569 online
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 44 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/9/18

Remaining calm about climate change

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   15 comments

Craig K. Comstock
Message Craig K. Comstock
Become a Fan
  (1 fan)

If we listened to scientists we might get all upset about climate change. An example is the current article by Robert Hunziker reporting that a decade-old paper on the "worst case" has turned out to be conservative, even though it was intended not as a prediction but as a stimulus to get us thinking.

Why has reality met or exceeded what was said to be the worst case? In part because the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has neglected many factors and used linear or straight-line projections. "In the real world 'discontinuities' (non-linear) are common throughout climate history," Hunziker explains.

The Deep
The Deep
(Image by Shoishanah Dubiner)
  Details   DMCA
What caused a panel of distinguished folks to under-estimate the effects? Or as I like to ask, why is climate change the issue from hell? How have most of us stayed so calm? Some have explicitly denied climate change caused by humans . Others feel they have accepted the science but have rated climate change as a problem less severe than jobs and many other issues.

It's easy to grasp why purveyors of fossil fuels have funded candidates, lobbyists, and "think tanks" that protect their interests. Those who extract and sell coal, oil, and natural gas do not want to curtail their business and leave their reserves "in the ground." Stock prices would fall.

Less easy to understand is what radical-right ideology could offer as a solution if climate change were happening. If you praise "the free market" as the cure for almost every economic problem, if you denounce government regulation, and if you have faith that we will be saved somehow by a technical device, then why worry? Climate change can't be real because, if it were, any adequate solution would require a change of ideology.

People who want to honor science often content themselves by laughing at deniers. For them, however, climate change is the issue from hell because of many factors, such as these:

The Way We Think

Humans are well equipped by evolution to respond with alacrity to sudden dangers, but not to gradual processes, even if the latter, over time, are even potentially fatal.

We feel that humans can't possibly affect something as huge as "climate," even if stubborn facts show we do.

It is easy to dismiss as "deplorables" people who lack a scientific education, to snort at them but do little more.

Nobody is to blame for the greenhouse gas phenomenon: fossil fuels powered the industrial revolution. Nobody could foresee their downside. Calamitous climate change can't be happening, because we didn't do anything wrong. It would be so unfair.

The cost of climate change is almost unimaginable, including the inundation of coastal cities and agricultural areas, flooding or drought in other growing areas, wildfires, terrible storms, and so forth. The prospect elicits a similar reaction as the prospect of nuclear war: it's too horrible to happen.

Economic Self-interest

Our economic system works, at least for the top, and we fear "disrupting" it, even if conversion would generate many new jobs.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Must Read 3   Well Said 3   Valuable 3  
Rate It | View Ratings

Craig K. Comstock Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Author of three recent books, Better Ways to Live: Honoring Social Inventors, Exploring New Challenges (2017); Enlarging Our Comfort Zones: A Life of Unexpected Destinations (2016); and Gift of Darkness:Growing Up[ in Occupied Amsterdam (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Investing in Psychoactives

Mindful Molecules

Remaining calm about climate change

Cuban Missile Crisis in Reverse?

What Do Psychedelics Offer?

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend