Recently in Denialism Category

Sources and resources for investigating climate denialism

The links here can help one better understand climate denialism and science arguments.

Recent postings at the blog of Anarchist6[zero]6 demonstrate a superb understanding of the psychology of climate denialism in Understanding the Mind of the Denialist.   It follows up with The Ratchet Hypothesis.   and supporting articles like the Purpose of Conspiracy Theories.

Greenfyre has perhaps the best discussion and collection of links on the subject  The reasons for using the term “skeptics” to identify those who question climate science and “deniers” for all others are discussed at:   http://greenfyre.wordpress.com/denier-vs-skeptic/

Greenfyre maintains a listing of the more prominent deniers  

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The science site of RealClimate hosts a wiki that names the deniers   it Includes links to other debunking sites as well as lists of individual climate deniers     Well reasoned and crafted responses to common contrarian Arguments.

Wikipedia on Climate Change Denial

Denial campaigns have been attributed to individuals or groups that are funded by special interest groups whose financial interests are challenged by efforts to combat climate change, and have in particular been attributed to those associated with the energy lobby.  Journalists and newspaper columnists including George Monbiot and Ellen Goodman, among others, have described climate change denial as a form of denialism.   As a pejorative, other commentators have criticized the term as an attempt to delegitimize skeptical views, and for injecting morality into the discussion about climate change.

Note that there is extensive discussion on this issue.. and a serious investigation should include reviewing the Wikipedia History of the article edits.   No matter what your search, Wikipedia remains an excellent source.  It is now clear that man-made greenhouse gases are causing climate change.   The rate of change began as significant, has become alarming and is simply unsustainable in the long-term

England’s Met Office asks: Do climate scientists really agree about climate change?   Yes.  The overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree on the fundamentals of climate change — that climate change is happening and has recently been caused by increased greenhouse gases from human activities.
The core climate science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was written by 152 scientists from more than 30 countries and reviewed by more than 600 experts.  It concluded that most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in man-made greenhouse gas concentrations.

Getting Skeptical about global warming skepticism   http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php   A summary of what the science says on each skeptic argument.

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DesmogBlog’s Disinformation Database   http://www.desmogblog.com/global-warming-denier-database   An extensive database of individuals involved in the global warming denial industry.
DeSmogBlog thoroughly investigates the academic and industry backgrounds of those involved in the PR spin campaigns that are confusing the public and stalling action on global warming.   If there’s anyone or any organization,  ( i.e. scientist, self-professed “expert,” think tank, industry association, company) that you would like to see researched and reported on DeSmogBlog, please contact us here and we will try our best.

Myths vs. Facts in Global Warming: This news and analysis section addresses substance of arguments…   http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths   The main fallacy noted is that most arguments are facts out of context while others are simply false representations.   When the facts pertaining to the arguments are viewed in context relevance becomes obvious.   Global warming is happening and it is human caused.

Anti-global heating claims - a reasonably thorough debunking   http://www.scholarsandrogues.com/2007/07/23/anti-global-heating-claims-a-reasonably-thorough-debunking/

Classic essays

How to talk to a Climate Sceptic   http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2008/07/how_to_talk_to_a_sceptic.php   They have been divided and subdivided along 4 seperate lines: Stages of Denial, Scientific Topics, Types of Argument, Levels of Sophistication. This should facilitate quick retrieval of specific entries. Individual articles will appear under multiple headings and may even appear in multiple subcategories in the same heading.

In the politics of denialism we should remember the late Johnny Rook’s essay: Why Climate Denialists are Blind to Facts and Reason: The Role of Ideology  http://climaticidechronicles.org/2008/06/18/why-climate-denialists-are-blind-to-facts-and-reason-the-role-of-ideology/

Don’t forget the videos Naomi Oreskes PhD….

           

Scientist and renowned historian Naomi Oreskes describes her investigation into the reasons for widespread mistrust and misunderstanding of scientific consensus.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T4UF_Rmlio   She probes the history of organized campaigns designed to create public doubt and confusion about science.

Global TV News segment on the PR efforts by the oil and gas industry and the junk scientists that support the climate change denial lobby in Canada and the US.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIGrkVoa78o  Also features desmogblog.com.

