What's the strategy to prevent Covid-type denial when the climate change fight gets serious?

Unless you think that carbon levels play no part in climate change AND that human-caused carbon does not contribute to climate change, what does it matter if it is ALL due to carbon levels or only partly due to carbon levels? Are you afraid that if we reduce carbon levels too much too fast, we’ll enter a negative-carbon level and it’ll be Snowpiercer-time, with the earth all frozen around us?

What I am afraid of is too much emphasis on getting rid of carbon fuels with no replacement or alternate strategies.

I agree. I think measures taken to fight climate-change may still be acceptable to a minority of conservatives (who, if they cross the aisle, could greatly help get legislation passed) if liberals can stay disciplined and not attach all sorts of unrelated riders to the cause - keep it focused purely on climate change. But the moment the stop-climate-change train begins to take on unsavory political passengers, any help from the right is probably gone.

You are quitting the question before the answer is even proposed. Don’t worry about the replacement or alternate strategy: the knife is cutting our throats.

Do you agree we should stop cutting our own throats?

As the example of Newt showed, it is the conservatives that needed that discipline. Also, anyone checking the Frontline report can see the unsavory groups that oppose change who are controlling the conservatives now.

Nice thought but Sam_Stone’s objections are virtually all straw, straw that HoneyBadger eagerly clutches as he whistles past the graveyard. Find me some conservative who have crossed the aisle and voted for some of the legislation and I’ll worry about losing them.


That is my impression, too. Don’t even address the real problems until the hated opposition has jumped through an unknown number of hoops, and in the meantime those real problems grow and grow and grow…

I would love to see the real problems addressed. Addressed might mean cutting back, mitigation strategies, adaptive strategies, it’s a huge problem that will only be made worse by putting too much pressure on the product rather than effective means of lowering dependency along with everything else we will be dealing with. The aggressive nature in a lot of these posts is not even necessary, that is simply a strategy to suppress questions.

Please. It took half a century just to convince the right that manmade climate change is real.

As the “climate of doubt” report from Frontline showed, in reality the real suppression has taken place against Republicans that wanted to do something about it.

BOB INGLIS (R), Fmr. Congressman, South Carolina: You know, I’m pretty conservative fellow. I got a 93 American Conservative Union rating, 100 percent Christian Coalition, 100 percent National Right to Life, A with the NRA, zero with the ADA, Americans for Democratic Action, a liberal group, and 23 by some mistake with the AFL-CIO. I demand a recount. I wanted a zero.

JOHN HOCKENBERRY: But Inglis does accept the scientific consensus on global warming and favors legislation to curb the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere. He faced a Tea Party rebellion in his primary.

BOB INGLIS: I had a big tent gathering in Spartanberg County, a bunch of Republicans underneath a great big tent. Comes a question to me, “Yes or no, do you believe in human causation on climate change?” Well, I had a bad habit of answering questions, so I said yes. Boo, hiss, comes the crowd. I was blasted out from underneath the tent. And so— I mean, there were a couple of hundred, 300 people there. I mean, it was intense.

JOHN HOCKENBERRY: He was pounded in commercials and on talk radio.

BOB INGLIS: It became an oft-repeated theme on talk radio, and that is a major source of information, of course, for Republican primary voters. They were hearing, “Inglis has left the reservation. He’s over there somewhere with Al Gore.”

So how are things around here?

STORE OWNER: Slow. The economy’s way off and—

BOB INGLIS: When you get the financial collapse going, that’s what made it possible for some well-spent money to blow doubt into the science because, you know, the bankers failed us, the federal government is failing us, it’s spending too much money, and these scientists who are funded by that federal government, they’re probably in it, too. And besides, they’re godless liberals.

JOHN HOCKENBERRY: Inglis was defeated.

MYRON EBELL, Competitive Enterprise Institute: Bob Inglis was defeated in a Republican primary 79 to 21 percent. Now, how many times has an incumbent who isn’t in prison or facing a prison sentence lost his own primary by 79 to 21 percent? This was overwhelming. But what’s happened is—

JOHN HOCKENBERRY: [ on camera ] The smile on your face suggests, “Man, we won one.”

MYRON EBELL: Of course we won one!

Rep. BOB INGLIS: We’re on the record. And our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren are going to read—

JOHN HOCKENBERRY: This climate hearing in the lame duck Congress was Inglis’s last.

Rep. BOB INGLIS: Your child is sick, 98 doctors say treat him this way, two say, “No, this other is the way to go.” I’ll go with the two. You’re taking a big risk with those kids.

What “questions” do you have about COVID? About vaccines?

Yeah. If a denier was drowning in his beachfront house, his last words would be “It’s only weather!”

