“…No, denial of ACC is not one of the stages of grief. Denial of this nature comes from employing fear propaganda.
Many of the individuals who deny the science do exactly that – they deny the validity of the evidence regardless what is said about it.
The reason for this denial is because they are scared of the future, but not the end of business as usual, rather a hidden and unrealistic enemy.
Evidence won’t help them.
Reason will not sway them. Even debunking their heroes of denial is merely seen as oppressive.”
Now George Monbiot seems to be getting it as well:
“…The answer, I think, is provided by the most interesting report I have read this year. Common Cause, written by Tom Crompton of the environment group WWF, examines a series of fascinating recent advances in the field of psychology(1). It offers, I believe, a remedy to the blight which now afflicts every good cause from welfare to climate change.
Progressives, he shows, have been suckers for a myth of human cognition he labels the Enlightenment model. This holds that people make rational decisions by assessing facts. All that has to be done to persuade people is to lay out the data: they will then use it to decide which options best support their interests and desires.
A host of psychological experiments demonstrates that it doesn’t work like this. Instead of performing a rational cost-benefit analysis, we accept information which confirms our identity and values, and reject information that conflicts with them. We mould our thinking around our social identity, protecting it from serious challenge. Confronting people with inconvenient facts is likely only to harden their resistance to change.”
The longest campaign
This climate “debate” has always been a debate about values. It is an extension of the culture wars of the 1990s.
My reply to Tim on his blog sums things up my pet hypothesis on why so many reject climate science:
“…I’ve come to view “denial” as reflective of an individual values, rather than an emotional state they pass through. It is a culture war issue, in the same way abortion, stem cells, Sharia law and creationism have become litmus tests for conservative Christians, Muslims etc.
…Creationist reject evolution because it contradicts their literal reading of the bible. Ergo, thus *must* reject the science in order to affirm their tribalism and confirm their membership to the creationist “tribe”. It’s about outward signs of orthodoxy and inwardly managing ones identity.
Free market libertarians, culture warriors and ultra-conservatives see climate change mitigation as deeply threatening to their “choices” within the market and individual “liberty”.
If your committed to small government and limited intervention in the market, then things such as a carbon tax, ETS or regulation are anathema. After all, the “market” will fix this.
Hence why the debate is bogged down and mostly along partisan lines – especially in the US and Australia
Curiously this is not the case in the UK, where the Conservatives hope to be the “greenest” government ever. However I suspect this may have more to do with older traditions of conservatism (ala Edmund Burke) than it’s radical neo-con offshoots in other Anglo-sphere countries.
The denial machine has been very good at fusing people’s values with climate scepticism, making it a litmus test of ones world view and political outlook.
If you attack their scepticism, you also attack their values – in other words, you attack them.
I also view the debate as a prolonged election campaign between competing views of the future. This campaign has been waged since the 1990′s and its prize is the public opinion. Like all election campaigns it is about building your credibility and tearing down your opponents. In this debate the “conservative” side argues for no (or less) action, while the “progressive” side argues for action.
Yes, [it] is a gross oversimplification, but scepticism and acceptance of climate science falls along political lines.
[However] this is not a new debate: it has been waged since the beginning of the enlightenment.
Kant challenged us to “Dare to know!” – he argued that knowledge of the universe could be liberating, and yet often conflicted with the orthodoxies of the power elites.”
I cannot stress this point more strongly.
The denial machine casts its arguments in terms of values, not facts.
Thus they argue:
“Do you value freedom? Why the greenies/UN/IPCC want to take that away from you!”
“Do you value a free market? Why the greenies/UN/IPCC want to take that away from you!”
“Do you want the Australian/US/UK economy to remain strong and grow? Why the greenies/UN/IPCC want to take that away from us!”
The tobacco industry coached their defence in terms of personal liberty:
“Hey, it’s your body and you can do want you want with it! You have rights you know!”
The denier coaches their arguments in positive terms: liberty, free markets, the right to free expression. They wrap their denial up in good-old fashioned patriotism.
The climate change debate taking place in the pubic realm is not about facts: it is about values.
It always has been.
Climate change: dare to know! 
Accepting the reality of climate change does not need to be seen as a negative, it can be posited as a value. Try this for size:
An individual who accepts the science of climate change is someone who has a feel for “the big picture”. They are both pragmatic and informed. It also signals concern for ones community, ones country and fellow human beings. It stems from a deeply humanistic world view, in which compassion is a motivating factor.
Can one argue with such values?
There is a growing realisation that denial of climate change is less an emotional state (following the Kubler-Ross model) than an aspect of an individuals world view.