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Google Timeline reveals triumph of denialism

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You can see it with your own eyes - a quick history of global warming news stories.

Google Search is a tremendously powerful tool for online research.   Google engineers devised a way to display search results in a timeline layout.  This is a great way of visualizing a search term across time.  You will see a list of news stories for the time section you choose.  Then you can see your report displayed over days, months or years.

An easy first search is to enter “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” over a year range and see just how far back the story of global warming goes.   I found global warming news stories in 1967, 1968 and 69 and beyond.   The timeline display shows a handful of news stories for each year.  Each with the top news headlines as a hotspot to click for further information.   It was startling to see global warming news stories published 30 and 40 years ago.  And alarming to see a 1988 news story with much the same phrasing as global warming news story today.

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This suggests that the news media - mostly newspapers, have been stuck in relative ignorance for decades, or it suggests that advertiser interests and paid professional PR challenges to science has been wildly successful.  It is as if we are stuck in the 1980’s.   Look back and see the same discussions; we have not moved beyond these basic issues.   In your Timeline search be sure to check the dates of these articles and photo images.   A cursory review of these news reports show decades of inaction.  To me this reads like a triumph of professional skeptics and denialism movements.  The manipulated delay has been diabolically successful.   Coal now provides fully half our electrical energy, carbon fuels are widely used, and even the simplest alternative transportation is crippled and marginalized - from trains to bicycles, to electric cars.  We are stuck in the 60’s

One article from 1977. Jul 25, Washington Post

Burning of coal could alter climate
by Margot Hornblower Washington Post
If industrial nations continue to burn oil and coal for energy, the world’s average temprerature could increase more than six degrees centigrat (11 degrees Fahrenheit) in the next 200 years, the National Academy of Sciences warns…

It is difficult to know whether this news flurry triggered a PR campaign by the coal industry consortium.

News story from 1979

21st century disasters predicted by scientist

NEW YORK (UPI) Dust bowls over large areas of North America, Asia and Africa and a rapid rise in th global sea level are possible early in 21st century, a scientist warned Monday

And from April 4 1980
Scientist warns of serious threat from carbon dioxide pollution

WASHINGTON, The concentration of polluting carbon dioxide the atmosphere “poses a serious threat to climatic, economic and political stability over the next 50 years” a scientinst told a congressional panel Thursday…

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Article from the Seattle Post Intelligencer:

WATCHING FOR A RISING TIDE GLOBAL WARMING IS CERTAIN TO CHANGE THE WAY SEATTLE LIVES
By Debera Carlton P-I Reporter
TUESDAY, October 28, 1986

In 50 years, Seattleites may not have to travel to Southern California for warm, sunny weather.

Scientists say the Puget Sound region could one day be as balmy as Baja because of the pollution-caused trend in global warming known as the greenhouse effect.

The trouble is, by the time we have year-round tanning weather there may not be any beaches, due to a predicted 5-foot rise in sea level.

“Short of nuclear war, the greenhouse effect is the largest global change people will experience in the next century - and there’s no going back,” said Richard Gammon, an oceanographer with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle.

“The 100-year forecast is for a warmer, wetter world,” said Gammon, echoing other scie quite possible that in 50 years Seattle will be more like Los Angeles.  However, there may not be many beaches because of a global sea- level rise.”

Scientists, even those who eschew a doomsday outlook on global warming, say that 100 or even 50 years from now there may be big changes worldwide in coastlines, fisheries, forests, rainfall patterns, agriculture and the oceans.   They just don’t know how big…

The Google Timeline display can really help one visualize data.  We can do a study of press coverage of skeptical, denial and the anti-science challenges.   I am guessing we would see a strong rise of news stories around the 1980s and 90’s.   What have we learned in four decades?   Does this portend how fast we will learn the next lesson?   Who is controlling information?

Dangerous minimization of climate news events

We depend on news media to pass along important information about global warming.  Like the real news event of a breach in the huge wall of ice in the Wilkins Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

It is not very often that we see a discrete event that’s clearly due to global warming.  Melting ice is usually slow and uninteresting.  But these days we have glaciers moving at many feet per day - where my childhood lessons said they moved at inches per year.

It was disappointing to see the MSNBC reporter mess up a simple news story of an ice event with comments from a notorious political ideologue funded by the coal industry.

