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Krypton
If Rush Limbaugh says it, they believe it. That simple.
Renegade
quote:
Originally posted by Lebezniatnikov
It's fascinating to me how this has become a political issue. Where is the ideological reason for climate skepticism, and why is it that Republicans are overwhelmingly skeptics? Is it the religion thing? I wonder if the idea of anthropogenic anything is anathema to many conservative's social beliefs.


I think a lot of the entrenched conservative opposition to climate change science is purely reactionary: if the left believes it to be true, then it must be opposed as a matter of principle. We're probably kidding ourselves if we think we're going to find a rationale any more sophisticated than that.

Just to show you that this is not a problem confined to the US, the (centre-right) opposition party here in Australia is currently divided over the (centre-left) government's proposed emissions trading scheme. One of the major causes of the disunity originates with a senator by the name of Nick Minchin (a noted climate-change denier), who recently had the following to say:

quote:
"For the extreme left, it [climate change] provides the opportunity to do what they have always wanted to do, which is to sort of de-industrialise the Western world. The collapse of communism was a disaster for the left and, really, they embraced environment as their new religion."


http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/ed...91111-i9wf.html

Now ignoring the almost comically conspiratorial element of this view (the "extreme left" have been able to infiltrate every major scientific body in on the planet for the sole purpose of "de-industrialising the Western world"? I mean, really?), I think it's a pretty revealing insight into the mind of a climate-change denier. There is this hysterical (yet common) delusion that any attempt to curb industrial emissions will result in an immediate and precipitous decline of economic activity, or - worse yet! - some trend towards the re-centralisation of economic production. The fact that such fears are unfounded (or - in any case - dwarfed by the economic costs of inaction on climate-change) is beside the point: these fears are prominent and a major motivation for the committed form of climate-change denial espoused by economic rationalists the world over.

Having said that, I think that we have to divorce this kind of hard-nosed, ideological opposition to climate-change science from the more prosaic forms that constitute the most major obstacles that we face with regard to generating any political action on the issue. As anyone who has ever studied behavioural economics ( :cool: ) will be able to tell you, humans are not the perfectly rational, self-interested agents imagined by classical economics, but rather agents that are riddled with a litany of heuristic biases that are useful enough for navigating our day-to-day world, but completely useless when it comes long-term decision making. Most prominent among these with regards to climate change include hindsight bias (an availability heuristic - "The climate has changed in the past and nothing bad has come of it: why should I worry now?") and hyperbolic time discounting (people are vastly more concerned about immediate gains / losses than they are about gains / losses that will occur in the distant future).

My dad is a pretty good example of this, and a reason why we shouldn't jump to simplistic conclusions about what is causing procrastination on climate-change. He is fairly left-wing politically, a scientist and non-religious (so a complete inverse of the stereotypical right-wing, scientifically-illiterate Christian which forms the core of the Republican animus towards climate change) but he's still a climate change skeptic (not an outright denier), largely on the basis of the hindsight bias that I mentioned above. On the rare occasions that I've ever discussed it with him, he has this unshakable idea that because the Earth's climate has likely been hotter in the past than it is today, there's no reason to suspect that the current warming of the Earth owes anything to human activity.

(He's a geologist, so he deals with vast time-periods every day, and so finds it difficult to imagine - I think - that the actions of human beings over a few centuries could have had such a perceptible impact on a climate that has been in a constant state of flux for billions of years. He also has absolutely no specific knowledge concerning climatology, which is why you should be skeptical about these petitions which claim to have the signatures of x number of scientists who oppose global warming: unless they're actually involved in the field, they likely have about as much expertise on the subject as the average layman. My dad is a case in point.)

Anyway, the point of all this is that those fighting for action on climate-change are fighting a losing battle, and the main adversary isn't the right-wing, reality-denying demagogue, but rather the average person who has been poorly equipped by evolution to rationally consider the science of climate-change and the (deferred) dangers of inaction. So long as we have partisan idiots running around fanning the delusion that action on climate change may threaten our immediate economic well-being, it's going to be very difficult to convince people that such action is necessary from a more long-term perspective.
pkcRAISTLIN
quote:
Originally posted by Renegade
I think a lot of the entrenched conservative opposition to climate change science is purely reactionary: if the left believes it to be true, then it must be opposed as a matter of principle.


yeah, this is my belief too. and as much fun as it is watching the Liberal party implode over the debate, it is rather depressing that such a large percentage of the opposition party still have their head in the sand.
pkcRAISTLIN
well, what a ing joke our Liberal party turned out to be. they've just assured themselves of losing the next 2 elections. abbott is a fool who couldn't lead a conga line. he's gonna get torn to shreds for his denialist views.
josh4
quote:
Originally posted by Renegade
Anyway, the point of all this is that those fighting for action on climate-change are fighting a losing battle, and the main adversary isn't the right-wing, reality-denying demagogue, but rather the average person who has been poorly equipped by evolution to rationally consider the science of climate-change and the (deferred) dangers of inaction. So long as we have partisan idiots running around fanning the delusion that action on climate change may threaten our immediate economic well-being, it's going to be very difficult to convince people that such action is necessary from a more long-term perspective.


Good post, I read all of it.

You're giving up?! You are willing to accept defeat on that battle even considering the consequences of no action? For you it seriously comes down to people are stupid so what's the point in trying. ing depressing man.

The partisan idiots have always been there for everything, that is not going to change. They are not the ones that need convincing, nor is any individual person. The change will come from convincing the larger powers that be and the population centers as a whole. I actually think there has been significant progress on those fronts and depsite perceived bumps in the road (ie hacked emails), the trend is definitelly toward action vs inaction.
Fledz
Dr Karl Kruszelnicki made a good point a few days ago about climate change. Basically, what he said was that if you take all of the actual climate change scientists, most if not all of them agree that man is having an effect, probably even a significant effect on the environment.

Then he pointed out that if you look at all the scientists that don't agree with the theory that climate change is caused by man, most of them are not actual climate change scientists. Are they scientists? Yes. Are they specialised in climate change? Nope.

If you had something wrong with your heart, would you go see a cardiologist or an ophthalmologist? They are both Doctors correct? So aren't they both perfectly qualified to talk about the heart?
Anyone see the quite valid point here?

Personally, regardless of the policies, emissions tradings systems and all the political and business bull, it still amazes me that people can come out and just blatantly deny any existence of climate change as if there's no evidence to support it.

I agree with those who say we need to look at sustainable living regardless of climate change. It just makes sense to do things more cleanly and efficiently. Overpopulation is going to cause us significant problems in the next few decades but that's a different discussion.

The key here is to do things together. We absolutely must reduce pollution as a planet, not as individual countries. I didn't support the ETS here in Australia because there are no safe guards. If I need to make a sacrifice and pay a bit more money to reduce carbon emissions, I'm prepared to do that but not if that can just be made up in another country like India, China or somewhere else. Then it's just hurting the economy and costing us more money without actually having an impact on the world as a whole. If one country reduces it's emissions by 20% but another takes up the slack, well then we haven't achieved anything.
I believe increasing numbers of people are prepared to make sacrifices, but they want tangible and clear results.
quote:
Originally posted by pkcRAISTLIN
well, what a ing joke our Liberal party turned out to be. they've just assured themselves of losing the next 2 elections. abbott is a fool who couldn't lead a conga line. he's gonna get torn to shreds for his denialist views.

I don't agree. The ETS was not supported by the public.

A form of carbon control was by 2/3 but far less than half supported the ETS in it's current form and that comes down to what I just posted about above. Nobody in this entire country knows exactly how the the ETS would work, and yet douchebag Rudd over here just wants to rush it through so he can be an even bigger pompous jackass in Copenhagen and boost his ego, when in fact Australia is a small player in world politics and frankly nobody gives a about us.

At least Abbott is prepared to represent the public on this issue. If you pay attention, you will see that he does actually support some form of ETS, but not the current one and certainly does not support rushing it. Why are we rushing it anyway? What's the point?

