Just so you know – exponential environmental rhetoric growth turns into a joke right about…well, some time ago. Saving the planet just got a lot harder
It sucks sounding like a broken record, but sometimes a message bears repeating. In this instance, it needs to be heard, because the world is being stampeded towards a cliff. That’s not good. So we’re going to look at it again.
The message, of course, is a reference to climate change news coverage. The news narrative is driving people into three main camps: those who are fully engaged and orchestrating the messaging; those who are fully engaged and think the whole thing is a crock; and the vast majority in the middle who do care about the environment but care more about what to make for dinner or what to do for a vacation or how much their feet hurt.
If any change is to be made in our GHG emission trajectory, it is the latter group that needs to change its ways. To get that to happen is beyond challenging, and will probably require a completely different tack, because the current one has crossed the Rubicon. But rather than achieving its goals, it has suffered the most ignominious of fates – it has become a meme.
A watchful Twitter combatant decided to compile a list of all the headlines designed to induce shock and fear about how fast the world is warming. The following jurisdictions, according to headlines in the major news outlets, are warming faster than the global average: Switzerland, Adirondacks, Russia, Britain, Canada, Korean Peninsula, Great Lakes, Singapore, Himalayas, Finland, Europe, Spain, Iceland, Norway, the Red Sea, Lake Tahoe, Australia, China, Northern Canada (separate article/findings), Mongolia, West Antarctica, “2/3rds of 30 African Countries”, Tibet, “deserts” (according to National Geographic), Arizona, etc etc. As this thread circulated on the web, there was an eerie silence from the climate activist crowd – spectacularly unusual on Twitter – until a few popped up to say that this was all expected, that land temperatures increase faster than water, north increases faster than mid latitudes, etc. The Twitter wag then summoned forth more headlines from the frontlines, cataloguing a further batch of regions that were growing faster than average: Japanese waters, Pacific Ocean (warming 15x faster than previously thought), Gulf of Maine, Indian Ocean (warming faster than other oceans), and the Mediterranean. Then silence reigned supreme once more.
The evermore desensitizing narrative continues to reach new levels. In one study about how oceans have been found to be warming faster than had previously thought, a quoted academic is, believe it or not, relieved to hear that. ‘ “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, published in 2013, showed that leading climate change models seemed to predict a much faster increase in ocean heat content over the last 30 years than was seen in observations,” Hausfather said. “That was a problem… The fact that these corrected records now do agree with climate models is encouraging in that is removes an area of big uncertainty that we previously had,” he said.’ [Emphasis added, for obvious reasons]
Consider for a second the stupefying position of this scientist that is “relieved” to find out that the ocean was warming faster than previously thought, because it validated his model. This chap, and tens of thousands of others, have been behind a global tidal wave of information designed to change human behaviour to prevent potential or inevitable climate catastrophe. Is it not bizarre in the extreme to hear that a scientist is relieved to hear that things are much worse than we thought? In other words, this scientist was more concerned for the veracity of his model than he was for a warming planet. He said so. If his overarching concern was the well-being of humanity, he would have been ecstatic to know that things were better than he’d feared.
The public isn’t as stupid as most people assert. What they are is overwhelmed with life in the current hyperkinetic world full of options, decisions, fears, and an unreliable torrent of mass-market information designed primarily to either get our money, entertain us, or scare us. When it all becomes too much, we forget the first and third and seek solace in the second.
Climate change discourse has become so pervasive and escalating and forceful that it is now being tuned out. We have been overwhelmed with messages of fear and headlines such as above, and it does not take a rocket scientist to start piecing all this together with suspicion.
And then there’s one other headline that stands out among the rest: “World energy demand in 2018 rose by decade-high 2.3%” – including increased demand for all three fossil fuels.
Does anyone REALLY want to do anything about reducing global emissions? Because it sure doesn’t look like it.