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stopglobalwarming-newstrategies.net

An Independent, Global and Flexible Approach: This site has no national, political or scientific sub-theory bias. It is regularly Updated and Improved.

 

It’s the Lifestyle, Not the Science  

 

Updated: 2 October 2010 

 

Dr. Michael Tuckson

www.stopglobalwarming-newstrategies.net

 

In view of the alarming growth of climate denial over the last year, reflected in climate change polls and political relapses, climate theory supporters must reconsider their social analysis and strategies.

 

We must proclaim firmly that deniers, not including scientists involved in genuine debate, only pretend to be interested in the science. In reality they are concerned for their own income, wealth, status and lifestyle in the short-term, apparently with little concern for their own descendents, community and nation, let alone humanity. Some may be suffering from an inappropriate education, weak on integrated learning, and just a few are inveterate sceptics, unable to shed early convictions. This condition, occasionally poorly described as ‘politics’, stems from a synergy of relative selfishness and ignorance.

 

Seven Types of Evidence

 

Seven types of evidence assembled here make a convincing case that the quality of the science is irrelevant to denial. Early evidence comes from the ideological origins of the movement, the selective nature of the attacks, and the institutional origin of most of their writing. More recently, we have seen their rejection of dialogue about the science, the usual poor quality of their contributions, the internal contradictions in their ideas, and the avoidance of the worst possible case.  

 

Resisters

 

Behind the deniers, lie the quieter but more powerful resisters, their financiers from the fossil fuel and related industries, and the mass media. While denial is funded by resistance, resistance draws short-term mental and material sustenance from denial. They are part of the same team.

 

Early Denial

 

Science historian, Naomi Oreskes (lecture available on You Tube) and James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore in Climate Cover Up have shown that early denial and resistance had two sources, the tobacco industry and Reagan’s anti-Soviet crusaders. The deniers launched repeated attacks on health science over tobacco, and the theories on acid rain and the ozone hole. They took on climate science in the early 1990s, only when they realized it had achieved momentum.

 

Resisters and Deniers

 

In each case they were shown to be wrong, and yet they continued telling lies on successive topics. The quality of the particular science under attack was, and still is, irrelevant. Resisters are opposed to government regulation that may lower profits, and senior deniers are doing their bidding, usually for money, through think tanks or the mass media, and because they are ideologically driven, are sceptics who have become addicted, or some combination. They push uncertainty, because the poorly educated public doesn’t realize uncertainty is normal in natural science. Guidance by government, in the short-term at least, appears to them as worse than the vicious global reaction of nature that they may or may not understand.

 

Institutional Origin

 

In a recent AAAS symposium, recorded by the ABC’s Science Show, Riley Dunlap noted that 78 percent of books espousing climate change denial come from 'conservative' think tanks, providing further evidence that the quality of science is not the issue. 

 

Why Climate Science Now

 

Have deniers given any valid reason why the sciences relevant to acid rain, the ozone hole, and now climate science, are supposed to be so much worse than other sciences? Simply, they claim they are defective, as they seemed to result in a major threat to their own and supporters’ wealth, income, status and lifestyle.  Deniers sometimes couch their case in technical language, with increasingly subtle diversions, but never explain why, for nearly 20 years now, they have singled out climate science. They dropped their cases against the acid rain and ozone hole theories when the public had given overwhelming support and they realized that the government regulation involved was minor. But climate change was another matter.

 

Did you ever read a comparison of climate science with say electronics, genetics, hydrology or volcanology that explains why climate science in the writer’s eyes is the only defective one at the moment? Of course not. It merely has the misfortune to imply that we must radically change our polluting ways.

 

The denier generals know that the frenzy at all levels has nothing to do with the quality of the science, whether the denier foot troops realize it or not.

 

For too long we have jousted with the deniers who have cunningly and foolishly mislead us into thinking that we must defend the science. 

 

New Strategies

 

Instead we need to put more effort into denying that the quality of the science is relevant, and starkly comparing the possible horrendous consequences of inaction with a feasible smooth transition to a zero-carbon society.

 

Refusal to Talk

 

When economist, Jeffrey Sachs, as reported by him in Scientific American, attempted to bring the editors of a Murdoch paper, the Wall Street Journal, together with senior climate scientists, the editors declined, providing additional evidence that denial is unrelated to the quality of the science. The WSJ is responding to resistance in the finance sector. Clive Hamilton, in the ABC’s Unleashed, has referred to Australian cases in which senior deniers and resisters have declined to meet with scientists. 