Will he re-unite the Libs? Who knows, but at least the Coalition has a much stronger chance of actually winning the next election.
Renegade
quote:
Originally posted by josh4
You're giving up?! You are willing to accept defeat on that battle even considering the consequences of no action? For you it seriously comes down to people are stupid so what's the point in trying. ing depressing man.


No, I'm not giving up at all. And my concern isn't that people are "stupid" per se, it's that our decisions are guided much more by emotions and other cognitive heuristics than we would ever care to admit. Reason and evidence are - unfortunately - tools used predominantly to justify decisions that have already been reached on a far more instinctive level, rather than tools used to arrive at that decision in the first place. Study after study that confirms this: emotional constraints are far more accurate indicators of political inclinations and voting intentions than any other constraints you care to name. In one prominent study, emotional constraints were a better predictor of voter intentions than the voter's own prediction of who they were going to vote for: where do you begin to fight this ?

Republicans have understood this for years, of course, which goes part of the way to explain their success at rousing the emotions of their supporters on the back of quite trivial issues (3% tax increase for the rich, anyone?), and why - beginning with Reagan - the party has allowed itself to descend into this mire of rabid anti-intellectualism: you don't need to make any sense on the issues if you're good enough at emotionally manipulating those who are least capable of resisting it. The Democrats are starting to realise the power of emotional persuasion, fortunately, and it was something that Obama used very effectively in his election. (Seriously: if you read the pol-psych books written by guys like Geoff Nunberg and George Lakoff in the aftermath of the Kerry defeat, it's staggering to see just how closely their advice was followed by the Obama campaign.)

Anyway, on the issue of climate-change, there are two competing emotional tugs on the electorate, both of which they may hold simultaneously to be true:

1) The Earth is warming as a result of anthropogenic carbon emissions and inaction will lead to adverse, but also non-specific or unimaginable, climate changes (availability bias) at some undefined point in the distant future (hyperbolic time discounting).

2) Action on climate change will impact on us all immediately (again, hyperbolic time discounting) and countries partly exempt from binding emissions targets (i.e. China and India) will unfairly benefit as a result (altruistic punishment: game theory).

The way I see it, the evidence for or against global warming is largely irrelevant to people's propensity to support action on climate change. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if there is not a large contingent of people who actually accept the science of anthropogenic climate change and its future repercussions, yet still oppose all existing proposals to combat it. The only issue of any import is whether people are more emotionally moved (i.e. "scared") by the prospect of long-term environmental catastrophe or short-term economic inconvenience. I think - until the recession hit - we were building up a nice head of good-will on the climate change issue, but economic anxiety seems to have stifled it somewhat: hopefully this situation will be overcome in due course.

In any case, the science of global warming is barely worth asserting anymore. If you haven't accepted it after the first thousand studies, you're not likely to accept it with the publication of the thousand and first. Besides - such flat-earthers are now in the vanishing minority. Trying to emotionally harangue people into action on climate change won't work either: people already "understand" the threats it poses, let's not run the risk of engendering emotional fatigue on the issue. My best policy is to try undermine the emotional appeal of the competing argument: let's point out that these economic doomsday scenarios are junk-economics, dreamed up by the same ideologues and vested interest groups who masterminded our recent economic collapse. If you really believe that a 20% cut in emissions will completely stifle free-enterprise, then you really can't have had that much faith in the powers of free-enterprise adaptation and innovation to begin with.

So like I said, this isn't a war waged between those who believe that climate change is real and those who believe in unfettered economic growth, it's a war waged between the ears of a populace who happen to believe both: we just need to ensure that the balance is tipped in our favour.
Renegade
quote:
Originally posted by pkcRAISTLIN
well, what a ing joke our Liberal party turned out to be. they've just assured themselves of losing the next 2 elections. abbott is a fool who couldn't lead a conga line. he's gonna get torn to shreds for his denialist views.


I was pretty amazed actually. I was hoping for an Abbott victory firstly for the comedic factor (gonna enjoy watching him justify his views now that he can ultimately be made accountable for them), secondly for the damage it'd do to the Liberal Party and conservative politics in this country in general (perhaps they'd be forced to realise that Howard was successful because he was an astute politician, not because he was some hard-right demagogue?) and thirdly because I just really wanted to enjoy watching that smug bastard lose... but I never thought in my wildest dreams that it would ever happen.

