Why is there such passionate debate over climate change? It’s not like many global problems tend to inflame heated debate all too often at a local level, but climate change is different because it’s such an old and unresolved serious problem. When acid rain was destroying forests, swifter action was taken to reduce the damage. Climate change, caused by global warming greenhouse gases from burned hydrocarbons, is not as small a problem as the still massively destructive acid rain. Perhaps the industries affected by acid rain legislation learned in the interim how to resist the changes that made them pay more to pollute.

Climate change is a well supported scientific fact, yet there are many people who remain skeptical to an unreasonable extent. It’s healthy to be skeptical of all facts, to a point, as curiosity leads to further discovery. It’s unhelpful to be perpetually skeptical after reasonable efforts to test alternate theories have been exhausted, or if the test poses too dire a risk. Imagine if you were skeptical of the scientific understanding of gravity. You theorize that on Tuesdays after a full Moon, you have a chance of surviving a fall from a 15 story building. That’s an unreasonably dangerous (and foolish) risk if you test that theory.

Why are people passionate over their unfounded and risky theory that climate change is not a threat to civilization or themselves? There are many reasons, but to list a few:

  • Job depends on fossil fuel industry, and they see a threat to their income if the required economic and lifestyle changes to reduce pollution are adopted by the masses.
  • Religious belief depends on undermining scientific understanding of the world.
  • People or media they respect experience one of the two pressures mentioned above, or another misleading influence.
  • Some people on the Internet, known as trolls, will take ridiculous positions simply to irritate and provoke other people to respond to them.
  • Feeling can supersede thought, so once someone feels a certain way about a subject, it is very difficult for rational discussion to change a mind which would otherwise respond to new data.

You have to wonder why people would oppose the understanding of a theory that predicts catastrophe if we continue on the Industrial Revolution’s course, unchanged. Isn’t humankind’s strength its ability to adapt to changing situations and new information? Isn’t it better to use advance information, rather than wait for disaster to befall some of our peers (or ourselves) before learning to take another route? The answer must lie in psychology and sociology.

It’s become fashionable for people to oppose (or present) climate change information in a passionate, emotionally charged manner, because the debate is not winnable through the presentation of facts alone. Too many people have a poor understanding of climate change, and are proud of the position they’ve taken. To step back and examine the facts would mean emotional discomfort which people tend to avoid if a situation does not appear to require immediate action to resolve it. Since climate change is a multi-decade building crisis, ‘immediate action’ rarely describes how people respond to the problem either individually, or as a nation (or globe).

What can be done to change the negative reaction skeptics and climate change deniers have toward this problem? I’m not sure scientists can out-reason the passionately misinformed, or environmentalists can outspend the misinformation machine that is well funded by the richest corporations and CEOs in the world. It’s a battle to win hearts and minds, and hearts need to be won quickly before mislead minds can start joining those working for solutions to our pollution problems.

How do we win hearts though, and convince people theirs won’t break by setting our society on a search for an economic system that can give them comfortable lives that don’t rely quite so much on hydrocarbon energy? Building systems that people can buy into, and pollute much less with, is one obvious approach. Do we have enough time? I don’t care, I’m still going to try.


25 responses to “Passion

    • And yet there are professional political organizers who readily admit that campaigns are not won on issues. Sad. We don’t have a massive political system that can deal with long-term threats to civilization, and so our species will probably perish from the Earth due to that failure.

  1. Why is there such passionate debate over climate change? Perhaps it’s because the issue has devolved from science to morality. A morality of inconsistancy.

    I note that ‘acid rain’ which was blown beyond proportion quickly died a silent death as soon as the Montreal protocol came into effect. Poof! No more acid rain. However, the coal plants that produced it are still going up weekly in China and India. So much so that SO2, the precurser for said acid rain is actually causing global cooling (neccissary to tweak the climate models to match observations) due to sulfate aerosols! Thats right! Sulfates cause cooling now, not acid rain!!! Funny that isn’t it?

    Climate change is indeed a well supported scientific fact. We deniers like to remind everyone about those ice age thingys. The Younger Dryas, the Little Ice Age, the Medeivel warming period. The Roman climate optimum. The Minoan warm period. It’s amazing how much change we deniers are aware of. In fact we regularly say climate always has and always will change. For this we are deniers.

    Want to win “hearts and minds”? The ‘denier’ tag doesn’t help! I’m OK with it myself. It allows me to correct the ‘change’ misconception (above) as an introduction!!

    As for “efforts to test alternate theories have been exhausted”, that statement simply admits the arrogance of the authors ‘supreme’ knowledge. The prophet says ‘there’s no more to know’.

    “Imagine if you were skeptical of the scientific understanding of gravity” and you were a lil’ Bertie Einstein. You come up with an idea to explain the anomalous rate of precession of the perihelion of Mercury’s orbit. You come up with general relativity. Now if you’re a liberal arts scientist, you wouldn’t know about Galileo and his Pisa experiment and would pancake into the ground! The rest of us learn it in high school. (hint hint! It overturned Aristotle vs Gravity)

    • Part2

      I do have to ask. Which is it? 1-“theory that climate change is not a threat” or 2-“theory that predicts catastrophe”. They can’t both be theories. That’s the sort of thing a questioning mind notices.

      Back to the morality issue. The rejection of classical religion in the 20th century has left a massive void in the lives of many people. Left wing thinkers more than most. Many globull warming supporters have simply lapsed into a more primitive belief system. Gaia is now a living entity. See Tim Flannery Australia. Lovelock. A return to pagan animism? Doesn’t matter, it’s just another form of spiritual belief. In this religious fog are the belief system’s demons… big oil and big coal. Neferious entities who seek to undermine humanity, nameless, faceless. Darkly at work. In subterfuge. More paranoid conspiracy. What the hell tho’, if the bogey man scares the kids.

      I’ll be honest with you. I’m not an expert on world religions, but, I’ve never heard of a single one that has as a tenet a “Religious belief depend(ent) on undermining scientific understanding”. In fact many great scientists were very religious men. Da Vinci, Newton, Darwin, Copernicus to name but a few. Then again, monotheism is no animism is it!

      Here’s a hint to the answer to your question “Why is there such passionate debate over climate change?”… “Some people on the Internet, known as trolls, will take ridiculous positions”. It doesn’t take a genius to realize a view like the latter kinda’ leads to the former doncha’ think? And we’re back to morality!

      It should be noted that rational discussion, especially with regard to deniers, was never on the globull warming radar until the merde hit the fan and the eco-ponzi scheme started to fall apart. Be it peer review journals, committees, debates, data release, you name it, the globull warming industry is a private club. Ask the BBC, they’ve made it official policy. How’s that for “or media”?

      • Perhaps your “answer must lie in psychology and sociology.”, mine doesn’t. Mine lies with fact and numbers. But to each their own

        As for our emotionally charged denier manner, I’d like to ask:
        -where are the tropospheric hot spots as shown as required by models?
        -where are the 50 million climate refugees?
        -why, if the Maldives is sinking are they building 7 new airports?
        -why does NOAA use temperature measurements taken as much as 1200km away, to fill in voids where no measurements are possible.
        -why do these void ‘estimates’ show the greatest increases in arctic temperature.
        -my fave!! why refer to hydrogen ion content as percentage when talking about ‘ocean acidity’. Why not, it worked for ‘acidity’ rain right??!!??

        Oh and one more thing. In honour of the ‘unprecedented’ Sandy Frankenfart… I give you NASA 1951-60 hurricane landfalls. Play close attention to the years 1954 and 1955… here they are… CAROL, EDNA, HAZEL, CONNIE,DIANE and IONE.

        In view of what has just been hyped by alarmists and media about Sandy, what would they be saying about THAT spree. More importantly, how equally wrong would their future predictions have turned out?

        Yah, thought so.

      • No more two part posts from you. I don’t read them because they are utter rubbish, and I only leave them up because they provide some amusement for my other readers.

      • Typical nonsense.
        A list of minor, incorrect quibbles followed by vague allusions of conspiracy.
        Typical nonsense.
        The reality is that 97% of scientists who actually study climatology back the results of the IPCC and that the few who don’t are either morons or morons on the pay of Exxon and their ilk, worried about the price of running their SUV and not noticing the increase in the price of food due to crop failure.

      • Gotta laugh G. It takes a special level of stupidity to complain, in one breath, of “vague allusions of conspiracy” while claiming in the next of people “on the pay of Exxon”.

        Google the concept of ‘projection’.

        You are aware that the 97% Goreism is actually 75 of 77 hand picked climate scientists who responded to an internet survey don’t you?

        Lastly, don’t you think that the increased price of food might have something to do with the diversion of 25% of the US (and others) corn crop to produce ethanol for automobiles? Record harvests of staple foods were, once again, recorded last year throughout the world. Your claim of “crop failure” causation is a complete fabrication.

        PS. I’ve never heard of “The Younger Dryas, the Little Ice Age, the Medeivel warming period. The Roman climate optimum. The Minoan warm period.” etc… refered to as “minor, incorrect quibbles”.

      • Conspiracy? Hardly, just go to the wiki page on climate change denial and check the Exxon bits.

        You are also confusing studies of scientists, there were three polls which came out with the 97% support of IPCC work, one with about 500, and another with 1300 or so scientists and a more recent one with 500. 97% is a valid number. Again, try wiki.

        And as for crop failure, perhaps you should use the ‘google’ a bit yourself there. Its easy to find.

        So are you scientifically illiterate or on the pay of Exxon or their ilk?
        Because I’ve found that one of the two is true of all deniers.

      • G, do you even read your references??!!?!!!??!?

        Again with the conspiracy projection G. Tobacco, Republicans and Exxon. The troika of dark villains… darkly plotting… wake up and give your head a shake. Your OWN reference cites (2.9+1.6) $4.5million. Seriously?????? $4.5million can completely derail the HUNDREDS of BILLIONS spent on globull warming alarmism???? Seriously????

        You guys must be the most incompetent lobby group on the planet.

        Secondly, Exxon gave $100million to Stanford for renewable energy research… the other side of the coin. Now if (har har) $4.5million is ‘conspiracy’ money is the $100million… ummmmm…? And how many billios do governments spend? Greenpeace? WWF? Sierra Club (including $26million in Chesapeake Energy funding)?

        Again to quote your “consensus” reference(from above):
        -10,257 polled (by the surveyors request)
        -received replies from 3,146 (Yah, the other 7,111 couldn’t be bothered)
        -Results were analyzed globally and by specialization 79 climatologists were identified
        -Seventy-five of 77 believed that human activity is a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures.

        There you have it 75 of 10,257. Or as we like to call it a liberal arts 97% of all (truncated to) scientists Believe!

        As for crop failures, rather than rely on a July news story about the US, perhaps you would like to ‘upgrade’ your knowledge with a more, hmmmm how should we say it, worldly, and season ending report? You realy should get in touch with USDA and WASDE to let them in on your ‘scoop’.


        Har har, just wanted to see if the boogyman would scare ya!!!!

      • I just stopped reading after the first sentence and couldn’t stop laughing enough to get any further, redintheface.
        Hundreds of billions?

        Now that is just so patently ridiculous as to make everything else you say blatantly unbelievable. Because if you can try to pass off a lie like that, how can anything else you say be even close to true?

        So until you show documentation of ‘hundreds of billions’, I think we can rest at ease that you are full of shite.

        I await documentation from the Carl Sagan of denialists.

      • Normally I wouldn’t do this, as you are on;y trying to wiggle out of your 75/10257=97%, conspiracy (read Exxon) and ‘crop failure’ deceitfulness.

        No offence, but you’re just plain sad. Even your put downs are pathetic. I mean-> “I just stopped reading after the first sentence” then you quote my 7th sentence!!! Seriously, how much do you really lie in life?

        So simply because you’ve tossed me ANOTHER underhand pitch to crack over the home run wall< I'll bite!

        Here is a breakdown of $70billion spent by the US alone Add to this $5billion for McGuinty Solar, the BC and Australian carbon taxes, South Americal ethanol and that trainwreck of a fiscal basketcase that's known as the European Union, and you can see my point.

        I feel sad for you, it's my generation that spent it, it and the rest of the debt, but it's your generation that will have to pay. Sorry!

