Supporters of the consensus are strangely attached to asking people if they believe in climate change. Ignoring the issue of ‘climate change’ instead of ‘CAGW’, the answer is irrelevant. People think they believe in all sorts of things but what they do is the measure of how much.
To explain, it’s easier to use another issue like poverty.
Do you believe in poverty?
What a stupid question, of course we all believe in poverty.
Do you think poverty should be eradicated?
Give us a fiver.
To alleviate poverty.
Well ok, so long as you’re a proper charity.
Now fill out this direct debit for £5 a month.
Umm, not sure I like that sort of giving.
This is for poverty.
So long as you don’t fritter it on directors’ salaries and big offices. It’s not one of those things where the charity doesn’t get a penny until the chugger fee has been paid is it?
I’m a professional, you don’t need to worry that I have a financial interest in poverty.
Err? Ok then.
Excellent, you’re the first person today who really cares about the poor. Now write a blank cheque.
What? No way.
Why not? You said you wanted poverty to go away. Did you think a fiver a month would do it?
Well no, but I assumed you’d be asking lots of people to donate.
Oh we will, but firstly we don’t know what the final cost will be and secondly we don’t know how many others will donate. That’s why we need the blank cheque, so we can fill it in at a later date.
But the final sum might be massive and I might be the only one to write a cheque! I’m not giving all my money away. Anyway, who are you? I want to see some ID…
So you don’t believe in eradicating poverty?
There’s a lot going on in that scenario. Even though poverty is absolutely genuine and provable, support for reducing it isn’t unconditional. The higher the cost to the individual, the more doubtful the person becomes. If the charity worker had been collecting for Guillain-Barre syndrome or rhinitis or Oompa Lumpa disease, the member of the public might have even balked at the initial £5. They might have questioned what the diseases were, what the money would be for and if they wanted to contribute at all. None of the concerns by the person being asked to donate were unreasonable. That person wasn’t in denial of the reality of poverty. The person might even have said that they didn’t think that charity solves poverty and there would be merit in that viewpoint too.
So asking people if they believe in climate change is the easiest step on a very steep climb. If you’re only asking for a tick in a box or £5, then a lot of people would just err on the side of safety (assuming CAGW is real and that renewables would make a difference). However, CO2 reduction is a lot more than that. It’s an issue that will affect everything. The costs for solving it would be immense in both money and freedom. Why then are consensus supporters so shocked when people start asking questions? The first and most obvious being ‘are you sure?’ and the second ‘how much is this going to cost?’