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They're so wrong, but I wish they were right

Date

I really hope all those Nobel Prize winners and PhDs and assorted brainiacs are wrong, and a bunch of snarky dudes on the interwebz are right. I really hope that the increasingly disturbing reports from the climate change Death Star – there’s totally a Death Star, right? – are just part of a cunning plan by sneaky climate scientists to fill their secret underground lairs with even more swimwear models and gas guzzling sports cars, purchased with so-called research funds while the rest of us – well, some of us – live in fear of the lies they’ve been telling about runaway greenhouse effects. Because that’d be so much cooler than the alternative.

Probably not, though. It’s getting so that the climate change research is even less depressing and predictable than the reaction to it from the vast, weird coalition of deniers. Some of them sitting in their sandals and socks at the computer in the basement laundry, banging out angry retorts to anyone who dares even suggest there might be any problem at all. And some of them sitting very comfortably indeed, in fine suits, swirling snifters of brandy, in offices and boardrooms atop the highest towers of steel and glass.

There will never be enough evidence to justify the precautionary principle for these people. The profiteers I can understand, even admire in a way. They’re like tobacco company executives who know – they know from their own research – that they’re killing people. But they’re making out like bandits doing it, so why change? If everything did turn pear-shaped they’ll have the resources to secure a privileged and comfortable existence for themselves. Their sort always have.

The true non-believers, however. I don’t really get them. I’m willing to believe that consensus opinion of thousands of massively pointy-headed science-guys might be wrong, and that some comment troll from the outer suburban wastes has it nailed about the vast climate change conspiracy. Frankly, part of me is praying for that, because it would be double plus awesome. Civilisation gets to kick on! Huzzah!

But to see the reaction of the deniers to news that we might have broken the permafrost and the results of this could be much, much worse than even the most pessimistic climate change models predict, is to see why the human race might just be doomed.

Not the planet itself, of course. Just us and everything we’ve built.

374 comments

  • It's the same reason certain people take so readily to Libertarianism. They believe that any position of advantage or comfort they enjoy, they have earned entirely on their own merits, in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Why would something as piddling as "science" be any different? They own science. In their narrative, they are the rational ones so science must always support their assumptions and their self-view, otherwise it's obviously incorrect.

    Commenter
    Damian
    Date and time
    November 29, 2012, 8:12AM
    • Yeah, a bit like Gina R reckoning if she make a motza by dint purely of her own hard work, then any one can - yeah right G! And she is echoed by all these cardboard cutouts in suits whose sole role in life is to rip us off by shuffling our money round while claiming to be productive - Gen Lemming

      Commenter
      Christopher
      Date and time
      November 29, 2012, 9:13AM
    • Thank you for that...it explains why i have so much trouble debating my libertarian cousins.
      I guess it means that talk is wasted on them, except to clarify my thoughts for myself!

      Commenter
      sally b
      Location
      perth
      Date and time
      November 29, 2012, 12:48PM
    • Christopher, I think you're being a bit hard on Gina. She just thinks anyone can make a billion if they work hard, and she's right - provided your Daddy gave you a head start of a few billion.

      Commenter
      Bah, humbug
      Location
      Earth
      Date and time
      November 29, 2012, 2:08PM
    • Here is just a small list of what can happen. Higher Sea levels (if polar caps melted the ocean rises by 80 meters); More Large Storms; Loss of Ocean life; More Deserts; More Floods; More Diseases (malaria moves to effect 2/3rds of world population because the mosquitoes have more habitat); extinction of 1/2 the worlds plants and animals (which will have an effect on insects like bees etc); More floods; More wars (& boat people) as people try to get out of their countries......the list goes on & get worse. So don't just say we get a bit warmer....big deal.......this is really important. Even if there was a slight chance (even a remote chance) of this happening you would think that everyone on earth would want to stop it.......even the libertarians.

      Commenter
      Bazza
      Date and time
      November 29, 2012, 2:11PM
    • Science has gotten it wrong so many times in the past. Remember Thalidomide? The Bhopal disaster? Fukushima? Chernobyl? Evolution? Steve Irwin?

