Deny, deny, deny! Deny the science. Deny the evidence. Deny the causes. Deny the feedback loops. When denial doesn’t work pretend there is great doubt. When a scientist expresses any reservation amplify that into scandal, confusion and even more doubt. Above all, deny.
Of all the insanity surrounding climate change it is this culture of denial that upsets, disappoints and puzzles me the most. We know that the fossil fuel industry has invested billions sowing the seeds of doubt, paying for the usual suspect “scientists” to spew their corporate line. We also know that the very process of real science requires questioning and testing of hypotheses – which, to those unfamiliar with that process, only seems to be a circular argument without end. Even gravity is still a theory…though by this point a very refined, well shaped and polished one. Climate change has only been examined for less than a century, so only 97% of scientists agree:
a) the planet is warming unusually and exponentially and
b) it is largely human activity – primarily the products of industrial activity (burning of fossil fuels) that is causing this warming.
One would think that such near unanimity – and the dire forecasts the evidence has lead them to eventually come to describe through the IPCC – would have found similar consensus among world governments. And I mean more than the foot-dragging-we-need-business-as-usual-but-hey-we-signed-a-deal-in-paris-so-everything-is-just-fine kind of consensus. (Our prime minister is a perfect example of this. Sign on to the Paris accord but approve new pipelines so we can continue to profit from the sale of arguably the dirtiest oil on earth.)
Why there has been such resistance practically from the get go is inexplicable to me. I can see some back and forth over details and lack of clarity among those who do not differentiate between weather and climate (hey, it’s snowing so the planet can’t be warming) but when it comes right down to it a substantial minority (and I am convinced it is a minority) just do not seem to accept the science. When the idiot in chief of the most powerful country on the planet proclaims that climate change is a Chinese hoax he obviously has a constituency that is receptive.
I read not only the majority scientific reports but also those of the deniers, (obfuscators, nitpickers, pawns IMHO). What I hear from the latter are cherry picked data, out of context quotes and mostly bogus statistics. This is not to say that at the other end of the spectrum there are not those alarmists who are guilty of the same sort of manipulation, but in their defense I would offer this: if they are wrong, and we choose to act to reduce carbon pollution as a result, what is the harm? Whereas if the deniers are wrong and we do nothing as a result of their arguments we could be well and truly fucked.
As I write these words Lake Ontario is reaching record levels (a month before usual) and projections are for another 6 inches yet to come…not business as usual by any means…yet I see no commentary on the news saying this is one more indication that this might be the start of a new “normal” and that it might be related to global phenomena.
For me this has just helped confirm my conclusions about the reality of climate change…while I am sure there are those who will choose to keep their heads firmly in the sand.
Next time….how extreme and imminent is this?