It puzzles me, if only because I am usually cheerful and optimistic, why there is such anxiety about ‘climate change’. I’ve put forward before the view that environmentalism has become a quasi-religion, and religions commonly warn us of the doom ahead if we don’t mend our ways. But that doesn’t wholly persuade me, even if it does you.
I came across a somewhat oddball contribution to my knowledge about all this on WUWT, and you can read it here. I’ve edited it slightly, and the original is rather longer. But I think what I’ve extracted is worth a read. There author is Charles Battig MD, and he has written qute a lot on subjects like this one, and you can follow his work through the WUWT link.
Forget the nuances of climate sensitivity, the mathematical sign, + or -, of cloud feedbacks, solar influences, and geological and astronomical cycles. For the public at large, a worrisome scare story will oft outdo the best efforts at logical refutation. Consider how much greater is the effort to calm a panicked theater audience once someone has falsely cried out “fire,” as the frightened mob rushes for the doors. Logical argument is trampled underfoot.
Amongst the imaginative list of climate induced impacts claimed are those detrimental to both our physical and mental health. In the spirit of post-normal science, also known as “abby-normal” science, I offer an explanation for the public’s fear of climate change … one based on our current cultural mores.
The Hollywood self-adulation and eternal youth culture is supported by a plastic surgery industry, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals … both traditional and herbal. Life-prolonged mental clarity and youthful dexterity are goals of Zen yoga. The public has become mesmerized by images of (nearly) non-ageing stars, and wants the same for itself. They might be termed the “Botox® generation.” No wrinkles, no sags with the passage of time, no physical changes as one chronologically ages. Ageing shall be free from the threat of senility. Public expectation is that one is able to “non-age” in the fulfillment of philosopher/mathematician Leibnitz’s proposition that “we live in the best of all possible worlds.” This best is now; no change needed; change is bad; change is “abby-normal.”
Juxtaposition of the two only moderately worrisome words “climate” and “change” has produced the killer app “climate change.” Of the two, change is the more emotionally charged word. The current cultural notion that traditional biological change can be altered at will is at the heart of the receptiveness of the public to concern over manmade climate change. Undesired change is experienced as bad for us as individuals, and bad for all species. If biological non-ageing can be human goal, why should the physical world not be changeless? Why must we endure climate change?
Thousands of years of climate adaptation by untold numbers of biological species is now viewed by climate alarmists as an obsolete process, as they assume that the global climate environment has reached its ultimate optimum state of “now.” Changes to this optimized “now” environment are viewed as insurmountable challenges of survival rather than part of the fabric of biological adaptation. No matter where on earth one is living, that environment is now held to the new standard of “no change.” Species extinction has become viewed as a manmade crime against mother Gaia. Weather patterns are now to remain confined to a stable narrow range of not too hot, not too cold. Not too many nor too unusual tornadoes, hurricanes, or sea level rise lest there be a hint of change.
For the “Botoxed generation,” the thing they fear is change itself. Try to change that.
Some of this argument appeals to me. Just as I think the notion of past ‘golden ages’, where things were much better then than they are now, needs a properly sceptical consideration, so do I doubt that there was a ‘climate’ anywhere that was just about right, and didn’t ever change. After a good deal of reading, it seems to me that most species on the planet, including ourselves, would find the world rather more environmentally friendly if it were a degree or two warmer — given that such warming is most likely to occur, as I understand the IPCC argument, in the temperate and polar regions. So far, the warming that may have occurred in the past fifty years seems to have been beneficial.
One thing Dr Battig didn’t say, but might have, is that the notion that ‘now’ is the most important time of all in the world’s history can be immensely appealing to those who know what we should all do in consequence — and they include people who believe that the Earth will end on October 22nd 2015, as well as the more extreme AGW scarers. I read somewhere recently, with respect to art criticism, that it is more sensible to see our time as yet another period in human history, which will be followed, in due course, by another, and that at least some of our judgments now will be viewed, even if sympathetically, with a smile.
Our judgements about the menace of global warming are likely to fall into that category, IMHO.