Addressing climate change DOES mean “cutting back, mitigation strategies, adaptive strategies” and more; there’s no question that we cannot continue on this path or we will slice our own necks open. Do you doubt that? Then what questions are you asking, exactly?

Very likely, denialism was caused by problems like what happened with swine flu in 1976, and that’s been worsened by a combination of exceptionalism, issues like gain of function research involving the U.S., China, and other countries, and increased vectors for the spread of disease due to higher economic activity.

That means the problem isn’t only preventing denial but preventing problems that are denied or acknowledged, and doing so will require a significant decrease in economic activity, including consumption.

Unfortunately, that’s not acceptable for most people worldwide because they need (and want) to earn more money to buy necessities (and to get “nice things”).

Cross your fingers and hope they can’t sabotage things.

China and Europe will continue to take climate change more seriously. In the US, states are passing reforms to be carbon neutral. I think over a dozen states that probably make up 1/3 of the country have passed climate change legislation.

What’ll happen due to this is renewables will get cheaper than fossil fuels to the point where even diehard conservatives invest in them just for the financial benefit. Don’t know how it’ll affect agriculture or transportation though. Hopefully the market for low carbon technology is so large that the white nationalists are forced along simply by economics.

Wind and solar are already cheaper than fossil fuels. However the grid and storage technology will need to be upgraded to handle wind and solar making up a large percentage.

Nuclear hopefully will go down in price with modular nuclear technologies.

As far as cars, electric cars are coming along nicely. Cars can easily get 200-300 mile range, and with newer technologies maybe they’ll handle 500 mile ranges. I don’t know if other technologies are really workable like hydrogen.

I feel like the technology is more or less where it needs to be. But electricity and transportation are only part of the issue. Agriculture and heavy industry also need to be reformed.

But overall, if grid and storage technology improve we should be able to handle a grid powered by nuclear, hydro, wind and solar.

I feel like the 2030s is when alternative fuels will really explode and become mainstream. The 2010s seem like the decade when they got a foothold, and maybe the 2020s will be when the bugs are worked out and the prices decline to well below fossil fuels.

Nothing about that was pointed out by Frontline.

The main reason for the denial is really about powerful interests seeding doubt, the fossil fuel industry and misguided defenders of unsustainable profits learned well about how the Tobacco industry turned denial of harmful effects into an art form.

The goal of the Tobacco Strategy is to create doubt about the causal link to protect the interests of incumbents.

Millions of pages of documents released during tobacco litigation demonstrate these links. They show the crucial role that scientists played in sowing doubt about the links between smoking and health risks. These documents— which have scarcely been studied except by lawyers and a handful of academics— also show that the same strategy was applied not only to global warming, but to a laundry list of environmental and health concerns, including asbestos, secondhand smoke, acid rain, and the ozone hole.

Interestingly, not only are the tactics the same when it comes to Global Warming, but so are the people.

They used their scientific credentials to present themselves as authorities, and they used their authority to try to discredit any science they didn’t like.

Over the course of more than twenty years, these men did almost no original scientific research on any of the issues on which they weighed in. Once they had been prominent researchers, but by the time they turned to the topics of our story, they were mostly attacking the work and the reputations of others. In fact, on every issue, they were on the wrong side of the scientific consensus. Smoking does kill— both directly and indirectly. Pollution does cause acid rain. Volcanoes are not the cause of the ozone hole. Our seas are rising and our glaciers are melting because of the mounting effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, produced by burning fossil fuels. Yet, for years the press quoted these men as experts, and politicians listened to them, using their claims as justification for inaction.

To be fair, the right also believe that the left are trying to trick them into not getting vaccinated by getting them that they should get vaccinated.

There’s been a rapidly widening gulf between what the right believe the left are doing and what the left are actually doing for a long time, and it is not the left’s fault that the right keep choosing their preferred manufactured narratives over reality. The deniers are responsible for their own actions and beliefs; indeed, trying to convince such people to reconsider their unrealistic beliefs often leads to those beliefs becoming more entrenched.

You already researched this topic and failed to account for thermal expansion, a concept covered in high school chemistry classes. You’re not a climatologist, or an oceanographer, you don’t have a PhD, your work isn’t going to be peer reviewed by a hundred other PhD’s.

Why trust your work more than theirs?

This is an enormous issue in the climate change fight, or the covid fight. People who think their personal research is more reliable than the scientific community, when they have no training, or little training in research.

Exactly this. There’s a lot of talk about “doing your research”, which usually consists of consuming the crap fed by algorithms that are set for maximizing views, not for disseminating knowledge and/or facts. We have a word for that, it’s called a rabbit hole. In Dutch we call it the fabeltjesfuik, or fairytale trap in English. A clear cut viewpoint, preferrably simple and unambiguous, is way more attractive than the messy, complicated reality of real science. So people choose to believe the crap because it pretends to have answers.