Can we even talk about climate change?

#1
Hello everyone,

I've just conducted an interview with somatic therapist Kristy Johnsson, called Climate: Anxiety, Alarmism and Denial. I was inspired to do it by all the thoroughly depressing and unproductive conversations on global warming I've either been involved in or witness during my life. Kristy is very concerned about global warming - and I'm not. With this as our foundation, we wanted to see if we could have a productive exchange on this issue. I think we succeeded!

So this isn't so much about climate change as it is about the way we talk about climate change and why that's so hard. If that's interesting to you I'd be very glad to hear the opinions of this forum.


https://deepstateconsciousness.podb...ety-alarmism-and-denial-with-kristy-johnsson/

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-deep-state-consciousness-podcast/id1338867921
 
#2
Richard,
I enjoyed that interview, and I hope that Kirsty is watching this forum, or that you can pass on my thoughts.

Like you, Richard, I come to Climate Change by relating it to my past - which goes back a bit further than yours.

At age 12, I was terrified by the Cuban Missile Crisis. Us children were discussing among ourselves how many days we had left.
I didn't dare talk about it with my parents - it was just too shocking. The awful part about that fear was that there was really no doubt
that what we feared was very real indeed.

My partner and I decided not to have children, and part of the reason was nuclear weapons.

We lived through the almost totally peaceful end of the Cold War - which was amazing - and now we are back in the same mess - weapons of appalling destructive power, ready to fly at any moment.

If I were a US citizen, my number 1 priority in picking a president would relate to this question.

If by some miracle that problem was solved, then I would put preserving the rain forests at number two priority.

In comparison to those issues, Climate Change just seems displacement activity.

Perhaps the other thought I would share, is that you and Kirsty have managed to engage in a calm thoughtful discussion. However by calling one side deniers, those who disagree with CC have been deliberately shut out of the discussion in most media. The BBC for example, decided that since it was claimed that the science was settled, the voice of even established climate scientists are excluded from any discussions. I think many people realise that, and realise that they are being fed just one side of the story.

David
 
#3
Thanks for posting this, Richard. One thing I'll say is that you were talking to a reasonable person, and so you could have a reasonable conversation. There's a group of people who would fall into the "lukewarmer" category, and I would classify myself as one of them. I would also classify Kirsty in the same group. We believe that the climate has been warming, and that some of that may be due to CO2. However, on the lukewarmer spectrum, I see Kirsty leaning towards rather more influence of CO2 than I do.

I've stopped seeing it as a scientific issue. I think it's more one of politics, power and religion. The fact we're losing organised religion doesn't mean that we're losing the religious impulse, which in the formerly mostly Christian West revolves around guilt. In former times, guilt was focussed on personal sin, but as that's waned, it's shifting more towards collective sin. We might not know exactly what we have to feel guilty about, but are looking for some object upon which we can focus guilt, and have increasingly zeroed in on environmental issues.

I'd say that the new "original" sin is perceived as our collective tendency to trash the environment. Because we're in the forefront of technological advance, we see ourselves as being mostly responsible for the problem. However, we forget that if it weren't us, it'd doubtless be someone else, and that although we've affected the environment in deleterious ways, we've also improved a lot of things too.

We've exaggerrated how much we can influence things globally, and become blind to the fact that things aren't nearly as bad as they are perceived. The great barrier reef is actually doing well, so are the polar bears, the glaciers aren't all melting, and the seas are rising at the same rate as they've been doing for quite some time; but if one focusses on the negatives, things seem much worse than they actually are. The real sin may actually be one of hubris, in believing we can have much more of an influence than we do.

The great advantage for the doomsayers is that climate is complex; nobody can definitively say what all the parameters are and how they act, and if some insist that anthropogenic CO2 is paramount, it's very difficult to prove them wrong. In the end, the only proof that could satisfy might well come with the passage of time. If in 10, 20, 30 years things haven't changed as predicted -- may even have started to go in the opposite direction (cooling) -- then the AGW scare will abate and people will have to find some other object on which to focus their guilt.