It could have been a traffic accident, a fire, an earthquake or even a tsunami.  Just give us the important news please:   In Antarctica a giant wall of ice broke and released vast areas of the Wilkins ice shelf to further destruction.

But why would NBC reporter Tracy Potts decide to bring in the most contentious climate denial spokesperson Patrick Michaels to comment on this event?  See the story for yourself

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Reporter Potts labeled him a climatologist and researcher - but he works as a spokesperson for the Libertarian CATO Institute.  Columnist George Monbiot numbered him as 8th in the ten worst climate warming deniers.

I know reporters are over-worked and pressured by assignment editors, but work like this should not be allowed to stand.   MSNBC editors are at fault here.

The stakes are too much, too serious to even consider comments from such a science shill as Patrick Michaels who is heavily funded by the coal industry.  For her complicity, reporter Tracy Potts risks being labeled a PR tool; if she is unaware, then she risks being called inept.   Perhaps this will be an education.

Journalists have some terrific resources available.  When an expert comment is required, they can first check the excellent List of Global Warming and Climate Change Experts for Media.

Before interviewing that expert, the professional journalist can find some background briefings on the subject from their own professional organization: The Society of Environmental Journalists.   They offer introductory essays, science briefings, as well as overviews of government, agency and organizations.  Most interesting is they also discuss skeptics and contrarians - including Patrick Michaels with a description saying how he has changed from “denying human-induced greenhouse warming to downplaying its importance.”   Gosh, when we next do a story asking whether global warming is important, we shall be sure to call on Michaels for a comment.   But we should pass on asking him about science.

MSNBC and all (remaining) news organizations would do well to keep their reporters briefed and well connected to worthwhile sources.  I hope that Tracy Potts is a member of a professional organization.  My local NBC affiliate KING-TV chose to air that story unedited - and so local news editors could do better handling these stories too

Meanwhile, individuals will continue to watch big news media with a critical eye, continuing to search for better sources for news.

Prodding the Sacred Cow

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropy, has overlooked the biggest threat to human health and human future - the increasing rate of climate destabilization from global warming.


**********   UPDATE   ***********

Failure To Tackle Climate Change Spells A Global Health Catastrophe, Experts Warn
ScienceDaily (Sep. 16, 2009) — An editorial and letter, published simultaneously by the BMJ and Lancet, warn that failure to agree radical cuts in carbon dioxide emissions at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen this December spells a global health catastrophe.

Last year the Foundation co-chairman said about Global Warming:  “The fact of the matter is we don’t think about it”.   I urge you to change that immediately to state:  “Every individual, organization and state should be thinking about climate change now”.

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For too long the Gates Foundation ignored extensive research that concludes global warming and climate destabilization has extended and amplified disease and other human health problems .  Your science advisers can tell you that global warming is caused, enhanced and accelerated by carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by industrial civilization.  The biggest danger to our future is that we may fail to regulate CO2 output  Continued global warming causes sea levels to rise which will increase disease vector populations

If eradicating malaria is the goal then you must regard the compelling data and devastating forces of a changing climate.  All of the awesomely great works by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation can be undone by the horrible realities of Global Warming to come.  If you truly want to support human health and nurture prosperity, then you need to refocus and modify priorities in a way that respects climate change.
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The investment policy for the Foundation Trust forbids trading in tobacco stock since that industry so obviously harms health.  Similarly, I ask you to halt investments in carbon fuel companies and other polluting industries.  You may derive revenue from over $1 billion invested in oil company stocks, but the resulting greenhouse gas emissions will further increase the rate of warming.  Until you decide how best to be part of the solution, please don’t be part of the problem.  You should completely divest from any hydro-carbon energy company stock holdings.

We all praise the Gates Foundation for generosity and laudatory good works saving lives and giving hope for the future.  But gradually, inexorably, everyone is beginning to feel the aggravation, pain and real suffering from our destabilizing climate.  To further ignore the problem is misguided, shortsighted and squanders the opportunity for change. 

At the very least, you should accept climate change as a real cause of suffering, and include it when evaluating the global health metrics that underlie your good works.  With such an honest view, others can share in your objective: for all people to have healthy and productive lives.

