An interesting article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald today examining the views of prominent Liberal National Party politicians on climate change. Despite the evidence many have held onto their sceptical views:
THE most prominent political climate sceptics see no reason to change their minds, despite the welter of studies over the past fortnight showing forecasts of global warming were correct or underestimates.
Many of the climate sceptics, influential in elevating Tony Abbott to Coalition leader, say they see nothing to convince them that human activity is causing the climate to change.
The Global Carbon Project has released forecasts that the planet could warm by between 4 degrees and 6 degrees by the end of the century and Nature Climate Change on Monday published a study finding that warming is consistent with 1990 scientific forecasts.
As I (and many others) have stated this has nothing to do with evidence. The denial of climate change is driven by the ideology, world views and values:
South Australian senator Cory Bernardi, formerly Mr Abbott’s parliamentary secretary, said: ”I do not think human activity causes climate change and I haven’t seen anything that changes my view. I remain very sceptical about the alarmists’ claims.”
Queensland senator Barnaby Joyce said the whole debate about whether humans were causing the climate to change was ”indulgent and irrelevant”.
”It is an indulgent and irrelevant debate because, even if climate change turns out to exist one day, we will have absolutely no impact on it whatsoever … we really should have bigger fish to fry than this one,” Senator Joyce said.
Individuals can be very good at maintaining cognitive dissonance, filtering out information they don’t agree with and latching onto “facts’ that support their world view.
West Australian Dennis Jensen back bencher provides a textbook example of this:
West Australian back bencher Dennis Jensen, who had read the recent scientific literature, said he interpreted the findings in different ways and believed climate scepticism within the Coalition was increasing.
”The scientific papers saying it is as bad as we thought, or worse, are talking about concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere – and concentrations are indeed increasing – but global temperatures have not gone up in a decade,” he said.
”It’s the impact of the increased concentrations of CO2 that is in dispute and I agree with [US professor] Richard Lindzen that it is more likely to be 0.4 degrees than 4 to 6 degrees … the doomsday prophesies do not stand up to reason.”
Richard Lindzen is one of the few genuinely qualified sceptics. At best he is a marginal figure in science. His entire claim to fame rests upon his status as one of the token sceptics within the community of atmospheric scientists.
Outside of his notoriety he has produced little research of value – and what research he has produced has been flawed and ignored by the rest of scientific community.
Despite the fact 97% of climate scientists accept climate change is real, Jensen clings to the marginal views of outliers such as Lindzen because they buttress is own world view.
In this regard the Liberals resemble the Republicans in the United States and the Tea Party movement who’ve decided to go to war with reality.
Don’t like the facts? Then reject them and dismiss the experts.
Supporting there fantasy world views are the think tanks and conservative media who help create a parallel reality in which the climate isn’t changing and Obama was born in Kenya.
When facts and evidence contravene ideology figures such as Bernardi, Joyce and Jensen remain steadfastly attached to fantasy.