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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  2013 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Looming Warming Spurt Could Reshape Climate Debate

It's not the first I've heard of it; I'm pretty sure the cyclical oscillation of ocean temperatures even makes it into An Inconvenient Truth but it isn't really focused on as more than another factor that hides global temperature increases. So from a "climate skeptic" standpoint it becomes just another "excuse" as to why this winter is extra-snowy or whatever because unfortunately, climate models are difficult to adequately explain in the 11 seconds CBS This Morning is willing to give over to background science prior to making two talking heads fight.

I think it's fair to say that most climate "skeptics" are older. They probably remember how the narrative in the late '70s/early '80s was that we needed to prepare for the coming ice age and that we'd all die in a hail of acid rain. The first time I heard about "the Greenhouse Effect" it was Weekly Reader letting me know how I'd die when all the CFCs caused a runaway albedo crisis and turned Earth into Venus in my lifetime. All this, of course, was probably to temper the fact that Reagan was busy calling the Soviets "the evil empire" and talking about putting death rays in space so really, death of any sort of natural causes was preferable.

I guess this is my cynic's way of saying "those people that need to be convinced? They need something that can be understood and unequivocally demonstrated in ten seconds or less or they'll just growl like old people."

crafty  ·  2013 days ago  ·  link  ·  

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.