I just don’t get Climate Change Deniers

GW

There’s one thing that puzzles me about the whole climate change debate and the coupling to the action that is called for by most scientists around the world. And that is:

Who cares if climate change is real or not real, man made or simply natural variation. The action being taken is making the world a better place to live now, and for the generations to come. Who doesn’t want to live in a better world?

I think if this was the focal message of the whole climate change debate, then there wouldn’t be much to debate at all.

The significant part of the action that is bettering the world is of course decarbonising our energy usuage. And a large part of that is converting from coal fired power stations to renewable energy power stations. Here in Victoria, we have some of the world’s dirtiest power stations in the LaTrobe valley. Not only are huge amounts of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, but heavy metals, radioactive particles, dirt and dust just to name a few extra hazards. I can’t believe anyone would want to live anywhere near the LaTrobe valley with that pollution in the air. Lets make the LaTrobe Valley a better place to reside. Lets make Victoria a cleaner State to live in. Lets make Australia the healthiest place in the world.

 

I read a timely article in The Conversation yesterday titled: 12 ways to deal with a climate change denier – the BBQ guide

The full article can be found here: The Conversation TCCD Festive Guide

The end of the year is nigh and it’s a time for Christmas and New Year parties and gatherings. But for all of us, it probably means we’ll be subjected to at least one ranting, fact-free sermon by a Typical Climate Change Denier (TCCD). You know the drill. Make an offhand remark about unusual weather, and five seconds later someone’s mouthing off about how the internet says that climate change is a bunch of rubbish. So, when you’ve been cornered by your TCCD, what do you do? Instead of providing you with yet another series of climate facts and figures we’ve listed 12 tips, strategies and tactics for you to try out when you next feel inclined to engage a TCCD head on.

1. Pick your audience

Most TCCDs will not change their mind. It’s cheaper – intellectually and socially – for them to stand their ground than it is to change their views. Actually, your arguing may even reinforce their beliefs. But remember – you might convince their friends listening in.

2. Find some common ground

Just because your TCCD thinks they know better than pretty much all of science, doesn’t mean they’re a bad person. They value things and are probably well-intentioned at heart. So try finding out what they care about: democracy or economics, knitting or veggie gardening. You may even have some shared interests. You’ll never get them to change their values, but you might be able to talk about climate change in terms of things they care about.

3. Certainty isn’t the issue

Your TCCD may say we don’t understand the climate change with 100% certainty, so we shouldn’t do anything. They’re right about the first point, but utterly wrong about the second. Climate science isn’t 100% certain, but neither is medicine, the law, child-rearing or pretty much anything else. We make decisions without certainty every day.

4. Talk in terms of risk and inaction

Ask them this: “What’s worse, the majority of climate change scientists being wrong but we act anyway, or climate change deniers being wrong and we don’t?” Challenge them to be specific, to go beyond vague assertions of terribleness or repeating empty tabloid slogans.

5. Compare the risk to something more tangible

Do they trust doctors? Try saying: “So, have you ever taken a doctor’s advice, like if they recommended you lose some weight or get that weird growth biopsied?” Doctors rarely guarantee that bad things will happen if you ignore their advice, but it’s pretty damned risky to gamble that they won’t.

6. Speaking of doctors and second opinions

It’s not just one opinion here. Research says 97% of climate doctors believe the planet has a bad case of human-induced climate change, and the prognosis isn’t great. While there is likely to be some wiggle room in the exact percentage, it’s fair to say that consensus is very high.

7. The TCCD with an inkling of scientific knowledge

This trickster knows not all scientific discoveries were immediately accepted by mainstream science. Plate tectonics and the Earth orbiting the sun leap to mind. While scientific mavericks are few and far between, they do exist. But simply being a maverick doesn’t make anyone right. Most of the time it just makes them wrong.

8. Wait for them to say ‘It’s all a big conspiracy’

Sigh. There are those who claim climate change is the lab-coat version of the John F Kennedy assassination or the moon landing “hoax”. Really?

The idea of an international conspiracy across dozens of disciplines, hundreds of institutions and thousands of individuals is honestly laughable. If the world’s climate scientists were so good at conspiracy, they’d be better off using their astounding Machiavellian skills to rig an election or clean up on the stock market. Also, anyone who actually uncovered such a scam would win all of the Nobel prizes at once.

9. Climate scientists are in it for the money

Have you seen the pay scale of a typical research scientist in Australia? Tell the TCCD to go to any university car park and count the luxury vehicles parked near science buildings. They won’t even need all their fingers to keep track.

A related gem is the line that Al Gore and co. are doing this because they invested in renewable energy companies and want to make money. Okay, what makes more financial sense?

  1. create a bogus scare requiring a global conspiracy of academics and scientists and grand appeals for huge amounts of controversial and untested R&D in countries all over the world and then wait for that to gain traction in financial markets and eventually drag in wads of cash.
  2. invest money in existing, lucrative and proved enterprises today and cash in right now.

