A recent paper on glacier loss begins with the authors pleading for action on climate change:
“…Climatologists, like other scientists, tend to be a stolid group. We are not given to theatrical rantings about falling skies. Most of us are far more comfortable in our laboratories or gathering data in the field than we are giving interviews to journalists or speaking before Congressional committees. Why then are climatologists speaking out about the dangers of global warming? The answer is that virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization (‘‘Climate Change,’’ 2010).”
“…Global warming is here and is already affecting our climate, so prevention is no longer an option. Three options remain for dealing with the crisis: mitigate, adapt, and suffer.”
The paper ends with:
“…Clearly mitigation is our best option, but so far most societies around the world, including the United States and the other largest emitters of greenhouse gases, have done little more than talk about the importance of mitigation. Many Americans do not even accept the reality of global warming. The fossil fuel industry has spent millions of dollars on a disinformation campaign to delude the public about the threat, and the campaign has been amazingly successful. (This effort is reminiscent of the tobacco industry’s effort to convince Americans that smoking poses no serious health hazards.) As the evidence for human-caused climate change has increased, the number of Americans who believe it has decreased. The latest Pew Research Center (2010) poll in October, 2009, shows that only 57% of Americans believe global warming is real, down from 71% in April, 2008.
There are currently no technological quick fixes for global warming. Our only hope is to change our behavior in ways that significantly slow the rate of global warming, thereby giving the engineers time to devise, develop, and deploy technological solutions where possible. Unless large numbers of people take appropriate steps, including supporting governmental regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, our only options will be adaptation and suffering. And the longer we delay, the more unpleasant the adaptations and the greater the suffering will be. Sooner or later, we will all deal with global warming.
The only question is how much we will mitigate, adapt, and suffer.”
The parable of the sceptical cancer patient
A doctor tells you have cancer, and that if you don’t act it could kill you.
What do you decide to do with that knowledge?
Take immediate action and seek treatment?
Or perhaps you are a “cancer sceptic”.
You believe the doctor is part of a global conspiracy to “alarm” people and force them into purchasing expensive medical treatments. You argue that cancer “isn’t real” and that there is considerable debate in the medical community about its existence (and have the blogs and web sites to back you up).
Which one is the rational response?
What is the most likely outcome?
I’ll leave that for you to decide.
The climate “appeasers”
During the 1930′s it was clear that the ideologies of Fascism and Communism represented a danger to world peace. The Stalinist regime in Russia, Hitler’s Germany, Italy under Mussolini and the expansionist Japanese threatened their neighbours and harboured aggressive strategies to expand.
However many – on both sides of the political spectrum - preferred to live in denial, believing war was not possible. Had they not just fought the “War to End all Wars” less than two decades previously?
Many on the “left”, refused to see just how monstrous the Communist regime was in Russia. Those on the “right” acknowledged Communism’s threat but consistently downplayed the threat of Fascism. Indeed, they saw it as preferable and necessary bulwark against the “socialist threat”.
Many derided the “alarmist” Winston Churchill as a “war monger” by continually stating Hitler was a danger. Sooner or later, argued Churchill, war was inevitable. He urged his countrymen to prepare, or at least try to check the growing power of Hitler.
We know how that turned out (hint, a little thing called WW2).
In many ways, our societies are gripped by a similar denial.
For this reason, I’ve never equated the “deniers” with Nazi’s and those that deny the Holocaust. The proper term for the deniers is “climate appeasers“.
They would keep their heads in the sand and wish away the problem.
This is why they spend their time trying to tear down science: a classic case of shooting the messenger.
Climate change is a clear and present danger: to deny AGW, is to be like someone in 1939 stating Hitler didn’t exist and was a figment of the imagination.
Climate denial is a form of appeasement.
Climate denial is the desire to do nothing.
Faith, hope and charity
I want the future to be a better place.
Not just for me but for my child and the children of others.
I enjoy the comforts of civilisation, safe and secure in the knowledge that I am free from the risk of hunger. However, I believe most governments are failing their citizens on what is the defining issue of the twenty-first century.
The poor will suffer poor, while those of us enjoying comfortable “Western” life styles will find our standard of living compromised.
Life is going to get tougher.
So call me an “alarmist“.
Sticks-and-stones… I prefer to take a problem on head-on.
Time to prepare.
Time to get ready.
We have less time than you think.