Hop-on or Hop-off the Climate Change Bus!

Sometimes the best way to help people accept differences of opinion is to use an analogy that everyone can understand and possibly agree with.

Since Climate Change is one of these divisive issues, let’s pretend it is two Hop-On Hop-Off Buses on different routes and look at the stops each has made to get to today.

(An afterthought: it has been pointed out to me (in the comments below) that this post has a derisive slant and that it is highly unlikely that the varying schools of thought will agree on much of anything. I agree completely that I present politicians, mass media, alarmists and extremists in an unfavourable light. I apologize in advance if I offend you, but I’m not going to rewrite the post, so let the chips fall where they may.)

Bus One, Stop 1, in modern times, was at a location called Global Cooling.  Global average temperatures cooled by about 0.2°C after 1940 and remained low until 1975. It is believed this was caused by a rise in aerosols in the atmosphere released by industry and a number of volcanic eruptions.

Bus One, Stop 2 was at a location called Global Warming.  That was the first place many people, scientists for sure, boarded. There is general agreement that the Earth’s surface temperature has risen by .8 degrees Celsius or 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. Scientists believe global warming has been caused by both human activities (such as the burning of fossil fuels and the clearing of forests) and natural causes.

Bus One, Stop 3 is at the location called Climate Change (the scientific version), which can be changes in Long-term averages of daily weather and/or Short and long term change caused by El Niño (the warm phase of ENSO); La Niña (the cold phase of ENSO); volcanic eruptions; solar radiation; earth’s orbital changes; continental drift; seasonal changes; and arctic oscillation.

Bus Two, Stop 1 is a bus that was called into service by people who didn’t think Bus One went far enough or fast enough. This bus stop is called Climate Change  (the political version) and now Climate Emergency. It is a popular boarding place for politicians and the mass media. Their goal is to create fear in the general population, stop the use of fossil-fuels and facilitate the redistribution of wealth.

Fear mongering is the deliberate use of fear based tactics including exaggeration and continuous repetition to alter the perception of the public in order to achieve a desired outcome.
– Wikipedia –

Bus Two, Stop 2 is at a location called Severe Weather Events. This is where  people board if they have been led to believe that weather is the same thing as climate and that storms, fires, hurricanes, floods, cold weather, hot weather, rain, and drought are all caused by Climate Change.

Sadly, this is also the Stop of Deception for two reasons: Weather isn’t Climate and Climate Change hasn’t, so far, caused extreme weather events.

Good weather, bad weather – these are the conditions of the atmosphere  over a short period of time – minutes to months. They are not Climate, which is how the atmosphere has behaved over relatively long periods of time – 30 years or more.

If you have unlimited time and patience, read the recently released IPCC -SR15  Chapter 3 Impacts, (the observed sections) which state that most of the actual ‘observed changes’ of floods, hurricanes, monsoons, etc were “non-statistically significant”.  In other words, extreme weather events cannot yet be linked to Climate Change.

Pragmatic Environmentalists will happily verify this. They produce data, charts and graphs that show that today’s extreme weather event is usually not so extreme if you look at historical records.

Bus Two, Stop 3 is popular with Climate Alarmists or Extremists – people who believe Climate Change is an existential threat (a threat to human existence that could cause human extinction or permanently and drastically curtail humanity’s potential). These people sometimes demonize opinions or facts that are contrary to their beliefs and some have suggested that ‘Climate Deniers’ should lose their jobs, go to prison, or be killed.

Bus One, Stop 4 is home base for Climate Realists. They are skeptical of some of the claims made by government, mass media, alarmists and extremists. They believe Climate Science is rapidly changing and that humans will figure out ways to both respond to and adapt to Climate Change in a strategic, thoughtful and fact based manner that doesn’t denigrate or demonize anyone.

To be clear, no particular absolute global temperature provides a risk to society, it is the change in temperature compared to what we’ve been used to that matters.
– Real Climate.org –

Last but not least – think about the vast difference between the climate of the Middle East and the climate of Canada. People are extremely adaptable… and think about a wider range of solutions than those presented by a single special interest group.

Interesting further Reading: Politics Disguised as Science: When to Doubt a Scientific ‘Consensus’

What Say You – are you on Bus One, Bus Two or do you hop-on and hop-off both of them?

Opinion Dressed Up in ‘News’ Clothes

The QuipperyWhat we used to call the ‘News‘ isn’t really news anymore, is it!? Often it is simply ‘Opinion‘ dressed up in its ‘news’ clothes… and there is so much of it. It is hard not to be overwhelmed with the volume of information that you might have to digest in order to make a decision about something.

This is why people switch to the default mode –  ‘Confirmation Bias’. It makes life so much simpler. You can simply choose to read opinions that support what you’ve come to believe, and ignore the rest.

Terry Pratchett calls this type of ‘news’ – ‘olds’:

In short, what people think they want is news, but what they really crave is olds… Not news but olds, telling people that what they think they already know is true.
– Terry Pratchett; from the novel The Truth –

Are you Stuck in the Olds?

There is a wealth of information on the internet that can help you to explore fact based arguments that might take you beyond where your bias has parked you. Unfortunately, you have to dig pretty deep sometimes to find the information that supports a narrative that opposes the politically ‘correct’ arguments of the day.

The News is Worse but the World is Better

In the video that follows, Steven Pinker, Author and Harvard Professor discusses the basic paradox – news today seems worse than ever – but based on a number of key metrics, the world is better than it’s ever been. Pinker explores the data and makes the case for how can we tackle the world’s problems while not drowning in negativity.

Let’s explore bias.

What controversial issue do you feel strongly about? Would you be willing to seek out information that contrasted with your belief?

 

Differing Opinions, Honest Conversations

Fannie Flagg’s book, ‘Standing in the Rainbow’, was published in 2002. One of the central characters is a politician who appealed to a similar electorate as President Trump did – people who felt powerless and voiceless.

One of her characters spoke for marginalized older white men when he said:

What bothered him and other men his age and older was that the things that they had been willing to die for were no longer appreciated. Everything he had believed in was now the butt of jokes made by a bunch of smarty-assed late night-TV so-called comedians making a salary you could support a small country with. All he heard was people saying how bad we were, how corrupt we had been, and how terrible white men were… He had never knowingly been mean or unfair to another human being in his life. Now it seems he was the oppressor, responsible for every bad thing that have ever happened in the history of the world.
– Fannie Flagg, Standing in the Rainbow –

While the postmodernist has valid points that sexism and racism are the causes of many disparities, does it mean  that the way to balance those disparities is by assigning a blanket blame on a large part of the population for the deeds of a few?

We should not be teaching our students the following lesson: “He called you a racist name. That victimizes you.” That lesson says, first, that you should judge your skin color to be significant to your identity and, secondly, that other people’s opinions about your skin color should be significant to you. Only if you accept both of those premises are you going to feel victimized by someone’s saying something about your skin color.
– Stephen Hicks –

It is election year in Canada. I hope voters will exercise decision-making power in an informed manner. The only way they can do so is if there is lots of discussion and vigorous debate between individuals who accept that the individual is not the group they have been assigned to.

In this video, Ben Shapiro interviews Dave Rubin. They discuss identity politics, online censorship and the value of open and honest conversation between individuals who have differing opinions.