Unfortunately, some parts of the media simply play the crisis as a highly antagonistic two-headed controversy between Position 1 - human impacts on climate are negligible, and Position 2 - human impacts are significant and a result of carbon dioxide emissions. This has done little for public understanding and has been exploited by others with political and economic agendas.
The Editor of the IJW special issue, "Water and the Complexities of Climate", Ariel Salleh, environmental sociologist from the University of Sydney, says that public eco-literacy is critical to good climate policy formulation.
"Overly simplified climate models are one thing, but governments are proffering economic solutions (like taxes or trading) for ecological problems! This can achieve little on the ground - since economics and ecology deal with two different orders of reality."
Given the political uproar of international climate summits including Copenhagen and Cancun, attention has been deflected from a third variety of scientific opinion - Position 3 - the integrative climate paradigm.
This recognizes a range of first-order climate forcings and human-induced causes as significant as carbon dioxide emissions, such as deforestation, agro-industry, and urbanization.
United Nations climate negotiations promote programs such as the Clean Development Mechanism, where forests in the global South are treated as passive carbon sinks for pollution from industrialized countries in the global North.
However, what is commonly overlooked is the fact that intact vegetation actively manages the small water cycle, and cools the earth by converting sensible heat to the latent heat of evaporation.
This thesis is amplified by authors in the IJW special issue. Wilhelm Ripl from the Technical University of Berlin connects mismanagement of water with the running down of and thus global warming.