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How deniers maintain the consensus gap

Posted on 18 February 2020 by John Cook

An excerpt from the book Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change, released Feb 25. First posted here.

A number of studies have quantified the level of scientific agreement on climate change. In 2009, a survey by Peter Doran found that 97.4% of publishing climate scientists agreed that humans were changing global temperature. In 2010, Bill Anderegg analyzed public statements about climate change. He found 97–98% agreement among the most actively publishing climate scientists that humans are causing global warming.

In 2013, I led a team of researchers analyzing 21 years of scientific papers about global warming. Among relevant climate papers, 97% affirmed the consensus. Three different studies all found overwhelming scientific agreement.

The scientific consensus has also been endorsed by many scientific organizations around the world, such as the American Geophysical Union, European Geosciences Union, Royal Meteorological Society, and Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The National Academies of Science from eighty countries have all affirmed human-caused global warming.

Deniers argue that there’s no scientific consensus on climate change because thirty-one thousand science graduates signed a petition rejecting the consensus. This argument appeals to fake experts. The only requirement for the Petition Project is an undergraduate degree in any kind of science. Only 0.1% of the signatories are climate scientists. Asking for nonexpert opinion on a complex topic is like asking a computer scientist to perform heart surgery.

This argument also misleads by using the technique of magnified minority. More than 10 million people have earned a science degree since 1971. That means that only 0.3% of Americans with science degrees signed the petition.

Citing thousands of dissenting nonexperts to cast doubt on consensus is an ageold technique, perfected by the tobacco industry in the 1970s.

Climate deniers have been trying to cast doubt on the scientific consensus for decades. Why attack the consensus? Republican strategist Frank Luntz conducted market research and found that people’s opinions on climate policy depended on whether they thought experts disagreed about human-caused global warming. Luntz advised Republican politicians to cast doubt on the scientific consensus.

Decades of misinformation have taken its toll. The public mistakenly think 67% of climate scientists agree on human-caused global warming. The chasm between public perception and the 97% consensus is known as the consensus gap.

Over a decade after Luntz’s insight, social scientists began researching how people think about consensus. They identified that public perception of consensus is a “gateway belief.” Once people understand that there’s scientific consensus, they’re more likely to accept that climate change is happening and requires action. Social scientists recommended that scientists should communicate the overwhelming expert agreement on human-caused global warming to correct the misconception that scientists disagree.

Communicating the 97% consensus has begun to undo the damage of misinformation campaigns. Over the last 5 years, public awareness of the scientific consensus has steadily increased.

This has led to a new argument from the same deniers who have claimed there is no consensus: now they argue we shouldn’t talk about consensus. Deniers want to convince the public that experts not only disagree on climate change but also stop scientists from clearing up this misconception.

The case for human-caused global warming isn’t based on the 97% consensus; it’s based on scientific evidence. Nevertheless, the public often rely on expert opinion to guide their views on complicated topics like climate change. This is why deniers target expert agreement and why it’s important to communicate the 97% consensus among climate scientists.

Cranky Uncle vs Climate Change coverCranky Uncle vs. Climate Change uses cartoons, climate science, and critical thinking to make sense of climate denial and misinformation. Guided by psychological research into how to refute misinformation, the book embraces a creative approach, using cartoons and visual analogies to make the science engaging and accessible to readers. The book is written and drawn by John Cook, a former cartoonist who now researches climate communication at George Mason University. Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change will be published by Kensington Books on Feb 25. Sign up for latest Cranky Uncle news at crankyuncle.com.

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Comments 1 to 27:

  1. I really like the last comic. I really shows an often used rhetoric. Make a wrong assertion. Let the oposite side debunk it. Then you the other site is talking about irrelevant stuff.

    To expose your rhetoric the opponent would have to go two steps back, which quite hardly followed in a debate.

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  2. I think that the answer to the question is like:
    Science is indeed not done by consensus. But that does not mean consensus does not occur when enough knowledge is collected and the knowledge is sound. The very emergence of consensus means that we do know enough to be sure of it.

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  3. Consensus may not occur even when plenty of knowledge has been developed, but if it does, it indeed points to knowledge that can be ascribed a high level of certainty. In the case of climate science, consensus really means convergence of results and conclusions. Agreement arises because research continues to show the same thing over and over again, until the point where it is no longer useful to re-examine some specific points. That what consensus means. It does not equate to conformism.