Failure to act is the biggest sin. Knowledgeable people of wealth and power should take a stand - because it is right, because it is needed and because inaction brings harm to us all

     Richard Pauli    February 2009

Cross posted in the Seattle PI First Person opinion March 2, 2009

Recent email from the Gates Foundation on Global Warming

Update: The World Health Organization report on malaria. http://www.who.int/malaria/

Yale University Environment 360 The Spread of New Diseases: The Climate Connection Oct 2009

Suggestions for Gates Foundation pt 3 of 3

Climates destabilize, temperatures change, sea levels rise, and the Gates Foundation can change too. 

The Annual Review of Public Health offers a conclusion:

Perhaps the most telling simple definition of public health is that it is the science and art of making people healthy before they are wealthy (and then keeping them that way). Although altering both the rules and the stakes in as yet uncertain ways, the emergence of climate change on the world stage reinforces this vision of public health’s mission. The profession will need new infusions of methods, strategies, and resources to prevent climate change from slowing or reversing progress toward acceptable standards of global population health.



The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Trust should make some specific changes:

Recognize and Accept

Speaking Out is the greatest action that Bill Gates and the B&M Foundation could take… and its free.  Their reputation is their greatest asset, misusing it squanders good will.


All accomplished by the strength of status - the smartest, richest builder of operating systems… Recognize the greatest stressor to human health and productivity for a human future is Global warming  


Accept the science from the UN, NOAA, Union of Concerned Scientists, even from the University of Washington Atmospherics Dept.  Even watch local Seattle TV news for an education on Global Warming.  Examine the IPCC models and scenarios, including time lines for change.  Let sciencedrive policy.  Openly promote accepted mitigation strategies.   For the BMGF to decare this danger would do more to validate the direction of struggle.


Get some climatologists on staff to layout models and scenarios.

Many events were long predicted, melting Arctic ice, and many more will be easily predicted.  But everything is happening sooner than predicted.  And new tipping points will trigger feedback loops that need careful scrutiny.


It is likely your science advisers will say the crucial step is to halt CO2 emissions.  Plenty of projects for converting from fossil fuel to wind, solar, wave.  Learning carbon sequestratn.  For the Gates Foundation this means the oil investments will have to stop… and the various 300 million dollar investments each in Exxon and BP should stop.  Fossil fuels endanger our very future.


Establish and Appoint a Climate Relations Czar

Appoint Al Gore - or someone like him - to head up your Global warming action wing.  Change your goal to define the specific actions to adapt with disbursements, and mitigate with selected investments.


Political pressure to demand Mitigation

Lobby to lessen the impact of global warming by halting CO2 production.   “We are in it for the long Haul”  It will take 50 years before the effects of reduced CO2 are felt in the atmosphere.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-gatesx07jan07,0,6827615.story

Climate change is something that is on the minds of many major non-governmental organizations and international think tanks.  It has certainly not escaped the attention of the Organisation For Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), which has had a climate change group as part of their environment directorate for a number of years.  Their work is meant “to assist countries to implement effective and efficient policies to address climate change by conducting policy-relevant research and analysis.”  Near the top of their homepage, visitors will find two particularly helpful sections: “Publications & Documents” and “Information By Country”.  The “Publications & Documents” are divided into sections that include news releases, policy briefs, case studies, and best practices.  The “Don’t Miss” area found on the right hand side of the homepage brings together some of their key works, including “Climate Change Mitigation: What Do We Do?” and “Ranking Port Cities with High Exposure and Vulnerability to Climate Extremes.”

Make transformative investments 

Not just grants, but investments can make change.   Isn’t investment a form of devotion and faith?  Now they invest in hundreds of companies, funding.  It seems obvious that some industrial sectors need investment and will return greatly on that… electrical grid, trains, solar power, wind power, electric car, pharma research.  They invest in many of these sectors now.  Drop the oil company stocks.

How long you want humans to be around;  30, 50 or 100 years?   The best future investments would be for non-carbon energy companies, low carbon industrials, and then low carbon housing and transportation.

Battleground of Ideas 

The world’s largest philanthropic organization needs to take the lead. There are no good choices, only the least bad.  The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation must get away from old thinking.  Humanity is in acar, in a blinding the fog, racing toward a cliff, and we don’t need people selling us more gas. We need global economies to become zero carbon as soon as possible.  The Gates foundation is in the unique position of fostering trust.  It cannot afford to be fostering CO2 capitalism.


Take up the banner of truth

Oil and coal companies are spending over $200 million per year to influence public opinion.
Gates has a free podium of status and adulation that he squanders by ignoring the seriousness of the problem. 


Making change happen


The world will be facing increasingly serious global warming problems.  Everywhere.  The Gates Foundation is trapped by endowments that are heavily connected to carbon fuel industries.  CO2 makes warming worse.  CO2 cannot even be capped.  All humans must radically reduce CO2.   And that sure will harm our business-as-usual.  And harm carbon investments.  This is plain old monetary denialism.  They don’t want global warming to affect their investment returns.   So  “We don’t think about it.”  So their soft denial, the shunting aside facing up to the problem will surely tarnish their reputation.   And beyond their philanthropy, their reputation as the vanguard  …..  They are the Mother Teresa of Foundations.   And they are about to squander this good will to become the Benedict Arnold


The problem of global warming is astoundingly momentous.  Hard to apprehend.  The Gates Foundation should be acting smarter.   Why save a million people when you can save 8 Billion?  Maybe that is the unintentional answer - the goal is to save only the oligarchy  - if that is so they risk misjudging this maneuver.

Bill Gates needs to realize that he is regarded as a great innovator leader, not just to top of the worlds wealthiest list, but as someone who can guide and influence both business and philanthropic thinking.   Global warming issue is moving to the top of the list, top priority.  And those who do not watch carefully will be surprised.   It is not too late to speak up now.


When does an error become a blunder?   When does the wrong choice become folly?   Both Bill and Melinda Gates - at the very top of the philanthropic world - are running the risk of plunging to the bottom. 

How much influence do contributors have in fund disbursements?
How would an open source foundation work?
How would a Google “Do no evil” run a foundation that works differently?
How would a foundation work that strictly followed the science of climate change?
   Or how would it work to follow an actuarial list of risks to human health.

The Foundation has to decide what they are doing: protecting wealth short term, or long term protection to humans.  It is time to grow up, get responsible and ask global industry to wake up and change. 


It appears they are an investment organization that gives away 7% of its funds as grants.  I would want the greatest philanthropic organization in the world to change the world in smart ways and use the strength of its endowment to invest in change as well as derive the resources to do its good work.

It is a real-world lip service to fund a malaria cure, while encouraging, enabling and enhancing flooding and warming.  It is the height of cynical action to improve the plight of the poor, but invest in Shell, Exxon and BP - companies that heavily pollute the communities they work in and contribute tons of CO2 emission into the air.  This is a time when we need to develop and deploy carbon-free energy systems. 

They are one of the big institutions that can do much save civilization.  In a perfect world, I would not publicly criticize as it is impolite.  I would work from within, and wait and perhaps whisper with my donation, and praise any positive work in that direction.  But I fear world climate is changing faster than foundation bureaucracy can move to face it.   Perhaps words from blogs and growing public opinion might move them in that direction.

We can buy time through conservation, carbon free energy usage or geo-engineering.   The first step in mitigation and adaptation is to secure the politics and then push for global unification to meet this overaching multi-nation effort.  


The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is doing the right thing, helping to alleviate suffering, but possibly doing it for the wrong reason, hiding truth, protecting profit over people, unintentionally promoting heavy carbon emission.   As climate change marches forward, they risk losing all respect and credibility as they stand increasingly alone in denial or ignorance.  Soon to be up to their ankles in rising waters of change. 

The world will be looking for guidance and heros and help.   What an opportunity.



Richard Pauli
February 2009

Full disclosure - I now live in Seattle, for 7 years I worked at Microsoft, and later was part of the permatemp lawsuit against Microsoft.  Other than helping Microsoft generate massive profit, I have no dealings with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

I would be happy to post a response from the Gates Foundation either as a comment or a fully formatted guest blog entry.

Gates Foundation policy on Global warming


50 Years Before the Turn

"There will be a rain dance Friday night, weather permitting" - George Carlin

There is climate change ahead, no matter what we hear, or what we say.