I see the climate scare as being tied in with identity politics, because that too involves (weaponising) guilt: for being white, for example. It's reversing the hierarchy of elitism: you're most worthy if you're a black female transgender person, slightly less if you're a black female "cis" person, and so on until we get to the bottom of the pile where all the white cis men reside. Worthiness depends on the degree of victimhood, apparently, and of course no white men can possibly be a victim, suffer any kind of injustice or affliction.

Much as I appreciated your chat with Kirsty, I've yet to see any reasonable discussion between people firmly on both sides of the argument. It's not, I think, that those who think it's a lot of fuss about nothing aren't prepared to meet and debate, but that those on the other side aren't. And that as much as anything gives the game away. Why are they afraid to debate? Why are so many of their efforts focussed on actively preventing debate? Could it be that's because they aren't as sure of their convictions as they make out? That at some level they might suspect their arguments don't hold water?

It's the same with the identity politics -- having "safe spaces", preventing contrarians from speaking, doxing people, cancelling them, getting them fired from their jobs, and so on. Guilt is, circuitously, generating intolerance, to the extent that increasingly the intolerant have even started to turn on those who five minutes ago were considered to be in the same group. I can't see it lasting indefinitely; I certainly hope it doesn't.
 

Alex

Administrator
#4
Hello everyone,

I've just conducted an interview with somatic therapist Kristy Johnsson, called Climate: Anxiety, Alarmism and Denial. I was inspired to do it by all the thoroughly depressing and unproductive conversations on global warming I've either been involved in or witness during my life. Kristy is very concerned about global warming - and I'm not. With this as our foundation, we wanted to see if we could have a productive exchange on this issue. I think we succeeded!

So this isn't so much about climate change as it is about the way we talk about climate change and why that's so hard. If that's interesting to you I'd be very glad to hear the opinions of this forum.


https://deepstateconsciousness.podb...ety-alarmism-and-denial-with-kristy-johnsson/

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-deep-state-consciousness-podcast/id1338867921
wow, this is great richard! so unique... so original... new approach to this difficult topic. gets me excited about podcasting and its potential to cover stuff in a way no one else is doing.

Question / challenges
- does the center hold? I love the idea of seeking common ground, but I kind of feel like my friend who gave up on his interfaith meetings because he felt like everyone was in a very subtle but not-so-subtle way to push their own agenda. at some point a good old-fashioned " jane you ignorant s***" style debate may work best:

- if the hijacking of climate science is a conspiracy ( and I guess I'm willing to suspend some doubt even though I believe it's true) then I'm not so sure much of the rest of it matters. so, why isn't this question at the top of everyone's list?
- is global warming really all that complicated? I totally get that there are real scientists who are engaged in highly complex modeling that is way beyond my ability to comprehend, put a lot of the big picture stuff is pretty straightforward:
--- climate-gate was science fraud
--- sea levels have not risen
--- 97% consensus is fake

and

--- we have major species threatening environmental problems beyond global warming.
 
#5
--- climate-gate was science fraud
This is like throwing out the idea of mediumship after finding one cheating medium.
--- sea levels have not risen
Wrong. Even Judith Curry's paper expressly stated they have risen. I pointed that out to you previously.

--- 97% consensus is fake
It’s still a very high %


--- we have major species threatening environmental problems beyond global warming.
So because there is one problem we can't address another? Perhaps the idea of species collapse is a conspiracy. What's the consensus? Where do you get your information?

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/06/the-ends-of-the-world/529545/
 
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#9
To pick up on a couple of the points:

I agree that the label of deniers has been deliberately chosen from propaganda purposes. With that being said, I also believe that a lot of the climate concerned sincerely believe they are being virtuous when they use it. To them, anyone who ignores the obvious truth of global warming is either a corporate shill or deluded. It is best then to have to toleration for them and label them as such. I personally embrace the label as a way of disempowering it.