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  4. There is the argument that science doesn't have anything to do with 'consensus'. In one respect, this is surely correct.

    A denialist version of this comes from Michael Crichton who was described by Joe Romm as "the world’s most famous global warming denier." Crichton's defines 'consensus science' in a broad denialist polemic of 2003 'Aliens Cause Global Warming ':-

    "I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.
    "Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had."
    ...
    "If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period."

    Crichton goes on to set out how in science "the track record of the consensus is nothing to be proud of." So he is not denying the existence of 'consensus science'. Rather, he is actually saying is that 'consensus science' is synonimous with science being wrong, badly wrong, and this is because 'consensus science' is used to stiffle unwanted argument that turns out to be the 'correct' science. By implication Crichton is saying of AGW that it is also badly wrong and the scientific community is trying to stiffle the 'correct' science. (Note, the word 'legitimate' is probably better than 'correct' but Crichton doesn't make that point.)

    To a certain level, Crichton was correct. The scientific community is trying to stiffle unwanted argument by invoking 'consensus science'.

    Myself, I prefer the version of 'consensus science' defined by the idea that 'consensus' is reached when the 'science' stops. So the question becomes "Is there any actual science being carried out by the myrad of numpties who deny AGW?" We can ask "That 3% who are outside the AGW consensus: what 'science' are they actually doing?"
    The argument set out by Crichton gave examples of 'consensus science' being wielded as a way of ignoring specific theories which proved to be correct - puerperal fever, pellagra, continental drift. "The examples can be multiplied endlessly. Jenner and smallpox, Pasteur and germ theory. Saccharine, margarine, repressed memory, fiber and colon cancer, hormone replacement therapy. The list of consensus errors goes on and on."  So, if AGW is another example of dreadful 'consensus science' as Crichton evidently implies, where are the specific theories wielded by AGW that we are ignoring? Where is this 'legitimate' science that prevents the existence of an AGW 'consensus'. I would be happy to consider the merit fo such work. And so would many others. But I don't see any specific theories wielded by the numpties who deny AGW! Their 'legitimate' science simply doesn't exist!! 

    And by my definition, until the numpties set out a specific theory, until there is 'legitimate' science which we can debate, we are left with nothing but AGW 'consensus'. And a climate emergency.

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  5. Science indeed has nothing to do with the consensus, but the consensus has everything to so with science. ONce something has been researched and the results converge and agree, there is a consensus. This is a non-issue. One can wonder, if consensus is not important, why deniers keep on making the argument that there isn't one.

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  6. Libertador @1 ,  Yes I think sometimes a science-denier deliberately plays "change the goal posts" during a dialogue, as a rhetorical tactic to disconcert his opponent.   Though probably more often this tactic reflects the denialist's own intellectual confusion and lack of logical thought about the consensus issue.

    PatriceM @2 , and also PhilippeC : in addition there is the point that the denialists confuse & conflate the two separate facets of "consensus" :-   being (A) the numerical percentage you get when you discuss/survey the expressed opinions of (climate) scientists, and (B) the numerical percentage you get [99.9%] when you look at the current state of science, as expressed in peer-reviewed scientific papers.

    "B" is extremely close to 100% . . . while "A" is slightly lower, owing to some scientists being inhibited by their personal bias (bias of the rather extreme political sort and/or extremist religious beliefs).

    MA Rodger @4 ,  You make a very good point about denialists who (quite often) throw up a Gish Gallop of "historical consensuses being wrong"  as though it is a Law of Nature that any/every consensus must eventually & inevitably turn out to be completely wrong.  Their arguments are mostly irrelevant to climate, and are totally illogical, but - by the sin of omission - they carefully fail to mention the vastly greater proportion of scientific consensuses which turned out to be right (as confirmed in historical retrospect).

    Yet the "But Copernicus : But Galileo : etcetera" line of argument would often sound somewhat valid to the casual onlookers.   I can think of only two cards to be played in reply :-  That in olden times, the so-called consensus often swung back and forth on a number of occasions before settling on the true scientific conclusion: and yet that hasn't happened with the AGW climate consensus of modern decades ~ where the consensus keeps moving more and more strongly in the one direction, as the scientific evidence has continued to build up.   The consensus was about 90%  . . . then later 97%  . . . and nowadays well over 99% , with absolutely no sign of going the other way.

    The second card to play, is your point that (unlike in olden times) the "contrarians"  nowadays have no valid evidence to back their "alternative theories".   No evidence ~ because all their ideas have proven wrong when tested.   (This point means nothing to the committed hard-core denialist . . . but it would have value, in the minds of onlookers.)

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  7. MA Rogers @4, In addition to your comment regarding Crichton, in a speech to a US Congress Committee more than a decade ago he also 'questioned the validity of climate science' by declaring that any science that had a 400% range of results could/should be dismissed as unreliable science.

    He was likely referring to the 'warming due to a doubling of CO2 being a range from 1.5C to 6.0C'. But he did not include that awareness and understanding. He just mentioned that there was something in climate science with a 400% range of results. That would only seem to indicate unreliability and would be accepted without question by someone who has little interest in learning about what is actually being discussed, especially someone who has developed beliefs of superiority relative to others that would be compromised, be corrected, by actually improving their understanding of the issue.

    That acceptance without question also applies to people who liked claims made regarding the illegally obtained emails of climate scientists. They accepted the claims without question. And they still try to tease out some version of questionable comments made by climate scientists - without ever questioning anything said by the likes of Crichton that they instinctively liked, partly because one of the popular New Age Myths is that your Gut Instinct, First Impression is most likely correct about anything and everything. Investigating and thinking about things, expanding awareness and improving understanding only messes stuff up.

    And the range of 1.5C to 6.0C actually indicates a consensus of understanding that increased CO2 will result in global warming. A lack of consensus that increased CO2 would result in global warming would look like a range of -5.0C to +6.0C for a doubling of CO2. Also, the range from 1.5C to 6.0C at the time showed that the science was skeptical about declaring a consensus about that aspect of the science. And the recent refinements of the range of climate sensitivity have provided more evidence of robust science and the direction of development towards a stronger consensus regarding that aspect of the science.

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  8. response to #7

    "And the range of 1.5C to 6.0C actually indicates a consensus of understanding that increased CO2 will result in global warming." I suggest that it's wrong to think that all climate skeptics are "deniers" who don't believe the climate is warming and don't believe CO2 is a GHG. I suggest most skeptics think the liklihood of change is on the low end. They do understand that the climate is warming and that CO is a GHG. Maybe they can't provide proof that the change will be on the low end because most skeptics aren't scientists. It's just that most skeptics don't think it's anything to freak out over. This gets to the critique about the 97% thing. I wonder about the following- what percent of that 97% think climate change is pontentially catastrophic and that we must spend trillions in the short term to prevent the catastrophe? And in case you're wondering- yes- I'm one of those skeptics who KNOWS that the climate is warming because I've worked out doors as a forester in Massachusetts for 47 years and I KNOW it's warmer- and I do agree that CO2 is a GHG. But, I don't know anybody around here complaining about it. Just got a call from my wife visiting friends south of Boston. They're sitting on the porch and she said it's almost  60 F and they're enjoying it very much- no complaints that it's not -20 F.

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    Moderator Response:

    [TD] See the post in response to the myth It’s Not Bad

  9. Joez - and what makes them think that likelihood of change is at the low end? Because that opinion is informed by scientific observation or because doing something about it is unpalatable to their politics or not what their identity group believes. Isnt that just another kind of denial? Do you expect to be respected for uninformed hopes?

    Instead of cherry picking the good news, wouldnt it be a better idea to evaluate globally the effects and see what the balance is? Surely you arent seriously suggesting that if global warming isnt hurting you, then you dont mind if the rest of world  going to hell in an handbasket?

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  10. Scaddenp,

    "Surely you arent seriously suggesting that if global warming isnt hurting you, then you dont mind if the rest of world going to hell in an handbasket?" Well, now that you mention it..... Let's face it, it's human nature to worry about yourself and the people in your life- your own problems whether it's health, wealth, relationships, whatever. Worrying about the rest of the world seldom rises to the surface. And I suspect if a tornado blasted through my area, the folks on those small islands that are afraid of going under water aren't going to worry about me. Now, having said that, climate science is unlike any other science because of its vast political and economic consequences. We are seeing every day politicians talking about how many trillions they're going to spend to solve this problem when they don't in fact know the extent of the problem. So, it's just natural that many people are getting pissed off about such talk. Maybe if climate scientists- the 97%- were to tell those politicans and the media to "cool it"- no pun intended- that they should be more cautious in finding solutions- then maybe fewer people wouldn't vote for Trump, who is clearly going to win. I'm not going to vote for him because I don't like his personality- though I like some of his policies, especially foreign policies. And I don't like any Democrats either. I did like Jimmy Carter, a nuclear engineer who put solar panels on the white house. And he's a great humanitarian.