Skepticism and denialism delay the perception of the climate problem, not the actual events.  Words have no direct effect.  When it comes to actually attacking the problem,  political speeches, songs, votes, wailing, advertisements, or teeth gnashing all - do nothing to delay the inevitable unfolding of climate destabilization.   Change requires physical effort.

bridgefogs.jpgWe have the science; we lack the political will.  Politics and Science are the oil and water that will never mix.  Scientists - thousands of them - study and model and track data on the rate of climate change.  There is solid data, clear causes and clear solutions.

Political stances, economic allegiances, or even skepticism mean absolutely nothing -and will not affect greenhouse gasses and climate change at all.  Political will is totally subservient to physical sciences.  You cannot repeal the law of gravity - same with climatology laws.  It is a pity that politics refuses to accept science in this matter.

Carefully modeled and predicted climate destabilization events are happening sooner than predicted.  The increase to the rate of change means calendar predictions are no longer possible.  The Arctic has turned from ice to open water - yet the summer prediction was supposed to be not until 2040, and up until very recently, the totally ice free scenario was scheduled for the turn of the century.  Expect it very soon. 

Now the Northwest passage is open, and permafrost is melting and Greenland and the Antarctic are losing mass.  The latest predictions on sea level change exceeds both time and height of previous predictions. The venerable UN IPCC report, only a few years old, is still valuable, but outdated.

The essence of the human conundrum is that when and if we decide to wrangle concrete, direct change, it may be too late.   Only actual physical interaction works - and it works slowly and very slightly.

Since our planet is so large, the oceans so deep, the skies so vast - the physics of applying change to the climate works very slowly.  Any human stimulus designed to cause a change - whether good change or bad - will have a long wait before it is seen. The lag is huge.  It is as if we are steering a boat in which we must apply rudder 50 years before the turn.  Or we can turn off the engine, but it will be 500 miles more before we slow to a stop. 

Since we have never seen or done such a grand effort before, few of us believe it, and few want to spend effort to turn the wheel. And no one wants to turn off the engine, especially if our efforts will not bear fruit in our life times.

Quite a pickle here.  In the words of an unnamed, distinguished, scholarly, award-winning biology professor: "We're fucked"



Update:  Climate scientists: it's time for 'Plan B'  Poll of international experts by The Independent reveals consensus that CO2 cuts have failed - and their growing support for technological intervention. 

The Bliss of Denial

The bliss of our Daybreak world has been so pleasant that no one dares to disrupt it.  What could possibly intrude?

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Sic transit gloria mundi  
"Thus passes the glory of the world"

This 1922 print by Maxfield Parrish captured the essence of Western American Romanticism. 
Who would want to disturb this perfect moment?  We are in a dream state, and we do not want to be awakened - certainly not by the bad news that our perfect world is in danger.

As this painting worked to draw in so many, what painting could awaken us?.

Argues-with-Idiots

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That would be my Indian name.   Argues-with-Idiots. 

I am tilting at the windmill of human denial about the danger of global warming.   

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                                                                   illustration from ClimateProgress.org

And AGW is worse than ever. Even TIME magazine thinks we should wake up to the the dangerous misunderstanding of climate change.  This article ran just a few days before the election.

"... carbon emissions would need to be cut drastically from current
levels. Yet almost all of the subjects in Sterman's study failed to
realize that, assuming instead that you could stabilize carbon
concentration simply by capping carbon emissions at their current
level. That's not the case -- and in fact, pursuing such a plan for
the future would virtually guarantee that global warming could spin
out of control. It may seem to many like good common sense to
wait until we see proof of the serious damage global warming is
doing before we take action. But it's not -- we can't "wait and see"
on global warming because the climate has a momentum all its
own, and if we wait for decades to finally act to reduce carbon
emissions, it could well be too late. Yet this simply isn't
understood. Someone as smart as Bill Gates doesn't seem to get it.
"Fortunately climate change, although it's a huge challenge, it's a
challenge that happens over a long period of time," he said at a
forum in Beijing last year. "You know, we have time to work on it."
But the truth is we don't. "
            http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1853871,00.html

I think I am gradually growing to accept this human deficiency - we are unable to see, unwilling to act on far off dangers - no matter how certain.  The future of global warming becomes clearer... and the ONLY global survival solution requires a total unified human effort - with 100% support.. which is, of course, impossible.  The differing opinions and different thoughts and actions - quintessentially human - is a trait that best preserves our species by having sizeable factions in disputed survival judgements and errant thinkers taking different actions.    So whole populations with one trait may thrive, while those with another trait will fail.  It seems like a nice way to design a species: to allow groupings with individual differences to best adapt to a changing future.  This assures that random changes may still act to allow the species to change. 

hotsuns.jpgWe are not ants.  But in this case it may bite us back, for the errant few with denialist tunnel vision are working to constrain any unified effort to change.  And that spells doom. 

