Climate stability believers

December 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

 “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.”  — JK Galbraith

Galbraith is also credited with modernising the old expression “when the soup hits the fan”.

Let’s hope the fan is turned off as the heat hits the permafrost, because the environment determines human health. The scary thing about global warming isn’t tropical diseases or storms — it’s our need to grow food for 7 billion people. If the climate is screwed, so are crops.

Everyone needs a hobby. Mine is reading climate change deniers’ internet commentary.

Trends are noticeable. In days of yore, they would literally deny the climate was changing.

Research has killed this meme countless times, yet it still staggers zombie-like in the wilderness, eating people’s brains.

Now it is often admitted that the climate is changing but not that humans might cause this; or admitted that there is human-caused climate change but, reassuringly, this won’t be “catastrophic”.

Until 2010, CAGW stood for Citizens Against Government Waste, not Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming.

The technique is reminiscent of Sir Humphrey Appleby’s four-stage strategy in Yes, Prime Minister.

First, say nothing will happen. Second, say something might happen but we should do nothing. Third, say maybe we should act but that’s impossible. Fourth, say maybe we could have acted but anyway it’s now too late.

Deniers do, of course, deny they’re deniers. Better to be a sceptic than a denier of the bleedin’ obvious. Anyway, deniers typically have a specific belief system: they are Climate Stability Believers.

Of necessity, climate stability believers believe that 97% of climate scientists are corrupt liars; the world’s national science academies are run by fools; and that a two-decade conspiracy explains why only 24 of 13,950 peer-reviewed climate change papers argue against human-induced global warming.

Climate stability believers also believe they are fighting a power-grab by the gubmint, lefty-greenies, the UN, the Illuminati, Jewish bankers or elephants with trunks that look like uncircumcised penises. And no, I’m not making it up. Not all of it.

A recent study found rejection of climate science was associated with belief the moon landing was faked and so on. Outraged climate stability believers now accuse the Australian researchers of conspiring to paint them as conspirational.

The strongest association found with rejection of climate science was, however, belief in extreme free market economics. It seems creating a social wasteland isn’t sufficient.

Other research has found “hierarchical individualist” personalities tend to reject climate science whereas “egalitarian communitarians” accept it. Ideological battles are cute but you’re only entitled to your own opinions, not your own facts. Or physics.

The psychological studies explain why for six absurd years a climate stability believer chaired our nation’s Future Fund. Tony (“It’s complete crap”) Abbott has admitted his error but David Murray might never do so. It’s said old theories don’t die but their adherents do.

Of course, if it actually is climate scientists — not mining and oil tycoons — who are partying tonight with the cash, stripper factory and beer volcano then there’s only one rational conclusion.

I did the wrong uni degree.

(Australian Doctor 7 December, 2012 )

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