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crafty  ·  2013 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Looming Warming Spurt Could Reshape Climate Debate

Well, I have to be honest, I don't think I've ever seen An Inconvenient Truth. I always just assumed the gist was "global warming is a thing, 'mmkay" and recently I thought it must be too dated to even bother watching, but I guess not.

To me, I see several issues; on one hand, we're burning fossilized plant and animal matter at rate and scale which is having a measurable impact on the composition of the atmosphere, on the other hand, the climate is such a complex system if we wait until every minutia of weather is universally agreed upon, explained, and understood by every scientist, not to mention every John, Joe and Sally, as a species, we sill sit here and watch the ecosystem we depend on collapse around us. Combine that with the "sky is falling!" crowd which sees a doomsday around every corner (and they deserve to be tempered with reasonable skepticism) but I think we should be mindful that eventually, given enough time, the sky really will fall. Business as usual works great if you've been riding the gravy train for a long time and you're going to be checking out soon, but if policy makers are too busy shoveling coal into that gravy train to look up and realize we need to switch tracks, our future (or maybe just my future, considering you're a little older than me) is going to suck a little (or a lot) harder than it needs to. I suppose maybe they don't need to be convinced, they just need to be pushed off the train.

The thing is, being convinced of something is different than really understanding something. I'm convinced gravity is a thing, despite the fact that I may not understand why gravity is a thing. I think the author hints at that a little:

    “There have been a number of studies that have shown that some people will change their views of climate change based on extreme weather,” Leiserowitz said. “It’s not enough to simply experience a heat wave — it then needs to be contextualized. It needs to be interpreted by thought leaders and trusted people in a community and by the media and scientists saying, ‘This is an indication of global warming.’”

It sounds like we just need better propaganda, not in the sense that the masses become educated, but so that the masses become convinced. Of course, I'm not really clear on the correlation between who's in control of mass media propaganda, what public opinion is, and what the actions of policy makers are.