      Nah just trolling. Problem is, the longer we live, the more we have an inherent distrust of authority - ranging from doctors (oh you worry too much, its not cancer - it is cancer), politicians (there will be no Carbon Tax blah blah), salespeople (it's half price!) and so on. Science no longer exists in a vacuum and both sides of the divide wheel out their own experts, like a court case. However it is not just about denying climate change. It is also the varying shades of detail that people choose to believe in. Here's a sample:

      It is a natural progression - it's not man made!
      Yes I do care, but not if it means our national debt grows while we protect emerging economies!
      It's wealth redistribution!
      Records show CO2 has been rising for thousands of years!
      There's nothing we can do about it! So lets do nothing!
      etc

      I agree with JB - I hope the deniers are right too. The scary thing is it appears that they are not. Hurricane Sandy knocked the right wing talking point of anti climate change theory well off of the agenda, with even Sean Hannity steering well clear of his usual idiocy.

      The evidence is now becoming so overwhelming, that even the man in the street is starting to reconsider his opinion. The sad fact of human nature is we will consider that maybe a tsunami is coming when the sea leaves the coastline. But we will only truly believe it when we're treading water and clambering onto debris.

      Commenter
      Malik the magic sheep
      Date and time
      November 29, 2012, 2:47PM
    • "
      "It’s getting so that the climate change research is even less depressing and predictable than the reaction to it from the vast, weird coalition of deniers"

      Pffft, ha, ha, ha. Get on with and get over it. Face it, the Global Warming scare is over, no ones buying or believes it anymore, it's just a weird religous sub cult like some creepy spin off of the church of Scientology. I had no idea that outta space actually existed on earth, but you lot with your galactic phones and all don't need oxygen masks that's for sure despite your chicken little fears..

      Commenter
      housemartin
      Location
      hong kong
      Date and time
      November 29, 2012, 4:31PM
    • It is good to see that religion is alive and well. We may be abandoning traditional beliefs but mankind needs to believe in something. Western civilization was underpinned by the old beliefs but a slow decline that started in between the world wars has spawned the birth of a new godhead, Gaia! The non western world is smiles and wonders whilst at the same time saying thank you for what you gave us until you were rational.

      Commenter
      GM
      Location
      Tullamarine
      Date and time
      November 29, 2012, 4:50PM
    • Science tells me that ice cubes melting in a glass of water cause the water level in the drink to FALL. Most of the ice is below the surface, as are the icebergs in the ocean. Icebergs are said to be melting and reducing the habitat of the polar bear, although science tells me the bears are thriving.

      I am unsure if there is any significant man-made climate change, or global warming as it used to be called. I am not a climate-change denier but a doubter, willing to hear evidence for and against. This doesn't have to turn into a fight in which you take sides. This does not help the truth to prevail.

      John Birmingham's stereotyping of his disliked "deniers" does not help either.

      Commenter
      Keith Moon
      Location
      Cockatoo Island
      Date and time
      November 30, 2012, 12:29AM
    • @Keith: "Science tells me that ice cubes melting in a glass of water cause the water level in the drink to FALL."

      Er, no. Science says that when ice cubes melt in a glass of water they don't change the water level either way. Floating objects displace an equal mass of liquid water, so a 1-gram ice cube displaces 1 gram of liquid; when it melts, it *becomes* 1 gram of liquid, so the water level stays the same.

      So the good news is that when *floating* ice melts, it doesn't affect ocean levels.

      Now try a different experiment: hold an ice cube on a spoon over your glass. Let that ice cube melt, and watch as the meltwater runs down into the glass, and the water level rises.

      That's our problem: non-floating ice, like the stuff that currently covers Antarctica to a depth of about 2km. When some of that ice melts and flows into the sea, you bet the ocean level will rise.

      Commenter
      cephalopod
      Date and time
      November 30, 2012, 1:38PM

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