So thanks guys: I was pretty indifferent to the potential election of a Nelson, Turnbull or Hockey, but now I have a vested interest in Australian politics again. Looking forward to a double-dissolution election and a decade of Labor government.

quote:
Originally posted by Fledz
The key here is to do things together. We absolutely must reduce pollution as a planet, not as individual countries.


I agree with you completely up until this point and this is a nice sentiment: this is clearly a problem that requires a unified, global solution. But then you start to lose me a bit.

quote:
I didn't support the ETS here in Australia because there are no safe guards. If I need to make a sacrifice and pay a bit more money to reduce carbon emissions, I'm prepared to do that but not if that can just be made up in another country like India, China or somewhere else.


1) The proposed ETS has nothing to do with China and India. It's a domestic policy where domestic companies can buy and sell carbon permits on the open market (which creates an economic incentive to pollute less). There have been proposals for a global ETS, but that's not what the current debate is about.

2) This objection to China and India being excluded from binding emissions targets is complete bunk anyway. China has made a commitment to reduce emissions by 40-45% by the year 2020 (I'll believe it when I see it, but it's more than any other country has been able to commit to) and in any case, the argument lacks any appreciation of objective circumstance. The fact is that Australia is the 11th largest carbon emitter per capita, China is the 96th (one place ahead of industrious North Korea!) and India is 140th (link). The idea that China and India should be demonstrating a greater commitment to the reduction of carbon emissions than we should is patently ludicrous.

quote:
Then it's just hurting the economy and costing us more money without actually having an impact on the world as a whole. If one country reduces it's emissions by 20% but another takes up the slack, well then we haven't achieved anything.


Well hence the need for a global agreement (happily scuppered at every turn by various economic interest groups) but what you're demonstrating here is classic "Prisoner's Dilema" reasoning: fact is, we'll always be better off if we choose to "defect" (i.e. do nothing). The trouble is that every other country wants to succumb to exactly the same avoidance rationale. The process has to begin somewhere, and I see no reason why it shouldn't begin with the world's largest polluters (which includes us).

quote:
The ETS was not supported by the public.


Wrong:

quote:
A Nielsen Poll in June 2009 found that 65% of voters support the Government’s ETS.


http://au.nielsen.com/news/200512.shtml

quote:
A form of carbon control was by 2/3 but far less than half supported the ETS in it's current form and that comes down to what I just posted about above.


Really? Where are you getting that stat from?

quote:
At least Abbott is prepared to represent the public on this issue. If you pay attention, you will see that he does actually support some form of ETS, but not the current one and certainly does not support rushing it. Why are we rushing it anyway? What's the point?


Where has he said that? The ETS is already a gesture to economic-rationalist ideology, which states that nothing can be achieved unless it is incentivised in economic terms. I'm not that big on ETSs either in lieu of more pro-active target-based strategies, but at least there is a workable rationale behind it. In any case, the right-wing faction wasn't merely opposed to the government's proposed ETS, they were opposed to even negotiating on it: that bipartisan engagement was the foundation of Turnbull's downfall.

Make no mistake: Abbott doesn't represent some pragmatic wing of the Liberal party on climate-change, he represents the Tuckeys and the Minchins who deny it outright and resent any insinuation that anthropogenic climate-change might actually be a reality.

quote:
Will he re-unite the Libs? Who knows, but at least the Coalition has a much stronger chance of actually winning the next election.


Ahahahah, ah no. :haha:
Fledz
I know it has nothing to do with India & China in principle, but what stops the coal miners from exporting the coal and other fuel sources which then results in someone else polluting the planet? Of course it's not as clear cut as that but there is some merit to saying that most people don't understand the ETS in it's current form. Hell, a large number of politicians themselves aren't quite clear on all the details. Is there really such a drastic need to pass it before Copenhagen?

I'm not prepared to vote for a large new tax if I don't see the major benefits in it and there are safeguards in place for where the money can and will actually go, and I'm certainly not alone.