 

Poor Quality

 

Denier writing ranges from the complex papers of Willie Soon, to the disgusting abuse found in many emails, as described by Douglas Fischer in the Daily Climate. If deniers were genuinely interested in the science, we might expect a greater effort to get abreast of the main concepts.

 

Inconsistency

 

The internal contradictions in their ideas provide further evidence for their duplicity. Denial has not presented an internally consistent alternative theory, but a never ending list of speculations and complaints. While some deny warming or predict imminent cooling, others deny human responsibility, and yet others criticize strategies to stop warming. Extremists claim fraud and conspiracy. This is five theories at least, certainly providing us with a choice, but hardly recognizable as a Kuhnian scientific revolution.

 

Worst Case

 

Resisters show their insincerity by avoiding consideration of the worst case scenarios, just as BP did for oil leaks in deep off shore drilling, as has been  discussed by John McQuaid in Yale Environment 360. The responsibility is widespread in the case of global warming, but nevertheless the fossil fuel industry is refusing to acknowledge the worst cases that, for example, James Hansen’s NASA teams fear. 

 

Specialists

 

The senior deniers have cleverly pulled the wool over our specialist eyes. Studying only one science, leaves us open to manipulation by those who in some ways are more worldly wise, but in other respects are selfish or ignorant people, living in the short-term. 

 

Senior Defense

 

Of course, a few of the leaders in this struggle, must offer general defenses of climate science, as Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, does, but it is ill-advised for all supporters to respond to every absurd attack. Notoriety is what many appear to thrive on.

 

International

 

Because deniers tend to point the finger, usually in contradiction, at certain developing nations, we need to give hope that, as well as developed ones, they wish to move ahead. For example, according to Pew Charitable Trusts, China is now the world’s largest investor in renewable energy, having almost double the annual investment of the USA. China Daily noted that Chinese citizens planted 2.5 billion trees in 2009, while in the USA 1.5 billion were planted. According to Isabel Hilton in Yale Environment 360, India is now taking a generous global approach, agreeing that while it has not contributed much to the cause, it must be part of the solution.   

 

Selfish or Ignorant

 

Although we rail against denier selfishness and ignorance we hardly know to what extent they are selfish, and to what extent they are ignorant. In Storms of my Grandchildren, James Hansen plumps for the former for resisters, but a more flexible interpretation might be useful. They may have heard the evidence, but how deeply did they understand? Climate science is difficult for other scientists, let alone those trained in finance, management, journalism or the arts.  

 

Many deniers and resisters may not understand the implications of carbon dioxide equivalent, surface Earth system inertia, feedbacks, tipping points and irreversibility for the lives of their descendents. Based on the very low media coverage of these concepts, few among the general public are likely to understand.

 

Many have probably blocked out opportunities to learn, and now they are in contradictory double denial, denial of the science, and denial that it is useful to learn the science, or at least to learn more.

 

Specialist Ignorance

 

Our societies focus on short-term material satisfaction, and our schooling systems emphasize specialist skills, creating a poor capacity for long-term integrated analysis and understanding, whether culturally or materially oriented. Our populations are thus severely challenged when faced with global warming analysis and mitigation strategies.

 

Avoidance

 

Many people may not deny the theory, but, feeling guilty, avoid it, not as individuals, but collectively, claiming to follow cultural norms, as sociologist, Kari Norgaard, (AllAcademic Research) has found. Although they may feel they are moral people, they have become enamored of high material culture, perhaps see short-term benefits in warming, and cannot see an alternative pathway. Actually, there is little in Norgaard’s paper that shows that avoidance is not either a case of selfishness or inadequate understanding, especially of the mitigation strategies, even if the level of generosity and understanding required is far greater than most people have ever been expected to show before.

 

Attitude Change

 

If people understood up-to-date climate science and strategies sufficiently, and have some care for future generations, many would surely come around. People don’t change their selfish or generous personalities overnight, but previous positive swings in the polls show that accurate information and ideas can change people’s attitudes. Conditions such as newly discovered fossil fuel resources, unemployment and the weather can, of course, influence attitudes.

 

The question is whether the seniors are amenable to deep learning.

 

If the industry and finance managers and owners fully understand the climate future, but remain intransigent, we must try to educate the mass, especially the young, with a view to strengthening the political movement, but such a clear difference between the top and bottom seems unlikely. 

