific facts and the far more potent social facts of constructed narratives or deliberate silence. It is the latter that provide the basis on which we accept, deny or ignore the issue, reinforced by our innate need to conform to the norm within our social group.
However, seen in this light, the situation is far from hopeless. Like the cycles that govern global energy and carbon systems, public attitudes are subject to positive feedback effects that can amplify small changes and result in rapid shifts. Strong visible protest and increased media coverage can break the climate silence and create wider engagement. Above all, though, we need to recognise that the narrative we choose will shape what happens from now on. We may continue to fall back on our need for an enemy. But the very best story would be a one of common purpose, based around our shared humanity.