Just to make it clear, I'm a firm believer in climate change and totally agree that we need to do something about it. However, I'm a realist not a greenie and know that we have to look at the big picture.

quote:
Originally posted by Renegade
Ahahahah, ah no. :haha:

So Turnbull had a better chance? Please :rolleyes:
I was a big Turnbull supporter until he starting running the party like a corporate boardroom. Would you honestly vote for someone who can't unite his party and never listens to them but would rather strongarm everyone because he's the boss? I wouldn't, and I'm generally a Liberal voter! The best course of action for them was to get rid of Turnbull because he was a lame duck, dead man walking, whatever.
MisterOpus1
quote:
Originally posted by Renegade
I think a lot of the entrenched conservative opposition to climate change science is purely reactionary: if the left believes it to be true, then it must be opposed as a matter of principle. We're probably kidding ourselves if we think we're going to find a rationale any more sophisticated than that.

Just to show you that this is not a problem confined to the US, the (centre-right) opposition party here in Australia is currently divided over the (centre-left) government's proposed emissions trading scheme. One of the major causes of the disunity originates with a senator by the name of Nick Minchin (a noted climate-change denier), who recently had the following to say:



http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/ed...91111-i9wf.html

Now ignoring the almost comically conspiratorial element of this view (the "extreme left" have been able to infiltrate every major scientific body in on the planet for the sole purpose of "de-industrialising the Western world"? I mean, really?), I think it's a pretty revealing insight into the mind of a climate-change denier. There is this hysterical (yet common) delusion that any attempt to curb industrial emissions will result in an immediate and precipitous decline of economic activity, or - worse yet! - some trend towards the re-centralisation of economic production. The fact that such fears are unfounded (or - in any case - dwarfed by the economic costs of inaction on climate-change) is beside the point: these fears are prominent and a major motivation for the committed form of climate-change denial espoused by economic rationalists the world over.

Having said that, I think that we have to divorce this kind of hard-nosed, ideological opposition to climate-change science from the more prosaic forms that constitute the most major obstacles that we face with regard to generating any political action on the issue. As anyone who has ever studied behavioural economics ( :cool: ) will be able to tell you, humans are not the perfectly rational, self-interested agents imagined by classical economics, but rather agents that are riddled with a litany of heuristic biases that are useful enough for navigating our day-to-day world, but completely useless when it comes long-term decision making. Most prominent among these with regards to climate change include hindsight bias (an availability heuristic - "The climate has changed in the past and nothing bad has come of it: why should I worry now?") and hyperbolic time discounting (people are vastly more concerned about immediate gains / losses than they are about gains / losses that will occur in the distant future).

My dad is a pretty good example of this, and a reason why we shouldn't jump to simplistic conclusions about what is causing procrastination on climate-change. He is fairly left-wing politically, a scientist and non-religious (so a complete inverse of the stereotypical right-wing, scientifically-illiterate Christian which forms the core of the Republican animus towards climate change) but he's still a climate change skeptic (not an outright denier), largely on the basis of the hindsight bias that I mentioned above. On the rare occasions that I've ever discussed it with him, he has this unshakable idea that because the Earth's climate has likely been hotter in the past than it is today, there's no reason to suspect that the current warming of the Earth owes anything to human activity.

(He's a geologist, so he deals with vast time-periods every day, and so finds it difficult to imagine - I think - that the actions of human beings over a few centuries could have had such a perceptible impact on a climate that has been in a constant state of flux for billions of years. He also has absolutely no specific knowledge concerning climatology, which is why you should be skeptical about these petitions which claim to have the signatures of x number of scientists who oppose global warming: unless they're actually involved in the field, they likely have about as much expertise on the subject as the average layman. My dad is a case in point.)

Anyway, the point of all this is that those fighting for action on climate-change are fighting a losing battle, and the main adversary isn't the right-wing, reality-denying demagogue, but rather the average person who has been poorly equipped by evolution to rationally consider the science of climate-change and the (deferred) dangers of inaction. So long as we have partisan idiots running around fanning the delusion that action on climate change may threaten our immediate economic well-being, it's going to be very difficult to convince people that such action is necessary from a more long-term perspective.