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    Moderator Response:

    [TD] If you driving a car with the accelerator pressed nearly to the floor, are headed straight at a brick wall, and are sure you will hit the wall, you should take your foot off the accelerator regardless of whether you are uncertain whether you will be going 50 mph or 80 mph when you hit it. See the response to the myth It’s Not Bad.

    Your claim of cost is too gross. See the response to the myth It’s Too Hard.

  11. Death, taxes and politicians lying are facts of life. What science tells you is different. IPCC WG2 is strong science statement about likely impacts; WG3 is assessment of solutions. I'm up to be guided by those not vague hopes or political preferences.

    Ok, you hear about unpopular solutions. Is it reasonable to assume that all uncertainty must in the lower range not the upper range, or that problem cant be that bad if I dont like the solutions?

    Or do you look for a solution that is more palatable or compatiable with your ideology instead? (and for which there is strong consensus backing for the effectiveness).

    If my actions, which improve my life (eg emitting CO2) are turning somebodies elses life into hell, then I regard it as immoral to continue.  I strongly suspect that you would agree if the problems with your lifestyle impacted your local community. What makes it ok then, if it is out of sight? Caring for humanity is what makes for a great humanitarian. You admire that in Carter, why not aspire for that?

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  12. What baffles me with the claim about cost is the double standard. The 2008 financial crisis cost the world economy somewhere around 15 trillions. Yet none of the major individual actors who held significant responsibility in this pathetic mix of greed, corruption, fraud and incompetence experienced serious consequences. It was largely brushed off as a somewhat unavoidable side effect of unfettered capitalism. The enormous expense incured brought zero benefit to the world at large.

    Nonetheless, the truly interesting thing about this miserable fiasco is how easily it was overall absorbed. Some countries were hit harder than others, and certainly there was some suffering caused even in the developed world, but nothing coming close to the great depression. It shows that the word economy is in fact capable of enduring a blow of 15 trillion over a couple of years without worldwide effects of the truly catastrophic type. If only that gigantic pile of moolah could have been spent on something useful instead of being squandered by egotistic criminals, something like energy transition. But of course, if such an idea was proposed, with a price tag of that weight, it would draw screams peppered with all the right propaganda words.

    There is something in common with the cimate disruption, however: when people who knew what they were talking about, and had done careful study of the situation rang the alarm bell on the upcoming disaster, they were dismissed by others who simply denied that anything serious would happen, although they did not know what they were talking about and had not done the work. When some clever ones decided to bank on it, they were received eagerly by all the clowns who thought that they were crazy, the same clowns who would soon beg them to buy their positions back at multiples of the initial price.

    We are nowhere near a doubling of CO2 concentration, and not close to equilibrium. Even if we stopped emitting right now, there would be still significant warming to come. yet we are already at 1deg C above pre-industrial. The probability the equilibrium temp increase for doubling will be 1.5 deg could be said to be small enough to be negligible. Is there a way to short the entire world economy on the 40 years horizon?

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  13. I'll ad this:

    The full extension of JoeZ's reasoning goes this far: in 30-40 years, I'll be dead, so what do I care?

    Nice outlook

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  14. JoeZ, Your claims of "many trillions they're going to spend to solve this problem" is incomplete.  Is fossil gasoline and electricity really free where you live??  It is like saying "this Toyota sedan is too expensive at $25,000. I will have to buy the Ferrari instead".  In order to make a comparison you need to compare the cost of a renewable system to the cost of a fossil fuel system.  

    Fortunately this has been done.  Jacobson et al 2018 and Connelly et al 2016 have shown that a renewable system built by 2050 will cost about the same for energy as a fossil fuel system.  After it is built the renewable energy system will be much cheaper since it will only require maintenance and no fuel.

