Climate Change Denial

November 7, 2013

The story of how Greens became energy enemy number one

George Marshall @ 8:21 pm
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9 Responses to “The story of how Greens became energy enemy number one”

  1. John Barell says:

    Too much of formal and informal discussion in society reflects this kind of battle between opposing forces. We are taught to “attack” another person’s argument, martialing all our evidence in order to “beat” the person with different points of view.

    What we should be teaching is how to find common ground and realize we’re all in this terrible debacle together.

    So, yes, refuse to play the blame game, pointing the finger. Who was it who said, “Come, let us reason together?”

    Idealistic, indeed. Necessary starting in elementary school? Absolutely.

  2. hugh says:

    This is, to my mind, an article lacking in clarity & given to misleading statements. Of course “we are all responsible” to some degree but the issues facing us primarily concern those who are playing to the willful ignorance of the public & giving out disinformation on a massive scale. The “enemies” may be “us” but when more than 50% of a society are allowing themselves to be deceived by masters of deception then the masters of deception are “enemies” of fundamental truths relating to climate change. Untruth is being spun and as noted in the “Odyssey”: “Thus in the likeness of truth [they] related a tissue of falsehood”. Those who perpetrate misinformation for the sake of profit are guilty of great crimes since they know better yet play on the innocence of the public who are too poorly educated on the issues to understand the consequences. As a result they place their trust in the purveyors of a media of misdirection and disinformation.

    • Excellent- this is the basis of a debate I am dying to have! I do not accept that people are being duped by distorted information. I would not disagree that there is a campaign of active disinformation,especially in America and historically this was funded by oil companies, but I think what is really happening is that climate change has become a marker of differing political and social identities, who have their own narratives and enemies, and that the debate is largely about nuances of identity rather than about the science.

  3. hugh says:

    Of course, I would think that “goes without saying” as the saying goes. Deep divisions are ever-present in the body politic. Extreme conservative views in America line up state by state with the old south and their deep resentments about entitlements are the rights of their entrenched interests. Southern states were far more influenced by those who viewed themselves as landowning aristocracies. The same was true in Ireland. My ancestral district in Ireland was controlled (until 1922) by the descendants of a family of landowners that William of Orange had placed in control 300 years ago. Entrenched interests are powerful & fearful of losing their power. As was noted by an American writer some time ago “you cannot change a person’s mind if their livelihood depends upon having a particular view”. So if your livelihood depends upon fossil fuel investments no amount of persuasive arguments will shake the fixity of the root belief. Land-lordism, property, ownership, control are deeply entrenched in the investor class whose ideological underpinnings are being threatened if they accept the causes of climate change. They believe in domino principles.

  4. Tim Williams says:

    Party politics is very unhelpful when responding to climate change challenges. We need to drive the political classes into cross-party agreements on anything to do with climate change.
    I like the irony in Hugh’s example, much of William of Orange’s homeland is likely to disappear. “Landed gentry” then becomes a sad oxymoron.

  5. Thank you for your comment Laurence. Just a short note to tell you why I am not approving it. It adds nothing to the discussion. My work is based around communications research and therefore I will talk quite freely about that theory, including framing…this is a blog after all.

  6. John McCormick says:

    George, a thoughtful piece with one exception “In climate change the enemy is really everyone, the victims are everyone (although we like to think it is people far away and in the future) and there is no deliberate intention to hurt.” Not the case.

    Not everyone is responsible for the 400 ppm atmospheric CO2 concentration. Certainly not the half of the earth’s population earning an average of $2/day. Not the absolute suffering masses in Haiti and other refugee camps. Not the children.

    What has been missing from the very beginning is the absent (ignored) representation of those destitute “we”. Not from the greens; a bit from OXFAM but not much more than that.

    The real ‘debate’ must be waged between the ‘not responsibles’ vs the real “we” who are chewing our way through the earth’s remaining resources. Never going to happen. Its just a dream I have.

    The rich care nothing for the poor and hardly reach out to help. US federal contribution to foreign aid is less than one percent of the budget and going south..thanks to the responsible party.

  7. A thought-provoking post George (as always). Unfortunately, the partisan narrative game is the game the media plays (including social media). Just saying you don’t want to play the game, doesn’t mean it will not continue – and ultimately be the prime driver of policy. My only optimism is in the fact that the game can ultimately be won (whether in time to prevent dangerous climate change is a different question). Your argument inspired me to write a post on the topic:

    http://therationalpessimist.com/2013/11/08/finding-a-narrative-for-climate-change/

  8. There’s an alternative to the enemy narrative. I submit that a Partnership Culture narrative is necessary, in particular a story of enlightenment, self-discovery, personal growth, a maturation into responsibility and adult power.

    In short we need a self-transformation narrative.

    Because we are all responsible (notice I didn’t use “blame”), realizing how we are causing our own doom and owning responsibility for our part in it is a process of self-discovery. Surely it’s painful, as personal growth often is. By acknowledging our own dark side, by redefining ourselves from the bottom up to be fit for a sustainable world, we will emerge with a more mature humanity. Margaret Kline’s insights about the three kinds of climate denial are a good place to start.

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