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Sun Nov 10, 2019, 02:56 AM

Climate change deniers' new battle front attacked


Climate change deniers’ new battle front attacked

Robin McKie Science editor

Sat 9 Nov 2019 19.02 GMT Last modified on Sat 9 Nov 2019 20.35 GMT

The battle between climate change deniers and the environment movement has entered a new, pernicious phase. That is the stark warning of one of the world’s leading climate experts, Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University.

Mann told the Observer that although flat rejection of global warming was becoming increasingly hard to maintain in the face of mounting evidence, this did not mean climate change deniers were giving up the fight.

“First of all, there is an attempt being made by them to deflect attention away from finding policy solutions to global warming towards promoting individual behaviour changes that affect people’s diets, travel choices and other personal behaviour,” said Mann. “This is a deflection campaign and a lot of well-meaning people have been taken in by it.”

Mann stressed that individual actions – eating less meat or avoiding air travel – were important in the battle against global warming. However, they should be seen as additional ways to combat global warming rather than as a substitute for policy reform.

“We should also be aware how the forces of denial are exploiting the lifestyle change movement to get their supporters to argue with each other. It takes pressure off attempts to regulate the fossil fuel industry. This approach is a softer form of denial and in many ways it is more pernicious.”

Over the past 25 years Mann has played a key role in establishing that rising fossil fuel emissions and increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are heating the planet at a worrying rate. He was also involved in the 2009 Climategate affair in which thousands of emails – many to and from Mann – were hacked from the University of East Anglia’s [UEA] Climate Research Unit. Climategate marks its 10th anniversary this month. At the time, deniers on both sides of the Atlantic claimed the emails from UEA showed climate scientists had been fiddling their data, claims that may have contributed towards delay in the implementation of measures to tackle climate change over the next decade, say observers.

Subsequent inquiries found no evidence of any misbehaviour by researchers, however. The denial machine lost a lot of its credibility as a result, added Mann, and there has been a gradual rise in public acceptance of the idea of global warming.

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Reply Climate change deniers' new battle front attacked (Original post)
nitpicker Sunday OP
Mickju Sunday #1
The_jackalope Sunday #2
Boomer Sunday #3

Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 04:28 PM

1. The deniers were wrong in 2009 and still are.

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Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 05:35 PM

2. Lifestyle changes are too small, and policy changes are unlikely

Effective policy changes - like banning internal combustion engines and coal power, quintupling the price of natural gas, and one-child limits - will be resisted ferociously at the ballot box.

Ain't no way out of the circus at the end of the world as we know it.

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Response to The_jackalope (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 06:24 PM

3. Exactly. When people say they want climate change action...

They're envisioning modest changes that may incur a little virtuous sacrifice -- like giving up straws or buying solar panels -- but nothing that completely upends their lives.

Realistically, no one will agree to the complete dismantling of our transportation and supply distribution systems and the destabilizing of our financial system. No matter how dire the future, people will fight to feed and clothe their children today, warm their house today. The demands of right now will always outweigh the demands of tomorrow.

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