Climate change skeptics

It is easy to be among the climate change skeptics.

We all dislike change, especially when we perceive it to be bad. Denial is an emotional strategy that works to avoid the feelings we have about change and maybe even convince ourselves that things can stay the same.

We also like to think that we form our beliefs based on evidence.

And, for the most part, climate change evidence is not convincing enough.

Plus most of the climate change effects have not hurt us yet, so why be concerned.

So we can comfortably be skeptical.

Believers in climate change, that now includes most of the mainstream science community, dismiss climate change sceptics as cranks, goons, ultra-conservatives or just plain nuts.

But it is unwise to dismiss alternative views out of hand. Just as taking on the next new idea as truth without some critical thought is risky.

Balance is important.

Yet the standout feature of the climate change debate has been that it lacks balance.

Climate change deniers are adamant that it is all a myth.

Believers tend to stretch the evidence towards the fear and panic of climate catastrophe to help back themselves.

As with most polarized arguments, the truth is often between the extremes.

Real climate change skeptics

This naysaying is not the true meaning of skepticism.

Skeptics just need to be convinced. They hold off on making a judgement for or against until they are convinced, ideally through logic and evidence. And this is good.

Judges are skeptics, so are medics and scientists. If these people jumped to conclusions many costly mistakes would be made. Instead they acquire and weigh up the facts before making a decision one way or the other.

This is the same for climate change and applies to those who remain undecided on climate change itself or the more common case of skepticism over anthropogenic climate change.

Check out this ezine@rticle on the value of skeptics in the climate change debate | Why we need climate change skeptics

The conundrum

It is important to remember what the climate change issue forces us to consider. The important things are:

  • that we are many
  • that our resource needs are great and growing rapidly
  • that we use natural resources without much thought for the consequences
  • the earth has a finite size, so natural resources are finite
  • our use of natural resources compromises the ability of natural systems to regenerate and renew those resources

All this means that the message of the climate change skeptics is important.

We should question not just the reality of climate change but what it means for the decisions that we take.

This does not mean we must all become deniers, just that we must be smart about what climate change means and what we should do about it.

It would help if we used the emotional energy created from opposing views to really address the issues that are at the heart of the disagreement:

  • unfettered use of resources
  • our economic systems
  • personal freedom
  • change happens

But these are hard issues, wicked even.

So hard that they are taboo.

Instead we invest heavily in arguments about the cause of climate change, deny that we have triggered it or claim it is a catastrophe so that we can avoid paying attention to the solutions.

More reading from CCW

Environmental Issues for Real by Dr J. Mark Dangerfield looks at some of the obvious, and some of the not so obvious, challenges for a growing human population living as we do in a finite world.

Only this time it's not about the impending disasters or the guilt or the blame.

This time, it’s 10 brief essays that are about the bigger picture. In less than an hour you could glimpse something different, a view that we can only see when we take a fresh look.

Download your copy at Smashwords

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