Friday, 26 September 2014

Climate change debate

There is the old argument between those who hold that we already have runaway climate change and we are looking down the barrel at NTHE - and those who prefer to rely on hope.

I don't really mind what conclusions people come to, personally, so long as they keep it civil and don't try to project ill-intent onto the pessimists (as I've seen in the past)

Climate Catastrophe: Too Late For Action? Or Just Trapped by a Dangerous Ideology?


That’s the state of many environmentalists and ecologists these days when faced with the growing ravages of human-caused climate change and a when confronted with a society that has ignored their pleas for rational societal response for decades.

And who can blame them?

They were the ones who acted first. Who took on vegan diets. Who stopped driving cars. Who stopped using airplanes. Built solar and carbon neutral homes. Who blockaded pipelines and coal plants. Who threw themselves bodily into the ocean in front of massive oil tankers in an attempt to halt their operations.

These individuals acted, they fought, they set the example. And who listened? Who followed in their footsteps? Who understood the cause — the most important of all things — they were fighting for?

Is it any wonder that collections of severely depressed persons crop up with greater and greater frequency? That blogs and whole web communities are dedicated to the notion of coping with what many see to be an inevitable near term human extinction?

Why did so many people turn deaf ears to those fighting for climate action over the long years? And why have so many of us now succumbed to hopelessness?

Perhaps it is well a sign of the terrible time in which we live. A time in which individualism rose to ascendency and crowded out all other views. A time in which any collective action was disparaged to the point that the term collectivism itself became a bad word. We were seen as responsible for only ourselves — but not for each other.

We became members of the church of selfishness and so many of us became blind to the impact of that all too narrow view on the world around us. On our communities, our churches, our cities, indeed our civilizations and ultimately our world.

We thought that by taking on selfishness that we would grow stronger. But, instead, we gave up an essential human strength. We gave up the ability to effectively work together.

But climate change is a problem that no individual alone can solve. A problem that requires the strength of individuals collected together and acting as one.
A raindrop cannot fill a creek bed. But a rainstorm can.

If we are to deal with climate change we must cast off the old constraints and the old views that have trapped us for so long. We must learn to act, not as individuals, but as members of a larger union. As a group that multiplies the strength of our parts. We much collect. We must gather. And we must focus our energies.

In this, Naomi Klein is absolutely correct –

We must first learn to believe that we are worth saving. And, in doing so, to understand that working collectively to halt climate catastrophe is now the most good and needed of things

(Hat tip to Colorado Bob)

I think I resonate slightly more with the following response to Robertscribbler's article. 
Yes, we are tired and we have figured it out. If you read your own posts, you would get it too. People are not going to change, they are not going to “work together” it is simply not in our genes. I was not depressed this summer, for the first time in many years, until the climate parade happened … now OMG.
All we need to do is change a few lightbulbs, buy the new Prius, install a few renewables (made using coal), and presto the economy will GROW and we will be fine. 300,000 people think so, and you (at some level) and i, know it’s bullshit. I waited for someone to throw a rock thru a window on Wall St. – to provide a response somewhere close to the crime being committed – nothing.
How would one sell a truly useful set of policies like:
1. Ban all imports from anywhere.
2. cut military spending by 98% after getting all our military and diplomatic people home.
3. eliminate QE, and raise interest rates to 5%
4. Use the military budget money saved to feed people with no work and no land while encouraging them to find a place to grow their own food.
Selling a lie a Klein and others are trying to do is not helping.
“… they need to run on carbon neutral biofuel” Yes, if one is ever invented. There are biofuels, but i watch them being grown near my home, and they are NOT carbon neutral – give me a break. 160 acres of blooming canola is great for my honey bees though! :-)
Global warming factoid of the day
Stupid is competing with Ignorance over there. It's a dead heat


29 October, 2013

In one of the Harry Potter novels, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the Dark Lord Voldemort has returned and is threatening the wizarding world. 

As the person who has been warning of the danger Harry Potter is singled out by the Ministry of Magic to be silenced. He is summonsed by a court and then tortured for "lying".

In the end he is proven right, but it is (almost) too late.

This always struck me as an allegory for the modern world of denial just as the picture  of the chimps above, holding their nose and covering eyes and ears is also symbolic of a disease that is overtaking the whole of humanity and pre-selecting it  for extinction.

The image of Harry Potter only does so far. It paints a picture of what otherwise "good" people do when they are in denial.  

When it comes to Harry Potter fighting the dark forces (and winning) it is clear that the Dark Lord Voldemort resides in the soul of each of us, and it is up to each of us which side is going to 'win'.

Global Warming Fact of the Day

Yesterday I heard that there was an interesting debate going on on a Facebook page called Global Warming Fact of the Day.

(UPDATE: I incorrectly called the group Climate Change Fact of the Day, for which I apologise. In the meantime they have become (if my information is correct,  a 'closed' group - SMR)

When I went to have a look, little did I realise that this was going to act as a symbol for human denial.

These were presumably going to be reasonable people with a scientific bent who were comfortable talking about the realities of anthropogenic climate change, people who were on board with the increasingly dire situation of the planet.