They may no longer deny, they may only want to delay. That delay will kill us, the delay means tipping points are passed and runaway global warming cannot be stopped, no matter how strong the human will and effort.   And a destabilized climate will continue to wreak havoc, and the predicted increase in temperature (11 degrees C ) can extinguish most animal life at sea level.   With less heat increase, perhaps better survival.

First comes the decimation of our species -  it will take a few decades, disease, drought, storm floods and the attendant wars and violent struggles to survive - met with violent defense.  Eventually the chaos will wean out the weak and the unwilling and the remaining population will have full commitment to survive - but almost no capability to affect global cascading events.  Then in a hot and changing age the struggle will be to survive amidst dwinding resources and scarce living places - perhaps limited to mountainous areas near the poles.   Pretty grim future.  Even though that struggle may be a few generations out - it may be good that people don't realize this just now.  How does one tell a young person about this?

And so I am not going to argue with idiots anymore because the ship is now hitting the iceberg and no change of direction can prevent it.  Now the discussion is about how to best deploy the lifeboats and figure out how best to slow the sinking. Bush was the captain that crashed the boat, Obama is the new captain.  So this is a change of attitude.   The science and the projections remain the same.   I realize this is dystopic - but it is not implausible, and it conforms to IPCC climate predictions.

Argues-with-idiots-no-more.


Cross posted to climatedebatedaily.org

"Humankind cannot bear very much reality"

...said T.S. Eliot

Let's call denialism a form of delusion. 

It is a self-protecting and understandable psychological reaction to the overwhelming stress of perceiving very bad, possibly bleak information.   Information describing threats to our lives and future.

The human political reaction to climate destabilization must be swift and certainly will be painful.  And no matter how much we sacrifice, we can only mitigate and adapt to warming - not fix it.
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This is a horrible conclusion.  No one wants this.  We all prefer that it go away, we all want to put it out of mind.  And we all have some degrees of denial - no one can absorb the stark truth and constantly hold it in our minds. The inevitable climate destabilization should be at the front of our thinking and should influence every decision in our day.  It does not.  Each of us is imperfect.

Some of us will always have tunnel vision preventing us from seeing the looming danger ahead.

We shoulder the added challenge to be polite and tolerant to those denialists while continuing to attack the problem.  We should also be ruthless toward any professional PR denialist  funded by carbon fuel industries.


Professional Denial or Benign Dismissal

I can forgive those who deny climate change.  It is horrible to look directly into the face of an ugly future.  To survive, thrive and keep our social structure requires lots of privation and work.  And we may be unable to summon the willpower necessary.   Humans may really not want to do all that work and sacrifice - and so may choose to ignore it.  In this case, a typical reaction is not to deny facts, but rather to ignore them.  

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"Yes, yes, looming global climate instability - So?"

Not fighting to stay ignorant, just passively giving up.

This is the opposite side of the spectrum from denial - because here we actually accept and know that AGW is real, and that there a globally serious challenges.  This is way over on the other side - the side that just wants to ignore the bad news.  Like an ostrich putting its head in the sand.  Dismissing danger.  

I have met them - usually they appear to be very happy, doing what they want. And they accept even the most dire predictions - but they refuse to be bothered.  There is very little written by these folks...after all, why bother?   And they don't do blogs.  

These are people I meet face-to-face.  I have no new information for them, since they are relatively current and completely accepting of the science.

This may be the classic "out of sight - out-of-mind" attitude.  And these people are almost as difficult as denialists.  The only difference is there is no obstruction and they demand little.  But this attitude is no beneficial value to our future.  This problem requires full engagement by the entire population. 

Two groups are missing: the professional denialist on one side and the benignly dismissive on the other.