Disillusioned Discordian

Bursting the bubble on climatic fear mongering
May 15, 2007, 9:41 am
Filed under: Current Affairs, Environment

At last someone talks some sense, Professor Mike Hulme will be talking about climate change at a meeting addressed to the British Association for the Advancement of Science. His argument is one which lampoons the media’s handling of climate change stories. With their desire to sell newspapers they basically hype any story about the environment up into an end of the world type scenario. There are plenty of climate change activists who also promote this type of attitude. When I was down in
Brighton there was a guy named Graham Ennis who regular made a nuisance of himself via a ‘micro institute’ (read made up pseudo-science organization acting as platform for paranoid conspiracy politics). This chap would go on about climate change, arguing it would definitely result in a  10 Meter storm surge washing away local housing developments he took personal objection to (therefore giving him an argument why they shouldn’t be built). When you bear in mind that this event was  A actualy rather hard to predict and in fact quite unlikely;  B In an area with quite ample and pre-exisitng sea defences and C The plot allready had existing buildings on it then it becomes a prime example of the an alramist moron at work. This damages positive change by providing ammunition and a straw man arguments for climate skeptics to attack.

Anyway back to the point climate change needs to be tackled in nice manageable bite-sized chunks. We also need to feel empowered to change if we are going to mange it. I see global warming as a problem that could potential unite mankind with a common goal. It’s a shame therefore it’s always painted with such a gloom and doom negativity. Go on journalist write some uplifting stories about how green community action is brining people together and making the world better.


4 Comments so far
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I’m not sure what your position is on global warming. I infer that you think its real but hyped? Do you feel it to be grossly exaggerated? I certainly agree The Day After Tomorrow stuff is a bit camp – but the argument at the time was that it got peoples attention even if the science was a bit shaky.

Perhaps a modicum of white propaganda for the Daily Mirror audience is not so bad?

Comment by Geeklawyer

Don’t people need to be shocked into doing something though? People won’t change if they don’t think something major is going to happen. The effects of climate change will be really bad so it’s not like there is loads of exaggeration.

Comment by John

You are correct in your inference. The wealth of evidence shows a trend in warming. I suspect that the Daily Mail’s readership can only absorb information if it’s written in an alarmist style. Why else would they read it?
The problem arises when people talk about the predictive negative impacts of global warming in terms of facts or certainties. For instance people stating arbitrary sea level rises of X amount. Anyone who knows about predictive forecasting will be able to tell you that X is a predictive outcome and that there are too many variables to state X as gospel.
I think for instance that sea levels probably will rise, but mostly from thermal expansion of the oceans rather than the ice caps melting. The rise caused by melting of the ice caps also has to be mitigated against the increased precipitation in the form of snow (leading to more ice) that increased temperatures at the poles will create.
Ultimately when you talk about our planets future in such negative terms you forget the potential we have to impact and change the environment. If X is set then what can we do about it? We might well have needed a bit of fear to get people’s attention, but now the message should be one of what difference we can make. Highlight the variables that will affect the outcome, identify how we as individuals and communities can change these variables and then demonstrate what change this would have.

Comment by moon23

Ennis also organized a loony anti-gravity conference in Brighton and invited loonies such as the one who ‘verified/ Uri Geller. Ennis also wrote articles for the late and unlamented UFO Magazine. In one of them, he claimed that there are trees (nay forests) on Mars!

Comment by arthur dent

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