    The savings on health costs alone are more than the cost of the energy system.   The savings from less destructive weather is many trillions of dollars.  The savings from less sea level rise is many trillions of dollars.

    You have been reading uninformed skeptic comments at trash sites like WUWT.  In reality, it will save trillions of dollars to switch to renewable energy.

    Why do you support the most expensive system?

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  15. Philippe - I would more have thought the argument boiled down to "Its human nature to think in crappy ways, therefore it is ok".  Thinking better is hard work.

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  16. JoeZ , I am pleased to see you have returned to multiple-thread posting at SkS after a brief "hiatus".   Perhaps you were confused when you said that SkepticalScience had given you "a warning that ... [you would] be locked out!" .   I haven't seen any evidence of such a warning ~ so presumably it came on some other website where you currently post.

    Readers at SkS like to see science and fact-based opinions, rather than mere truculent denialism.  So I am hoping you can provide some reasonable comment on the scientific consensus, even when you are struggling to come to terms with the future spending of "trillions" of dollars in dealing with the global warming problem.   ( I would be interested to see - on another thread, please - a more precise budgeting of your projected "trillions".   Trillions [over 30 years] are sometimes a figure thrown about, but AFAIK they are not offset by the trillions that would otherwise ordinarily be spent on upgrading & routine replacement of coal-fired power stations, and the routine replacement of ICE cars & so on, and on medical health costs & loss of productivity from air-pollution/particulates, nor the high [dollar] costs associated with big numbers of climate refugees . . . going to Boston etcetera.   Nor the many other costs arising from a warming world.   Human compassion aside, for those who are purely concerned with the dollar bottom-line, it seems a bargain to spend up-front money in tackling climate change.

    .... and a minor comparison, the APPA expenditure figures project a total spend [over 30 years] of one trillion dollars on pet food.   And that's just for the USA, alone. )

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  17. scaddenp,

    OK, that'd be the more general version. It is not human nature, however to think in crappy ways. Just today I met a young nursing student who gave a kidney, without being asked, just to make some other person's life possible; the recipient happened to be even younger than her.

    Competition for high power positions and for material wealh tends to select favorably those with sociopathic tendencies, so it is possible that they are found in higher concentrations in these circles than in the general population.

    If the general population was to acquire a understanding of the situation unpolluted by falsehoods and propaganda, they would decide to do the right thing. The desperate storm of denialism that we are witnessing is owed to the fact that the small groups who profit from the current situation are well aware that, would the full reality of AGW be accepted by the majority, they will have no moral case whatsoever, so they'll loose. What is hard to understand is the ferocity of continued pursuit of wealth coming from those who are already richer than most of us can imagine and enjoying a level of privilege unprecedented in humanity's history.

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  18. ". It is not human nature, however to think in crappy ways."

    (quick glance at news) Evidence would suggest otherwise.

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  19. Regarding Philippe Chantreaus comments. The relevant book is Dark Money. The same people who said the global financial crash couldn' t happen, and when it did they made excuses for the culprits are the same people involved in climate denialism, eg The Koch Brothers, The Bradly Brothers etc.

    They are business leaders at the libertarian ideological fringe, and perhaps many of them have sociopathic tendencies. Their two biggest hates are 1) taxes and 2) government regulations (apart from when it helps their business interests. These people are utter hypocrites. )

    The Kochs and their supporters started a libertarian political party to push their cause a couple of decades ago, but it tanked in the polls, getting less than 1% support, so they adopted a different strategy, to fund a huge network of think tanks, and lobby groups and they have huge influence on the GOP through this and political donations, and some influence on the Democrats.

    So if you want to know why federal level climate policy is mostly a failure in the USA, this would be the main reason. This sounds a but conspiratorial, but in this instance the evidence is overwhelming.

    These people will stop at nothing to undermine things like a climate change consensus.

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  20. nigelj,

    Another good book on the subject is "Winners Take All - The Elite Charade of Changing the World", by Anand Giridharadas. It is a detailed and evidenced based expose of how harmful the Carnegie Gospel of how the Rich need to be allowed to be Richer any way they can get away with because they will be the best at applying all their excess personal wealth to fix the problems of human societies (the problems that were created by the way they got so wealthy).

