What on Earth is happening?

Here in the UK, it is expected that the afternoon temperature in the shade will today exceed the all-time record for October. Furthermore, the Royal Horticultural Society, National Trust and many other organisations are reporting that many plants have been “confused” into flowering for a second time in one year. I have heard of seasons shifting; but this is ridiculous! See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15118655 How much longer can so-called “sceptics” continue to deny the evidence that really is as plain to see as the hand in front of your face? Unless, of course, their eyes are closed and their hands are firmly clamped over their ears!… And, before all you sceptics out there point out that we also seem to have a lot of very cold weather, I should just say that I fully expect we will have another very harsh winter here in the first quarter of 2012. This is because weather is not the same as climate; anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is changing our global climate; and one of the effects of this change is an increased frequency of extreme events of all kinds (hot, cold, wet, and dry). Therefore, in my humble opinion, there is only one cause of AGW denial and that is what Leon Festinger called cognitive dissonance. When Festinger published his Theory of Cognitive Dissonance in 1957, he explained his basic idea by referring to the mental discomfort of people who continue smoking even though they know doing so may kill them… People will try and rationalise their behaviour, deny or distance themselves from the consequences; and avoid situations or information that might force them to confront the reality of what they are doing. Does any of this sound as familiar to you as it does to me?

Rembrandt's painting of Belshazzar's Feast

Rembrandt's painting of Belshazzar's Feast (http://www.artbible.info/art/large/95.html)

In Requiem for a Species, Clive Hamilton refers to cognitive dissonance and/or confirmation bias (reading only information that reinforces your prejudice) as being one of a number of maladaptive coping strategies, which he feels are akin to Sigmund Freud’s ‘defence mechanisms’ (2010: 121). However, if we stick our heads in the sand and hope that this problem will go away, things can only get worse. So, I would ask you, “How uncomfortable are you feeling?” What are you going to do with your invitation to Belshazzar’s Feast? Personally, I would RSVP and say you have a prior engagement because, as George Santayana once remarked, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”


About Rick Altman

Possibly just another 'Climate Cassandra' crying 'Wolf' in cyberspace. However, the moral of the old children's story is that the Wolf eventually turned up!
This entry was posted in Climate Science, Consumerism, Environment, Financial Crisis, Growthmania, Limits to Growth, Modernity, Money Fetishism, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Scepticism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to What on Earth is happening?

  1. RACookPE1978 says:

    So sea level is rising at 2 mm per year, total tropical storm energy is decreasing, the world’s growing seasons are long and spread over more area than any period since the 1100’s – which were equally warm as now – if not significantly warmer than now. The world is now less than 1/3 of one degree warmer than the low point baseline of the mid-1970’s. Every statement you make must relate not to some imagined scary future but the real world of 1/3 of one degree rise. The world’s temperature has warmed, been steady, and cooled while CO2 has been steady. The world has warmed, been steady, and cooled while CO2 has increased. The world has warmed, been steady, and cooled while CO2 has decreased. So, just what is the relationship you fear so much between CO2 and temperature? The increased CO2 since 1958 – part of it from man’s activities – results in every plant, every plankton and phytoplankton and tree on earth growing between 17 and 27 percent faster, stronger, and more drought-resistant and yielding more feed, food, fodder, and fuel for the world. There are fewer deaths now from malaria, cholera, and tropical diseases worldwide – and would be almost eliminated entirely if the enviro idealists had not stopped our efforts to protect people, and if the western cultures of independence and free capitalism were encouraged in the third world rather than restrained by tribalism, greed, and socialism. Warmth does create short isolated problems in summer, but the cold weather you evidently favor kills many times as many every year. The ruined economies you favor hurt all – except the powerful, very rich, political class you are trying to join. Now, if current trends continue – that is, assuming even that warming actually resumes – what is it that you fear from increased energy for the world? What is it that causes you – personally – to actively wish increased death from starvation, disease, poor sanitation and bad water and expensive energy and poorer workers worldwide – while the rich politicians you evidently admire and wish to join with your MA in Environmental Science – grow even more rich and more powerful with their CAGW scams?


    • Rick_Altman says:

