Climate Change and the Baggage of Denial

(January 26th, 2010)

Among the millions (mostly Americans) who openly deny the existence of human-induced Climate Change, there appear to be two camps.  The first camp believes the scientists are innocently mistaken. The second camp believes it’s all a big hoax. I would like to briefly address the baggage of both camps’ claims.

Camp One: While certainly more benign in your intentions, you must still acknowledge what odds you are gambling against.

You must acknowledge, especially if you are not a climate scientist, that you are disagreeing with the consensus of climate scientists the world over.

You must acknowledge that every respected scientific association on the planet is in agreement, or rather in disagreement with you.

You must acknowledge that as a member of Camp One, you have to believe that the vast consensus of climate scientists are all reading and/or collecting the data totally wrong, that all their methods and accumulated work has led them to this conclusion, and that it’s all simply a big mistake. In other words, you kind of have to believe that the vast majority of climate science is baseless.

In addition, you must acknowledge that there is no data-founded, peer-reviewed scientific consensus for a competing explanation of what is happening to the planet.

You must acknowledge that most of the people who deny human-induced Climate Change or speak as authorities to this end are not climate scientists.

You must acknowledge that the majority of “counter science” that does exist (including experts associated with such) has been funded by and /or is affiliated with the fossil fuel industry.

You must acknowledge that the consequences of being wrong could mean tragedy the likes of which we have never seen.

Acknowledging all this, it would seem that taking such a casual stance of defiance is a pretty tall order, especially when the alternative is simply to err on the side of caution.

Camp Two: If it weren’t enough to believe that the bulk of climate science all coincidentally adds up to the same mistake, some of you (including various media personalities and even a few politicians) expect us to believe this is all a scam. You expect us to believe that the broad consensus of climate scientists in every country in the world are together in a grand (often described as “liberal”) conspiracy. Through some type of elaborate cross border, secret communication, climate scientists conspired to perpetrate the biggest hoax in human history.

Well, if we are to take seriously these claims, it must be acknowledged what else it is you expect us to believe.

Not only must we believe that all climate scientists are evil treasonous plotters, none of whom have ever grown a conscience and come forward to expose this house of cards, we must also believe they all have the same interests at heart. We must believe that there are either no political or ideological differences in the world of climatology or that the world of climatology is simply full of traitors.

And to what end? Well, some of you say money. Although every field of science could (under this line of thinking) make up a hoax to threaten our survival and extort money from us, we are to believe that climate science is the only field that would do this. We also have to believe that thousands of scientists travel to work day in and day out, simply going through the motions, waiting to cash in on the big research payday.

Of course, some point to the billionaires waiting to make billions more from fake-saving the planet. Never mind the fact that if human-induced Climate Change is as the scientists say it is and the planet really does need saving, there will still be billionaires waiting to make a killing from doing just that.  Never mind that the truth behind something, in this case physics, doesn’t necessarily depend on whether someone is looking to make money from it. Never mind all the money to be made by other billionaires if we do absolutely nothing.

Never mind any of that. We are to believe that climate scientists devoted their lives to training and research just so a handful of filthy-rich criminals could make away with the lion’s share of a heist. We have to believe that they really don’t care about science at all, that they only care about making some wealthy con artist even wealthier while hopefully skimming a little off the side.

Nevertheless, the notion that all climate scientists are just pawns in a rich man’s hoax would still be easier to accept than the even more popular scenario being touted by Climate Change deniers. That is, the motivation behind the Climate Change conspiracy is really to bring down the good old U. S. of A.

For this, we must again believe that all such U.S. scientists (not to mention U.S. allied scientists), no matter their political stripes, are in lock step with such an outcome. More specifically, we must believe that every Ron Paul/Ron Reagan/Red State/Red Meat Climatologist just decided to be part of the vast left wing (as described by many Climate Change deniers) conspiracy. Furthermore, we must believe that not one of these people is the least bit worried about getting busted for treason or, at very least, not having jobs when either they are exposed or Old Glory crumbles.

But that’s not all. Not only are the scientists in on this twisted plot. There are other less obvious seats at the table. Both the U.S. government and the Pentagon were looking at this data long before Al Gore came to Hollywood.  Having now endorsed the basic science behind human-induced Climate Change, the United States military must be in on it too.

So tallying up the traitors, we get a conspiracy involving the vast scientific community, United States politicians on both sides of the aisle, and the U.S. military (just to name a few). All of whom must be scheming to weaken and/or destroy the United States as we know it.

This is what you expect us to believe.

That is, unless you’re using the word hoax in the sense of a prank. Under which reading, all of the above actors decided to be part of the world’s greatest conspiracy solely to see if they could pull it off.  Millions of people risking their fortunes and futures merely to get a big laugh out of it all.

Ah, yes, a big laugh indeed.