    The Koch philanthropy of supporting a Ballet Company to "Look like a Good Rich Person" is an example. It unjustifiably impresses the peers in the undeserving wealthy powerful pool, deflecting from questions about how the perceptions of superior status were obtained.

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  21. JoeZ @8 (and other points),

    First - Do you have anything to share about my point regarding the rather deliberately harmful behaviour of the supposedly smart likes of Crichton?

    Then - "I suggest that it's wrong to think that all climate skeptics are "deniers" who don't believe the climate is warming and don't believe CO2 is a GHG. I suggest most skeptics think the likelihood of change is on the low end. They do understand that the climate is warming and that CO is a GHG. Maybe they can't provide proof that the change will be on the low end because most skeptics aren't scientists. It's just that most skeptics don't think it's anything to freak out over."

    The ability to collectively develop expanded awareness and improved understanding and apply that shared learning to develop improvements, from the personal-today level up to the future of global humanity level, is what has produced everything that can be seen to be sustainable improvements of humanity.

    It is indeed true that humans can simply fundamentally behave like selfish animals. But humans have the ability to lean to be helpful and avoid being harmful. And sustainable animal life even requires animals to limit their actions to what is required for their survival as a part of the robust diversity of life on this amazing planet.

    As an engineer with an MBA I offer the following advise: do not expect to get rich through unsustainable harmful actions. Some people have definitely gotten rich that way. But expanded awareness and improving understanding is developing to the point where more and more of these types of people are 'losing some of their undeserved perceptions of success and opportunity', as they should because the future of humanity requires that they be disappointed and penalized.

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  22. This is what scares me.

    There was an article yesterday about this new "anti-Greta" german girl which basically says climate change isn't as bad as it looks. Go in the comments and you see the sheer ignorance of a vast majority of the folks out there, even in our "first world" countries. 

    Just a whole bunch of hateful comments against Greta and a whole lot of people who have a complete lack of intellectual capacity to understand and analyse scientific evidence.

    I don't have a scientific degree per say, but my parents both had scientific degrees. I work with computers which gives me the capacity to understand complex systems. And what I do see out there, is that a lot of people don't understand how systems work in general. They don't understand that it is all about an equilibrium of a large number of factors that, when they work together, make a stable system. When you start to tinker with a parameter, the system will eventually become unstable and crash. Simple example: raise the frequency of a CPU without increasing the cooling capacity and you computer will overheat and crash.

    What annoys me most about deniers, is that they completely dismiss scientific evidence. They will go at great length to find data, studies or any piece of news (often not verified for that matter), that comforts them in their own bias. When you tell them that there is a consensus of actual scientists that do state that global warming is real and probably accelerated by humans, they will throw this "30'000 scientists say it's not true" idea in your face without even fact checking that these people are actual climate scientists.

    It honestly doesn't take a genius to read the reports. To look at the data. To look at the charts. And from their on, extrapolate to what is potentially going to happen. 

    The real problem in the end, is that human induced climate change has been politicized. Suddenly you're either pro or anti climate change. Why does everyone fail to understand that this should not be the case? How is it that we cannot understand that we all need to work together to do something about it? What's the worst that can happen? We make a better home for ourselves?

    Have we regressed so much that we are, once again, dismissing science in favor of "beliefs"?

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  23. DantetnaD @22,

    Perhaps your article on the 'anti-Greta' could be this one in yesterday's Guardian about Naomi Seibt. I note in the linked YouTube that her contribution is no more than a pantomime - "Oh no it's not!!"

    I'm not sure that her association with Heartland makes Naomi anything more than an advertising tool for that particular pack of numpties. An actual Naomi quote from the linked YouTube (which contains a lot of editing breaks suggesting Naomi can't speak fluently about numptyisms, at least not in English) runs:-

    "We at the Heartland Institute, we want to spread truth about the science behind Climate Realism [cut] which essentially is the opposite of Climate Alarmism [cut].   ...   [Cut] I don't want you to panic. I want you to think."

    Of course, if folk do as Naomi asks and engage their brains and think, then the lies set out by Heartland are all pretty obvious.

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  24. DantetnaD , you are correct that the science-denier movement is an example of what is in effect a type of intellectual insanity.  It is based on emotion & consequent Motivated Reasoning (cherry-picking, and self-deception) . . . and/or on the emotions of tribal thinking  (the sort of "them and us" division which has been so harmful to humanity through the ages).

    Interesting that this politicization tendency seems greatest in the USA and to a lesser extent the other Anglophone nations.   That may be because for the USA, the Right Wing contains many people who don't like to see any change in their current lifestyle ~ they are resentful of and fearful of the gradual sociological "erosion of privilege" (perceived, if not actual . . . and including a dollop of racism, too).   Such a group is also fertile soil for the propaganda seeds implanted by the overt & covert manipulation from the Fossil Fuel lobby, which aims to turbo-charge all such concerns.

    Not a pretty picture.  Eventually things will get bad enough that more and more voters will press for stronger climate action ~ but this voter activity will not happen fast enough to stop a lot of preventable damage.

    BTW, a few weeks ago, I did catch up with the "Anti-Greta" video by the German girl.  It is not worth seeing.  IIRC it was about 5 minutes long, and contained nothing substantive ~ no factual scientific arguments: just vague rhetoric and complaints that she didn't like being patronized or being called a denier.   Only a fond mother (or a climate denialist) could see any virtue in it.

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  25. Moderators : I note that since the recent "down time" of this website, a double line spacing is appearing between paragraphs.

    Is this intended?

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    Moderator Response:

    [BW] Thanks for letting us know! We'll check it.

  26. DantetnaD @22,
    As someone who tries to expand my awareness and improve my understanding and apply what I learn to try to help develop sustainable improvements for Others including the future of humanity, I see the Anti-Greta as a young actor-activist, potentially brain-washed by a tribe that desires to maintain beliefs and perceptions of status that are understandably harmful and incorrect, unsustainable.

    And what I know is that one of the main attacks on Greta has been claiming that she has been brain-washed by adults and is just being used as an 'actor-activist'.

    And the groups that do that type of thing have a history of trying to accuse others of misleading marketing that they actually are the perpetrators of.

    And it isn't just USA Team Trump. There are the harmful likes of Hungary's Orban - claiming their harmful promotion of selfish nationalism to mask deplorable actions that harm Others is justified because 'People Should be Proud of Their Pats, Those Things they developed a Liking for that everyone can actually understand are harmful unjustified attitudes and actions needing to be corrected'.

    The real problem is indeed a system problem. The developed socioeconomic systems produce undeserving powerful and wealthy people who abuse misleading marketing to Get More Undeserved Winning and resist being corrected, resist losing their undeserved perceptions of superiority relative to Others.

    Correcting the system is required. And that is easily powerfully resisted in many regions where the corrections of the system would be easily understood to reduce undeserved developed perceptions of status and opportunity.

    I also see this where I live in Alberta. The resistance to expanded awareness and improved understanding is Strong among the Fossil Fuel Exporting Dependant portion of the population. The result has been the election of a Authoritarian, nearly police-state (more aggressive legal actions on protesters), leadership desperately doing anything it can get away with to push for more fossil fuel export. That claimed to be Conservative-Libertarian type of leadership is now expressing interest in having Their Government meddle more directly in the marketplace. They suggest that public money should be investing in business interests that investors are choosing to walk away from (a way of using public money to compensate investors for their bad bets). The Federal Government of Canada did this when they bought the Transmountain Pipeline Expansion Project, so the national system is also tainted, not just the more easily tainted Provincial level of Government.

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  27. @MA Rodger it was on 20min.ch, it's one of those quick news sites (lots of garbage on there). 

    I was just astounded by the numbe of people commenting stuff like "Yeah! Finally an anti-Greta, you go girl!". Sigh.

    I'm pretty sure that if Greta was a 30 year old without aspergers (I believe it's what she has, don't quote me on that though), you'd have the same people calling her out on other things to discredit her.

    @Eclectic indeed it is a form of insanity, but I wonder if the root cause isn't also to be found somewhere in the education system. I did not grow up in the US so correct me if I'm wrong, but the fact that in some states creatonism is being taught gives us a hint about this. Not that we don't have our share of negationists over here too though...

    And yes, the other issue is the way our modern society works. We are still immensly dependent on fossil fuels for pretty much everything. The reallity is that there are many powerful and rich people that benefit from this, and they don't like the idea of this getting disrupted. Reallity will hit them at some point, as fossil fuels will get depleted at some point anyway.

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