Perhaps we would listen to those trying to warn us of the dangers of global warming if they didn’t so exaggerate their own take on the subject. They write (in this case the editorial board of the Times) as if their positions regarding global warming were the only valid ones, that there wasn’t another one worth considering.
They also write as if they knew just what disastrous effects global warming would have on our lives. They don’t of course, they can’t.
It may be that most of all by their unwarranted certainty regarding the subject they turn off the people they would persuade. The intricacies, not to mention the long term effects of global warming, are a bit like the weather and currency fluctuations. These subjects are all without certainty, and so far they have escaped our attempts to model them and thereby predict what’s coming.
But that which really turns me off in the Times editorial, is their language, the language of too many of those who speak about global warming, beginning with Al Gore. Their language is the language of Chicken Little, although this time it’s not the sky that is falling but the surface temperatures and seas that are rising and bringing with them multiple disasters if we don’t take action immediately to lower carbon admissions into the atmosphere. The sky is falling has become the sea is rising.
Now to show you what I mean here are a few excerpts taken from the Times editorial, Running Out of Time, with my own underlinings of the most blatant examples of this scare language.
But if the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report is to be taken seriously, as it should be, the Paris meeting may well be the world’s last, best chance to get a grip on a problem that, absent urgent action over the next decade, could spin out of control.
…profound effects were already being felt around the world, including mounting damage to coral reefs, shrinking glaciers and more persistent droughts, and warned of worse to come — rising seas, species loss and dwindling agricultural yields.
This places in serious jeopardy the emissions target agreed upon in Rio to limit warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial level. Beyond that increase, the world could face truly alarming consequences.
The world has only about 15 years left in which to begin to bend the emissions curve downward. Otherwise, the costs of last-minute fixes will be overwhelming. “We cannot afford to lose another decade,” says Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and co-chairman of the committee that wrote the report. “If we lose another decade, it becomes extremely costly to achieve climate stabilization.”
All this (ramping up nuclear energy, phasing out coal-fired plants in favor of cleaner natural gas … vastly increasing renewable sources like wind and solar) will require a huge shift in investment, both private and public, from fossil fuels.
(Now this last statement, “a huge shift in investment from fossil fuels,” may be the principal reason why the global warming alarmists are not listened to.)
The Editorial Board concludes this way:
However compelling the science, global warming has not generated the kind of public anxiety and bottom-up demand for change that helped win the big fights for cleaner air and water in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Well, why is that? Why haven’t they reached the public, why haven’t they generated “public anxiety”? Again I say, it’s their language. No more did Chicken Little reach the other animals of the courtyard with her statement that the sky was falling. (Now as I say that, is that what happened? Or did she reach them, and was she believed?)
Why can’t the thousands, tens of thousands of scientists who believe in global warming speak up themselves, using language appropriate to their real knowledge of the rising levels of CO2 and the real effects that rising temperatures as well as rising sea levels might actually have on our lives?
Well, then people might start to listen. We’re told that the scientists are in agreement about global warming, but for the most part we hear little or nothing directly from them about the details. And, as they say, the devil (of global warming) is in the details.
Finally, if their language was toned down, the world might begin to listen and the world’s nations might even take some reasonable steps to develop energy sources other than fossil fuels, steps that wouldn’t put half their populations out of work and thereby keeping them from possessing a reasonable share of the wealth of the developed world. (Ok, in that last sentence, when I said, “half their populations out of work,” this was my own bit of Chicken Little.)