Monday, 8 January 2018

A Total Lack Of Urgency in Dealing with Climate Emergency

I never expect to see that people agree about everything but when it comes to talking about climate change I do not expect people to agree that we only have a very short period left on the planet although I have been persuaded by the evidence provided by people I have come to trust.

When I started to research this I looked in vain for any mention of methane. I quickly came to realise that the norm (rather than the exception) was for the actual science to be fudged,misrepresented and even lied about

Those I have had contact use their authority to lay down the law and talk about what “Science” says (as if it was the Catholic church with its religious dogma instead of a method of inquiry) to basically deny that things are any bit as bad of what they actually are.

Foremost among these people is Michael Mann who now seems to be denying his own hockey stick hypothesis When I listen to him he sounds to me to be a Demcratic Party operative than a research scientist who is using his considerable authority to mislead rather than inform.

What follows is a collection of material from Mann to ilustrate this.

Irony of Inaction - With "Honest" Michael E Mann

Here is Kevin Hester's take on this
Total Lack Of Urgency in Dealing with Climate Emergency

KevinHester Live,
May 11, 2016 

Our climate change emergency is gaining momentum at a non linear, exponential pace, with the massive bleaching event unfolding on the Great Barrier Reef and the extraordinary fires burning in Alberta which have precipitated the evacuation of 80,000 + people from Fort McMurray, two of the latest ” Canary’s in the coal mine”.

There are no shortage of indicators that we have entered the dangerous phase of the great unraveling of our biosphere, when we are at approximately 1.5 degrees c above baseline tracking to and beyond the IPCC worst case scenario of 6C which incidentally will be unsurvivable for most if not all complex life on this planet. So much for 2C being the safe limit.

In the link below, renowned climate scientist Michael E Mann, the co author of the Hockey Stick Theory discusses the fires and the bleaching event on the GBR in incredibly measure tones,which I have personally dived extensively over an 800 mile sail after crossing  the Coral sea and sailing down the reef from north of Cairns to Brisbane. I detect no hint of an emergency

It takes about 15 years for a reef to recover from a bleaching event but it also requires the symptoms to abate first. The primary  drivers of this latest and third bleaching event in the last 100 yrs, all of which have happened in the last 8 yrs is carbonate saturation and warming waters.

Much of the blame has been attributed to the recent record El Nino which has undoubtedly been a factor but the overall causation is a combination of circumstances that are not going away and are in fact increasing.

I don’t casually criticise a scientist of Michael Mann’s calibre but as a yacht skipper I always default to the precautionary principle which is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

The tone of the delivery of this information in no way conveys a planetary emergency which we are patently witnessing unraveling before our very eyes.

Climate scientists tend to be specialists in their field which can involve a narrow depth of experience which leaves them unable to extrapolate the overall consequences of simple ( sic) ice melt and sea level rise.

Conservation biologist Professor Guy McPherson, who will be coming back to NZ again in November to discuss our predicament, who has been studying climate change for over three decades believes that the combination of rising temperatures driven by our crack like addiction to carbon is driving us to extinction alongside the other 150 to 200 species that are going extinct very day on our beleaguered planet.

Here is a recent podcast with Guy McPherson speaking about species extinction from the 21:40minute mark here, ‘

Rising Up With Sonali – May 4, 2016

Professor McPherson and myself believe we are in runaway abrupt climate change leading to near term human extinction in the not to distant future.  Mike Mann doesn’t seem particularly worried.

As I wrote here on the 
Collapse Of The Oceanic Reef Systems, you can decide for yourselves whose right and prepare accordingly.

As Thom Hartman says:  ‘Dr. Michael Mann, Earth System Science Center-Penn State University/Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change (2nd edition) joins Thom. The oceans are literally starving now. Plus the Fires in Canada – Is this a preview of what the future will look like if we don’t do something right now to stop climate change?‘  Further shared here, with video:  ‘Dr. Michael Mann on Dying Oceans & Intense Fires‘.

This Guradian article from this week represents another attack on Guy McPherson whose citation of the scientific literature is unimpeachable.

Evidence does not seem to enter into the equation at any point Instead what is needed is positive emotion and the facts made to fit.

Can someone tell me what-the-fuck this is supposed to mean?

"Rather than treat emotions as levers to be pulled, they should be seen as part of a dynamic interplay"

Lucia Graves

There’s a debate in climate circles about whether you should try to scare the living daylights out of people, or give them hope – think images of starving polar bears on melting ice caps on the one hand, and happy families on their bikes lined with flowers and solar-powered lights on the other.

The debate came to something of a head this year, after David Wallace-Wells lit up the internet with his 7,000-word, worst-case scenario published in New York magazine. It went viral almost instantly, and soon was the best-read story in the magazine’s history. A writer in Slate called it “the Silent Spring of our time”. But it also garnered tremendous criticism and from more than the usual denier set.

Beyond quibbles with the science, critics including the illustrious climate scientist Michael Mann took issue with the piece’s “doomist framing” because, as he wrote at the time, there’s “a danger in overstating the science in a way that presents the problem as unsolvable, and feeds a sense of doom, inevitability and hopelessness”.

But others say scaring people is the only way to make them care. Perhaps the most famous purveyor of climate scare tactics is Guy McPherson. Described by the New York Times as an “apocalyptic ecologist”, McPherson’s doomsday theory of “near-term extinction” has attracted something of a following. McPherson wrote on his website, which includes links to suicide hotlines, that the David Wallace-Wells piece “largely captures my message”.

Both sides are wrong, from a psychological standpoint. Emotions are complicated and can vary tremendously from person to person. Trying to crudely manipulate them doesn’t work.

That’s the conclusion from behavioral scientists at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Daniel Chapman, Brian Lickel and Ezra Markowitz, who, in a recent paper published in Nature Climate Change, seek to bring the lessons of psychology to bear on communicating the importance climate change.

To attempt to either scare or inspire people “simultaneously oversimplifies the rich base of research on emotion while overcomplicating the very real communications challenge advocates face by demanding that each message have the right ‘emotional recipe’ to maximize effectiveness”, they write.

Climate experts, after all, are not experts on human behavior and the people who are say there are better ways to communicate the climate problem. Rather than treat emotions as levers to be pulled for a desired effect, they should be seen as part of a dynamic interplay among factors that shape our behavior, exquisitely specific to the human being inhabiting them.

What’s more, since the vast majority of us are not very good at getting people to feel the way we want them to based on the words coming out of our mouths alone, the best approach, it would seem, is one of humility – that is, to spend more time listening, and also, to know our own limits.

Practitioners in different fields have varying perspectives on the issue,” Chapman told me. “In general, I think we need researchers and practitioners attending in an honest way to what research does and does not tell us about how to engage the public with climate change.”

For those intent on communicating climate change in psychologically adept ways, there are some takeaways from the science.

For instance, though we’ve been conditioned to think of anger as an undesirable emotion, research has shown it to be an important emotion for motivating action in the face of social injustice. And the pairing of certain feelings, like fear and efficacy, can be helpful too.

Like a patient who’s given both a diagnosis and a course of treatment, people respond better to risks when given both a reason and a way to act. In this sense, it seems the hope and fear camps of the climate debate are each seeing only part of the puzzle.

But even in places where the science is relatively strong, researchers caution against simplistic applications. Rote formulas like “three parts hope to one part scary” won’t translate from one person to another. Indeed, to use such information responsibly requires, if not some level of sophistication, then at least considerable forethought, as well as a concerted, ongoing effort to meet people where they are.

That means, above all, knowing your audience and what’s relevant to them. Are they considering chopping down a nearby forest or putting their houses up on stilts? Do they need to rebuild or relocate? Parsing people’s needs and sensitivities is critical in any form of communication, but particularly when it comes to talking about climate science, with its great technical complexity, profound personal impact, and tremendous political polarization.

Above all, it means remembering that climate change is a very big story. It isn’t monolithic, and communication of it looks like many things – be it climate scientists talking to lay-people or Leonardo DiCaprio making a movie.

The overwhelming problem in climate communication, after all, isn’t how it’s talked about so much as whether it’s being talked about at all. A 2016 report from Yale’s programme on climate communication found one in four Americans say they “never” hear someone discussing it.

Looked at that way, David Wallace-Wells’ apocalyptic horror story cum viral sensation is the best thing that’s happened in climate communication some time.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, especially liked the quote 'people respond better to risks when given both a reason and a way to act'. Of the three 'F's, fight/flight/freeze, we need to get as much 'fight' as we can. 'Ways to act' are essential.