      Dear Robert, Sorry for the delayed approval and reply. I have been out with my kids all day; enjoying the unseasonably-warm weather we have been having. I guess the thing that concerns me most about websites like WUWT is that the vast majority of people who frequent them are unwitting pawns in a game that business-elites have been playing for decades: Denying any and all environmental problems in order to protect their business interests. First it was those who wanted to sell cigarettes, followed by those selling organic pesticides, then CFC’s. Then they took a break while energy companies tried to deny that Acid Rain was a problem. Then, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the neo-conservatives in the US really were short of an enemy, so they decided to pick on what they chose to call “climate alarmists” and, nearly 20 years later, they are still fighting… The trouble is of course that, whereas most “sceptics” think they are fighting against a left-wing conspiracy to keep everyone poor, you are unwittingly fighting for a right-wing conspiracy to keep a few people rich. So, do you see? They are very clever; they have got you lot doing their dirty work for them! Unlike your conspiracy theory, this is conspiracy fact; and it well past the time that you woke up to it. Basically, you are suffering from a total reality inversion: You have got absolutely everything back-to-front, upside-down, and the wrong-way-round. But don’t worry, now that you have found your way to this website, you have access to pretty-much all the information you need to cure your problem. Just remember that, with regard to climate change not being a problem, everything you have ever read or been told is a lie; fed to you by the fossil fuel lobby and conservative think tanks that are pulling all of your strings. With very best wishes for a swift recovery after your long illness, Rick.


      • RACookPE1978 says:

        Treasure your children. I regret you are destroying their chances for a better life than what you have enjoyed. Worse, in your zealotry and pursuit of an assumed future, you are (deliberately) causing the death of millions of innocents by (deliberately) denying them clean water; better food stored under more sanitary conditions safe from rodents, waste and rot; better sanitation, better transportation, and useable heat, light, and cooling. With economical energy, I (we engineers and scientists and farmers and shippers and processors) provide those things essential to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You have decided – based regrettably on exaggeration and group-think from politically-motivated people – that you “know” better and that you must be given the power unilaterally to force your opinions (your dogma) on the rest of the world. You have decided that the problem is between “rich” and “poor” – and, in your prejudice, have decided that “rich” is “evil” and must be destroyed. Morally, I wish to most wisely and most economically use the world’s resources to improve all men’s lives. There is no harm from increasing CO2 production, no harm from increased temperatures worldwide, and you have no evidence – only extrapolations from single point models created by people explicitly paid to create models to show catastrophic future scenarios to allow politicians to control the world’s energy. You “see” fantasies of well-paid conspiracies among skeptics and climate realists based on nothing. Rather, I challenge you this way: Show me evidence of climate skeptics getting paid to change climate data and write conclusions in scientific climate papers influenced by money and funding. If you claim “funding changes scientific results” then you must have evidence of those changes and that influence. Since there is (almost no) funding going to skeptics from private industry, and government-paid climate “science” IS funded based on past results and useability of that funding for the government, then you are evidently claiming that the degree of corruption is proportional to the degree of funding. (Or you are claiming that no government official and no international funding source and no foundation and no “non-governmental agency” is corrupt and sponsors agendas to further that NGO’s future funding.) You (fellow) CAGW dogmists claim influence from the Koch brothers, but ignore the hundreds of millions paid to silence Greenpeace and the WWF from the other oil companies. You ignore the billions in funding from the government to well-funded agencies – as long as they follow the CAGW line under a democrat House and Senate and White House. I point out the corruption (power, influence, money, and exposure) is demonstrated daily, weekly, and yearly on the CAGW side. It has never been shown on the skeptic side. Method, motive, and opportunity are needed to establish guilt in criminal trials. Method, motive, and opportunity (and evidence of malpractice and conspiracy) ARE present throughout the CAGW side of the argument. Since every scientists and every university and every agency requesting “climate silence” funding and money (witness the millions to other Penn State departments because of Mann’s influence on climate funding) from the government is expected to produce “climate silence” or “climate catastrophe” results in their funding request – are you not surprised that those results are used/needed to enable over 1.3 trillion in tax money and carbon restrictions be imposed, you are evidently basing your evidence of scientific corruption on your own observations of corruption and influence in your side of the issue. Pelosi’s policies that began today’s recession in 2007’s rise in energy prices are based entirely on CAGW fundamentals and a “green utopia” dogma – NOT on economical energy production and use. NOT on what is good for the world’s people and plants and productivity. In fact and in deed, your own diploma, your (future) career and your (future) funding REQUIRES you create a demand for CAGW funding. If you cannot create catastrophe and fear, you are out of work. If the IPCC cannot create catastrophe and fear, THEY are out of work. If the south sea island politicians and corrupt African politicians could not come back from their exotic CAGW conferences with Western money extorted by CAGW fears and extrapolations of catastrophe, THEY are out of a job – and maybe out of a life.


      • Rick_Altman says:

        Whoever it was that said… “Brevity is the soul of wit, you clearly did not hear them! Yet more inversions of the truth: Along with over-population, AGW is one of the main casues of food and water shortages. As I have said to Peter Freeman (see my About page and elsewhere on here), it is therefore ludicrous to blame such things on our belated attempts to try and solve the AGW problem. As I keep pointing out to you guys, I am not accusing “sceptics” of all being involved in the Organisation of Denial [i.e. see Jacques et al (2008) or this new Map of Climate Change Denial], merely of having been duped by it. This is not conspiracy theory; it is conspiracy fact (see also Merchants of Doubt by Oreskes and Conway).


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