I appreciate that in Kristy I located the most reasonable and well balanced person I could possibly find to have this discussion with. She is not representative of the more fanatical global warming believer, in the same way I am not representative of someone who has a total mental block regarding any possibility of humans affecting the climate.

This, however, seemed like the logical place to start. I wanted to establish a template which I could use to engage with other, perhaps less well resolved, people than Kristy. So it’s all uphill from here!

The centre ground clear does not hold, when it’s rarely attained it’s quickly lost again. When invited into it, people who want to maintain their positions tend to run away. Positions can be maintained in a polarised argument, but don’t hold up so well in a space of openness and honesty. I don’t think being in the centre means that we can’t ask the most challenging of questions.
 
#16
You really think the organisation that put man on the moon couldn't...
No I don't - however I think that the fact that NASA gets a substantial chunk of its money from investigating CC distorts its conclusions. Remember the scientists who got paid by the tobacco companies to research the consequences of smoking - not surprisingly many of them came to the conclusion that it was harmless. There was, for example, the theory put forward that some people smoked because they had some sort of discomfort/itch in their lungs which would ultimately develop into lung cancer - thus skewing the statistics!

Science only works if the same amount of money flows whatever the results.

David
 
#17
So insignificant is anything that doesn't drown NY?
Well most science works in the domain of real numbers.

A sea level rise of 7-8 inches in 120 years, sounds pretty small to me. I mean if you had a nice house near the coast, would you lose any sleep over that rate of rise?

Lots of things change over time. For example, from Wiki I read,
In the 150 years since the mid-nineteenth century, the average human height in industrialised countries has increased by up to 10 centimetres (3.9 in).
Would that justify a major scare, that we would soon all become so tall that our muscles would not support us?

Part of being in science is to understand that below a certain level, changes may be essentially meaningless (for example, they may reflect changes in the way things were measured), and/or they may may have no consequences.

Part of doing biased science, is to let that judgement be warped by outside influences.

David
 
#18
Well most science works in the domain of real numbers.

A sea level rise of 7-8 inches in 120 years, sounds pretty small to me. I mean if you had a nice house near the coast, would you lose any sleep over that rate of rise?

Lots of things change over time. For example, from Wiki I read,


Would that justify a major scare, that we would soon all become so tall that our muscles would not support us?

Part of being in science is to understand that below a certain level, changes may be essentially meaningless (for example, they may reflect changes in the way things were measured), and/or they may may have no consequences.

Part of doing biased science, is to let that judgement be warped by outside influences.

David

You’re not getting it: I don’t care about any of that.

I could talk about the mean, and the fact that in some areas the rises will be much higher. I could talk about ancient tribes living on low lying islands being wiped out, but frankly they should get with the program and buy a nice beachfront property somewhere else in the world. I could point out my confusion with your analogy with human height.

I could talk about a lot of things, but I don’t care.

What I don’t get is why someone who has apparently been researching this area would write:


--- sea levels have not risen
---
 
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#19
You’re not getting it: I don’t care about any of that.

I could talk about the mean, and the fact that in some areas the rises will be much higher. I could talk about ancient tribes living on low lying islands being wiped out, but frankly they should get with the program and buy a nice beachfront property somewhere else in the world. I could point out my confusion with your analogy with human height.

I could talk about a lot of things, but I don’t care.

What I don’t get is why someone who has apparently been researching this area would write:
I did not write that, so if you are replying to me, it might help to address what I wrote.

However, I think you still don't really get what I mean by science being based on real numbers. Real numbers aren't exact things - and at some level differences just do not matter. The expression "sea levels have not risen" possibly needs the adverb 'significantly' added to it, but on the other hand we talk about other things - such as the inflation rate - being unchanged without adding that adverb, but obviously if you measured them sufficiently finely, you would observe a difference.

David
 
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