But when  I came on board it turned out that Guy McPherson was the Harry Potter of the day.

The moderators and other regulars reacted violently to any suggestion that a tipping-point had been reached and that climate change was irreversible.

Any suggestion that mankind might be headed for near-term extinction simply made them apoplectic.

Put quite simply they kept denying any possibility of NTE and asking for evidence.

The immediate response was to immediately provide the evidence in spade loads.

The response to this was always to respond 'there's no evidence, please provide the evidence'

Then the response would be - 'here it is,and here's more  evidence'

And so it went on.

It's called "contempt prior to investigation'.

Not for them was the truth that if the climate changes outside certain parameters (i.e if we get an increase of global temperature of 2C more) it becomes impossible to grow food and to adapt to loss of habitat.

We got assertions - backed up with scientific evidence (not) - such as:

"We don't get a lot of calories from wild caught fish anymore, having pretty much fished them up already. It's a luxury now, not a major protein source..... But I don't see that it will kill us in the short run..... Crops can be re-bred and crop growth zones can move. It will be hard on Georgia when Ohio has better peaches, but that doesn't necessarily mean there won't be peaches.....Vegetation growth at Earth's northern latitudes increasingly resembles lusher latitudes to the south..."

Then back to: "There is no scientific evidence that says mankind gets wiped off the planet due to climate change"

You really can't win.

Then pinpricking on whether a 2C increase equates to 40C or not ("actually it's 38F, so you'd best apologise")

And then we got some really high-powered scientific questioning:

Can man live without food, water, air and a livable habitat that support body temperature?”

Can you give a link and quote for me where in that link the claim is made?....
I want a link that says that the claim is true. Or rather, that such a condition will arise

And then finally things became even more surreal - 

Mr Irving opined "There should be alternate forum for people focused on NTE. Get them out of here ASAP AFAIAC.....  They are akin to a plague IMO.... This forum is clearly being attempted to be hijacked by extremists " and (sorry I've lost the exact quote for this) -  "these people are losers"

A few hours later and Guy McPherson is excluded from the group, basically for upsetting the applecart.

"Mike Ferrigan was banned, too? For what? Disagreeing with the moderators?."

For the sin of asking why this happened and repeating my questions in the face of non-answers, I am also ex-communicated, only to be followed by at least one person.

Well what can one say?

Cognitive dissonance

It seems to be becoming more and more the norm that what would normally be described as "reasonable" people become angry, reactive and irrational when their comfortable viewpoints and attachment to continuing "civilised" life, business- as- usual, comes into confrontation with reality.

These people are wedded to saying "if we don't do something about climate change then (some time in the future) things will become very dire.

Ask them to even entertain the possibility that a tipping-point might already  have been reached, and climate change is irreversible and they become apoplectic.

They become something asking to the Inquisition dealing to Galileo.

"We are the consensus", "you are outside the consensus", the "outliers" - and therefore to be condemned and excommunicated.

Science ceases to be a quest for knowledge or truth and becomes some sort of magic item to be carried and defended at all costs.

The carriers of the "Truth" become impervious to logical argument.

If it wasn't so tragic it would be hilariously funny.  I really have to ask whether I'm misanthropic.

But then I realise I'm simply trying to see things as they are.

Great comment -

Nice essay, but frankly all I think its a waste of valuable energy. My motto with these types is to remember this quote from Mark Twain — 'Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.' Why do I think of this quote....the argument around climate change has never been about facts, its about beliefs. Its about the STORY. Its a story we've been indoctrinated with since birth--a story that tells us who we are as a person, a gender, a race, a species, a being....and how we fit into the greater picture of our community, culture, country, civilization, human history, the world , the universe. The only path to undo ones belief in this story is a long path of questioning and seeking the answers. A little debate with facts tossed back and forth will never undo years of indoctrination. For those mired in the story, if you catch their attention at all with the facts, they will simply strive to work this information into the story. And there is no point in bothering with expending the ATP to get these folks to see the big lie. They are like religious zealots.

Carolyn Garcia

UPDATE - Some more discussion since the group became a 'closed' group

Larry Lazar -
Perhaps SKS should come up with another page of "Climate Misinformers", but with the pics of the NTHE alarm crowd?

Yea, but Larry, "G" uses facts and science to support his claims about the end of humanity! He must be right!

Response: Roy Spencer, John Christy and the other misinformers, many of whom have far more experience and education than "G", don't think AGW is bad at all!

There are "Climate Misinformers" on both sides of the ideological spectrum.

Which is why CONSENSUS and widely accepted science matters

G”, I presume, means “Guy McPherson” - you can't call the Dark Lord by name!

A particualrly apposite comment - 

Have you ever heard of Terror Management Theory? It is the study of the violent reactions we have when confronted with intimations of our own personal mortality. I think a similar reaction is occurring among those environmentalists who cling to the hope of pulling us out of the crapper. Take away their hope and remind them that our extinction is already a forgone conclusion and they become irrational and violent. I have seen it happen over and over again, especially among the more radical environmentalists. I don't even know how to approach them.

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