10. Why pick on climate science?

The odds are they will happily accept – even applaud – any science that isn’t climate change related. Ask them if they accept gravity, nutrition, internal combustion engines or maths? If they say “yes”, probe them on why climate science is different. If they say “no”, back away slowly. Interestingly, TCCDs often endorse mitigation options that support business-as-usual use of fossil fuels, even while asserting human-induced climate change isn’t happening. That’s a fun little “gotcha” if you’re in the mood.

11. Scientists don’t actually want it to be true

Challenge them to find a single, legitimate source that shows a bona fide climate change scientist who is happy about what they are finding and what their findings mean. We’ve been working around such folks for years and have not even heard of one. Seriously, not one.

12. CO2 isn’t a pollutant

This is another claim touted by TCCDs – that CO2 itself isn’t inherently poisonous. It’s important for plants so therefore it can’t be bad. Their underlying logic is that you can never have too much of a good thing – ask them if they realise that’s what they’re arguing, then give them your best scornful school teacher stare. Too much of anything can be dangerous, hence the phrase “too much”. You can even be killed by drinking too much water.

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Give us a spell, Mr Treasurer

Now which of these two photos would be described as a blight on the landscape?

BlayneyLoy Yang

Joe Hockey says a lot of things that makes you raise your eyebrows. However last weeks’ rant on commercial radio must take the cake for the most innane piece of self serving commentary yet. And the problem is, he doesn’t believe a word he is saying. Mr Hockey:

Can I be a little indulgent? I drive to Canberra to go to Parliament … and I must say I find those wind turbines around Lake George to be utterly offensive. I think they’re a blight on the landscape. We can’t knock those ones off because they’re into locked-in schemes and there is a certain contractual obligation I’m told associated with those things.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/joe-hockey-warns-clean-energy-and-utterly-offensive-windfarms-are-in-his-budget-crosshairs-20140502-37msv.html

A blight on the landscape??? You obviously haven’t driven through the LaTrobe Valley. Now THAT is a blight on the landscape. How about building the BIGGEST coal port on the Barrier Reef? NOW THAT WILL BE A blight on the landscape. What about clear felling old growth forests in Tasmania. THAT IS A BLIGHT ON THE LANDSCAPE. So don’t go pushing fossil fuel loving dressed up as caring for environmental aesthetics. Just say I hate renewable energy.

We have to remember, this is coming form the treasurer of the party that believes there is already too much protected area. In early March, Prime Minister Abbott made these comments at a timber industry dinner:

We have quite enough National Parks, we have quite enough locked up forests already. In fact, in an important respect, we have too much locked up forest.
When I look out tonight at an audience of people who work with timber, who work in forests, I don’t see people who are environmental bandits, I see people who are the ultimate conservationists.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/no-more-national-parks-as-tony-abbott-pledges-to-support-loggers-as-the-ultimate-conservationists-20140305-345zp.html

So Mr Treasurer, we are not going to lock up the glorious landscape in a designated park, and we wont use it for renewable energy, then what would you like to order? I suppose the answer is “I’ll have mine with a coal mine please”.

Just don’t ask the poor folk of the LaTrobe Valley how it feels to live near a coal power station and open cut mining. Only last Febuary mine fires in the LaTrobe Valley caused mass panic with authorities even considering evacuating 10,000 people  from Morwell as carbon monoxide reached dangerous levels. 25,000 face masks had to be distributed to filter out ash and smoke.

http://www.latrobevalleyexpress.com.au/story/2123575/time-to-relocate/
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/mine-fire-face-masks-for-residents-and-police-evacuation-plan-revealed-20140224-33cvi.html

Children were not allowed to play outside. Schools were cancelled. Many people now face the prospect of bills of thousands of dollars to clean up their houses and properties that are inundated with coal ash.

Mr Treasurer, I’m sure they would gladly relocate to live near a wind farm.

Interview with Tony Cocker, CEO of E.On (UK)

gas

I was listening to the BBC world service last night, and a very interesting interview was conducted with Tony Cocker, CEO of E.On – one of the Big Six (The Big Six Energy Suppliers are Britain’s largest energy companies, supplying gas and electricity in the UK, with over 90% share of domestic customers).

It seems that the UK is not too dissimular to Australia with large energy increases being hotly debated through Governent and Community. The level of mistrust of energy companies in the UK seems to be at a much higher level than here in Australia, with Parliamentary enquirires and the Labour party even going so far as to impose a price freeze for 20 months from 2015 (if elected). It will be very interesting indeed to follow the UK progress thru their energy pricing crisis and see if we can learn some lessons along the way.

Mr Cocker said: “Social costs, environmental obligations, upgrading our network – all of these things are adding to energy costs.

Sound familiar? The interview lasted around half an hour, unfortunately I could only find a nine minute grab:

Tony Cocker: Public mistrust of the energy industry

What I found most interesting (more than the actual questions and answers) was the level of vitriol in the commentators questioning and examination of Mr Cocker and E.On. It is something rarely heard in Australian broadcasting where CEOs are held in greater esteem. I’m not sure if this is good or bad, but most of the time we can’t even get our CEOs to face up to public scrutiny, so at least in the UK they are being asked the hard questions. I suppose thats what the get paid the big bucks for!