The editors at New Civil Engineer are letting readers deal with members who deny anthropogenic climate change. I think this is probably necessary, because outside scientific and political circles climate change is widely passed over as a threat – The Guardian being a notable exception (let us not forget, though, that The Guardian has been subsidised by Auto Trader for a very long time, and taken as a whole its message is mixed to say the least).
Anthropogenic climate change deniers are pretty loud. Unable to get to grips with the complexity of the evidence themselves, they nevertheless feel comfortable refusing to defer to scientific consensus. Perhaps this is because the scientific consensus is also a political consensus, and they hold politicians in such low esteem? Or because science has been so done down in this country? Or perhaps it’s because to engage with the findings would challenge strongly-held beliefs they have about the way they are entitled to live their lives.
From the 29th October 2009, issue, Letters, p15:
“Questioning global warming.
Antony Oliver (NCS Comment 8 October) would not feel so bad about flying to Scotland if he took a little time to look at the scientific evidence against the hypothesis of man made, or athropogenic, global warming.
A good start would be with professor Robert Carter’s 2008 paper Knock Knock: Where is the Evidence for Dangerous Man Made Global Warming, which covers most of the bases.”
“I’m a recent convert and feeling currently somewhere between a flat earthist and a holocaust denier – but the evidence is very compelling.”
You can read the rest towards the bottom of this page.
The reason flat earthists and holocaust deniers feel uncomfortable is because they are impelled to ignore or falsify evidence by prejudices they do not or cannot acknowledge. This is clear to most of the people they seek to persuade, and consequently they are pitied, treated as a threat, or held in contempt. Nevertheless they persist in thinking of themselves as brave speakers of truth to power.
Following week: New Civil Engineer, 12th November 2009, Letters, p16, has a number of enlightened correspondents. One:
“Why does NCE continue to print letters from man-made global warming deniers (Letters 29 October)?
Professor Carter’s paper was mentioned, he’s on the research committee of the Institute of Public Affairs − a right wing group funded by the oil companies, so hardly an independent view. As for being convincing, his views have been widely discredited.
I doubt if the Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors is still questioning whether the earth is round or flat, they have moved on, and it is time that NCE moves on as well.”
Hopefully they will – you can read the rest of that one towards the bottom of this page.
And I’ve reached my limit – like the first correspondent, I have the impression that deniers in the face of evidence share some attributes, but I can’t get into that now.
Instead, and to pre-empt an argument which will almost certainly be added to the case against Israel sooner or later, one final correspondent. Climate Denial is a blog dedicated to exploring the psychology of climate change denial. I notice it is currently topped by a substantial Postcard from Israel by Lucy Michaels, a researcher located on a kibbutz who is currently investigating climate change denial in Israel, where drought vies with conflict for attention. It’s a piece which deals a little too freely in unsubstantiated assertions about cultures for my liking but for all that it seeks to understand rather than to blame. From it:
“Confronted with the more tangible sense of threat by a ‘terror’ attack or the incessant and somewhat obsessive discussion on the streets as to whether Ahmadnijad will drop the bomb and obliterate Israel altogether, it is perhaps understandable that the more diffuse and distant threat of climate change does not register highly on Israeli risk-o-meters.
Israelis are regularly bombarded by ‘disaster’ images. As has been found in research elsewhere, disaster imagery of climate change is most likely provokes feelings of powerlessness rather than the desire to take action.”