 

Better Films

 

At the same AAAS symposium, Naomi Oreskes pointed out how dull and ineffective scientific websites are, compared to the propaganda programs of the resisters and deniers. We have to do radically better, by for example, starkly comparing on film the wrath of nature with the steps to a feasible zero-carbon future, focusing on green jobs. Too often we see videos that cover one or the other, but not both. When shown the likely fate of nature and innocent humanity, we must also be shown a clear solution.

 

And we need to get the science up-to-date, focus on the critical points, and compare at least two scientific views. Although a rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels will kill millions of people, some scientists believe a rise of 2 degrees could result in natural feedback processes taking us eventually to a human and biological wipeout. We need to better link the easily conceived present with the perplexing future, and any uncertainty in the science should be compared with the danger of disaster. Moreover, we should not forget the risk of peak oil prices and import uncertainty, not to mention devastating oil leaks.

 

Assumptions and Dialogue

 

The rancorous public quarrel is hardly productive for the progressives, as the two sides make different assumptions. While the scientists assume the value of evidence and life into the future, the deniers seem to assume the value of individual lifestyle in the short-term. Apart from sponsoring top quality documentaries, scientists could well put more effort into dialogue. In careful private dialogue with senior deniers and resisters, with some clear graphics on the side, it may be possible to get beyond the debilitating differences. Although failures have been noted, we must try again. For this, we could benefit from concerned seniors to volunteer as go-betweens. Climate scientists should meet deniers and resisters together with social scientists. And this might have to happen on some scale, with backing from academic and other research organizations, to create a peer effect.

 

I believe widespread private dialogue under institutional guidance could be our best hope. Climate change denial is different from other social disputes, such as those over taxes and health services, as it is certain that all classes in all nations will eventually suffer badly if nothing is done. We must make the CEOs realize this. 

 

Copyright  © 2010 Michael Tuckson. All Rights Reserved 

 

 

Language Links Above

减缓气候变化的新对策  

NUEVAS ESTRATEGIAS PARA MITIGAR CAMBIO CLIMATICO

วิธีหยุดโลกร้อน 

Các chiến lược mới để làm giảm nhẹ sự thay đổi khí hậu      

Semi-Random Slogans

Invite a denier to lunch

Eat less meat every day

Form a small climate group

Inertia will kill us, twice

Holiday on bicycles

Learn how to plant and nurture trees

Drain your rice fields sometimes 

Auction caps 

Grow and store carbon 

Write to a newspaper in a denier region 

Help the employees, not the fossil fuel owners

Read a book, not a newspaper, on the bus

350 not 450

Study tropical forest protection

Why are most deniers men?

Carbon tax before cap and trade

Look for a home closer to work

Write a new page for this website

Oppose lobbying

Put a new slogan on your bicycle or bag every day 

Study the latest climate science first

No air-conditioning before lunchtime

Drink just a little cow milk

Study Earth's thermal inertia

Learn how to teach

Send parts of this website to a politician

Grow and store carbon in houses 

Organize exchanges with Asian universities 

Grow crops not livestock

Rationing is equitable

Study thermal inertia in buildings

Practice dialogue, not argument

Behaviour before technology

Make a bicycle path plan

Don't use concrete

Drive a much smaller car

Study the denier claims

1.5 not 2.0

Don't use trees for offsets

Work with a bilingual person 

Eat even less meat every day

Support better democracy

Do deniers care for their grandchildren? 

Paint your roof white

Oppose advertising by polluting companies

Consume less, save money

Form an international group 

Help a politician to learn

Making cement emits CO2.

Education must be global 

Grow and store carbon in the soil

Fans, not air-conditioning

Lobbying is bribery

Study growing algae

Improve the school curricula

You can't read driving a car

Find dated photos of glaciers

Study which companies bribe political parties 

How do you entice a denier to want to learn?

Share your job with an oil driller

Plant trees to absorb carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere

Have you tried Tahini dip?

What do deniers understand?

Dress less formally in the heat

Design a more tempting commuter bus

Get to know a denier's children

Pay tax to fund retraining

Less clothing, not fans

Eat kangaroo meat 

E-commute

Improve the university curricula

One is enough

Interview a climate scientist on video

Insulate your home

Open a wind turbine factory in a coal town

Study Earth feedback processes

300 not 350

Wheat is safer than rice

Take men's fashions up, and women's down

Use a condom in emergencies

Share some job-time

Protest forest destruction

Wear a cotton coat

Study tree plantations

Eat just a little cheese

Get to know a denier's grandchildren

Why do the rich want to grow?

