Climate Denial, Why?
May 6, 2018
Why, when the evidence is so strong, and so many agree that this is our greatest problem, are we doing so little about climate change?
The Earth’s climate has changed throughout history. The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity.
Climate denials are around us. Just list a few here:
- Claim: Climate’s changed before
- Truth: Climate reacts to whatever forces it to change at the time; humans are now the dominant forcing
- Claim: It’s the sun
- Truth: In the last 35 years of global warming, sun and climate have been going in opposite directions
- Claim: it’s not bad
- Truth: Negative impacts of global warming on agriculture, health & environment
- Claim: It’s cooling
- Truth: Last decade was the hottest on record
- Claim: Models are unreliable
- Truth: Models successfully reproduce temperatures since 1900 globally, by land, in the air and the ocean
- Claim: Temp record is unreliable
- Truth: The warming trend is the same in rural and urban areas
- Claim: Animals and plants can adapt
- Truth: Global warming will cause mass extinctions of species that cannot adapt on short time scales
- Claim: Hasn’t warmed since 1998
- Truth: 2016 (2017) the hottest year, 2015 second, 2014 the third
- Claim: Antarctica is gaining ice
- Truth: Antarctica losing land ice at an accelerating rate
"Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal."
——Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Scientists have strong evidence of our raising CO2 level and global temperature.
Millions of dollars have been pumped into organizations that peddle scientific doubt to create an impression that scientists are divided about the cause of climate change. Lobbyists are paid to talk to congress influence policies.
The media created a false balance of climate consensus. From a report by IPCC, fox news: 69% of climate news is denial, and only 31% of them accept the climate change. The true climate consensus rate of climate papers is 99%. Public’s perception of climate change consensus is much lower than it actually is. Perception effects acceptance and support for policies.
One major reason for people having a hard time believing climate change is the Sensory adaptation. Human has problems sensing small changes. It is the same when a tobacco smoker stops noticing the smell on their clothes and hair, or when a hot bath feels cool after being in the water for several minutes.
We need to people changing the way news and media present climate issues. We also need people changing their companies, changing their business models, changing the products and services they provide.
Global warming is by far the biggest issue of our time. We need to talk about our wins in order to really move us from a state of apathy to action.
References on the video
Why humans are so bad at thinking about climate change – Vox
What people get wrong about climate change – Vox
How a warmer Arctic could intensify extreme weather – Vox
Scientists really aren’t the best champions of climate science – Vox
Science in America – Neil deGrasse Tyson