22 August 2009
I think a lot of the deniers of climate change can be explained by two thought processes that are both incorrect.
Ask yourself this question- Does the most selfish person on the planet, consider themselves selfish. The answer is very likely no.
Now let’s look at someone who has been convinced that doing something about climate change means a significant change in their lifestyle, wealth, or ability to drive their favorite vehicle. Understand here, that there is overwhelming evidence that this is not likely the case, but let’s assume our “someone” believes it wholeheartedly.
So, what’s most likely to happen when someone who believes this, encounters someone who says climate science is all wrong? They can choose to believe them, and not have to battle with their conscience about being selfish, or they can believe the nearly unanimous opinion of climate scientists that we are heading for a catastrophe.
If they believe the first piece of misinformation, you can almost be certain that they will believe anyone who says climate change is not a problem. They will be chanting drill baby drill in no time. It’s the only way to go, otherwise they would have to think of themselves as selfish, and no one goes down that thought process!
Upton Sinclair, in his famous book about the Chicago meat packing industry, said it best. “It’s almost impossible to convince someone of anything, if their paycheck depends on it not being true”. You can see this affect in almost every environmental issue on the planet. Scientists are not immune. Those scientists working for big tobacco in the 1960-1980’s are a good example.
It’s truly amazing how far people will go to continue to believe that climate science is all wrong. I regularly hear from people who have convinced themselves that a giant conspiracy exists to prevent anyone who disagrees with the mainstream opinion, from being published in the front line science journals. They will readily believe two or three outlier science papers over the hundreds that clearly show the opposite is true. They will ignore the fact that nearly every major scientific body on the planet has endorsed the IPCC reports. (NASA, NOAA, The Royal Society, The Nat. Academies of Science in America, the AAAS, AGU, AMS, GSA, and dozens of others)
Instead they will choose to believe one or two cherry picked papers in a journal, or avidly follow web sites of those who peddle nothing but political propaganda and junk science like, Watts or Morano. Neither of whom have even a modest background in climate physics.
Their legions of followers are easy to spot. The email will have a link to something by Singer, or Monckton, or even more often mention Al Gore in the first paragraph. I rarely waste my time with these because nothing I can possibly say/show will change their minds. It’s much more productive to spend my time explaining it to those who truly have good questions, and are genuinely confused.
That is why I write this journal. If I can introduce a reader to real science before they fall into the junk science cult, they will see very quickly how silly the material is on these sites. Perhaps the only way to convince the cult of deniers, is to convince them that their initial assumtion that doing something about climate change will require a dramatic change in lifestyle is wrong!
They are correct in one aspect. This planet does not have the resources to support the citizens of China, and India having an American lifestyle. Not the way we currently make and use our energy. It most likely CAN support a first world India and China, if we do it smarter and use renewable energy in a vastly more efficient way. It all boils down to that.
However, the real science is getting clearer everyday. We are rapidly running out of time to make the change.
NOTE: MY EARLIER STATEMENT THAT IMPLIED THAT S. FRED SINGER WORKED DIRECTLY FOR A TOBACCO COMPANY WAS BADLY PHRASED AND INCORRECT. MY APOLOGIES TO DR. SINGER. DeSmog blog has investigated Mr. Singer’s involvement (if any) with Tobacco, and you can read the post here: http://www.desmogblog.com/s-fred-singer
Also: I require a real full name and valid email address on all comments. I do not publish links in comments to non published research. This journal is intended to to show real science, and it’s not a platform for junk science. That said your opinions are welcome. I have my regular forecast duties, and an Environmental Science class to teach, so I do not have time to email reminders of this policy.