Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Climate Change Movement's Achilles' Heel

Climate change campaigns have a fatal flaw. They fail to offer a credible, coherent vision for what life would be like after our economy and society decarbonize. That's asking people to take a leap of faith without giving them anything assuring to look forward to.

By failing to deliver a vision, climate campaigners leave that field wide open to the denialists and they're making the most of that opportunity. Not only are they sowing doubt about the basic science itself, they're depicting a dark, impoverished world awaiting those who buy into the global warming theory. And they're getting away with it because the climate campaigners aren't fighting back. They're focused almost exclusively on defending the global warming science which, though valid, simply isn't good enough in the battle for the hearts and minds of the public.

I'm guessing here but I'm sure the denialists are well aware they won't win the science argument. That would take clear, verifiable research that they've never been able to muster. If it was there, you would know all about it by now, that much is sure. But the denialists realize they don't have to win the science battle if they can win the war to control public opinion. All they really need to do is to make the public sufficiently worried and fearful to be unwilling to embrace climate change action.

The denialists main arguments, readily aped by their gullible followers, are that climate change action will impoverish society, will take away everything we've come to enjoy. The end of the world as we know it. A massive transfer of wealth to the undeserving. We'll all be reduced to living in mud huts cooking over dung fires sort of thing. By keeping the science community on the defensive with every imaginable specious argument about the theory itself, the denialists are free to go on a fear offensive in the public relations forum.

Unfortunately, the science community was never set up to fight on this second front which, at the end of the day, may turn out to be the decisive battle. I'm pretty sure the denialists are betting on just that.


Cari said...

Deniers..same people that believe in the Flat Earth Society.

Jingles said...

MOS do you have an imagination regarding what it would be like living without fossel fuels? I can. But I bet Mr. Harper can't. He was in Shanghi today and later Hong Kong. I wonder if he noticed the gray pollution in the air and if he tasted the chemicals on the air. It would be interesting to know if he thinks that pollution stops in those places. I wonder if he thinks about it crossing the Pacific Ocean to North America. I wonder if he was able to look up and see if he could see the sun. Any of the disbelievers ought to take a few weeks and go to Asia and take a good look.

LMA said...

Deniers...even if scientific data proves that the earth isn't flat, they will still argue that if you go too close to the edge, you will fall off.

According to CNN, the UK's weather office, UK Met, will publish online next week global temperature records from 1000 weather stations showing rising global average land temperatures over the past 150 years.

Even that evidence probably won't be enough, and the deniers will continue to spread misinformation and fear.

The Pembina Suzuki report argued that Canada could meet targets to hold global warming to less than 2 degrees and still enjoy a growing economy and steady job growth.

What was the response of Jim Prentice to the Pembina Suzuki report? He called it irresponsible, divisive, and a recipe for economic disaster.

We are on the wrong side of this battle to control public opinion, and Monbiot was right - our government has been hijacked by the tar barons of Alberta.