      • Forgery.
        That’s the official word, but go ahead and refer to that document if you like, its to be expected that someone like you would used fake documents to lie.
        And even as a fake its lame.
        Confusing funds earmarked for mitigation with research is pathetic. There are estimates that crop failure itself may cost the government and the people $70 billion, and you’d probably have the gall to try to call that funding for climate change, wouldn’t you?
        That’s what use of that report does.
        On the one hand it admits that the costs we are already paying NOW are incredible then goes on to deny that there are any effects of climate change.

        That is what you are trying to say here.

        What is very clear is that there are not tens of billions going into climate change research.
        You lied.

      • Actually G, it’s not. It was entered into Senate evidence. NOTE the designation. No amount of denial will change that. A cost analysis of globull warming expenses should include all expenses, not just the 75/10,257=97% expenses of choice. Sorry, economics doesn’t work that way (remember your lesson on recession?).

        As for crop damage, you are aware it has been around as long as there has been crops! Are you seriously attributing regular, natural crop damage to globull warming?

        You are right in one respect tho’, “there are not tens of billions going into climate change”, there are hundreds.

      • You still can’t tell the difference between costs spent mitigating climate change and research on the science, either in this report or in reality.

        Did you even read the report?

        80% of that funding is going to the DOE in the US, towards mitigation tech like carbon capture technology (which is money to Exxon and their ilk, isn’t it?).

        That has nothing to do with the IPCC or the science of climate change, and to call that climate change funding, when it is in fact going to the fossil fuel industries is a baldfaced lie.

        The IPCC didn’t call for that funding, they call for a lowering of CO2 but not by any specific means, its the fossil fuel industries trying to grab an extra $60 billion in funding for tech that won’t work or solve any real problems. That money is Exxon money, not the IPCC.

      • Solyndra is a failure as well as 36 more eco-busts

        Buddy that dumped 120 tons of iron ore and sulfate for $2.5million in native monies (native band with 70% unemployment incidently) off the Queen Charlotte’s… failure.

        Then again, I assume THOSE costs don’t count. Do they.

        As for, once again, projection of conspiracy of Exxon… no amount of bloviating will add validity to your words.

        All I can say is you alarmists must be the most incompetent lobby group on the planet.

      • Redjefff, Gzap is remarkably more credible than you are, which isn’t saying much in his favour unfortunately because you have no credibility. He tosses billions at you, and you fight back with millions? Loser. Liar.

      • Sask, of course you would say “Redjefff, Gzap is remarkably more credible than you are” because, as you also say, “No more two part posts from you (Redjefff). I don’t read them because they are utter rubbish.”

        You don’t know any better as you only listen to what you want to hear. Science doesn’t work that way. Theology does.*

        Small correction… you say “He tosses billions at you, and you fight back with millions?” is actualy reversed. G gave me a reference that showed $4.5million in Exxon conspiracy monies. (I know of $25million Exxon spent myself). I responded with not billions but HUNDREDS of billions via reference. It should be noted.

        Oh, and if you can point out any corrections I should make regarding my referenced numbers, please don’t hesitate to point them out. Liar is such a general term and I would like something jus’ a bit more specific. Thanks!

        If you want to win “hearts and minds” I highly recommend that you respond to the ‘science’ we deniers raise.
        -why no tropospheric hot spots?
        -why does ERBE show reverse energy output trends as compared to ALL of the models?
        -why does NASA GISS allow 1200km temperature ‘smoothing’
        -why are temperature record adjustments done the way they are? What is the criteria for the change?

        As long as you alarmists continue to create your own strawmen reasons for ‘denialism’ which are religion, Republicans, tobacco, Exxon conspiracy, Big Oil-Coal and the such… you will never, never, never, win “hearts and minds” by avoiding the scientific shortfalls of the globull warming theory or the lack of confirming data.

        Even Muller sez the temperature hasn’t risen in 16 years. This, coincidently. is the same length of time that the temperatures, globally, rose! Wow…. interesting.

        *not to worry, G sez the same thing “I just stopped reading after the first sentence”

    • The point has been made, redintheface.

      Those tens billions went to the crutches for the fossil fuel industry, not to the science for climate change. Your billions were spent on Exxon sponsored boondoggles, not plans from the IPCC.

      Both of those examples are plans pushed by right wing idiots like yourself, to just stall while the CO2 keeps pumping out. Those were industry initiatives, moves by the oil sands and coal industries, not scientifically motivated.

      If you have issues with the use of that money, blame your overlords.

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