On point as always, Renegade. I think the quote and article you cite is exactly right. I've often cited the similarities to the evolution debate to this current debate of global warming, although I think one of the primary differences is the reason you quoted as well as a bit more political coverage involved with global warming. But overall, the general message of fear towards the deniers is more or less the same, albeit for different reasons.


Added in Edit: Lakeoff's "Don't Think of an Elephant" is in my library, and a terrific read, IMO. Highly recommended.

pkcRAISTLIN
quote:
Originally posted by Renegade
I was pretty amazed actually. I was hoping for an Abbott victory firstly for the comedic factor (gonna enjoy watching him justify his views now that he can ultimately be made accountable for them), secondly for the damage it'd do to the Liberal Party and conservative politics in this country in general (perhaps they'd be forced to realise that Howard was successful because he was an astute politician, not because he was some hard-right demagogue?) and thirdly because I just really wanted to enjoy watching that smug bastard lose... but I never thought in my wildest dreams that it would ever happen.

So thanks guys: I was pretty indifferent to the potential election of a Nelson, Turnbull or Hockey, but now I have a vested interest in Australian politics again. Looking forward to a double-dissolution election and a decade of Labor government.


hahaha. while i too enjoy the comedic side of things, i'd much prefer a capable opposition that might be able to fight things like the censorship of the internet.

and i hate to admit it, but im quite a fan of turnbull (you know, as far as Libs go) because he's not a career politician and he's certainly pretty moderate as far as lib leaders go (especially compared to now!)

quote:
Originally posted by Fledz
I don't agree. The ETS was not supported by the public.


as far as i am concerned, this is neither here nor there. good policy is good policy, just as bad policy is bad policy, regardless of whether is resonates enough with the public for them to give a damn either way.

quote:
Originally posted by Fledz
A form of carbon control was by 2/3 but far less than half supported the ETS in it's current form and that comes down to what I just posted about above. Nobody in this entire country knows exactly how the the ETS would work, and yet douchebag Rudd over here just wants to rush it through so he can be an even bigger pompous jackass in Copenhagen and boost his ego, when in fact Australia is a small player in world politics and frankly nobody gives a about us.


yes, this is all true but your analysis is a far ing cry from the leader of the liberal party "the science behind global warming research is crap". im rather sceptical of the ETS, but such scepticism doesn't come from ignoring the scientific consensus on AGW.

i dont know how any australian could vote for an abbott ticket without feeling ashamed of themselves.

quote:
Originally posted by Fledz
Will he re-unite the Libs? Who knows, but at least the Coalition has a much stronger chance of actually winning the next election.


i'll have to join renegade here in a little chortle. i think bob hawke said it best, abbott is an extremist in australian politics and there's just not enough votes in extremism. come election time all it will take is the topic of abortion to come up and you'll see voters deserting the coalition in droves.

abbott is a fruitcake and im disappointed in australian politics that such fruitcakes are allowed to make it to the pointy end of any (supposedly) respectable party.
pkcRAISTLIN
lol. i hadnt read the news yet this week :D :haha: :(

quote:

BIBLE classes should be compulsory so children have a fundamental understanding of Christianity on leaving school, Tony Abbott says.

"I think everyone should have some familiarity with the great texts that are at the core of our civilisation," said the Federal Opposition leader.

"That includes, most importantly, the Bible.

"I think it would be impossible to have a good general education without at least some serious familiarity with the Bible and with the teachings of Christianity.

"That doesn't mean that people have to be believers."

But former Howard government Islamic advisor Dr Ameer Ali, said Mr Abbott's remarks were "over the top".

"It's one thing to say every child needs a good knowledge of history and geography or science," Dr Ali said.

"But it is something else to say all children should have a knowledge of the Bible. That might hurt other people who have their own holy scriptures," he said.

And the Australian Education Union's federal president, Angelo Gavrielatos, said that religion was not a priority for schools.

"There is a place for comparative studies of religion in the curriculum, but ultimately we consider it a private matter for parents and their children," he said.


http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/...5006301,00.html

im glad he's considering the big issues.
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