"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Climate Change Denial

I was at a conference for members of the Scientific and Medical network last weekend and very good it was too. But one session really had me worried. Professor Chris Clarke, author of Weaving the Cosmos, was talking to us about the need to connect science and spirituality in our living planet, the different ways of knowing the world, and the need for bringing back a harmony between our rational and emotional selves. In the one and a half hours of talk and dialogue he covered much of enormous interest and significance for the future of humanity, that I may come back to in more detail another time. But what was the cause of my concern?
Well apparently something like 50% of Americans are in total denial about climate change. And what is more, the percentage seems to be increasing as the science produces even better and more indisputable evidence. It seems that there are psychological dynamics at work here. We rely so much on technology and when we are told it has to change, we find this uncomfortable, unendurable, intolerable even, and think there has to be a way out, that science has it wrong, and we go into denial.
We in Britain are nearly as skeptical. A Times poll in 2009 found that only two in five Britons believed that this current and visible problem was largely man made. We really should take more notice of the evidence, including for example the report to world leaders by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) following its meeting in Paris at the start of 2007. This report concludes that it is very likely (and that means a 90% chance!) that the activities of man are responsible for the increased greenhouse gases and the resultant problems of climate change now being seen and predicted for the foreseeable future. As a consequence average temperatures are likely to rise by 4°C by the end of the century. This is the consensus of opinion from the combined efforts of more than 800 contributing authors and more than 450 lead authors, with more than 2500 scientific expert reviewers involved in the two-stage scientific and technical review process.
For the continuing cynics why not use an adaptation of Pascal’s Wager? Pascal reasoned that whether or not one believed in the existence of God, it was a safer bet and one had nothing to lose by supposing that He existed. So it is with the global warming debate. If we allow ourselves to become more spiritually aware, more sensitive to our finely balanced place in the world, more compassionate towards the plight of our brethren across the globe, more simple in our needs, more at peace with ourselves, more in tune with our own souls and the soil beneath our feet, then surely we are all enriched? We will certainly be happier, and we will be leaving a better world for those who come after us. What do we have to lose, climate change or not?
Of course there are bound to be some controversies and debates surrounding the details of the IPCC report and the scale of its significance. But much of our best scientific research effort continues to be directed towards gaining a fuller understanding of all the issues involved, and what actions we can take.
Please let's not ignore the evidence any longer.
And let's find a dialogue between the scientists and spirituality, between the rational and the emotional, combine the analytical with wisdom.
E F Schumacher said something along the lines of: "Man is now far too clever to survive without wisdom."
(The photo is of white hydrangeas at Loseley Park, Surrey, England) 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Many people refer to anthropogenic climate change (ACC) as a new faith because there are parallels which most people do not recognize. In the old days, preachers were the only people who could read and folks revered them as the only ones who understood the bible. You had to accept their statements and opinions and could not question them, if you did you were called an heretic. Today climatologists are the keepers of the new faith of ACC, they are the new preachers and folks revere climatologists in the same way; if you question the science folks say that only climatologists can understand the science, and you can’t question their opinion either. Today’s climate skeptics are also known as climate heretics. The UN IPCCs climate report which is released every few years is like the climate alarmists Bible, it is incomprehensible to everyone except climate scientists, just like when preachers were the only ones who could understand the bible. If you asked a preacher for evidence for the existence of God, they could find it everywhere, they would claim God was responsible for everything, God explains everything. Similarly if you ask a climatologist for evidence of ACC they can find it everywhere, they blame ACC for everything and ACC explains everything. The theory of ACC is virtually infallible now, it goes far beyond a theory into the realm of faith. Even recently climate alarmists claim the quake in Japan was caused by ACC. Science today has become very lazy in this regard, ACC explains everything like God does. No need to do real research, ACC provides a ready solution for every natural phenomenon. Al Gore is like the new climate Pope and every country in the world has its top ACC guy, they are like neo-apostles. The parallels between old time religion and ACC are astonishing.

Many of the proponents of ACC are not religious, they are atheist, however they have found a new religion and a new god in ACC. There is an old phrase which goes something like “if you stop believing in God, you’ll still believe, but you’ll believe in anything”. I think this is the case for the ACC believers. It’s time for people to rethink and examine deep down just what ACC really is. I believe it is a new faith.

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