Put on an extra jumper when its cold outside

Offer a new job to a coal miner

Adopt two

Join an NGO today

Political bribes, not donations

None is enough

Holiday close to home

Invest in a diverse plantation

Wear less in the heat

Talk to migrants about emailing home

Make compost

Promote eco-tourism for locals

Read more of this website

Ask a politician have they read James Hansen

Eat less cream

Jumpers are cheaper than gas

Arrange a climate debate

Build a thick-walled house

Study how to turn moderate deniers

Study fast growing trees

Hand out appropriate leaflets at railway stations

Study your local energy organization

Learn about the delights of veganism

Study Chinese

Practice walking

Shirts are enough in hot weather

Support rapid research on how to turn deniers

Try an IUD

Asians make blankets from cotton and kapok

Get to know your neighbours

Recycle jumpers and coats

Holiday by mass land transport

Drink red wine, not milk

Support rapid research on capturing CO2 from the air.

Hand out leaflets at bus stops

Men's legs are beautiful too

Talk to local government about recycling biological waste

Keep a stock of morning after pills

 

Adopt another one

When will the USA go metric?

Write and publish leaflets

Holiday on a sailing ship

Start a course on climate change and solutions

Exercise periodically when its cold

Farmers now support the Green party

Give a talk at the local school

Chocolate's great with soya cream

Climate crisis not climate change

Share a car with your neighbours

Study tipping points and irreversibility

Email government ministers

Form a climate group with your neighbours or friends

Read Climate Cover-Up

Study palaeo-climatology

Soon meat becomes less tempting

Improve your foreign language skills

Adopt a baby girl 

Write an article for your local newspaper

Read Storms of My Grandchildren (after reading some climate science such as on this website)

Take plastic packaging off at the shop

Climate emergency not climate crisis

Ask you government to make a good video on the climate emergency

Move your company to where your workers live

Invite your favourite denier to a vegan lunch

Ask the supermarket to turn off half the lights

Study carbon taxes in more than one nation

Join yours with other climate groups

Shop at dimly lit shops

Email people you know abroad

Ask a climatologist to explain the various! meanings of CO2e

Plant and nurture trees in your garden till its full

Learn about biochar

Study the bus routes in your town or city

Support James Hansen for the Nobel Prize for physics, peace or whatever.

Protest new oil exploration

Install a solar thermal hot water heater

Shop for food where the fridges have lids or doors

Plant 10 trees a month in neighbours' gardens and in parks

Ask your adult children what they think

Write a better letter to the newspapers

Organize a demonstration outside coal company offices.

Where are the Nobel prizes for Earth and social sciences?

Form a climate group at work

Give a talk at a school in a coal town

No children is best

Buy a glass of wine for a denier

Start an NGO

Support honest and intelligent politicians

Study short-term GHGs

Join a good political party

Give a talk at a school at an oil town

Study hire-purchase for solar panels

Stake out a coal energy factory

Don't export coal or oil

Work in a vulnerable area

Invest in geothermal

Live with a farmer family in the holidays and help them plant trees

Build a sailing ship

Give talks at the local town.

Hand out leaflets at another station

Video a debate

Move to a swinging seat in time for close elections

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
 
 

 Michael Tuckson

The website author and publisher, December 2009.

 

Easy Summary

 

We must try to understand up-to-date climate science coming out over the last few years that warns of possible disaster. Ice shelves and sheets are melting much faster than before. Global temperatures are rising, with oscillations due to ocean oscillations. Natural causes are minor compared with pollution. This understanding must be spread by advanced adult education, especially among the powerful. As many readers as possible must spread understanding.

 

Denier leaders are funded by the fossil fuel, tobacco and similar corporations and/or are ideologues. Their arguments are always against, not considering pro and con, as with real science. They rarely call for better understanding, just attempt to confuse. None are climate scientists. Their motivation is salary and weak government, not salary and discovery. Either they do not care about their descendants or they do not understand the probable future.

 

We must put more emphasis on the short-term greenhouse influences such as methane. Carbon dixide must be captured from the atmosphere. Also we must lead with behaviour change before appropriate technology spreads. Birth control is important in some regions. Job-time sharing and retraining can reduce any unemployment resulting from mitigation measures. Mitigation must be coordinated globally by government and citizens in modern sectors. City pairing could be useful.