On Resistance to and Denial of the Science of Climate Change
"Remember and then forget again. Climate change is like that; it's hard to keep it in your head for very long. We engage in this this odd form of on-again-off-again ecological amnesia for perfectly rational reasons. We deny because we fear that letting in the full reality of this crisis will change everything. And we are right."
Naomi Klein, 'This Changes Everything, Capitalism vs. The Climate' (p. 4)
It seems the first reaction we humans have to any sort of crisis is to tell a comforting story that bad things will soon go away. We seem to reflexively double-down on excuses that put us in a catatonic state of unresponsiveness.
Even now in BC when the sun and moon are obscured by the smoke of hundreds of forest fires I hear people saying it has nothing to do with climate change because these fires are 'human caused'. Actually, one might reasonably say that the climate change conditions that give rise to forest fires are indeed mostly if not entirely human caused!
However, you would think that when the crisis is an existential one happening on a global scale we would finally wake up and smell the planet burning. In the last few months of doing research I've discovered that many have indeed woken up to the reality and are doing some very positive and creative things to meet and mitigate the climate crisis.
But resistance to the truth and reality of human caused climate change abounds. I've summarized the 6 most common 'reasons' appealed to by those who argue that we should not be all that worried. I provide only a small portion of the abundant repudiating evidence and argument...
1. Climate science does not conclusively prove that human caused climate change is happening. Completely wrong:
2. Climate change is happening but it is "natural" and really nothing to worry about
Completely wrong, verging on lunacy: http://www.climatecentral.org/library/faqs/how_do_we_know_it_is_not_a_natural_cycle)
3. Climate change is happening, but in the end it will be good for us. After all, what's wrong with a couple extra days at the beach?
Pathological form of wishfull thinking: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/wait-why-climate-change-bad-thing
4. Humans are very clever so let's not worry: climate change will be solved by technology. Modernist techno-myth or--the last propagandistic refuge of neoliberal advocates of unlimited growth as a means of deflecting from fundamental social, political and economic change: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/future-technology-cannot-rescue-mankind-climate-change-global-warming-a8187806.html)
5. The dramatic effects of climate change will happen in the distant future so we don't need to concern ourselves with it now. Completely wrong. Warming of the troposphere, acidification of the oceans, rising sea levels, declining glaciers and sea ice, slowing of increases to crop productivity is not only happening now but it is accelerating every year:
6. Climate change is happening now, but it is already too late to do anything about it, so why bother. Just do what you can for yourself.Another convenient myth propounded by do-nothing academics, know-nothing politicians and jaded neoliberal super-rich apologists: